Trump Administration Approves Start of Formal Transition to Biden | Michael D. Shear, Maggie Haberman, Nick Corasaniti and Jim Rutenberg/The New York Times

President Trump’s government on Monday authorized President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. to begin a formal transition process after Michigan certified Mr. Biden as its winner, a strong sign that the president’s last-ditch bid to overturn the results of the election was coming to an end. Mr. Trump did not concede, and vowed to persist with efforts to change the vote, which have so far proved fruitless. But the president said on Twitter on Monday night that he accepted the decision by Emily W. Murphy, the administrator of the General Services Administration, to allow a transition to proceed. In his tweet, Mr. Trump said that he had told his officials to begin “initial protocols” involving the handoff to Mr. Biden “in the best interest of our country,” even though he had spent weeks of trying to subvert a free and fair election with false claims of fraud. Hours later, he tried to play down the significance of Ms. Murphy’s action, tweeting that it was simply “preliminarily work with the Dems” that would not stop efforts to change the election results. Still, Ms. Murphy’s designation of Mr. Biden as the apparent victor provides the incoming administration with federal funds and resources and clears the way for the president-elect’s advisers to coordinate with Trump administration officials. The decision from Ms. Murphy came after several additional senior Republican lawmakers, as well as leading figures from business and world affairs, denounced the delay in allowing the peaceful transfer of power to begin, a holdup that Mr. Biden and his top aides said was threatening national security and the ability of the incoming administration to effectively plan for combating the coronavirus pandemic. And it followed a key court decision in Pennsylvania, where the state’s Supreme Court on Monday ruled against the Trump campaign and the president’s Republican allies, stating that roughly 8,000 ballots with signature or date irregularities must be counted.

Full Article: Trump Administration Approves Start of Formal Transition to Biden – The New York Times

Georgia presidential recount begins today | David Wickert/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Election officials across Georgia will begin another count of votes in the presidential election Tuesday. The recount can begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday and must be completed by midnight Dec. 2, the secretary of state’s office announced. It will be the third tally of votes in a race decided by the narrowest of margins — Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump by just 12,670 votes out of some 5 million ballots cast in Georgia. But election officials do not expect the third count to change the outcome of the race. Nor is it likely to dampen calls to revisit that outcome. Trump’s campaign has demanded what state election officials say is impossible — a recount that includes rechecking voter signatures to uncover potential fraud. On Monday, a top election official also poured cold water on calls by Georgia Republicans for an audit to double-check the signature matching efforts of local election workers. Gabriel Sterling, the state’s voting system manager, said such an audit would be technically feasible. But he said there is no specific evidence of wrongdoing to warrant more scrutiny of voter signatures, barring a court order. “We can’t open investigations based on generalized, `we’re not happy with the outcome’ ” of the election, Sterling said. “If somebody comes to us with specific evidence, we investigate that.” Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger certified the election Friday. The move came after a hand recount of every ballot confirmed the outcome of the presidential race.

Full Article: Georgia presidential recount begins Tuesday

National: What you need to know about Dominion, the company that Trump and his lawyers baselessly claim ‘stole’ the election | Neena Satija/The Washington Post

President Trump and his allies have sought to cast doubt on the results of the 2020 presidential election by challenging everything from poll-watching procedures to the dates on absentee ballots to the addresses on file for voters. In recent days, Trump and his legal advisers have found a new target: Dominion Voting Systems, a company that supplies voting technology for election jurisdictions across the United States. Egged on by Trump-friendly One America News and lawyers Rudolph W. Giuliani and Sidney Powell, the president has accused Dominion of deleting votes for him with a system that is “horrible, inaccurate and anything but secure.” Trump’s advisers also claim Dominion’s software was created at the behest of former Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez to win that country’s elections. While there’s no evidence for any of those accusations — The Post’s Fact Checker debunks the alleged ties to Venezuela in detail — they’re bringing fresh attention to the way U.S. elections are run and to private companies like Dominion that have long played a starring role in the process. They’ve also deeply unsettled cybersecurity and election administration experts, who worry that valid concerns about election integrity are now being overshadowed by claims that have no basis in reality. The bottom line is that private companies do play a huge role in running elections in the United States, and observers across the political spectrum have complained about it for years. But that doesn’t mean that any votes have been stolen. Here’s what you need to know.

