National: How to Fight False Election Information and Other Problems | Jule Pattison-Gordon/Government Technology

With 2021 municipal races days away, former Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) director Chris Krebs discussed the challenges to retaining voter trust in the face of mis- and disinformation, during a Harvard Kennedy School event Thursday. Protecting election systems from cyber and physical attacks was only one battle within the election security war in 2020 — the other, more difficult conflict was defending mindsets against false narratives about what had taken place. “We spent three and a half years working on threat modeling, trying to figure out every possible disruption that could be launched against the election,” Krebs said. ”We were thinking through, ‘You know, it’s not the technical attacks that are keeping us up at night, because we think we’ve got a pretty resilient system with good indicators’ … It came down to the perception hack that we were most worried about.” … As fear spreads, it can quickly transform into real-world threats, with this summer’s ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline serving as a prime example, Krebs said. When the pipeline shut down, a panicked public made runs on gas supplies, accelerating shortages and exacerbating the problem.

Full Article: How to Fight False Election Information and Other Problems

Florida: ‘Tone down the rhetoric’: Elections officials tell politicians to chill out | Lawrence Mower/Tampa Bay Times

Florida’s elections supervisors have a message for elected officials: “Tone down the rhetoric.” In a plea to officials at “all levels of government,” the group representing the state’s Republican and Democratic county elections officials are asking them to denounce “false claims” surrounding last year’s election. “During and after the 2020 Presidential Election, the integrity of our democracy has been challenged by misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation that sows discord and undermines trust in America’s electoral process,” the memo states. “Many of us have been threatened by our fellow citizens who have been led astray by these deceptions. “Instead of standing idly by, we ask all candidates and elected officials to tone down the rhetoric and stand up for our democracy.” The memo was considered extraordinary for the Florida Supervisors of Elections, the organization representing the officials overseeing elections in the state’s 67 counties. Despite Florida’s turbulent history with elections, supervisors have largely stayed out of the limelight, even while Florida legislators were passing a contentious voting reform bill this year. Thursday’s memo is overdue, said Marion County Elections Supervisor Wesley Wilcox, president of the Florida Supervisors of Elections. “In hindsight, we probably should have done it 8 or 9 months ago,” Wilcox said. “But it needs to be done, just to protect the foundation of this democracy.”

Full Article: ‘Tone down the rhetoric’: Florida elections officials tell politicians to chill out

National: Jan. 6 Protest Organizers Say They Participated in ‘Dozens’ of Planning Meetings With Members of Congress and White House Staff | Hunter Walker/Rolling Stone

As the House investigation into the Jan. 6 attack heats up, some of the planners of the pro-Trump rallies that took place in Washington, D.C., have begun communicating with congressional investigators and sharing new information about what happened when the former president’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. Two of these people have spoken to Rolling Stone extensively in recent weeks and detailed explosive allegations that multiple members of Congress were intimately involved in planning both Trump’s efforts to overturn his election loss and the Jan. 6 events that turned violent. Rolling Stone separately confirmed a third person involved in the main Jan. 6 rally in D.C. has communicated with the committee. This is the first report that the committee is hearing major new allegations from potential cooperating witnesses. While there have been prior indications that members of Congress were involved, this is also the first account detailing their purported role and its scope. The two sources also claim they interacted with members of Trump’s team, including former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who they describe as having had an opportunity to prevent the violence. The two sources, both of whom have been granted anonymity due to the ongoing investigation, describe participating in “dozens” of planning briefings ahead of that day when Trump supporters broke into the Capitol as his election loss to President Joe Biden was being certified. “I remember Marjorie Taylor Greene specifically,” the organizer says. “I remember talking to probably close to a dozen other members at one point or another or their staffs.”

