Florida’s Governor signs new voting restrictions into law as Republicans rush to align with Trump’s false claims of fraud | Amy Gardner and Lori Rozsa/The Washington Post

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday enthusiastically embraced former president Donald Trump’s demand for tougher election laws, signing into law a slew of new voting restrictions in a staged live broadcast despite previously touting how smoothly his state’s elections ran last fall. DeSantis (R) hailed the measure as necessary to shore up public faith in elections, but critics accused him of trying to make it harder to vote, particularly for people of color. His signing of the bill, which he delivered live on the Fox News morning program “Fox & Friends,” makes Florida the latest GOP-controlled state to impose new voting hurdles, following Georgia, Montana and Iowa. The Texas House took up a similar measure later Thursday, and other states including Arizona, Michigan and Ohio are considering their own bills. DeSantis offered a string of justifications for the law, claiming it would prevent ballot “harvesting” and the stuffing of ballots into unmonitored drop boxes — though such practices were already prohibited in the state and there is no evidence they occurred last year. “We’re not going to let political operatives go and get satchels of votes and dump them in some drop box,” the governor said. DeSantis’s vigorous support for the new law, which he arranged to showcase exclusively on Fox News’s signature morning show, is the latest example of the GOP’s rush to align with Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was marred by fraud. Even as some Republicans have privately lamented Trump’s false statements that Joe Biden did not win the election, few have been willing to say so publicly — and those who have are facing swift blowback.

Full Article: Florida voting restrictions: Gov. DeSantis signs new restrictions into law – The Washington Post

Michigan: Antrim County election lawsuit is one of the last in the nation | Mardi Link/Traverse City Record-Eagle

A Monday hearing will determine the fate of one of the last active lawsuits challenging the validity of the 2020 election. A 13th Circuit Court judge is scheduled to hear arguments on a defense request to dismiss an Antrim County election-related lawsuit —a move opposed by the plaintiff who, court records show, is instead seeking to expand the case. Throughout the U.S., hundreds of lawsuits challenging balloting issues, election equipment or the results of the 2020 election have been filed in local, state and federal courts, information from the American Bar Association shows. The case in Antrim County is among the few yet to be adjudicated, records show. A judge in Arizona ruled the Republican-led Senate could hire a third-party contractor — Doug Logan of Florida-based Cyber Ninjas — to conduct an audit of the 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County in the 2020 election, which is ongoing. Cyber Ninjas, listed in court documents as an expert witness for the plaintiff in the Antrim County lawsuit, was also referenced in a letter sent Wednesday from the U.S. Department of Justice to an Arizona official. “This description of the proposed work of the audit raises concerns regarding potential intimidation of voters,” Pamela S. Karlan, of the Civil Rights division of the DOJ, wrote to Arizona Senate President Karen Fann. A spokesperson with the Michigan Attorney General’s office said the AG had no comment on whether there was an effort to conflate the two cases.

Full Article: Antrim County election lawsuit is one of the last in the nation | News | record-eagle.com

In a small New Hampshire town, the 2020 election still rages | Michael Casey/Associated Press

Windham Board of Selectmen are usually as sleepy as they sound — a handful of residents from the New Hampshire town, a discussion of ambulance fees, maybe a drainage study. So when a crowd of about 500 people showed up last week, some waving American flags, carrying bullhorns and lifting signs questioning the presidential election, Bruce Breton knew things were about to change. “I’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Breton, who has served on the board for 18 years. “The groundswell from the public is unbelievable.” The crowd at the Monday meeting had been fired up by conservative media, which in recent weeks has seized on the town’s election results for four seats in the state House as suspect. The attention, fanned by a Donald Trump adviser who happens to be a Windham resident, has helped a routine recount spiral, ultimately engulfing the town in a false theory that the national election was stolen from Trump. It doesn’t seem to matter that Republicans won all four state House seats in question. The dust-up shows just how far Trump’s election lies — and the search for evidence to support them — have burrowed into American politics, even the most local. Like House Republicans in Washington fighting over what some call the “Big Lie” and lawmakers in Arizona conducting a partisan “recount,” this bedroom community is still wrestling with the aftermath of 2020. The trouble started when Kristi St. Laurent, a Democratic candidate for the state House, requested a recount after falling 24 votes short in the November election. Instead of gaining a few votes in her House race as she expected, the 53-year-old physical therapist learned that the recount showed that four of the Republicans each received an additional 300 votes. Laurent lost 99 votes.