Full Article: Dominion: What you need to know about the voting company Trump claims “stole” the election – The Washington Post

National security experts call on GOP leaders to rebuke Trump?s election claims | Tom Hamburger and Ellen Nakashima/The Washington Post

A group of leading GOP national security experts — including former homeland security secretary Tom Ridge — urged congressional Republicans on Monday to demand President Trump concede the election and immediately begin the transition to the incoming Biden administration. “President Trump’s refusal to permit the presidential transition poses significant risks to our national security, at a time when the U.S. confronts a global pandemic and faces serious threats from global adversaries, terrorist groups, and other forces,” said a statement signed by more than 100 GOP luminaries. The signers included Ridge, the former Pennsylvania governor who served as homeland security secretary under President George W. Bush, former CIA director Michael Hayden and John D. Negroponte, who served as director of national intelligence. The message called on “Republican leaders — especially those in Congress — to publicly demand that President Trump cease his anti-democratic assault on the integrity of the presidential election.” Trump has refused to acknowledge his defeat to Democrat Joe Biden and continues to wage a clamorous, unsuccessful bid to overturn the election’s outcome in several key states that turned the race in Biden’s favor. In the popular vote, Biden is projected to best Trump by a margin of approximately 6 million. In a nod to these developments, the statement’s signers urged Republican leaders to “strongly oppose” Trump’s “dangerous and extra-legal efforts to threaten and intimidate state officials in order to prevent a vote by the Electoral College.”

Full Article: National security experts call on GOP leaders to rebuke Trump?s election claims – The Washington Post

National: Trump relents on transition as Republicans join mounting calls for him to acknowledge Biden’s win | Josh Dewsey, Tom Hamburger, Beth Reinhard and Kayla Ruble/The Washington Post

The Michigan Board of Canvassers voted Monday to certify the state’s election results, effectively awarding the state’s 16 electoral votes to President-elect Joe Biden, who defeated President Trump with a margin of more than 155,000 votes. The decision dealt another blow to Trump’s unprecedented effort to undo Biden’s win by attempting to delay the certification of the election results in key states. Three out the four board members — including one Republican — voted for certification, capping a dramatic political dispute that had roiled the state. The Michigan canvassing board had never before refused to certify a statewide vote, but pressure on the once-obscure panel had built over the past week. In the run-up to Monday’s meeting, Trump made an extraordinary personal intervention into Michigan, reaching out personally to state and local officials. His supporters called on the GOP-controlled legislature to appoint their own set of electors before the electoral college meets on Dec. 14.

Full Article: Michigan board votes to certify the state’s election results, dealing Trump another blow – The Washington Post

National: How Misinformation ‘Superspreaders’ Seed False Election Theories | Sheera Frenkel/The New York Times

On the morning of Nov. 5, Eric Trump, one of the president’s sons, asked his Facebook followers to report cases of voter fraud with the hashtag, Stop the Steal. His post was shared over 5,000 times. Over the next week, the phrase “Stop the Steal” was used to promote dozens of rallies that spread false voter fraud claims about the U.S. presidential elections. New research from Avaaz, a global human rights group, the Elections Integrity Partnership and The New York Times shows how a small group of people — mostly right-wing personalities with outsized influence on social media — helped spread the false voter-fraud narrative that led to those rallies. That group, like the guests of a large wedding held during the pandemic, were “superspreaders” of misinformation around voter fraud, seeding falsehoods that include the claims that dead people voted, voting machines had technical glitches, and mail-in ballots were not correctly counted. “Because of how Facebook’s algorithm functions, these superspreaders are capable of priming a discourse,” said Fadi Quran, a director at Avaaz. “There is often this assumption that misinformation or rumors just catch on. These superspreaders show that there is an intentional effort to redefine the public narrative.”

