Election deniers march toward power in key 2024 battlegrounds | Amy Gardner/The Washington Post

First came Kristina Karamo, a community college instructor from Detroit who claimed without evidence that she witnessed fraud as a 2020 election observer — and who in April became her party’s pick for secretary of state, Michigan’s top election official, after repeatedly touting those claims. Next was Doug Mastriano, the firebrand state lawmaker from Pennsylvania who urged his colleagues to throw out Joe Biden’s 2020 victory. In May, Mastriano secured the GOP nomination for governor, a position with the power to certify the state’s slate of presidential electors. Finally, this month, Arizona Republicans nominated Kari Lake for governor and Mark Finchem for secretary of state. Both are outspoken election deniers who have pledged that they would not have certified Biden’s victory in their state. The winners fit a pattern: Across the battleground states that decided the 2020 vote, candidates who deny the legitimacy of that election have claimed nearly two-thirds of GOP nominations for state and federal offices with authority over elections, according to a Washington Post analysis.

Full Article: Election deniers march toward power in key 2024 battlegrounds – The Washington Post

Trump-allied lawyers pursued voting machine data in multiple states, records reveal | mma Brown , Jon Swaine , Aaron C. Davis and Amy Gardner/The Washington Post

A team of computer experts directed by lawyers allied with President Donald Trump copied sensitive data from election systems in Georgia as part of a secretive, multistate effort to access voting equipment that was broader, more organized and more successful than previously reported, according to emails and other records obtained by The Washington Post. As they worked to overturn Trump’s 2020 election defeat, the lawyers asked a forensic data firm to access county election systems in at least three battleground states, according to the documents and interviews. The firm charged an upfront retainer fee for each job, which in one case was $26,000. Attorney Sidney Powell sent the team to Michigan to copy a rural county’s election data and later helped arrange for them to do the same in the Detroit area, according to the records. A Trump campaign attorney engaged the team to travel to Nevada. And the day after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol the team was in southern Georgia, copying data from a Dominion voting system in rural Coffee County. The emails and other records were collected through a subpoena issued to the forensics firm, Atlanta-based SullivanStrickler, by plaintiffs in a long-running lawsuit in federal court over the security of Georgia’s voting systems. The documents provide the first confirmation that data from Georgia’s election system was copied. Indications of a breach there were first raised by plaintiffs in the case in February, and state officials have said they are investigating.

Full Article: Trump-allied lawyers pursued voting machine data in multiple states, records reveal – The Washington Post

National: CISA expands efforts to fight election disinformation ahead of ‘challenging’ 2024 vote | Suzanne Smalley/CyberScoop

Chris Krebs, former head of the nation’s cybersecurity agency inside the Department of Homeland Security, caused a stir this week when he suggested the agency break out on its own. Instead of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency residing in DHS, Krebs told an audience at the Black Hat cybersecurity conference in Las Vegas, a standalone CISA could help streamline how the private sector and other stakeholders work with the government to combat cyberthreats. “Instead of going to five or six different agencies, make the front door clearly visible — and as I see it that’s CISA,” Krebs said. But former CISA officials and other cybersecurity experts said that idea is simply unrealistic and impractical. CyberScoop spoke with eight former U.S. cybersecurity officials, executives and experts about Krebs’ comments and a majority said that CISA needs to reside inside DHS in order to accomplish its mission. “DHS gives CISA size and Cabinet-level seniority in the interagency,” Looking Glass CEO Bryan Ware, who previously served in senior cybersecurity roles at CISA and DHS, told CyberScoop. “I worry that without that top cover [CISA] could be diminished by DOD, FBI and others.”

