Anti-Fascist Educational Film – Don’t Be A Sucker

Yesterday was the 79th anniversary of D-Day.  This short film is timely and worth watching.

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Join The Hidden History of the Second Amendment Virtual Teach-In

From our inbox: Action alert from

The national debate about gun violence and gun policy reform rests on an understanding of the Second Amendment shaped by the NRA and other pro-gun extremists. Their definition asserts that the right to bear arms is – and always has been – a bedrock Constitutional right that guarantees freedom.

But what if the NRA’s interpretation of the Second Amendment is historically wrong? How has the NRA’s version fed a gun violence epidemic that threatens and terrifies everyone, with disproportionate impacts on communities of color and other vulnerable communities? And how is the NRA’s Second Amendment increasingly infringing on other fundamental rights like free speech and safety?

We’ll discuss these and other questions at the #KeepMarching online teach-in, Thursday, June 8, 2023, 8:30 pm ET/ 5:30 pm PT, with constitutional law professors Carl Bogus and Mary Anne Franks. Sign up now.


WHAT: “The Hidden History of the Second Amendment and What Came After” online teach-in
WHO: Constitutional law professors Carl Bogus and Mary Anne Franks, with moderator Gloria Pan, Senior Vice President of Gun Control, MomsRising
WHEN: Thursday, June 8, 2023, 8:30 pm ET / 5:30 pm PT
WHERE: Online, from wherever you are

RSVP here.

This teach-in about the Second Amendment (2A) will start with a look at history reaching back to the founding of the country. We’ll examine how the NRA began crafting and selling its own version of 2A steeped in white supremacy, bringing us to our current era of runaway gun violence, a rising number of hate crimes, and insurrectionism. Other topics to be covered include:

  • The impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Heller decision on gun violence rates and on vulnerable communities
  • The unfolding impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Bruen decision
  • How 2A is increasingly infringing on other foundational constitutional rights

Click here to sign up for this important teach-in.

Two of our country’s foremost constitutional thinkers about gun rights will serve as faculty at our teach-in:

Carl Bogus is Distinguished Research Professor of Law at Roger Williams University School of Law in Rhode Island. In his new book Madison’s Militia: The Hidden History of the Second Amendment, Professor Bogus shows that – contrary to conventional wisdom – the fitting symbol of the Second Amendment is not the musket in the hands of the minuteman on Lexington Green but rather the musket wielded by a slave patrol member in the South.

Mary Anne Franks is an American legal scholar, author, activist, and media commentator. She is a professor of law and the Michael R. Klein Distinguished Scholar Chair at the University of Miami School of Law. In her book, The Cult of the Constitution: Our Deadly Devotion to Guns and Free Speech, Professor Franks examines the thin line between constitutional fidelity and constitutional fundamentalism and how the NRA has fanned the flames of the latter.

Join us for this important teach-in. Sign up now. 

Please forward this email to everyone you know who is looking to better understand the roots of gun violence, who is searching for new ideas and a way forward to finally achieve a safer future with true freedom for everyone.

In solidarity,

– Gloria, Joy, Jessica, Kristin and the whole & MamásConPoder Team

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Rob Sand Goes On Offense

This is a must see video of Rob Sand debunking Governor Reynolds’ comments from her May 12 appearance on Iowa Press.  Too bad he’s not on the panel.

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D-Day June 6th, 1944

4 minutes:

Seventy-nine years ago this coming Tuesday. An incredible invasion against the once invincible Nazi war machine. Those who landed on the Normandy shore that day had to be among the bravest of the brave. The future of the world was on their shoulders.

I use one post every year to remind us of the sacrifices that took place that day. Among the early landers that day was my late father-in-law. Barely a kid of 20 years. He made it to the beach under heavy fire and was able to survive and come back.

I am not sure where he went after the landing. He would never talk about the war. His medals were in the bottom drawer of his dresser, only to come out after he died. Like many who fought, the experience was so painful that he could just never talk about it. I told him thanks once and that was as far as it went.

So every year I have some quiet time to consider his sacrifice and the sacrifices of all the others. Many never got but a step off the boat.

Dwight Eisenhower ran the operation. He knew all the marbles were bet on this one. He had prepared a statement should the unthinkable happen and the invasion failed. As you know it didn’t. Eisenhower was the greatest of war heroes and became a pretty good president. He was not led by ideology but by practicality. I would so love a Republican like Ike again.

