Editorial: What sham audit information are the Cyber Ninjas and the Arizona Senate trying to hide? | EJ Montini/Arizona Republic

When Republican Arizona Senate President Karen Fann gave the go ahead for the sham audit of Maricopa County votes, she said the process would be conducted professionally and transparently. She’s 0 for 2. Professionally? HA! That went out the window with the hiring of the Florida-based firm Cyber Ninjas to conduct the audit. Not only had the company not done such a thing before, but the CEO, Doug Logan, is a confirmed conspiracy kook who spread unproven election fraud claims and has appeared in a film claiming the CIA or former members of the intelligence agency are involved in some nutty “disinformation” campaign concerning election fraud. Then, there is the transparent part. The audits already conducted by the Maricopa County Recorder’s office, and the two certified firms who also were hired to check the election process, were open to the public and transparent. They found no fraud. This audit, too, was to be that way. Supposedly. Logan said of his audit, “The big question should not be, ‘Am I biased,’ but ‘Will this audit be transparent, truthful and accurate?’ The answer to the latter question is a resounding ‘Yes.’ ” Except, it’s not. If it was, The Arizona Republic would not be going to court and asking a judge to have the Senate and Cyber Ninjas turn over records the public has every right to see.

Full Article: What are Cyber Ninjas and the Arizona Senate trying to hide?

How California could recall its governor | Michael R. Blood/Associated Press

 California will hold a recall election Sept. 14 that could remove first-term Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom from office. The date was set by Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, a Democrat and Newsom ally, after election officials certified that enough valid petition signatures had been turned in to qualify the election for the ballot. Republicans are hoping for an upset in a heavily Democratic state where the GOP hasn’t won a statewide election since 2006. The election will be watched nationally as a barometer of the public mood heading toward the 2022 elections, when a closely divided Congress again will be in play. Here’s how it works. California is one of 20 states that have provisions to remove a sitting governor in a recall, 19 of them through elections. The state law establishing the rules goes back to 1911 and was intended to place more power directly in the hands of voters by allowing them to recall elected officials and repeal or pass laws by placing them on the ballot. Recall attempts are common in the state, but they rarely get on the ballot and even fewer succeed. However, in 2003, Democratic Gov. Gray Davis was recalled and replaced by Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Full Article: EXPLAINER: How California could recall its governor

Editorial: The real, on-the-ground effects of Florida’s new voting law | Alex Berrios/South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Since Senate Bill 90 was signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis on May 6, the state has been hit with four federal lawsuits over the controversial new elections law. Proponents of this legislation have justified its restrictions on mail-in voting by citing election security concerns and preventing voter fraud. However, SB 90 presents a much more alarming reality, politicizing the act of voting to disenfranchise thousands of Floridians from participating in future elections. I am a Florida native invested in the state’s politics since birth and professionally since 2017. In 2020, I cofounded Mi Vecino, a Florida-based nonprofit dedicated to engaging and empowering Black, brown and first-time voters across the state. This first-hand experience has given me insight into the real impact of SB 90. The new law makes the following changes to voting by mail: Voters must enroll in vote-by-mail every two years; enrollment requirements have expanded to include the last four digits of a registered voter’s SSN or driver’s license number; and voters have to use the same form of ID across both in-person and vote-by-mail registrations. These new requirements will force every voter without vote-by-mail registration to re-register. In my years of political organizing, most people don’t remember which form of ID they used to register to vote, with some having registered decades ago. Those most likely to use vote-by-mail — students attending college out of state, seniors, voters with disabilities and voters who work multiple jobs or have families and other responsibilities — will be forced to stand in line on Election Day using time they cannot spare, or not vote at all.

Full Article: The real, on-the-ground effects of Florida’s new voting law | Opinion – South Florida Sun Sentinel – South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Arizona: Trump Is Said to Have Called Official After Election Loss | Michael Wines and Reid J. Epstein/The New York Times

President Donald J. Trump twice sought to talk on the phone with the Republican leader of Arizona’s most populous county last winter as the Trump campaign and its allies tried unsuccessfully to reverse Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s narrow victory in the state’s presidential contest, according to the Republican official and records obtained by The Arizona Republic, a Phoenix newspaper. But the leader, Clint Hickman, then the chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, said in an interview on Friday that he let the calls — made in late December and early January — go to voice mail and did not return them. “I told people, ‘Please don’t have the president call me,’” he said. At the time, Mr. Hickman was being pressed by the state Republican Party chairwoman and Mr. Trump’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani to investigate claims of fraud in the county’s election, which Mr. Biden had won by about 45,000 votes. Liz Harrington, a spokeswoman for Mr. Trump, said in a statement that “it’s no surprise Maricopa County election officials had no desire to look into significant irregularities during the election,” though there is no evidence of widespread problems with Arizona’s election. She did not directly address the calls reportedly made by Mr. Trump. Two former campaign aides said they knew nothing about the outreach to the Maricopa County official.

