National: How Republican States Are Expanding Their Power Over Elections | Nick Corasaniti and Reid J. Epstein/The New York Times

Lonnie Hollis has been a member of the Troup County election board in West Georgia since 2013. A Democrat and one of two Black women on the board, she has advocated Sunday voting, helped voters on Election Days and pushed for a new precinct location at a Black church in a nearby town. But this year, Ms. Hollis will be removed from the board, the result of a local election law signed by Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican. Previously, election board members were selected by both political parties, county commissioners and the three biggest municipalities in Troup County. Now, the G.O.P.-controlled county commission has the sole authority to restructure the board and appoint all the new members. “I speak out and I know the laws,” Ms. Hollis said in an interview. “The bottom line is they don’t like people that have some type of intelligence and know what they’re doing, because they know they can’t influence them.” Ms. Hollis is not alone. Across Georgia, members of at least 10 county election boards have been removed, had their position eliminated or are likely to be kicked off through local ordinances or new laws passed by the state legislature. At least five are people of color and most are Democrats — though some are Republicans — and they will most likely all be replaced by Republicans.

Full Article: How Republican States Are Expanding Their Power Over Elections – The New York Times

National: Democrats scramble to unify before election bill brawl | Jordain Carney/The Hill

Democrats are racing against the clock as they try to strike an internal deal on a sweeping election overhaul that can unify their 50 members. The Senate will vote Tuesday on the For the People Act, legislation that is guaranteed to hit a Republican filibuster and fall short of the 60 votes needed to advance. But Democrats hope that by banding together they can shift the public spotlight on GOP opposition after weeks of headlines about their own divisions. Speaking from the Senate floor on Thursday, Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) previewed the strategy, arguing that the Republican Party had become a “hornet’s nest of conspiracy theories and voter suppression in the states” and that “the Democratic Party is the only party standing up for democracy right now.” “Next week, the Senate will have this debate. Democrats will bring forward legislation to protect voting rights and safeguard our democracy. And we are going to see where everyone stands. Everyone,” Schumer said.

Full Article: Democrats scramble to unify before election bill brawl | TheHill

National: Senate Democrats brace for bill’s defeat amid GOP resistance | Clare Foran and Lauren Fox/CNN

Senate Democrats are on track to suffer a stinging defeat Tuesday with Republican opposition expected to sink a voting and election bill that Democrats have made a signature priority, an outcome that will underscore the limits of the party’s power with the narrowest possible Senate majority. Democrats have set up a key test vote on the bill that they have pitched as a necessary counter to state-level efforts to restrict voting access, but Republicans have united against it, decrying it as a partisan power grab and a federal overreach into state voting and election systems. Democrats have also faced pushback over the legislation from a member of their own caucus: pivotal swing vote Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Failure of the bill to move forward would be a major blow for Democrats that will likely trigger a fresh outpouring of calls from progressives to eliminate the legislative filibuster, which requires most bills to get the votes of at least 10 Republicans given the current Senate makeup. But the votes are not there to eliminate the filibuster with Manchin and several other moderate Democrats opposed. The effort by Democrats to pass the voting legislation comes in the aftermath of former President Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and as Republican-controlled legislatures have pressed ahead with new state laws imposing limits on voting. As of May, state legislators in 48 states had introduced more than 380 bills with restrictive voting provisions, according to a tally from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.

Full Article: Voting rights: Senate Democrats brace for bill’s defeat amid GOP resistance – CNNPolitics

National: ‘Unreasonably’ long lines to vote would be eliminated under proposal from Democratic lawmakers | Alex Woodward/The Independent

In the wake of Republican election losses and the GOP’s unfounded narrative of widespread voter fraud, more than a dozen states have passed sweeping elections reform laws that make it harder to vote, including criminalising handing out food and water to people waiting in long lines to cast their ballot at the polls. Democratic US Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley have introduced a bill that intends to push back on those efforts. The legislation would “end hours-long lines at polling places that suppress hundreds of thousands of American votes, and to restore our Constitutional rights to vote in free and fair elections”. Scenes of long lines at voting precincts across the US have dominated Election Day coverage in recent years. Roughly 3 million voters waited 30 minutes or longer to cast their ballot in the 2018 elections, surpassing the acceptable threshold for wait times set by the Presidential Commission on Election Administration, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. With the widespread closures of Election Day polling locations and the consolidation of voting precincts, voting rights advocates have warned that longer wait times could suppress voters who now face diminishing options to vote early or by mail to avoid crowded in-person voting.

