West Virginia: What a mail carrier says was a small, joking attempt at voter fraud shows just how closely officials are watching | Kelly Mena and Rebekah Riess/CNN

A case of alleged election fraud that a West Virginia mail carrier says was a joking attempt to alter ballot requests shows just how closely local and federal officials are watching. According to a complaint written by an investigator working for the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office, Thomas Cooper, 47, of Dry Fork, West Virginia, and a mail carrier for Pendleton County, was joking when he altered ballot requests sent by some people on his delivery route, changing their party affiliations from Democrat to Republican. The complaint goes on to note that the local clerk knew the people named on the ballot requests weren’t Republicans and gave them a call. The revelation launched an investigation by the West Virginia Election Fraud Task Force, led by assistant US attorneys from the Northern and Southern districts of West Virginia, special agents from the FBI and investigators from the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office, and an attempted election fraud charge against Cooper. US Attorney Bill Powell announced on the charge on Tuesday.

Wisconsin: Election officials agree to mail absentee ballot request forms to most voters | Patrick MarleyMilwaukee Journal Sentinel

Wisconsin election officials agreed Wednesday to send absentee ballot applications to most voters this fall, but the plan could face obstacles next month if Democrats and Republicans can’t agree on the wording of the mailing. The members of the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission voted 6-0 to advance the plan a week after they failed to reach consensus on who should receive ballot applications. Under the commission’s plan, the state will not send actual absentee ballots, but rather the forms voters can use to request them. If voters filled out those forms and provided a copy of a photo ID, they would receive an absentee ballot for the Nov. 3 presidential election. The mailing would also include information about how to request an absentee ballot using the state’s online portal, myvote.wi.gov. Mail voting surged to nearly 1 million in the April election for state Supreme Court as people tried to stay at home as much as possible during the coronavirus outbreak. Mail voting this fall is expected to surpass the record set in April. The state has 3.4 million registered voters. About 528,000 of them have already requested absentee ballots and the state believes about 158,000 of them have moved since they last voted.

South Korea: Election watchdog demonstrates ballot-counting process to dispel ‘rigging’ claims | Park Han-na/Korea Times

South Korea’s election watchdog demonstrated the ballot-counting process to the public in a mock version on Thursday, intent on debunking vote-rigging allegations raised by a lawmaker who lost his seat in the April 15 parliamentary election. The National Election Commission carried out the demonstration at its headquarters in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province, setting up a hypothetical situation where 1,000 out of 4,000 eligible voters cast ballots in advance polls for four constituency candidates and 35 political parties for proportional representation. The commission’s officials disassembled electronic machines used in last month’s election and explained how they work in an effort to prove the impossibility of rigging an election. One of the machines classifies ballot papers according to the choice of candidate and counts them. Another machine assesses the validity of the votes.

National: Election officials gear up for single biggest day of voting during coronavirus, as Trump rails against vote by mail | Kendall Karson and Meg Cunningham/ABC

President Donald Trump’s recent tirade against mail voting was a defiant attempt at elevating his argument of voter fraud — without evidence — but it comes as the largest single day of voting since the onset of the coronavirus crisis is set to take place next week. Even as Trump seeks to turn the issue into a pitched battle, election officials in a number of states, including those run by Republicans, are expanding access to the voting alternative as part of their broader preparations amid the pandemic for the June 2 election. The president, who has often railed against mail voting by alleging it is ripe for fraud, stepped up his assault last week by targeting efforts in two battleground states — Michigan and Nevada — aimed at making it easier to obtain an absentee or mail-in ballot. He threatened to cut off federal funding to those states over what he claimed were “illegal” tactics. Election officials in both states refuted Trump’s attacks, with a spokesperson for Michigan’s Democratic secretary of state calling Trump’s tweet “false,” and Nevada’s Republican secretary of state saying the shift to a mail-in election was done “legally.”