Full Articlee: CISA expands efforts to fight election disinformation ahead of ‘challenging’ 2024 vote

Louisiana: Conspiracies complicate voting machine debate | Christina A. Cassidy/Associated Press

The need for Louisiana to replace its voting machines is not in dispute. They are badly outdated — deployed in 2006, the year after Hurricane Katrina struck — and do not produce paper ballots that are critical to ensuring election results are accurate. What to do about them is another story. The long-running drama includes previous allegations of bid-rigging, voting machine companies claiming favoritism and a secretary of state who is noncommittal about having a new system in place for the 2024 presidential election. Local election clerks also worry about the influence of conspiracy theorists who have peddled unfounded claims about voting equipment and have been welcomed into the debate over new machines. “It would be a travesty to let a minority of people who have little to no experience in election administration tear down an exceptional process that was painstakingly built over many, many years,” Calcasieu Parish Clerk of Court Lynn Jones told state officials in a meeting this summer. “And for us to throw it out of the window because of unfounded theories is mind-boggling.” The uncertainty is playing out against a backdrop of attacks on the integrity of elections, fueled by former President Donald Trump’s lies that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him and promoted by a web of his allies and supporters. Some of those same supporters have been trying to convince election officials across the country that they should ditch machines in favor of paper ballots and hand-counts.

Full Article: Conspiracies complicate voting machine debate in Louisiana | AP News

Wisconsin: Robin Vos fires Michael Gableman, ending a 2020 election review that’s cost taxpayers more than $1 million and produced no evidence of fraud | Molly Beck/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos fired Michael Gableman on Friday, more than a year after he hired the former Supreme Court justice to probe the 2020 election and three days after Vos barely survived a primary challenge Gableman supported. Vos ended Gableman’s contract with the state that has provided a national platform and more than $100,000 in salary to Gableman over the last 14 months but has produced a review of former President Donald Trump’s 2020 loss that has promoted election conspiracy theories and revealed no evidence of significant voter fraud. The review has cost state taxpayers more than $1 million through costs for salaries and legal fees related to lawsuits filed against Gableman and Vos over ignored requests for public records. Vos did not respond to multiple requests from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for comment. He told WISN-12’s Matt Smith in an interview for UPFRONT that Gableman was sent a letter. “We did it through the process of the contract,” Vos said. “I really don’t think there’s any need to have a discussion. He did a good job last year, kind of got off the rails this year and now we’re going to end the investigation.”

Source: Vos fires Michael Gableman, ending $1 million review of 2020 election

Michigan plot to breach voting machines points to a national trend | atrick Marley and Tom Hamburger/The Washington Post

Eight months after the 2020 presidential election, Robin Hawthorne did not expect anyone to ask for her township’s voting machines. The election had gone smoothly, she said, just as others had that she had overseen for 17 years as the Rutland Charter Township clerk in rural western Michigan. But now a sheriff’s deputy and investigator were in her office, asking her about her township’s three vote tabulators, suggesting that they somehow had been programmed with a microchip to shift votes from Donald Trump to Joe Biden and asking her to hand one over for inspection. “What the heck is going on?” she recalled thinking. The surprise visit may have been an “out-of-the-blue thing,” as Hawthorne described it, but it was one element of a much broader effort by figures who deny the outcome of the 2020 vote to access voting machines in a bid to prove fraud that experts say does not exist. In states across the country, including Colorado, Pennsylvania and Georgia, attempts to inappropriately access voting machines have spurred investigations. They have also sparked concern among election authorities that, while voting systems are broadly secure, breaches by those looking for evidence of fraud could themselves compromise the integrity of the process and undermine confidence in the vote. In Michigan, the efforts to access the machines jumped into public view this month when the state attorney general, Dana Nessel (D), requested a special prosecutor be assigned to look into a group that includes her likely Republican opponent, Matthew DePerno.

Full Article: Michigan plot to breach voting machines points to a national trend – The Washington Post

Nevada: Voter groups object to proposed hand-counting rules | Gabe Stern/Associated Press

As officials in some parts of rural Nevada vow to bypass voting machines in favor of hand counting ballots this November, the Nevada secretary of state’s office is proposing statewide rules that would specify how to do it, including requiring bipartisan vote counters, room for observation and how many ballots to count at a time. On Friday, four voting rights groups came out against the proposal, calling it an “admirable attempt to ensure higher standards” for counting votes by hand, but urging the secretary of state to prohibit the practice outright, noting that the push for hand-counting stems from “unfounded speculation” about voting machines. “The regulations are not enough to address the underlying accuracy issues and remediate the legal deficiencies of hand count processes,” the groups Brennan Center, All Voting is Local, ACLU Nevada and Silver State Voices said in a statement Friday. Both voting rights groups and hand-count proponents spoke at an online hearing Friday, the first meeting convened to discuss the regulations. Voting rights groups lobbied to prohibit hand-counts, while voting machine skeptics, a majority of the speakers, said the proposed regulations were a power grab meant to sabotage hand-counting.

