The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled 5-2 on Tuesday that observers’ rights to watch ballot counting was sufficient in Philadelphia, rejecting a claim from President Donald Trump’s campaign that poll observers didn’t get “meaningful access.” The Trump campaign argued that observers were stationed too far away to actually see the process of counting votes, and a lower court initially agreed with them, ordering that they be allowed closer to the process. The state Supreme Court, which had previously rejected other Republican arguments, vacated that lower court order on Tuesday. “We conclude the Board did not act contrary to law in fashioning its regulations governing the positioning of candidate representatives during the precanvassing and canvassing process, as the Election Code does not specify minimum distance parameters for the location of such representatives,” the court wrote in its majority order. “Critically, we find the Board’s regulations as applied herein were reasonable in that they allowed candidate representatives to observe the Board conducting its activities as prescribed under the Election Code.” The Trump campaign called the ruling “inexplicable” and signaled the legal battle wasn’t over. “This ruling is contrary to the clear purpose of the law,” Jenna Ellis, a campaign senior legal adviser, said in a statement. “The lower court rightly recognized that the intent and purpose of the Pennsylvania law is to allow election watchers from both parties to actually see the ballots close enough to inspect them, and thus prevent partisan ballot counting in secret.“
National: After Trump tweets Defcon hacking video, voting security experts call BS | Dan Goodin/Ars Technica
As President Trump continues to make unfounded claims of widespread election fraud, 59 of the world’s foremost experts on electronic voting are hitting back, saying that recent allegations of actual voting machine hacking “have been unsubstantiated or are technically incoherent.” Monday’s letter came after almost two weeks of baseless and unfounded claims from Trump and some of his supporters that this month’s presidential election had been “rigged” in favor of President-elect Joe Biden. On Thursday, Trump started a new round of disinformation when he took to Twitter to say that polling machines made by Dominion Voting deleted 2.7 million Trump votes around the country. Over the weekend, Trump tweeted a video from last year’s Defcon hacker convention. It showed attendees participating in an event called the voting machine hacking village. Organizers of the event held it to raise awareness about the importance of security in electronic voting. Some of the event organizers were beside themselves that Trump was using the video as innuendo that voting machine hacking played a role in the results of this month’s election, or in any election ever, for that matter. “Anyone asserting that a US election was ‘rigged’ is making an extraordinary claim, one that must be supported by persuasive and verifiable evidence,” the computer scientists wrote. “Merely citing the existence of technical flaws does not establish that an attack occurred, much less that it altered an election outcome. It is simply speculation.”
National: Trump Lashes Voting Tech Firm With Barrage of Debunked Claims | Daniel Zuidijk and Kartikay Mehrotra/Bloomberg
Even as many of President Donald Trump’s claims about fraud committed during the 2020 election have fallen by the wayside, the president continues to hold on to one in particular: That a little known election-equipment maker called Dominion Voting Systems Inc. conspired to help Joe Biden steal the vote. Dominion, with headquarters in Toronto and Denver, is the second largest voting machine supplier in the U.S. It was founded in Toronto in 2002 by entrepreneur John Poulos at a time when digital voting machines were replacing paper ballots in the aftermath of the disputed 2000 presidential election in which George W. Bush narrowly defeated Al Gore. But now, the company finds itself buffeted by a disinformation storm that it’s racing urgently to counter, even as a panel of government experts has debunked the central tenet of the conspiracy — that Dominion machines switched votes from Trump to Biden. It has even resorted to using strings of capital letters in press releases, mimicking Trump’s favorite Twitter technique. In a lengthy statement under the all-caps heading “SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT,” Dominion rebutted false claims against the company, denying that it had ties to Venezuela and that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s family and the Clinton Global Initiative had ownership stakes. Dominion also denied that it uses software made by Smartmatic, which — according to Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani — has ties to billionaire George Soros, a frequent target of the far right. Both Dominion and Smartmatic denied the claim. To keep up with the growing rumors, Dominion’s had to update its statement three times since Nov. 12.