Full Article: ‘Unreasonably’ long lines to vote would be eliminated under proposal from Democratic lawmakers | The Independent

National: ‘Italygate’ election conspiracy theory was pushed by two firms led by woman who also falsely claimed $30 million mansion was hers | Jon Swaine and Emma Brown/The Washington Post

Late last December, as President Donald Trump pressed senior officials to find proof of election fraud, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows emailed acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen a letter detailing an outlandish theory of how an Italian defense contractor had conspired with U.S. intelligence to rig the 2020 presidential contest. The letter, which was among records released by Congress this past week, was printed under the letterhead of USAerospace Partners, a little-known Virginia aviation company. In early January, a second Virginia firm, the Institute for Good Governance, and a partner organization released a statement from an Italian attorney who claimed that a hacker had admitted involvement in the supposed conspiracy. According to the conspiracy theory known as “Italygate,” people working for the Italian defense contractor, in coordination with senior CIA officials, used military satellites to switch votes from Trump to Joe Biden and swing the result of the election. Though her name was not mentioned in either document, both Virginia organizations are led by Michele Roosevelt Edwards, according to state corporate filings reviewed by The Washington Post. Edwards is a former Republican congressional candidate who built a reputation as an advocate for the Somali people and as someone who could negotiate with warlords and pirates in the war-torn region.

Full Article: ‘Italygate’ election conspiracy theory was pushed by two firms led by woman who also falsely claimed $30 million mansion was hers – The Washington Post

American Samoans are the latest victims of these ignorant Supreme Court rulings | Steve Vladeck/MSNBC

The principle that anyone born in the United States is an American citizen is enshrined in the 14th Amendment. But in a divided decision Tuesday, a federal appeals court reaffirmed the unique inapplicability of the citizenship clause to one of America’s six federal territories— American Samoa, the only one of the six where birthright citizenship does not currently apply. The ruling in Fitisemanu v. United States doesn’t just rest on a deeply flawed understanding of the 14th Amendment. It also breathes new life into a long since discredited distinction that the Supreme Court drew in the early 20th century — one in which territories that just happened to be predominantly white received full constitutional protections, while those that were not … didn’t. … One might wonder why it’s such a big deal that a federal appeals court has held that 50,000 Americans aren’t constitutionally entitled to birthright citizenship. The answer is two-fold: First, to reach that result, the court had to both ignore the original purpose and context of the citizenship clause and revive the deeply problematic rationale of the Insular Cases. Second, and more fundamentally, one of the two central goals of the post-Civil War amendments was to hard-wire into the Constitution the idea that there’s only one class of American — to repudiate not only the institution of slavery, but also the caste system it created. The more that contemporary courts recognize circumstances in which our compatriots are not treated as equals, the more they open the door to additional erosions of this fundamental ideal.

Full Article: American Samoans are the latest victims of these ignorant Supreme Court rulings

Arizona election review is not simply an exercise in ‘transparency’ | Philip Bump/The Washington Post