Full AQrticle: Voter groups object to proposed Nevada hand-counting rules | AP News

Election lies pose physical threat to US poll workers, House report warns | Victoria Bekiempis/The Guardian

A sweeping US House oversight committee report has warned that lies and misinformation around the 2020 American presidential election present an “ongoing threat to representative democracy” and pose a grave physical danger to election officials. The 21-page report called for emergency funding to address increased security costs related to 2022 contests and warned that there was a much-heightened risk that conspiracy theorists could gain power over elections in the future. The report also detailed chilling threats against election administrators across the country. One Texas official received menacing messages targeting him and “threatening his children, saying, ‘I think we should end your bloodline.’” The messages against him came following “personal attacks on national media outlets”. Another threat included a social media call to “hang him when convicted for fraud and let his lifeless body hang in public until maggots drip out of his mouth”. The committee started investigating the impact of lies surrounding election administration in early 2021. After former Donald Trump lost the 2020 election, he falsely insisted that the election was stolen from him.

Full Article: Election lies pose physical threat to US poll workers, House report warns | US elections 2020 | The Guardian

Barcode Voting Machines: The Most Unnecessary Gap in US Election Security | Elise Kline/WhoWhatWhy

Election technology experts are warning that barcode ballot marking devices (BMDs) are vulnerable to bad actors capable of committing the perfect crime: changing the information on a ballot and getting away with it without the voter even realizing it happened. The use of barcodes is one of these machines’ biggest downsides. When people vote with these BMDs, they fill out their ballot on a screen; a printer then produces a paper ballot marked with a barcode. To cast their ballot, users feed this paper into a third device that scans the barcode to record the vote. And that’s a problem. “Voters can’t read barcodes,” said Alex Halderman, professor of computer science and director of the Center for Computer Security and Society at the University of Michigan. “The problem is that you’re putting a potentially compromised computer in between the voter and the permanent and only record of their ballot.” Their susceptibility to these types of attacks is not the only problem; BMDs are also difficult to adequately test and audit, according to a 2022 research report from the University of California, Berkeley. The report demonstrates that even a small percentage of votes changed in a cybersecurity attack can alter the overall margin of results. It found that changing the votes on just 1 percent of ballots in a jurisdiction can alter the margin of a contest jurisdiction-wide by 2 percent, even if there are no undervotes or invalid votes.

Full Article: Barcode Voting Machines: The Most Unnecessary Gap in US Election Security – WhoWhatWhy

National: After Mar-a-Lago search, users on pro-Trump forums agitate for ‘civil war’ — including a Jan. 6 rioter | Ben Collins and Ryan J. Reilly/NBC

Some users on pro-Trump internet forums told users to “lock and load,” agitated for civil war and urged protesters to head to Mar-a-Lago in the hours after news broke that the FBI searched former President Donald Trump’s Florida compound on Monday. One user posting about the “civil war” shortly after the search was Tyler Welsh Slaeker, a Washington state man awaiting sentencing for storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, according to previous research and statements posted online. A report in December by Advance Democracy, a nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative group, found that Slaeker posted to the pro-Trump internet forum TheDonald under the username “bananaguard62.” On Monday night, the username “bananaguard62” posted the top reply to the “lock and load” post. “Are we not in a cold civil war at this point?” the account asked. Another user responded, “several points ago.” Another top reply to Slaeker quoted a notorious antisemitic Nazi rallying cry.

