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Election Fraud, Voter Intimidation, Voter Suppression, Gerrymandering Page 2

Kevin McCoy USA TODAY

A Pennsylvania federal court on Saturday denied President Donald Trump's request to block certification of the state's 2020 election results in order to give his lawyers time to find evidence to support their claims of a fraudulent election system and improper ballot counting. In a scathing ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Brann criticized the lack of evidence the Trump campaign presented to support its argument to potentially disenfranchise every voter in the commonwealth who cast a ballot in the 2020 elections — nearly 7 million in all.

Brann noted that the less than two-week-old case developed a "tortured procedural history" that included a parade of lawyers for the campaign, shifting legal arguments to avoid clashing with a federal appeals court ruling, and an eleventh-hour motion to delay a hearing. Brann wrote that the lone legal claim left standing — an alleged violation of the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause — was like "Frankenstein’s Monster ... haphazardly stitched together" from two legal theories.

The ruling entirely dismissed the case filed by Trump's campaign and two Republican voters who said their ballots were rejected for technicalities, while those cast by thousands of voters in the state's Democratic strongholds were accepted. The decision specifically denied permission to amend the allegations. "This Court has been unable to find any case in which a plaintiff has sought such a drastic remedy in the contest of an election, in terms of the sheer volume of votes asked to be invalidated," Brann wrote in the 37-page decision.

"One might expect that when seeking such a startling outcome, a plaintiff would come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption," he wrote. "Instead, this court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, ... unsupported by evidence. "In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state." more...

By James Crowley

A lawsuit by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) is challenging President Donald Trump's campaign's claims about voter fraud, saying that the attempts to overturn the results in Michigan are disenfranchising Black voters. The complaint filed on Friday named both Trump and his campaign as the defendants. It claims that the Trump campaign has sought to pressure local and state officials to not count ballots for Wayne County, where Detroit is located. The lawsuit said that the president's efforts violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which rules against disenfranchising Black Voters.

Trump has filed a number of lawsuits, claiming that voter fraud cost him the election. But as the LDF lawsuit pointed out, most of the lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign have been unsuccessful. "Defendants are openly seeking to disenfranchise Black voters," said the suit, adding: "Defendants' tactics repeat the worst abuses in our nation's history, as Black Americans were denied a voice in American democracy for most of the first two centuries of the Republic." more...

Juana Summers

When Joe Biden thanked Black voters in his first remarks as president-elect, he credited them with lifting his campaign from its lowest point during the Democratic primaries. "You've always had my back, and I'll have yours," he promised. While Biden won Black voters overwhelmingly across the country, they were key to his victories in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia — places where President Trump and his allies have been targeting ballots in cities with large Black populations in an attempt to overturn the president's defeat and retain power.

Trump's campaign and his allies have presented no real evidence of widespread voter fraud or other impropriety in any of these cities, and they have faced multiple defeats in court. But the persistence of the president and loyal Republicans has alarmed Black leaders, civil rights activists and historians who see an unprecedented attempt to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters, many of them Black. The president's campaign has denied racial motivations in its lawsuits, saying that its recount strategy is not targeting Black voters. Jenna Ellis, the Trump campaign's senior legal adviser, said in a statement to NPR that "every American deserves to know that our elections are conducted in a legal manner, no matter who they are or where they live."

"That's our only goal: to ensure safe, secure, and fair elections," Ellis added. "That's what our Constitution requires." But Bob Bauer, a senior legal adviser to the Biden campaign, said the Trump campaign's "targeting of the African American community is not subtle. It is extraordinary" and that "it's quite remarkable how brazen it is." more...

As they try to somehow reverse Joe Biden’s victory, President Trump and his allies have targeted heavily Black cities, painting them as corrupt and trying to throw out huge numbers of votes.
By Jim Rutenberg and Nick Corasaniti

In Pennsylvania, President Trump and Republicans loyal to him have sought to overturn his defeat by making false claims about widespread voting fraud in Philadelphia. In Georgia, they have sought to reverse his loss by leveling similar accusations against Atlanta. In Michigan, Republicans have zeroed in on Detroit, whose elections system the president has falsely portrayed as so flawed that its entire vote should be thrown out. Lost on no one in those cities is what they have in common: large populations of Black voters.

And there is little ambiguity in the way Mr. Trump and his allies are falsely depicting them as bastions of corruption. “‘Democrat-led city’ — that’s code for Black,” said the Rev. William J. Barber II, the president of the civil rights group Repairers of the Breach. “They’re coupling ‘city’ and ‘fraud,’ and those two words have been used throughout the years. This is an old playbook being used in the modern time, and people should be aware of that.”

Mr. Trump’s fruitless and pyromaniacal campaign to somehow reverse President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in the election rests on the wholesale disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of voters, a disproportionate number of them Black Americans living in the urban centers of Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. Notably absent from the effort has been any focus on predominantly white suburban areas where the president performed better, but where he lost ground compared with four years ago and arguably lost the election. more...

Trump and his allies have lobbied for votes in Wayne County, home to majority-Black Detroit, to be thrown out.
By Anya van Wagtendonk

With Michigan’s Monday deadline for certifying its election results looming, attempts by President Donald Trump to overturn the outcome in the state has led to a voting rights lawsuit — and could lead to a criminal investigation of officials there. On Friday, a group of Detroit voters filed a federal lawsuit, alleging that the Trump campaign’s legal actions aimed at throwing out some votes in Wayne County, home to Detroit, amounted to a mass disenfranchisement of Black voters. “Repeating false claims of voter fraud, which have been thoroughly debunked, Defendants are pressuring state and local officials in Michigan not to count votes from Wayne County, Michigan,” the lawsuit states. “Defendants’ tactics repeat the worst abuses in our nation’s history, as Black Americans were denied a voice in American democracy for most of the first two centuries of the Republic.”

The city of Detroit is nearly 80 percent Black, and overwhelmingly votes Democratic in national elections. President-elect Joe Biden won Wayne County by about 332,000 votes, and it was critical to his 150,000-vote victory in Michigan, a battleground state that was key to Trump’s 2016 victory. Essentially, as Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani said in a Thursday press conference: “It changes the result of the election in Michigan, if you take out Wayne County.” To that end, Wayne County’s election results have been challenged by the Trump campaign and its loyalists throughout the week. more...

By Sarah Polus

Three Black Michigan voters and the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization filed a lawsuit Friday against President Trump and his campaign claiming the president and his team have disenfranchised Black voters with their attempts to challenge the outcome of the presidential election.

After engaging in a slew of legal challenges over election results in various battleground states, the campaign is now pressing state and local authorities not to certify the results of their elections, therefore “compromising the integrity of the election process” and “unlawfully interfering with will of the voters,” the case document, obtained by Politico, alleges.

The lawsuit, filed a day after Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani claimed during a press conference that the president’s campaign had uncovered 300,000 “illegitimate ballots” cast primarily in Detroit, specifically targets Wayne County, where Detroit is located. The residents of the county, which has a large Black population, are facing an echo of “the worst abuses in our nation’s history” at the hands of the Trump administration, the plaintiffs claim. more...

JR Radcliffe Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

President Donald Trump is pursuing an election recount in Wisconsin's two largest counties, Milwaukee and Dane, in a process that gets under way Friday. Trump could see a long-shot chance of getting multiple states to change their vote totals. Or, a legal challenge could provide Trump fodder to keep his base revved up for a 2024 run, alleging the long-standing process of electing presidents that delivered former Vice President Joe Biden a victory was unfair. The official canvass of votes in the Nov. 3 election showed a 20,608-vote difference between Trump and Biden in Wisconsin. Members of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel politics team will be providing live updates of the recall process as they roll in.

Dane Couelection officials reject attempt to throw out tens of thousands of ballots
President Donald Trump’s campaign sought to throw out tens of thousands of ballots Friday in Dane County as it got its recount under way, but election officials rejected the effort. Christ Troupis, a representative for Trump’s campaign, told the Dane County Board of Canvassers it should eliminate all in-person early votes; all mailed-in absentee ballots if written applications for them could not be tracked down; all votes submitted by those who say they are indefinitely confined; and all absentee ballots where clerks wrote in the addresses of witnesses. more...

If he weren’t a senator, Graham might be facing years in prison, according to legal experts in Georgia.
By Mark Joseph Stern

Since narrowly losing Georgia to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump has promoted baseless claims of voter fraud in a desperate effort to overturn the results of the election. So far, however, the only individual credibly accused of a fraudulent effort to steal the election is South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. On Monday, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger—who, like Graham, is a Republican—told the Washington Post that Graham asked him if he could throw out all mail ballots from counties with a high rate of signature mismatch. Raffensperger later clarified that he believed Graham wanted his office to throw out valid, legally cast ballots. The senator has contested this account.

Graham’s alleged request is unseemly and corrupt. But is it criminal? In short, yes, according to multiple Georgia election law experts. If Raffensperger’s account is true, there is virtually no doubt that Graham committed a crime under Georgia law. The more difficult question is whether Graham will suffer any consequences for his alleged offense. Because he is a Republican and a sitting U.S. senator, Graham likely won’t face an investigation, let alone prosecution, for conduct that would get almost anyone else arrested. It might be tempting to dismiss Graham’s alleged interference as unscrupulous strategizing blown out of proportion. But Georgia has a sordid history of prosecuting putative voter fraud involving far more innocent conduct. Graham does not deserve a pass simply because he is a wealthy white senator.

To understand why Graham’s alleged conduct was criminal, we have to look at what, exactly, he asked Raffensperger to do. He says Graham wanted him to toss out thousands of perfectly valid mail ballots, omitting them from the official count, because they were mailed from a county with unusually high rates of signature mismatch. (That means the signature on the ballot envelope doesn’t match the signature on file.) Signature mismatch disproportionately affects racial minorities, who lean Democratic overall, and Georgia is required to let voters cure a mismatched signature under a federal court order.

Had Raffensperger followed through with this request, he would’ve run afoul of several state laws. In Georgia, it is a crime for anyone, including election officials, to destroy a ballot. It is also a crime for anyone to falsify any records or documents used in connection with an election, or to place any false entries in such records. Another law explicitly criminalizes such conduct by elected officials, prohibiting the falsification of any document related to their public office. more...

Tyler Whetstone Knoxville News Sentinel

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Retiring U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander isn’t ready to say Vice President Joe Biden is president-elect, but he’s close. In the meantime, he said, the former vice president should have been getting presidential briefings for weeks. Alexander made the comments Thursday afternoon in an exclusive interview with Knox News, his first about the election. “It looks like he has a very good chance to be (president-elect),” he said about Biden, “and if there’s any chance that he will be — and it looks like there is a very good chance — I believe the Trump administration ought to provide the Biden administration with all the transition materials and sources and meetings necessary so we have a smooth transition so both sides are ready on day one.” more...

By Annie Grayer, Jeremy Herb and Kevin Liptak, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump has invited Republican state lawmakers from Michigan to the White House on Friday, according to a person familiar with the matter, as the President and his legal team are mounting an effort to overturn the results of the election he lost to President-elect Joe Biden. Trump also called two Republican canvass board members from Wayne County, to Tuesday to offer his support, the person said, after they went back and forth on voting to certify the election results from the state's largest county, which includes Detroit. The board members filed affidavits Wednesday seeking to "rescind" their votes to certify the election result. Trump extended the invitation on Thursday morning to the Michigan lawmakers by calling the state senate's Republican majority leader, the person familiar said.

Certification is usually a formality, but Trump is trying to block or delay the process in key states as part of a long-shot effort to overturn his election defeat through the Electoral College. Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani and other allies have suggested that GOP state legislatures in battleground states Biden won should try to use a delay in certification to appoint their own slate of electors and ignore the states' popular votes for Biden. It comes as Trump's legal team's options to challenge election results in states Trump lost are rapidly evaporating and as states move to certify their election results. Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani held a 90-minute news conference Thursday where he and his team laid out dubious legal claims, aired debunked conspiracy theories and brought no specific, credible evidence of voter fraud. "This is very dangerous for our democracy, as it is an attempt to thwart the will of the voters through political pressure from the President," CNN election law expert Rick Hasen wrote in his website. "Even though it is extremely unlikely to work, it is profoundly antidemocratic and a violation of the rule of law. It's inexcusable." more...

