In the wake of the 2020 presidential election, across the country, we saw radical efforts to spread lies about voter fraud, attack voting rights and overturn the results of the presidential election. These attempts are grounded in dishonesty and naked partisan self-interest, often relying on bad faith, pretextual arguments about election security. Pennsylvania Republicans’ latest bid to create a…
Pennsylvania: Election-related lawsuits that failed on standing or evidence still left counties with huge legal bills | Julia Agos/WITF
In the months leading up to the 2020 election, county officials pleaded with the Republican-controlled state legislature to allow pre-canvassing before Election Day and to clarify procedures with mail-in ballots and dropboxes. “We don’t want Pennsylvania to become a national news story,” the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania tweeted back in September. Administrators worried the gray areas in election procedure would leave counties vulnerable to attacks and accusations. And that’s exactly what happened. Pennsylvania counties and the Department of State became the target of unprecedented litigation before and after the election that resulted in extensive legal fees.
Senate Bill 598 was signed into law two weeks ago and will require voting machines in the state to have an auditable paper voting system, including the systems available for voting in Young County. SB 598 was approved during the 87th Legislative Session following approval from the Texas Senate in April and Texas House of Representatives in May. The bill was sent to the office of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott June 1, and was signed into law June 14. According to SB 598, no later than 24 hours after all ballots have been counted in an election, the election records custodian will conduct a risk-limiting audit for a selected statewide race or election measure. The Texas Secretary of State will select the precincts to be counted and the office or proposition to be counted. Hart InterCivic will be at the Young County Courthouse Tuesday, July 27, to demonstrate the new technology and software which will be implemented with SB 598, and the office of Young County Elections is inviting the public and poll workers to the event. The company will be presenting at the Young County Courtroom on the first floor from 1-2 p.m.
Wisconsin Governor vetoes bill limiting grants to help run elections | Patrick Marley/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Gov. Tony Evers vetoed a bill Wednesday that would have barred a nonprofit group from repeating its practice of giving millions of dollars to more than 200 Wisconsin communities to help them run elections. The Center for Tech and Civic Life gave money to cities around the country last year using $350 million from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan. The effort riled Republicans because most of the money in Wisconsin — $8.8 million out of $10.6 million — went to the state’s five largest cities, where Democratic voters are concentrated. Assembly Bill 173 would have prohibited local governments from accepting donations to help run elections from the center or other private groups. Any donations to the state for conducting elections would have to be equally distributed to local governments based on their populations. The Democratic governor in his veto message noted election officials must follow strict state laws for how they run elections, regardless of how they get their funding. Center for Tech and Civic Life officials said the group made the donations because government funding didn’t account for all the increased costs during the coronavirus pandemic. Evers wrote in his veto message that the donations “helped them conduct safe elections under extraordinary circumstances.” “During the coronavirus pandemic, our state and local election officials performed admirably to ensure the 2020 elections in each of our communities were conducted freely, fairly, and in accordance with our election laws,” Evers wrote.
Arizona’s Maricopa County will replace voting equipment, fearful that GOP-backed election review has compromised security | Rosalind S. Helderman/The Washington Post
Arizona’s Maricopa County announced Monday that it will replace voting equipment that was turned over to a private contractor for a Republican-commissioned review of the 2020 presidential election, concerned that the process compromised the security of the machines. Officials from Maricopa, the state’s largest county and home to Phoenix, provided no estimates of the costs involved but have previously said that the machines cost millions to acquire. “The voters of Maricopa County can rest assured, the County will never use equipment that could pose a risk to free and fair elections,” the county said in a statement. “As a result, the County will not use the subpoenaed equipment in any future elections.” The announcement probably reflects an added cost to taxpayers for a controversial review that has been embraced by supporters of former president Donald Trump, who has falsely claimed that the 2020 election was rigged in Arizona and other battlegrounds that he lost. The review was ordered by the Republican-led state Senate, which seized voting equipment, including nine tabulating machines used at a central counting facility and 385 precinct-based tabulators, as well as nearly 2.1 million ballots from Maricopa County, with a legislative subpoena in late April. The review is being led by a Florida company called Cyber Ninjas, whose chief executive has echoed Trump’s false claims. Audit organizers have said that they have completed a hand recount but that they will not release results from their review until August. Spokesmen for the audit and for Senate President Karen Fann (R), who ordered the review, did not immediately respond to requests for comment about Maricopa’s announcement.