Full Article: After Mar-a-Lago search, users on pro-Trump forums agitate for ‘civil war’ — including a Jan. 6 rioter

National: Historians privately warn Biden that America’s democracy is teetering | Michael Scherer, Ashley Parker and Tyler Pager/The Washington Post

President Biden paused last week, during one of the busiest stretches of his presidency, for a nearly two-hour private history lesson from a group of academics who raised alarms about the dire condition of democracy at home and abroad. The conversation during a ferocious lightning storm on Aug. 4 unfolded as a sort of Socratic dialogue between the commander in chief and a select group of scholars, who painted the current moment as among the most perilous in modern history for democratic governance, according to multiple people familiar with the discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a private meeting. Comparisons were made to the years before the 1860 election when Abraham Lincoln warned that a “house divided against itself cannot stand” and the lead-up to the 1940 election, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt battled rising domestic sympathy for European fascism and resistance to the United States joining World War II. The diversion was, for Biden, part of a regular effort to use outside experts, in private White House meetings, to help him work through his approach to multiple crises facing his presidency. Former president Bill Clinton spoke with Biden in May about how to navigate inflation and the midterm elections. A group of foreign policy experts, including former Republican advisers, came to the White House in January to brief Biden before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Full Article: Historians privately warn Biden: America’s democracy is on the brink – The Washington Post

National: CISA publishes cyber toolkit for election officials ahead of midterms | Benjamin Freed/StateScoop

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency on Wednesday released a guide to digital threats facing state and local election officials and recommendations on how to mitigate them in the run-up to November. The “Cybersecurity Toolkit to Protect Elections” aims to help election administrators and their staffs protect themselves against threats including phishing, ransomware, email scams, denial-of-service attacks and other vectors that could potentially disrupt the voting process or confuse voters. The guide notes, for instance, that election officials “are often required to open email attachments, which could contain malicious payloads,” to run processes like absentee ballot applications. It also warns that a ransomware attack against an election office could scramble or leak voter registration data or the software used to publish unofficial election results. The cyber toolkit is the latest output from CISA’s Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative, or JCDC — the year-old initiative borrows its name from the band AC/DC — and comes as CISA Director Jen Easterly and many election officials gather in Las Vegas for the Black Hat and DEF CON events. Easterly launched the JCDC effort in 2021 to build engagement between federal cyber authorities, the tech industry and state and local governments.

Full Article: CISA publishes cyber toolkit for election officials ahead of midterms

National: At least 10 Republican nominees for state elections chief have disputed the legitimacy of the 2020 election | Daniel Dale/CNN

In at least 10 states, the Republican nominee for the job of overseeing future elections is someone who has questioned, rejected or tried to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Secretaries of state will play a critical role in managing and certifying the presidential election in 2024. The distinct possibility that some of these secretaries will be people with a history of election denial is a major challenge for American democracy — especially because former President Donald Trump, who is widely expected to run again in 2024, continues to pressure state officials to discard the will of voters. The Republican nominees for secretary of state in the November 2022 midterm elections include three swing-state candidates who have made efforts to overturn 2020 results in their states: Mark Finchem of Arizona, Kristina Karamo of Michigan and Jim Marchant of Nevada. The Republican nominee in Republican-dominated Alabama, Wes Allen, expressed support for a 2020 lawsuit that sought to get the Supreme Court to toss out Joe Biden’s victory. The Republican nominee in Republican-dominated Indiana, Diego Morales, has called the 2020 election a “scam,” the vote “tainted” and the outcome “questionable.”

Full Article: At least 10 Republican nominees for state elections chief have disputed the legitimacy of the 2020 election – CNNPolitics

National: Five States Will Decide If the 2024 Election Can Be Stolen | Ryan Teague Beckwith and Bill Allison/Bloomberg

Donald Trump’s effort to overturn his 2020 election loss to Joe Biden failed, but his loyalists have never stopped trying to turn the US election system into one that would return him to the White House in 2024—fairly or otherwise. In the last two years, Republicans have sought to remove state officials who wouldn’t manufacture votes and falsely declare him the winner. They changed the way elections are run in response to his conspiracy theories. Most importantly, they’ve nominated people who insist Trump won as candidates for US Congress and governor, and for offices that certify the outcome. Has it worked? To answer that question, a team of Bloomberg journalists set out to find which states are most vulnerable to political election interference—and what it means for elections this fall and in 2024, when the White House will once again be at stake. We dug into laws in all 50 states and scrutinized the thousands of election-related bills proposed nationwide since 2020. We consulted election-security experts, voting rights advocates, election lawyers, academics and current and former elections administrators as well as decades of political research to zero in on how elections work.

