Georgia: Judge may unseal Fulton County absentee ballots for fraud investigation | David Wickert/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A judge may unseal absentee ballots in Fulton County so a government watchdog can investigate allegations of voting fraud in the November election. A lawsuit filed in Fulton County Superior Court contends that fraudulent ballots were cast and other irregularities occurred as workers counted ballots at State Farm Arena on election night. Those allegations were investigated and dismissed by the secretary of state’s office. Nonetheless, Henry County Superior Court Judge Brian Amero — who is overseeing the case — said he’s inclined to order the ballots to be unsealed and reviewed by experts hired by Garland Favorito, a voting-integrity advocate. At a hearing Monday, Amero sought a detailed plan for maintaining the secrecy and security of the ballots, which — by state law — are under seal in the Fulton County Superior Court Clerk’s Office. “We want to do this in such a way that dispels rumors and disinformation and sheds light,” Amero said at the hearing. “The devil’s in the details.” Favorito’s case is part of a wave of lawsuits that have alleged fraud or misconduct in the November presidential election. Some sought to overturn Joe Biden’s win in Georgia, while others sought to change election rules for the January U.S. Senate runoffs.

Full Article: Judge may unseal Fulton absentee ballots for fraud investigation

National: Putin likely directed 2020 U.S. election meddling, U.S. intelligence finds | Christopher Bing, Joseph Menn and Raphael Satter/Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin likely directed efforts to try to swing the 2020 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump, according to an American intelligence report released on Tuesday that sources said would likely trigger U.S. sanctions on Moscow. The 15-page report, released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, added heft to longstanding allegations that some of Trump’s top lieutenants were playing into Moscow’s hands by amplifying claims made against then-candidate Joe Biden by Russian-linked Ukrainian figures in the run-up to the Nov. 3 election. It also added new findings that Putin either oversaw or at least approved of the election meddling to benefit Trump. Washington is expected to impose sanctions on Moscow as soon as next week because of the allegations, three sources said on condition of anonymity. The findings about Putin’s role are likely to receive particular attention given the report’s conclusions that Russia-backed figures such as Ukrainian parliamentarian Andriy Derkach enlisted unnamed U.S. political figures in their campaign to smear Biden and his son Hunter. The report named Derkach, who met Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani in 2019, as someone whose movements were tracked, if not directed, by Putin. “Putin had purview over the activities of Andriy Derkach,” the report said. “Other senior officials also participated in Russia’s election influence efforts – including senior national security and intelligence officials who we assess would not act without receiving at least Putin’s tacit approval.”

Full Article: Putin likely directed 2020 U.S. election meddling, U.S. intelligence finds | Reuters

Full Article: Putin likely directed 2020 U.S. election meddling, U.S. intelligence finds | Reuters

Ohio: Stark County Board of Elections to sue over Dominion voting machine purchase | Robert Wang/The Canton Repository

The Stark County Board of Elections voted unanimously Monday to initiate a lawsuit against the county commissioners to compel them to fund the purchase of Dominion voting machines. The board met twice in executive session before announcing its decision. After the first executive session, which lasted about 20 minutes, board members said they would not consider the commissioners’ apparent suggestion that they consider an updated price quote by Dominion’s competitor, Election Systems and Software. Commissioner Bill Smith had invited ES&S to submit a new quote, which ended up being about $143,000 less than Dominion’s over a 10-year period, according to resolution language released by the commissioners last week. “I think it’s unfair to consider ES&S. We have no inclination to revisit the decision and recommendation that we made previously,” said Samuel Ferruccio, chairman of the Stark County Board of Elections and chairman of the Stark County Democratic Party. “When presented to our board, Dominion Voting Systems’ bid was lower than ES&S. The commissioners took it upon themselves to contact the company (ES&S) our board did not select and accepted a revised bid. That decision was ill advised and detrimental to the integrity of the process.” Board member William Cline, a Republican, agreed, saying “it was manifestly unfair to other bidders to allow a losing bidder to come in and take another bite at the apple. I think at best, unfair, and arguably not ethical either to solicit the bid or to make.” Board member Curt Braden, a Republican, said: “They’re (ES&S is) looking to sell us some used equipment, and we’re looking to buy new equipment.” Braden referred to the fact ES&S’s revised bid included two refurbished ballot scanners with warranties where Dominion was offering to sell the county new ballot scanners.