Full Article: Trump Is Said to Have Called Arizona Official After Election Loss – The New York Times

Georgia: How Pro-Trump Local News Sites Keep Pushing 2020 Election Misinformation | Stephen Fowler/GPB

If you don’t follow politics in Georgia closely — or even if you do — you might be forgiven for not knowing much about The Georgia Star News. Founded just after the November election when President Biden narrowly flipped the state by about 12,000 votes, it looks like a regular news website with a lifestyle section, a widget for the weather and stories about local and national goings-on. But the site is more than just a local news outlet. It’s part of the Star News Network — an expanding network of pro-Trump sites seeking to influence local politics with conservative opinion by mimicking the look and feel of local newspaper sites. The group operates eight state-focused news sites, including in key Electoral College states such as Michigan, Arizona, Ohio and Florida. Steve Bannon, a former strategist for former President Donald Trump, described The Georgia Star News in a radio interview as content “you can’t get anywhere else.” “We’re not Conservative Inc.,” he said. “It’s very populist, it’s very nationalist, it’s very MAGA, it’s very American First.”

Full Article: How Pro-Trump Local News Sites Keep Pushing 2020 Election Misinformation – capradio.org

Louisiana Governor signs bill moving state to paper-based elections | Matt Doyle/Louisiana Radio Network

Governor Edwards signs legislation that will begin the process of shifting Louisiana from an electronic voting system to a paper-based system. Under a paper system, voters will receive a paper ballot that they can look at to make sure their vote was tabulated correctly, and that can be later audited by hand should the need arise. Slidell Senator Sharon Hewitt said her bill will further strengthen the integrity of our elections. “What is great about a paper-based system is that it is auditable, it is secure, and it is significantly cheaper than our 30-year-old outdated machines,” said Hewitt. “With an electronic system you push a button to cast a vote and that is it, so there is no way at the end to audit the result.”

Full Article: Governor signs bill moving state to paper-based elections | louisianaradionetwork.com

Michigan sheriff sought to seize voting machines amid Trump claims | Jonathan Oosting/Bridge Michigan

Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf last year tried to enlist fellow “constitutional sheriffs” to seize Dominion voting machines at the heart of an election conspiracy theory promoted by then-President Donald Trump, Bridge Michigan has learned. A trove of emails obtained by Bridge through the Freedom of Information Act indicate Trump had at least some law enforcement support in his bid to overturn the 2020 election won by Democratic President Joe Biden. Bridge obtained emails from Leaf that detail his unsuccessful efforts to obtain voting machines and inspect them. The records indicate that Leaf’s attorney provided updates on the effort to Trump allies including attorney Sidney Powell and a contact for former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Leaf told Bridge in a brief interview that he worked with other Michigan sheriffs on what he called an “ongoing” matter after the election, but would not divulge specifics.

Full Article: Emails: Michigan sheriff sought to seize voting machines amid Trump claims | Bridge Michigan

Montana: How G.O.P. Laws Could Complicate Voting for Native Americans | Maggie Astor/The New York Times

 One week before the 2020 election, Laura Roundine had emergency open-heart surgery. She returned to her home on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation with blunt instructions: Don’t go anywhere while you recover, because if you get Covid-19, you’ll probably die. That meant Ms. Roundine, 59, couldn’t vote in person as planned. Neither could her husband, lest he risk bringing the virus home. It wasn’t safe to go to the post office to vote by mail, and there is no home delivery here in Starr School — or on much of the reservation in northwestern Montana. The couple’s saving grace was Renee LaPlant, a Blackfeet community organizer for the Native American advocacy group Western Native Voice, who ensured that their votes would count by shuttling applications and ballots back and forth between their home and a satellite election office in Browning, one of two on the roughly 2,300-square-mile reservation. But under H.B. 530, a law passed this spring by the Republican-controlled State Legislature, that would not have been allowed. Western Native Voice pays its organizers, and paid ballot collection is now banned. “It’s taking their rights from them, and they still have the right to vote,” Ms. Roundine said of fellow Blackfeet voters who can’t leave their homes. “I wouldn’t have wanted that to be taken from me.”