By Annie Grayer and Jeremy Herb, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump called at least one of the two Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers on Tuesday evening, before the GOP board members said Wednesday they wanted to "rescind" their votes to certify the presidential results from the county in Michigan, even though the board has already certified the results, The Washington Post reported. Monica Palmer, a GOP board member in Wayne County, the largest in Michigan and home to the city of Detroit, told the Post she received a roughly-two minute call from the President on Tuesday, saying she felt no pressure to change her vote from him. The Detroit Free Press and Associated Press also reported Palmer spoke to Trump.

"I did receive a call from President Trump, late Tuesday evening, after the meeting," Palmer told the Post. "He was checking in to make sure I was safe after hearing the threats and doxing that had occurred." The pushback against certifying the election is the latest long-shot strategy from the Trump campaign as it is quickly running out of legal options to challenge the presidential election result. Trump has refused to concede that he lost to President-elect Joe Biden making false claims that he won and spreading false conspiracy theories about widespread voter fraud -- which have been repeatedly rejected in court. more...

Nancy Kaffer Detroit Free Press

Last night, they tried to steal my vote. Not some nebulous "they," like you hear about in online conspiracy plots. Two Michiganders, Monica Palmer and Bill Hartmann, Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers. They tried to steal my vote, Monica Palmer and Bill Hartmann, and they did it at a public meeting, with the support of the Michigan Republican Party, and too many GOP elected officials to list here — and, if you are a GOP elected official or operative or member or sympathizer who has not spoken out against this outrage done in your name, regardless of how you have shaken your head and tsk-tsked in private, I mean you.

This isn't something I ever imagined could happen, to me or to my fellow Detroit and Wayne County voters. That is my privilege — I'm well aware of, have written about, GOP voter suppression efforts nationally and in Michigan, aimed largely at Democratic strongholds, more precisely, at Black and brown communities. Of gerrymandering and of the insidious suggestion that there is something inherently wrong with Detroit, Detroiters and particularly Detroit ballots, which, in this case, means Black voters, and Black authority. I've written about the unsuccessful attempts by GOP vote challengers to intimidate poll workers and discount votes over election week at Detroit's TCF Center.

But it simply never seemed real to me that any of our votes, once cast, could be discounted. Last night, that changed. Last night, Palmer and Hartmann voted against certifying the vote in Wayne County, the state's most populous jurisdiction and one of its most Democratic, in an effort to do ... what, I'm not even sure. But in doing so, they made it abundantly clear that their intent was to disenfranchise voters in Detroit, which, in this case, means Black, not in Oakland County, where Joe Biden expanded his margin of victory, or Washtenaw County, which he won with a nearly identical share of the vote he garnered in Wayne. more...

Stephen Henderson

My entire life, I’ve understood this nation’s painful and difficult, racist history of denying the vote to black people. First, because we were property and not humans. Then, because, despite a devastating war and a constitutional amendment, southern states invented new barriers to throw in our way and block us from the ballot. And just one generation before me, my father, born in Mississippi, returned home from his service in the Korean War only to be told he could not vote, because he was black.

But until Tuesday, I’ve never feared that my own vote may be discounted. I’ve never worried that when I pull the lever or put the paper ballot in the machine, that my vote might be disqualified for bogus reasons, or certainly not because I was Black. I have voted mostly in neighborhoods where I’ve lived nearly my whole life. I never took it for granted, given the history. But I never thought my own vote was in doubt.

But as the Wayne County Board of Canvassers met on Tuesday, and took an initial vote refusing to certify the ballots cast two weeks ago for president and the other offices, all of a sudden, I felt in my own gut, what Black Americans before me felt their whole lives. And when Monica Palmer, one of the Republican canvassers who did not want to certify the vote, said she would happily certify Wayne county ballots outside of Detroit but not those from the city, I felt the weight of all that history come crashing down on my soul, and in my heart. more...

Clara Hendrickson Detroit Free Press

Monica Palmer, the Republican chairwoman of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers who initially voted on Tuesday against certifying the county's election results, then reversed her vote, said Thursday she received a phone call from President Donald Trump Tuesday evening after the meeting ended. Palmer said she did not know how long the call lasted, saying there was a lot of stress and adrenaline that night. "He was checking to make sure I was safe after seeing/hearing about the threats and doxxing," Palmer wrote in a text message, referring to a firestorm of information released about her on social media.

Palmer earlier told the Free Press her family had "received multiple threats." "The threats have been made against myself, my daughter and my husband," she said. "Reports have been filed with Grosse Pointe Woods police and the FBI." Ryan Jarvi, a spokesman for Attorney General Dana Nessel, said her office had not received a referral about such threats from a police agency, but would act quickly if such a referral is made. William Hartmann, the other Republican member of the four-person Wayne County board, also spoke with Trump, the Associated Press reported. Both board members signed affidavits late Wednesday saying they want to rescind their votes to certify the county's election results because they do not feel the state will follow through with an audit. more...

*** Trump could not win after trying to rig the election now he is trying to steal it in court. ***

By ZEKE MILLER, CHRISTINA A. CASSIDY and COLLEEN LONG

WASHINGTON (AP) — Getting nowhere in the courts, President Donald Trump’s scattershot effort to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory is shifting toward obscure election boards that certify the vote as Trump and his allies seek to upend the electoral process, sow chaos and perpetuate unsubstantiated doubts about the count. The battle is centered in the battleground states that sealed Biden’s win.

In Michigan, two Republican election officials in the state’s largest county initially refused to certify results despite no evidence of fraud, then backtracked and voted to certify and then on Wednesday flipped again and said they “remain opposed to certification.” Some Republicans have called on the GOP statewide canvassers to so the same. In Arizona, officials are balking at signing off on vote tallies in a rural county.

The moves don’t reflect a coordinated effort across the battleground states that broke for Biden, local election officials said. Instead, they seem to be inspired by Trump’s incendiary rhetoric about baseless fraud and driven by Republican acquiescence to broadsides against the nation’s electoral system as state and federal courts push aside legal challenges filed by Trump and his allies. more...

*** Trump could not win after trying to rig the election now he is trying to steal it in court. ***

By Marina Pitofsky

President Trump's campaign filed a lawsuit on Wednesday over election results in Pennsylvania, arguing that he should be named the winner in the battleground state and that the GOP-controlled state legislature should be given the authority to assign its electoral votes, according to reports. The suit also argues that the campaign’s constitutional rights were violated because observers were not given adequate access as election officials processed mail-in ballots. The claim was dropped in an earlier version of the lawsuit. The campaign said in its new filing said that the claim was dropped due to a miscommunication among attorneys for the president. It also argues that 1.5 million votes across the state “should not have been counted” and that they led to “returns indicating Biden won Pennsylvania.”

Attorneys for the Trump campaign also criticized a decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court earlier this week. The court ruled on Tuesday that election observers had adequate opportunity to watch to the vote-counting process, even if they could not see the individual ballots. “In contrast to the 2002 International Electoral Standards ... the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has struck out in a unique direction among democracies and declared that meaningful observers are not part of verification and votes may be counted without any review by political campaigns and parties,” Trump's lawyers wrote in Wednesday's filing. The latest suit came one day after U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann appeared skeptical during a hearing in Williamsport, Pa., that the Trump campaign’s call to reject votes was justified in the wake of allegations over poll watching or other claims targeting mail-in ballots, Politico noted. more...

By Dahleen Glanton - Chicago Tribune

If Donald Trump ends up getting kicked out of the White House, it seems fitting that African Americans would be the ones to give him the final shove out the door. After all the ballots are counted, African Americans could end up bringing down a president who claims to have done more for the Black community than anyone since Abraham Lincoln. Black people always knew that was a lie. They also knew that the moment Trump considered them to be useless to his political agenda, he would toss them aside the way he does everyone who gets in his way.

So on Tuesday, African Americans let Trump know exactly how they feel about him. He received only about 12% of the Black vote, according to CNN exit polls. It was higher than the 8% he got in 2016, but it was only a smidgen of the 87% Democrat Joe Biden received. The showdown between Trump and African Americans was inevitable. Discontent had been simmering since early in his presidency when Trump seemed to open his arms to anyone who could help him win, including neo-Nazis.

Still, Trump always tried to keep a few African Americans dangling round. He would occasionally invite them to the White House for a photo op. One or two of them always would be seated in prominent positions at his campaign rallies so they could be in full view of the TV cameras. And occasionally, he would offer organizations and community representatives a few promises that he had no intention of keeping. This week, African Americans showed him how fed up they were. Black voters in urban areas of several battleground states came through in the waning hours of election night to give Biden’s presidential bid a riveting burst of energy. more...

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large

(CNN) Fresh off a surprisingly pedestrian election win on November 3, Lindsey Graham has decided to take on a new role: The most aggressive enforcer of the idea that President Donald Trump maybe -- just maybe! -- didn't lose the 2020 election. In recent days, the South Carolina Republican has reached out to election officials in at least three states -- Georgia, Arizona and Nevada -- to inquire about the process by which, among other things, signatures are verified on mail-in ballots. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, told CNN that Graham had called him to urge the removal of ballots amid the ongoing hand recount in the state. "I got the sense it implied that then you could throw those out for any, if you look at the counties with the highest frequent error of signatures," Raffensperger told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Monday night. "So that's the impression that I got."

Graham told CNN that Raffensperger's allegations was "ridiculous." But a staffer for the Georgia secretary of state affirmed Raffensperger's version of events to CNN on Tuesday. "What I heard was basically discussions about absentee ballots and if a potentially ... if there was a percentage of signatures that weren't really, truly matching, is there some point we could get to, we could say somebody went to a courtroom could say, 'Well, let's throw (out) all these ballots because we have no way of knowing because the ballots are separated,' " said Georgia election implementation manager Gabriel Sterling.

Graham, even as he was defending his call to Raffensperger, revealed to reporters that he had also reached out to election officials in two other states where the vote count between Trump and President-elect Joe Biden was quite close -- and where the President has insisted, with zero proof, that there were shenanigans involved in the ballot counting. That claim, however, was almost immediately disputed by Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, who said she had not spoken to Graham (or any other member of Congress) about the vote count in the state. Graham told reporters he was not sure who he had talked to in Nevada (uh, OK) and that he had spoken with Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey in Arizona. more...

CNN Tonight

A bipartisan panel in Michigan's largest county unanimously certified its presidential results, a stunning reversal hours after Republicans had temporarily blocked certification based on dubious claims of voting irregularities in Detroit. video...

By Philip Bump

President Trump’s effort to undermine confidence in mail-in ballots began in the spring. On April 8, for example, he tried to differentiate on Twitter between absentee ballots — which he used — and other forms of voting by mail, which he insisted were “very different” and “RIPE for FRAUD.” Among the tens of thousands of people who shared Trump’s message was William Hartmann, a Republican active in party politics in Michigan. Hartmann didn’t share many things on Twitter; his most recent prior tweet was a disparagement of Democrats after an incident in which a man drove a van into a tent where Republicans were registering voters in Florida.

“Be careful,” Hartmann wrote then. “The Left is crazy.” This combination of views — Democrats are dangerous, and mail-in voting is suspicious — is not uncommon among Republicans or supporters of Trump. That Hartmann both accepted and publicized them is noteworthy, given that Hartmann wasn’t just a Republican activist in Michigan. He was also one of four members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, the group designated with certifying the results of the 2020 election in the most populous county in the state. On Tuesday night, Hartmann and the other Republican member of the board, Monica Palmer, declined to do so.

Suddenly, President-elect Joe Biden’s win in Michigan seemed to be up in the air. Trump and members of his team celebrated the decision. Jenna Ellis, one of Trump’s legal advisers, crowed that the decision paved the way for “Republican state legislator[s] [to] select the electors” — that is, for the Republican-led legislature in Michigan to determine that the state’s 16 representatives in the electoral college should support Trump and not Biden. Trump's long-shot bid to steal the election from Biden suddenly seemed if not viable then at least possible. more...