Full Are: Stark Board of Elections to sue over Dominion voting machine purchase

National: Russian Interference in 2020 Included Influencing Trump Associates, Report Says | Julian E. Barnes/The New York Times

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia authorized extensive efforts to hurt the candidacy of Joseph R. Biden Jr. during the election last year, including by mounting covert operations to influence people close to President Donald J. Trump, according to a declassified intelligence report released on Tuesday. The report did not name those people but seemed to refer to the work of Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, who relentlessly pushed accusations of corruption about Mr. Biden and his family involving Ukraine. “Russian state and proxy actors who all serve the Kremlin’s interests worked to affect U.S. public perceptions,” the report said. The declassified report represented the most comprehensive intelligence assessment of foreign efforts to influence the 2020 vote. Besides Russia, Iran and other countries also sought to sway the election, the report said. China considered its own efforts but ultimately concluded that they would fail and most likely backfire, intelligence officials concluded. companion report by the Justice and Homeland Security Departments also rejected false accusations promoted by Mr. Trump’s allies in the weeks after the vote that Venezuela or other countries had defrauded the election.

Full Article: Putin Authorized Russian Interference in 2020 Election, Report Says – The New York Times

National: Foreign Meddling Flooded the 2020 Election—but Not by Hackers | Andy Greenberg/WIRED

After the pro-Trump hack-and-leak operations and disinformation campaigns that roiled the 2016 US election, the country braced for a second round of no-holds-barred foreign interference last year. But US intelligence agencies have now confirmed that didn’t entirely come to pass. The 2020 election was hit with meddling, trolling, and disinformation operations like those of 2016—but not the outright efforts to hack election infrastructure or political campaigns themselves. On Tuesday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a declassified report that outlines findings from US intelligence agencies including the CIA, NSA, FBI, and DHS on the overall picture of election interference by foreign actors in 2020. Those agencies agree that while more foreign powers than ever before attempted to influence the outcome of the election—using everything from disinformation to voter intimidation emails to social media campaigns—none actually seems to have used hackers to attempt to disrupt the election or access election infrastructure as they did in 2016. “In 2020, the IC tracked a broader array of foreign actors taking steps to influence US elections than in past election cycles,” the report reads, naming Russia, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, and even Lebanon’s Hizbollah Islamic extremist group as actors that sought to influence the election’s outcome. Russia in particular sought to support Trump’s reelection bid with everything from troll-farm social media postings to active smear operations that provided information directly to “Trump administration-linked persons.” Iran, meanwhile, worked against Trump’s reelection with social media campaigns and even fake, threatening emails designed to frame the Trump-supporting white nationalist group the Proud Boys—while not directly supporting Biden or any of Trump’s other political opponents.

Source: Foreign Meddling Flooded the 2020 Election—but Not by Hackers | WIRED

National: After 2020 loss, GOP targets voting restrictions | Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Carrie Dann/NBC

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try — to change how the contest is conducted. That’s the backdrop for all of the legislation across the country that would restrict voting access in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidential loss back in November. Republicans hold legislative majorities and governorships in 24 states — including battlegrounds…

National: Spy Agencies Reject Trump Claim of China Election Meddling | Chris Strohm and Alyza Sebenius/Bloomberg

The U.S. intelligence community concluded with “high confidence” that China didn’t attempt to change the outcome of the 2020 election, an assessment that contradicts repeated assertions by former President Donald Trump and his allies. “We assess that China did not deploy interference efforts and considered but did not deploy influence efforts intended to change the outcome of the U.S. Presidential Election,” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence wrote in an unclassified report released on Tuesday. “China sought stability in its relationship with the United States” and “did not view either election outcome as being advantageous enough for China to risk getting caught meddling.” The agencies also found that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered influence operations to hurt President Joe Biden’s candidacy, favoring Trump just as the intelligence community says he did in 2016 against then Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. “Russian President Putin authorized, and a range of Russian government organizations conducted, influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process and exacerbating sociopolitical divisions in the U.S.,” the report found. Russia has long denied meddling in U.S. elections.