National: While Trump tries to discredit mail voting, GOP officials move ahead with plans | Sarah Ewall-Wice/CBS

As President Trump continues to insist voting should be in-person and alleges voting by mail leads to fraud, some Republican officials are moving forward with preparations for an increase in mail-in voting, especially in the upcoming primaries across the country, as well as in the general election. It’s the latest sign that while Mr. Trump might be trying to discredit the mail-in process from the bully pulpit, a growing number of voters are indicating support for such options amid health concerns related to the coronavirus and the uncertainty about how safe it will be to vote in the weeks and months ahead. “There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent,” President Trump tweeted Tuesday, while taking aim at the plan by California’s governor to send absentee ballots to all registered voters for the November general election. “This will be a Rigged Election” he went on, despite having voted by mail himself in the Florida primary, and despite the victory of Republican Mike Garcia recently in the special election in California, where voters were sent mail-in ballots. And while the president pushes this narrative, without offering any proof to substantiate his accusations, in many cases, officials from his own party are promoting vote-by-mail options ahead of upcoming primaries across the country.

National: Twitter labels Trump’s false claims with warning for first time | Julia Carrie Wong and Sam Levine/The Guardian

Twitter for the first time took action against a series of tweets by Donald Trump, labeling them with a warning sign and providing a link to further information. Since ascending to the US presidency, Trump has used his Twitter account to threaten a world leader with war, amplify racist misinformation by British hate figures and, as recently as Tuesday morning, spread a lie about the 2001 death of a congressional aide in order to smear a cable news pundit. Throughout it all, Twitter has remained steadfast in its refusal to censor the head of state, even going so far as to write a new policy to allow itself to leave up tweets by “world leaders” that violate its rules. The company’s decision on Tuesday afternoon to affix labels to a series of Trump tweets about California’s election planning is the result of a new policy debuted on 11 May. They were applied – hours after the tweets initially went out – because Trump’s tweets violated Twitter’s “civic integrity policy”, a company spokeswoman confirmed, which bars users from “manipulating or interfering in elections or other civic processes”, such as by posting misleading information that could dissuade people from participating in an election.

National: Biden Campaign Names National Director for Voter Protection | Kat Stafford/Associated Press

Joe Biden has hired a national director for voter protection, a role his campaign says will focus broadly on voter rights, including the disenfranchisement of people of color amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign said Rachana Desai Martin will join its legal team, serving also as senior counsel. Martin, who has a strong background in voter protection work, previously worked as chief operating officer of the Democratic National Committee and as the DNC’s director of civic engagement and voter protection. The pandemic has disproportionately affected people of color, especially black Americans who represent an outsize number of infections and deaths. An Associated Press analysis last month found more than one-third of those who have died are African American. The push for voter protection rights has only intensified in recent weeks, after some primary elections, including Milwaukee’s on April 7, sparked concern that voters were forced to wait in long lines to cast their ballots. Some health officials have warned the coronavirus could spread at polling places.

National: If You Can’t Vote by Mail This Year, Don’t Panic | Gilad Adelman/WIRED

Your life or your vote: That’s how many observers and participants framed the decision whether to vote in person in last month’s Wisconsin primary. A mix of Democratic mismanagement and Republican cynicism dragged thousands of people to the polls who would rather have voted absentee. Thousands more were effectively disenfranchised. In one viral photo, a mask-wearing woman standing in a stretched-out line on a Milwaukee sidewalk held up a sign reading “This is ridiculous.” The New York Times captured the mood when it referred to the election as “a dangerous spectacle that forced voters to choose between participating in an important election and protecting their health.” It looked like the fuse was lit on a Covid-19 contagion bomb. And yet, more than a month later, it seems the explosion never came. One of the very few bright spots over the past few weeks is the growing evidence that some activities might not be as dangerous as we thought—sunbathing at the beach, hanging out in a park, letting young kids hug their grandparents, and most importantly, voting. In early April, it was not unreasonable to see in-person voting as a perilous gamble, and to worry that we’d be apocalyptically screwed unless every single ballot could be sent by mail. But the worst fears haven’t materialized, and in the meantime we’ve learned more about how the virus spreads. Research suggests that the risk of Covid-19 transmission is at its highest when people are in close, prolonged indoor contact, and cases of outdoor transmission appear to be very rare. From a public health perspective, voting in person may be more like getting takeout than attending a rock concert: not risk-free, but, with the right precautions in place, hardly Russian roulette.

