National: Plan to let troops cast ballots over the internet draws opposition from security experts | Leo Shane III/Air Force Times

A group of election security experts is urging lawmakers to drop plans in the annual defense authorization bill which would allow online ballot casting for troops serving overseas, saying the security concerns outweigh the potential benefits. “There are solutions to improve military and overseas voting without expanding dangerously insecure voting technology,” the group wrote in a letter to members of the Senate Armed Services Committee this week. “We believe that servicemembers deserve the highest standard of safe and verifiable voting. For the foreseeable future, internet voting cannot meet that standard, and places military voters’ votes — and the trustworthiness of elections themselves — at risk.” The effort, which includes groups like Protect Democracy and the U.S. Vote Foundation as well as 27 former state election officials and academics, comes as the Senate is preparing to complete its draft of the massic defense policy bill in the next few weeks.

Full Article: Plan to let troops cast ballots over the internet draws opposition from security experts

National: Senate Democrats ask for details on threats against election workers | Jordain Carney/The Hill

Senate Democrats are pushing the Department of Justice (DOJ) for details on threats against election workers and any related probes. Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and 19 other Democratic senators sent a letter to the Justice Department on Monday asking for updates from the Election Threats Task Force, which the DOJ formed earlier this year to combat threats against election workers.  “We must ensure that election workers are able to do their jobs free from threats, intimidation, or other improper influence. While Congress must pass stronger protections for election workers … we also urge the Justice Department to take additional action under existing law,” the senators wrote in the letter, which was obtained exclusively by The Hill ahead of its release. “It is for this reason that we respectfully request an update on the actions that the Department’s Task Force has taken so far and on its plans to facilitate the reporting, investigation, and prosecution of threats against election officials and election workers,” they added. The Democratic senators are asking for details on the number of threats against election workers, volunteers or their family members and how many completed or ongoing investigations those threats have spawned.

Full Article: Senate Democrats ask for details on threats against election workers | TheHill

National: Advocates worry democracy is eroding on Biden’s watch | shley Parker, Tyler Pager and Amy Gardner/The Washington Post

Voting rights advocates meet once every week or two with White House officials via video conference, and in almost every session, an advocate speaks up to say that President Biden must do more, that American democracy is under threat and the president is not meeting the challenge. At one such meeting earlier this year, a Biden aide responded that Democrats would simply have to “out-organize” the other side, according to multiple advocates familiar with the exchange who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a private meeting. The comment infuriated advocates, who believe they are watching former president Donald Trump actively and perhaps permanently undermine faith in U.S. elections. “There’s been a lot of anger and frustration with that line from the White House, which was communicated as a response to advocates wanting the White House to do more,” said Aaron Scherb, legislative director of Common Cause, a longtime pro-democracy group. Scherb conceded that the White House’s urgency has significantly amped up in recent days, as voting rights legislation comes up for debate on Capitol Hill, and White House officials denied the activists’ account of the meeting. But the ongoing frustration is widespread among activists and many Democrats who fear Biden is missing the urgency of the moment. In the nine months since Biden took office, GOP officials throughout the country have baselessly challenged the 2020 results, conducting elaborate and clumsy audits. States have restricted voting, often in ways activists say will hurt disadvantaged communities, and have changed their procedures to allow political influence over future elections.

Full Article: Advocates worry democracy is eroding on Biden’s watch – The Washington Post

National: DOJ: ‘Lionizing’ Jan. 6 rioters fueling future political violence | Kyle Cheney/Politico

The Justice Department said Monday that people “lionizing” the Jan. 6 rioters are heightening the risk of future political violence. “Indeed, the risk of future violence is fueled by a segment of the population that seems intent on lionizing the January 6 rioters and treating them as political prisoners, heroes, or martyrs instead of what they are: criminals,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Roman wrote in a court filing, “many of whom committed extremely serious crimes of violence, and all of whom attacked the democratic values which all of us should share.” The statement came as part of a 28-page argument supporting the pretrial detention of Cody Mattice, a defendant charged with ripping down metal barricades and assaulting police during the attack on the Capitol. It’s an indirect broadside at Republicans who have sought to whitewash the violence committed by supporters of former President Donald Trump during the assault on the Capitol. Trump himself has argued alternately that his supporters were “hugging and kissing” police — rather than committing the approximately 1,000 assaults prosecutors say occurred — and has baselessly claimed that left-wing agitators caused the violence.

