National: As states press forward with vote counts, Trump advisers privately express pessimism about heading off Biden’s win | Amy Gardner, Tom Hamburger, Jon Swaine and Josh Dawsey/The Washington Post

Six states where President Trump has threatened to challenge his defeat continued their march toward declaring certified election results in the coming weeks, as his advisers privately acknowledged that President-elect Joe Biden’s official victory is less a question of “if” than “when.” Trump began the day tweeting about “BALLOT COUNTING ABUSE” as he and his allies touted unproven claims that fraud had tainted the election in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. Vice President Pence gave a presentation to Republican senators on Capitol Hill about new litigation expected in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia — imploring them to stick with the president, according to several Republicans in the room. But even some of the president’s most publicly pugilistic aides, including White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and informal adviser Corey Lewandowski, have said privately that they are concerned about the lawsuits’ chances for success unless more evidence surfaces, according to people familiar with their views. Trump met with advisers again Tuesday afternoon to discuss whether there is a path forward, said a person with knowledge of the discussions, who, like others interviewed for this report, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions. The person said Trump plans to keep fighting but understands it is going to be difficult. “He is all over the place. It changes from hour to hour,” the person said.

Full Article: As states press forward with vote counts, Trump advisers privately express pessimism about heading off Biden’s win – The Washington Post

The ‘orchestrated’ push to discredit Georgia’s election sparks more GOP infighting | Jim Galloway, Patricia Murphy, Greg Bluestein and Tia Mitchell/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


“Republicans in disarray.” That was the three-word response from Senate Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff late Monday to the extraordinary infighting that’s divided the Georgia GOP over President Donald Trump’s effort to taint Joe Biden’s victory. This was supposed to be the week that Republicans united behind U.S. Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue for a pair of Jan. 5 runoffs that could decide control of the Senate. Instead, the two senators leveled unfounded claims of a disastrous “embarrassment” of an election at fellow Republicans who oversaw last week’s vote – and called for the resignation of Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. It was a brazen effort to appease Trump, who has falsely claimed electoral fraud despite no evidence of any wrongdoing as he and his supporters try to discredit Biden. We’re told the president and his top allies pressured the two Republican senators to take this step, lest he tweet a negative word about them and risk divorcing them from his base ahead of the consequential runoff.

Full Article: The Jolt: The ‘orchestrated’ push to discredit Georgia’s election sparks more GOP infighting

National: ‘What’s the downside for humoring him?’: A GOP official’s unintentionally revealing quote about the Trump era | Amy Gardner, Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey and Emma Brown/The Washington Post

When the history of the Trump era is written, we’ll struggle to find quotes that are as revealing as one recorded Monday evening by . Speaking about President Trump’s and his legal team’s myriad and baseless claims of massive voter fraud, an anonymous senior Republican official offered a rhetorical shrug. “What is the downside for humoring him for this little bit of time? No one seriously thinks the results will change,” the official said. “He went golfing this weekend. It’s not like he’s plotting how to prevent Joe Biden from taking power on Jan. 20. He’s tweeting about filing some lawsuits, those lawsuits will fail, then he’ll tweet some more about how the election was stolen, and then he’ll leave.” Indeed, what’s a little undermining of democracy between friends?

Full Article: GOP official asks of Trump: ‘What’s the downside for humoring him?’ – The Washington Post

National: No Evidence of Systematic Fraud in U.S. Elections, International Observer Mission Reports | Jess Bravin/Wall Street Journal

A team of international observers invited by the Trump administration has issued a preliminary report giving high marks to the conduct of last week’s elections–and it criticizes President Trump for making baseless allegations that the outcome resulted from systematic fraud. A 28-member delegation from the Organization of American States followed events in several locations across the U.S., including in the battleground states of Georgia and Michigan, both remotely and with observers at polling stations and counting centers. “While the OAS Mission has not directly observed any serious irregularities that call into question the results so far, it supports the right of all contesting parties in an election, to seek redress before the competent legal authorities when they believe they have been wronged,” the report said. “It is critical however, that candidates act responsibly by presenting and arguing legitimate claims before the courts, not unsubstantiated or harmful speculation in the public media.” The OAS assessment followed similar findings by an election observation team from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. “Baseless allegations of systematic deficiencies, notably by the incumbent president, including on election night, harm public trust in democratic institutions,” Michael Georg Link, leader of the short-term OSCE observer mission, said last week.