Arizona: Maricopa County won’t reuse voting equipment that was with Cyber Ninjas for audit | Jen Fifield/Arizona Republic
Maricopa County will not reuse most of its voting equipment after it has been with Arizona Senate contractors for its audit of November election results, the county announced Monday. The potential cost to taxpayers is so far unknown. The county is about half way through a $6.1 million lease with Dominion Voting Systems for the equipment, but it’s unclear whether it will have to pay the rest of the money owed under that lease, and whether the county or Senate will be on the hook. The county’s Board of Supervisors wrote in a June 28 letter to Secretary of State Katie Hobbs that they share her concerns about whether the hundreds of vote-counting machines that they had to give the Senate’s contractors are safe to use, in part considering the contractors are not certified to handle election equipment in the United States. The Senate got the voting machines, as well as nearly 2.1 million ballots and voter information from the Nov. 3 election in April after issuing subpoenas and after a judge ruled the subpoenas were valid. The Senate handed the machines over to contractors in an attempt to tell whether they had been hacked or manipulated during the election, even though a previous independent audit commissioned by the county found that was not the case and the machines counted votes properly. Hobbs had written in a May 20 letter to the county’s Board of Supervisors, recorder and Elections Department director that if the county tries to use the machines again, even if it performs a full analysis in an attempt to determine whether the machines were still safe to use, her office would “consider decertification proceedings.” In Arizona, voting systems must be certified to be used in elections.
The most brutal debunking of Trump’s fraud claims yet — from Republicans | Aaron Blake/The Washington Post
The Republican Party’s response to former president Donald Trump and his allies’ wild, baseless claims of voter fraud has been anything but courageous. It’s been entirely clear most reputable members of the GOP are uncomfortable responding, often instead lodging watered-down or adjacent claims. Some Republicans have spoken out but generally only when forced to pick a side — such as when their state became the focus of Trump’s lies. But when the rubber has met the road, GOP lawmakers have routinely landed on one side: against Trump’s claims. Perhaps the starkest example of that came Wednesday, from a Republican-led state Senate committee in Michigan. A report from the Oversight Committee makes little mention of Trump, instead focusing on claims made by allies or general conspiracy theories about the vote count in Michigan. But the committee was brutal in statements on those claims, just about all of which can be traced to Trump in one way or another. The sum total is a broad, unsparing repudiation of Trump’s fraud claims in Michigan.
Pennsylvania Republicans Look To Evade A Veto And Enact Voter ID By Ballot Measure | Katie Meyer/NPR
Facing a veto on their sweeping plan to overhaul state election laws, Pennsylvania Republicans have set in motion a plan to circumvent the Democratic governor and create a mandatory voter ID requirement. They aim to do it via an amendment to the state constitution — a process that requires approval from the Legislature and subsequent victory on a statewide ballot measure. Critics say it’s a technique that Republicans appear increasingly willing to use as they clash with Gov. Tom Wolf over highly politicized issues such as voting and the pandemic. “The Republicans don’t want to go through the legislative process for their far-right wacky ideas because they know the governor will veto it,” Democratic state Sen. Vincent Hughes said. “So now they’re just going to change the constitution.” But GOP supporters of the tactic argue that approval by a majority of Pennsylvania voters would signal that an idea has merit. “If that’s a veto no matter what, that’s why we have a constitutional amendment, to let the voters decide,” said Republican Jake Corman, the Senate president pro tempore. “And they will ultimately make the final decision on whether there should be voter ID in Pennsylvania.” Still, Democrats see political gamesmanship. Hughes, who voted against the amendment when it passed the state Senate last week on near party lines, has served in the Legislature for decades. He said he has seen a lot of procedural tricks during his time in Harrisburg, but this one strikes him as a new development.