There’s a guy at work who doesn’t like you. Who has never liked you. He sees you as a threat and is convinced that you’ve been able to succeed because you’ve done something underhanded — what, he can’t say, but that doesn’t stop him from spreading rumors around your workplace anyway. Last year, you were both up for promotion. The new position was an important role in the company and both of you went through repeated interviews with company officials scrutinizing your work records. You emerged on top. Your nemesis’s crusade against you suddenly went into overdrive. Worse, he got his best friend, who works in human resources, to open an investigation of your bid for the role — an investigation led by your nemesis’s friend, someone who in the past has publicly agreed with your nemesis’s allegations. The H.R. guy gets to work, assuring everyone that he’ll explore every rumor anyone has raised about you — solely, he assures you with solemnity, to be able to rule everything out. The claim your nemesis made about your having worked remotely from the International Space Station for a month? He has a device that will detect the presence of jet fuel residue. The H.R. guy asks that you step out of your workspace for a week or two and he takes possession of your work computer and all of your files so that he can examine every aspect of how you’ve performed. He has never done this sort of investigation before, but he insists that he will be objective in his review.

Full Article: Why the Arizona election review is not simply an exercise in ‘transparency’ – The Washington Post

Arizona ‘Auditors’ promised to screen workers, but QAnon promoters and Capitol rioters were hired | Jerod MacDonald-Evoy/Arizona Mirror

The Arizona election ‘audit’ has employed a failed candidate who has espoused QAnon beliefs and a man who was at the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot of Donald Trump supporters who tried, but failed, to overturn the election. The Arizona Mirror was able to identify the audit workers through their social media postings, media coverage of the audit and through interviews with people who know them. How they were hired is unclear, and their work on the audit — where they both counted ballots and worked as “observers” tasked with monitoring the proceedings — flies in the face of the pledge that audit leaders made to ensure conspiracy theorists and those who spread falsehoods about election fraud in 2020 wouldn’t be allowed near the 2.1 million ballots being recounted. Auditors insisted in April that all volunteers would face a background check, including an examination of their social media postings. “Everybody went through a full background check. (We) made sure there was nothing on their social media to make sure they had no wrong opinions one way or the other,” Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan said at an April 22 press conference the day before the audit began. It isn’t clear whether those background checks actually happened or if they have been imposed consistently throughout the months-long audit, which has run weeks behind schedule and faced staffing shortages. Audit spokespeople professed not to know or didn’t answer the Arizona Mirror’s questions about who was hired.

Full Article: Auditors’ promised to screen workers, but QAnon promoters and Capitol rioters were hired

Colorado Secretary of State Says County Clerks Facing Death Threats Amid Push for ‘Sham’ Election Audits | Jason Lemon/Newsweek

Some county clerks in Colorado have received death threats as supporters of former President Donald Trump call for election audits, according to the secretary of state there. President Joe Biden handily won Colorado over former President Donald Trump by a double-digit margin of more than 13 points. But Trump supporters in the western state appear to have been misled by the former president’s baseless claims that the 2020 election was “rigged” or “stolen” by Democrats—leading some to demand audits and recounts. “Some clerks are getting death threats,” Colorado’s Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, told The Colorado Sun newspaper for an article published Friday. “Some counties are being called to do these third-party, unsecure sham audits.” Griswold adopted an emergency rule this week limiting access to voting equipment in Colorado to officials who have passed background checks. In addition to passing a background check, the new rule only allows employees of a county’s elections office, the secretary of state’s office or a voting system vendor to access the equipment, as well as appointed election judges.

Full Article: County Clerks Facing Death Threats Amid Push for ‘Sham’ Election Audits, Says Colorado SOS

Georgia: Judge to decide fate of Fulton County absentee ballot inspection | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A search for fraud in Georgia’s election was about to begin in a Fulton County warehouse last month, when a judge planned to set ground rules to inspect over 145,000 absentee ballots. But the ballot review stalled because the county asked the judge to throw out the case. Both sides will have their day in court Monday, when Superior Court Judge Brian Amero considers whether and how to move forward. Election skeptics will argue they need an opportunity to search for possible counterfeit ballots. Fulton officials will ask the judge to put an end to the quest to undermine Democrat Joe Biden’s nearly 12,000-vote win over Republican Donald Trump. “We should be able to prove whether the election results were correct or not. They’re certainly under question,” said Garland Favorito, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit. “If something nefarious happened, we can prevent it in the future.” Attorneys for Fulton have argued that the case is a baseless and flawed attempt to use the courts to intervene in an election that was settled seven months ago. Election officials have repeatedly said there’s no evidence of significant fraud, and two recounts validated the results. The secretary of state’s office is investigating over 100 complaints about last year’s general election, and even if all of them exposed invalid votes, Biden still would have won.