Pennsylvania’s supreme court has rejected one of Trump’s loudest post-election claims, as Biden appoints a diverse new cabinet. Plus, the cybersecurity chief is sacked after refuting voter fraud allegations
Molly Blackall

Good morning. Pennsylvania has become the latest state to dismiss Trump’s attempts to overturn the election result. Yesterday, the state’s supreme court ruled that Philadelphia election officials did not improperly block the Trump campaign from observing the counting of mail-in ballots – one of the president’s loudest post-election claims. Pennsylvania was a key swing state in the election, flipping its 20 electoral college seats to Biden by a narrow margin of 1.2%.

On the other side of the rust belt, Republican certifiers in Michigan have U-turned and confirmed a Joe Biden win. The state’s largest county had refused to officially call the state for Biden, despite a clear win, but changed course after Democrats, election experts and members of the public warned it was a dangerous overriding of public will. more...

When Team Trump’s claims of voter-fraud and ballot-tampering reach a judge, the allegations collapse in often spectacular fashion.
Will Sommer

Donald Trump’s last-ditch campaign legal efforts have centered on witnesses who allege that they witnessed voter fraud and other suspicious activity in battleground states across the country. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has brandished stacks of papers detailing what she said were hundreds of affidavits from allegedly aggrieved voters or poll-watchers in TV appearances, and the MAGA faithful have seized on the allegations as proof that Trump secretly won the election. But when those claims actually reach a judge, the allegations collapse in often spectacular fashion—putting one more roadblock in Trump’s attempts to wrestle the election away from President-elect Joe Biden.

The latest bruising response to Trump’s voter witnesses came Friday in a state court order from Michigan. The Trump campaign had asked Chief Judge Timothy M. Kenny to block the certification of Michigan’s votes, citing a number of witnesses who alleged seeing suspicious things happening with the ballot count, mostly at Detroit’s TCF Center. But when Kenny actually saw the witness claims, he wasn’t impressed. In his Friday opinion, Kenny rejected the Trump campaign’s request, describing one witness affidavit as “rife with speculation and guess-work about sinister motives.” more...

By Annie Grayer and Marshall Cohen, CNN

(CNN) A bipartisan panel in Michigan's largest county unanimously certified its presidential results on Tuesday night, a stunning reversal hours after Republicans had temporarily blocked certification based on dubious claims of voting irregularities in Detroit. The Wayne County Board of Canvassers initially deadlocked 2-2 on whether to certify the results, with two Democrats voting to certify and two Republicans voting against it, citing concerns of examples where Detroit precincts found discrepancies during their post-election review process. That vote was immediately condemned by Democratic officials and nonpartisan experts, who said the election in Detroit had been conducted cleanly.

President-elect Joe Biden won Michigan by more than 148,000 votes, a victory made possible by a strong showing in Wayne County, where he netted more than 322,000 votes over President Donald Trump. The initial vote against certification drew the attention of the President, who posted a series of tweets praising the GOP members of the canvassing board for "having courage." He also spread false claims about massive voter fraud and said officials in the state should "flip Michigan back to TRUMP."

Trump has mounted a long-shot attempt to overturn the election results through lawsuits and the Electoral College -- and one of the Trump campaign's legal advisers said the initial refusal to certify the results should open the door for the "Republican state legislator (sic) will select the electors." GOP lawmakers in Michigan have repeatedly said they'll respect the statewide popular vote and won't intervene in the process.

When announcing their decision to certify the results, the board also called on Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to do a comprehensive audit on the precincts in Detroit that had found discrepancies during their post-election review. In an interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo on "Cuomo Prime Time," Benson said she would conduct that audit, and she praised the decision by the county board to reverse itself and certify the results. "It appears that the truth won in this scenario," she said. "Basically, the evidence was clear: There were no irregularities, there was no evidence of widespread fraud and in fact there were simply minor clerical errors. ... I think they did the right thing, they performed their duty and they certified the election for the voters in Wayne County." more...

By Zack Budryk

Georgia’s Republican secretary of state said Tuesday that President Trump’s attacks on the integrity of mail-in voting contributed to his loss in the Peach State. “Twenty-four thousand people did not vote in the fall; either they did not vote absentee because they were told by the president ‘don’t vote absentee, it’s not secure,’ ” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) said in an interview with WSB-TV, an Atlanta-area ABC affiliate. “But then they did not come out and vote in person. He would have won by 10,000 votes. He actually depressed, suppressed his own voting base."

Raffensperger has become a target of President Trump and his allies since the state was projected for President-elect Joe Biden. Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R) and David Perdue (R), both of whom face a January runoff for their seats, called for his resignation following the election. Raffensperger said earlier this week that Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) also personally pressured him to exclude some mail-in ballots during a mandatory recount. Graham has denied the claim and said “if he feels threatened by that conversation, he’s got a problem.” more...

David Knowles·Editor

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was on the defensive Tuesday over disclosures that he had contacted state election officials in states won by Joe Biden in an apparent effort to get them to disqualify some ballots. The Washington Post reported Monday that Graham had called Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger late last week seeking to have legally cast absentee ballots disqualified, which could cut into Biden’s 13,300-vote lead over President Trump there.

Raffensperger said he turned Graham down. In an interview with Yahoo News, Raffensperger, who described himself as a “Republican through and through” and a Trump supporter, said Georgia’s election was honest and fair. Hours after the Post story appeared, Graham denied that he had sought to pressure Raffensperger to intervene on behalf of Trump. “I’m asking him to explain to me the system,” Graham told reporters. “If you send a mail-in ballot to a county, a single person verifies the signature against what’s in the database. They don’t mail out ballots. You got to actually request one. So they expanded mail-in voting, and how you verify the signature, to me, is the big issue of mail-in voting.”

“If you’re going to have mail-in voting, you got to verify the person who signed the envelope is also the person,” Graham added. But in a second interview with the Wall Street Journal, Raffensperger said Graham had called his office twice on Friday. In the second call, Graham suggested the idea of invalidating all absentee ballots from counties with higher signature errors, the Journal reported. Also on the call was Gabriel Sterling, the official who manages Georgia's voting system. On Tuesday, he confirmed that Graham suggested “entire counties need to be redone” in the state but was told that idea was a nonstarter. more...

by Jeremy Roebuck

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that Republican monitors observing vote counting in Philadelphia were given sufficient access under state law to view the proceedings. In a 5-2 decision, the court overturned a lower court decision that ordered monitors with President Donald Trump’s campaign be allowed within six feet of tables where ballots were being tallied.

In its opinion, the Supreme Court found that the Philadelphia Board of Elections complied with requirements for observer access from the moment the first votes were counted. “We conclude the board did not act contrary to the law in fashioning its regulations governing the positioning of candidate representatives,” Justice Debra Todd wrote for the majority. “Critically, we find the board’s regulations … were reasonable.”

Chief Justice Thomas Saylor and Justice Sallie Updyke Mundy dissented. The ruling came even as Trump campaign attorneys were pressing the issue in a federal court in Williamsport, asking a judge to bar the state from certifying the vote based, in part, on the limited access they claimed vote-counting observers had in Philadelphia and Allegheny Counties. more...

Yet Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Detroit have become the targets of G.O.P. allegations of voting shenanigans.
By Emily Badger

In Pennsylvania, much of President Trump’s attention since the election has focused on Philadelphia, where he has baselessly insisted there is a “mountain of corruption.” In Michigan, litigation by Mr. Trump’s campaign has concentrated on Detroit, where Republican poll watchers say they felt intimidated by election workers in Black Lives Matter apparel. And in Wisconsin, legal challenges and rumors have circled around Milwaukee, where one internet conspiracy theory turns on a briefly misplaced flashed drive of election results. That these three cities would become the chief sites of Republican claims of fraud in this election is unsurprising. All three are heavily Democratic. They have large African-American populations. And in their respective states, they have long been targets of racialized charges of corruption.

But in one revealing way, the fixation this year is misplaced. All three cities voted pretty much the same way they did in 2016. Turnout barely budged, relative to other areas in these states. Joseph R. Biden Jr. saw no remarkable surge in support — certainly nothing that would bolster claims of ballot stuffing or tampered vote tallies. Mr. Trump even picked up marginally more votes this year in all three cities than he did four years ago. Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Detroit, in other words, were not decisive in explaining why the Northern battleground states flipped from Mr. Trump four years ago to Mr. Biden in 2020. Voters outside of these cities made the difference. more...

By Katelyn Polantz, CNN

(CNN) Voters in four states who had brought longshot lawsuits to disrupt President-elect Joe Biden's win and went nowhere in court dropped their cases Monday morning. The cases were short-lived in Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania federal courts, and fed into a pro-Donald Trump legal strategy that's almost certain to fail to block Biden's presidential win before the Electoral College formalized it. The suits mirrored one another and were all backed by the law firm of a nationally known conservative attorney, James Bopp Jr. In Michigan and Pennsylvania, the cases had also gone hand in hand with ones brought by the Trump campaign.

Bopp, when asked for an explanation on why his team is pulling the suits, responded, "because of [attorney-client] privilege and because I do not telegraph my next moves, I cannot comment." The announcement that the voters are dropping their suits comes three days after a federal appellate court said voters couldn't bring some constitutional claims, essentially shutting down the path the Pennsylvania voters wanted to take in their suit. more...

Analysis by Marshall Cohen, CNN

Washington (CNN) It was the nightmare scenario everyone saw coming: a nail-biter presidential election that was too close to call on election night, with the entire world forced to patiently wait on slow results from Pennsylvania as it sifted through millions of mail-in ballots. President Donald Trump held Florida and Ohio, which quickly reported their mail-in results on election night. By the next afternoon, Democratic nominee Joe Biden had flipped Michigan and Wisconsin. But for four arduous days, the outcome of the 2020 election lingered in purgatory.

All eyes fell on Pennsylvania, with millions of still-uncounted votes. The delay was largely caused by Republican state lawmakers who defied local officials and nonpartisan experts, and refused to let counties process mail ballots before Election Day, as is allowed in other states. So the election went into overtime. As the days crept by, Trump's massive election night lead of 700,000 votes slowly disappeared as Pennsylvania's 67 counties churned through their mail-in ballots, revealing a narrow win for Biden. This predictable shift gave rise to a bevy of conspiracy theories, disinformation and baseless accusations of voter fraud, stoked chiefly by the President. more...

After the 2016 election, President Trump claimed that millions of votes had been illegally cast. The commission he established to investigate this came up empty-handed.
David A. Graham Staff writer at The Atlantic

Why not just look? What’s the harm? This is the best case that President Donald Trump and his allies have for investigating claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election. Unfortunately for them, it’s still a very weak case. Republicans have for years been pushing claims of massive voter fraud that swings elections, and for just as long, they’ve failed to turn up evidence of it.

On Tuesday, The New York Times published an article in which reporters contacted top election officials in all 50 states to ask if they had any evidence of fraud. Not a single state reported back an issue (though in four cases, the paper had to rely on public statements or other officials). Only one state had no response: Texas, where Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick offered a $1 million reward for evidence of fraud. You don’t offer huge cash prizes if you already have evidence. Rewards like this also create a strong incentive to gin up false claims. Already, a Pennsylvania postal worker who alleged fraud has reportedly recanted; donors have collected nearly $140,000 for him.

But the best reason for skepticism comes from Trump himself. He’s claimed fraud before, and despite a major effort to find it, turned up nothing. After his 2016 victory, the new president appointed a commission to study the matter. The commission collapsed less than a year later, without producing any evidence of fraud, or any findings at all. more...

ERIC TUCKER and FRANK BAJAK

WASHINGTON (AP) — A coalition of federal and state officials found no evidence that votes were compromised or altered in last week's presidential election, rejecting unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud advanced by President Donald Trump and many of his supporters.

The statement late Thursday, by government and industry officials who coordinate election cybersecurity, trumpeted the Nov. 3 election as the most secure in American history. It amounted to the most direct repudiation to date of Trump's efforts to undermine the integrity of the contest, and echoed repeated assertions by election experts and state officials over the last week that the election unfolded smoothly without broad irregularities.

“While we know there are many unfounded claims and opportunities for misinformation about the process of our elections, we can assure you we have the utmost confidence in the security and integrity of our elections, and you should too," the statement said. "When you have questions, turn to elections officials as trusted voices as they administer elections.” more...