Full Article: Two Jan. 6 Planners Cooperate With Committee, Name MAGA Congress Members – Rolling Stone

National: Ahead of Jan. 6, Willard hotel in downtown D.C. was a Trump team ‘command center’ for effort to deny Biden the presidency | Jacqueline Alemany, Emma Brown, Tom Hamburger and Jon Swaine/The Washington Post

They called it the “command center,” a set of rooms and suites in the posh Willard hotel a block from the White House where some of President Donald Trump’s most loyal lieutenants were working day and night with one goal in mind: overturning the results of the 2020 election. The Jan. 6 rally on the Ellipse and the ensuing attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob would draw the world’s attention to the quest to physically block Congress from affirming Joe Biden’s victory. But the activities at the Willard that week add to an emerging picture of a less visible effort, mapped out in memos by a conservative pro-Trump legal scholar and pursued by a team of presidential advisers and lawyers seeking to pull off what they claim was a legal strategy to reinstate Trump for a second term. They were led by Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani. Former chief White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon was an occasional presence as the effort’s senior political adviser. Former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik was there as an investigator. Also present was John Eastman, the scholar, who outlined scenarios for denying Biden the presidency in an Oval Office meeting on Jan. 4 with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. They sought to make the case to Pence and ramp up pressure on him to take actions on Jan. 6 that Eastman suggested were within his powers, three people familiar with the operation said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations. Their activities included finding and publicizing alleged evidence of fraud, urging members of state legislatures to challenge Biden’s victory and calling on the Trump-supporting public to press Republican officials in key states.

Full Article: Willard hotel was Trump team ‘command center’ for denying Biden presidency ahead of Jan. 6 – The Washington Post

National: GOP uses voters to push election reforms in unlikely states | Marc Levy/Associated Press

Republicans have succeeded this year in passing a range of voting restrictions in states they control politically, from Georgia to Iowa to Texas. They’re not stopping there. Republicans in at least four states where Democrats control the governor’s office, the legislature or both — California, Massachusetts, Michigan and Pennsylvania — are pursuing statewide ballot initiatives or veto-proof proposals to enact voter ID restrictions and other changes to election law. In another state, Nebraska, Republicans control the governor’s office and have a majority in the single-house legislature, but are pushing a voter ID ballot measure because they have been unable to get enough lawmakers on board. Republicans say they are pursuing the changes in the name of “election integrity,” and repeat similar slogans — “easier to vote, harder to cheat.” Democrats dismiss it as the GOP following former President Donald Trump’s false claims that widespread fraud cost him the election. They say Republicans have tried to whip up distrust in elections for political gain and are passing restrictions designed to keep Democratic-leaning voters from registering or casting a ballot. “It’s depressing that this is the way that (the Trump) wing of the Republican Party thinks they have to win, instead of trying to win on issues or beliefs,” said Gus Bickford, the Democratic Party chairman in Massachusetts. “They just want to suppress the vote.”

Full Article: GOP uses voters to push election reforms in unlikely states

National: Democrats weigh changes in filibuster to pass voting rights legislation after GOP opposition | Matthew Brown/USA Today

After another failed vote to advance voting rights legislation last week, Democratic lawmakers are debating the merits changes in the filibuster rule that many in the party see as essential. “The most important vote right now in the Congress of the United States is the vote to respect the sanctity of the vote, the fundamental basis of our democracy,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “If there were one vote that the filibuster could enable to go forward, that would be the vote,” Pelosi said. In a CNN town hall Thursday, President Joe Biden said: “I also think we’re going to have to move to the point where we fundamentally alter the filibuster. The idea, for example, my Republican friends say that we’re going to default on the national debt because they’re going to filibuster that and we need 10 Republicans to support us is the most bizarre thing I ever heard.” The shift in attitude toward the rule comes after Senate Republicans filibustered the Freedom to Vote Act, a pared-back voting rights package pushed by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who aggressively courted Republican votes for the bill. The failed vote was the third voting rights package filibustered by Republicans this year.

Full Article: Pelosi, Biden call for filibuster reform on voting rights bills

Alabama: MyPillow’s Mike Lindell again questions election: Secretary of State says state ‘didn’t have any issues’ | William Thornton/

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill on Friday once again swatted away suggestions by MyPillow founder and CEO Mike Lindell that hundreds of thousands of votes were flipped from Donald Trump to Joe Biden during the 2020 presidential election in Alabama. “The thing we have maintained is that we didn’t have any issues, any irregularities, any inconsistences, any probing, any concerns that was introduced at any level to us,” Merrill said by telephone Friday. Last month, Lindell said in a video that while Alabama is a “role model as to how elections should go,” its voting system was “hacked…just like every other state,” possibly by accessing machines remotely through Bluetooth technology. Lindell did not offer any evidence of his claims in the video or provide details on who he thought was involved. He said at that time that 100,000 votes were changed in the state and “every single county was affected.” Donald Trump garnered 1.4 million votes in Alabama, compared to more than 849,000 for Joe Biden last November. At that time, Merrill said what Lindell was alleging was not possible.