Full Article: Case seeking evidence of counterfeit ballots in Georgia goes to court

Indiana: US Supreme Court declines to hear absentee ballot case | Josh Doering/WISH

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal of a lawsuit seeking to require Indiana to offer mail-in voting to all residents. The lawsuit argued Indiana’s requirement that absentee voters be at least 65 years old violates the 26th Amendment: “The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.” By declining to hear the case, the Supreme Court allows a federal appeals court’s ruling in favor of the state to stand and keeps the absentee voting requirements in place. The appeals court ruled the requirements for mail-in voting do not violate the 26th Amendment because they don’t prevent anyone from exercising their right to vote.

Full Article: US Supreme Court declines to hear Indiana absentee ballot case – WISH-TV | Indianapolis News | Indiana Weather | Indiana Traffic

Michigan Attorneys who sought to overturn election results in ‘Kraken’ lawsuit face sanction hearing  Gus Burns/MLive.com

Attorneys who filed what Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel called a frivolous lawsuit in an effort to overturn the results of the presidential election are facing backlash for their failed attempt. Both before and after the dismissal of a lawsuit filed against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Jan. 14 based on unfounded claims of election fraud, the Attorney General’s Office and attorneys who represented Detroit filed requests for U.S. District Judge Linda Parker to issue sanctions and fines against plaintiff attorneys, among them former Donald Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, who vowed to “release the Kraken.” The “Kraken” is a term given to a monster octopus from Nordic folklore that was used by the conspiracy theory movement QAnon and others to describe a vague, multi-faceted plan to expose election fraud and reverse results of the presidential election. Parker on Thursday set a sanction hearing for July 6 in Detroit federal court. The attorneys facing possible discipline are: Michigan-based attorneys Stefanie Lambert Junttila, Scott Hagerstrom and Gregory J. Rohl, as well as Powell. “It was never about winning on the merits of the claims, but rather plaintiffs’ purpose was to undermine the integrity of the election results and the people’s trust in the electoral process and in government,” attorneys for the Michigan Attorney General’s Office wrote in a Jan. 28 request for sanctions. “The filing of litigation for that purpose is clearly an abuse of the judicial process and warrants the imposition of sanctions.”

Full Article: Attorneys who sought to overturn election results in Michigan ‘Kraken’ lawsuit face sanction hearing – mlive.com

Michigan: Cheboygan County board floats unproven theory of ‘manipulated’ election results | Craig Mauger/The Detroit News

The board of commissioners in a Michigan county that former President Donald Trump easily won will consider Tuesday whether to formally request an audit of its election results, including whether an “unauthorized computer” manipulated the numbers. The Cheboygan County Board of Commissioners is contemplating sending Jonathan Brater, the state elections director, a letter seeking a hand recount of its ballots in the 2020 presidential race, according to a meeting packet posted on the county’s website. The proposed letter says the audit should explore one of the ongoing and unproven conspiracy theories about the November vote: “whether there is any evidence that any unauthorized computer actually manipulated the actual presidential election vote tally within Cheboygan County.” “As commissioners, we have heard from many of our constituents expressing concerns/questions related to the November 3, 2020 election,” says the proposed letter from John Wallace, chairman of the county board. “We believe we have a responsibility to address these concerns/questions.” The Republican-controlled board plans to consider whether to send the letter during a meeting at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. It’s unclear how the Michigan Bureau of Elections, which falls under the leadership of Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, would handle a potential audit request from Cheboygan County, a 25,000-person county at the top of the Lower Peninsula. A spokeswoman for Benson declined to comment Monday.

