North Carolina Officials say new voting audits offer trust and transparency in elections | Jordan Wilkie/Carolina Public Press

This fall, North Carolina will pilot a new kind of postelection audit, the gold-standard method to ensure the candidate declared the winner in a race actually received the most votes. The action is the first step in a likely yearslong process of improving the state’s postelection audit strategies.  Currently, the state uses a “sample audit,” whereby election officials hand-recount two random precincts to make sure the results are right. For most elections, North Carolina’s sample audits count far more ballots than is necessary to be confident that the election results are accurate, creating a significant and unnecessary burden on election officials. For very close elections, the state’s current sample audit may recount too few ballots to be highly confident in checking the results. Risk-limiting audits were designed to right-size this problem, what N.C. State Board of Elections Chair Damon Circosta referred to as an “optimization” of the system. A risk-limiting audit randomly samples ballots from across voting methods. Election officials hand-count the sample and then use an equation to see how likely it is that the paper ballots show a different outcome than the computer-counted results. If the ballots show a potentially different outcome, a bigger sample is pulled. The process is repeated using progressively larger samples. If it looks as if the paper ballots aren’t backing the electronic outcome, an entire recount occurs.

Source: Officials say new voting audits offer trust and transparency in elections – Carolina Public Press

Editorial: Exporting the fraudit to Pennsylvania would be disaster | Trey Grayson/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

In July, Pennsylvania State Sen. Doug Mastriano announced his intention to bring the Arizona audit to Pennsylvania. County officials have rebuffed his requests for election data, and Mastriano is threatening subpoenas to fuel the investigation. This is going to be a mess. Strange circumstances aside, a Pennsylvania audit is a disaster in the making. If Mastriano is successful, his review will harm election integrity and undermine confidence in our electoral system. For evidence, look no further than the Arizona “audit” debacle. Aside from being rooted in the lie that Donald Trump won the 2020 election, the Arizona audit has been a technical nightmare on multiple levels. As a former two-term Kentucky Secretary of State, I know firsthand how elections are run. Along with my co-author, University of Wisconsin professor Barry Burden, I recently conducted an independent evaluation of the Arizona audit and found multiple key failures by the contractor, Cyber Ninjas. The firm and its subcontractors failed four major criteria that are the bedrock of safe and fair election reviews.

Full Article: Trey Grayson: Exporting the fraudit to Pa. would be disaster | TribLIVE.com

Wisconsin GOP lawmaker seeks to seize ballots and voting machines in Milwaukee and Brown counties | Patrick Marley Molly Beck Hope Karnopp Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A Republican state lawmaker sought Friday to seize ballots and voting machines in Milwaukee and Brown counties as conservatives try to ramp up to review a presidential election that courts have already determined was decided properly. What happens next is unclear. A June memo from the nonpartisan Wisconsin Legislative Council suggests the subpoenas may not be valid because neither Assembly Speaker Robin Vos of Rochester or Assembly Chief Clerk Ted Blazel’s signatures appear on them. Republican Rep. Janel Brandtjen of Menomonee Falls, the chairwoman of the Assembly Elections Committee, issued the subpoenas as part of a wide-ranging examination of an election Joe Biden narrowly won over Donald Trump. The subpoenas are nearly identical to a letter issued last month by a Republican lawmaker in Pennsylvania.  “This is not something that we’re going to be doing just in 2020. We’re going to be doing it every year going forward,” Brandtjen told hundreds gathered on the Capitol steps Friday who were demanding an expansive review of the election. Election officials in the two counties did not say if they would comply with the subpoenas. Only Vos has the authority to issue legislative subpoenas to compel county officials in Wisconsin to testify or produce records, according to a legal analysis by the Legislative Council provided to Democratic Rep. Mark Spreitzer of Beloit.

Full Article: GOP lawmaker seeks to seize ballots and voting machines in Milwaukee and Brown counties

National: How Trump tried to pressure Georgia officials to overturn the 2020 election | Marshall Cohen, Jason Morris and Christopher Hickey/CNN

Prosecutors in Georgia are still investigating whether former President Donald Trump broke any laws when he tried to overturn his 2020 defeat in the hotly contested state. The probe ramped up earlier this year, with a grand jury convening in Atlanta. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has said the criminal investigation includes potential “solicitation of election fraud, the making of false statements to state and local governmental bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, violation of oath of office and any involvement in violence or threats related to the election’s administration.” Months after the election, new information is still coming to light about Trump’s potentially unlawful effort to overturn the results. Recent reports indicate that he considered installing a loyalist as acting attorney general at the Justice Department — someone who agreed with Trump’s false claims about voter fraud and was prepared to pressure election officials in Georgia to overturn the results. Trump has claimed he didn’t do anything wrong and that the state investigation is politically motivated. Willis, who is a Democrat, was elected to her post last year.