As for my Father-in-law, like so many he came back settled in a small town and married his high school sweetheart. 

He wasn’t very political, but every now and then he would grumble about how the little guy was always getting screwed. I have no doubt what he would think about how things have turned in this country.

Rest In Peace, Bob. And Thanks.

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Sunday Funday: It’s Pride Month Edition

What better way to bring in Pride month than Randy Rainbow taking on Ron DeFascist and his (DeFascist’s) ‘don’t say gay’ bill.


Quote of the week: from the comes this gem from Friday morning:

“There’s no way I can lose Iowa. We’re going to have to do some really bad things to lose at this point.” — Former President Donald Trump, speaking to the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale.

As Trump was saying that, information was spilling all over the place that investigations are uncovering some potential trading in Top Secret documents in one investigation and multi-state strategies to overturn the 2020 election. Gotta wonder if those are considered to be “really bad things”? Or will Iowans just laugh off his being a traitor to our country and select him?

D-Day this Tuesday. Commemorate accordingly. They stopped fascism in their day and we are very thankful. Now we must do our part.

A) Who said “Republicans are ‘Not Interested’ in whether Biden bribe allegation is true,”? Yes this is a real quote from last week.

B) Speaking of questions, Jen Psaki’s favorite punching bag, Peter Doucy, asked President Biden what question that drew a guffaw from the President?

C) And speaking of President Biden, he sure had a good week. For one thing employment numbers came in at what level Friday?

D) The other bit of good news for the President was that what legislation passed late Thursday night?

E) Trouble in the hate state of Texas. What major Texas Republican officeholder was impeached last weekend and faces a trial in the state senate?

F) How many Americans were in the landing force on Day, 1944?

G) What country passed a law last week making homosexuality a capital crime? 

H) What was the first country in the world to make same sex marriage legal?

I) Ron DeFascist claimed on Fox that in his 8 years as president he will defeat what perceived evil?

J) Remember Tara Reid? Neither do I. However the once accuser of President Biden as a sexual assaulter popped into the news last week when she did what?

K) The far right went into an absolute tizzy when it was discovered that what one of their darling merchants actually had a D-E-I (diversity, equity and inclusion) office in their corporate structure?

L) The movie Milk followed the life of the first openly gay politician in the US, Harvey Milk. Who played Harvey Milk. In that movie?

M) The soon to be indicted Donald Trump said Wednesday that as soon as he is president again he will nullify what part of the constitution?

N) What billionaires may have been saved by a federal appeals court in New York that will shield their family from lawsuits growing out of their business practices?

O) What ancient poetess was known for her references to lesbian relationships?

P) Fort Bragg is no more. The huge army base in North Carolina has been renamed what?

Q) Speaker McCarthy’s newest quest to quiet the extremists in his party is to create a commission that will look at cutting what programs as we move to 2024 elections?

R) New acronym to learn – what are UAPs and what did we used to call them?

S) What two new horses are expected to jump into the Republican primary horse race next week?

T) The brother of what sitting US senator issued a statement disavowing any connection between him (the brother) and his senator brother’s racist statements?

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton admits to suppressing 2.5 MILLION votes in 2020 from Democratic Harris County

Trump tried to steal 11,780 votes in GA

Republicans cooked up fake electors schemes across the country

But they accuse Dems of stealing elections?! GIVE US A BREAK. – Lindy Li tweet


A) Iowa’s oldie Senator Grassley – he has never cared about truth

B) Peter Doucy asked the President if like Ron DeSantis Biden was considering pardoning Donald Trump (or words to that effect). Biden had a good laugh

C) 339,000 vastly over media estimates. I believe that puts his total of jobs created over 13 million in just over 2 years

D) The bill to raise the debt ceiling

E) Ken Paxton

F) 73,000

G) Uganda

H) The Netherlands in 2001

I) leftism

J) Moved to Russia – and I hope never to be heard from again

K) Chik-fil-A

L) Sean Penn

M) the birthright citizenship clause of the 14th amendment – I am sure you will have questions

N) The Sackler family whose company Perdue Pharma made Oxycontin. This may only apply in New York – stay tuned

O) Sappho

P) Fort Liberty. Braxton Bragg was a confederate general and slave owner.

Q) Social Security and medicare. The timing just couldn’t be better – just before an election tell seniors they will be facing cuts.