National: A racist myth of immigrants voting fuels claims of fraud | Paige St. John/Los Angeles Times
For more than three decades, the racist myth has circulated around elections, often told in rich detail, of undocumented immigrants traveling poll to poll to vote illegally. In some variations, they travel by bus. In others, a van, usually white. Occasionally, the story goes, the perpetrators are caught, but usually not. But the core of this canard remained generally the same as it spread out of California and into national politics. The story has been used by political candidates, anti-immigration activists and election “watchdog” activists recruiting volunteers and seeking restrictions on voting. For national audiences, it has been invoked by right-wing provocateurs and broadcast by Russian trolls seeking to influence U.S. elections. President Trump falsely claimed that millions of immigrants living in the country illegally voted in 2016 and, separately, that hundreds of buses carried voters across state lines to cast ballots in the New Hampshire election. In that same election year, the fable of the traveling voters appeared in Arizona, Louisiana and Pennsylvania. One account described voters only as Black and said they were driven into Alabama to cast ballots in a special election. The vast majority of the stories targeted Latinos, and often in derogatory terms. In those ways, they are not unlike other bald fictions used in U.S. history to justify voting restrictions against immigrating Catholics, Irish and Chinese people, freed Black Americans and others. In the 1800s, for instance, arrivals from Ireland were accused of registering to vote as they stepped off the boat.
National: Political campaigns worry they’re next for ransomware hits | Julia Manchester and Maggie Miller/The Hill
Political campaigns are ramping up their protections, worrying the next in a rising number of ransomware attacks could target them. Cyber criminals have gone after an ever-increasing number of targets, from Colonial Pipeline to JBS USA. And political campaigns are painfully familiar with risks after the 2016 attacks on the Democratic National Committee (DNC). “I…
National: William Barr calls Trump’s election fraud claims: ‘bullshit’ in new book | Mychael Schnell/The Hill
Former Attorney General William Barr reportedly called former President Trump’s false claims of election fraud “bullshit,” according to a new book on the final days of the Trump administration. The revelation comes from the book “Betrayal,” authored by ABC News chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl. The book is set to be released in November. The Atlantic published an excerpt from the book on Sunday, providing key details of Barr’s relationship with Trump in the waning days of the administration and a peek into the then-attorney general’s thoughts on Trump’s repeated and unsubstantiated claims of election fraud. “My attitude was: It was put-up or shut-up time,” Barr told Karl in an interview, referring to why he decided to give prosecutors approval to probe the fraud allegations and why he opened his own unofficial inquiry into the claims. “If there was evidence of fraud, I had no motive to suppress it. But my suspicion all the way along was that there was nothing there. It was all bullshit,” Barr added. The former attorney general also said that allegations that voting machines across the country were rigged to switch votes from President Biden to Trump were not true. “We realized from the beginning it was just bullshit,” Barr told Karl.
National: Justice Department to launch task force to address rise in threats against election officials | Evan Perez and Christina Carrega/CNN
The Justice Department announced on Friday that it is launching a task force to address the rise in threats against election officials, according to a memo sent to all federal prosecutors and the FBI. “The Department of Justice has a long history of protecting every American’s right to vote, and will continue to do so. To that end, we must also work tirelessly to protect all election workers—whether they be elected officials, appointed officials, or those who volunteer their time—against the threats they face,” according to the memo written by Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. Jurisdictions across the country, especially with high-stake local elections like in Fulton County, Georgia, reported receiving threats and racist taunts. In a speech earlier this month, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced a number of steps that the Justice Department would take over the next 30 days to protect every citizen’s right to vote that included doubling the staff in the Civil Rights Division.