Full Article: How G.O.P. Laws in Montana Could Complicate Voting for Native Americans – The New York Times

New York City’s Needless Election Fiasco | Eric Lach/The New Yorker

Even in a state that has long been considered, by those who keep track of such things, one of the worst in the country when it comes to election administration—the basic civic business of collecting and counting votes—New York City stands out. For decades, its Board of Elections, ten commissioners and hundreds of employees appointed by local political-party leaders, has been accused of mismanagement, corruption, nepotism, and outright incompetence. In 1971, the Times’ editorial page described the board as being “at best a semi‐functioning anachronism.” The description still applies. This week, the whole country found out why. On Tuesday, the board released partial results of the Democratic Party’s mayoral primary. The numbers revealed a tight race between Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, and Kathryn Garcia, the longtime city bureaucrat. But something was off. On Election Night, the board had released even-more-partial results, which showed that eight hundred thousand New Yorkers had voted in person during the primary. This week, the numbers showed that some nine hundred and forty thousand had. Hours of confusion followed. Eventually, the board took down the results from its Web site and issued a statement resembling an explanation. A hundred and thirty five thousand “ballot images used for testing” had not been “cleared” from the computer program used to crunch the numbers, and had been accidentally included in the results when the “cast vote records were extracted,” the statement said. “The Board apologizes for the error and has taken immediate measures to ensure the most accurate up to date results are reported.”

Full Article: New York City’s Needless Election Fiasco | The New Yorker

New York’s ‘head-swirling’ mistake puts harsh spotlight on ranked-choice voting | Maya King and Zach Montellaro/Politico

Ranked-choice voting was having a moment. Then came New York City’s mayoral election debacle. Even though last week’s fumble by the city Board of Elections — in which it released incorrect vote tallies before fixing the totals 24 hours later — was not specifically related to the ranked-choice system, the complex way of choosing candidates is drawing new scrutiny as New Yorkers are going on two weeks waiting to learn the identity of the city’s likely next mayor. Advocates of ranked-choice voting are desperate to maintain their momentum: Within the past decade, ranked-choice voting has expanded from a mostly overseas phenomenon to the system under which the mayor of the nation’s largest city, and senators and members of Congress from two states, are now elected. And more change is on the way, they say, so long as last week’s snafu doesn’t sour potential converts to the reform cause. “My concern is that New York’s experience will give ranked-choice voting a black eye,” Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, a Democrat, said. Despite New York’s struggles, elections officials and practiced ranked-choice voting experts say they’re still confident in the system. The source of last week’s faux pas — forgetting to erase test ballots from the system — could have happened in a conventional election, they insist.

Full Article: New York’s ‘head-swirling’ mistake puts harsh spotlight on ranked-choice voting – POLITICO

Pennsylvania: Trump ally raises 2020 election audit plan | Mark Levy and Mark Scolford/Associated Press

Following in the footsteps of Arizona’s Senate Republicans, Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled Senate is considering an investigation into how last year’s presidential election was conducted, a quest fueled by former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims that fraud was behind his loss in the battleground state. Any Senate-issued subpoenas for an Arizona-style “election audit” will face strident opposition from Democrats, legal questions and almost certainly challenges in Pennsylvania’s courts, as battles over election laws rage through swing states and Congress, spurred on by Trump’s falsehoods. Senate Republicans have been mostly silent about their internal deliberations. Sen. Doug Mastriano, a rising force in Pennsylvania’s ultra-conservative circles who has talked of his desire to bring an Arizona-style audit to Pennsylvania, led a private briefing Wednesday for Republican senators on his plan. In Arizona, the state Senate used its subpoena power to take possession of more than 2 million ballots and the machines that counted them, along with computer data. Mastriano also solicited legal advice from a Philadelphia-based law firm about the Senate Republican caucus using private money to finance consultants and lawyers. The law firm’s response letter, dated Tuesday, was obtained by The Associated Press. In the letter, the law firm discussed the legality of using money from a private, nonprofit organization “to pay expenses for vendors, including a consultant and counsel” as part of an “oversight investigation” of the 2020 election led by the low-profile committee that Mastriano chairs.

Full Article: Trump ally in Pennsylvania raises 2020 election audit plan

Texans with disabilities fear voting obstacles under proposed GOP restrictions | Alexa Ura/The Texas Tribune

It took Nancy Crowther three hours, four public bus rides and an impressive amount of gumption to make sure her vote counted in the 2020 election. She’s hoping Texas lawmakers don’t make it even harder the next time. With Texas Republicans determined to enact additional voting restrictions in the upcoming special legislative session, much of the uproar has focused on changes that could make it harder for people of color to cast ballots. Less attention has fallen on another group of voters bracing for what could happen to them under the GOP’s renewed push to further tighten the state’s voting procedures — people with disabilities, for whom the voting process is already lined with potential obstacles. Among them are people like Crowther, a 64-year-old retiree, who could have been shut out from voting last November had it not been for her own tenacious determination. Immunocompromised because of a neuromuscular disease, Crowther chose to forgo her usual trip to a nearby polling place and instead turned to mail-in voting in hopes of safeguarding her health during the pandemic. But as Election Day neared — and after experiencing interruptions in her mail service — she began to worry her ballot wouldn’t make it back to the county in time.