Full Article: Spy Agencies Reject Trump Claim of China Election Meddling – Bloomberg

National: After Trump’s loss and false fraud claims, GOP eyes voter restrictions across nation | Nolan D. McCaskill/Politico

Former President Donald Trump’s debunked claims of widespread voter fraud and a stolen election galvanized his supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol in January. Now, his rhetoric is turning into policies that are moving through GOP-dominated state legislatures: a rollback of voting access. In statehouses around the country — most notably, in Georgia — lawmakers are rolling out legislation that would make it a lot harder to vote. They’re considering dozens of restrictive bills to purge voters from rolls, limit early and absentee voting, add voter ID requirements and eliminate automatic and same-day voter registration. In short, bills are being introduced to prevent something that didn’t happen in 2020 — widespread voter fraud — from recurring in 2022, 2024 and beyond. “They’re all predicated on the ‘big lie,’ the idea that Trump won the election, that there was widespread voter fraud,” said Nsé Ufot, CEO of the New Georgia Project. “The ‘big lie’ is the engine or the fuel that powered in a lot of ways the Jan. 6 insurrection. It’s also the fuel that’s powering these anti-voting bills that we are seeing across the country.” If passed, critics warn, the policies would disproportionately affect Democratic constituencies such as young voters, poor voters and voters of color, erecting barriers to the ballot box after a historic turnout last fall. “There’s absolutely no coincidence in terms of the people who are gonna be impacted and the timing of this,” said Nancy Abudu, deputy legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund, an arm of the SPLC, which prioritizes impact litigation on issues such as voting rights and criminal justice reform.

Full Article: After Trump’s loss and false fraud claims, GOP eyes voter restrictions across nation – POLITICO

National: The Misinformation Campaign Was Distinctly One-Sided | Renée DiResta/The Atlantic

On the morning of September 21, 2020, three trays of United States mail were discovered in a ditch in Greenville, Wisconsin. The local sheriff’s office reported that the mail dump included several absentee ballots. When a U.S. Postal Service spokesperson made a similar assertion two days later, a local Fox affiliate, WLUK, reported the statement on its website. And then a national network of conservative commentators and influencers did something that happened again and again last fall: They picked up a bare-bones news story and made it sound nefarious. Within hours, Jim Hoft, the combative founder and editor of The Gateway Pundit, a conservative media outlet, came across the story. A consortium of researchers working together on an effort called the Election Integrity Partnership (which included my team at the Stanford Internet Observatory) had by this point begun to track false and misleading voting-related information, particularly claims about ballot and mail fraud, as it moved across the social-media ecosystem. Our partnership began 100 days before the election and continued for a few weeks following Election Day. In that time, The Gateway Pundit would become a primary driver in dozens of instances in which false information or misleading narratives went viral. “We report the truth,” a banner on the site noted, as its pages regaled readers with stories of malfunctioning voting machines in Michigan, ballot boxes stuffed into cars, and “miraculous” fake ballots marked for Joe Biden. In our data set tracking the spread of misleading claims, The Gateway Pundit’s stories racked up more than 800,000 retweets on Twitter and at least 4 million views on YouTube over a four-month period. The process of producing viral misinformation hits followed a familiar pattern throughout the 2020 campaign: Prominent pro–Donald Trump influencers or hyper-partisan conservative outlets would pick up a real-world event—in many cases an isolated incident that bubbled into the national conversation via social media—and shoehorn it into a far broader narrative. Many of the narratives involved hints of conspiracy. 