National: Mike Pence: Idea of overturning election results is ‘un-American’ | Michael R. Blood and Jill Colvin/Associated Press
Former Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday defended his role in certifying the results of the 2020 election, saying he was “proud” of what he did on Jan. 6 and declaring that there is “almost no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American president.” Pence, a potential 2024 presidential contender, delivered his strongest rebuttal to date of former President Donald Trump’s continued insistence that he could unilaterally overturn the results of the last election, even though the Constitution granted him no such power. A mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in a bid to halt the certification process and transition of power, with some chanting, “Hang Mike Pence!” Pence, in remarks at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, directly addressed those who continue to blame him for Trump’s defeat to now-President Biden, who won the Electoral College on a 306-232 vote.
The Republican-controlled State Legislature in Arizona voted Thursday to revoke the Democratic secretary of state’s legal authority in election-related lawsuits, handing that power instead to the Republican attorney general. The move added more discord to the politics of a state already roiled by the widely derided move by Senate Republicans to commission a private firm to recount the vote six months after the November election. And it was the latest in a long series of moves in recent years by Republicans to strip elected Democrats of money and power in states under G.O.P. control. The measure was part of a grab bag of proposals inserted into major budget legislation, including several actions that appeared to address conspiracy theories alleging manipulated elections that some Republican lawmakers have promoted. One of the items allotted $500,000 for a study of whether social media sites tried to interfere in state elections by promoting Democrats or censoring Republicans. The State House approved the legislation late Thursday. It now goes to Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, who has the power to accept or reject individual parts of the measure. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Attorney General Mark Brnovich have sparred before over election lawsuits, with Mr. Brnovich arguing that Ms. Hobbs would not adequately defend the state against suits, some of them filed by Democrats, that seek to broaden access to the ballot. Ms. Hobbs has denied the charge. The bill approved on Thursday gives Mr. Brnovich’s office exclusive control of such lawsuits, but only through Jan. 2, 2023 — when the winners of the next elections for both offices would be about to take power. The aim is to ensure that the authority given to Mr. Brnovich would not transfer to any Democrat who won the next race for attorney general.
Arizona audit leader Doug Logan appears in conspiracy theorist election film | Jerod MacDonald-Evoy/Arizona Mirror
The CEO of a Florida-based firm chosen to conduct the review of Maricopa County’s election results appeared in a conspiracy theorist film riddled with falsehoods about the 2020 election and directed by a man whose previous work claimed aliens were behind 9/11. Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan had previously been speculated to be the voice behind “Anon,” in the film “The Deep Rig,” which was confirmed at the Saturday premiere of the film when he was revealed to be the voice of the anonymous person mid-way through the movie. “The Deep Rig” seeks to prove that the 2020 presidential election was rigged against Donald Trump, a claim that the former president and many of his supporters have echoed despite a total lack of evidence. Former Overstock.com CEO and Trump ally Patrick Byrne is the main star of the film, which is based on a book Byrne wrote. Byrne is the founder of a Florida-based 501(c)(4) that is aiming to raise $2.8 million to fund the Arizona audit. Former Secretary of State Ken Bennett, whom Senate President Karen Fann appointed as a liaison for the self-styled audit she ordered of the county’s election results, previously told Arizona Mirror that he didn’t know if any other members of the audit participated in the film other than himself.
California: Future of Los Angeles County election recounts could hinge on Long Beach Measure A lawsuit | Hayley Munguia/Long Beach Press Telegram
A lawsuit over the scrapped effort to recount the results of Long Beach’s Measure A election last March — which could determine how LA County handles future recount elections — is set to head to trial. The ballot measure, which passed by 16 votes out of nearly 100,000 votes cast, indefinitely extended the 10-year, 10.25% city sales tax that voters passed in 2016. The Long Beach Reform Coalition, a group that opposed the measure and argued throughout the campaign that the city had not been a good steward of the money it received from the tax already, sought a recount of the election given its razor-thin margin. But the process, members of the group have said, was far more expensive and less transparent than the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office initially claimed. A spokesperson for the Registrar-Recorder said the office cannot comment on pending litigation, but attorneys for Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan wrote in recent court filings that every aspect of the recount process was conducted lawfully. The recount in question began April 8, 2020, but Ian Patton — a representative of the Long Beach Reform Coalition who officially requested it — had to cancel the effort after less than a week because of the high costs. The organization has claimed the county’s process has effectively barred the public from being able to have full confidence in the election results. So the Long Beach Reform Coalition sued Logan last May, seeking a full, manual recount of the election at the initial estimated costs and for the county to change its ballot-sorting and -counting process moving forward. The lawsuit will go to trial on Wednesday, July 7.