R) UAP = Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. They used to be UFOs (unidentified flying objects)

S) Chris Christie and Mike Pence. Both are currently polling behind “None of the above”

T) Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama had his brother Charles call him out last week for his racist remarks.

Aren’t you all kinda curious what the DOJ is gonna do about the 2.5 million votes that Ken Paxton refused to count in Texas in 2020? – Woman In The Moon tweet

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1619 Project – Great Television

3 minutes:

I don’t watch a lot of television anymore – mostly sports and some game shows and a few PBS series. Seems like television series that has any real value has gone to the pay for streaming route leaving the old network and basic cable channels pretty much void of interesting content. And of course as far as I know most cable channels and the streaming channels are owned by the four or five major entertainment conglomerates.

I can’t remember who owns what anymore, but a company like Disney owns ABC and ESPN etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. So if they have a show that has any possibility that they can somehow milk to raise the bottom line, they will do so. Make the suckers pay as it were.

So imagine my surprise Wednesday when when I saw the “1619 Project” listed as a show on ABC. My first inclination was that the listing must have somehow been misplaced from the PBS grid line, but no – PBS had their own usual programs on. 

This seemed like a gutsy move by one of the entertainment corporations to put something on commercial TV that actually might spark a little controversy. Now I do not know a lot about the “1619 Project” but I do know that it has a decidedly different perception of American history and society than the white washed dreck that most of us learned in high school.

I also know that the “”1619 Project” was one of the catalysts that spurred a major backlash by far right Republican state legislatures across the country to mandate that public schools teach the same old white washed dreck that has made high school history such a chore. In many cases legislatures also added some ‘big brother’ provisions so if a teacher steps out of line then the teacher can be in some cases fired and worse.

The last thing I know is that the woman behind the”1619 Project” is an Iowan – Nikole Hannah-Jones. So I was curious what she had put together as a product of an Iowa public school system. I believe she is a graduate of West Waterloo High School.

With all that as a background I recorded the “1619 Project” Wednesday and had a chance to watch about a half an hour of it Thursday. This is the kind of television (or movies for that matter) that I can sink my teeth into. Right out of the gate, Ms. Hannah-Jones introduces us to a different perspective and what led her to the “1619 Project.” 

She then moves on to some discussion of historical stories that you never heard. A threat by the British governor of Virginia to arm slaves in an attempt to quell the rebellious colony. President Lincoln trying to tie emancipation of slaves to a push to get them to voluntarily go to Africa – return would be the wrong word as most by then were born in the US.

Such stories as this were interweaved with the constant – and still ongoing – fight for the right to vote and full citizenship. Among the tools Ms. Hannah-Jones uses are interviews with some of the early civil rights participants. She is visibly shaken as one older man describes his experience at the infamous Parchman Prison in Mississippi during the 1960s civil rights movement.

Reality make the best stories and there is little as real as black peoples’ fight for full citizenship in this country.

Now that I look it up I see that this was a one night only event on ABC. While I am glad they put this on their broadcast channel so a wide audience could experience the reality of race in this country, once more ABC and Disney raise one of the main criticisms of media and capitalism in this country. 

It appears the Wednesday broadcast was only a teaser to get folks to sign up for their Hulu streaming service. And now back to our regularly scheduled mush. Well, thanks for a brief shining moment anyway.

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Some Things That Confused Me Last Week

30 seconds 

Call me confused. Here we go again. Iowa is sending National Guard troops to the Texas borderline this summer. Is this a really good use of Iowa’s tax payer money and manpower? I guess it depends on what lens you view it through.

If you are an Iowa taxpayer who has seen a legislature and a Governor enact any number of stupid policies such as dismantling our public school system or loosening child labor laws you might think this is yet another really stupid stunt meant to raise the far right fear machine while doing nothing that pertains to Iowa.

But if you are a far right wing Governor of a small midwestern state who might have her eye on a vice-presidential spot on her party’s ticket, a stunt like this is the perfect vehicle to raise the usual bogeymen of right wing politics while being fawned over by Iowa’s supplicant press. 

Raising the specter of bogeyman scary foreigners is one of the right’s favorite games. Meanwhile here in Iowa farms are in need of workers. As Art Cullen observes in a guest column at the that immigrants are vital to livestock operations and meat packing plants:  

It’s an open secret that the livestock economy vitally depends on immigrants, mainly from Latin America, to put cheap pork on your grill and cheese in your larder. Everybody knows we couldn’t get by without them. Yet we cheer on the most strident anti-immigrant outrage.