Full Article: Right-Wing Propagandists Were Doing Something Unique – The Atlantic

Arizona GOP must pay $18K in groundless election suit | Jacques Billeaud/Associated Press

The Arizona Republican Party and its lawyers must pay $18,000 in attorneys’ fees that taxpayers were forced to pick up late last year to defend government officials against one of the party’s failed lawsuits challenging President Joe Biden’s victory in the state, a judge has ruled. In a decision Friday, Judge John Hannah concluded the state GOP brought a groundless legal claim to court, filed its case for political reasons while claiming it was trying to protect election integrity, and failed to acknowledge it sued the wrong government officials. The financial award was made under a law that requires judges to assess attorney fees against lawyers or legal parties who bring claims to court without substantial justification or to delay or harass. The judge wrote the GOP had in effect acknowledged it brought the lawsuit for an improper purpose when it said the suit was motivated by public mistrust after the election. “‘Public mistrust’ is a political issue, not a legal or factual basis for litigation,” the judge wrote. Hannah said the party didn’t make a serious effort before filing the lawsuit to determine whether its claims were valid and never named Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs as the official responsible for carrying out the law at issue in the case and instead sued Maricopa County officials. Jack Wilenchik, one of the attorneys representing the Arizona GOP, issued a statement saying the decision would be appealed and that the judge’s conclusion that public mistrust in an election is an improper reason for a political party to bring to court is “sorely disrespectful to the views of the many Americans whom I am proud to represent.” Wilenchik said the order “encourages public distrust in the government for being openly hostile to them.”

Full Article: Judge: Arizona GOP must pay $18K in groundless election suit

Arizona ‘Everybody shouldn’t be voting’: Republican defends voter restrictions as GOP pushes ‘fraud’ claims | Alex Woodward/The Independent

A Republican lawmaker in Arizona has defended GOP-sponsored legislation to restrict ballot access as a means to protect “the quality of votes” and arguing that “everybody shouldn’t be voting” as Republicans in at least 43 states introduce dozens of bills to curb voting rights, compelled by spurious fraud claims and election conspiracy theories in the wake of 2020 elections and disproportionately impacting Black voters. Arizona state Rep John Kavanagh, who chairs the state legislature’s Government and Elections Committee, told CNN that Democrats are “willing to risk fraud” by expanding voter access, and that “Republicans are more concerned about fraud, so we don’t mind putting security measures in that won’t let everybody vote – but everybody shouldn’t be voting.” Mr Kavanagh was referencing a measure that could purge thousands of people from a list of voters who automatically receive popular mail-in ballots during elections. Arizona lawmakers are considering roughly two dozen other bills. Mr Kavanagh also suggested that Democrats’ voter registration and ballot collection drives can “greatly influence the outcome of the election” by targeting “uninformed” voters. “Not everybody wants to vote, and if somebody is uninterested in voting, that probably means that they’re totally uninformed on the issues,” he told CNN. “Quantity is important, but we have to look at the quality of votes, as well.” “Elected Republicans think they get to pick who is allowed to vote,” said US Rep Bill Pascrell of New Jersey. “This is the new Jim Crow.”

Full Article: john kavanaugh arizona voting laws | The Independent

Florida: ‘Suppression’ or ‘security’? Uproar over GOP’s ‘rollback of voting rights’ | Dara Kam/Orlando Sentinel

Four months ago, Gov. Ron DeSantis bragged that other states should emulate voting procedures in Florida, where former President Donald Trump’s solid Election Day victory over President Joe Biden was done and dusted long before midnight. But the Republican governor, who will be on the ballot next year, and GOP legislative leaders are pushing changes to the state’s election process that Democrats are branding as “voter suppression,” county election officials “vehemently” oppose and experts say will “disproportionately” harm Black and Hispanic voters. “I have heard of no supervisors who are in support of this bill,” Leon County Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley told a Senate committee last week, before the Republican-controlled panel approved a measure that would make wide-ranging changes to voting by mail. State GOP leaders’ push to amend the elections process mimics efforts underway in other Republican-led states following Trump’s re-election defeat in November. Trump and his followers have repeatedly alleged that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen,” a claim without merit.