Full Article: No Evidence of Systematic Fraud in U.S. Elections, International Observer Mission Reports –

National: Shock and frustration inside Justice Dept. over Barr’s vote-investigation memo | Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky/The Washington Post

Current and former Justice Department officials said Tuesday they were stunned and frustrated by Attorney General William P. Barr’s move to loosen internal restrictions on how and when federal prosecutors investigate certain election-fraud cases before the results are certified — and worried that Barr was aiding President Trump’s effort to cast doubt on his defeat. The blow to morale was felt most acutely in the Justice Department’s criminal division, which is typically a key player in prosecuting election-related offenses and setting department policy in that area, people familiar with the matter said. Like others, they spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal Justice Department deliberations. Some weeks ago, when Barr had first proposed the move, officials in the criminal division — including political leadership — had pushed back vigorously and thought they had dissuaded the attorney general from taking such a step, the people said. Then, without warning, Barr’s memo hit their email inboxes Monday night. Within hours, the head of the department’s election-crimes branch, Richard Pilger, told colleagues he was stepping down from that job and taking a lesser position at the department, citing the new guidance, as others privately seethed.

Full Article: Barr election-fraud memo angers Justice Department officials – The Washington Post

National: Trump’s Legal Blitz Isn’t Contesting Enough Votes to Win | David Voreacos, Greg Stohr and Mark Niquette/Bloomberg

President Donald Trump’s hopes of reversing the outcome of the 2020 election in the courts are running into the reality that the numbers just aren’t there in terms of votes he can dispute — at least not yet. In their most advanced legal challenge, the Trump campaign and the Republican Party are trying to have the U.S. Supreme Court toss Pennsylvania ballots that arrived after Nov. 3. But, with all but four of 67 counties reporting, state officials have only logged 7,800 such ballots, said Jacklin Rhoads, spokeswoman for Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. Biden’s lead in Pennsylvania stood at more than 45,000 votes Monday afternoon, not including the late-arriving ballots at issue. “If those ballots couldn’t change the election to make any difference to how Pennsylvania will be decided, then he doesn’t have a claim he can bring,” said Deborah Hellman, a University of Virginia law professor.

Full Article: Trump’s Legal Blitz Isn’t Contesting Enough Votes to Win (1)

National: The misinformation media machine amplifying Trump’s election lies | Lois Beckett and Julia Carrie Wong/The Guardian

The networks have made their calls, world leaders have begun paying their respects, and even Fox News and Rupert Murdoch’s other media outlets appear to have given up on a second term for Donald Trump. But in a video posted on Facebook on 7 November and viewed more than 16.5m times since, NewsMax host and former Trump administration official Carl Higbie spends three minutes spewing a laundry list of false and debunked claims casting doubt on the outcome of the presidential election. “I believe it’s time to hold the line,” said Higbie, who resigned from his government post over an extensive track record of racist, homophobic and bigoted remarks, to the Trump faithful. “I’m highly skeptical and you should be too.” The video, which has been shared more than 350,000 times on Facebook, is just one star in a constellation of pro-Trump misinformation that is leading millions of Americans to doubt or reject the results of the presidential election. Fully 70% of Republicans believe that the election was not “free and fair”, according to a Politico/Morning Consult poll conducted since election day. Among those doubters, large majorities believe two of Trump’s most brazen lies: that mail-in voting leads to fraud and that ballots were tampered with. Trump himself is the largest source of election misinformation; the president has barely addressed the public since Tuesday except to share lies and misinformation about the election. But his message attacking the electoral process is being amplified by a host of rightwing media outlets and pundits who appear to be jockeying to replace Fox News as the outlet of choice for Trumpists – and metastasizing on platforms such as Facebook and YouTube.

Full Article: The misinformation media machine amplifying Trump’s election lies | US news | The Guardian

National: Posts falsify ties between election tech firm and Democrats | Ali Swenson/Associated Press

As poll workers tallied votes from the U.S. presidential election, many social media users interpreted a clerk’s error in a small, Republican-leaning Michigan county as vote-rigging because it wrongly favored Joe Biden before being fixed. A week later, that misinterpreted mistake has snowballed into a deluge of false claims that Democrats have deep ties to Dominion Voting Systems, the company that supplies election equipment to Michigan and dozens of other states nationwide. Claims that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein and the Clinton Foundation have interest or influence in Dominion are all unsubstantiated. But that didn’t stop tens of thousands of social media users from amplifying them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram this week.