California: GOP launches its biggest attack yet on mail voting in California | Joseph Marks/The Washington Post

Top Republican groups threw their weight behind President Trump’s assault on voting by mail during the coronavirus pandemic with a lawsuit challenging California’s expansion of the practice. But the groups, led by the Republican National Committee, are taking a far narrower approach than the president and steering clear of criticizing voting by mail as it will be practiced by basically every state besides California.  That narrow approach gives cover to Republican governors and secretaries of state who’ve been expanding mail voting even as the president criticizes it. Experts say increased mail voting is likely to be a vital part of conducting the general election safely and securely, including for groups, such as the elderly, who are more likely to vote for Republicans. But the move may rankle Trump, who’s taken a hard line against broadly expanding mail voting — despite voting by mail himself in Florida this year. He’s also claimed without evidence that mail-in ballots will produce widespread fraud.

Florida: Lawsuit aims to make it easier to mail in votes | James Call/The Palm Beach Post

A retired police captain who helps the elderly, an Ocala minister and a Miami man confined to his home don’t want the coronavirus to disrupt this year’s presidential election. They have banded together as lawsuit plaintiffs to take Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee and Leon County Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley to court. The goal is to make vote by mail the default choice for Florida’s 13.7 million registered voters. Florida has recorded more than 2,000 COVID-19 deaths since March.  More than 80% of the fatalities have been people over 65, and more than a quarter have been people of color, who make up about a fifth of the state’s population. In a complaint filed last week in Leon County, the plaintiffs argue that fear of COVID-19 threatens to rob the vote of Floridians who are part of high-risk groups like themselves, and similar people to whom they assist and minister. Their attorney, Harvey Sepler of Miami, explained no one knows the kind of threat the virus will pose during the August primary and November general election. The ability of many people to vote may depend on alternative voting methods, the suit says. The solution, according to former Marion County Sheriff’s Captain Dennis McFatten; Cynthia Cotto Grimes, senior minister at the Center for Spirtual Living in Ocala, and Art Young of Miami is to make vote by mail the first option for Floridians.

Louisiana: Group seeks mail-in voting for all Louisiana voters during pandemic | Ashley White/Lafayette Daily Advertiser

A new lawsuit seeks to expand Louisiana voters’ ability to cast ballots by mail for the 2020 elections. The League of Women Voters of Louisiana filed the lawsuit last week in U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge, claiming the state’s emergency election plan fails to provide voters adequate protection during the conronavirus pandemic. The lawsuit names as defendants Gov. John Bel Edwards, Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, Lafayette Parish Registrar of Voters Charlene Menard and Terrebonne Parish Registrar of Voters Rhonda Rogers. “With its high transmission and mortality rates, COVID-19 poses a significant risk to in-person voters, especially to those voters at higher risk of severe complications from COVID-19,” the lawsuit states. “The pandemic has decimated voter registration drive activity, makes it unreasonably dangerous and burdensome to comply with certain requirements for mail-in absentee voting, and threatens massive withdrawals by volunteer poll workers who justifiably fear contracting the disease.”

Maryland: Mail-in ballot delays in Maryland threaten statewide primary, activists say | Jenna Portnoy/The Washington Post

State Sen. Cory V. McCray was bicycling with his four children when a constituent stopped him in the middle of the street to ask, “Where’s my ballot?” He was referring to his missing mail-in ballot for Maryland’s June 2 primary election, which like other recent contests will be held almost entirely by mail because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. “My blood just started boiling,” recalled McCray (D-Baltimore City), recounting his frustration over delays that resulted in 1 million registered voters in Baltimore City and Montgomery County receiving their ballots late — or not at all. State elections officials blamed the error on an out-of-state vendor but said a full audit will have to wait until after the primary, when voters will choose nominees for president, Baltimore mayor and City Council, and all eight of Maryland’s seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Elections officials have been working for weeks to implement an order from Gov. Larry Hogan (R) that postponed the primary from April 28 and called for the election to be conducted mostly by mail. The governor ordered ballots mailed to the home of every registered voter in the state.