What gives? Do they resent that corporations have taken over pork and dairy production? Because they scarcely could exist without immigrants. Help-wanted signs are everywhere. You hear it all the time: We just can’t find help. The Legislature wants you to prove work for welfare with a 2.8% state unemployment rate. It just loosened up child labor laws, too.

In rural food processing hubs like Sioux Center or Storm Lake, it takes someone bent on the American Dream to scoop manure or work in the blood-drying room. Tyson pays $21.50 to start at the Storm Lake pork plant and cannot keep the roster full. How would you like to load turkeys on a truck at 2 a.m. when the sleet whips sideways and that squawking feathery rage is coming right at you?

Yet we clap when someone talks about keeping Venezuelans, Cubans, Salvadorans, Hondurans and Mexicans out. 

Cullen then goes on to note that:

Who’s going to milk the cows or cut the bung out of a hog hanging upside down? Billy went off to be a commodities broker at the Chicago Board of Trade, and his parents back in Sioux County are proud. But we still have work to do here. Honest work. Hard work. Few others want to do it. Those are facts, too. We rely on Latinos to git ’er done.

Why, then, would you want to deport people who are indispensable to your dairy?

As Cullen noted Iowa loosened child labor laws to meet some of their labor shortages. Yet Iowans will be cheering a string of far righters who will be waving the immigrant bogeyman in their faces for the next 8 months.

Once again I must be missing something.

And if every person at the southern border is a would be fentanyl entrepreneur, why is there such a demand for the drug in Iowa? Perhaps a Governor whose eyes weren’t focused on a promotion at any cost to her constituents would expend some effort on that question.

Lastly I was confused that the one time lunch time darling of the far right, Chik-fil-A, has seen a sudden reversal of favor as someone discovered that within the Chik-fil-A corporate structure there is a D-E-I office. For those unfamiliar with the latest in acronyms that is a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion office. Such an office deals with integrating diverse people into an organization.

As you can imagine D-E-I is scorned in right wing world. Those on the right are calling for boycotts of Chik-fil-A. So if you are a MAGA think about where else you can get a crappy meal at noon. It is not easy being a bigot these days. And for Chik-fil-A they may have to open on Sundays to make up their losses.

And one small reminder. When Iowa’s 4 far right Republican congress members voted to raise the debt ceiling Wednesday, do not forget that just about a month ago they voted for a bill tat would make significant cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and food programs. That is who Feenstra, Nunn, Hinson and Miller-Meeks really are.

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Watch: Chris Jones Live Presentation Plus Audience Q and A

“It all looks clean on the land. But of course it doesn’t look clean in the water.” Dr. Chris Jones

“As our streams have been degraded our farms now look clean. You drive across the countryside and all our farms look like this – corn and soybeans, no weeds… we have 25 million hogs in Iowa but you can drive across Iowa and never see a hog – with 25 milllion of them – but you never see them because they’re in these buildings up on the horizon. And so it all looks clean on the land but of course it doesn’t look clean in the water.” – Dr. Chris Jones

Dr. Chris Jones’ compelling presentation on the factors behind Iowa’s water quality crisis during the launching of his new book, “The Swine Republic” in Fairfield. Following the presentation, Jones answers a wide range of audience questions.

0:00 Introduction
7:42 Dr. Chris Jones presentation
Audience questions

The Swine Republic:…
Substack column:…
Blogspot: (This has the last 6 months of Jones’ University of Iowa blog posts uploaded)

The book launch was organized by Southeast Iowa Sierra Club and cosponsored by Jefferson County Farmers & Neighbors, Inc., Sustainable Iowa Land Trust, Sustainable Living Center, and Radiance Dairy.


Friday love to all our loyal readers!

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Physician Says Reynolds Has Failed To Protect Public Health

This is from a guest column in the Des Moines Register yesterday.  David E. Drake is a physician and member of the Volunteer Physician Network.  He declined an invitation from Kim Reynolds for drinks and hors d’oeuvres at the governor’s mansion with a group of other physicians.  He declined because he believes Reynolds and the republican controlled legislature have failed to protect the public health in Iowa. 

Click here to read the entire article.