Full Article: Texans with disabilities fear voting obstacles under proposed GOP restrictions | The Texas Tribune

Wisconsin man is scanning ballots in his own review of 2020 election | Patrick Marley/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Republican lawmakers aren’t the only ones examining Wisconsin’s presidential election. A New London man has been making copies of ballots in some communities as he conducts his own review of an election Joe Biden narrowly won. “Our intention is to have true and honest elections. You hear all kinds of rumors and we want to dispel some of those if they’re not true,” Peter Bernegger said when asked about his endeavor. Bernegger declined to say what his plans are but said he would announce them in the coming weeks. Recounts in Dane and Milwaukee counties and more than a half dozen lawsuits upheld Biden’s victory. Bernegger’s push to inspect ballots comes as Republican lawmakers ramp up their own review of the election. They have hired former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman and former law enforcement officers at taxpayer expense to conduct their review as they decide whether to pass more election-related legislation. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos of Rochester has acknowledged Biden won the election. That has won him enmity from former President Donald Trump, who has said Vos, Senate President Chris Kapenga of Delafield and Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu of Oostburg haven’t done enough to investigate the election.

Full Article: Wisconsin man is scanning ballots in his own review of 2020 election

A Michigan Republican Senator spent eight months searching for evidence of election fraud, but all he found was lies. | Tim Alberta/The Atlantic

Right around the time Donald Trump was flexing his conspiratorial muscles on Saturday night, recycling old ruses and inventing new boogeymen in his first public speech since inciting a siege of the U.S. Capitol in January, a dairy farmer in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula sat down to supper. It had been a trying day. The farmer, Ed McBroom, battled sidewinding rain while working his 320 acres, loading feed and breeding livestock and at one point delivering a distressed calf backwards from its mother’s womb, before hanging the newborn animal by its hind legs for respiratory drainage. Now, having slipped off his manure-caked rubber boots, McBroom groaned as he leaned into his home-grown meal of unpasteurized milk and spaghetti with hamburger sauce. He would dine peacefully at his banquet-length antique table, surrounded by his family of 15, unaware that in nearby Ohio, the former president was accusing him—thankfully, this time not by name—of covering up the greatest crime in American history. A few days earlier, McBroom, a Republican state senator who chairs the Oversight Committee, had released a report detailing his eight-month-long investigation into the legitimacy of the 2020 election. The stakes could hardly have been higher. Against a backdrop of confusion and suspicion and frightening civic friction—with Trump claiming he’d been cheated out of victory, and anecdotes about fraud coursing through every corner of the state—McBroom had led an exhaustive probe of Michigan’s electoral integrity. His committee interviewed scores of witnesses, subpoenaed and reviewed thousands of pages of documents, dissected the procedural mechanics of Michigan’s highly decentralized elections system, and scrutinized the most trafficked claims about corruption at the state’s ballot box in November. McBroom’s conclusion hit Lansing like a meteor: It was all a bunch of nonsense.

Full Article: The Michigan Republican Who Decided to Tell the Truth – The Atlantic

Election security could be set back by the partisan audit in Arizona | Joseph Marks/The Washington Post

Election security experts are waiting with a mixture of resignation and dread for the results of a hyperpartisan audit that’s wrapping up in Maricopa County, Ariz. The counting phase of that audit ended Friday after weeks of serious security flubs including workers failing to track ballots from one location to another, using unvetted equipment and leaving laptops and other technology unattended. The audit is being conducted by a Florida firm called Cyber Ninjas with no history or expertise in the area and whose CEO Doug Logan has endorsed wild conspiracy theories that the 2020 election was rigged and stolen from former president Donald Trump. Auditors have chased unhinged and unfounded claims about secret watermarks on ballots and traces of bamboo in ballots that were secretly flown in from Asia.  Cyber Ninjas’s final report is expected in the next few weeks. But election security analysts are already warning the results will be untrustworthy and could further undermine public faith in what intelligence and law enforcement leaders have called the most secure election in history.  “This endeavor has been a flawed and really failed effort from the very beginning,” Liz Howard, senior counsel for the Democracy Program at New York University’s Brennan Center and an official observer of the Maricopa audit, told me. “I assume whatever they put out will be riddled with errors, incomplete and will not provide an accurate assessment of the election.”

