AmericanOversight34 karma2021-11-18 17:27:41 UTC
Big question! I'll focus on Arizona and the so-called "audit" they ran of the 2020 election. My big takeaway is that the government promised transparency but then fought it at every step. That's a signal that they don't want people to know what they are up to -- and a signal that relentless pursuit of transparency is important. If you want to see what we've done and found, check this out: https://www.americanoversight.org/investigation/the-arizona-senates-partisan-audit-of-maricopa-county-election-results
More broadly, I think the idea of using transparency to promote accountability gets reaffirmed over and over.
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AmericanOversight25 karma2021-11-18 17:42:17 UTC
I wish we had some tricks! It really comes down to a few key ideas:
First, know the rules so you can ask for things you're allowed to get under the law.
Second, draft your requests as precisely as possible, especially when working with offices notorious for shirking their obligations.
Third, be relentless about your rights while being professional and respectful with the government employees on the other side.
American Oversight has the litigation muscle to enforce our rights in court, which makes a big difference. It shouldn't come to that, but it often does.
AmericanOversight21 karma2021-11-18 17:44:16 UTC
In theory, litigation can result in bad precedent. However, most of our cases don't involve cutting edge legal issues that will set precedent; most involve the government just failing to meet its clear obligations. Forcing them to comply is good precedent! And where the government is willing to meet its obligations American Oversight is open to settling cases without getting a decision on the merits.
AmericanOversight20 karma2021-11-18 18:25:49 UTC
Arizonans who disapprove of the "audit" done in your names should think about contacting members of the legislature to complain. They thought this was a winning issue; it shouldn't be.
But also, don't forget the election officials who are facing so much distrust and vitriol based on conspiracies. A letter to the editor supporting them and thanking them for their work in the face of these attacks could go a long way.
AmericanOversight14 karma2021-11-18 17:57:51 UTC
American Oversight generally posts our own litigation documents: https://www.americanoversight.org/documents?document_filter=true&doctypes%5B%5D=Litigation&facet_sort=default&document_keyword=&foia_number=&document_filter=true
We also post all our FOIAs, which can be used as models: https://www.americanoversight.org/documents?document_filter=true&doctypes%5B%5D=FOIA+Request&facet_sort=default&document_keyword=&foia_number=&document_filter=true
We also try to post as many of our records as we can: https://www.documentcloud.org/app?q=organization%3Aamerican-oversight-2456%20
CourtListener is a good resource: https://www.courtlistener.com
CourtListener has a browser extension, RECAP (PACER backwards) that automatically makes open source pleadings that someone views: https://free.law/recap
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