Government reorganization zaps health board

Under Senate File 514, the State Board of Health is eliminated. It had existed in Iowa for almost 150 years, providing informed regulations and oversight over health facilities and public health across the State. Some of the Board of Health duties are simply eliminated (preventing the spread of disease, promoting health behaviors, and advocating for the importance of public health standards) while others are shifted to a new Council on Health and Human Services that requires only one health professional to serve instead of a majority.

Firearms in Iowa unchecked

A National Public Radio report on May 12 said that “firearms are the number one cause of death for kids and teens … and play a huge role in suicide as well.” In Iowa, military-style weapons are readily available and legal to openly carry; the need for a permit to carry a concealed weapon has been phased out. Public health requires us to legislate against the sales of further offensive guns, as well as high-capacity magazines. We must take action before a mass shooting occurs in Iowa and to prevent shootings in our schools and other areas where teens, students, and the public hang out.  We need to legislate and get beyond “thoughts and prayers.”

The conclusion

No. I will not attend the May 31 evening of drinks and hors d’oeuvres at the governor’s mansion, and I encourage my invited Iowa physician colleagues to do the same. The governor and our current Legislature have failed to protect public health in the state of Iowa. One day when the focus changes to safeguard our public health, I’ll drink to that.

David Drake

David E. Drake, D.O., provides remote psychiatric services to indigent Iowans and in private practice. Contact:

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Republican Led States Including Iowa Are Messing With Democracy

GOP-led states including Iowa quit the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) this year, a program states use to ensure election integrity.  ERIC’s mission is to “help states improve the accuracy of America’s voter rolls, increase access to voter registration for all eligible citizens, reduce election costs and increase efficiencies in elections.”  So it seems logical based on a voter suppression law passed in the legislature in 2021, that Iowa republicans don’t want to be involved in any program working toward the goal of increasing voter participation, the exact opposite of what they try to do.

Some of these red states say – emphasis on say – they plan to start new voter data systems.  I’m thinking kind of like Rs replace real facts with alternative facts.  And like they replace actual electors with fake electors and we all remember how they replaced Obamacare with a better health care system… not.. and like they were going to have the goods on Hunter Biden and Hillary Clinton and… you get the idea.

So why didn’t Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate oppose this move?  He put out a statement on Twitter but it seemed pretty lame.  Some say it was fear of being targeted by Kim Reynolds and friends for speaking out.  Okay, I get it, nobody wants to be the next Rob Sand in that regard but who will stand up for democracy if the person whose job it is won’t?   At least Rob Sand is standing up for his office and I’m still betting on Sand. 

This article in Iowa Capital Dispatch lays out another transparent attempt by MAGA Rs at the state level to mess up voting and democracy in whatever way they can.

Iowa Capital Dispatch

GOP-led states plan new voter data systems to replace one they rejected. Good luck with that.

by Zachary Roth, Iowa Capital Dispatch
May 29, 2023

So far this year, seven states including Iowa, all Republican-led, have left the Electronic Registration Information Center, an interstate compact for sharing voter registration data, and more could follow.

Amid the exodus, some states, including Texas and Virginia, have said they plan to create their own data-sharing networks to replace ERIC.

Pledging to build a new system gives these states a way to rebut charges that leaving ERIC will make it harder for them to keep their voter rolls up to date. ERIC provides its members with what they say is invaluable and highly accurate data on voters who have moved or died.

But a close look at how ERIC was set up and how it operates suggests that building any new interstate partnership from scratch will be a major challenge, at the very least requiring significant time and resources.

Underscoring the point are previous failed efforts by states to create similar pacts: Two appear to have barely gotten off the ground, and one ultimately collapsed under the weight of its faulty data and lax security measures.

“It is possible, but very, very difficult,” said David Becker, the election administration expert who had a leading role in founding ERIC over a decade ago and now runs the nonprofit Center for Election Innovation and Research.

“A group of states could come together, and, after several years and millions of dollars of investment, create something that is almost as good as ERIC. And you’d have to wonder, why would you do that?”

More likely, it appears, is that the states quitting ERIC are simply leaving themselves without an effective system for sharing information, leading to less accurate and up-to-date voter rolls.

That will not only make it harder for election administrators to catch the rare cases of illegal voting. It also will hugely complicate their efforts to ensure smooth and well-run elections across the board — at a time when Americans’ trust in voting systems is already dangerously low.