Full Article: DOJ: ‘Lionizing’ Jan. 6 rioters fueling future political violence – POLITICO

Editorial: John Eastman’s legal theory created for Trump is still alive. The Jan. 6 committee should kill it. | Greg Sargent/The Washington Post

As the Jan. 6 select committee kicks into high gear, one big thing it will examine is the role played by Mike Pence in the final days of Donald Trump’s effort to overturn his presidential reelection loss and remain in power illegitimately. As vice president, Pence ultimately rebuffed Trump’s pressure on him to halt the congressional count of electors and declare Trump winner. Whether he did so after seriously entertaining this scheme, and what other bad actors pressured him to execute it, are things we need to learn about. But we also need to do something else: We must kill off the dangerous legal theory that Trump and his co-conspirators hatched to justify that scheme, so it never rises again. Some new reporting on Pence’s role, combined with a new analysis of that legal theory, should give us the hook for this. It’s important, because there are new signs this legal theory remains alive, though in staggering zombie form. The theory is the one in the now-notorious Trump coup memo. Lawyer John Eastman outlined a scheme for Pence to ignore federal law and refuse to count President-elect Joe Biden’s electors, making Trump winner. Eastman discussed the theory with Trump and Pence a couple days before Jan. 6. Pence was unpersuaded. new book by reporter David M. Drucker adds more detail to Pence’s handling of Trump’s pressure. As Drucker reports, Pence’s top advisers — counsel Greg Jacob and chief of staff Marc Short — deeply researched the theory and decided Pence should disavow it, which he did on Jan. 6.

Full Article: Opinion | John Eastman’s legal theory created for Trump is still alive. The Jan. 6 committee should kill it. – The Washington Post

Arizona: Trump now claims voter fraud in Pima County; officials say he’s wrong | Sam Kmack/Arizona Daily Star

Former President Donald Trump released a statement on Friday claiming there was voter fraud in Pima County’s 2020 election, which county officials have denied. The claim follows the nearly year-long audit in Maricopa County that found President Joe Biden had won by slightly more votes than previously thought. Trump and Arizona Republicans had said for months that the taxpayer-funded audit would flip the election results in favor of Trump. Trump’s new statement points to an influx of mail-in votes that gained the lead for Biden in Pima County, which Trump asserts were fraudulent. He’s made similar claims about other states and counties since last November. Friday’s note also claims that “publicly available data” shows two Pima voting precincts had a ballot return rate greater than 100%, and says that a new election should be called or Trump should be declared the winner in Arizona’s 2020 election. County officials have outright denied the claims of voter fraud. They point out that both Republicans and Democrats were involved in counting Pima County’s ballots multiple times and the results were certified by officials representing both parties in the state.

Full Article: Trump now claims voter fraud in Pima County; officials say he’s wrong | Local news |

Colorado: Trumpist county clerk barred after leak of voting-system passwords to QAnon | Jon Brodkin/Ars Technica

A Colorado judge on Wednesday barred Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters from supervising elections due to the leak of voting-system BIOS passwords to QAnon conspiracy theorist Ron Watkins. Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold and Mesa County registered elector Heidi Jeanne Hess had petitioned the court for a ruling that Peters and Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley are unable to perform the functions of the Designated Election Official for the November 2021 election. The “court determines that the petitioners have met the burden of showing that Peters and Knisley have committed a breach and neglect of duty and other wrongful acts,” Mesa County District Court Judge Valerie Robison wrote in Wednesday’s ruling. “As such, Peters and Knisley are unable or unwilling to appropriately perform the duties of the Mesa County Designated Election Official. The court further determines substantial compliance with the provisions of the code require an injunction prohibiting Peters and Knisley from performing the duties of the Designated Election Official.” In August, Watkins released photos of information on Dominion’s Election Management Systems (EMS) voting machines, including an installation manual and “BIOS passwords for a small collection of computers, including EMS server and client systems,” as we reported at the time. While Watkins, a former 8chan administrator, was trying to prove that Dominion can remotely administer the machines, the documents actually showed “a generic set of server hardware, with explicit instructions to keep it off the Internet and lock down its remote management functions.” Peters, who promoted Trump’s conspiracy theory that voting machines were manipulated to help Joe Biden win the 2020 election, “‘holed up’ in a safe house provided by pillow salesman and conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell” when the FBI began investigating her, according to an August 19 Vice News article. Her location was described as a “mystery” for a while, but she appeared at an event in Grand Junction, Colorado, last month.