Montana: Battle over ballot postmark deadline, now set at June 2, continues | Holly Michels/Missoulian

In dueling filings in different courts, the secretary of state and two Democratic groups clashed over an extended deadline for ballots to arrive at elections offices. The action comes a week before the June 2 primary election, which is being held mostly by mail because of the dangers posed by the novel coronavirus. Late last week following a lawsuit by the Montana Democratic Party (MDP) and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), a Billings judge ordered that the existing 8 p.m. deadline for mailed ballots to be received by county elections offices would “significantly suppress voter turnout.” Judge Donald Harris extended the deadline so that ballots postmarked by Election Day and received by June 8 will be counted. The secretary of state immediately challenged that order Friday in Yellowstone County District Court, and on Tuesday Attorney General Tim Fox filed a writ of supervisory control with the Montana Supreme Court. In it, they ask for the high court to stay the lower court’s opinion without waiting for the District Court’s ruling on their appeal.

New Jersey: Software glitch delays military, overseas ballot mailings | David Wildstein/New Jersey Globe

A software malfunction with the state Division of Elections’ Statewide Voter Registration System (SVRS) has delayed the mailing of some military and overseas citizen ballots for the July 7 primary election. A new system the state began using this year was not attaching ballots to the correct voter file, the New Jersey Globe has learned. A fix for the glitch was planned over Memorial Day weekend, but it didn’t work.  Election officials and an outside vendor are working to triage the technology issue and are expected to take another run at it in the next day or so. It’s not clear if the optional ballot bulking problems will be fixed at all. The Division of Elections notified county clerks this morning that they should send out military and overseas ballots on an individual basis rather than depend on the state voter base.

North Carolina: Lawsuit argues North Carolina’s voting laws aren’t built for a pandemic | Travis Fain/WRAL

Left-leaning advocacy groups have filed a federal lawsuit demanding changes in North Carolina’s voting laws due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The 72-page suit declares the state’s absentee ballot and voter registration rules unconstitutional, saying people can’t be forced to choose between voting and protecting their health. Among other things, it calls for a longer registration period and contact-less drop boxes for absentee ballots, in case there are post office delays. The suit is the latest in a string of legal actions that may decide the ground rules leading up to the November presidential election in North Carolina. There are more than half a dozen lawsuits pending. State lawmakers filed legislation Friday that addresses some the issues targeted by the suit, but not all of them. Allison Riggs, chief voting rights counsel for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, said that bill doesn’t go far enough.

North Carolina: Voters fearful of COVID-19 but wanting to vote would get help from this proposed bill | Taft Wireback/Greensboro News & Record

North Carolina legislators are moving ahead on a bill aimed at making it easier for voters across North Carolina to protect themselves from the COVID-19 virus by voting from home. The bipartisan measure removes obstacles for those who would rather vote using an absentee ballot rather than in the group setting of their local precincts. But it also closes off loopholes that skeptics fear could lead to fraud, backers say. “We are genuinely interested in a process that will protect people’s health and their right to vote,” said state Rep. Pricey Harrison, D-Greensboro, a primary sponsor of  the measure. “We expect the pandemic to be a problem still in the fall … No one should have to chose between their health and their right to vote.” The “Elections 2020” bill goes before the state House Committee on Elections and Ethics Law on Wednesday morning. Supporters are hoping it wins approval from the full House later this week, followed soon by favorable action in the state Senate, Harrison said. The changes would directly affect voters throughout Guilford County. Local election officials are bracing for a potential onslaught of up to 125,000 mail-in ballots in November linked to fears of being infected with the coronavirus. That’s more than seven times the normal volume of absentee ballots.

Pennsylvania: Thousands of Pennsylvania voters might not get their mail ballots in time to actually vote | Jonathan Lai/Philadelphia Inquirer

Tens of thousands of Pennsylvania voters have been applying for mail ballots every day leading up to Tuesday’s deadline. It’s unclear how many will receive them in time to actually vote in next week’s primary. “There are going to be many people who are still going to be receiving their ballots very close to election day or on election day,” Delaware County Councilwoman Christine Reuther said. “I’m very worried that people are going to be disenfranchised.” Reuther and other county elections officials across the state are warning that an unexpected surge of mail ballots this year, combined with uncertain mail delivery times and coronavirus-related staffing changes, could lead thousands or even tens of thousands of voters to receive their ballots without enough time to mail them back. Some will likely not even receive them until after the election. Others will put their ballots in the mail and expect them to be counted, never knowing their votes arrived after the June 2 election day deadline. The coronavirus pandemic is making every step of the vote-by-mail process take longer than usual. After a voter requests a ballot, it can take a few days to process that application, a day or two to print and prepare the ballot, and a few days for it to be delivered. All told, it can take a week or more for ballots to arrive in a voter’s mailbox. “It becomes a series of falling dominoes, with things backing up,” said Randall O. Wenger, chief clerk of Lancaster County’s board of elections.