Full Article: The Cybersecurity 202: Election security could be set back by the partisan audit in Arizona – The Washington Post

National: Supreme Court Upholds Arizona Voting Restrictions | Adam Liptak/The New York Times

The Supreme Court on Thursday gave states new latitude to impose restrictions on voting, using a ruling in a case from Arizona to signal that challenges to laws being passed by Republican legislatures that make it harder for minority groups to vote would face a hostile reception from a majority of the justices. The vote was 6 to 3, with the court’s three liberal members in dissent. The decision was among the most consequential in decades on voting rights, and it was the first time the court had considered how a crucial part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 applies to restrictions that have a particular impact on people of color. The six conservative justices in the majority concluded that the relevant part of the act can be used to strike down voting restrictions only when they impose substantial and disproportionate burdens on minority voters, effectively blocking their ability to cast a ballot — a standard suggesting that the Supreme Court would not be inclined to overturn many of the measures Republicans have pursued or approved around the country.

Full Article: Supreme Court Upholds Arizona Voting Restrictions – The New York Times

National: Trump audit excitement meets with fear from election officials Zach Montellaro/Politico

A monthslong examination of all the ballots from the 2020 election in Arizona’s most populous county may be winding down soon. But now the state is spreading the “audit” playbook across the country. Supporters of former President Donald Trump — fueled by Trump’s false claim that he did not lose the 2020 election — are behind a new push to review the results in states including Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The new drive is worrying state election administrators, who say the efforts will further inflame conspiracy theories and erode faith in the American democratic system. The burden of these reviews could fall on the shoulders of state and local election officials, further complicating a field where many are worried about a brain drain due to exhaustion and threats workers faced in the aftermath of the 2020 election. “We’re wasting a lot of taxpayer money. We’re wasting a lot of people’s time,” said Jennifer Morrell, a former elections administrator and consultant who served as a nonpartisan observer for the Arizona secretary of state during the Arizona review. “We’re sucking a lot of energy from the folks that need to be preparing and working on the next election.”

Full Article: Trump audit excitement meets with fear from election officials – POLITICO

National: Voting rights ruling increases pressure on Democrats to act | Bryan Slodisko and Christina A. Cassidy/Associated Press

Congressional Democrats are facing renewed pressure to pass legislation that would protect voting rights after a Supreme Court ruling Thursday made it harder to challenge Republican efforts to limit ballot access in many states. The 6-3 ruling on a case out of Arizona was the second time in a decade that conservatives on the Supreme Court have weakened components of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a landmark Civil Rights-era law. But this opinion was released in a much different political climate, in the aftermath of President Donald Trump’s lie that last year’s election was stolen. Trump’s fabrications spurred Republicans in states such as Georgia and Florida to pass tougher rules on voting under the cloak of election integrity. Democrats on Capitol Hill have already tried to respond with a sweeping voting and elections bill that Senate Republicans united to block last week. A separate bill, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would restore sections of the Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court previously weakened, has been similarly dismissed by most Republicans. Those setbacks, combined with the Supreme Court’s decision, have fueled a sense of urgency among Democrats to act while they still have narrow majorities in the House and Senate. But passing voting legislation at this point would almost certainly require changes to the filibuster, allowing Democrats to act without GOP support.

Full Article: Voting rights ruling increases pressure on Democrats to act

National: Giuliani’s Messages With Fox Sought by Dominion in Election Suit | Erik Larson/Bloomberg

Rudy Giuliani, already being sued for defamation by Dominion Voting Systems Inc. over his debunked election-conspiracy claims, has been issued a subpoena in a similar lawsuit the company filed against Fox News Network. The former New York mayor and Donald Trump’s personal lawyer was asked to hand over all documents stemming from his appearances on Fox starting in 2016 as well as all communications with the network related to the 2020 presidential election and Dominion, according to a June 28 filing in state court in Delaware. The subpoena also seeks Giuliani’s communications concerning the “truth or falsity” of the claims he made about Dominion while appearing on Fox, plus documents about the nature of his relationship with the network, “whether formal or informal, compensated or uncompensated.” Giuliani is fighting to dismiss the defamation suit filed against him by Dominion in Washington, as are former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell and MyPillow Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mike Lindell. All three repeatedly claimed without evidence that Dominion and its employees were at the center of a plot to flip millions of votes away from Trump, with help from foreign hackers, corrupt Democrats and “communist money.”