Savannah Behrmann USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump has claimed, without offering evidence, that the election was overrun by fraud and his campaign filed a number of lawsuits attacking the voting process in several battleground states he went on to lose. State leaders and election officials – many of them Republican – in those crucial swings states have responded by assuring voters there have been no signs of widespread fraud despite what Trump and his supporters have alleged. And state leaders, including many Republicans. Here is a look at what those officials have said in response to Trump's unsubstantiated claims since President-elect Joe Biden was declared the winner.

Arizona
Biden flipped the state of Arizona blue, becoming the first Democrat to carry it in 24 years. Trump and his allies have repeatedly claimed there was voter fraud involved, with his supporters spouting conspiracy theories like "Sharpiegate" – an unfounded suspicion that election workers were invalidating votes. But no claims of any substantive impropriety has been supported by evidence. more...

BOB CHRISTIE and NICHOLAS RICCARDI, Associated Press

Republican leaders in four critical states won by President-elect Joe Biden say they won’t participate in a legally dubious scheme to flip their state’s electors to vote for President Donald Trump. Their comments effectively shut down a half-baked plot some Republicans floated as a last chance to keep Trump in the White House. State GOP lawmakers in Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have all said they would not intervene in the selection of electors, who ultimately cast the votes that secure a candidate's victory. Such a move would violate state law and a vote of the people, several noted.

“I do not see, short of finding some type of fraud — which I haven’t heard of anything — I don’t see us in any serious way addressing a change in electors,” said Rusty Bowers, Arizona’s Republican House speaker, who says he’s been inundated with emails pleading for the legislature to intervene. “They are mandated by statute to choose according to the vote of the people.” The idea loosely involves GOP-controlled legislatures dismissing Biden's popular vote wins in their states and opting to select Trump electors. While the endgame was unclear, it appeared to hinge on the expectation that a conservative-leaning Supreme Court would settle any dispute over the move. more...

By Katelyn Polantz, CNN

(CNN) Two judges in Pennsylvania on Friday tossed a half dozen court cases the Trump campaign had brought to invalidate thousands of votes around Philadelphia, where voters carried President-elect Joe Biden to a clear win in the battleground state. In total, the Trump campaign had sought to throw out almost 9,000 absentee ballots because their outer envelopes lack names, dates or addresses or some combination of the three that voters could have filled out. In five related cases, Judge James Crumlish of Philadelphia County's Court of Common Pleas said the Trump campaign couldn't invalidate 8,329 ballots it alleged were improper. The judge ruled those ballots should be processed and counted. In another case, the President's campaign sought for the Montgomery County Board of Elections to throw out 592 mail-in ballots where voters hadn't filled out their addresses on the outside envelopes. Those ballots will be counted, the second judge, Richard Haaz of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, ruled on Friday. more...

Just who is pushing the ballot count protests on Trump’s behalf?
Ali Breland

Right-wing “Stop The Count” protests that have sprung up in the last 72 hours to attempt to manipulate the vote-counting process in favor of Donald Trump appear to be at least partially artificially bolstered by paid Republican operatives. But unlike previous coordinated protests that have been revealed to be supported well-funded and organized conservative interests, the demonstrations have been organized largely by a collection of disgraced right-wing internet figures. Some have been all but discarded from mainstream Republican circles for being too extreme, too inept, or some combination of the two. Despite this, they’ve been good at one thing: figuring out how to spin never-ending mishaps into continued careers.

The protests have grown since Election Day, with FreedomWorks and Trump’s 2020 digital director getting involved in the events, according to The Guardian and Washington Post. Here’s a smattering of some of the more compelling characters involved:

Ali Alexander
After one of the first 2020 primary debates, Alexander went viral claiming that Kamala Harris wasn’t an “American Black,” because she was of Jamaican and Indian heritage, instead of descending from African-Americans who had been forced into Antebellum-era slavery. Alexander was convicted of two felonies in 2007 and 2008, and has a track record of publicly noting people for are Jewish. He made a sensationalist video with right-wing snafu generator Jacob Wohl and Laura Loomer, the Islamaphobic failed Congressional candidate, wherein Wohl seemingly fakes the group receiving death threats during filming. more...

*** The Trump way, if you cannot win honestly find ways to cheat. ***

Tom Porter

President Donald Trump has asked top aides about a wild plan that involves replacing electors in swing states with loyalists to secure himself a second term, The New York Times reported on Thursday. The Times report came hours after Business Insider reported that the plan was gaining currency among Trump allies. The plan hinges on Republican state legislatures deciding to ignore the states' results and instead send a new group of electors to the Electoral College who would cast their votes for Trump. Such a plan, while technically possible, has been widely dismissed by experts as unworkable in practice and an affront to US democracy. Business Insider's report noted some of the problems with making it work. more...

By Alex Marquardt, CNN

Washington (CNN) A senior federal election security official who was appointed by President Donald Trump has blasted the President's false post-election claims, calling them "baffling", "laughable" and "insulting". Asked in an interview what he would say to Trump about the election, Ben Hovland said "these conspiracy theories that are flying around have consequences."

Hovland runs the Election Assistance Commission which, in part, tests and certifies voting machines. He was nominated by President Donald Trump last year and unanimously confirmed by the Senate. He works closely with other federal agencies that oversee elections, like the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

"At a minimum, it's insulting to the professionals that run our elections and hopefully that's the worst that comes of it," Hovland told MIT Technology Review. "Our people, they're doing their jobs but they don't feel safe doing it. That is a tragedy. That is awful. These are public servants. This isn't a job you do for glory or to get rich." more...

Kristine Phillips USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – A group of 1,000 attorneys, including retired federal and state judges, state attorneys general and law professors criticized the Trump administration over baseless claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. "Every candidate has a right to ensure that an election is conducted lawfully. However, court challenges, if any, must be based on facts, on evidence," stated the letter, which asked public officials to stop making false claims of systemic fraud that President Donald Trump has claimed "stole" the election from him.

"The President of the United States has directed the filing of court cases seeking to stop ballots from being counted on the ground that there has been widespread ballot fraud. His sons have sharply criticized Republicans who are not backing their father’s claims," Republican lawmakers, including Sens. Ted Cruz, Lindsay Graham and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, have made statements backing Trump's lawsuits and claims of fraud. more...

Republicans said they hope to consolidate their power in the drawing of 30 state electoral maps next year. Democrats are preparing for a decadelong fight.
By Phil McCausland

Democrats may have won the presidency, but they failed to fulfill one of their biggest hopes of this election cycle: taking control of state legislatures and the power to draw electoral districts. Now, organizers and party officials said, they will be forced to bank on litigation, friendly state courts, Democratic governors, recent state reforms and a growing grassroots movement to hold the line against their fears of Republican gerrymandering — embedding a political advantage in the drawing of electoral maps.

"Let's have fair maps. Let's have an actual battle of ideas," said Patrick Rodenbush, communications director of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee. "Republicans are afraid of the voters they say they want to represent, and they are cheating the American people out of representation by doing this."

After each census is completed, state legislatures take up the responsibility of drawing the maps for congressional and legislative districts. Republicans took control of the majority of state Houses after the 2010 census, and they were able to maintain much of that dominance this year. Republicans said they plan to try to cement their power in the drawing of 30 state maps. Democrats control 19 legislatures.

The goal once the new census data come in, said Adam Kincaid, executive director of the National Republican Redistricting Trust, is to redraw maps to "protect our legislative majorities, protect our congressional incumbents and then expand our ability to take over the House in 2022 and beyond." That Republicans maintained their hold is a major disappointment for Democrats, who invested more than $50 million from the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee and millions more from a constellation of progressive groups. more...

By Jenny Jarvie, Seema Mehta

Georgia’s too-close-to-call presidential contest devolved into a fight Monday among Republicans as the state’s top election official rejected calls from its two U.S. senators that he resign for challenging President Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. Monday morning, Gabriel Sterling, a lifelong Republican who manages Georgia’s voting system, took to a lectern at the Capitol to plainly and matter-of-factly dismiss criticism of election illegalities in the Southern battleground state as “fake news” and “disinformation.”

“Hoaxes and nonsense,” Sterling said. “Don’t buy into these things. Find trusted sources.” Hours later, GOP Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler — who are each in a Jan. 5 run-off that will determine control of the chamber — called on Sterling’s boss, Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, to resign for allegedly mismanaging the state’s elections. more...

Robocall tracking firm says more than 3 million calls were made telling residents to "stay safe and stay home"
Jack Gillum - Jeremy B. Merrill

More than 800,000 people with phone numbers tied to six presidential swing states have been targeted with automated phone calls on Tuesday suggesting they remain at home on Election Day, a tactic that has alarmed voters and has drawn the attention of the FBI, documents and interviews show.

All told, more than 3 million calls were made to people across the country on Tuesday, instructing them to "stay safe and stay home," according to data and call recordings provided by the firm TelTech, which owns the RoboKiller smartphone app. One message, only a few seconds long, delivers the message in a monotone, robotic voice.

Government officials and voters interpreted the messages as potential voter suppression, though it's not clear what the intent was since the messages apparently began last December, before the coronavirus pandemic. It is also not known who was behind the cryptic messaging campaign or whether it targeted people with particular party registrations or political leanings. Nor was it clear whether the calls had any effect on voters' willingness to go to the polls. In many states, significant numbers of people have already voted by mail, making the apparent veiled threats irrelevant. more...

By Jason Hanna, Rob Frehse and Sonia Moghe, CNN

(CNN) Two armed Virginia men who were arrested Thursday outside the Philadelphia Convention Center were "coming to deliver a truck full of fake ballots" to the city, CNN affiliate KYW reported, citing prosecutors. The center is one of the places where election workers have been counting votes from the 2020 general election, which includes the race for president. Text messages reveal that the men were concerned about the tallying of votes at the convention center, prosecutors said, according to KYW.

Antonio LaMotta, 61, and Joshua Macias, 42, both of Chesapeake, Virginia, were arrested Thursday night outside the center on suspicion of carrying handguns in Pennsylvania without permits, authorities said. Philadelphia police said they found the men Thursday night after receiving a tip that people with firearms were heading to the Pennsylvania Convention Center in a silver Hummer truck. Officers found a silver Hummer a block from the center -- parked and unoccupied -- around 10:20 p.m. Thursday, about seven minutes before finding the men, who acknowledged the Hummer was theirs, police said.

Both men were carrying loaded handguns, and police found an AR-type rifle in the Hummer, authorities said at a news conference Friday. About 160 rounds of ammunition were found in the weapons and the vehicle, authorities said. Stickers and a hat with logos of the QAnon conspiracy movement were found in the vehicle, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said. LaMotta and Macias were charged with having a concealed firearm without a license and carrying a firearm on a public street or public property, Krasner said. more...

An email obtained by The Daily Beast shows Republicans in Wisconsin urging volunteers to contact Pennsylvania Trumpers to get them to turn in ballots days after the election.
Lachlan Markay, Sam Stein

Local Republican officials were recruiting volunteers on Thursday to call Pennsylvania voters and urge them to send in their ballots—two full days after Election Day. This plea was emailed out just hours before President Donald Trump went on national television Thursday to declare the inherent illegitimacy of ballots received after Nov. 3.

The request, election lawyers say, appears to flagrantly run afoul of state law. Under Pennsylvania law and a recent state Supreme Court decision, absentee and mail-in ballots are valid as long as they were postmarked by Election Day and received by Nov. 6. Any Trump supporter who sends in their ballots either Thursday or Friday would not have it postmarked within the acceptable deadline—creating the precise situation that the president himself has deemed fraudulent and corrupt. more...

The Lead

CNN's Jake Tapper speaks with former national security adviser John Bolton about President Donald Trump's rhetoric around when mail-in ballots should be counted and Trump's threats of legal action after polls close on Election Day.  video...

Officials say the incidents are isolated or simply legal campaign activity.
By CRISTIANO LIMA and HOLLY OTTERBEIN

PHILADELPHIA — President Donald Trump’s campaign is seizing on what officials said are isolated incidents or legal campaigning here to raise doubts about the integrity of the election in the most hotly contested state in the country. Mike Roman, Trump’s director of Election Day operations, shared a viral Twitter video Tuesday of a poll watcher being turned away at a voting facility in Philly. Roman used the incident to allege that pro-Trump poll watchers have been denied access “all over the City” and that “The steal is on!”

