The Supreme Court will take up Moore v. Harper, a case that could hand total, unchecked control over federal elections to state legislatures – even if that means overruling their own voters. We are now one decision away from free and fair presidential elections meeting the same fate as Roe v. Wade. Here’s what you need to know about the case, the stakes, and how you can help stop them.
The Case: Moore v. Harper
Earlier this year, North Carolina’s state supreme court rejected a new congressional map drawn by the state’s rightwing-controlled state legislature. The court said the maps violated the state constitution because they were too gerrymandered.
The rightwing state lawmakers behind the maps sued, resulting in Moore v. Harper, a case the United States Supreme Court just announced they will take up. Its implications go well beyond gerrymandered maps. Because the case argues that state legislatures — and state legislatures alone — have complete, unchecked control over federal elections no matter what their own voters decide.
The Context: Trump’s Coup
Since 2020, we’ve warned that our democracy was in danger, that Trump was planning to steal the presidency and that state legislatures were the key to his plan. Testimony from the January 6th hearings validates so much of what we suspected:
- There were fake electors in several battleground states ready to hand the presidency back to Trump.
- State lawmakers and election administrators were under intense pressure to ignore the popular vote and appoint these fake electors for Trump.
- Armed insurrectionists attempted to prevent Pence from certifying the rightful election results, demanding instead that he send them back to state legislatures to be stolen by fake electors.
Why didn’t this plan succeed? Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers told the Select Committee just last week that despite all the pressure he was under, he refused to go along with Trump’s plan because there was no legal ground for him to overturn rightful election results. Moore v. Harper could change that.
Because if the Supreme Court upholds the fringe theory that state legislatures alone can control federal elections, the radical rightwing will have a critical piece of the puzzle they were missing in 2020: legal precedent for state legislatures to intervene in free and fair elections.
The Plan: Protecting the Path to 270
There’s no way around it: electing pro-democracy state legislative majorities this November is our best chance to protect our democracy. Because whoever holds power in the states will decide the future of our country.
We’re already on the ground, working to build pro-democracy state legislative majorities in key states where there is a true path to shifting or defending the balance of power. And most importantly, these states will be critical to ensuring pro-democracy state legislatures are in control of 270 electoral votes—the number of votes needed to protect rightful, valid election results.
If we defend every pro-democracy majority this November, we would still only be able to ensure that 227 electoral votes represent the will of the people. This means we need to break far right control of legislatures in states with at least 43 electoral votes. Here’s our plan:
NEBRASKA: Defend Against a Supermajority
In Nebraska one-third of the legislature can block emergency policies from being enacted. Pro-democracy lawmakers cannot afford to lose a single seat this November as the 17 seats they hold can prevent a single electoral vote from a purple district from being stolen in a narrow race.
ARIZONA: End Unchecked Rightwing Control of the Legislature
In Arizona, flipping only one seat in either chamber would end unchecked rightwing control of the legislature. That would protect 11 electoral votes from any attempts to steal the 2024 presidential election.
MICHIGAN: End Unchecked Rightwing Control of the Legislature
In Michigan — where new maps have created much clearer paths to the majority in both chambers than in 2020 — winning three more seats in the Senate or two in the House would protect 15 electoral votes.
PENNSYLVANIA: End Unchecked Rightwing Control of the Legislature
With all of the House up for election this year, Pennsylvania is 12 seats away from a majority in the House. With fairer maps than we’ve had in a decade, we see a path to shifting power in this critical chamber by 2024 to defend 19 electoral votes.
The Action: Where You Come In
It won’t be easy to secure these 50 electoral votes. Historically, the midterms have not favored those in power at the federal level, and Trumpists are laser-focused on state legislatures. They will be looking to win as many state legislative majorities as possible to subvert our democracy. Holding every seat we have and fighting to shift power in even one chamber in these states is how we gain the power to give democracy a fighting chance.
At The States Project, we are working towards building power for state lawmakers who will defend our democracy and protect our free and fair elections. We’re using the best possible data to identify and support candidates in majority-making districts and building a community to help support our goals in each state.
Protecting your vote – the ability to cast it and the assurance that it will actually count once cast – is driving our work at The States Project: And if you believe that voters should matter in a democracy, join us.