Full Article: In a small New Hampshire town, the 2020 election still rages

New Hampshire: Third member named to Windham audit panel; members ask the public to observe the process, then draw conclusions | Josie Albertson-Grove/New Hampshire Union Leader

A statistics professor has been named as the third and final member of a panel facing a May 27 deadline to audit the November 2020 state representative election in Windham. “We will do our work in such a way that nobody will have to trust any of us,” Philip Stark of the University of California, Berkeley, said Wednesday. “They can look at what was done, rather than who did it.” A hand recount about three weeks after election night determined that the four Windham Republicans running for House seats each received about 300 more votes than were reported from automatic AccuVote counting machines. Gov. Chris Sununu last month signed the legislation that mandates the forensic audit. Stark was chosen by the two other members of the audit team — computer scientist Harri Hursti of Nordic Innovation Labs and Mark Lindeman of election technology policy group Verified Voting. All three have participated in election audits around the country, going back more than a decade. The attorney general and secretary of state chose Hursti together, and Windham’s Board of Selectman picked Lindeman. Hursti and Lindeman chose Stark to round out their team’s areas of expertise. Windham’s choice for the audit team has drawn attention from national conservative media personalities, including former Trump advisor Steve Bannon. On Monday night, about 500 people attended a selectmen’s meeting in Windham to protest the board’s 3-1 vote for Lindeman last month.

Full Article: Third member named to Windham audit panel; members ask the public to observe the process, then draw conclusions | Voters First | unionleader.com

Ohio bill to overhaul voting laws would only allow ballot drop boxes at county boards of elections | Laura Hancock/Cleveland Plain Dealer

A newly introduced voting overhaul bill in the Ohio House would put into law that absentee ballot drop boxes are only allowed at one place in each county and for a shorter length of time than in November’s election. Up to three boxes would be allowed at each county board of elections under House Bill 294, sponsored by Republican Reps. Bill Seitz of Cincinnati and Sharon Ray of Wadsworth, and introduced Thursday. Drop boxes were widely used for the first time in Ohio for last year’s presidential election and have been a flashpoint in voting politics, even ending up in the courts. HB 294 also changes how people can register to vote, request absentee ballots, among other issues. The bill comes after a wave of election law changes in Republican-controlled states. Many Republicans falsely believe that widespread fraud in the 2020 election led to the loss of former President Donald Trump.

Full Article: Ohio bill to overhaul voting laws would only allow ballot drop boxes at county boards of elections – cleveland.com

Texas lawmakers advance restrictive election bill despite Democrats’ all-night fight | Jane C. Timm/NBC

Texas lawmakers advanced a restrictive election bill early Friday as Republicans overcame Democratic efforts to derail the legislation. Democrats had vowed to wage an all-night fight against the bill, which they argue would suppress voting and disenfranchise voters of color. Republicans led by Rep. Briscoe Cain, the chair of the Elections Committee, say the House bill would ensure ballot integrity and protect voters from coercion and fraud. The key vote at 3 a.m. in the Texas House followed hours of debate as Democrats, who had little means of stopping the bill in the GOP-controlled state Capitol, deployed technical challenges and hours of questioning that Rep. Cain appeared unprepared at times to answer. Finally, an agreement was reached between Republicans and Democrats leaving the bill with 20 amendments that significantly watered down some of what advocates called the most problematic aspects of the bill as it passed the key vote 81-64. Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, has urged legislators to pass election legislation, which he made a priority for the session ending May 31. The bill was originally proposed as House Bill 6, but Republican lawmakers used a legislative maneuver to ensure that it would advance quickly. Last week, Republicans replaced the text of a different bill, SB 7, a Senate elections bill, with HB 6. A second vote is still required to advance SB 7 out of the House, after which the Senate and House bills are expected to end up in a conference committee, where they would be reconciled by legislators and then sent to Gov. Abbott to sign. The Texas vote came after Florida became the latest U.S. state to enact restrictive voting laws, with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signing the legislation live on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends.” It enacts restrictions on voting by mail and at drop boxes, which Democrats and activists warn could suppress voter turnout.

Full Article: Texas lawmakers advance restrictive election bill despite Democrats’ all-night fight

Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman blasts Trump-inspired Arizona election audit | Jim Brunner/The Seattle Times

Kim Wyman has been overseeing elections for three decades, as an election manager for Thurston County and Washington secretary of state since 2013. She’s never seen anything like what’s going on in Arizona. Republican lawmakers there have handed over 2.1 million ballots in the state’s largest county to a company called Cyber Ninjas, for an unofficial recount of the long-certified 2020 presidential election results. Wyman, a Republican, says the ongoing spectacle — inspired by baseless claims of widespread election fraud by ex-President Donald Trump — sets a dangerous precedent and will only further undermine confidence in elections. “I can’t get to calling this an audit, or even a recount, because you’re not doing it with any kind of established ground rules or policies or procedures. It’s an exercise at best. It’s political theater at worst,” Wyman said in an interview Friday. Wyman has joined other election experts in publicly criticizing the unprecedented handover of ballots and voting machines in Maricopa County. In an appearance on CNN this week she said the partisan effort should “alarm every American.”