Full Article: How Misinformation ‘Superspreaders’ Seed False Election Theories – The New York Times

Editorial: How Trump placed a ticking time bomb at the center of our system | Greg Sargent/The Washington Post

So is this really how it’s going to be? Will it now become a fact of our political life that Democrats will be required to win future presidential elections by steal-proof margins in order to prevail? With President Trump’s attempts to overturn the election continuing in Michigan and Wisconsin, more Republicans are distancing themselves. They are “subtly urging” Trump to accept reality and are “losing patience” with his antics, we are told. But in the very formulation that some of these Republicans have adopted — and in the sheer numbers who have refrained from going even this far — there is grounds for serious pessimism about what all this portends. What happens if the last-ditch tactic Trump’s team has adopted — trying to get rogue GOP-controlled state legislatures to appoint pro-Trump electors to the electoral college in defiance of their state’s voters — becomes seen as a conventional tool of political warfare, akin to more typical voter suppression efforts? nThe responses from Republicans hint at ways this could become a ticking electoral time bomb. Many of them are merely suggesting that Trump should allow the transition to proceed. But they are also carefully stressing that he is absolutely within his rights to continue legal challenges. And, tellingly, far fewer Republicans are denouncing the endgame that those legal challenges are all converging toward.

Full Article: Opinion | How Trump placed a ticking time bomb at the center of our system – The Washington Post

Editorial: Trump’s Legal Farce Is Having Tragic Results | Richard L. Hasen/The New York Times

Even as the campaign lawsuits brought by President Trump over the 2020 election enter their death throes, many people continue to worry that Mr. Trump will find three Republican legislatures to magically snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. They are concerned that he will pull off an antidemocratic hat trick through maneuvers like delaying recounts in Wisconsin and blocking certification in Michigan to allow these legislatures to submit competing slates of electors to Congress. The goal is to prevent Joe Biden from securing the Electoral College votes he needs on Jan. 6 for Congress to declare him president. The good news is that there is no real prospect that Mr. Trump can avoid a reluctant handover of power on Jan. 20. The bad news is that Mr. Trump’s wildly unsubstantiated claims of a vast voter fraud conspiracy and the litigation he has brought against voting rights have done — and will increasingly do — serious damage to our democracy. Our problems will deepen, in particular, because Mr. Trump’s litigation strategy has led to the emergence of a voter-hostile jurisprudence in the federal courts. New judicial doctrines will put more power in the hands of Republican legislatures to suppress the vote and take voters, state courts and federal courts out of key backstop roles. Let’s start on the positive side. A federal district court opinion issued in Pennsylvania Saturday laid bare both the dangerousness and vacuousness of Mr. Trump’s litigation strategy. Rudy Giuliani, acting as one of the president’s lawyers, failed to persuade Judge Matthew Brann — an Obama-appointed Federalist Society member and former Republican official — to disenfranchise nearly seven million Pennsylvania voters and to let the state legislature name a slate of presidential electors. The court held that the Trump campaign offered a “Frankenstein’s monster” of a legal theory and that the complaint was full of nothing more than “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence.”

Full Article: Opinion | Trump’s Legal Farce Is Having Tragic Results – The New York Times

Editorial: Trump’s Post-Election Defiance Is How a Constitution Dies | Micah Zenko/Foreign Policy

Before U.S. elected officials (including presidents), judges, government employees, and military personnel assume their positions, they make a pledge. This shared promise is not to protect the United States’ way of life, secure its national interests, defend its sovereign territory, or even to “keep the American people safe,” as former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama often inaccurately claimed. Rather, each person undertakes a solemn oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Preserving the Constitution is the overriding obligation of all government employees, because the document serves as the supreme law of the land. The evolving text enshrines the basic rights of Americans, and the limits and expectations of the states and branches of federal government. It was designed by the Founding Fathers to supersede and endure beyond the current whims of any elected leaders, judges, or other sources of power. National security and military personnel commit to protecting the Constitution above all else, because without its preservation none of their other missions or objectives truly matter. The shared pledge to protect and defend the Constitution is worth highlighting to mark and appreciate this current national crisis for what it is: an effort led by the president to overturn the outcome of an election in which the president was a candidate. This overt undertaking is completely in character with President Donald Trump, totally unprecedented in U.S. history, and far more insidious than all the recent efforts of foreign electoral interference.