Full Article: ‘Suppression’ or ‘security’? Uproar over Florida GOP’s ‘rollback of voting rights’ – Orlando Sentinel

Georgia official clarifies earlier report on Trump call to a Georgia investigator | Greg Bluestein/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia elections officials said their description of a much-scrutinized phone call between Donald Trump and a top investigator wasn’t meant to be presented as a “word-for-word transcript” after a recording of the call revealed the former president was misquoted. Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday that the office’s initial report about the conversation between Trump and Frances Watson, the chief investigator, relied on Watson’s recollection. A recording of the conversation, located on a trash folder in Watson’s email account during an open records request, was released last week. It revealed that Trump told Watson she would find “dishonesty” if she scrutinized absentee ballots in Fulton County and that she had the “most important job in the country right now.” “When the right answer comes out, you’ll be praised,” Trump told Watson. Earlier reporting by the AJC and other news organizations misquoted the exact words that Trump used to urge Watson to act based on Fuchs’ account of the conversation. The former president did not urge Watson to “find the fraud” and did not promise she would become a “national hero.” “After hearing the tape, it’s clear that her recollection accurately portrayed the president’s assertions that there was fraud to uncover and that she would receive praise for doing so,” Fuchs said.

Full Article: Georgia official clarifies earlier report on Trump call to a Georgia investigator

Indiana: Evansville lawmaker named new secretary of state | Tom Davies/Associated Press

A legislator from Evansville who is the second-ranking officer in the state Republican Party was sworn in Tuesday as Indiana’s new secretary of state, taking over an office that oversees election issues statewide. Gov. Eric Holcomb announced his selection of Republican state Rep. Holli Sullivan for the position. Sullivan replaced outgoing Secretary of State Connie Lawson, who said last month she was resigning with nearly two years left to her elected term. Sullivan was first elected to the Indiana House in 2014 and won a new term in last November’s election. She has also been the state Republican Party’s vice chair since 2019. Lawson worked with Holcomb and other Republican leaders in allowing no-excuse mail-in voting for last year’s spring primary early in the coronavirus pandemic. But Lawson joined them in blocking a push by Democrats and voting rights groups to lift the mail-in ballot limits for the November election. Sullivan showed no divergence from that stance Tuesday, saying her top priority would be “free, fair, and secure elections, ensuring that all Hoosiers know that their vote counts.” Sullivan didn’t give any specifics when asked what steps should be taken to improve Indiana’s consistently low voter turnout, which was 65% of registered voters last fall.

Full Article: Evansville lawmaker named new Indiana secretary of state

Kentucky lawmakers advance bipartisan election reform bill | Bruce Schreiner/Associated Press

 In sharp contrast to bitter partisan battles being waged elsewhere over election laws, Republicans and Democrats in Kentucky moved closer Tuesday toward loosening the state’s voting access laws to make limited early voting a fixture. A measure overwhelmingly approved Tuesday in the state Senate would give Kentucky voters three days of no-excuse, early in-person voting — including a Saturday — before Election Day. But it backed off from the temporary, pandemic-related accommodations made last year that allowed widespread mail-in absentee balloting. The bill also seeks to strengthen election security protections. The legislation passed the Senate by a 33-3 margin, sending it back to the House to consider changes made to it. Republicans dominate both chambers, but Senate Democrats joined in voting for the bill. However, the measure didn’t come up for a potential final vote before the House adjourned shortly before midnight. That means supporters will have to wait until lawmakers reconvene for a two-day wrap-up session in late March to take up the measure. If it clears the legislature, it would be sent to Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear. “If it passes and becomes law, not only will it transform the way in which Kentucky elects its public officials, but also ensure that we have one of the best voter integrity laws in the country,” Republican Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer said. Kentucky is accustomed to bare-knuckled partisan fights, but its top elections official noted the mild tone in the state, especially compared to the bitter debates on election law changes in other states. It echoed the tone set before last year’s primaries, when Beshear and Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams hashed out emergency voting measures during the pandemic that helped Kentucky largely avoid the long lines and other problems encountered elsewhere.