But a spokesperson for the Philadelphia City Commissioners, which runs elections there, said there’s no evidence the issue is widespread, and that the poll watcher depicted in the video was eventually allowed into the facility. “It was an honest misunderstanding. The poll watcher, I’m told, his certificate had a different ward and division on it than the ward and division of the polling place he was trying to get into. And the judge of election misunderstood the law: He thought they had to match,” said Kevin Feeley, a spokesperson for Philadelphia City Commissioner Lisa Deeley, a Democrat. “The poll watcher was admitted. As far as I know, he’s there now." more...

By John Kruzel

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday ordered the U.S. Postal Service to sweep facilities for remaining mail ballots and rush their delivery, as receipt deadlines close in. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, who has presided over several lawsuits aimed at Postal Service election mail delays, gave the Postal Service until 3 p.m. to "ensure that no ballots have been held up" in regions that have been slow to process mail ballots.

The order comes as a record number of Americans have already cast their ballots for Tuesday’s elections through the mail as a safety precaution during the coronavirus pandemic. With the exception of Pennsylvania and Texas, each of those states requires that mail ballots be received by the close of polls on Election Day, meaning late-arriving ballots would not be counted.

Pennsylvania’s Nov. 6 mail ballot due date is also subject to change, after three conservative Supreme Court justices last week held open the possibility of taking up a GOP appeal after Election Day that, if successful, would invalidate any ballots arriving after Nov. 3. Texas will accept mail ballots postmarked by Election Day and received by 5 p.m. the following day. more...

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large

(CNN) The jig is up. At least according to Ben Ginsberg, the single most prominent Republican election lawyer in the country, who, in a scathing piece published Sunday by The Washington Post, called out President Donald Trump (and his legal team) for engaging in a widespread attempt to suppress votes in the 2020 election under the guise of sniffing out voter fraud.

Wrote Ginsberg:
"Trump has enlisted a compliant Republican Party in this shameful effort. The Trump campaign and Republican entities engaged in more than 40 voting and ballot court cases around the country this year. In exactly none ��� zero — are they trying to make it easier for citizens to vote. In many, they are seeking to erect barriers.

All of the suits include the mythical fraud claim. Many are efforts to disqualify absentee ballots, which have surged in the pandemic. The grounds range from supposedly inadequate signature matches to burdensome witness requirements. Others concern excluding absentee ballots postmarked on Election Day but received later, as permitted under state deadlines. Voter-convenience devices such as drop boxes and curbside voting have been attacked....

"...This attempted disenfranchisement of voters cannot be justified by the unproven Republican dogma about widespread fraud. Challenging voters at the polls or disputing the legitimacy of mail-in ballots isn't about fraud. Rather than producing conservative policies that appeal to suburban women, young voters or racial minorities, Republicans are trying to exclude their votes." Which, well, yeah. more...

*** Trump was projecting what he was going to do to win when he claimed voter fraud and rigged election.  He damaged the postal service in an attempt to rob people of their vote. ***

By Paul P. Murphy, CNN

(CNN) For the third day in a row, the US Postal Service moved fewer ballots on-time in critical battleground states than it did in the previous day, according to new court filings Sunday. With Election Day only two days away, these continued drops in performance mean ballots are now at significant risk of not arriving to election offices in time to get counted. In a majority of states, mail ballots postmarked before or on Election Day don't count if they arrive after the polls close. In a document filed in US District Court Sunday, USPS said that on a national level, they moved fewer ballots on time on Saturday than on Friday and their processing score dropping from 93% to 91%. Scores have been steadily declining since Wednesday, when USPS reported they moved 97% of ballots on time.

More critical battlegrounds states are now experiencing a drop in scores -- below 90% -- and those already below that, did not improve substantially and some dropped even lower.  The Colorado and Wyoming district sank to the lowest in the nation, moving only 43% of ballots on time Saturday. Almost all Coloradans vote by mail because the state sends every voter there a ballot through the mail. Just 62% of Central Pennsylvania's ballots, and 64% of Atlanta's ballots moved on-time on Saturday. Only 64% of the ballots processed by USPS in Northern New England, which includes New Hampshire and Maine, were done so on-time. Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Carolina, the rest of Pennsylvania and parts of Texas and Florida were under the 90% mark as well. more...

By Josh Campbell, CNN

Washington (CNN) The FBI is investigating the alleged harassment of a Joe Biden campaign bus last week by motorists displaying Trump 2020 flags, an FBI spokesperson confirmed Sunday. "FBI San Antonio is aware of the incident and investigating," FBI spokesperson Michelle Lee told CNN. The incident took place in Texas on Friday as the campaign bus was traveling from San Antonio to Austin as part of a push to urge Biden supporters to cast their ballots on the state's last day of early voting. A Biden campaign official described the motorists' actions as an attempt to slow down the bus and run it off the road. People in vehicles that were part of a "Trump Train" began yelling profanities and obscenities and then blockaded the entire Biden entourage, according to a source familiar with the incident.

At one point they slowed the tour bus to roughly 20 mph on Interstate 35, the campaign official said. The vehicles slowed down to try to stop the bus in the middle of the highway. The source said there were nearly 100 vehicles around the campaign bus. Biden staffers were rattled by the event, the source said, though no one was hurt. Neither Biden nor his running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, were on the bus. Multiple sources told CNN that Wendy Davis, a former state senator who is challenging Republican Rep. Chip Roy for Texas' 21st Congressional District, was on the bus. Davis' campaign declined to comment to CNN on Saturday. more...

A handful of GOP activists and candidates had asked the state's highest civil court to rule Harris County's drive-thru voting locations illegal, and invalidate votes that have already been cast. The challenge has also been filed in federal court.
by Jolie McCullough

A legal cloud hanging over nearly 127,000 votes already cast in Harris County was at least temporarily lifted Sunday when the Texas Supreme Court rejected a request by several conservative Republican activists and candidates to preemptively throw out early balloting from drive-thru polling sites in the state's most populous, and largely Democratic, county. The all-Republican court denied the request without an order or opinion, as justices did last month in a similar lawsuit brought by some of the same plaintiffs.

The Republican plaintiffs, however, are pursuing a similar lawsuit in federal court, hoping to get the votes thrown out by arguing that drive-thru voting violates the U.S. constitution. A hearing in that case is set for Monday morning in a Houston-based federal district court, one day before Election Day. A rejection of the votes would constitute a monumental disenfranchisement of voters — drive-thru ballots account for about 10% of all in-person ballots cast during early voting in Harris County. more...

*** Trump was projecting what he was going to do to win when he claimed voter fraud and rigged election. ***

First, make it illegal to count votes quickly. Second, paint the slow count as suspicious.
By Matthew Yglesias

Behind in the polls, Republicans are becoming increasingly blunt about their plan to win the election: don’t let everyone’s votes be counted. As Astead Herndon and Annie Karnie reported for the the New York Times Saturday evening: “Trump advisers said their best hope was if the president wins Ohio and Florida is too close to call early in the night, depriving Mr. Biden a swift victory and giving Mr. Trump the room to undermine the validity of uncounted mail-in ballots in the days after.”

This is a very plausible scenario. As Vox’s Andrew Prokop has explained, due to differences in local election law, “the general expectation is that Florida, North Carolina, and Arizona are in a good place to count most of their votes on election night or soon afterward” but “Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan — the trio of states that clinched Trump’s victory in 2016 — are a different story.”

Current polls show Biden leading in all six states. But his leads are narrower in the fast-counting states than in the slow-counting states, so if Trump does moderately better than polls currently suggest, he could win the fast-counting states on election night and wage battle in the courts to try to prevent the slow-counting from fully tallying their votes.

It’s a long-shot effort, but the only reason it’s on the table at all is that the GOP-controlled legislatures in those three states have deliberately acted to keep the vote count slow. So there’s indication Trump may have party support if he tries to undermine the counting. Meanwhile, other actions over the weekend from North Carolina to Texas reveal a Republican Party that is broadly committed to using roadblocks to voting as a strategy for victory. more...

President Trump Appears To Embrace Actions Of Caravan That Surrounded Biden-Harris Campaign Bus In Texas
AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM/CNN) — After documented reports of pro-Donald Trump supporters following, surrounding and allegedly threatening a Joe Biden-Kamala Harris campaign bus in Texas, Saturday night the President appeared to embrace the actions of his supporters.

Trump tweeted a video of the caravan surrounding the Biden bus with the caption, “I LOVE TEXAS!” Biden spokesman Bill Russo responded to Trump’s tweet by pointing to reports that Trump’s campaign was not prepared to shuttle attendees who had been bused to a rally at a Pennsylvania airport back afterward, leading to a chaotic situation with his supporters walking across roads to cars parked miles away. “For the second time in a week your campaign has left your supporters stranded in the cold with no transportation at one of your superspreader rallies,” Russo said on Twitter. “Maybe you should spend more time worried about those buses than ours.” more...

Trump on supporters' caravan surrounding Biden campaign bus: "I love Texas!"
Axios

President Trump posted video Saturday night of his supporters surrounding a Biden-Harris campaign bus with the comment, "I LOVE TEXAS!" in a tweet Democrats called "reckless." Why it matters: Democratic officials and witnesses said the pro-Trump vehicles attempted to "force" the Biden-Harris campaign bus "off the road" in the incident on Friday, per the New York Times. The incident comes amid heightened concerns of Election Day and post-election violence, which has prompted officials in some cities and states to take unprecedented measures to prepare.

Driving the news: Videos of the incident show several trucks bearing Trump flags and signs surround the bus as it headed from San Antonio to Austin on Interstate 35, per NYT. "These Trump supporters, many of whom were armed, surrounded the bus on the interstate and attempted to drive it off the road," tweeted historian Eric Cervini, who said he traveled to Texas to help with the Biden-Harris campaign. The vehicles "ended up hitting a staffer’s car," Cervini added. Trump supporters also "followed the Biden bus throughout central Texas to intimidate Biden supporters," Travis County Democratic Party Chair Katie Naranjo said in a Twitter post. "They ran into a person's car, yelling curse words and threats. Don't let bullies win, vote." more...


‘well beyond safe limits’ - Dozens of pickup trucks, many with Trump flags, surrounded a Biden campaign bus as it traveled from San Antonio to Austin.
Kelly Weill

Joe Biden’s presidential campaign canceled a Friday event in Austin, Texas, after harassment from a pro-Trump contingent. Texas has emerged as a battleground state in Tuesday’s presidential election, with polls showing the typically Republican stronghold now only marginally favoring President Donald Trump. The Biden campaign scheduled a Friday event in the state, in a bid to drum up last-minute support.

But when the Biden campaign bus drove to Austin, it was greeted by a blockade of pro-Trump demonstrators, leading to what one Texas House representative described as an escalation “well beyond safe limits.” The cancelation comes amid national anxiety about voter intimidation, a tactic the Trump campaign has implicitly endorsed.

Historian Dr. Eric Cervini was driving to help with the Biden campaign stop when he filmed a line of pickup trucks along the highway, many of them flying Trump flags. The drivers were “waiting to ambush the Biden/Harris campaign bus as it traveled from San Antonio to Austin,” Cervini tweeted. “These Trump supporters, many of whom were armed, surrounded the bus on the interstate and attempted to drive it off the road,” he alleged. “They outnumbered police 50-1, and they ended up hitting a staffer’s car.” more...

By Mark Joseph Stern

Texas Republicans have asked a federal judge to throw out at least 117,000 ballots cast in Harris County, a heavily Democratic area that has experienced an unprecedented surge in early voting this month. The brazen effort to undo legally cast ballots in a diverse, populous county is an eleventh-hour attempt to diminish Joe Biden’s chances of carrying the swing state on Nov. 3. Republicans claim that Harris County’s use of drive-thru voting violates the U.S. Constitution, requiring the judge to throw out every ballot cast this way—more than 117,000 as of Friday. This argument is outrageous and absurd. But the case landed in front of U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, one of the most notoriously partisan conservatives in the federal judiciary. Democrats have good reason to fear that Hanen will order the mass nullification of ballots as early as Nov. 2, when he has scheduled a hearing.

Because Texas strictly limits mail-in voting, Harris County—which has a population of over 4.7 million people—has sought to make in-person voting safer during the pandemic. Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins, who runs the county’s elections, established 10 drive-thru voting locations for the 2020 general election. Drivers pull into a large tent, where election officials confirm their identity, then give them privacy to vote. The process has proved wildly popular.