Full Article: How Trump tried to pressure Georgia officials to overturn the 2020 election

National: The Trump administration’s top election defender is calling out Republicans who support the ‘big lie’ | Joseph Marks/The Washington Post

Chris Krebs, who led the federal government’s election security efforts during the Trump administration, yesterday lit into elected Republicans who are still contesting the former president’s defeat. “This is a power play and this is about fundraising and that’s all this is,” Krebs told my colleague Ellen Nakashima during a Washington Post Live interview. Shame on those that continue to push the ‘big lie,’” he said, referring to baseless claims that Trump won the election. The comments are among the harshest from a former Trump administration official about the continuing efforts to call Joe Biden’s victory into question through dubious and partisan audits in Arizona and elsewhere. They reflect a growing frustration among officials who spent years ensuring the election was as secure as possible. They’re upset the 2020 results are being called into question by people with little or no experience in election security and audits. In Maricopa County, Ariz., officials conducted two rigorous audits that verified Biden’s victory there. But the GOP-controlled state Senate commissioned yet another audit against the county’s will. The firm leading the audit, Cyber Ninjas, has no auditing experience and its CEO has spread pro-Trump conspiracy theories. Not surprisingly, the result has been a slew of unforced errors and cybersecurity flubs. Yet officials are pursuing similarly partisan audits in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and elsewhere. There are certified, approved audit processes out there. … It’s not like audits just fell off the back of a turnip truck,” Krebs said. “We need more of them, in fact, but with a transparent methodological process, not what is happening in Arizona and is threatening to spread to other states.”

 

Full Article: The Cybersecurity 202: The Trump administration’s top election defender is calling out Republicans who support the ‘big lie’ – The Washington Post

National: Threats of violence spark fear of election worker exodus | John Kruzel/The Hill

There is growing concern that election workers will leave their posts in droves following a 2020 presidential contest that saw an unprecedented rise in violent threats against administrators. Election workers had their homes broken into. Their private information was maliciously posted online. Some fled with their families into hiding. Others faced down armed crowds outside their workplaces and homes. And nearly nine months after Election Day, the threats persist. “It’s absolutely going to lead to an unprecedented exodus of a whole generation, I think, of professional election administrators,” David Becker, executive director and founder of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, told The Hill. Nearly 1 in 6 local election workers received threats of violence, and almost 1 in 3 said they feel unsafe because of their job, according to an April survey by the Brennan Center for Justice. Although no central database tracks departures among the nation’s estimated 8,000 local election workers, one expert told The Hill that there is now a “perfect storm of low morale and high turnover.”

Source: Threats of violence spark fear of election worker exodus | TheHill

National: Experts raise alarms over fundraising for GOP ballot reviews | Christina A. Cassidy and Marc Levy/Associated Press

The first donation came in early May, for $50, and with a message: “GOD BLESS THE USA!!” In just over a month, the crowdfunding page dedicated to bringing an Arizona-style review of the 2020 presidential election to Pennsylvania had collected $15,339 from 332 donors. Today, the effort has morphed into a full-fledged campaign to “Audit the Vote PA.” The website offers a six-week course on the Constitution and encourages supporters to become a “walking billboard for a forensic audit” by purchasing various hats and T-shirts. Still prominent is the “donate” button. But unlike the initial crowdfunding page, it’s hard to tell how much money the group is bringing in or how the money is being spent. Multiple requests for information sent to an email listed on the site received no replies. Efforts to expand Arizona’s controversial, Republican-led review of the 2020 election to other states are growing, fueled by former President Donald Trump’s false claims of victory and funded by a network of groups operating with little oversight. Election officials and experts have raised the alarm about these private fundraising efforts and what they see as a broader push by candidates to raise money off conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. “It has become profitable both politically and financially for people to lie about the election and denigrate American democracy,” said Matt Masterson, a top election security official during the Trump administration. “The sad part is that they are doing this by lying to voters and folks who have concerns about our democracy, and they are taking their money in pursuit of their lies.”

Full Article: Experts raise alarms over fundraising for GOP ballot reviews

National: New spotlight on secretaries of state as electoral battlegrounds | Reid Wilson/The Hill

Democrats and Republicans are preparing to pour millions of dollars into races for secretary of state in half the states next year amid a new recognition that those who oversee the electoral process can play pivotal roles in deciding an election’s outcome. The focus follows former President Trump’s pressure campaign on state leaders to overturn the results of last year’s election, and as Republican-controlled state legislatures advance and pass electoral reform bills that would limit access to absentee ballots, drop boxes and other avenues to voting. “These offices used to be kind of sleepy offices, they were personality contests and the people who ran for them were paper-pushers,” said Michael Adams (R), Kentucky’s secretary of state and the vice chair of the Republican Secretaries of State Committee, a group that will back GOP candidates. “We’re going to be uniquely a focus in a way that we never have been before. Our side is going to be prepared for that.” Candidates are already drawing battle lines in contests that will determine which party controls the electoral experience voters will face in the next presidential election.