National: Why US ballot count live streams became misinformation magnets | Clara McMichael/The Guardian
At a vote-counting center in Montgomery county, Maryland, a man sat in a room with other election workers, wearing a grey hat and dark purple rubber gloves. He unfolded a ballot, looked around and leaned forward to mark it. The man appeared on a Yahoo Finance livestream of the center. The video went viral, one version ending up on YouTube, where the narrator said they found it on 4chan. “Do you notice that, folks?” said the narrator. “How he looks around to see if anyone is watching him – as if he’s about to commit a crime?” The video spread across social media, viewers claiming the election worker was committing fraud. Then election officials launched an investigation and found the voter hadn’t used a dark enough pen to mark their ballot; the worker was darkening their selections – a routine practice. Live streams of the ballot count aren’t a new phenomenon. But this year the practice exploded as Donald Trump cast doubts on the integrity of the vote and the pandemic made in-person options of observing the vote difficult. In the aftermath of a fraught election, many are still grappling to figure out if this method of achieving transparency is too vulnerable to being manipulated or taken out of context to further a political agenda.
The man’s voice shook with rage as he accused the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office of throwing the election to President-elect Joe Biden. He offered no evidence but included a string of insults, expletives and slurs. “You guys cheated and lied. You guys f****** lied and cheated,” he said in the 27-second long voicemail reviewed by FRONTLINE. “You guys are f****** dead.” The message, received within days of the election, was one of an “abnormal” number of threats to election officials and ballot counters across the country compared to typical presidential races, said Benjamin Hovland, the chairman of the Election Assistance Commission, a bipartisan federal agency that assists state governments with election administration. These threats continued to accumulate as President Donald Trump refused to concede defeat, two weeks after polls closed — despite Joe Biden being projected as the president-elect, based on unofficial tallies from states. The exact number of incidents of poll-worker intimidation is unknown. But a FRONTLINE review, based on questions to a dozen election and law enforcement agencies in five swing states, as well as local media reports, found examples of threats or acute security risks to election workers in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Michigan, Arizona and Georgia. “What we’re seeing this year — more than we have historically — is we have, thus far, baseless accusations of fraud and an unwillingness to acknowledge the results as being what they are,” Hovland told FRONTLINE. “You’re seeing that spin out on social media, in particular. You’re seeing it be amplified and various pieces of mis- or disinformation being thrown in — various conspiracy theories about the election administration process.”
National: Lindsey Graham’s Long-Shot Mission to Unravel the Election Results | Stephanie Saul/The New York Times
In 2016, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina praised the integrity of the nation’s elections system, criticizing claims by Donald J. Trump that the vote was “rigged.” “Like most Americans, I have confidence in our democracy and our election system,” Mr. Graham said in a statement on Twitter. “If he loses, it will not be because the system is ‘rigged’ but because he failed as a candidate.” What a difference four years makes. Mr. Graham, who has transformed during that time to become one of Mr. Trump’s most loyal allies, now seems determined to reverse the election’s outcome on the president’s behalf. On Friday, he phoned Brad Raffensperger, the secretary of state of Georgia and a fellow Republican, wondering about the possibility of a slight tinkering with the state’s elections outcome. What if, Mr. Graham suggested on the call, according to Mr. Raffensperger, he had the power to toss out all of the mail-in votes from counties with high rates of questionable signatures on ballots? In an interview with The Washington Post, Mr. Raffensperger said he was stunned that Mr. Graham had appeared to suggest that he find a way to toss legally cast ballots. “It sure looked like he was wanting to go down that road,” Mr. Raffensperger said of the call from Mr. Graham, the chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee.
Editorial: Rage Against the Voting Machine – Trump blames the result on Dominion’s systems. Where’s the evidence? | Wall Street Journal
President Trump has so far been unwilling to concede to Joe Biden, and his latest argument is that the voting machines must have been rigged. Where’s the evidence? Strong claims need strong proof, not rumors and innuendo on Twitter. Chatter is swirling around Dominion Voting, a company that supplies equipment in some 28 states. What seems to have launched this theory was an early misreport of results in Antrim County, Mich. In 2016 Mr. Trump won 62% of its 13,600 ballots, so eyebrows rose this year when the initial tallies showed Mr. Biden up by 3,000. In reality, Mr. Trump had won 61% of Antrim County. The unofficial reporting was wrong, but the underlying votes were counted correctly. As officials later explained: In October the county had to tweak the ballot information for two local races. Tabulating machines in the affected areas were updated, but others weren’t. On Election Day the differing data didn’t line up right after being merged. But the printouts from the tabulators showed accurate totals. In any case, the Michigan Secretary of State’s office said the error “would have been identified during the county canvass,” when Democrats and Republicans “review the printed totals tape from each tabulator.” Antrim County Clerk Sheryl Guy told the Associated Press: “There was no malice, no fraud here, just human error.” She’s a Republican.