Full Article: Kentucky lawmakers advance bipartisan election reform bill

Michigan: Court invalidates rule on how to verify absentee ballot application signatures | Gus Burns/MLive.com

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson last year said local clerks should start with a presumption of validity when verifying signatures on absentee ballot applications, but a court ruling says that rule wasn’t properly established. A Michigan Court of Claims judge last week ruled that clerks no longer need to follow those instructions for determining whether to send an absentee ballot to applicants. According to the March 9 opinion and order issued by Judge Christopher M. Murray, Benson issued instructions that constituted “rules” without following the process for creating a formal rule under state and federal law. Murray wrote that “the guidance issued by the Secretary of State on October 6, 2020, with respect to signature-matching standards was issued in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act.” The Michigan Republican Party and Allegan County Clerk Robert Genetski, who jointly filed their complaint prior to the Nov. 3 election, claimed the signature standards allowed for “invalid” ballots to be counted. Murray noted in his opinion that Genetski, however, never claimed the “guidance caused him to accept a signature that he believed was invalid.”

Full Article: Court invalidates Michigan rule on how to verify absentee ballot application signatures – mlive.com

Nevada finds far fewer election complaints than GOP claimed | Rory Appleton/Las Vegas Review-Journal

The Nevada secretary of state’s office announced Tuesday it had sorted through several boxes allegedly containing about 123,000 unique voter complaints, collected by the Nevada Republican Party after the 2020 general election, but found fewer than 4,000 actual alleged election integrity violations. “While initial reports claimed that there were 122,918 unique voter complaints contained within the four boxes, a detailed review concluded that there was a total of 3,963 Elections Integrity Violation Reports, all filed by the chairman of the Nevada Republican Party — a number of which are already under investigation by law enforcement,” the office said in a news release. The office said it spent more than 40 hours labeling and evaluating the documents provided by state Republicans “to ensure a systematic assessment of the election complaints contained within.” “During the coming weeks, the staff will conduct a detailed examination of these reports,” the office said. Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, the state’s lone Republican executive, was a frequent target of Republicans as they sought to reverse various 2020 election results up and down the ballot. She has maintained there was no evidence of widespread fraud in Nevada’s most recent election.

Full Article: Nevada finds far fewer election complaints than GOP claimed | Las Vegas Review-Journal

The Texas GOP is still furious about Harris County’s drive-thru voting | Abigail Rosenthal/Houston Chronicle

Texas Republicans aren’t going to let drive-thru voting go anytime soon, it seems. Several legislators have filed bills targeting drive-thru voting during this legislative session. The heftiest of the GOP’s “election security” bills, Senate Bill 7, bars tents, parking garages, parking lots or any “similar facility designed primarily for motor vehicles” for voting—venues many Harris County residents used to vote from their cars during the 2020 presidential, state and local elections. The bill also completely bans voting from cars unless the voter is “physically unable to enter the polling place” and only allows the voter and someone assisting the voter in the car. The assistant must also sign forms confirming the voter is unable to enter the polling place and explaining his or her relationship with the voter, why assistance was necessary, and what specific assistance was provided to the voter. Harris County implemented drive-thru voting during the 2020 election to expand voter participation during the coronavirus pandemic. Thousands of residents were able to vote from their cars.

Full Article: The Texas GOP is still furious about Harris County’s drive-thru voting

What Utah officials told Pennsylvania about holding elections by mail | Dennis Romboy/Deseret News

Pennsylvania found itself at the center of controversy during the 2020 election. An onslaught of mail-in ballots prompted by a new law being tested for the first time amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic overwhelmed the state’s election officials, who were prohibited from counting the ballots before Election Day. President Donald Trump took direct aim at the Keystone State as his lead eroded and Joe Biden ultimately emerged as the winner by 81,000 votes, or about 1%. Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud led to lawsuits that Pennsylvania courts and the U.S. Supreme Court rejected. As a result, the Pennsylvania Senate created the bipartisan Special Committee on Election Integrity and Reform. The nine-member panel is anticipated to make recommendations to lawmakers on how to improve the state’s election process. “I don’t think it’s any secret that the issues of the 2020 election have dominated the headlines, and this committee was formed to examine how we can do better,” said Pennsylvania state Sen. Wayne Langerholc Jr., a Republican who heads the committee.