Full Article: Five States Will Decide If the 2024 Election Can Be Stolen

National: Hunting for Voter Fraud, Conspiracy Theorists Organize ‘Stakeouts’ | Tiffany Hsu and Stuart A. Thompson/The New York Times

One night last month, on the recommendation of a man known online as Captain K, a small group gathered in an Arizona parking lot and waited in folding chairs, hoping to catch the people they believed were trying to destroy American democracy by submitting fake early voting ballots. Captain K — which is what Seth Keshel, a former U.S. Army intelligence officer who espouses voting fraud conspiracy theories, calls himself — had set the plan in motion. In July, as states like Arizona were preparing for their primary elections, he posted a proposal on the messaging app Telegram: “All-night patriot tailgate parties for EVERY DROP BOX IN AMERICA.” The post received more than 70,000 views. Similar calls were galvanizing people in at least nine other states, signaling the latest outgrowth from rampant election fraud conspiracy theories coursing through the Republican Party. In the nearly two years since former President Donald J. Trump catapulted false claims of widespread voter fraud from the political fringes to the conservative mainstream, a constellation of his supporters have drifted from one theory to another in a frantic but unsuccessful search for evidence. Many are now focused on ballot drop boxes — where people can deposit their votes into secure and locked containers — under the unfounded belief that mysterious operatives, or so-called ballot mules, are stuffing them with fake ballots or otherwise tampering with them. And they are recruiting observers to monitor countless drop boxes across the country, tapping the millions of Americans who have been swayed by bogus election claims.

Full Article: Hunting for Voter Fraud, Conspiracy Theorists Organize ‘Stakeouts’ – The New York Times

Arizona county that saw election snafu to waive city costs | Bob Christie/Associated Press

An Arizona county where the Aug. 2 primary election was beset with multiple issues that led to the firing of its election director will waive the costs for running municipal elections in 11 cities and towns and plans to hire an outside election expert to review what went wrong. The five-member Pinal County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Wednesday to waive more than $100,000 in costs it planned to bill the cities and towns for running the local elections. Seven cities and towns had local races left off early ballots that required the county to mail about 63,000 supplemental ballots. And County Attorney Kent Volkmer told the board that four other municipalities were affected by Election Day missteps that led to ballot shortages at about 20 of the county’s 95 polling places. “As the county manager clearly indicated, we fell below the expectations of our customers,” Volkmer told the board. “So I believe if this board is so inclined, I think there is good cause to waive for all of the various entities that we serve the municipal and town elections for.” “I think that’s a good idea due to the issues at hand,” Board Chair Jeffrey McClure. Last week, McClure had called the election issues “a major screwup” and Elections Director David Frisk was fired the next day. He had just been hired in March.

Full Article: Arizona county that saw election snafu to waive city costs | AP News

Colorado: Fact Checking Claims About Dominion Voting Systems and the Recount | Khaya Himmelman/The Dispatch

A recent article from The Gateway Pundit, which has a history of promoting false voter conspiracy theories, claims that Dominion Voting System machines failed a logic and accuracy test in El Paso County, Colorado, “for the upcoming hand recount of the 2022 Primary election.” In Colorado’s March primary, Mesa County clerk Tina Peters lost her primary bid for the secretary of state nomination by 88,224 votes and state Senate candidate Lynda Zamora Wilson lost her race by 8,710 votes. According to the article, “The recount was ordered (and paid for) by some of the candidates, including Mesa Clerk Tina Peters and El Paso senate candidate Linda [sic] Zamora Wilson, who had her election inexplicably overturned AFTER it had been called by local news without any explanation.” The article also references a viral tweet, which similarly claims that “Dominion voting machines fail logic & accuracy test in El Paso County, CO recount. Almost 60% of test ballots sent to adjudication.”