Full Article: Trump’s Post-Election Defiance Is How a Constitution Dies

Georgia Republicans want ‘signature audit’ of absentee ballots. Why it likely won’t happen | Nick Wooten/Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

It’s unlikely the Georgia Secretary of State’s office will further examine absentee voter signatures despite calls from top Republicans ahead of the state’s recount, a top election official told reporters Monday. Top Republicans, including President Donald Trump and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, have requested signature audits tied to Georgia’s absentee voting. Under state law, the identification or signature of voters is checked twice during the absentee voting process, and an accepted ballot can’t be traced back to a signed envelope once the two are separated. The process protects ballot secrecy. But county election officials keep the signed envelopes for two years. Currently, there’s no state law requiring or outlining the process for rechecking envelope signatures against the state database after those signatures were already confirmed, said Gabriel Sterling, the state’s voting system implementation manager. “If a court orders it or if we have specific investigatory reasons, you do it,” he said of auditing the signatures. “If we make a precedent of ‘I don’t like the outcome. Therefore, we should start investigating random parts of the process.’ …It’s a bad precedent.”

Full Article: How does Georgia verify signature on absentee ballots? | Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Georgia counties set to start recount requested by Trump | Kate Brumback/Associated Press

After the Trump campaign requested a recount of the presidential ballots in Georgia, county election workers have just over a week to complete the new tally, a top elections official said Monday. The election results certified last week by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger showed Democrat Joe Biden beating Republican President Donald Trump by 12,670 votes out of about 5 million cast, or about 0.25%. Under state law, a candidate can request a recount when the margin is less than 0.5%. The Trump campaign on Saturday sent a formal request for a recount to the secretary of state’s office. The counties can begin the recount at 9 a.m. Tuesday and must finish by 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 2, Gabriel Sterling, who oversaw the implementation of the state’s new voting system for the secretary of state’s office, said during a video news conference Monday. The counties are to give public notice of when during that period they will be counting so monitors from political parties and any interested members of the public can be there to observe, Sterling said. This will be the third time the votes in the presidential race have been counted in Georgia. After the initial count following Election Day, Raffensperger selected the presidential race for an audit required by state law. Because of the tight margin, he said, the audit required every vote in that contest to be recounted by hand. County election workers completed that hand tally last week. Because some previously uncounted ballots were discovered during the audit, several counties had to recertify their totals. Then the secretary of state certified the results and Gov. Brian Kemp certified the state’s slate of 16 presidential electors.

Full Article: Georgia counties set to start recount requested by Trump

Iowa: Three counties use voting machines to assist hand recount, defying Secretary of State opinion | Zachary Oren Smith/Iowa City Press-Citizen

Three county recount boards are defying a recent legal opinion from the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office and using a machine to aid the recount of ballots in the ultra-close 2nd District congressional race. Recount boards in Scott, Johnson and Clinton counties — the three most populous in the district — justified the move, saying it is necessary to ensure that the recount board’s three members have time to examine ballots the machines couldn’t read for voter intent to see if any were filed for Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks or Democrat Rita Hart but were not tallied accordingly. Assistant Scott County Attorney Robert Cusack offered a legal opinion for his board writing that using a machine to assist the hand count is consistent with the recount board’s charge from Iowa Code to “tabulate all votes” and that a hand recount of all 60,000 votes is not required in light of the confidence in voting machines and the code’s own time constraint. “If the recount board can determine the intent of the voter, then that vote should be counted,” he said.

Full Article: Scott County defies Secretary of State with machine-assisted hand recount

Michigan: Detroit had more vote errors in 2016 when Trump won the state by a narrow margin. He didn’t object then. | Kayla Ruble/The Washington Post

Republican Party leaders who urged Michigan’s state canvassing board to hold off certifying the Nov. 3 election results before it met Monday cited what they described as “significant problems and irregularities” in Wayne County, home of Detroit. The GOP officials pointed to the number of “unbalanced” precincts, where there were small discrepancies between the number of ballots cast and the number of voters logged by election workers in the poll books. Party officials unsuccessfully called on the board to conduct an audit before it certified President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the state with a 3-to-1 vote. “To simply gloss over those irregularities now without a thorough audit would only foster feelings of distrust among Michigan’s electorate,” Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and state GOP Chair Laura Cox wrote in a letter Saturday. But state and county election data shows that four years ago — when Donald Trump carried the state by a much narrower margin — twice as many Detroit precincts were out of balance. At the time, the problems were widely condemned by Democratic leaders, including Garlin Gilchrist, now the state’s lieutenant governor, who called the city’s handling of the election “a complete catastrophe.”