Full Article: Cheboygan County board floats unproven theory of ‘manipulated’ election results

As Missouri Senate contenders peddle conspiracies, what’s the damage to democracy? | Bryan Lowry and Jonathan Shorman/The Kansas City Star

One Republican candidate in Missouri’s Senate race skipped the state party’s annual convention last week and traveled instead to Arizona, where he toured the site of a discredited 2020 election audit and falsely claimed it could lead to decertification of the results. Another contender recently announced a campaign event in the St. Louis suburbs with a former Trump administration official beloved by supporters of QAnon. Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and St. Louis lawyer Mark McCloskey are making once fringe positions key pieces of their message to voters as they vie for the GOP nomination to replace retiring Republican Sen. Roy Blunt. It’s a strategy being pursued by Republican candidates in races across the country ahead of 2022, as rhetoric from those seeking to undermine the legitimacy of President Joe Biden’s decisive victory over former President Donald Trump continues to escalate. “There’s this weaponization and mainstreaming of disinformation,” said Daniel Weiner, deputy director of election reform at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice. “There’s a troubling number of folks who are willing to traffic in this misinformation. It doesn’t mean it’s overtaken either party, but it’s become far too mainstream for comfort.” Election experts warn that as the ongoing misinformation campaign about the 2020 election continues to find a firm foothold within a faction of the Republican Party, it poses a long-term threat to the institution of democracy.

Full Article: As Missouri Senate contenders peddle conspiracies, what’s the damage to democracy?

North Carolina must expand options for blind voters, federal judge rules | Jordan Wilkie/Carolina Public Press

Blind voters in North Carolina will now have permanent access to an online voting system previously reserved for overseas and military voters, a federal judge ruled June 15. The ruling also expands other accessibility requirements that will have impacts beyond accessible at-home voting. For Holly Stiles, a lawyer for Disability Rights NC who represented the plaintiffs in the case, this is a huge win. “This is actually truly remarkable, that the absentee voting process is going to be fully accessible for the first time in our history,” she said. Before, in order to vote absentee-by-mail, blind voters in North Carolina had to request assistance, often from another person in their home. This meant voters with visual impairments had to disclose their votes to another person, which is a lack of privacy, and had no way to confirm the ballot was accurate to their wishes, which is a lack of security.

Full Article: Federal judge: NC must expand options for blind voters – Carolina Public Press

Pennsylvania House advances bill to reform elections, including voter ID requirement | Ford Turner/The Morning Call

The Republican-dominated Pennsylvania House on Monday advanced a bill to change many facets of the state elections — including inserting a requirement that photo IDs be shown at polling places — and set up the potential for a final vote in the chamber Tuesday. Ahead of the move, Republicans were heartened by a poll that showed support for photo ID and a drop in the approval for the bill’s leading opponent, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf. Lehigh County Republican Rep. Gary Day believed the poll would give the election reform effort a boost. “The governor has been disconnected from the people,” Day said. “He held autocratic authority too long and doesn’t seem to be able to control the political operatives in his administration.” The Monday move by the House, referred to as “second consideration,” included some debate on amendments in which House Democrats continued to lambaste the Republican effort. Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton of Philadelphia said it took the state in the wrong direction. Rep. Margo Davidson of Delaware County withdrew some proposed amendments in order, she said, to hasten the bill to a veto by Wolf.

Full Article: Pennsylvania House advances bill to reform elections, including voter ID requirement – The Morning Call

Wisconsin Republicans to send election bills to governor | Scott Bauer/Associated Press

The Wisconsin Assembly planned to send bills to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday that would limit opportunities for absentee voting, make it more difficult for the elderly and disabled to cast absentee ballots, and prohibit officials from filling in missing information on the envelopes of returned absentee ballots. Evers is expected to veto all of the Republican-backed measures, which cleared the GOP-controlled Senate along party line votes earlier this year. Conservatives are pushing more than a dozen election bills following former President Donald Trump’s narrow loss in battleground Wisconsin to President Joe Biden. Republican backers say the bills would address shortcomings in Wisconsin election law that were exposed during the November 2020 election. Opponents say they’re an attempt to perpetuate the lie that Trump actually won and are meant to disenfranchise voter groups that tend to back Democrats. Wisconsin Republicans have already approved a review of the 2020 election by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau and hired retired police officers to investigate unfounded reports of widespread voter fraud. Trump’s defeat was upheld following recounts in Milwaukee and Dane counties and in numerous state and federal lawsuits.