Full Article: Allen Weisselberg, Trump Organization CFO, Surrenders to Authorities in NY – Bloomberg

National: Threats Against Election Officials Are a Threat to Democracy | Sue Halpern/The New Yorker

For Tina Barton, the death threats began a few days after last November’s general election. At the time, Barton was in her eighth year as the clerk of Rochester Hills, a city of seventy-five thousand people in southeastern Michigan, where her many responsibilities included administering elections. On the evening of November 3rd, after the city’s election results were transmitted to a central tabulator, it looked like the absentee ballots for some precincts had not been included, so Barton and her crew resubmitted them. The next morning, when they realized that these ballots had, in fact, been transmitted the first time, the mistake was fixed. Barton assumed that was the end of it. Within days, Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee, held a press conference in nearby Bloomfield Hills. Although Barton was appointed by a nonpartisan city council, she is a Republican and considered McDaniel an ally. “I was never called by them to say, ‘Hey, Tina, what happened there?’ ” Barton said. “There was never, like, let’s check the facts.” Instead, at the press conference, McDaniel falsely claimed that two thousand votes for Trump had gone to Biden. “It was a complete mischaracterization,” Barton told me. “They needed language to support the agenda that they were pushing, and they used me, specifically, for the shock factor, because I was a Republican. I think they were trying to make the case that, if it could happen in Rochester Hills, it could happen anywhere.” Barton posted an explanatory video on Twitter, which quickly amassed more than a million views. A torrent of death threats followed, left on her office voice mail and sent via Facebook Messenger. “To have someone say you deserve a knife to your throat, that you should be executed, that they are going to eff up your family, shakes you,” she said. “And I’m fortunate. My husband is a sheriff’s deputy. That added a layer of security a lot of election officials don’t have.” Barton is now a senior adviser to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (E.A.C.), where she works with election administrators all over the country. “These are true public servants,” she said. “They are in it because they have a passion for democracy. And now they are asking themselves if they are willing to put themselves and their families at risk to do this job.”

Full Article: Threats Against Election Officials Are a Threat to Democracy | The New Yorker

Editorial: The Supreme Court Is Putting Democracy at Risk | Richard L. Hasen/The New York Times

In two disturbing rulings closing out the Supreme Court’s term, the court’s six-justice conservative majority, over the loud protests of its three-liberal minority, has shown itself hostile to American democracy. In one case, Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, the court has weakened the last remaining legal tool for protecting minority voters in federal courts from a new wave of legislation seeking to suppress the vote that is emanating from Republican-controlled states. In the other, Americans for Prosperity v. Bonta, the court has laid the groundwork for lower courts to strike down campaign finance disclosure laws and laws that limit campaign contributions to federal, state and local candidates. The court is putting our democratic form of government at risk not only in these two decisions but in its overall course over the past few decades. Let’s begin with voting rights. In Brnovich, the court, in an opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito, held that two Arizona rules — one that does not count votes for any office cast by a voter in the wrong precinct and another that prevents third-party collection of absentee ballots (sometimes pejoratively referred to by Donald Trump and his allies as ballot harvesting) — do not violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

Full Article: Opinion | The Supreme Court Is Putting Democracy at Risk – The New York Times

Arizona: Maricopa County will obtain new voting machines after 2020 audit concludes | Jane C. Timm/NBC

Arizona’s most populous county is scrapping its voting machines and procuring new ones in the wake of the conspiracy-soaked Republican audit of last year’s ballots. In December, Arizona Senate Republicans subpoenaed nearly 400 of Maricopa County’s machines, along with ballots cast by voters, for an unusual audit of the 2020 election results. The GOP hired private firms, led by the Florida-based cybersecurity company Cyber Ninjas, to do the work, delivering the election machines and ballots to them this year. But as the audit — and its procedures, which have alarmed and confused election experts — continued this spring and summer, concerns about the machines grew. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, told the county Board of Supervisors last month that she believed the security of the county’s election machines had been compromised by Cyber Ninjas’ work and would consider decertifying the machines if Maricopa sought to reuse them. In Arizona, the secretary of state can decertify machinery in consultation with the state’s election equipment certification committee, a three-person panel appointed by Hobbs.