Florida: Pasco County’s elections official rejected 2020 conspiracies. Then he faced threats. | Jake Sheridan/Tampa Bay Times
When Pasco County elections supervisor Brian Corley first began receiving insult-riddled voicemails ahead of the 2020 election, he almost thought it was humorous. “Then it went real south,” Corley told the Times. Callers directed slurs at call center staff, sometimes threatening bodily harm. In December, after Corley made public comments condemning unfounded claims that the election had been stolen, protesters showed up at his office, then outside the house where his ex-wife and son live. Harassment and threats escalated. Corley said some of the threats, which he declined to detail, seemed credible. The FBI and Pasco Sheriff’s Office got involved, and quickly “nipped it in the bud,” Corley said. The Republican elections supervisor knew that some people wouldn’t like him saying that the election had been secure and the country needed to accept that Joe Biden had beaten Donald Trump in the race for president. He’d seen how elections officials in other parts of the country had been harassed and threatened. But he hadn’t anticipated quite the level of vitriol he received in a state that had gone firmly for Trump and been lauded for its smooth 2020 election. “I was a little angry, and paranoid,” Corley said. The courage of election workers facing death threats in other states for speaking the truth inspired him, he said.
Georgia: Justice Department sues over new voting law | Tia Mitchell, David Wickert and Greg Bluestein/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The U.S. Justice Department sued Georgia on Friday over a new election law that includes restrictions on voting, setting up a legal showdown over Republican-led changes that President Joe Biden and other Democrats cast as disproportionately harmful to Black voters. The challenge seeks to overturn portions of Senate Bill 202, the 98-page rewrite of election rules that imposes new voter identification requirements, limits the use of ballot drop boxes, shifts early voting days and gives the Republican-controlled Legislature more oversight in elections. It’s the first major voting rights case brought by the Justice Department under the Biden administration, and it comes days after the U.S. Senate failed to advance a measure that would have blunted the impact of changes in Georgia and other states that adopted ballot restrictions after the 2020 election. The complaint is the eighth lawsuit overall that seeks to overturn the law, though the federal government can devote far more resources than the various voting rights groups that brought previous challenges. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland framed the court challenge as a way to meet promises to aggressively protect voting rights. “Where we believe the civil rights of Americans have been violated,” Garland said, “we will not hesitate to act.”
Michigan Republicans reject Trump’s election claims but still act like they’re true | Susan Del Percio/NBC
Michigan Republicans enjoyed a dalliance with the truth last week. But unfortunately they couldn’t make a lasting commitment. As well all know, Joe Biden won Michigan in the 2020 race; he was ahead by over 120,000 votes on Nov. 4, the day after the election. That then was certified by the Michigan Board of State Canvassers in a 3-0 vote on Nov 23. But the strong Biden showing didn’t stop then-President Donald Trump from falsely claiming widespread fraud in a lawsuit, which he dropped nine days after his campaign filed it. And just four days after the election, well before the certification, the Republican-led Michigan Senate Oversight Committee “commenced an inquiry into claims of election fraud and impropriety.” On Wednesday, after an eight-month investigation, the Oversight Committee thankfully concluded: “This Committee found no evidence of widespread or systematic fraud in Michigan’s prosecution of the 2020 election.” It said in its report, “Our clear finding is that citizens should be confident the results represent the true results of the ballots cast by the people of Michigan.”