Canada: Microsoft, Canada to lead global effort to counter election interference | Maggie Miller/The Hill

The government of Canada, alongside Microsoft and the Alliance for Securing Democracy, will lead a global effort to counter the use of cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns to disrupt elections, officials announced Tuesday. Dominic LeBlanc, president of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, said that his nation would become one of the leads on countering election interference as part of the 2018 Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace. “Canada’s leadership in the Paris Call will help build global expertise and understanding about the best way to combat online disinformation and malicious cyber activities in the context of election interference,” LeBlanc said in a statement. The 2018 agreement — which is backed by almost 80 countries, 29 local governments and more than 600 private sector groups — called for the world to tackle cyber threats ranging from cracking down on intellectual property theft to strengthening international cyber standards to protecting elections.

Nigeria: Electronic Voting Starts 2021 – INEC | Abbas Jimoh/Daily Trust

The Independent National Electoral Commission says it will introduce electronic voting (e-voting) in off-season elections starting in 2021. This is contained in a 17-page “Policy on Conducting Elections in the Context of the Covid-19 Pandemic” released on Monday in Abuja and signed by the INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu. The policy covers health and legal issues, election planning and operations, election day and post-election activities, voter registration, political parties, election observation, electoral security and deployment of technology in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. “… Continue to make available its electronic channels for voters to check their registration status. Pilot the use of Electronic Voting Machines at the earliest possible time (not Edo and Ondo), but work towards the full introduction of electronic voting in major elections starting from 2021,” the document stated. The commission, however, ruled out the deployment of the e-voting for the coming governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states. It said it would adopt electronic platforms for the submission of nomination forms by political parties for the two governorship elections.

National: Which Party Would Benefit Most From Voting by Mail? It’s Complicated. | Michael Wines/The New York Times

Not so many months ago, casting a ballot by mail was a topic reserved for conferences of election administrators, a matter of voting mechanics blander than a water cracker. In Republican Arizona and Democratic Oregon as well as many other states, vast numbers of citizens not only voted by mail, but also loved it. That was before the mail ballot became seen as an essential element for voting in a pandemic, and before President Trump weaponized mail voting with largely invented allegations that it would lead to massive voter fraud — despite being used for years in Democratic and Republican states without controversy. bRepublican opposition seemed driven by the conviction that an increase in mail voting would benefit Democrats, who have tended to use mail ballots less compared with Republicans. But, like a lot of assumptions about voting, the reality is far less clear.

National: Voter Registration Plummets Due To Pandemic, Reshaping 2020 Electorate | Pam Fessler/NPR

No door to door canvassing. Public gatherings are canceled. Motor vehicle offices are closed. Naturalization ceremonies are on hiatus. Almost every place where Americans usually register to vote has been out of reach since March and it’s led to a big drop in new registrations right before a presidential election that was expected to see record turnout. The consequences of that decline could reshape the electorate ahead of the November election, although it’s not yet clear how. Four years ago, organizers for the progressive group New Virginia Majority were able to register 120,000 new voters, who contributed to Hillary Clinton’s victory in the state and Democrats’ subsequent takeover of the state legislature. But this year, in the middle of a pandemic? “The rules of engagement have been completely upended,” said Tram Nguyen, New Virginia Majority’s co executive director. “We’re not able to walk the neighborhood streets. We’re not able to set up tables at community centers and places where it’s easy to reach people in community. So organizers have still continued to do the work around engaging folks. It looks a lot different,” she said.

National: States plead for cybersecurity funds as hacking threat surges | Maggie Miller/The Hill

Cash-short state and local governments are pleading with Congress to send them funds to shore up their cybersecurity as hackers look to exploit the crisis by targeting overwhelmed government offices. Members of Congress have taken notice of cyber threats at the state and local level, both before and during the pandemic, and efforts are underway to address the challenges, though how much will be provided is uncertain amid a fight over the amount of additional coronavirus stimulus. For Atlanta’s top cybersecurity official, any funds cannot come soon enough. “We would love and welcome more funding from the federal government as our digital infrastructure is just expanding and it’s going to expand even more because of this,” Gary Brantley, the chief information officer for the city of Atlanta, told The Hill. Brantley said that coronavirus-related attacks have become an issue for his office, particularly those targeted at his office through malicious phishing emails. “We are seeing a lot more malicious activity, especially a lot of activity related to COVID-19,” Brantley said. “I know our phishing attacks are up tremendously across the city and attempts to confuse our user base are high.”