Full Article: Rage Against the Voting Machine – WSJ
California: Hawthorne men accused in voter fraud plot to obtain 8,000 mail ballots for ‘nonexistent or deceased’ persons | James Queally/Los Angeles Times
As judges around the U.S. continue to dismiss claims of voter fraud by President Trump and his supporters, prosecutors and election officials in Los Angeles County said Tuesday that they had uncovered evidence of an actual attempt to fix an election — albeit a small, local one. Carlos Antonio De Bourbon Montenegro, 53, and Marcos Raul Arevalo, 34, were charged with multiple counts of voter fraud after allegedly trying to register 8,000 “fictitious, nonexistent or deceased” voters to receive mail-in ballots. The scheme was part of an illicit bid by Montenegro to become mayor of Hawthorne, according to a criminal complaint made public Tuesday. Montenegro and Arevalo allegedly used three recently registered post office boxes and Montenegro’s home address to submit the fraudulent applications, which allowed election officials to quickly flag them as suspicious in mid-October, according to Dean Logan, the county’s top election official. While court records show at least 29 mail-in ballots were issued to people Montenegro and Arevalo had allegedly ginned up, none of the ballots were tallied in the general election, Logan said. The case, he added, highlights how difficult it would be to carry out the widespread voter fraud President Trump and others have claimed was rampant in the 2020 election. “What this does is it illustrates that election officials here as well as across the country take these issues very seriously. This was 8,000 registrations in a jurisdiction that has 5.8 million voters,” said Logan, noting that the fraud narratives being pushed across the country would have required election officials to fail to notice misconduct on a massively larger scale.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Tuesday an audit of the state’s voting machines found no evidence of tampering. Raffensperger said in a statement announcing the completion of the audit that there was “no sign of foul play.” He ordered Pro V&V, a U.S. Election Assistance Commission-certified testing laboratory, to conduct the audit on a random sample of Dominion Voting Systems machines statewide, which used forensic techniques and verification processes to confirm no tampering, cyberattacks or election hacking. “Pro V&V found no evidence of the machines being tampered,” the secretary of state’s office said. “We are glad but not surprised that the audit of the state’s voting machines was an unqualified success,” Raffensperger said in a statement. “Election security has been a top priority since day one of may administration. We have partnered with the Department of Homeland Security, the Georgia Cyber Center, Georgia Tech security experts, and wide range of other election security experts around the state and country so Georgia voters can be confident that their vote is safe and secure.” President-Elect Joe Biden led incumbent President Donald Trump by more than 14,000 votes in Georgia after the Nov. 3 election, leading to projections that he will win Georgia’s 16 electoral votes. However, Biden’s lead was within a 0.5% margin of Trump, triggering a recount under state law upon request. A statewide risk-limiting audit prompting a full hand recount of nearly 5 million votes in Georgia’s 159 counties began Friday with a deadline to finish by midnight Wednesday.
In Georgia Recount, a Republican Feud With Trump at the Center | Richard Fausset and Jonathan Martin/The New York Times
There is no worse time for Georgia Republicans to be engulfed in a civil war. Their presidential candidate just narrowly lost the state, which has long been a conservative safe space, while two competitive runoff races are looming in January that could determine control of the U.S. Senate — and the direction of the country for the first part of this decade. And yet the war has come, full of double-crossing, internecine accusations of lying and incompetence, and a bitter cleavage into factions over the question of how much fealty should be shown to President Trump — and the extent to which Republicans should amplify his false argument that the election in this fast-changing Southern state was stolen from him. Republicans in Georgia and elsewhere are now faced with a stark choice. They can stick by Mr. Trump and his rash claims of fraud, and risk alienating moderate voters who may have had their fill of Trumpism — including the thousands who helped turn Georgia blue this month. Or they can break with Mr. Trump, invite his wrath and risk throwing the political equivalent of a wet blanket on conservative turnout for the Senate runoffs in January. “This is clearly a divisive issue for Republicans in Georgia,” said Ashley O’Connor, a Republican strategist. “But the balance of the Senate is at stake here for Republicans so everybody would do better reminding themselves what’s at stake.” The hostilities here involve a tangle of overlapping rivalries among statewide and national Republicans. Last week, in an extraordinary intraparty attack, the incumbent senators facing tougher-than-anticipated runoffs, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, released a joint statement calling on Brad Raffensperger, the Republican secretary of state, to step down. They said the election he oversaw — one in which Mr. Trump trailed Joseph R. Biden Jr. by about 14,000 votes — was an “embarrassment.” Ms. Loeffler and Mr. Perdue are both ardent Trump supporters.
