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Political Notebook

After Dobbs, most new voters in Kansas are women

A long line of voters wrapped around the Sedgwick County Historic Courthouse in Wichita, Kan., on the last day of early voting on Aug. 1.Travis Heying/Associated Press

In the first few months of this year, more than half of Kansans who registered to vote were men.

That changed after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

In the week after the court’s decision, more than 70 percent of newly registered voters in Kansas were women, according to an analysis of the state’s registered voter list. An unusually high level of new female registrants persisted all the way until the Kansas primary this month, when a strong Democratic turnout helped defeat a referendum that would have effectively ended abortion rights in the state.

The Kansas figures are the most pronounced example of a broader increase in registration among women since the Dobbs decision, according to an Upshot analysis of 10 states with available voter registration data. On average in the month after Dobbs, 55 percent of newly registered voters in those states were women, according to the analysis, up from just under 50 percent before the decision was leaked in early May.

The increase varied greatly across the 10 states — Kansas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Oklahoma, Florida, North Carolina, Idaho, Alabama, New Mexico, and Maine — with some states showing a pronounced surge in the share of new registrants who were women and others showing little change at all.

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The total number of women registering to vote in those states rose by about 35 percent after the decision, compared with the month before the leak. Men had an uptick of 9 percent.

The increase offers rare concrete evidence that the Supreme Court’s decision has galvanized female voters, though the data gives little indication of whether the shift will be large enough, broad enough or persistent enough to affect the outcome of the midterm elections in November. The increase in registration has already begun to fade in most states.

New York Times

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2 plead guilty to stealing diary of Biden daughter

Two Florida residents pleaded guilty in federal court in Manhattan on Thursday to stealing a diary and other belongings of President Biden’s daughter, Ashley, and selling them to the conservative group Project Veritas in the final weeks of the 2020 election.

Aimee Harris, 40, and Robert Kurlander, 58, admitted they took part in a conspiracy to transport stolen materials from Florida, where Ashley Biden had been living, to New York, where Project Veritas is headquartered.

Prosecutors said Kurlander agreed as part of a plea deal to cooperate with the Justice Department’s investigation into how the diary was acquired by Project Veritas, whose deceptive operations against liberal groups and traditional news organizations made it a favorite of former president Donald J. Trump.

“Harris and Kurlander stole personal property from an immediate family member of a candidate for national political office,” Damian Williams, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement.

The development marks the first time criminal charges have been filed in the theft of Ashley Biden’s diary, which she kept while she recovered from addiction.

“I know what I did was wrong and awful and I apologize,” Kurlander said in court.

“I sincerely apologize for any actions and know what I did was illegal,” Harris said.

Kurlander and Harris, who surrendered to the authorities early Thursday morning, were both released from custody after the hearing.

Whether the Justice Department ultimately charges anyone who worked for Project Veritas is unclear, and Project Veritas did not publish the diary.

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New York Times

Biden begins midterm campaigning

WASHINGTON — Aiming to turn months of legislative accomplishments into political energy, President Biden held a kickoff rally Thursday to boost Democrats’ fortunes 75 days out from the midterm elections.

The event, in the safely Democratic Washington suburb of Rockville, Md., was meant to ease Biden into what White House aides say will be an aggressive season of championing his policy victories and aiding his party’s candidates. It comes as Democrats have seen their political hopes rebound in recent months amid a legacy-defining burst of action by Biden and Congress.

From bipartisan action on gun control, infrastructure, and domestic technology manufacturing to Democrats-only efforts to tackle climate change and health care costs, Biden highlighted the achievements of the party’s unified but razor-thin control of Washington and sharpened the contrast with Republicans, who once seemed poised for sizable victories in November.

Just months ago, as inflation soared, Biden’s poll numbers soured and his agenda stalled, Democrats braced for significant losses. But the intense voter reaction to the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade and a productive summer on issues of core concern to Democrats have the party feeling like it is finally on the offensive heading into the Nov. 8 vote, even as the president remains unpopular.

Democrats, said Biden pollster John Anzalone, are “in a better position to compete because Joe Biden put us there.”

“It doesn’t mean that the wind’s at our back,” he added. “But we have more of a breeze than what felt like a gale hurricane in our face.”

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Biden’s Thursday event comes a day after the president moved to fulfill a long-delayed campaign pledge to forgive federal student loans for lower- and middle-income borrowers — a move that Democrats believe will animate younger and Black and Latino voters.

Republicans, though, saw their own political advantage in the move, casting it as an unfair giveaway to would-be Democratic voters.

“President Biden’s inflation is crushing working families, and his answer is to give away even more government money to elites with higher salaries,” said Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell. “Democrats are literally using working Americans’ money to try to buy themselves some enthusiasm from their political base.”

Biden aides said he would continue to paint Republicans as the “ultra-MAGA” party — a reference to former president Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan — opposing his agenda and embracing conservative ideological proposals on abortion and Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election.

Associated Press

Lawyers for Dominion Voting target Fox News stars

Some of the biggest names at Fox News have been questioned, or are scheduled to be questioned in the coming days, by lawyers representing Dominion Voting Systems in its $1.6 billion defamation suit against the network, as the election technology company presses ahead with a case that First Amendment scholars say is extraordinary in its scope and significance.

Sean Hannity became the latest Fox star to be called for a deposition by Dominion’s legal team, according to a new filing in Delaware Superior Court. He is scheduled to appear on Aug. 31.

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Tucker Carlson is set to face questioning on Friday. Lou Dobbs, whose Fox Business show was canceled last year, is scheduled to appear on Aug. 30. Others who have been deposed recently include Jeanine Pirro, Steve Doocy, and a number of high-level Fox producers, court records show.

People with knowledge of the case, who would speak only anonymously, said they expected that the chief executive of Fox News Media, Suzanne Scott, could be one of the next to be deposed, along with the president of Fox News, Jay Wallace. Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch, whose family owns Fox, could follow in the coming weeks.

The suit accuses Fox of pushing false and far-fetched claims of voter fraud to lure back viewers who had defected to other right-wing news sources. In its initial complaint, Dominion’s lawyers framed their lawsuit as a matter of profound civic importance. “The truth matters,” they said, adding, “Lies have consequences.”

The judge overseeing the case allowed Dominion in late June to expand the suit to include the cable news network’s parent company, Fox Corp., potentially broadening the legal exposure of both Murdochs. Shortly after, Fox replaced its outside counsel on the case and hired one of the nation’s most prominent trial lawyers, Dan Webb.

The depositions are among the clearest indications yet of how aggressively Dominion is moving forward with its suit, which is set to go to trial early next year, and of the legal pressure building on the nation’s most powerful conservative media company. There have been no moves from either side to discuss a possible settlement, people with knowledge of the case have said.

New York Times