National: Trump is trying to make mail voting a partisan issue. It’s not in many states. | Joseph Marks/The Washington Post

President Trump has slammed voting by mail as a Democratic ploy to fix elections and attacked Democratic leaders who want to expand the practice in swing states such as Michigan. But many of the states that are making the greatest strides on increasing voting by mail during the pandemic are unlikely to play a significant role in deciding the winner of the 2020 presidential election – and are doing it without much partisan angst. Massachusetts, where a Republican presidential candidate hasn’t won since Ronald Reagan in 1984, is a case in point. The state’s moderate Republican Gov. Charlie Baker is broadly supportive of Democratic-led efforts to expand voting by mail and has already signed a bill aimed at dramatically expanding the practice through elections in June. It’s Democratic Secretary of State William Galvin, meanwhile, who is pushing back against the most ambitious mail-in voting plans from Democratic state legislators, warning that if the state tries to go too far it could damage the integrity of the election.

National: Trump Sows Doubt on Voting. It Keeps Some People Up at Night. | Reid J. Epstein/The New York Times

In October, President Trump declares a state of emergency in major cities in battleground states, like Milwaukee and Detroit, banning polling places from opening. A week before the election, Attorney General William P. Barr announces a criminal investigation into the Democratic presidential nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr. After Mr. Biden wins a narrow Electoral College victory, Mr. Trump refuses to accept the results, won’t leave the White House and declines to allow the Biden transition team customary access to agencies before the Jan. 20 inauguration. Far-fetched conspiracy theories? Not to a group of worst-case scenario planners — mostly Democrats, but some anti-Trump Republicans as well — who have been gaming out various doomsday options for the 2020 presidential election. Outraged by Mr. Trump and fearful that he might try to disrupt the campaign before, during and after Election Day, they are engaged in a process that began in the realm of science fiction but has nudged closer to reality as Mr. Trump and his administration abandon longstanding political norms. The anxiety has intensified in recent weeks as the president continues to attack the integrity of mail voting and insinuate that the election system is rigged, while his Republican allies ramp up efforts to control who can vote and how. Just last week, Mr. Trump threatened to withhold funding from states that defy his wishes on expanding mail voting, while also amplifying unfounded claims of voter fraud in battleground states.

National: Voting by Mail in November? States Need to Prepare Now | Alexa Corse and Robert McMillan/Wall Street Journal

Americans are expected to vote by mail in record numbers in November, but authorities are running out of time to secure the vast number of ballots and ballot-processing machines needed to ensure a smooth process, election and industry officials say. Many Americans will likely want or need to avoid polling stations in the fall because of the coronavirus pandemic. A Department of Homeland Security-led working group said weeks ago that local governments should have started preparing in April if they want to ready their vote-by-mail systems for the November election. Many haven’t begun, and some states also still need to ease legal restrictions to even allow widespread mail-balloting. Carrying out such voting faces potential choke points even for states that have already started preparing, such as printing enough ballots and deploying sufficient scanners to quickly count those votes, election procedure experts say. Runbeck Election Services Inc., one of the country’s largest mail-ballot printers, is already getting order inquiries for November surpassing what it could handle, company President and Chief Operating Officer Jeff Ellington said. To prepare, the Phoenix-based company in March bought 11 new machines that can insert thousands of ballots into envelopes per hour, tripling its capacity so it can produce about 20 million ballots by November. Even that, he said, may not be sufficient.