Full Article: Detroit had more vote errors in 2016 when Trump won Michigan by a narrow margin. He didn’t object then. – The Washington Post

Michigan Supreme Court rejects appeal, but 2 justices urge looking into election fraud claims | Clara Hendrickson/Detroit Free Press

In what is likely a final blow to the effort to delay the certification of election results in Michigan, the Michigan Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal in a lawsuit filed against Detroit and Wayne County election officials. With all but Justice David Viviano agreeing, the court denied the request to stop the certification of Wayne County’s election results, writing in its order  “we are not persuaded that the question presented should be reviewed by this Court.” The Wayne County Board of Canvassers certified the county’s results Nov. 17. But in a concurring statement to the court’s order, Justice Brian Zahra, joined by Justice Stephen Markman, urged the Wayne County Circuit Court to move quickly and “meaningfully assess” the plaintiffs’ allegations of electoral fraud. “I am cognizant that many Americans believe that plaintiffs’ claims of electoral fraud and misconduct are frivolous and obstructive, but I am equally cognizant that many Americans are of the view that the 2020 election was not fully free and fair,” Zahra wrote. “Federal law imposes tight time restrictions on Michigan’s certification of our electors. Plaintiffs should not have to file appeals following our standard processes and procedures to obtain a final answer from this Court on such weighty issues.” The concurring statement called on the Wayne County Circuit Court to hold an evidentiary hearing to assess the credibility of the plaintiffs’ allegations of fraud based mostly on affidavits filed by Republican challengers present at TCF Center.

Full Article: 2 Mich. Supreme Court justices urge looking into election fraud claims

Nevada: Trump Campaign Takes Aim At Native Vote Project | Bert Johnson/Nevada Public Radio

Full Article: Trump Campaign Takes Aim At Nevada Native Vote Project | Nevada Public Radio

New Jersey Lawmakers Push For In-Person Early Voting by 2021. County Election Officials Fear It’s Not Doable | Jeff Pillets/TAPinto

Fresh off a record-setting election that upended traditional voting habits, New Jersey lawmakers are pushing ahead on another big change in time for next year’s governor’s race: in-person early voting. But exhausted election workers, still wrapping up this year’s mostly mail-in general election, worry they may be unable to meet another major voting mandate from Trenton. “We all want more people to vote, but we’re going to need more staffing, more time, more cooperation with the state and a better system overall,” said Lynn Caterson, a member of the Atlantic County Board of Elections. “And what about the money?” Senate President Steve Sweeney, in an interview Thursday with NJ Spotlight News, said a new law that would open polling places two weeks early could be passed by year’s end or early in 2021 — in time for the June 8 primary election, when voters will choose candidates for governor. “The point is we want early voting to happen,” said Sweeney (D-Gloucester). “We’ve just got to figure out how to fund it.”

Full Article: NJ Lawmakers Push For In-Person Early Voting by 2021. County Election Officials Fear It’s Not Doable – TAPinto

Pennsylvania counties start to certify election results, despite disinformation and baseless fraud claims from Trump allies | Jonathan Lai and Jeremy Roebuck/Philadelphia Inquirer