Full Article: Posts falsify ties between election tech firm and Democrats

Alaska: Here’s why Alaska is the slowest in the nation when it comes to vote counting | Nathaniel Herz/Alaska Public Media

Questions, confusion and speculation about Alaska’s vote-counting process have erupted as state officials wait to count more than 100,000 absentee and other ballots until next week — long after other U.S. states count the vast majority of their votes. Alaska won’t start tallying its remaining ballots — at least 40% of the total — until Tuesday at the earliest, making the state stand out as a gray island in the ubiquitous red and blue electoral vote maps used by national outlets. It’s the only one to have counted less than 60% of its votes, according to figures collected by The New York Times. The timeline is one that Alaska has used before. But in past years, the absentee vote count has typically been an afterthought that affects only the closest of races. This year’s massive, pandemic-driven absentee turnout has changed that. State officials said the wait stems from Alaska’s huge size and complicated logistics: It has polling places in dozens of villages with no road access. Officials said they also need the extra week to finish the time-consuming process of logging the names of each Alaskan who voted on Election Day, then cross-referencing with absentee ballots to make sure no one’s votes are counted twice.

Full Article: Here’s why Alaska is the slowest in the nation when it comes to vote counting – Alaska Public Media

Arizona secretary of state rejects GOP lawmaker’s request for tests of voting machines | Howard Fischer/Arizona Daily Star

Senate President Karen Fann is seeking an independent analysis of the testing of Arizona voting machines. In a letter to Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, the Prescott Republican said she is not claiming there was fraud in the just-completed election. “But many others are making that claim,” Fann said. And she contends that the outside review will put the “current controversy” to rest. But Hobbs said Fann, while professing no belief in fraud, is herself trafficking in conspiracy theories by even suggesting that an extra – and legally unrequired – step is necessary to quell rumors. “It is patently unreasonable to suggest that, despite there being zero credible evidence of any impropriety or widespread irregularities, election officials nonetheless have a responsibility to prove a negative,” she wrote Tuesday in a response to Fann. “To be clear, there is no ‘current controversy’ regarding elections in Arizona, outside of theories floated by those seeking to undermine our democratic process for political gain,” Hobbs said. “Elected officials should work to build, rather than damage, public confidence in our system.” And the secretary left no doubt about what she intends to do. “I respectfully decline your request to push aside the work that remains to be done to ensure an orderly completion of this election and instead launch and fund with taxpayer dollars a boundless ‘independent’ evaluation of ‘all data related to the tabulation of votes in the 2020 General Election,”’ Hobbs wrote.

Full Article: Arizona secretary of state rejects GOP lawmaker’s request for tests of voting machines | Latest News |

California may go all-mail in every election | John Wildermuth/San Francisco Chronicle

The huge turnout and the record number of Californians who cast their votes by mail in last week’s election could mean the end of the line for the garages, school cafeterias and other spots that for decades have been neighborhood polling places. Because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, every active voter in California received a ballot in the mail this fall. And what looks to be 80% of the more than 17 million voters used them. Even the counties that clung to their traditional polling places found few voters willing to use them on election day. In San Francisco, which had 588 polling places open for business, only 6% of its 443,000 voters cast their ballots in person in their local precincts, said John Arntz, the city’s elections director. Even the 43,000 people who dropped their mail ballots off at the polling places amounted to far fewer than in recent elections. “This is likely the last polling place election in San Francisco,” said Arntz, who is scheduled to submit a plan to the Board of Supervisors in February about what would be needed to move to an all-mail system.

Full Article: Goodbye to neighborhood polling places? California may go all-mail in every election –

Georgia: Fear of losing Senate majority in runoffs drives GOP embrace of Trump’s unfounded claims of election fraud | Robert Costa, Paul Kane and Erica Werner/The Washington Post

Fear over losing the Senate majority by falling short in the upcoming runoff elections for two U.S. Senate seats in Georgia has become a driving and democracy-testing force inside the GOP, with party leaders on Tuesday seeking to delegitimize President-elect Joe Biden’s victory as they labored to rally voters in the state. Those intertwined efforts threaten to disrupt Biden’s hopes of establishing a smooth transition as Republicans in Washington and Georgia, worried about dispiriting the president’s core supporters, increasingly echo his unfounded claims of election fraud and back his refusal to concede. With their power on the line and Trump still the party’s lodestar, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his allies have made clear that they are now fixated on Jan. 5 — the date of the runoff elections — rather than on Jan. 20, when Biden will be sworn in as the nation’s 46th president. “These runoffs have become the political equivalent of ‘Braveheart’ where everyone paints their face blue and just charges across the field,” said Ralph Reed, a Georgia-based Republican and founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. “If we can get the Trump vote back out in the suburbs, we should be able to get this done. But it will be very hard and extremely competitive.” Two Republican losses in January would split the Senate equally between Democrats and Republicans, giving the incoming vice president, Kamala D. Harris, a tie-breaking vote and Democrats control of all levers of government.