Virginia exits

On May 11, Virginia became the most recent state to leave ERIC, echoing the same false charges of political bias spread by right-wing activists that led the other states — Florida, Ohio, West Virginia, Iowa, Missouri, and Alabama — to depart earlier this year (Louisiana left last year). Some of these states also balked at ERIC’s mandate that they reach out to eligible voters and encourage them to register.

But Virginia officials emphasized that they were not giving up on the idea of an interstate data-sharing compact. Getting voter registration information from other states can allow election officials to identify voters who may have moved out of state, and, after fully verifying their identities, remove them from the rolls.

“We will pursue other information arrangements with our neighboring states and look to other opportunities to partner with states in an apolitical fashion,” Virginia Elections Commissioner Susan Beals wrote in a letter informing ERIC of the state’s decision.

Asked about the effort, the Virginia Department of Elections responded with a statement: “Virginia has been participating in talks with other states for several months about creating new state-to-state data-sharing relationships for the purpose of identifying potential double voters.”

A spokesperson declined to answer a list of detailed questions about how the program might work.

Texas is working on similar plans. The state is required by law to participate in a data-sharing program with other states, and it’s currently still an ERIC member.

But in March, the secretary of state’s office announced it was shifting its long-time elections director into a new post to create an alternative interstate system. And a bill to withdraw from ERIC and have the state build its own new system, or contract with a private-sector firm for $100,000 or less, passed the state House May 23 and appears headed for passage in the Senate.

Sen. Bryan Hughes, the author of the bill, said in early May that the new system could be in place by Sept. 1, when his measure would go into effect if passed.

“We are actively researching options for a crosscheck system right now,” Alicia Pierce, a spokesperson for the Texas secretary of state’s office said via email.

Pierce declined to answer a list of detailed questions about how the program might work.

A spokesman for Hughes did not respond to a request for comment on the program.

But given the enormous data and security challenges that went into the creation of ERIC — which was conceived in 2009 but wasn’t up and running until three years later —  it appears doubtful that building a system that provides states with comparably useful voter information can be done on anything close to Hughes’ timeline and as cheaply as the measure requires, if it can be done at all.

First, experts say, any useful data-sharing system needs to include records from state motor vehicle departments, because that data includes identifiers that don’t typically appear on voter-registration records, including a person’s full birthdate, their driver’s license number, the last four digits of their Social Security number, and more.

Without that level of detail, attempts to match records will produce an extremely high rate of false positives, because lots of people have the same first name, last name, and birthday. (Sen. Rick Scott of Florida was purged from the rolls in 2006 after election administrators wrongly concluded he had died, due to exactly this error.)

But, because of privacy concerns, states protect motor vehicles department data very closely. ERIC only was able to get access to it after establishing an extensive set of cybersecurity protocols that experts say would be difficult to replicate, including double one-way hashing — essentially, a code to disguise sensitive data in case of a hack — and secure, dedicated domestic servers.

Then, there’s the problem of how to use the data.

With so many different identifiers, finding a potential match involves comparing multiple records, then conducting a sophisticated statistical analysis to determine the probability that the records actually belong to the same person.

ERIC’s system was developed by Jeff Jonas, one of the world’s leading data scientists, and a former IBM Fellow — a title the company calls its “pre-eminent technical distinction,” given to “the best and brightest of our best and brightest.”

Finally, there’s the need to attract red, blue, and purple states as members. Any system that only has one will be far less effective, because the number of states with which it can share data will be limited.

With this in mind, ERIC’s founders consciously included rules to appeal to both sides.

For red states concerned about election integrity, ERIC provided data that could help officials pare their rolls of ineligible voters. And for blue states concerned about expanding access, ERIC offered something else: A way to identify a state’s pool of eligible but unregistered voters, and a requirement that the state contact these potential voters and urge them to register. (This was the requirement that played a role in the recent departures of several red states — suggesting that the balance that ERIC sought to strike may be hard to maintain in an era when some red-state officials openly disdain efforts to expand access.)

In addition, ERIC’s board and executive committee are always bipartisan, and its chair alternates each year between election directors from a red state and a blue state.

The bottom line: Replicating what ERIC built would be a major technical, scientific, administrative and political challenge, even for a state committed to making it work.

“It’s really hard to stand up (a new system) on your own,” Becker said. “Because, one, you probably can’t get the data you need, and two, you’re probably not going to be able to afford to take the time to build the governance structure and technology that you need to make use of that data.”