Full Article: What Utah officials told Pennsylvania about holding elections by mail – Deseret News

Wisconsin: Republican election commissioner to stay on case over vote | Patrick Marley/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A Republican election commissioner is declining to step aside from deciding whether Democratic Gov. Tony Evers properly affirmed last year’s presidential election. Commissioner Bob Spindell’s decision to remain on the case raises the possibility that the other members of the Wisconsin Elections Commission will consider forcing him off of it. It’s the latest development in an escalating fight over how Wisconsin officials confirmed Joe Biden had narrowly defeated Donald Trump in the state last year. The case can’t alter the state’s results, but it could change how state officials handle future presidential elections. Evers’ attorney this month asked Spindell to also step aside from the complaint involving the governor because Spindell joined a group of Republicans in December who claimed to be the state’s rightful members of the Electoral College even though Biden had narrowly won the state. Spindell’s participation in that meeting showed he had already concluded Evers had not properly named the state’s slate of electors, prejudicing him against the governor, according to Evers’ attorney, Jeffrey Mandell. (The meeting of Republican would-be electors is the subject of a separate complaint — filed with Mandell’s assistance — before the Elections Commission.) The complaints over how the election results were finalized are being handled by DeWitt, a law firm in Madison. Attorneys there will make recommendations to the commission in the coming weeks on whether to uphold or dismiss Knudson’s complaints.

Full Article: Republican election commissioner to stay on case over Wisconsin vote

China suspected of cyber attack on Western Australia’s Parliament during state election | Andrew Greene/ABC

Western Australia’s parliamentary email network was hit by suspected Chinese hackers earlier this month as part of a massive global cyber-attack involving Microsoft software. The ABC has confirmed the online strike, which was detected on March 4 in the middle of the state election campaign, prompted intervention from Australia’s cyber security watchdog in Canberra. “Please be advised that the Parliament mail server has been hit with a cyber-attack,” WA politicians were warned at the time. “Consequently, the mail server will be down until further notice,” a text message sent by the Department of Parliamentary Services advised. An investigation by Western Australia’s Parliamentary Services Department has since concluded no sensitive data was stolen in the attack. “As soon as we became aware of the attack, we immediately disconnected the email server,” WA’s Executive Manager of Parliamentary Services Rob Hunter told the ABC.

Full Article: China suspected of cyber attack on Western Australia’s Parliament during state election – ABC News

Venezuela: DOJ officially concludes dictator who died in 2013 did not rig election against Trump | Emily Singer/The American Independent

The Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday released a report officially debunking the lie that foreign governments rigged voting machines to ensure Donald Trump lost — lies spread by Donald Trump, lawyers connected to his campaign, other Trump allies. “We — the Department of Justice, including the FBI, and Department of Homeland Security, including CISA — have no evidence that any foreign government-affiliated actor prevented voting, changed votes, or disrupted the ability to tally votes or to transmit election results in a timely manner; altered any technical aspect of the voting process; or otherwise compromised the integrity of voter registration information of any ballots cast during 2020 federal elections,” the report says. The report appears to be referring to the wild conspiracy theory spread by former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell. Powell falsely said at a news conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters that Dominion voting machines were rigged against Trump by Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, who has been dead since 2013. Trump later pushed the same lie about the Dominion voting machines, as did other Trump campaign lawyers such as Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis. Dominion has now sued Powell and Giuliani for $1.3 billion, each.

Full Article: DOJ officially concludes dictator who died in 2013 did not rig election against Trump