Full Article: MyPillow’s Mike Lindell again questions Alabama election: John Merrill says state ‘didn’t have any issues’ –

Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward Pushes for Election Audits in Each of State’s 15 Counties | Andrew Stanton/Newsweek

Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward is calling for election audits in every county in the state, even after an audit of Maricopa County upheld the results of the 2020 presidential election. Some Republicans have insisted that former President Donald Trump lost the 2020 presidential election due to widespread voter fraud in battleground states like Arizona, even though no substantive evidence has been presented to support the allegations. Audits have also been called in several other states over such unproven claims. In a new video entitled “Special Update,” Ward claims an analysis of election results in Pima County found inconsistencies. Pima is the state’s second-largest county and home to Tucson, a Democratic stronghold. Ward said there should be an audit of not only Pima County but every county in the state. “I’ve been asking for full audits of all 15 of Arizona’s counties,” she said. “We the people will not back down. We will not waver.” The push for more audits comes days after Trump also called for a review in Pima County. In a statement released October 15, the former president claimed that an analysis of mail-in ballots indicates there were “fictitious votes” cast in the county.

Full Article: Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward Pushes for Election Audits in Each of State’s 15 Counties

Colorado Supreme Court denies Peters appeal | Charles Ashby/Grand Junction Sentinel

Peters’ attorneys Wednesday, letting stand a district court ruling that bars her and Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley from overseeing this fall’s elections. In a terse order, the court said it would not accept jurisdiction in the matter. The appeal, filed by Peters’ attorney Scott Gessler, tried to argue that neither the Colorado statutes nor existing case law gave District Judge Valerie Robison the authority to approved the replacement of Peters as the county’s designated election official, saying that would be an unprecedented move that could open the door for future secretaries of state to do the same for clerks they don’t like. Robison ruled last week after the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office filed a lawsuit temporarily prohibiting Peters and Knisley from overseeing the election while local, state and federal investigations into allegations the two, and others, breached election security protocols.

Full Article: Colorado Supreme Court denies Peters appeal | Western Colorado |

Florida’s 67 election supervisors urge voters to reject election falsehoods, audits | National | Steven Lemongello/Orlando Sentinel

Florida’s 67 county elections supervisors wrote a letter to voters Monday urging them to reject falsehoods about the 2020 election and reaffirming the integrity of the state’s voting system. The plea, issued by the Florida Supervisors of Elections, comes after GOP county committees in Lake and Brevard counties called for an Arizona-style “forensic audit” spurred by former President Donald Trump’s false claims of election fraud. It was sent days after the supervisors, headed by Marion County election head Wesley Wilcox, issued a statement to Florida’s elected officials and candidates urging them to tamp down the rhetoric. “The strength of our nation rests on the ability that ‘We the People’ have a voice in its governance and are confident in the integrity of our elections,” Monday’s letter states. “In this hour, public trust in our elections is being systematically undermined, to the detriment of all Americans.” The letter says before and after the 2020 presidential election, “the integrity of our democracy has been challenged by misinformation, disinformation and malinformation that sows discord and undermines trust in America’s electoral process.”

Full Article: Florida’s 67 election supervisors urge voters to reject election falsehoods, audits | National |

Michigan clerk banned from running Nov. 2 election over tabulator concerns | Beth LeBlanc/The Detroit News

The Michigan Bureau of Elections has prohibited a local clerk in Hillsdale County from administering next week’s election after the bureau said the clerk failed to comply with state requirements regarding voting equipment in Adams Township. Adams Township Clerk Stephanie Scott denied the allegations and is exploring her options with outside counsel after the bureau’s notice said a violation of the prohibition could result in a misdemeanor. “As a supervisor, I don’t know that she does have the authority given that it’s an elected position,” Scott, the first-term clerk, said about Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. Benson in a Monday statement said Adams Township voters deserve an election administered in accordance with state and federal laws. “I am confident that the Hillsdale County Clerk’s Office will administer the election in a manner that ensures that it is legal, transparent and secure,” she said. Scott refused to perform preventive maintenance or perform and sign off on public accuracy testing on township voting equipment, according to the Michigan Bureau of Elections. She also is alleged to have failed to confirm that she would use certified Hart Intercivic Inc. voting equipment, the township’s current vendor, for future elections.