A cautionary tale

An example already exists of what’s likely to happen if organizers of an interstate data-sharing system are unable or unwilling to invest the time and care needed to make it work effectively.

In 2005, Kansas election officials, working with their counterparts in Iowa, Nebraska, and Missouri, created the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck, often called Crosscheck, to help identify voters who were registered in multiple states.

When Kris Kobach became Kansas secretary of state in 2011, he expanded the program, and by 2014 it had 29 members.

But Crosscheck’s approach was badly flawed. The program didn’t require motor vehicle department data, and it flagged voter registrations as potential duplicates if the first name, last name, and birthdate all matched, inevitably producing huge numbers of false positives. States then had to wade through reams of Crosscheck data to weed these out.

“Crosscheck data is prone to false positives since the initial matching is only conducted using first name, last name, and date of birth,” Virginia election administrators reported in 2015. “The need to greatly refine and analyze Crosscheck data has required significant (elections) staff resources.”

In some cases, states failed to identify false positives sent by Crosscheck, and removed large numbers of eligible voters from the rolls.

There were also reports that raised questions about Crosscheck’s handling of private voter data. A 2018 lawsuit filed by the ACLU charged that Crosscheck’s lax security measures had violated voters’ right to privacy. As part of a settlement the following year, the program was shuttered. It hasn’t been in operation since.

More failed efforts

With Crosscheck offline, some of its members began exploring other ways to share data.

In 2020, Indiana passed a bill that allowed the state to formally withdraw from Crosscheck. But because state officials were reluctant to join ERIC — already Republicans had begun to falsely suggest the group was biased against them — the measure called for the creation of the Indiana Data Enhancement Association, or IDEA, a new system in which Indiana would partner with its neighbors to share data.

IDEA never got off the ground. All four of Indiana’s neighbors — Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, and Michigan — were at the time ERIC members (Ohio was among the states that left this year), making it unlikely that they would have been interested in joining a new compact.

There are also signs that the bill’s drafters lacked expertise in data-matching. IDEA treats it as partial evidence that a voter is registered in multiple states if their driver’s license number or address matches with another state’s records. But experts say another state’s data would never include Indiana driver’s license numbers, which are closely protected, or Indiana addresses.

In August 2020, a federal judge ruled that Indiana’s procedure for removing voters from the rolls violated federal voting law by failing to give voters sufficient notice before removal. Since IDEA would have used the same procedure, the ruling, which was upheld on appeal the following year, effectively blocked the program from moving forward.

“We would have no problem with the state setting up something that followed federal law and somehow getting a bunch of other states to go along with it,” said Julia Vaughn, the executive director of Common Cause Indiana, which brought the lawsuit against the state. “But good luck doing that with one individual state with no real expertise in this, and no reputation as some entity that other states should trust their voter registration lists with.”

Asked about the short-lived effort, Lindsey Eaton, a spokesperson for the Indiana secretary of state’s office, didn’t respond directly.

“IDEA never launched in Indiana,” Eaton said via email.

The author of the bill that created IDEA, Sen. Greg Walker, did not respond to an inquiry about efforts to launch the program. His staff said he was on vacation.

New Hampshire election officials confronted the same issue with Crosscheck’s demise. A large share of the Granite State’s population has relocated from neighboring states, making an interstate system especially useful there.

Again, there was reluctance to join ERIC, despite a push for it from some lawmakers. At a 2019 hearing, Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan, today the secretary of state, raised the idea of New Hampshire instead creating its own program to collaborate with other states.

Scanlan’s boss at the time, then-Secretary of State Bill Gardner, suggested New Hampshire could team up with Massachusetts and Maine to find voters who are double registered.

“We could get states to come together,” Gardner said. “It appears it’s the only option.”

That never panned out. Maine joined ERIC in 2021, and Massachusetts followed last year.

Asked whether New Hampshire ever tried to create a new system, Anna Sventek, a spokesperson for the secretary of state’s office, did not respond directly.

“Nothing is in the works,” Sventek said via email, adding that the state would still be interested in joining such a system “should the opportunity arise.”

Whitney Downard contributed to this report.

Iowa Capital Dispatch is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Iowa Capital Dispatch maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kathie Obradovich for questions: Follow Iowa Capital Dispatch on Facebook and Twitter.

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