Full Article: New spotlight on secretaries of state as electoral battlegrounds | TheHill

National: Donoghue notes show Trump pressing Rosen, Justice on election-fraud claims | Devlin Barrett and Josh Dawsey/The Washington Post

President Donald Trump pressed senior Justice Department officials in late 2020 to “just say the election was corrupt [and] leave the rest to me” and Republican lawmakers, according to stunning handwritten notes that illustrate how far the president was willing to go to prevent Joe Biden from taking office. The notes, taken by Justice Department official Richard Donoghue, were released to Congress this week and made public Friday — further evidence of the personal pressure campaign Trump waged as he sought to stay in the White House. In one Dec. 27 conversation, according to the written account, acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen told Trump that the Justice Department “can’t + won’t snap its fingers + change the outcome of the election.” The president replied that he understood but wanted the agency to “just say the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R. Congressmen,” according to the notes written by Donoghue, a participant in the discussion. The documents show the extent to which senior Justice Department officials “were on a knife’s edge” in late 2020 as Trump sought to prevent Biden from becoming president, said David Laufman, a former senior Justice Department official. “These notes reveal that a sitting president, defeated in a free and fair election, personally and repeatedly pressured Justice Department leaders to help him foment a coup in a last-ditch attempt to cling to power,” Laufman said. “And that should shock the conscience of every American, regardless of political persuasion.” He credited Rosen and Donoghue with devising “a mechanism to allow Trump to vent and spew his desired schemes to enlist their help to overturn the election without undertaking any course of action that would have facilitated that scheme.”

 

Full Article: Donoghue notes show Trump pressing Rosen, Justice on election-fraud claims – The Washington Post

National: Voting rights push reinvigorates as House Democrats tee up new bill next week | Nicholas Wu and Zach Montellaro/Politico

House Democrats are set to introduce new voting rights legislation named for the late Rep. John Lewis — a bill likely to include some key provisions of their more sweeping but stalled election reform proposal — by the end of next week, party leaders said Friday. They aim to ensure all congressional Democrats can get behind the legislation as the bigger voting bill faces a near-impossible path forward in the Senate, despite a high-profile White House meeting set for Friday to discuss a possible path forward. But even the Lewis-named bill faces an uphill climb in the upper chamber, where Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has questioned the need for the legislation. The Lewis-named bill, a top priority of the Congressional Black Caucus, aims to restore provisions of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act that were struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013. Democrats are revising the legislation in an effort to stave off future legal scrutiny and address an early-July Supreme Court decision that could limit the scope of forthcoming voting rights challenges. POLITICO first reported in June that the Black Caucus and Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), who chairs a key subpanel overseeing federal elections, pushed for the Lewis bill’s consideration to be moved up.

 

Full Article: Voting rights push reinvigorates as House Dems tee up new bill next week – POLITICO

National: The Big Money Behind the Big Lie | Jane Mayer/The New Yorker

It was tempting to dismiss the show unfolding inside the Dream City Church in Phoenix, Arizona, as an unintended comedy. One night in June, a few hundred people gathered for the première of “The Deep Rig,” a film financed by the multimillionaire founder of Overstock.com, Patrick Byrne, who is a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump. Styled as a documentary, the movie asserts that the 2020 Presidential election was stolen by supporters of Joe Biden, including by Antifa members who chatted about their sinister plot on a conference call. The evening’s program featured live appearances by Byrne and a local QAnon conspiracist, BabyQ, who claimed to be receiving messages from his future self. They were joined by the film’s director, who had previously made an exposé contending that the real perpetrators of 9/11 were space aliens. But the event, for all its absurdities, had a dark surprise: “The Deep Rig” repeatedly quotes Doug Logan, the C.E.O. of Cyber Ninjas, a Florida-based company that consults with clients on software security. In a voice-over, Logan warns, “If we don’t fix our election integrity now, we may no longer have a democracy.” He also suggests, without evidence, that members of the “deep state,” such as C.I.A. agents, have intentionally spread disinformation about the election. Although it wasn’t the first time that Logan had promoted what has come to be known as the Big Lie about the 2020 election—he had tweeted unsubstantiated claims that Trump had been victimized by voter fraud—the film offered stark confirmation of Logan’s entanglement in fringe conspiracies. Nevertheless, the president of the Arizona State Senate, Karen Fann, has put Logan’s company in charge of a “forensic audit”—an ongoing review of the state’s 2020 Presidential vote. It’s an unprecedented undertaking, with potentially explosive consequences for American democracy.