A second Georgia county has uncovered a trove of votes not previously included in election results, but the additional votes won’t change the overall outcome of the presidential race, the secretary of state’s office said Tuesday. A memory card that hadn’t been uploaded in Fayette County, just south of Atlanta, was discovered during a hand tally of the votes in the presidential race that stems from part of a legally mandated audit to ensure the new election machines counted the votes accurately, said Gabriel Sterling, a top official in the secretary of state’s office. The memory card’s 2,755 votes are not enough to flip the lead in the state from Democrat Joe Biden to Republican President Donald Trump. The breakdown of the uncounted ballots was 1,577 for Trump, 1,128 for Biden, 43 for Libertarian Jo Jorgensen and seven write-ins, Sterling said. Election officials on Monday said Floyd County, in north Georgia, had found more than 2,500 ballots that hadn’t been previously scanned. Both counties will have to recertify their results, and the margin between Trump and Biden will be about 13,000 votes when those previously uncounted votes are accounted for, Sterling said.
Full Article: Second Georgia county finds previously uncounted votes
Iowa’s 2nd District: Recounts begin with race still too close to call | Stephen Gruber-Miller/Des Moines Register
At least one county in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District has begun the recount process in the closest federal race in the country. Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks currently leads Democrat Rita Hart by just 47 votes out of more than 394,000 cast. Miller-Meeks has claimed victory, but Hart last week requested recounts in all 24 counties in the district. The winner of the race is not likely to be known until the end of the month, when the state certifies its election results. Scott County Auditor Roxanna Moritz said her county convened a recount board at 8 a.m. Tuesday to begin a machine recount the nearly 90,000 votes cast in the race there. The three-member board is made up of one person chosen by the Hart campaign, one person chosen by the Miller-Meeks campaign and a third person agreed upon by the other two. “This is a great opportunity in democracy because it’s a check and balance to us — to our system and to our equipment,” Moritz said. “And while I have full faith in the process, it allows the public to see that it works.” That “check and balance” will allow voters to know their vote was counted, she said.
Nevada: Without evidence, GOP continues legal push to question Nevada’s election integrity | Ed Komenda James DeHaven/Reno Gazette Journal
Despite showing no evidence of fraud or wrongdoing in court filings, President Donald Trump’s campaign in Nevada has leveled a flurry of allegations in a new lawsuit filed Tuesday questioning the integrity of Nevada’s general election. The lawsuit is asking that Trump be named the winner of the election – or that the results of the presidential race in Nevada are annulled and no winner is certified there. Former Vice President Joe Biden won Nevada by a 33,596-vote margin, according to the Nevada Secretary of State’s office. Biden’s 11,368-vote margin of victory in Washoe County was also certified by county commissioners on Monday. “Donald Trump won the state of Nevada after you account for the fraud and irregularities that occured in the election,” said Jesse Binnall, counsel to the Trump campaign. “Nevada and Clark County have created this crisis.” The legal filing on Tuesday came after Clark County commissioners on Monday accepted the results of the election in the Las Vegas area, where more than 977,000 votes were tallied. Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria acknowledged 936 “discrepancies” among votes countywide. Gloria said officials identified six people who voted twice.
North Carolina chief justice race still tight as counties finish count | Gary D. Robertson/Associated Press
Candidates in North Carolina’s still-undecided races for Supreme Court chief justice and attorney general awaited final official results from just a few remaining locales. Two counties on Monday already adjusted previous tallies due to administrative errors. Current Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, a Democrat, and Republican challenger Paul Newby remained in an extremely close election. A statewide recount in that race was likely, as they were separated by only hundreds of votes after nearly 5.4 million had been counted. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper elevated Beasley, an associate justice, to chief justice in early 2019. Newby is the senior associate justice, joining the court in 2005. As of Monday evening, state results showed Newby 285 votes ahead. Beasley narrowly led over the weekend, after boards in about 90 of the state’s 100 counties completed their canvass of results on Friday. The lead flipped early Monday when the Washington County election board amended the results of its mail-in absentee balloting. Officials there mistakenly had created two records for each mail-in vote, according to the State Board of Elections. The only other county with significant vote totals yet to be counted was Robeson County, whose board was still evaluating late Monday hundreds of provisional ballots cast on Election Day and mail-in ballots received afterward, according to Pat Gannon, a state board spokesperson. The results of about 1,950 ballots cast at an early in-person voting site in Pembroke but inadvertently not uploaded on election night were added to totals early Monday evening.