Harris County raised the idea of drive-thru voting in June, and Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs promptly approved it. The county tested it in July and approved it in August. Yet Republicans did not contest drive-thru voting in court until Oct. 15, two days after the start of early voting. On that day, the Harris County Republican Party, joined by several GOP operatives, asked the Texas Supreme Court to halt drive-thru voting. The court, which is entirely Republican, refused, over a single dissent. Republicans then went back to the Texas Supreme Court, asking it to toss out every ballot cast via drive-thru voting. The court is currently considering that request, though it seems unlikely to side with the plaintiffs given its previous decision. more...

“I saw a little girl, probably five, being carried off sobbing and coughing. She was dressed as a fairy or a princess,” one attendee said.
Jordan Green, Brian Clarey

GRAHAM, North Carolina—On the final day of early voting in North Carolina, police in Alamance County pepper-sprayed a group of voters who were marching to the polls, leaving demonstrators injured and vomiting in the streets. At least one journalist was arrested in the chaotic showdown on Saturday in Alamance County, a red county but one that may decide which party controls the state legislature next year.

About 250 people taking part in an event called I Am Change Legacy March to the Polls were making their penultimate stop on a march that would end at a polling place in downtown Graham when cops intervened. Just after several speakers, including Ian Baltutis, mayor of neighboring Burlington, had addressed the crowd, Alamance County sheriff's deputies dressed in camo, gas masks and tactical gear stood in formation on the steps of the Historic Courthouse behind the stage. They ordered the protesters to disperse, and announced they would begin arresting people.

“I will stand my ground,” the Rev. Greg Drumwright said from atop the temporary stage, beneath the shadow of a Confederate monument.He told the deputies, “When you get involved, peaceful protests always turn into chaotic situations.” Then, deputies grabbed Drumwright and at least four others and tackled them to the ground, while other officers advanced on protesters, legal observers and journalists, and forced them into the street. more...

Christian De La Rosa

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – U.S. Post Office investigators are looking into allegations on Friday that there is a mail-in ballot backup at a facility in southern Miami-Dade County. House Democratic Leader Kionne McGhee said tweeted a video showing mail piled up in bins. “The person who sent me the video is an employee of the postal service," McGhee said, adding "Mail has been stacked up for almost a week.”

Rep. Mucarsel-Powell visited the facility in the Princeton neighborhood saying that she is aware of “the concerning situation” involving backed-up mail, including election mail. She wants the situation cleared by Election Day. “I inspected this facility and took immediate action to contact the US Postal Service and the USPS Office of the Inspector General,” Mucarsell-Powell said in a statement. "I have requested an immediate briefing from the Postmaster General. I am working to ensure that mail delays do not impact participation in this election.”

Suzy Trutie, the deputy supervisor of the Miami-Dade County Department of Elections, also released a statement. “We are aware of the footage and immediately reported this to our contact at the USPS," Trutie said. "They are looking into the matter and have assured us that all ballots will be delivered timely.” Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle said the news of a possible postal delay is troubling and she has requested that all postal distribution centers in Miami-Dade County be audited. more...

An expert on nonviolent civil resistance talks about when protests work, how they work, and when they become necessary.
By Sean Illing

President Trump has repeatedly challenged the legitimacy of the 2020 election, and he just had his third Supreme Court justice confirmed after saying he may need the Court to settle a disputed outcome. A Supreme Court decision this week on mail-in ballots in Wisconsin has raised worries among Democrats and analysts that the Court will do just that in Trump’s favor. And going back all the way to 2016, Trump has hinted that his supporters (“Second Amendment people”) might resort to violence if things go the wrong way.

These developments, and Trump’s general predisposition to authoritarianism, raise an important question: What should Americans do if he loses the election and refuses to accept the results? Political analysts have already raised the prospect of mass protests erupting in the event of a contested election. But when to take the streets isn’t just a question for liberal activists. Even David Brooks, no radical, has suggested the US might need a “sustained campaign of civic action” to “rally the majority that wants to preserve democracy.”

For better or worse, this is where we are as a country. And the possibility that we might need a wave of nonviolent civil resistance leads to another question: When would people actually know that it’s time to take to the streets? The closer we get to November 3, the more urgent this question becomes. To help me think through this, I reached out to Harvard political scientist Erica Chenoweth. An expert on nonviolent civil resistance, Chenoweth has studied mass movements for years, both domestically and globally. I asked them why they work and why they fail, how we’ll know we’ve reached the point for mass protests in November, and what happens if we’re facing the very real prospect of civil conflict. more...

Trailing in the polls, President Trump and his campaign are pursuing a three-pronged strategy that would effectively suppress the mail-in vote in the critical state of Pennsylvania.
By Nick Corasaniti and Danny Hakim

PHILADELPHIA — President Trump’s campaign in the crucial battleground of Pennsylvania is pursuing a three-pronged strategy that would effectively suppress mail-in votes in the state, moving to stop the processing of absentee votes before Election Day, pushing to limit how late mail-in ballots can be accepted and intimidating Pennsylvanians trying to vote early.

Election officials and Democrats in Pennsylvania say that the Trump effort is now in full swing after a monthslong push by the president’s campaign and Republican allies to undermine faith in the electoral process in a state seen as one of the election’s most pivotal, where Mr. Trump trails Joseph R. Biden Jr. by about six percentage points, according to The Upshot’s polling average.

Mail-in votes in Pennsylvania and other swing states are expected to skew heavily toward Democrats. The state is one of a handful in which, by law, mail-in votes cannot be counted until Election Day, and the Trump campaign has leaned on Republican allies who control the Legislature to prevent state election officials from bending those rules to accommodate a pandemic-driven avalanche of absentee ballots, as many other states have already done.

At the same time, the campaign has pushed litigation to curtail how late mail-in votes can be accepted, as part of a flurry of lawsuits in local, state and federal courts challenging myriad voting rules and procedures. On Wednesday evening, the Supreme Court refused to hear a fast-tracked plea from Pennsylvania Republicans to block a three-day extension of the deadline for receiving absentee ballots. But Kathy Boockvar, a Democrat who is Pennsylvania’s secretary of state, advised counties to segregate ballots received after 8 p.m. on Election Day, as the issue remains before the court. more...

Republicans are doing all they can to preserve their power at the expense of the democratic process.
Ari Berman, AJ Vicens

President Trump’s loud refusals to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the November election have sparked major fears about the continued survival of American democracy. But much more quietly, Trump and his GOP allies have already taken numerous steps to undermine fair elections in an attempt to stay in power. The Trump campaign is furiously litigating in nearly every major swing state (17 states in total) to block expanded access to the ballot during a pandemic, while GOP state lawmakers fight to maintain existing restrictions on voting that have given their party a major advantage in past elections and push new ones. Together, these efforts could disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters, mostly in Democratic-leaning demographic groups, and tilt the election toward Trump. Here is a comprehensive list of the ways Trump and his party are making it harder to vote.

Voting by mail:

Blocking mail-in ballot requests: The Trump campaign has filed numerous lawsuits attempting to block states from sending mail-in ballot request forms to voters. In Iowa, a judge found in favor of the campaign and voided more than 150,000 forms sent to voters in two of the state’s most Democratic counties and a Republican-leaning one, forcing them to request a new ballot in order for it to count. more...

By Perry Bacon Jr.

About a month ago, we laid out five ways that Republicans are making it harder to vote and more generally undermining the electoral process in 2020. We focused on Republicans for two reasons. First, making it harder to vote is a more controversial and anti-democratic goal than making it easier to vote, as Democrats are aiming to do. And second, President Trump is playing a central role in these voting wars. Trump has publicly said that he is opposed to efforts in many states to make absentee voting and voting by mail (the two are functionally the same thing) available to virtually anyone who wants to vote that way. He has also suggested that higher overall voter turnout would make it harder for Republicans to win elections.

Over the last month, with the election approaching, Republican officials — from county-level election administrators to the president himself — have in some ways escalated their use of these tactics. So here’s an update on those efforts to complicate the voting process and oppose moves that would make it easier. These five categories, which we used in the last article, are generally ordered from least alarming to most alarming. (There is no formal system tracking every lawsuit concerning voting and the electoral process in all 50 states, so this article is based on our informal tracking, which means we might have missed a key development in a state or two.) Here’s what’s happening: more...

Election officials in US battleground states are still fighting to limit their usage with only days left until 3 November
Jess Hardin - guardian.org

On the East Side of Youngstown, Ohio, a steady stream of early voters drop off completed absentee ballots into the new drop box outside the Mahoning County Board of Elections. Gloria Phifer is one of them. The 68-year-old retired mail carrier drove about 15 minutes to the former hospital-turned-county office center. She doesn’t mind walking, so she found a parking spot outside, walked up to the entrance and dropped her ballot into the red drop box – the only one in the county.

“My fellow mail carriers, god bless them and everything, but I thought it would easier just bring it down here,” Phifer said. “This is an important election and I wanted to just make sure [there were] no problems.” In response to safety concerns spurred by the coronavirus pandemic and worries about potential mail delays, drop boxes are popping up all over the country – in many places for the first time. The largely secure voting method has long been available to voters in states like Colorado and Washington. But amid the partisan battles over access to the polls, election officials in battleground states are still fighting to limit their usage with only days left until 3 November.

Directives from Ohio secretary of state Frank LaRose and Texas governor Greg Abbott – both Republicans – limit drop boxes to one per county. In Harris county, Texas, home to Houston, that’s one box for 4.7 million people. For the 228,000 residents in more sparse Mahoning county, a single drop box could result in a lengthy trip to the Board of Elections. In stark contrast, for the 2.3 million residents of King county in greater Seattle, there are 73 24-hour drop boxes within easy reach of voters. more...

“The vast majority of Americans are going to have a completely uneventful voting experience.”
By Jerusalem Demsas

Defining voter suppression is hard, which has made confronting the problem even more difficult. Certain forms of voter suppression are clear. For instance, armed militias policing predominantly Black polling locations, or the threatening emails signed by the Proud Boys (that the US government alleges were a fraud perpetrated by Iran) which were sent to voters in several states.

There are murkier cases, however. Is it suppression if a jurisdiction fails to properly train its poll workers and the line takes hours to progress? How about if your friend pesters you about your vote so much that you abstain from engaging altogether? If a Milwaukee reader finds Vox’s reporting on the recent Supreme Court decision ruling that a vote-by-mail deadline should not be extended and then feels discouraged — is that voter suppression? Can covering voter suppression become a self-fulfilling problem?

Complicating the matter, we’re seeing signs of sky-high voter participation rates across the country and there are some people confirming that making voting more difficult has actually inspired them to turn out. So, is voter suppression simply a matter of intent or should we still focus on the impact? Media needs to be sensitive to this debate, says Myrna Pérez, the director of the Brennan Center’s Voting Rights and Elections Program. “Now, there will be some people who are deterred. It can both be true that some people are deterred and also that some people are inspired,” she told Vox, pointing out that there are responsible ways to cover issues of potential voter suppression without “nationalizing the worst case scenario.” more...

The pro-Trump duo are in trouble with the law, yet again.
Will Sommer

Conservative operatives Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman have been indicted in Ohio, once more over a racist robocall aimed at minority voters. Wohl and Burkman, who rose to some level of infamy online for blundering attempts to manufacture sexual assault allegations against Democratic politicians and other Trump foes, have each been charged in Ohio’s Cuyahoga County with eight counts of telecommunications fraud and seven counts of bribery, a charge that includes attempts to convince people not to cast ballots. The indictment only adds to the growing mountain of criminal and civil problems facing the notorious pro-Trump pair.

In late August, a robocall that claimed to come from Wohl and Burkman warned voters not to use mail-in ballots, falsely claiming that the ballot information would be used to enforce vaccine mandates and collect on credit card debts. In the call, which was sent to 67,000 voters in the Midwest, according to prosecutors, a Black woman warned potential voters not to send in mail-in ballots or risk being fooled by “the man.” “The right to vote is the most fundamental component of our nation’s democracy,” Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley said in a statement. “These individuals clearly infringed upon that right in a blatant attempt to suppress votes and undermine the integrity of this election These actions will not be tolerated.” more...

