Legality of political parties paying for moving/living expenses to move voters for partisan reasons

Suppose, 6 months or a year or so before the 2020 general election, a rich Democratic donor/operative purchases property in rural MI, WI, OH, or PA, using superPAC money, and opens up offices on the property for the superPAC. Then he recruits thousands of unemployed, liberal Californians to work for his superPAC (making phone calls and the like) in these states, paying for moving and living expenses. All of these thousands are now employed, and become residents in their new states, and register to vote, and presumably increase the party’s chances of winning that state. Hypothetically he could even spread the offices through swing districts to help sway individual districts as well as the states at large.

Is this legal?

I don’t see how, in general, there’s any laws violated by forming a company (including a non-profit), establishing a place of business, hiring employees and providing housing as part of compensation.

It’s not a very cost-effective way of influencing an election, though. You’re looking at something like $100,000/vote all told, each year for many years on end. If you’re willing to spend almost half a million dollars per presidential vote, you’ve probably got better ways of spending that money.

Yes, what’s the typical residency requirement to vote? Six months? So assume relocation expenses of say, $10,000 and a salary for 6 months, total $30,000 or more. So, $40,000 to $50,000 per vote. $1M - 20 voters. 10,000 people - $500,000,000

Now, you hope to move a few tens of thousands to appreciably sway the vote. If the state is that definitely susceptible to a swing of a few thousand votes, then it must have a tiny voter base - so where are you planning to house 10,000 people? Most likely your price went up dramatically.

Then you have to hope that they actually vote for your hand-picked candidate. You can’t be sure of anything in that polling booth. These are people, not automatons. And… they are people of a particular financial class if they are available for a 6-month travel gig.

And, the state politicians, if they are hostile to the idea, have 6 months to alter the voting rules to require, say, a different length of residency, aren’t they?

It has happened in the UK. Dame Shirley Porter was convicted of “gerrymandering” the Westminster Council between 1986 and 1988.

Gerrymandering is not quite accurate as they not merely changing the boundaries they were attempting to change the electorate.

As I said, it’s an expensive proposition - so using the government’s money and assets instead is a more productive procedure. The trick is to avoid the law of unintended consequences, and be careful where the displaced electorate goes.

In Dunn v Blumstein, the SCOTUS ruled that any requirement over 30 days would violate the Equal Protection clause.

Example Numero Uno: The forced relocations after Hurricane Katrina.

My dad always claimed that that was how Torrance (CA) was able to annex the Lomita Airport after WWII. Something about setting up a bunch of trailers.

He always did have a weakness for government related CTs, though, so it could have been just an angry rumor.

It’s also open to attack advertising by the other party to increase turnout among their voters. “Stand up to outside money by going to the polls,” etc.

There’s also no guarantee that people moved in this way would actually vote the way their employer hoped.

Way before Shirley Porter, it was said that a substantial motive behind the then London County Council’s massive public housing programme was to move potential Labour voters into Conservative constituencies and its leader Herbert Morrison said “We’ll build them out”. Didn’t entirely work.

Human nature being what it is; if you move people into a better environment, they get better jobs, and their kids go to better schools, their politics begin to move to the right.

I’m not saying that this would be effective – it would actually be terribly expensive, and nowhere close to guaranteed.

But it could undermine confidence in the electoral college, especially if it weren’t hidden. If some SuperPAC openly advertises some sort of personal gain in exchange for moving to certain swing districts and states, that might spur some change in opinion about the electoral college.

It would be expensive to do it in that fashion.

Paying people to just live p there, especially if you are looking to do it for more than just one election cycle is going to be very costly.

What you could do instead is to actually create a community. You may have the call center as a primary source of income for the town, especially if you use it for non-political stuff in between elections. If you could bring in some other industries to support the local economy, even better. But point is, the community have its own economy, even the very wealthy would not be able to just pay to keep a town running.

Put it right around here, and with only a few hundred thousand residents, and a bit of sprawling, you can pick up not just some presidential votes, but house and senate votes for 3 states. If the metropolis gets big enough to extend north a couple dozen miles, you can pick up ND too.

A version of this was tried in Wasco County, Oregon once…and residents saw red.

Doesn’t sound illegal, but then again I am no lawyer. But even many billions of dollars spent this way might only budge the Electoral College by one EV or two.

I’d actually been musing this very topic yesterday and today. Seems that the Democratic Party ought to move as many Democrats out of states like Texas as possible, and flood them into lowly populated red states like Wyoming, North Dakota, Alaska, etc. That way they reduce Texas’ electoral votes (maybe from 38 EVs down to 24,) and also pick up perhaps a couple dozen EVs in the process, and maybe gain 5-6 Senators.

Republicans in California and New York ought to move en masse to places like Delaware, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada etc. and in the process reduce California and New York’s EVs from 55 and 29 down to maybe 32 and 17, and also pick up several dozen EVs and maybe 5-6 more Senators.

This sounds like a computer game. I kinda think there might be some small real world complications.

It’s not quite the same thing, but Walt Disney World in Florida basically controls the local governments of the land it sits on.