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose: ‘We’ve gone down the path of constantly challenging the elections when we don’t like the results.’ | Andrew J. Tobias/Cleveland Plain Dealer
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose defended the integrity of the U.S. election, calling recent claims from President Donald Trump and other Republicans disputing the results an example of a harmful trend of politicization of elections administration. LaRose, like a few other Republican, also said President Donald Trump has a right to make his case in court, but that he should do so quickly for the sake of an orderly transition into the next presidential term. He said he believes Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden won the election, based on currently available evidence. “I certainly have faith in Ohio’s elections, and I believe that other states… almost all, I think all the other states do it very well also,” LaRose said during an interview Monday with reporters and editors from cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer. “All I’m saying is there’s a reason why there’s an opportunity to present evidence in a courtroom, and if you have that evidence you have to bring it forward and vet it out.” “Maybe it can even be cathartic for people to see it play out, but it has to happen quickly. That’s my point. If anybody believes that there’s something out there, they need to show evidence. Otherwise, making claims without any basis or evidence behind it is problematic,” he said.
Pennsylvania: Led By Giuliani, Trump Campaign Effort To Stop Certification Falters | Pam Fessler/NPR
Things did not go well Tuesday for the Trump campaign’s effort to stop certification of the Pennsylvania vote count — which has Joe Biden ahead by more than 73,000 votes. At almost the same time the president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was in federal court in Williamsport, Pa., complaining that Republican observers were illegally denied access to vote counting in Philadelphia and other Democratic areas, the state Supreme Court in Harrisburg concluded otherwise. By a 5-2 vote, it ruled that Philadelphia election officials had acted properly in their handling of the observation process. The Trump campaign had argued that GOP representatives were kept too far away to see whether there were any irregularities, but the court said they were able to view election workers “performing their duties,” as required. It was a major loss for the president and his campaign’s flailing effort to overturn the election results. Republicans have filed suits in several states seeking to invalidate thousands of votes, but have lost almost every case so far. While the election observer claim was removed from the Pennsylvania lawsuit, Giuliani told U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Brann that he hoped to reinsert it with an amended complaint.
Rhode Island Board of Elections to conduct post election Risk-Limiting Audit on Nov. 23 | Daniel Hollingworth/ABC6
The Rhode Island Board of Elections (BOE) will conduct a Risk-Limiting Audit of the state’s 2020 General Election Results which is required by state law. Rhode Island is one of 5 states conducting a Risk-Limiting Audit (RLA), according to BOE spokesman Chris Hunter. “Risk-limiting audits are considered the ‘gold standard’ of post-election auditing techniques,” said Diane Mederos, Chairwoman of the Board of Elections. “Rhode Island voters have the right to have trust and confidence in the state’s voting system, and risk-limiting audits allow us to strengthen that trust by verifying that our voting machines are functioning properly and free from error or manipulation.” Post-election audits provide an extra layer of verification of the accuracy of the voting system after the election. The verification will rely on paper ballots, which Rhode Island has utilized to record every vote cast in the state over the past 20 years.
Wisconsin Clerks Complete Certification As Recount Deadline Approaches | Laurel White/Wisconsin Public Radio
Wisconsin election officials completed a statewide, county-level certification of election results Tuesday, opening up a roughly 24-hour window for a recount to be requested in the state — something President Donald Trump’s campaign has said it plans to do. The county canvass of votes, a process mandated by state law for every election, does things like compare the number of voters in poll books to the number of ballots cast. During the canvass, election officials also check to make sure results printed manually from voting machines on election night match the results transferred over encrypted networks, review write-in candidate tally sheets and process provisional ballots. The county canvass follows a similar, municipal-level canvass. All 72 county clerks had finished the canvass process and submitted their certified results as of Tuesday morning, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission. The canvass resulted in a net gain of 62 votes for President-elect Joe Biden, compared to unofficial election night results. The canvass shows Biden defeated Trump in Wisconsin by 20,608 votes. Under state law, the Trump campaign has until 5 p.m. Wednesday to request a recount. The president’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, said on the day after Election Day the campaign planned to request a recount in Wisconsin “immediately.” A spokesperson for the campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment Tuesday. Trump’s campaign would have to pay for a recount to be carried out. The Wisconsin Elections Commission said Monday such a recount is estimated to cost $7.9 million, a large increase from the 2016 presidential recount price tag of $2 million. That’s in part because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The full estimated cost is due at the time the recount is requested.