 

Source: The Big Money Behind the Big Lie | The New Yorker

Arizona: ‘Botched’ GOP ballot count ends, troubles persist | Jonathan J. Cooper/Associated Press

Arizona Republicans’ partisan review of the 2020 election results got off to a rocky start when their contractors broke rules for counting ballots and election experts warned the work was dangerous for democracy. When the auditors stopped the counting and returned the ballots this week, it hadn’t gotten better. In the last week alone, the only audit leader with substantial election experience was locked out of the building, went on the radio to say he was quitting, then reversed course hours later. The review’s Twitter accounts were suspended for breaking the rules. A conservative Republican senator withdrew her support, calling the process “botched.” And the lead auditor confirmed what was long suspected: that his work was almost entirely paid for by supporters of Donald Trump who were active in the former president’s movement to spread false narratives of fraud. All this came nearly 100 days into a process that was supposed to take “about 60 days,” according to the Senate Republicans who launched it. And it’s not over yet. Contractors are now producing a report on the findings that could take weeks or more to write. The turmoil casts even more doubt on the conclusions of what backers describe as a “forensic audit” but what experts and critics say is a deeply flawed, partisan process. “Not even a shred of being salvaged at this point,” said Sen. Paul Boyer, the first Republican state senator to publicly come out against the audit in May. “They’ve botched it at so many points along the way that it’s irrecoverable.”

 

Full Article: ‘Botched’: Arizona GOP’s ballot count ends, troubles persist

Arizona: In recount fight, Maricopa County and Dominion Voting Systems defy new subpoenas by state Senate | Jen Fifield and Mary Jo Pitzl/Arizona Republic

Maricopa County supervisors and Dominion Voting Systems refused to produce additional election material on Monday in response to new subpoenas filed by the Arizona Senate. The subpoenas, issued July 26 by Republican Senate leaders, demanded that representatives for the county Board of Supervisors and Dominion appear and produce the materials by 1 p.m. Monday at the state Capitol. Instead, county officials and a Dominion attorney sent Senate President Karen Fann a letter outlining why they will not comply. However, county officials said they will work with the Senate to provide some documents sought via a public-records request. Fann, in a released statement, said she saw some progress in the Senate’s efforts to get county cooperation, but took a wait-and-see stance on the refusal to produce subpoenaed materials. “It is unfortunate the noncompliance by the County and Dominion continues to delay the results and breeds distrust,” she said. The subpoenas demanded routers, machine passwords and voter registration records from the county, and the same machine passwords from Dominion. Instead of complying, attorneys for Dominion and the supervisors sent letters to the Senate. The supervisors said they have given what they are legally and responsibly able to provide, and Dominion said that they don’t legally have to provide anything, given they are a public company.

Full Article: Arizona audit: Maricopa County, Dominion won’t comply with subpoenas

Colorado: ‘The stuff of which violent insurrections are made:’ Federal judge punishes lawyers for 2020 election lawsuit | Rosalind S. Helderman/The Washington Post

A federal judge in Colorado has disciplined two lawyers who filed a lawsuit challenging the 2020 election late last year, finding that the case was “frivolous,” “not warranted by existing law” and filed “in bad faith.” In a scathing 68-page opinion, Magistrate Judge N. Reid Neureiter found that the lawyers made little effort to corroborate information they had included in the suit, which argued there had been a vast national conspiracy to steal the election from President Donald Trump. He particularly called out the duo, Gary D. Fielder and Ernest John Walker, for quoting Trump in their legal filing, which cited a presidential tweet that claimed without evidence that voting machines manufactured by the company Dominion Voting Systems had “deleted 2.7 million Trump votes nationwide.” Neureiter called that allegation “highly disputed and inflammatory” and said the lawyers made no efforts to verify it. The two lawyers filed the case as a class action on behalf of 160 million American voters, alleging a complicated plot engineered by Dominion; Facebook; its founder Mark Zuckerberg; his wife, Priscilla Chan; and elected officials in four states. They had sought $160 billion in damages. The case was dismissed in April, but Neureiter ruled that the attorneys had violated their ethical obligations by lodging it in the first place and by peppering their motions with wild allegations that they had made little effort to substantiate. Legal rules prohibit attorneys from clogging the court systems with frivolous motions or from filing information that is not true. Calling the suit “one enormous conspiracy theory,” Neureiter ordered that the duo must pay the legal fees of all the individuals and companies they had sued — 18 separate entities in all — as a way to deter future similar cases. Neureiter ordered the defendants to compile records showing how much time they had spent on the case and their typical billing rates to determining how much the two lawyers will owe.