Editorial: No, the election wasn’t stolen in Antrim County Michigan either | David Von Drehle/The Washington Post
If you remember that the lower part of Michigan is shaped a bit like a left-handed mitten, look for Antrim County between the tips of the middle and ring fingers. It’s a beautiful place. The Lake Michigan beaches are delightful in summer. The fishing is fantastic year-round. Unlikely as it seems, this is an epicenter of Stolen Election mania. Now, meet Ed McBroom: a Michigan state senator and conservative Republican from the Upper Peninsula, an even more remote part of the state on the opposite side of the lake. Before the election, McBroom was going about his conservative business representing his constituents on such issues as the large population of wolves in Michigan’s far north and whether hunting them should be legal. After the election, McBroom accepted the thankless job of hunting down the truth about the supposedly Stolen Election. Together with two other Republicans and one Democrat, McBroom reports, “We have collectively spent innumerable hours watching and listening and reading.” What they found was a mostly well-run exercise in civic duty, slightly smirched by honest mistakes quickly rectified — and then buried in an avalanche of fantasy, fever dreams, grifter fiction and “blatherskite.” More on blatherskite later. The report of the McBroom committee makes for chewy reading but is worthwhile nonetheless. Plunging down one rabbit hole after another, the truth-hunters make every effort to find solid evidence for persistent claims of vote-shifting, machine-hacking, ballot-stuffing, algorithmic manipulation or any other means of overturning the will of the people.
To the man who shouted at me about stolen elections,
Just thought I’d follow up about our recent encounter at the polling place where I’m a poll worker. First, I’m glad you took the time to come to the fire station and cast your vote for mayor of Pass Christian, our beautiful little gem on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Good on you for making the effort. Second, how dare you say, When do you start stuffing the ballot box? Seriously? Let me explain how this works. During our election on June 8, I worked the polls for our ward. My fellow poll workers (all women—go figure) and I had been in that hot fire station garage since 6 a.m., when we started setting up to open the polls at 7. All of us (even ones like me with years of experience) had gone through half a day of training, re-read and highlighted our voting manuals, and brought our own food and water knowing we’d be on our own for the next fourteen hours.
Oregon, the first state to conduct all elections by mail, would join the ranks of states accepting ballots postmarked by Election Day under a bill that is headed to Gov. Kate Brown. House Bill 3291 was approved by the Oregon Senate without amendment on a 16-13 vote Thursday. The key vote was cast by Sen. Lee Beyer, D-Springfield, who hung back until it was clear his would be the deciding vote. Beyer said afterward his concern was that in close elections, voters might question the validity of mail ballots counted days after the election date itself. The bill requires ballots to be received by county elections officials no later than seven days after an election. Brown, in her state of the state remarks earlier this year, endorsed Election-Day postmarks. She is a former secretary of state. Seventeen other states — including California, Washington and Nevada — allow ballots to count if postmarked by Election Day. Four others count ballots if postmarked no later than the day before an election. States that allow Election-Day postmarks vary widely, from three to 20 days after an election.
Pennsylvania Republicans say the new budget funds a new election audit bureau. Democrats say no way. | Jonathan Lai/Philadelphia Inquirer
The bipartisanship didn’t even last a day. Pennsylvania lawmakers reached a state budget deal with the governor Friday — and by Saturday, Democrats and Republicans were already disagreeing over one small but politically charged item. The fight, of course, concerned one of the most heated topics these days in Harrisburg and elsewhere: elections. It’s not in the legislative text, but Republicans who control the General Assembly say the roughly $40 billion budget includes extra money for the state Auditor General’s Office, with the understanding that it will fund a new Bureau of Election Audits. Democrats say there’s no such agreement, even informally, and that they oppose a new audit bureau. While they await the signature of Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, lawmakers are fighting over the basic facts of a bipartisan agreement they just struck. “I do not trust that the increased funding … will be used on legitimate audits in the public interest, but rather on the continuation of partisan witch hunts that damage our political process and besmirch the integrity of the men and women of our county elections’ offices,” State Sen. Sharif Street (D., Philadelphia) wrote Monday in a letter to Wolf calling on him to veto the added money. Wolf can decrease specific items in the budget, removing what Republicans say is informally earmarked for creating an audit bureau.