Source: Fact Checking Claims About Dominion Voting Systems and the Colorado Recount

Georgia: Courtroom showdowns ahead for Atlanta-based grand jury examining Trump and 2020 election | Bill Rankin and Tamar Hallerman/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Courtroom showdowns and appearances involving high-profile figures are on deck this week as part of the ongoing Fulton County investigation into what happened in Georgia after the 2020 presidential election. Rudy Giuliani, who represented former President Donald Trump in his efforts to overturn the election results in a half-dozen swing states, is scheduled to appear Tuesday before the special purpose grand jury aiding the investigation. Attorneys for U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a key ally of Trump’s, will go to federal court on Wednesday to fight a grand jury subpoena. And two other lawyers connected to the Trump campaign are teeing up challenges of their own in New Mexico and Colorado. Giuliani will certainly be asked about his appearances before two state legislative panels in December 2020. During three hearings, the former New York City mayor claimed widespread fraud infected Georgia’s presidential election. Giuliani showed an edited tape of ballots being counted in Atlanta’s State Farm Arena that he said was a “powerful smoking gun.” Both state and federal investigators have said Giuliani’s claims were baseless. Yet Giuliani continued to repeat those falsehoods, his subpoena alleges.

Full Article: Courtroom showdowns ahead for Atlanta-based grand jury examining Trump and 2020 election

Michigan: Trump-backed attorney general candidate involved in voting-system breach, documents show | Nathan Layne/Nathan LayneReuters

The Republican nominee for Michigan attorney general led a team that gained unauthorized access to voting equipment while hunting for evidence to support former President Donald Trump’s false election-fraud claims, according to a Reuters analysis of court filings and public records. The analysis shows that people working with Matthew DePerno – the Trump-endorsed nominee for the state’s top law-enforcement post – examined a vote tabulator from Richfield Township, a conservative stronghold of 3,600 people in northern Michigan’s Roscommon County. The Richfield security breach is one of four similar incidents being investigated by Michigan’s current attorney general, Democrat Dana Nessel. Under state law, it is a felony to seek or provide unauthorized access to voting equipment. DePerno did not respond to a request for comment. The involvement of a Republican attorney general nominee in a voting-system breach comes amid a national effort by backers of Trump’s fraud falsehoods to win state offices that could prove critical in deciding any future contested elections.

Full Article: Exclusive: Trump-backed Michigan attorney general candidate involved in voting-system breach, documents show | Reuters

Michigan Attorney General says 9 people are focus of voting machine breach investigation. Who are they? | Clara Hendrickson and Dave Boucher/Detroit Free Press

Michigan GOP attorney general candidate Matt DePerno is not the only one in the national spotlight after state investigators accused him of participating in a conspiracy to access voting machines in the wake of the 2020 presidential election. DePerno was part of a nine-person team now at the center of the criminal probe, according to the office of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. Nessel’s Office, along with Michigan State Police, are investigating a plot “to unlawfully obtain access to voting machines” used in the 2020 presidential election and recently petitioned an independent arm of the attorney general’s office to appoint a special prosecutor to determine whether criminal charges should be brought against those allegedly involved. The group includes those who seized ballot tabulators, broke into them and assisted in gaining unauthorized access to the machines, according to a petition from Nessel’s Office. The petition claims that DePerno, lawyer Stefanie Lambert Junttila and state Rep. Daire Rendon, R-Lake City, “orchestrated a coordinated plan to gain access to voting tabulators” from Roscommon County, Richfield Township, Irving Township and Lake City Township. A group of four subsequently handled the equipment to conduct its own election review, according to the petition from the attorney general’s office. That team included Ben Cotton, Jeff Lenberg, Doug Logan and James Penrose.

Full Article: Michigan voting investigation: The 9 people at the center of the probe