 

Full Article: Federal judge sanctions Colorado attorneys over 2020 election lawsuit: ‘The stuff of which violent insurrections are made’ – The Washington Post

Georgia: How Does Election Board Takeover Law Work? Not Quickly | Stephen Fowler/Georgia Public Broadcasting

The latest battle over Georgia’s massive new voting law is over sections that allow state officials to temporarily take over county elections boards, with Republicans eyeing Fulton County in particular. But a GPB News analysis of the measures included in SB 202 suggest a takeover of Fulton is unlikely to happen any time soon — if at all. Fulton County has been the epicenter for discussions over the 2020 election, with some Republicans advancing conspiracies and falsehoods that say fraud and wrongdoing cost former President Trump the state’s electoral votes. Although three different counts of the votes confirmed the results, a state-appointed monitor found no evidence of fraud, and numerous accusations have been debunked, Georgia’s most populous county has not done itself any favors with the actual problems and long lines that have plagued parts of the process over the years. Now, Republican lawmakers want to trigger an investigation process that could see the five-member appointed elections board temporarily suspended and replaced by a single person appointed by the State Election Board.

Full Article: How Does Georgia’s Election Board Takeover Law Work? Not Quickly | Georgia Public Broadcasting

Maryland: Anne Arundel judge expected to rule this week in Annapolis vote-by-mail lawsuit | Brooks Dubose/Baltimore Sun

An Anne Arundel judge is expected to rule this week after hearing opposing sides Monday in a lawsuit brought by two Republican political candidates who say a newly implemented vote-by-mail system in Annapolis violates City Code and could be the source of voter fraud. Herb McMillan, a candidate for county executive in 2022, and George Gallagher, who’s running for Annapolis City Council in Ward 6, filed the lawsuit in July requesting the court stop the city from mailing ballots to every registered voter later this month for the upcoming Sept. 21 primary and Nov. 2 general election. The complaint also notes the code requires voters to pay for returned postage on absentee ballots. The new system would see the city pay for the postage instead. In a hearing with Circuit Judge Glenn L. Klavans on Monday, the plaintiffs and their attorney Charles Muskin sought to show how they would be harmed by the city’s actions. While attorneys for the city and the county elections board argued that state election law, a City Council resolution and the ongoing states of emergency in Annapolis and Maryland give the city the power to introduce a vote-by-mail option. After three hours of testimony, Klavans said he would make a decision in the case “in the next couple days.”

Full Article: Anne Arundel judge expected to rule this week in Annapolis vote-by-mail lawsuit – Baltimore Sun

Michigan GOP panel to consider proposal againstelection report author | Craig Mauger/The Detroit News

A committee inside the Michigan Republican Party plans to consider Saturday a proposal that calls for the resignation of GOP state Sen. Ed McBroom, who led a probe finding no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election. While Norm Shinkle, the chairman of the party’s Issues Committee, says he will oppose the resolution, its introduction points to the continued rift within the Michigan GOP over former President Donald Trump’s loss in November. The proposed resolution, obtained by The Detroit News, describes the Senate Oversight Committee’s eight-month investigation into the 2020 election as “the product of gross official misconduct.” The resolution primarily focuses on the Senate report’s suggestion that Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel consider investigating individuals who pushed false claims about the election “to raise money or publicity for their own ends.” “In the broader context of ongoing attacks against the American people’s right to free speech and the right to counsel, the report bolsters and encourages these attacks in a transparent attempt to intimidate and silence all citizens exposing the misconduct of election officials, challenging the results of the election and advocating for legal and policy remedies,” the proposed resolution says.

Source: Michigan GOP panel to consider proposal against election report author

Pennsylvania: Philadelphia elections board votes to reject state senator’s election audit | MarK Scolforo/Associated Press

Philadelphia’s elections board voted Friday to reject a Republican state senator’s request for access to its voting machines for a “forensic investigation” into former President Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection defeat. The Office of the City Commissioners’ unanimous decision will be laid out in a letter telling state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, that Philadelphia “will not participate in your proposed analysis.” Omar Sabir, one of two Democrats on the three-person board, said shortly before the meeting that he thinks it’s time to move on. “It’s time, it’s resources,” he said. “The 2020 election has been proven by many standards that there was no fraud and the election went well.” The vote occurred during a brief meeting at which the three election board members said little about Mastriano’s July 7 request that gave them until the end of the month to reply. Mastriano has said he plans to subpoena the three counties through the state Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee, which he chairs, but it’s unclear if he has enough support from his fellow Republican senators to follow through with that threat.

 

Full Article: Philly board votes to reject state senator’s election audit

Pennsylvania GOP legislator speaks out against death threats over county refusal to turn over voting machines for audit | Williamsport Sun-Gazette

State Sen. Cris Dush, R-Pine Creek Township, condemned those who are making death threats against the Tioga County commissioners over their decision not to submit voting machines to an election audit in a statement released Friday. “I am outraged at the behavior of those who claim to be in support of the audit process but are seeming to do everything they can to undermine it and the rule of law,” the statement reads. “In the strongest terms, I condemn anyone who makes death threats and other acts of intimidation against the Tioga County commissioners or the employees of the county. This is not the appropriate way to voice your concern. Further, I encourage law enforcement to investigate these threats and to take appropriate action.” Dush, who has given his support to an effort by state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, for an Arizona-style election audit, also acknowledged the commissioners’ reasoning for not submitting to the audit “at this time and in this manner.” The audit would require the county to turn over its election machines, possibly rendering them void for future elections due to stringent requirements outlined by the state. Acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s top election official, told counties recently the state would decertify any election equipment that is subject to third-party access, citing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s designation of election equipment as “critical infrastructure.”