Full Article: Maricopa County will obtain new voting machines after 2020 audit concludes

Arizona Republic takes state Senate, Cyber Ninjas to court for election audit records | Ryan Randazzo/Arizona Republic

The Arizona Republic has gone to court to demand records from the state Senate and one of its contractors to shed light on the audit of 2020 election results, much of which has been kept from the public despite the importance of the ballot recount. The news organization on Wednesday filed a special action in Maricopa County Superior Court seeking financial records and communications about the audit from the Senate and Cyber Ninjas, the contractor it hired to lead the work. But for the most part, the state has kept information on how the audit is being conducted, the businesses doing the work, where the money is coming from and what officials are saying to each other about it away from the public. … The Republic is seeking the records to provide the public with a better understanding of the unprecedented audit of the election, which involved the Senate issuing subpoenas to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and moving election equipment and about 2.1 million ballots to the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum for inspection by private contractors. The audit has taken weeks and has yet to conclude. “Arizona law entitles the public to know how this audit is being conducted and funded,” attorney David Bodney, who represents The Republic, said Wednesday after the action was filed in court. “And the Arizona public records law does not permit the Senate to play ‘hide the ball’ by delegating core responsibilities to a third party like Cyber Ninjas and concealing records of government activities and public expenditures in Cyber Ninjas’ files.”

Full Article: AZ Republic takes Senate, Cyber Ninjas to court for ballot audit info

California’s recall election will cost $276 million, recall date set for Sept. 14 | Michael R. Blood and Kathleen Ronayne/Associated Press

California on Thursday scheduled a Sept. 14 recall election that could drive Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom from office, the result of a political uprising largely driven by angst over state coronavirus orders that shuttered schools and businesses and upended life for millions of Californians. The election in the nation’s most populous state will be a marquee contest with national implications, watched closely as a barometer of the public mood heading toward the 2022 elections, when a closely divided Congress again will be in play. The date was set by Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, a Democrat, after election officials certified that enough valid petition signatures had been turned in to qualify the election for the ballot. The announcement will set off a furious, 10-week burst of campaigning through the California summer, a time when voters typically are ignoring politics to enjoy vacationing, backyard barbecuing and travel. Many voters have yet to pay attention to the emerging election, while polls have shown Newsom would beat back the effort to remove him. Republicans haven’t won a statewide race in heavily Democratic California since 2006. Republican candidates have depicted Newsom as an incompetent fop whose bungled leadership inflicted unnecessary financial pain statewide, while Democrats have sought to frame the contest as driven by far-right extremists and supporters of former President Donald Trump.

Source: California sets date for recall election targeting Newsom

Colorado’s county clerks recommend election-system changes after 2020 election | Sandra Fish/The Colorado Sun

Colorado’s county clerks are pushing for a host of changes to the state’s election system in an effort to quash conspiracy theories stemming from the 2020 election, including improvements to ballot-signature verification and making images of ballots available to the public. The Colorado County Clerks Association pitched the recommendations Tuesday to the Bipartisan Election Advisory Commission, a panel of county clerks, state election officials and interest groups. The 23-member commission, which advises the Secretary of State’s Office, received the proposals on Tuesday at the end of its meeting. Much of the meeting centered on persistent, false allegations of fraud in the presidential contest. Just two weeks ago, Secretary of State Jena Griswold implemented emergency rules preventing unauthorized third-party examination of election equipment. Those rules will be incorporated into a larger package of proposed permanent election rules recommended Wednesday. The recommendations and new rule come as some Colorado counties continue to receive demands from the public and advocacy groups for outside audits of the 2020 election, according to documents obtained by The Colorado Sun through an open-records request.

Source: Colorado’s county clerks recommend election-system changes after 2020 election

Georgia: Federal judge hears arguments seeking halt to parts of new voting law | Maya T. Prabhu and Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A federal judge heard arguments Thursday opposing portions of Georgia’s new voting law, with plaintiffs asking the court to rule as some state voters head to the polls for special election runoffs later this month. It’s unclear when U.S. District Judge J.P. Boulee will make a decision. Eight lawsuits have been filed against the voting law Republican legislators passed earlier this year, and Thursday’s arguments were the first on the measure made before a federal judge. Thursday’s case is different from the voting rights litigation filed last week by the U.S. Department of Justice that opposes voter ID requirements, ballot drop box limits, provisional ballot rejections and a ban on volunteers handing out food and water to voters waiting in line. Brought by the Coalition for Good Governance, an election security organization, the lawsuit opposes a requirement that voters request absentee ballots at least 11 days before election day, leaving little time to apply to vote absentee in a quick runoff election.