Full Article: Trumpist county clerk barred after leak of voting-system passwords to QAnon | Ars Technica

Pennsylvania court allows lawsuit to decertify Northampton County voting machines to move forward | Peter Hall/The Morning Call

A Pennsylvania judge ruled a lawsuit to block the use of electronic voting machines used in Northampton County and elsewhere can move forward. Commonwealth Court Judge Kevin P. Brobson on Monday rejected arguments by the state’s top election official that election security advocates and more than a dozen Pennsylvania voters lacked standing and had failed to make valid claims about the ExpressVote XL voting machines used in Northampton and Philadelphia counties. The National Election Defense Coalition and Citizens for Better Elections filed a petition in January 2020 seeking a preliminary injunction requiring the state to decertify the ExpressVote XL electronic voting system for the primary and general election. It cited information from voters about security concerns and trouble using the machines and a “no confidence” vote by the Northampton County elections board, and said there is “no way to restore voters’ trust in the machines.” Attorney Ron Fein, who represents the petitioners, said his clients look forward to reviewing documents and interviewing potential witnesses in the case. “The court rejected every one of the secretary of state’s arguments,” Fein said. “The plaintiffs look forward to conducting discovery, examining the ExpressVote XL machine and presenting evidence it never should have been certified at trial.” A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of State said it had no comment on the decision. Brobson, who authored the opinion for the three-judge panel, is the Republican candidate for a seat on the state Supreme Court this November.

Full Article: Northampton County voting machine lawsuit can move forward – The Morning Call

At Rhode Island cybersecurity summit, elections officials confront ‘elephant in the room’ | Mark Reynolds/The Providence Journal

Local elections officials were reminded of a new and different challenge facing the country’s election systems on Wednesday at Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea’s virtual summit on cybersecurity. The reminder came from James Ludes. The director of Salve Regina University’s Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy talked about former President Donald Trump’s rejection…

Texas Governor’s pick for top election post worked with Trump to fight 2020 results | James Barragan and Patrick Svitek/The Texas Tribune


Full Article: John Scott appointed Texas secretary of state by Gov. Greg Abbott | The Texas Tribune

Wisconsin Attorney General seeks to block subpoenas Gableman issued to state elections officials | Molly Beck and Patrick Marley/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Attorney General Josh Kaul is seeking to block subpoenas former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman issued to state elections officials as part of Assembly Republicans’ review of the 2020 presidential election. Kaul is asking a Dane County judge to declare that the subpoenas are unenforceable under the state and U.S. constitutions and Wisconsin state law. He also…

Wisconsin GOP review of 2020 election beset by blunders from former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman | By Elise Viebeck/The Washington Post

The glaring errors became clear soon after a former Wisconsin judge issued subpoenas earlier this month in a Republican review of the state’s 2020 presidential election. Some of the requests referred to the wrong city. At least one was sent to an official who doesn’t oversee elections. A Latin phrase included in the demands for records and testimony was misspelled. Michael Gableman, the former judge leading the review, admitted days later that he does not have “a comprehensive understanding or even any understanding of how elections work.” He then backed off some of his subpoena demands before reversing course again, telling a local radio host that officials would still be required to testify. The latest round of reversals and blunders is intensifying calls to end the probe, one of several recent efforts around the country to revisit Joe Biden’s win in states where former president Donald Trump and his supporters have leveled baseless accusations of voter fraud. Attorney General Josh Kaul (D) this week called the subpoenas unlawful and “dramatically overbroad,” and he urged Republicans to “shut this fake investigation down.” Voting rights advocates, election policy experts and some state and local officials, meanwhile, accuse Gableman of incompetence and say his review — which could cost taxpayers $680,000 or more — will decrease public trust in Wisconsin elections. “It’s terrible for democracy in the state,” Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway (D) said in an interview. “It’s corrosive. It undermines confidence in our elections, and it’s deeply insulting to our municipal clerks and poll workers. … The thing that should give everybody some confidence is the fact that our elections are not being run by people like attorney Gableman.”

Full Article: Wisconsin GOP review of 2020 election beset by blunders from former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman – The Washington Post