Full Article: Pa. GOP legislator blasts threats against Tioga County commissioners over election audit – The Morning Call

Texas audit proposed by GOP would miss minor but real errors | Nicholas Riccardi and Paul Weber/Associated Press

A group of Texas Republicans wants to audit the 2020 election results in just the large, mostly Democratic counties across the state. If they get their way, they’ll miss many of the real — but minor — errors in the state’s vote count. That’s according to a team of researchers that conducted a statewide analysis of the results across both Democratic and Republican counties. The group found a series of errors that would not come close to changing Republican Donald Trump’s victory in the state or any other statewide race. But the errors stretch across both Republican and Democratic counties. The research adds to a pile of evidence that contradicts the belief, widespread among Republicans, that elections in Democratic areas are rife with errors, irregularities and mismanagement. While errors in the tally do occur, research shows they tend to be random and small scale and do not benefit one party or the other. In Texas, the mistakes, detected by election researchers from the University of Florida, were scattered across 37 of Texas’ 254 counties. They added or subtracted a handful of votes from various candidates with no skew toward one party or the other. Trump apparently received 223 more votes than the 5,890,347 that the Texas secretary of state lists as the Republican’s total. Democrat Joe Biden appears to have received 155 more votes than his listed 5,259,126, according to the research. Minor mistakes like the Texas ones are relatively common, say election experts. In Texas, the errors are likely due to the state’s use of an older computer system that requires counties to enter their tallies by hand, increasing the risk of errors when the wrong digit is typed.

 

Full Article: Texas audit proposed by GOP would miss minor but real errors

Virginia State Senator calls for ‘forensic audit’ of state’s elections | Andrew Cain/Richmond Times-Dispatch

Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield, rallied with several dozen supporters outside the state Capitol on Monday to call for a “forensic audit” of Virginia’s electoral process. Since the November election former President Donald Trump and many of his supporters have continued to promote debunked or unsubstantiated claims of election fraud that election officials and courts have rejected. Democrat Joe Biden beat Trump in Virginia by 10 percentage points. “It’s so imperative that we make 100% sure that voters have 100% confidence in our election process,” Chase said at the Capitol Monday speaking in front of perhaps two dozen supporters holding homemade signs. “It’s important that we audit Virginia. It’s important we have a forensic audit, not the faux audit that the State Board of Elections did.” Chase said that when the General Assembly makes decisions Virginians need to know that “these people are elected by we the people” and that the decisions they make “are what the people want.” In March the Virginia Department of Elections said that election administrators around the state had completed an audit of ballot scanner machines used in the November elections in which Biden defeated Trump and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., beat Republican Daniel Gade.

Full Article: Chase calls for ‘forensic audit’ of Virginia’s elections | State and Regional News | roanoke.com

Wisconsin Republican expands 2020 election investigation | Scott Bauer/Associated Press

The highest ranking Republican in the Wisconsin Assembly said Friday that he was expanding a probe into the 2020 presidential election, saying it will take more investigators and time than originally planned. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos signed contracts in June with two retired police detectives and a former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice to handle the investigation. But those two investigators quit earlier this month, Vos confirmed for the first time Friday, leading him to “take a different tack.” Vos has designated retired Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman as a “special counsel” and empowered him to hire as many investigators as he wants, with the goal of completing the probe this fall. “If he thinks he needs one person, great,” Vos told The Associated Press. “If he thinks he needs half a dozen, great.” Gableman did not immediately reply to a message seeking comment. The move comes amid growing calls from former President Donald Trump and other Wisconsin Republicans for a broader audit. Vos announced the move just three days after he said a fellow Republican lawmaker who was calling for a “forensic audit” was misinformed about the work already underway.

Full Article: Wisconsin Republican expands 2020 election investigation

National: Justice Department Warns States on Voting Laws and Election Audits | Katie Benner/The New York Times

The Justice Department on Wednesday sent another warning shot to Republican state legislatures that have initiated private audits of voting tabulations broadly viewed as efforts to cast doubt on the results of the presidential election. The department warned that auditors could face criminal and civil penalties if they destroy any records related to the election or intimidate voters in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1960 and federal laws prohibiting voter intimidation. The admonishment came in election-related guidance documents issued as part of the department’s larger plan to protect access to the polls, announced by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland in June. Another document released on Wednesday outlined federal laws on how ballots are cast and said that the department could scrutinize states that revert to prepandemic voting procedures, which may not have allowed as many people to vote early or by mail. The warning was the Justice Department’s latest effort to alert state lawmakers that their audits could run afoul of federal law. Department officials cautioned the Republican-led Arizona State Senate in May that its audit and recount of the November election in Maricopa County, widely seen as a partisan exercise to fuel grievances over Donald J. Trump’s election loss, may be in violation of the Civil Rights Act.