Full Article: Elections bureau bans clerk from running Nov. 2 election over tabulator concerns

Nevada Republican Kirk Hartle, who claimed someone stole his late wife’s ballot, charged with voter fraud | Amy B Wang/The Washington Post

Donald Kirk Hartle looked troubled last November. It was a few days after Election Day and the Las Vegas man was telling a local news station that someone had stolen his late wife’s mail-in ballot and returned it to Clark County election officials, according to Nevada’s online ballot tracker. “That is pretty sickening to me, to be honest with you,” Hartle said in an interview then with KLAS 8 News Now. “It was, uh, disbelief. It just — it made no sense to me.” Hartle noted that his late wife, Rosemarie, had died in 2017, but remained on the voter rolls. The signature on the returned ballot had matched what election officials had on file for Rosemarie, KLAS 8 News Now reported at the time, leaving Hartle to wonder “who took advantage of his grief” and how had they pulled it off? Nearly a year later, there appears to be an answer. On Thursday, the Nevada attorney general’s office announced it had filed two charges of voter fraud against Hartle, alleging that he forged his late wife’s name to vote with her ballot. Both charges — one for voting using the name of another person and another for voting more than once in the same election — are category D felonies that each can carry a prison sentence of up to four years, along with a fine of up to $5,000. “Voter fraud is rare, but when it happens it undercuts trust in our election system and will not be tolerated by my office,” Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford, a Democrat, said in a statement. “I want to stress that our office will pursue any credible allegations of voter fraud and will work to bring any offenders to justice.”

Full Article: Nevada Republican Kirk Hartle, who claimed someone stole his late wife’s ballot, charged with voter fraud – The Washington Post

Pennsylvania’s election audit on hold amid lawsuit | Christen Smith/The Center Square

Pennsylvania’s election audit remains on hold this week as Senate Republicans defend their subpoena for voter records that Democrats contested in Commonwealth Court as unconstitutional. “Our filing on Friday is scheduled as part of an expedited review petition to the court that is designed to resolve the court case as quickly as possible,” said Sen. Cris Dush, R-Wellsboro, of the audit on Thursday. Dush leads the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee charged with handling the controversial probe. In its Sept. 15 subpoena, the committee asked for personal identifying information – including names, birth dates, addresses and partial social security numbers – for up to 9 million registered voters. Dush said the information will help auditors verify the identity of each and every resident who voted in the 2020 general election and 2021 primary election. Five days later, Democrats filed a legal challenge in Commonwealth Court against what they called a constitutional overreach that jeopardizes the safety of voters’ personal information. Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who is running to succeed Gov. Tom Wolf in 2022, joined in the challenge the following week.

Full Article: Pennsylvania’s election audit on hold amid lawsuit

Texas GOP leader pays illegal voting ‘bounty’ to Democrat in Pennsylvania | Associated Press

The conservative Texas Republican leader who pledged bounties to those who prove fraud at the polls has paid a liberal Democratic poll watcher who reported illegal voting by a Pennsylvania Republican. Tipster Eric Frank deposited a $25,000 check from Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s campaign this week, and Patrick may be on the hook for more bounties, The Dallas Morning News reported Thursday. Frank reported Ralph Thurman, a 72-year-old registered Republican, after seeing him vote twice on Election Day, once for himself and once for his son, who was a registered Democrat. Frank told The News that he would have reported anyone he saw voting illegally, regardless of party. Having come from a family of Democratic operatives, however, he said he sees the irony of the situation. “It’s my belief that they were trying to get cases of Democrats doing voter fraud. And that just wasn’t the case,” Frank said. “This kind of blew up in their face.”