Full Article: Fear of losing Senate majority in Georgia runoffs drives GOP embrace of Trump’s unfounded claims of election fraud – The Washington Post

Georgia: Trump campaign seeks hand recount, could get it | Jeff Amy and Kate Brumback/Associated Press

Republicans are making more demands of Georgia’s chief elections officer as they seek to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s 12,000-vote lead in the state’s presidential race. U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, who’s leading President Donald Trump’s recount team in Georgia, and state Republican Party Chairman David Shafer sent a letter to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Tuesday requesting that he order a hand recount of Georgia’s nearly 5 million ballots before certifying the results. The move comes a day after Republican U.S. Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler called for Raffensperger’s resignation, claiming he ran the election poorly but citing no specific incidents of wrongdoing. Perdue will face Democrat Jon Ossoff and Loeffler will face Democrat Raphael Warnock in Jan. 5 runoffs that are likely to determine which party controls the U.S. Senate. Raffensperger has refused to step down and defended how his office conducted the election. His office has refuted a number of claims made by Trump supporters. “The process of reporting results has been orderly and followed the law,” Raffensperger said in a Monday statement. “Where there have been specific allegations of illegal voting, my office has dispatched investigators.”

Full Article: Trump campaign seeks hand recount in Georgia, could get it

Michigan: Trump campaign says new lawsuit seeks to stop certification of election results | Dave Boucher/Detroit Free Press

The campaign of President Donald Trump said Tuesday it is suing Michigan in federal court in an effort to prevent final certification of the state’s election results, as Trump continues to refuse to concede to Joe Biden or accept the outcome of the race for the presidency. The allegations of election misconduct are similar to those outlined in other lawsuits in Michigan and additional states. These lawsuits have largely not succeeded; some incorporate allegations that have been debunked or refuted, either by the Free Press or elections officials.  Attorneys for the Trump campaign said the new lawsuit would be filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. Although the bulk of the allegations appear to focus on Detroit, located on the other side of the state, the seat of state government in Lansing is located in the Western District.  As of 8 p.m. Tuesday, the lawsuit was not available in the federal court’s online document system.

Full Article: Trump campaign wants lawsuit to stop certification of election results

Nevada: No Evidence To Support Claims Californians Fraudulently Voted In Nevada Election | Chris Nichols/capradio

Several days after President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Nevada, conservative groups continue to make unproven claims about voter fraud, even suggesting that votes from Californians helped Biden win in the Silver State. The Associated Press and other media organizations declared Biden the winner on Saturday. His margin has steadily increased to 36,000, with 97% of the votes counted as of Tuesday. Here’s why AP called the state for Biden. Last week, however, President Donald Trump’s campaign and Republicans in Nevada claimed without evidence that thousands of people who had moved out of Clark County, which is home to Las Vegas, had voted in the state’s presidential election. PolitiFact rated that claim False because it’s unproven, noting that people who move within 30 days before an election can cast a vote in their prior state of residence or their new state, either in-person or by mail, according to the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office. A Nevadan who goes to another state for college can also request a ballot and vote in the Silver State. The list provided last week by Trump’s lawyers included addresses for Americans serving overseas in the military, who are also legally allowed to vote absentee in Nevada.

Full Article: No Evidence To Support Claims Californians Fraudulently Voted In Nevada Election –

North Carolina: Absentee ballots continue to narrow margins in uncalled elections | Danielle Battaglia/Raleigh News & Observer

North Carolina voters are waiting for six statewideraces to be called as elections officials meet to poreover absentee ballots. Boards of elections in all 100 counties will collect ballots with a Nov. 3 postmark through 5 p.m. Thursday. Then the boards will meet to finalize North Carolina’s election results. There are 27,500 absentee ballots that have been accepted by county boards after Election Day and 23,091 provisional ballots that haven’t been disqualified whichcould ultimately be counted toward the results, the state Board of Elections said in a written statement Tuesday afternoon. As boards continue to count the absentee ballots, the margins have narrowed between candidates in many of the uncalled races. As of Tuesday there were about 93,000 outstanding absentee ballots. Many of those ballots won’t be returned, and some might not be counted. Election Day was Nov. 3, but the margins between some candidates were too close for a winner to be declared.