Wisconsin GOP leaders say Trump is ‘misinformed’ after the former president claimed they are hiding election corruption | Molly Beck/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Former President Donald Trump’s election loss loomed over the state Republican Party’s annual gathering as legislative leaders celebrated their investigation into the contest just hours after the man who spurred those questions berated them for not doing enough. The convention closed with a symbolic and unsuccessful effort by a small group of delegates to oust Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, underscoring divisions within Wisconsin Republicans over whether and how far to litigate the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. Vos, a Republican from Rochester, announced at Saturday’s convention session he was hiring at taxpayer expense a former conservative Supreme Court justice to oversee an investigation by retired police detectives into the election — the third such review Vos has called for. But just hours beforehand, Trump issued a statement seeking to turn the GOP faithful against Vos and the Legislature’s Republican leaders by accusing them of covering up election corruption because the review was not broad enough in the former president’s view.
‘Like a Wild West’: One Man’s Journey Into the Heart of America’s Voting Industry | Ben Wofford/Politico
When President Donald Trump began spreading the conspiracy theories about why Joe Biden beat him in November’s election, he swung at all the glitzy targets: The media, Democrats, China. But he saved his most spectacular accusations for a more obscure and implausible target: The companies that make America’s voting machines. Over the winter, Trump publicly harangued Dominion Voting, a small company with a headquarters in Denver, and another company called Smartmatic, which barely has a footprint in the United States. Week after week, Trump’s lawyers cast them as the hub of a grandiose conspiracy to alter the vote, one machine at a time. The wonky set of experts and academics who actually study U.S. voting infrastructure watched in shock. It was obvious the Big Lie about the election was patently absurd. And when it came to voting machines, it was also ironic: Precisely thanks to the serious efforts of Trump’s own Department of Homeland Security, the 2020 contest was, at least technologically speaking, the most secure election in modern history. Yet these experts also understood that voting companies were an easy mark for a reason. By just about any measure, they are some of the murkiest and inscrutable firms in the civilian private sector. … In March, Caulfield’s study on prices was published by Verified Voting. In various corners of the election world, the analysis was instantly hailed as a breakthrough. “This information, on this scale, hasn’t been widely available to anyone,” says Lindeman, Verified Voting’s co-director. “Until this report was provided, no one really knew much at all.”
National: House panel includes $500 million election security grant in proposed appropriations bill | Maggie Miller/The Hill
The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday included $500 million for election security grants in one of the proposed appropriations bills for next year. The proposed fiscal 2022 Financial Services and General Government bill would give $500 million to the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to distribute to states and territories to help address election security concerns. This includes moving to voting machines with voter-verified paper ballots and improving election administration. The EAC would be given 45 days to distribute the funds once the bill is signed into law. The election security grant is $400 million above the $100 million the EAC requested as part of its fiscal 2022 funding request. Congress has approved more than $800 million in election security grants since 2018, and the coronavirus stimulus bill signed into law by former President Trump in early 2020 included $400 million to help election officials address voting challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic. The House Appropriations Committee last year attempted to do more, and included $500 million in the fiscal 2021 EAC funding, which the House approved along party lines. The funding was not approved by the Senate amid Republican opposition.
New York: Rudy Giuliani’s law license suspended in connection with efforts to overturn 2020 election | Shayna Jacobs, Rosalind S. Helderman and Devlin Barrett/The Washington Post
New York state suspended Rudolph W. Giuliani from practicing law on Thursday, months after the former New York mayor battled to overturn the settled results of November’s election on behalf of President Donald Trump. The committee of First Department Appellate Division judges that made the determination said Giuliani is not fit to continue practicing law after he “communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for [Trump] and the Trump campaign in connection with Trump’s failed effort at reelection in 2020.” The panel issued a 33-page opinion on the matter. The court’s disciplinary committee, which fielded multiple complaints against Giuliani and is overseeing arguments in the case, found that his conduct “immediately threatens the public interest and warrants interim suspension from the practice of law,” the opinion said. The suspension represents one of the first serious attempts to impose consequences on Trump or his top allies for spreading falsehoods about the election results, rhetoric that has continued unabated since President Biden’s victory was certified. It comes, too, as Trump and Giuliani face separate criminal investigations in New York.