 

Full Article: Justice Dept. Warns States on Voting Laws and Election Audits – The New York Times

Michigan: ‘I feel afraid’: Detroit clerk Winfrey testifies to U.S. House panel on death threats she received | Melissa Nann Burke George Hunter/The Detroit News

Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey told a U.S. House panel on Wednesday that she and her election workers have received threats of violence as a result of false claims of a stolen election by former President Donald Trump, causing her to lose staff and to live in fear. Winfrey, in testimony before the House Administration Committee, compared her experience to what happened to members of Congress when pro-Trump rioters breached the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. “Except they’re coming to our homes, and they’re making us very uncomfortable,” Winfrey said. “Some of my colleagues have been shot at, simply because of what we do. All of us have been threatened — and because we’re trying to represent our community,” she added. “If it weren’t for the work of local election officials, none of you would be here in this room. We just want to uphold democracy. We just want to ensure that every one votes. It is unfair. It’s unfair that we’re attacked for doing our job. I feel afraid.” The threats against Detroit elections workers led to five of Winfrey’s senior staff going on leave, and one who retired, she said. They didn’t come back until after the election was canvassed and certified, she added. “The overall climate at the Department of Elections is one of fear, almost,” Winfrey said, noting that several staffers were hospitalized with COVID-19 after the election. “People are wanting to retire.” The threats against Winfrey included a White man, whom she estimated at 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds, who approached her while she was walking in her neighborhood and accusing her of “cheating,” telling her, “You are going to pay dearly for your actions in this election!” Winfrey, who is Black, described the man’s manner as threatening, and that he was coming closer to her, telling her he had tracked her down at her home after waiting for her at her office.

 

Full Article: Winfrey testifies before House panel on threats to election workers

National: Department of Justice launches task force to address violent threats against election workers | John Kruzel/The Hill

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday launched a task force aimed at combating violent threats against election workers following a spike in such incidents tied to the 2020 presidential election. The announcement comes after the DOJ last month indicated that criminal law enforcement would play a key role in the Biden administration’s push to protect voting rights and safeguard elections. “A threat to any election official, worker, or volunteer is a threat to democracy,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, who will lead the effort. “We will promptly and vigorously prosecute offenders to protect the rights of American voters, to punish those who engage in this criminal behavior, and to send the unmistakable message that such conduct will not be tolerated.” The Hill has reached out to the DOJ requesting a tally of ongoing investigations, charges filed and any convictions secured. An April survey of local election workers for the Brennan Center for Justice found that nearly 1 in 6 respondents received threats of violence, and almost 1 in 3 said they feel unsafe because of their job. The surge in violent threats, fueled in large part by former President Trump’s repeated lies about the 2020 election being stolen, has prompted growing alarm among Democratic lawmakers and voting rights advocates that election workers could leave their posts in droves.

 

Full Article: DOJ launches task force to address violent threats against election workers | TheHill

National: Justice Department warns states to follow federal law in election audits and voting changes | Pete Williams/NBC

The Department of Justice notified states Wednesday that they must follow federal law when conducting post-election audits or changing election procedures. “We are concerned that if they are going to conduct these so-called audits, they have to comply with federal law and can’t conduct them in a way that’s going to intimidate voters,” a senior department official said. In two guidance documents, the Justice Department also said states should not assume that reverting to pre-pandemic voting procedures provides them a safe harbor from potential legal challenges. “States should not conclude that because they ran a voting system in a certain way before the pandemic, they’re free to go back to it, even if doing so has a racially discriminatory impact or is motivated by racial reasons,” the official said.

 

Full Article: Justice Dept. warns states to follow federal law in election audits and voting changes

National: As Trump pushed for probes of 2020 election, he called acting Attorney General Rosen almost daily | Josh Dawsey and Devlin Barrett/The Washington Post