Full Article: Absentee ballots continue to narrow margins in uncalled NC elections | Danielle Battaglia/Raleigh News & Observer

Pennsylvania GOP lawmakers to probe unverified fraud claims in election they largely won | by Cynthia Fernandez and Marie Albiges/Philadelphia Inquirer

As President Donald Trump continues to question the integrity of Pennsylvania’s election while repeating unverified claims of voter fraud, state Republicans are once again seeking greater powers to investigate the voting process. Roughly two dozen House and Senate lawmakers on Tuesday called for the creation of an investigatory committee with subpoena power to conduct an immediate audit, saying they had fielded widespread doubts about the fairness of the Nov. 3 presidential election. House Republicans championed a similar proposal before the election but abandoned it after Democrats raised concerns it would be weaponized to impound ballots, interrogate election officials, and delay the certification of Pennsylvania’s election results. At the state Capitol, Rep. Dawn Keefer (R., York) said the assembled lawmakers’ offices had been “overwhelmed with calls and emails and other messages from constituents who are confused and outraged by the circumstances surrounding this election.” … Pennsylvania already has safeguards in place to ensure the accuracy of election results, experts told Spotlight PA and Votebeat. In addition to routine reviews in each county required by law, the state has started to pilot “risk-limiting” audits, a process that verifies whether a sample of paper ballots matches results captured electronically by voting machines.

Full Article: Pa. GOP lawmakers to probe unverified fraud claims in election they largely won

Pennsylvania: Postal worker admits fabricating ballot tampering claims, officials say | Shawn Boburg and Jacob Bogage/The Washington Post

A Pennsylvania postal worker whose claims have been cited by top Republicans as potential evidence of widespread voting irregularities admitted to U.S. Postal Service investigators that he fabricated the allegations, according to three officials briefed on the investigation and a statement from a House congressional committee. Richard Hopkins’s claim that a postmaster in Erie, Pa., instructed postal workers to backdate ballots mailed after Election Day was cited by Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) in a letter to the Justice Department calling for a federal investigation. Attorney General William P. Barr subsequently authorized federal prosecutors to open probes into credible allegations of voting irregularities and fraud before results are certified, a reversal of long-standing Justice Department policy. But on Monday, Hopkins, 32, told investigators from the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General that the allegations were not true, and he signed an affidavit recanting his claims, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe an ongoing investigation. Democrats on the House Oversight Committee tweeted late Tuesday that the “whistleblower completely RECANTED.”

Full Article: Postal worker admits fabricating Pennsylvania ballot tampering claims, officials say – The Washington Post

Wisconsin recount? Republicans look for issues, but haven’t found any | Patrick Marley/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

As Republicans pursue a longshot chance of overturning the presidential results in Wisconsin, they’re focused on absentee voters’ addresses, the state’s residency requirement and a flash drive that was briefly left in a counting machine. With a lead of more than 20,000 votes by President-elect Joe Biden, Republicans would need to find something momentous to shift the state’s results to President Donald Trump. And in the unlikely scenario that Biden loses Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes, he could still claim the presidency because of his victories in other states. Wisconsin Republicans are scrambling to find issues they can raise in the recount Trump has promised to pursue. A recount four years ago resulted in a net change of just 131 votes — nowhere near the number Trump would need to change the results this time. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, on Friday directed a committee to review the election results, saying he wanted it to determine whether there were any irregularities. Rep. Joe Sanfelippo, R-New Berlin, on Monday raised the prospect of having the state’s electoral votes go to Trump instead of Biden, depending on how the investigation goes.

Full Article: Wisconsin recount? Republicans look for issues, but haven’t found any

Wisconsin: Ballot clerks asked for help. Lawmakers didn’t act. Disinformation followed | Daphne Chen and Patrick Marley/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The wild claims came in thick and fast. The morning after Election Day, President Donald Trump took to Twitter and claimed that people were “finding Biden votes all over the place — in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan.” At a press conference in Philadelphia that afternoon, Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani repeated the deceptive claim. “In Wisconsin, mysteriously at 4 in the morning, 120,000 ballots appeared,” Giuliani said. “Here come these ballots. Well, we have no idea if they really are ballots.”  Across social media, supporters picked up the narrative. “Between 3:30-4:30AM, they ‘found’ 140,000 mail in ballots for Biden in Wisconsin,” tweeted Nick Adams, a staunch pro-Trump political commentator. He added, falsely: “All for Biden. None for Trump.” His misleading tweet was shared tens of thousands of times.  The false speculation that Biden’s overnight surge in Wisconsin was the result of mass voter fraud caused drama and headaches that could have been headed off years ago, local election clerks say, if Wisconsin lawmakers had listened to them.

Full Article: Clerks asked for help with absentee ballots. Lawmakers didn’t act.