National: Trump escalates fight against mail-in voting | Brett Samuels/The Hill

President Trump this week ratcheted up his attacks on mail-in voting as more states move to increase absentee ballot access due to coronavirus uncertainties. The president has levied unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud dating back to the 2016 election and has continued to do so even though he was victorious. But he took his complaints a step further in threatening to withhold federal funding from Michigan and Nevada, two potential swing states, as they took different steps to allow residents to vote by mail. “To really vote, and without fraud, you have to go and you have to vote at the polling place,” Trump said Thursday at a Ford factory in Michigan, arguing that mail-in voting is “wrought with fraud and abuse.” The president has targeted Democrat-run states over their efforts to expand mail-in voting to ensure safety during the pandemic, lashing out in recent weeks at Wisconsin, Michigan, Nevada and California. GOP-led states such as Nebraska, West Virginia and Georgia have made similar plans to offer applications for absentee ballots but have not drawn sharp rebukes from the Oval Office. Experts note there is minimal evidence of meaningful fraud in mail-in voting, and some see Trump’s latest round of attacks as an effort to restrict ballot access and preemptively cast suspicion on the 2020 election results should he lose.

National: Postal Service’s financial stress might hurt its ability to handle large volume of mail-in ballots | Yelena Dzhanova/CNBC

As the coronavirus pandemic forces adjustments in 2020 races, some states worry that financial disruptions at the U.S. Postal Service may lead to decreased voter turnout in the general election.  More than a dozen states are already preparing for the November election, with the anticipation that more voters will choose mail-in ballots over in-person voting. If the USPS continues to endure financial stress, there are concerns that it may not be able to effectively carry out the expected onslaught of mail-in ballots for the election. “The Office of the Secretary of State has become increasingly concerned about the declining revenue of the United States Postal Service,” said Kylee Zabel, communications director at the Washington state election agency. “If the USPS diminishes, or interruptions in mail service occur, every single state will have to mitigate the impacts to their by-mail voters.” Washington state is one of five that conduct voting entirely by mail.

National: Mail-in voting will suppress Native Americans’ votes in November | Thea Sebastian/The Guardian

Native communities have spent centuries battling for voting rights. Indigeneous Americans couldn’t formally vote in every state until 1957, more than three decades after securing full US citizenship. The campaign against this community persists, including discriminatory policies like voter ID laws and lack of polling locations on reservations. But this November, as lawmakers adapt voting to the Covid-19 pandemic, Native voters face a new hurdle: the reforms that best balance public health and democratic access will disproportionately suppress Native voting. Especially when it comes to vote-by-mail. Households on Native American reservations, like many households in rural America, disproportionately lack mail delivery. In Arizona, only 18% of Native Americans receive mail at home – white voters have a rate that is 350% higher. As Elouise Brown, a Navajo activist and grazing officer, said bluntly: “This vote-by-mail is not going to work. Not for us.”

California: Republicans sue California to try to halt mail-in voting following Trump claims of election fraud | Oliver O’Connell/The Independent

The Republican National Committee and two other Republican groups have filed a lawsuit against California to stop the state from mailing absentee ballots to all voters ahead of the 2020 general election. Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom decided to encourage mail-in voting, specifically for November’s presidential election, as part of the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The RNC is challenging the move by the country’s most populous state, making the suit a significant front in the battle between Republicans and Democrats over the issue of mail-in votes. Similar legal challenges are ongoing in approximately a dozen states. Donald Trump has been particularly vocal in his opposition to mail-in votes, claiming there is widespread fraud when they are used, but without providing evidence.

California: Long Beach Reform Coalition files suit against Los Angeles County registrar over Measure A recount | Harry Salzgaver/ Press Telegram

The Long Beach Reform Coalition has filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles County Clerk/Recorder Dean Logan over the county’s new voting system and an aborted recount of the city’s Measure A ballot initiative. The lawsuit, filed Monday, May 11, in Los Angeles County Superior Court, seeks to have the Registrar’s Office restart the Measure A recount “at a reasonable cost,” said Ian Patton, director of the coalition. Mike Sanchez, spokesperson for the registrar, said the office has not yet been served and has not seen any of the lawsuit documents. “We do not comment on active litigation,” Sanchez said in an email. Measure A was a ballot initiative during the March 3 election that sought to indefinitely extend the 10-year 10.25% city sales tax that voters passed in 2016. Its proponents said throughout the campaign that Long Beach needs more funds to address infrastructure and public safety needs. Those opposed, including the coalition, argued that Long Beach hasn’t been a good steward of the money it’s received from the tax since 2016. The initiative passed by 16 votes, with nearly 100,000 votes cast.