Full Article: Texas GOP leader pays illegal voting ‘bounty’ to Democrat

Editorial: No proof? No problem. The right wing is trying to dismantle Utah’s top-in-the-U. S. election system | Robert Gehrke/Salt Lake Tribune

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Rep. Steve Christiansen’s conspiracy peddling presentation to his fellow legislators Wednesday was that he did the entire thing as a space alien. Of course, I can’t PROVE he’s an extraterrestrial from outer space. But a lot of questions have been raised and some people believe so. I can’t really prove how many people believe it. There’s this poll, but you can’t see it, and it is true that this particular pollster’s reputation is abysmal. That is the standard of proof that Christiansen relies on when making his unfounded claims that Utah’s election was rife with fraud and needs a full forensic audit. “I believe there was fraud in the 2020 election. I can’t prove it, which is why we need to have an audit,” he said Wednesday. Christiansen’s tales are beyond fiction. They’re beyond fantasies. They are outright lies.

Full Article: No proof? No problem. The right wing is trying to dismantle Utah’s top-in-the-U. S. election system, Robert Gehrke writes

Virginia Democrats sue USPS over delayed delivery of election-related material | Kiely Westhoff and Veronica Stracqualursi/CNN

The Virginia Democratic Party filed a lawsuit against the US Postal Service Friday, alleging local branches failed to deliver and process election-related material ahead of its high-stakes gubernatorial race, a claim the government agency has rebutted. The Virginia Democrats said delays “threatening to disenfranchise thousands of Virginia voters” to election-related mail across Albemarle County, which includes the city of Charlottesville, James City County, which is adjacent to Williamsburg, and the area of Portsmouth near Norfolk, are “particularly egregious,” according to the lawsuit. Friday’s lawsuit was filed less than two weeks before the closely watched governor’s race between Terry McAuliffe and Glenn Youngkin. Democrats are hoping to hold onto the governor’s mansion and maintain control of the state legislature, while Youngkin seeks to be Virginia’s first Republican to win a statewide election since 2009. USPS told CNN it is not aware of any delays in the delivery and processing of election-related material across Virginia.

Full Article: Virginia Democrats sue USPS over delayed delivery of election-related material – CNNPolitics

Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman will be named to Biden administration election-security post | Jim Brunner/The Seattle Times

Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman is expected to be named to a key election-security position in the Biden administration, according to a report by CNN. Wyman, a Republican, is set to be appointed to lead the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to protect elections from foreign and domestic interference, CNN reported, citing anonymous sources. Wyman’s office did not immediately dispute the CNN report. “The Office of the Secretary of State cannot confirm the information included in the CNN article,” Wyman spokesperson Kylee Zabel said in an email. Wyman didn’t respond to interview requests, and Zabel said she would not be available on Monday. Potential appointees in presidential administrations are often told not to talk until their role is formally announced. If she does take the new position, Wyman would be charged with leading DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, CNN reported, saying the appointment would not be official until White House paperwork is completed. The White House did not respond to a request for comment. The reported appointment would put Wyman, a nationally regarded expert on mail-in balloting and security, in a position working with elections officials across the U.S. at a time when many of her fellow Republicans have followed former President Donald Trump in fanning baseless conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.

Full Article: Report: Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman will be named to Biden administration election-security post | The Seattle Times

Wisconsin auditors find voting machines work properly, say election officials should adopt formal rules on drop boxes | Patrick Marley Molly Beck/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Legislative auditors released a report Friday that contended the state Elections Commission should adopt formal rules if it wants to continue to allow cities to have ballot drop boxes — a move that would clear the way for lawmakers to try to bar their use.  The report by the Legislative Audit Bureau was not meant to assess the outcome of the 2020 election, but it noted that none of the machines it reviewed counted votes incorrectly. One of the Republican lawmakers who oversees audits for the Legislature said the review showed the 2020 election was “largely safe and secure” but also revealed the need for changes to the state’s voting systems. The bureau released its findings and recommendations without first allowing the state Elections Commission to review its analysis and respond, which has been the bureau’s practice for years. The report is one of two that have been ordered by Republican lawmakers. The other is being conducted on behalf of Assembly Republicans by former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, who claimed without evidence last year that the election was stolen.

Full Article: Wisconsin election audit finds voting machines worked properly