Full Article: Wisconsin Republicans to send election bills to governor

Biden links Juneteenth to voting rights as he signs new federal holiday into law | Alex Woodward/The Independent

President Joe Biden has signed a bill into law creating Juneteenth – the nation’s oldest annual commemoration of slavery’s end – as a national holiday. Following the proposal’s swift passage in Congress, from a unanimous vote in the Senate on Tuesday and debate and passage with overwhelming bipartisan support in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, the president signed the measure into law on Thursday, two days before 2021’s Juneteenth celebrations. Effective this week, federal workers will receive a paid holiday on 19 June, or, if it falls on a weekend, the closest Friday or Monday. In remarks from the White House before a bill signing, the president said Juneteenth “will join the others of our national celebrations” for “our independence, our labourers who built this nation, our service members” but he underscored the nation’s urgent and ongoing duty to live up to its promise of equality. He pointed to his administration’s efforts to combat and prosecute discrimination, promote equity in healthcare and education, and protect voting rights against “an assault that offends our very democracy” from partisan legislation undermining ballot access across the US.

Full Article: Biden links Juneteenth to voting rights as he signs new federal holiday into law | The Independent

Ohio takes tougher line on election tech wireless connectivity | Benjamin Freed/StateScoop

Back in February, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, the federal board that sets guidance on how Americans vote, adopted a comprehensive, and long-awaited update to its security standards on election technology. But while the election security community largely embraced the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines 2.0, the five-member EAC stopped short of banning wireless connectivity in ballot scanners and electronic tablets, a decision that led to a group of technologists and former election officials saying that even switched off, wireless capabilities pose a security risk. Still, individual states are free to set their own guidelines for election technology, and on Tuesday, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced updated standards that explicitly prohibit wireless capabilities in the equipment used there. “VVSG was a big change. This was a small but impactful change,” LaRose told StateScoop of the EAC update that allows the inclusion of wireless radios. The changes were made by the Ohio Board of Voting Machine Examiners, a four-person bipartisan group that reviews and certifies the election equipment used by the state’s 88 county boards of elections, including electronic pollbooks, printers and ballot scanners.

Full Article: Ohio takes tougher line on election tech wireless connectivity

National: New emails detail Trump’s efforts to have Justice Department take up his false election-fraud claims | Karoun Demirjian and Matt Zapotosky/The Washington Post

President Donald Trump’s staff began sending emails to Jeffrey Rosen, the No. 2 official at the Justice Department, asking him to embrace Trump’s claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election at least 10 days before Rosen assumed the role of acting attorney general, according to new emails disclosed Tuesday by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. On the same day the electoral college met to certify the election results — which was also the day Trump announced that William P. Barr would be stepping down as attorney general — the president’s assistant sent Rosen an email with a list of complaints concerning the way the election had been carried out in Antrim County, Mich. The file included a “forensic analysis” of the Dominion Voting Systems machines the county employed, alleging they were “intentionally and purposefully” calibrated to create fraudulent results. It also included “talking points” that could be used to counter any arguments “against us.” “It’s indicative of what the machines can and did do to move votes,” the document Trump sent to Rosen reads. “We believe it has happened everywhere.” The claims were false, based on a report compiled by Allied Security Operations Group, a company led by a Republican businessman who pushed baseless allegations that the 2020 election was stolen. The email — one of several previously undisclosed records released by the Oversight Committee — sheds light on the type of pressure Trump put on the Justice Department to take up his crusade against Joe Biden’s 2020 victory.

Full Article: New emails detail Trump’s efforts to have Justice Department take up his false election-fraud claims – The Washington Post