National: Senate Republicans block debate on elections bill, dealing blow to Democrats’ voting rights push | Mike DeBonis/The Washington Post
Senate Republicans banded together Tuesday to block a sweeping Democratic bill that would revamp the architecture of American democracy, dealing a grave blow to efforts to federally override dozens of GOP-passed state voting laws. The test vote, which would have cleared the way to start debate on voting legislation, failed 50-50 on straight party lines — 10 votes short of the supermajority needed to advance legislation in the Senate. It came after a succession of Democrats delivered warnings about what they said was the dire state of American democracy, accusing former president Donald Trump of undermining the country’s democratic system by challenging the results of the 2020 election in a campaign that prompted his supporters in numerous state legislatures to pass laws rolling back ballot access. “Are we going to let reactionary state legislatures drag us back into the muck of voter suppression? Are we going to let the most dishonest president in history continue to poison our democracy from the inside?” Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said before the vote. “Or will we stand up to defend what generations of Americans have organized, marched, fought and died for — the sacred, sacred right to vote?” But Republicans stood firmly together in opposition, following the lead of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who on Tuesday lambasted the Democrats’ bill, known as the For the People Act, as “a transparently partisan plan to tilt every election in America permanently in [Democrats’] favor” and as “a recipe for undermining confidence in our elections.”
National: Senate voting and ethics overhaul stalls, but Democrats united in vote | Kate Ackley and Katherine Tully-McManus/Roll Call
West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III voted with his party Tuesday in favor of debating Democrats’ signature overhaul of elections, campaign finance and ethics laws, but the measure’s path to enactment still remains improbable. Republicans, as expected, opposed a procedural vote that would have let the Senate begin debate and given Manchin a chance to change a sweeping bill he had said earlier this month he would vote against. Senators voted 50-50 along party lines, leaving the motion short of the needed 60 votes for adoption. GOP senators called the bill a power grab by the other side of the aisle and argued it would give too much control to the federal government over elections. Democrats said they planned to press ahead, as allied outside interest groups mounted a fresh round of pressure campaigns, including to end the legislative filibuster. “This is the beginning and not the end,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar, chairwoman of the Rules and Administration panel, which has jurisdiction over election and campaign issues. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer said that anyone who views the debate over the bill, known as the For the People Act, as just another partisan fight between Republicans and Democrats is missing the larger point.
National: Inside the ‘shadow reality world’ promoting the lie that the presidential election was stolen | Rosalind S. Helderman, Emma Brown , Tom Hamburger and Josh Dawsey/The Washington Post
The slickly produced movie trailer, set to ominous music, cuts from scenes of the 2020 election to clips of allies of former president Donald Trump describing a vast conspiracy to steal the White House. “The Deep Rig,” a film financed by former Overstock.com chief executive Patrick Byrne for $750,000, is set to be released online this weekend — the latest production by a loosely affiliated network of figures who have harnessed right-wing media outlets, podcasts and the social media platform Telegram to promote the falsehood that the 2020 election was rigged. The baseless assertion, backed by millions of dollars from wealthy individuals, is reverberating across this alternative media ecosphere five months after Trump and many of his backers were pushed off Facebook and Twitter for spreading disinformation that inspired a mob to attack the U.S. Capitol. While largely unnoticed by Americans who have accepted the fact of President Biden’s victory, the deluge of content has captured the attention of many who think the election was rigged, a belief that is an animating force inside the Republican Party. In this world, ballot reviews like a Republican-commissioned recount now underway in Arizona are about to begin in other key swing states. Conspiracy theories that grow more dizzyingly complex by the day will soon be proven, showing that China or other foreign powers secretly flipped votes for Biden. Trump will be restored as president in months.