By Ashley Killough and Caroline Kelly, CNN

(CNN) The Texas Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled in favor of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's order to limit mail-in ballot drop box locations to one site per county, a decision that largely affects the Houston and Austin areas. The court ruled that Abbott's order "provides Texas voters more ways to vote in the November 3 election than does the Election Code" and that it doesn't "disenfranchise anyone."

Opponents of Abbott's order had argued it exceeded the governor's authority and also created an unjust burden on voters in larger counties to travel far distances to drop off their ballots. Critics also argued it increased voters' risk of contracting Covid-19. The court did not agree with the plaintiffs' argument that the governor's order had exceeded his authority, nor that the order "severely" burdened voters and their right to vote. "The plaintiffs complain that limiting early hand-deliveries of mail-in ballots to one office per county requires more travel time for some voters. But this ignores the other options for casting their ballots that these voters have," the opinion read.

It noted that voters can also vote in person for an expanded period of time than usual, drop off their mail-in ballot in a 45-day window before Election Day rather than on November 3 only, and also mail in their ballots. The court also argued the risk of mailing the ballot is "small," and "voters who are worried about it can mail their ballots in plenty of time before Election Day to eliminate the chance of untimely delivery." In a statement Tuesday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office cheered the ruling as having "correctly stopped the district court's unlawful injunction and preserved election integrity." "The 2020 general election is already underway and the integrity of our election process must be protected and preserved," the statement continued. "Governor Abbott's order rightfully bolsters the security of dropped-off ballots." more...

By Ed Kilgore

A week ago I wrote about the big surge of early voting around the country, which had already reached an amazing 21 million! Now that number is up to an estimated 52.7 million and is continuing to climb.

In my earlier piece I echoed many political analysts in warning against too-hasty interpretations of the total numbers or the heavy Democratic tilt of early voting in places where that can be determined or at least estimated. Yes, the surge could mean massive overall turnout — or it could simply reflect fears of health risks for in-person voting on Election Day, or unusually early mail-in or in-person voting based on concerns about postal delivery or long lines. And the Democratic skew could mean a big sweep, or simply the partisanship in voting methods resulting from the president’s endless and false attacks on voting by mail.

But journalist Ari Berman has a different theory based on what he’s seen in Texas:
In the last week of September, Chris Rollins, the county clerk of Harris County, Texas, sent out mail ballots to voters in the Houston area who had requested them and set up 12 locations where voters concerned about delays with the US Postal Service could drop their ballots off. Then, on October 1, just as voters had started to return their mail ballots, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott issued an emergency declaration limiting mail ballot drop-off sites to one per county. The move appeared designed specifically to make voting harder in Harris County, the largest county in the state, which has 2.4 million registered voters and a larger landmass than Rhode Island … more...

By Sarah Blaskey, Nicholas Nehamas, C. Isaiah Smalls II, Christina Saint Louis, Ana Claudia Chacin, David Smiley, Shirsho Dasgupta, and
Yadira Lopez

Donald Trump’s team knew they couldn’t win the 2016 election simply by persuading people to vote for Trump. They also had to make sure Hillary Clinton supporters didn’t come out to the polls. So the campaign and its allies used big data to target Black communities along Miami-Dade County’s historically disenfranchised Interstate 95 corridor. There, residents became some of the 12.3 million unwitting subjects of a groundbreaking nationwide experiment: A computer algorithm that analyzed huge sums of potential voters’ personal data — things they’d said and done on Facebook, credit card purchases, charities they supported, and even personality traits — decided they could be manipulated into not voting. They probably wouldn’t even know it was happening.

Internally, Trump’s staff described this part of their operation with a term that went beyond the usual strategy of negative campaigning. They called it “deterrence.” The campaign blasted these voters selected for deterrence — usually wavering Hillary Clinton supporters — with advertisements, disinformation and misleading messaging designed to convince them to lose faith in Clinton and not show up to the polls, according to an investigation by the Miami Herald and the U.K.’s Channel 4 News, which exclusively obtained a massive cache of internal Trump campaign data from 2016.

What exactly went into the selection algorithm isn’t known — the Trump campaign’s machine-learning model remains a black box. But however sophisticated the model, it produced clear results: In Miami-Dade, more than 116,000 Black people identified by the campaign as potential voters were selected for deterrence, roughly half of all Black voters in the county.

That was almost twice the rate of deterrence for non-Black voters, a Herald analysis shows. Not only were Blacks far more likely to be selected for deterrence, but even non-Black voters were more likely to be on the deterrence list if they lived in Black communities like those along Interstate 95 heading north to Broward County. “The laser-like focus on suppressing Black turnout is clear,” said Dan Smith, a political scientist at the University of Florida who reviewed the Herald’s analysis of the campaign data. “It’s very striking.” more...

Sender address was from the far-right Proud Boys, but evidence suggests the origin was faked
By Isaac Stanley-Becker and Craig Timberg

Authorities in Florida and Alaska on Tuesday were investigating threatening emails sent to Democratic voters that claimed to be from the Proud Boys, a far-right group supportive of President Trump, but appeared instead to be a deceptive campaign making use of a vulnerability in the organization’s online network.

The emails, which appeared to target Democrats using data from digital databases known as “voter files,” told recipients the group was “in possession of all your information” and instructed voters to change their party registration and cast their ballots for Trump. “You will vote for Trump on Election Day or we will come after you,” the emails warned. Enrique Tarrio, the chairman of the Proud Boys and the Florida state director of Latinos for Trump, denied involvement, saying the group operates two sites, and was increasingly migrating away from the domain used in the email campaign. more...

By Melissa Quinn, Stefan Becket and Graham Kates

Washington — Dozens of voters in a heavily Democratic county in Florida and across several states reported receiving emails on Thursday purporting to come from a right-wing group threatening to "come after" them unless they vote for President Trump. But an examination of the messages, which are now under investigation by state and federal authorities, shows they were sent via servers located overseas, raising questions about their origin amid concerns about voter intimidation just two weeks before Election Day.

Democratic voters in Alachua County, Florida, began receiving the email on Tuesday morning, and voters in Alaska and Arizona also reported receiving the message. Early voting began in Florida on Monday. The emails appeared to come from the right-wing group The Proud Boys, and showed a "from" address of info@officialproudboys.com. The Proud Boys has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights advocacy group. more...

California ballot drop box set ablaze in possible arson, damaging up to 100 ballots
Joshua Bote USA TODAY

A ballot drop box in a majority-Latino town in California was set on fire Sunday night, which may have destroyed up to 100 ballots two weeks before the Nov. 3 election. Los Angeles County officials are investigating the fire, which took place in Baldwin Park — a suburb nearly 20 miles east of downtown Los Angeles with a nearly three-quarters Latino populationn.

“The arson of an official ballot drop box by the Baldwin Park Library in the First District has all the signs of an attempt to disenfranchise voters and call into question the security of our elections,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis in a statement. “Tampering, or attempts to tamper, with our democracy will not be tolerated.” The County Registar’s Office has asked both the FBI and the Attorney General to investigate the fire. more...

Stephen Fowler

Kathy spotted the long line of voters as she pulled into the Christian City Welcome Center about 3:30 p.m., ready to cast her ballot in the June 9 primary election. Hundreds of people were waiting in the heat and rain outside the lush, tree-lined complex in Union City, an Atlanta suburb with 22,400 residents, nearly 88% of them Black. She briefly considered not casting a ballot at all, but decided to stay. By the time she got inside more than five hours later, the polls had officially closed and the electronic scanners were shut down. Poll workers told her she'd have to cast a provisional ballot, but they promised that her vote would be counted.

"I'm now angry again, I'm frustrated again, and now I have an added emotion, which is anxiety," said Kathy, a human services worker, recalling her emotions at the time. She asked that her full name not be used because she fears repercussions from speaking out. "I'm wondering if my ballot is going to count." By the time the last voter finally got inside the welcome center to cast a ballot, it was the next day, June 10. more...

By Dianne Gallagher, Pamela Kirkland and Denise Royal, CNN

(CNN) Almost 1,000 absentee ballots are sitting in a locked bin somewhere in the Guilford County Board of Elections waiting to be processed. At least two voters in Greensboro, North Carolina, part of Guilford County, had no idea their ballots were sitting in that pile. Vincent Gager, a 48-year-old Black man, and his 83-year-old father Nathaniel mailed in their ballots on September 4. They wanted to vote by mail to avoid exposure to Covid-19. Over a month later, neither man had any idea their ballot had been listed as "pending cure" -- which meant there was something wrong with them that would prevent them being accepted.

The issue was with their witness information, one aspect of North Carolina's voting rules that's been thrown into confusion amid efforts to ease voting amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. "I've been doing it the same way for years," Gager said of his father's ballot. "I sign his. I'm his son. I'm his witness. And no one ever said his ballot wouldn't count." A mismatched signature or missing envelope can lead to mail-in ballots getting thrown out. But ballot "curing" is the process where voters can correct these mistakes, to make sure their votes are counted. States have different "curing" mechanisms -- some automatically notify voters about problems, while other states force voters to proactively follow-up with election officials. A federal judge on Wednesday blocked the North Carolina State Board of Elections from allowing voters to "cure" or fix a missing witness signature with a signed affidavit but determined that other types of deficient witness information, like a missing or incomplete address, can be cured without casting a new ballot. more...

*** Trump is right the election will be rigged; he is using voter suppression to rig (steal) the election. ***

The president’s lawyers are finding traction with their efforts to quash voting by mail.
By ANITA KUMAR

President Donald Trump is increasingly finding success in his strategy to restrict voting by mail — using lawsuits to stop late-arriving ballots from being counted in swing states. After failing to stop any states from automatically mailing ballots to all registered voters, Republican attorneys have starting to make inroads on a different issue — limiting when any ballots can be counted.

In Wisconsin, federal judges halted a plan to count ballots received up to six days after Election Day. In New Hampshire, a lawsuit calling on the state to tally ballots arriving up to five days late was rejected. And in Georgia, an appeals court dropped a three-day deadline extension for ballots. These legal fights are shaping up to be one of the most important factors in determining whether Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden is inaugurated as president in January.

Democrats, backed by some election officials, are pushing to have state deadlines extended due to fears the beleaguered United States Postal Service will struggle to deliver the millions of extra expected ballots on time. Republicans argue, with minimal evidence, that prolonging the counting period will lead to fraud and unnecessarily extend the presidential election.

It’s a fight that could continue in the days, or even weeks, following the Nov. 3 election. The margin of victory in a handful of states is expected to be so razor-thin that late ballots could determine who wins. Even following the election, Democrats will likely push for states to wait for outstanding ballots while Republicans will ask for them to be excluded, arguing, in part, that there’s no way to prove all of the late-arriving ballots were mailed prior to the election because of the lack of a postmark. more...

By Sarah Moon and Paul LeBlanc, CNN

(CNN) The California Republican Party said Wednesday it will not comply with the state's cease-and-desist order over unofficial ballot drop boxes placed in at least four counties, escalating a brewing political showdown ahead of the November election. The unauthorized ballot boxes, which state officials have called illegal, have been found in at least four counties across the state: Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange and Fresno. "Ballot harvesting program will continue," California Republican Party spokesman Hector Barajas said in a statement to CNN.

The fight over the unofficial drop boxes comes as the coronavirus pandemic has led to historic interest in mail-in voting, even as President Donald Trump and the GOP have spent months attacking the integrity of mail ballots and fighting in court against drop boxes. Trump has repeatedly made unfounded claims that the election tally will be fraudulent because of the proliferation of mail-in voting and drop box usage and has warned that he may not agree to a peaceful transfer of power due to those misleading beliefs.

The party made their intentions clear in a letter to the California Secretary of State on Wednesday. In the letter, attorneys for the state GOP say all of the ballot boxes deployed by the party are indoors, staffed by volunteers or party officials, secure and not labeled "official." While images of the ballot boxes have shown the boxes labeled as "official," the state GOP said it did not authorize the use of that term and had it removed. more...