President Donald Trump called his acting attorney general nearly every day at the end of last year to alert him to claims of voter fraud or alleged improper vote counts in the 2020 election, according to two people familiar with the conversations. The personal pressure campaign, which has not been previously reported, involved repeated phone calls to acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen in which Trump raised various allegations he had heard about and asked what the Justice Department was doing about the issue. The people familiar with the conversations spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive legal and political issues that are not yet public. Rosen told few people about the phone calls, even in his inner circle. But there are notes of some of the calls that were written by a top aide to Rosen, Richard Donoghue, who was present for some of the conversations, these people said. Donoghue’s notes could be turned over to Congress in a matter of days, they added, if Trump does not file papers in court seeking to block such a handover. In addition, both Rosen and Donoghue could be questioned about the conversations by congressional committees examining Trump’s actions in the days after the election. The Justice Department recently notified Rosen, Donoghue and others who were serving there during the end of Trump’s presidency that the agency would not seek to invoke executive privilege if they are asked about their contacts with the president during that period. That posture — which the letter to Rosen calls a departure from normal agency practice — means that individuals who are questioned by Congress would not have to say the conversations with the president were off-limits. They would be able to share details that give a firsthand account of Trump’s frantic attempts to overturn the 2020 election and involve the Justice Department in that effort.

 

Full Article: Trump called acting AG Jeffrey Rosen repeatedly over false election claims – The Washington Post

National: Republican Legislators Curb Authority of County, State Election Officials | Matt Vasilogambros/Stateline

Republican lawmakers this year passed an unprecedented bevy of bills targeting the authority of state and local election officials, a power grab that might allow partisan legislators to overturn future election results by claiming there was fraud. GOP legislators in at least 14 states have enacted 23 new laws that empower state officials to take control of county election boards, strip secretaries of state of their executive authority, or make local election officials criminally or financially liable for even technical errors, according to Protect Democracy, a left-leaning Washington, D.C.-based voting rights nonprofit. Secretaries of state and county election officials around the country, many of them Republican, resisted pressure from former President Donald Trump and his allies to decertify the November 2020 results and reject huge swaths of mail-in ballots to turn the presidential election in his favor. Eight months later, there is growing concern among those officials that these new laws may cut a path for successful efforts in the future. “Some elected officials didn’t like the results, so they’re trying to rewrite the rules,” said Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, who chairs the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State. “This is a breakdown of what it means to live in the United States. It’s an attack on the democracy. It’s an attack on the idea that Americans get to choose their elected officials.” Trump, without evidence, continues to falsely assert that widespread fraud cost him reelection. Election security experts and top national security officials have said voter fraud is rare and that the last election was the most secure in U.S. history. Nevertheless, GOP lawmakers say their changes are necessary to protect the integrity of future elections.

 

Full Article: Republican Legislators Curb Authority of County, State Election Officials | The Pew Charitable Trusts

National: House Democrats push leadership to vote on slimmed-down voting bill | Leigh Ann Caldwell/NBC

A group of House Democrats is launching an internal push on voting legislation, urging their leaders to focus on a few elements, according to a letter obtained by NBC News. A group of 34 House Democrats, all of whom were among the 49 elected in 2018 and many of whom face tough re-election campaigns, asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to bring up new votes, even if the bills wouldn’t be able to get enough support to become law. A group of Senate Democrats voiced optimism this week that they are nearing a deal on a voting bill that could be released as early as next week. The Democrats’ sweeping For the People Act has been stalled in the Senate since Senate Republicans blocked it last month. The signers of the House letter, led by moderate Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., and joined by Texas Reps. Colin Allred and Veronica Escobar, want a new, tailored version of a voting bill to focus on “pre-empt[ing] harmful laws already passing in state houses across the country,” the letter says. They suggest reinstating protections under the Voting Rights Act and other proposals, such as same-day voter registration, voting by mail, 15 days of early voting and requirements for provisional ballots. They suggest eliminating proposals not directly related to ballot access, such as campaign finance.

 

Full Article: House Democrats push leadership to vote on slimmed-down voting bill

National: Native Americans are targets of voter suppression too | Frederick E. Hoxie and Dennis Aftergutt/heHill

“The land was ours before we were the land’s.” With those words, Robert Frost began his poem, “The Gift Outright,” at President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 inauguration. Had Frost been speaking to Native Americans, he might have said, “The land was yours before we were the land’s.” Today, we occupy one nation — “theirs” and “ours” — one people under a single national flag. Admittedly, native peoples were often recruited by force to participate in the United States. But they were also persuaded by leaders like Thomas Jefferson, who invited them to “unite yourselves with us, join our Great Councils and form one people with us and we shall all be Americans.” Sadly, foes of Native American rights undercut such promises — and democracy. These efforts endure. Montana Republicans’ new vote restriction legislation could easily suppress the Indian vote. The new measure forbids an individual from delivering another person’s absentee ballot to the polls. That delivery method is essential for home-bound voters in places without mail service — the situation on many Montana reservations and others across the country. And many elderly Indians living on reservations do not have cars. The Republicans controlling Montana’s legislature know that subtracting small numbers of votes can change election outcomes. In 2018, Democratic Sen. Jon Tester “won seven of eight Montana counties containing the headquarters of a federally recognized tribe and received 50.3 percent of the vote statewide.”

 

Source: Native Americans are targets of voter suppression too | TheHill