Full Article: Federal judge hears arguments seeking halt to parts of new Georgia voting law

Michigan: Calls for ‘forensic audit’ of election don’t have much merit, expert says | Arpan Lobo/The Holland Sentinel

Last week, a committee led by Republicans in the Michigan Senate published a report dismissing the idea of fraud in the November 2020 election. The investigation that led to the report rejected claims, mainly pushed by former President Donald Trump and allies, that widespread election fraud took place in Michigan, where Trump lost to President Joe Biden by around 3 percentage points, or 154,000 votes. Despite the report’s release, there are still pushes to conduct additional audits of election machines in Michigan, or “forensic audits.” But such a task would find little, if any merit of fraud and only further undermine confidence in elections, one national voting expert says. “A lot of the election-deniers have been falling back on this term ‘forensic audit.’ I think it’s a really good question to ask them, ‘Tell me exactly what a forensic audit means from your perspective,’ because this term doesn’t actually have meaning as most of these folks are using it,” said David Becker, executive director and founder of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, during a Wednesday media briefing. In Michigan, around 250 audits of local results in the 2020 election have been conducted. In March, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, who oversaw the audit process, said the audits affirmed Michigan’s election results as accurate. Still, there are calls for Michigan to complete a similar process to what took place in Arizona, where partisan officials inspected individual ballots for potential malfeasance, although multiple audits have already confirmed the election results in question.

Full Article: Calls for ‘forensic audit’ of don’t have much merit, expert says

New York City Mayor’s Race in Chaos After Elections Board Pulls Back Results | Katie Glueck/The New York Times

The New York City mayor’s race plunged into chaos on Tuesday night when the city Board of Elections released a new tally of votes in the Democratic mayoral primary, and then removed the tabulations from its website after citing a “discrepancy.” The results released earlier in the day had suggested that the race between Eric Adams and his two closest rivals had tightened significantly. But just a few hours after releasing the preliminary results, the elections board issued a cryptic tweet revealing a “discrepancy” in the report, saying that it was working with its “technical staff to identify where the discrepancy occurred.” By Tuesday evening, the tabulations had been taken down, replaced by a new advisory that the ranked-choice results would be available “starting on June 30.” Then, around 10:30 p.m., the board finally released a statement, explaining that it had failed to remove sample ballot images used to test its ranked-choice voting software. When the board ran the program, it counted “both test and election night results, producing approximately 135,000 additional records,” the statement said. The ranked-choice numbers, it said, would be tabulated again. The extraordinary sequence of events seeded further confusion about the outcome, and threw the closely watched contest into a new period of uncertainty at a consequential moment for the city.

Full Article: New York Mayor’s Race in Chaos After Elections Board Pulls Back Results – The New York Times

New York: ‘A relic from the past’: Troubled election agency ignites fury | Erin Durkin/Politico

Eric Adams and Kathryn Garcia are suing. Donald Trump is pushing conspiracy theories. And the final results in New York’s mayoral primary may not be known for weeks or possibly months. The botched count of the city’s ranked-choice election results Tuesday sparked a flood of criticism and calls for reform of New York’s notorious Board of Elections — but as candidate Maya Wiley said Tuesday night, “It is impossible to be surprised.” Like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and July 4 on Coney Island, bungled votes and the uproar that follows have become a tradition in New York where elections have long been run by a board controlled by political party machines and staffed through patronage. The Board of Elections was forced to retract a set of mayoral primary results it published on Tuesday, admitting that staffers had accidentally included 135,000 test ballots in the numbers. The election is the first citywide contest conducted under a new system of ranked-choice voting. “It’s broken. It’s arcane,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said of the board on Wednesday. “This is a partisan board with no accountability… They’re a relic from the past.” The cycle of election day fumbles — followed by recriminations, hearings and investigations — has played out many times before. But New York elected officials have never taken action to overhaul the board, whose structure is dictated by state law.

Full Article: ‘A relic from the past’: New York’s troubled election agency ignites fury – POLITICO

Ohio Governor signs partisan judicial election bill | Jackie Borchardt/Cincinnati Enquirer

Ohio voters will see an R or a D next to the names of state Supreme Court and appellate court candidates on the November 2022 ballot after Gov. Mike DeWine signed legislation Thursday. Ohio was the only state where judicial candidates run in partisan primaries and nonpartisan general elections. Now it will be one of seven states that elect judges for its higher courts in partisan elections, according to the National Center for State Courts. DeWine signed into law Senate Bill 80, which makes partisan elections for only state Supreme Court and appellate court races. Lower court races will continue to be a hybrid of partisan and nonpartisan elections. The legislation followed two state Supreme Court elections where Republicans lost three of four seats, moving the court from a 7-0 GOP majority to a 4-3 majority. Five Republicans in the House and Senate joined Democrats in voting against the bill. Republicans backing the change said it was needed to better inform voters, who are less likely to vote in judicial races than partisan offices. “With party affiliations already listed for primaries, this bill follows that precedent and continues that implementation of transparency for the general elections here in our state,” Rep. D.J. Swearingen, R-Huron, a sponsor of the companion bill House Bill 149, said in a statement.

Full Article: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signs partisan judicial election bill