By Emily Czachor

A Texas appeals court dismissed the state GOP Party's lawsuit pushing for early voting restrictions on Wednesday morning, questioning the petition's delayed filing. The Republican Party of Texas filed its suit against Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins late Monday, less than 24 hours before the state's early voting period began. The lawsuit aimed to limit curbside voting access and end drive-through voting altogether in Harris County. Drive-through voting is a new procedure in Texas, which Hollins announced in early September as a means to reduce risks of COVID-19 transmission at polling sites. Harris—where Houston is located—is the state's most populous county, and the county hit hardest by COVID-19 relative to others across the state.

"Drive-Thru Voting (DTV) was created in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic as a safer, socially-distant alternative to walk-in voting for all voters," reads a description posted to the Harris County Clerk's website. Whereas any registered voter is able to cast ballots at drive-through locations, curbside voting is restricted to individuals with certain medical conditions. The GOP's lawsuit also suggested curbside voting options should only be available to those who previously submitted applications that prove they meet qualifications to use them. more...

By Ewan Palmer

Cards describing a "social visit" from the Ku Klux Klan were left at the homes of Joe Biden supporters in Tennessee, intimidating local residents. Breana Green, of Shelbyville, described how she noticed that a sign showing support for Biden in her neighbor's yard had been disturbed. Speaking to WSMV, Green said the yard was littered with a number of "business cards" reportedly belonging to the KKK.

Green believed the cards were left in response to the Biden-Harris yard sign, which also had tire marks indicating it had been run over. "It's scary knowing that just supporting a presidential candidate can incite this kind of vandalism," Green said. "There is some anxiety that people could be targeted in my family," she added. "People in the community could be targeted as well. I just don't think this should be something that we're dealing with in 2020." Speaking to WPLB, Green described that the cards said how the KKK had paid "a social visit," with a warning that the next time will be "a business call." more...

The court found that Abbott's intention was to make it easier for Texans to vote.
By JOSH GERSTEIN

What happened: A federal appeals court has reinstated Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s order limiting the use of absentee ballot drop boxes to one location per county, regardless of population. Just before midnight Monday Texas time, a unanimous three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted a district judge’s preliminary injunction against Abbott’s October 1 directive.

Fifth Circuit Judge Stuart Duncan said the lower court erred by failing to view the governor’s order as part of a broader initiative aimed at making it easier for Texans to vote amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. “Critics were clearly clueless about the legality of my action & simply voiced prejudicial political opinions,” Abbott wrote in a celebratory tweet.

The background: Civil rights groups and Democrats complained that the one-dropbox-location-per-county rule that Abbott abruptly imposed two weeks ago unfairly burdens large urban counties and has the potential to deter voters and create health hazards. However, Duncan said the rule would have a “de minimis” impact on voters, at most. more...

By Sarah Moon, Stella Chan and Paul LeBlanc, CNN

Washington (CNN)The California Secretary of State and Department of Justice have sent a cease and desist order to the California Republican Party to remove unofficial ballot drop boxes placed in at least three counties, officials announced in a news conference on Monday. "These unauthorized drop boxes are a disservice to state and local election administrators who have spent months working on the placement and deployment of official ballot drop boxes," California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said.

Images of the unofficial boxes showed that some had been labeled as "official," Padilla explained, adding that his office received reports of the unofficial boxes being deployed by the state Republican Party in Fresno, Los Angeles and Orange counties. California state law does not allow for the use of unauthorized vote-by-mail ballot drop boxes. Only county election officials have the authority to oversee drop boxes and ensure that they're in compliance with the law. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, however, said Monday that his office received "disturbing reports" that some Republican Party officials are not willing to remove the "unofficial" boxes. more...

Peter Weber, The Week

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla's office has received complains about what appear to be unauthorized ballot drop boxes in Los Angeles, Orange, and Fresno counties, and it appears from social media posts that California Republicans have set them up to collect ballots, The Orange County Register reported Sunday night. The metal boxes, which purport to be "official," have been reported at local political party offices, churches, and headquarters for GOP candidates.

"Operating unofficial ballot drop boxes — especially those misrepresented as official drop boxes — is not just misleading to voters, it's a violation of state law," Padilla said, and a felony conviction would land perpetrators in prison for two to four years. County elections officials and registrars are solely empowered to set up and maintain drop boxes in accordance with strict state security rules.

The California Republican Party did not respond to the Register's requests for comments, nor did individual GOP operatives who have implicated themselves on social media. But the state GOP has "been defending the practice in replies on Twitter, alleging the process was made legal under a 2016 law that allows California voters to designate a person to return their ballot for them," the Register reports. "The GOP calls the practice 'ballot harvesting' and blames it for losses to the Democrats in OC and other places in 2018." State officials say unauthorized drop boxes would violate that law since there's no designated person to sign for the ballot, as required. more...

GOP promoted fake "official" drop-off sites at churches and gun stores. Officials say they're illegal
Igor Derysh

The California Republican Party is operating unofficial ballot drop boxes that Secretary of State Alex Padilla said on Sunday were in "violation of state law." Jordan Tygh, a regional field director for the California Republican Party, promoted an "official ballot drop off box" on Twitter and urged followers to message him for "convenient locations" to drop their ballots last week, The Orange County Register first reported. One voter reported an "Official Ballot Drop Box" that was "approved and bought by the GOP" outside of a Los Angeles area church before it was removed after county officials warned on social media that it was "not an official vote by mail drop box and does not comply with [state] regulations for drop boxes," according to KCAL.

The boxes were set up across Southern California in front of churches, gyms, and gun stores by the California GOP, according to The Washington Post. And at least one chapter of the state Republican Party in northern California has also rolled out its own drop-off sites, echoing President Donald Trump's baseless allegations over the "security" of mail voting even though it has been repeatedly shown to be safe and secure.

"CONSERVATIVE VOTER ALERT!," the Fresno GOP said while announcing a list of unofficial locations to drop off ballots. "President Trump is very concerned about the lack of security with mail in ballots. Don't take a chance that your vote will not be counted. Once your ballot arrives in the mail, mark your ballot completely and then walk it in, as soon as possible, to one of the secure locations listed below. Make sure your vote counts!" Padilla, a Democrat, said on Sunday that it was illegal to operate unofficial ballot drop boxes. more...

Jacob Jarvis

The California Republican Party has faced questions over unofficial drop-off boxes set up to collect mail-in ballots across the state. Reports of such boxes, which claim to be official, have been shared with the California Secretary of State, Alex Padilla—who has suggested they could be illegal. "Operating unofficial ballot drop boxes—especially those misrepresented as official drop boxes—is not just misleading to voters, it's a violation of state law," he said, in comments reported by The Orange County Register.

Following a drop-off box being flagged with him, Orange County Registrar Neal Kelley said: "We are looking into this and the CA Secretary of State has also issued guidance confirming unofficial ballot drop boxes are not in compliance with state law. Third party ballot collections are allowed, but a voter must designate someone to return their ballot on their behalf." more...

Yelena Dzhanova

For nearly 40 years, the Republican National Committee was barred from engaging in voter intimidation tactics and "ballot security" measures like paying law enforcement to appear at polling sites. But in 2018, a federal judge lifted the restriction, ending the 1982 consent decree. This year will be the first time in nearly four decades that a presidential election is held without this agreement in place — an addition to the heap of challenges already influencing voters amid a global health crisis.

The coronavirus pandemic has upended US elections, bringing on postponed primaries, changes to in-person polling sites, and a battle over expanded vote-by-mail. "We've never seen a presidential election quite like this one because the dynamics of it are just so different," Jon Greenbaum, chief counsel and senior deputy director for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, told Business Insider. more...

Matthew S. Schwartz

A federal judge in Pennsylvania has thrown out a lawsuit by the Trump campaign that tried to limit the battleground state's use of drop boxes in the current presidential election. The lawsuit also challenged the Pennsylvania secretary of state's guidance that mail-in ballots shouldn't be rejected if the voter's signature doesn't match the one on file, and a state restriction that poll watchers be residents of the county where they are assigned.

All of these claims turned on a common theme: the idea that without sufficient security measures, people might commit voter fraud. The campaign argued that that fraud would then "dilute" lawfully cast votes, in violation of the state and U.S. constitutions. In reality, voter fraud is extremely rare, though Trump has repeated baseless claims about it being widespread. U.S. District Court Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan, who wrote the opinion, was reluctant to second-guess the judgment of the state legislature and election officials.

"Perhaps Plaintiffs are right that guards should be placed near drop boxes, signature-analysis experts should examine every mail-in ballot, poll watchers should be able to man any poll regardless of location, and other security improvements should be made," Ranjan wrote. "But the job of an unelected federal judge isn't to suggest election improvements, especially when those improvements contradict the reasoned judgment of democratically elected officials." more...

*** Republicans are willing to kill off Americans to win the election. ***

A lower court had struck down the witness requirement for mail ballots, citing Covid-19.
By ZACH MONTELLARO

In a victory for Republicans, the Supreme Court on Monday reinstated the witness requirement for South Carolina mail ballots after lower courts ruled that having that requirement created risk during the pandemic. In an order issued on Monday evening, the high court set aside a lower court ruling that suspended the witness requirement, effectively restoring the mandate while arguments in the case are ongoing, granting an exception for ballots cast before the stay and received within two days.

There were no noted dissents, while Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch would have granted a stay application in full, meaning ballots already submitted that did not have a witness signature would have been rejected. It is one of the first election-related cases that the Supreme Court has ruled on since the primaries and could suggest the justices will rein in lower courts that seek to alter the rules of an election, even if to expand access to voting as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The Supreme Court “has repeatedly emphasized that federal courts ordinarily should not alter state election rules in the period close to an election,” Kavanaugh wrote defending the court’s orders, citing the so-called "Purcell Principle," in which the high court reinstated Arizona's voter-ID law, which had been struck down by an appellate court just before the 2006 midterms. (No other justices signed on publicly to Kavanuagh’s rationale.) more...

*** Trump was projecting what he was going to do when he said the election would be rigged he is the one rigging the election. ***

Igor Derysh, Salon

President Trump's campaign is waging a behind-the-scenes effort to threaten low-profile county officials into ignoring election rules and sowing doubt in the mail voting process. Trump's campaign launched an "unusually aggressive" push on the local level, sending 100 county election officials in North Carolina "threatening letters" and "misinformation" to urge them to disregard a new rule that makes it easier for voters to fix mistakes on their mail ballots, according to the Associated Press. The warnings came after the state Board of Elections settled a lawsuit after ballots cast by Black voters in the state were disproportionately rejected.

The campaign also sent letters to more than 1,800 municipal clerks in states like Wisconsin and Georgia that raised questions about the security of mail voting, according to CNN. The campaign also threatened to sue officials in Pennsylvania for blocking "poll watchers" from observing election offices where people register to vote and apply for mail ballots, according to the AP.

Trump's team has repeatedly filed lawsuits in response to states easing access to mail ballots amid the coronavirus pandemic but such litigation has so far been unsuccessful. Trump has suggested that he aims to fight the expansions all the way to the Supreme Court as he hopes to add Amy Coney Barrett, his third conservative justice in four years, to the high court before November. Less visible has been the campaign's quiet efforts to undermine voting rules on the local level, where his team has bombarded officials with letters that have raised alarm among election experts. more...

Voting rights advocates warn that suppression efforts in the final weeks of the election threaten the voting blocks Democrats need most.
By MAYA KING

Democrats are running out of time to protect the voters they need the most. As Election Day nears, Democrats are scrambling to counter disinformation campaigns, complicated absentee ballot requirements and consolidated polling locations. All of which they say threaten the groups Joe Biden can't win without in November: Black and Latino voters. Efforts to shore up their votes involve a combination of lawsuits to prevent disenfranchisement and a messaging blitz to encourage voters to have a plan should they encounter trouble at the ballot box.

Since kicking off their campaign with Michelle Obama’s remarks at the national convention in August, Democrats have been deploying state party chairs, PAC leaders and high-profile Biden surrogates to send out a strong message. They’re encouraging voters to cast their mail-in ballots as soon as possible and be mindful of voter registration deadlines in their respective states. In the wake of Trump’s attacks on the U.S. Postal Service, they’ve shifted tactics, incorporating early and in-person options to their voter guidance. There's reason for concern. According to findings from a data leak first reported by the British Channel 4 news, in 2016, the Trump campaign targeted 3.5 million Black voters in a widespread, data-based form of voter suppression. And now voting rights advocates are girding for a repeat. more...

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