Pennsylvania counties rushed Monday to certify their results from the Nov. 3 election, even as President Donald Trump and his Republican allies continued their increasingly long-shot legal effort to disrupt the cementing of the state’s final vote tally. But as county boards of elections convened for what is normally little more than a sleepy formality, the impact of the president’s campaign to undermine trust in the integrity of the vote repeatedly reared its head.In at least three of the state’s most populous counties, the boards split their votes along party lines. And small groups of voters speaking at public meetings urged elections administrators to reject vote tallies in several others. Many speakers cited unsupported allegations of widespread fraud, malfunctioning voting machines and claims about mail-in ballots that Trump and his supporters have spread without evidence in recent weeks. Joe Gale, the Republican vice chair of the Montgomery County Election Board and only member to vote against certification, decried the widespread use of mail voting and called for the U.S. Supreme Court to review of the state’s results, echoing requests made by the president’s lawyers in recent days. “There is no way to certify the authenticity of one half of the votes cast this year,” he said Monday. “All 67 counties across the Commonwealth are experiencing electoral uncertainty.” Board votes in Allegheny and Luzerne — which Trump carried by 14 points — also split along partisan divides. But in all three counties, the dissenters were among the minority and the certifications were ultimately approved.

Full Article: Pennsylvania counties start to certify election results, despite disinformation and baseless fraud claims from Trump allies

Pennsylvania: In rare move, bipartisan panel rejects House request to audit 2020 election | Marie Albiges and Cynthia Fernandez/Philadelphia Inquirer

An attempt by Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled legislature to audit the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election failed Monday when a bipartisan panel rejected it, citing its redundancy. The Legislative Budget and Finance Committee voted 2-1 against the audit, which was requested by the House last week. The two Democrats on the panel voted against the measure, with one Republican in favor and another absent from the meeting. In rejecting the request, the panel’s two Democratic members — Sen. James Brewster (D., Allegheny) and Rep. Jake Wheatley (D., Allegheny) — said it would duplicate the efforts of an ongoing Department of State audit, which is mandated by law. “There are other ways of validating our election results, making sure we had a fair return in our election process. And I would encourage us to not prolong this wasted effort,” said Wheatley, who is treasurer of the committee. “I would just really suggest that we put this to bed now and move forward with some of our other prioritized reports and audits.”

Full Article: In rare move, bipartisan panel rejects Pa. House request to audit 2020 election

Rhode Island Board of Elections audits election results | Connor Cyrus/WJAR

The Rhode Island Board of Elections conducted an audit Monday of the results of the Nov. 3 general election. “They look at a sample of the total number of ballots cast and compare it to the outcome of the election,” said John Marion of Common Cause. The so-called risk-limiting audit happens after every election in Rhode Island and is mandated by state law. It stems from people being worried during the 2016 election about cyberattacks. That same year, there was a problem at a Pawtucket polling place where one machine reported the wrong results. “It made election administrators and ultimately the General Assembly realize they needed to do something to check the results every time in a systematic way,” Marion said. The process is very organized and starts with blue boxes of ballots. The process counts roughly 10% of all of Rhode Island’s ballots by municipality. Monday, they were focusing on the presidential election.

Full Article: Rhode Island Board of Elections audits election results

Wisconsin: With deadline a week away, partial presidential recount continues | Briana Reilly/The Capital Times

Elections officials in two Wisconsin counties are continuing their work to re-tally ballots cast in the November presidential contest as they near the Dec. 1 deadline to complete the recount. The long-shot push to flip the state for President Donald Trump, which is surely headed to the courts after the recount ends, has sought to invalidate thousands of absentee ballots from voters who had followed guidance provided to them by their local clerks and others. The process kicked-off in the state’s two biggest and bluest counties, Dane and Milwaukee, on Friday, though it took a while for the counting to officially begin. As of Monday morning, Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell said nearly one-quarter of ballots cast have been tabulated by the start of the fourth day of the recount requested and paid for by Trump’s campaign. “We are slightly behind schedule but catching up,” he wrote on Twitter, noting 55 of the 253 reporting units have been completed thus far. “So grateful for all who are pitching in for democracy.” This week will include the Madison portion of the recount, where voters’ ballots in the city make up just under half of Dane’s total votes (according to the recent canvassed results from the state’s counties) and are spread across more than 150 reporting units. The clerk’s office will be closed this week as officials prepare to answer questions for the three-member Board of Canvassers, which is controlled 2-1 by Democrats.

Full Article: With deadline a week away, Wisconsin’s partial presidential recount continues | Local Government |