Source: Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman blasts Trump-inspired Arizona election audit | The Seattle Times

Arizona Review of 2020 Vote Is Riddled With Flaws, Says Secretary of State | Michael Wines/The New York Times

Untrained citizens are trying to find traces of bamboo on last year’s ballots, seemingly trying to prove a conspiracy theory that the election was tainted by fake votes from Asia. Thousands of ballots are left unattended and unsecured. People with open partisan bias, including a man who was photographed on the Capitol steps during the Jan. 6 riot, are doing the recounting. All of these issues with the Republican-backed re-examination of the November election results from Arizona’s most populous county were laid out this week by Katie Hobbs, Arizona’s Democratic secretary of state, in a scathing six-page letter Ms. Hobbs called the process “a significant departure from standard best practices.” “Though conspiracy theorists are undoubtedly cheering on these types of inspections — and perhaps providing financial support because of their use — they do little other than further marginalize the professionalism and intent of this ‘audit,’” she wrote to Ken Bennett, a former Republican secretary of state and the liaison between Republicans in the State Senate and the company conducting it. The effort has no official standing and will not change the state’s vote, whatever it finds. But it has become so troubled that the Department of Justice also expressed concerns this week in a letter saying that it might violate federal laws. “We have a concern that Maricopa County election records, which are required by federal law to be retained and preserved, are no longer under the ultimate control of elections officials, are not being adequately safeguarded by contractors, and are at risk of damage or loss,” wrote Pamela Karlan, the principal deputy assistant attorney general with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The scene playing out in Arizona is perhaps the most off-the-rails episode in the Republican Party’s escalating effort to support former President Donald J. Trump’s lie that he won the election. Four months after Congress certified the results of the presidential election, local officials around the country are continuing to provide oxygen for Mr. Trump’s obsession that he beat Joseph R. Biden Jr. last fall.

Full Article: Arizona Election Results Review Is Riddled With Flaws, Says Official – The New York Times

Washington Secretary of State: Recount in Arizona is a ‘frightening precedent to set’ | MyNorthwest

Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman has been known to call out her party in the past when they make a move she disagrees with, and she recently called out Republicans in Arizona for the recount that’s being done now of the 2020 election results. “The precedence of this is just unnerving for election officials across the country and it should alarm every American in the country because we don’t want people to be able to just walk into a crime scene and contaminate evidence for a future trial,” Wyman said previously. For those who haven’t been following the story in Arizona, Wyman joined KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show to explain, and share why she’s bothered by the precedent it sets. “One of the things that I’ve been very proud of, my profession as election administrators, that over the last 30 years we’ve worked very hard to have policies and procedures and laws that make our elections fair and that inspire confidence in everyone from the most liberal Democrat to the most conservative Republican,” she said. “And what we’re seeing in Arizona is this move to privatize administrative processes, politicize them, and try to have an outcome that calls into question the election by giving 2.1 million ballots to a private company with no accountability to the public or to the voters of Arizona.”

Full Article: Secretary of State: Recount in Arizona is a ‘frightening precedent to set’

National: Constitutional Challenges Loom Over Proposed Voting Bill | Adam Liptak/The New York Times

If the sweeping voting rights bill that the House passed in March overcomes substantial hurdles in the Senate to become law, it would reshape American elections and represent a triumph for Democrats eager to combat the wave of election restrictions moving through Republican-controlled state legislatures. But passage of the bill, known as H.R. 1, would end a legislative fight and start a legal war that could dwarf the court challenges aimed at the Affordable Care Act over the past decade. “I have no doubt that if H.R. 1 passes, we’re going to have a dozen major Supreme Court cases on different pieces of it,” said Nicholas Stephanopoulos, a law professor at Harvard. The potential for the bill to set off a sprawling constitutional battle is largely a function of its ambitions. It would end felon disenfranchisement, require independent commissions to draw congressional districts, establish public financing for congressional candidates, order presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns, address dark money in political advertising and restructure the Federal Election Commission. The bill’s opponents say that it is, in the words of an editorial in The National Review, “a frontal assault on the Constitution” and “the most comprehensively unconstitutional bill in modern American history.”

Full Article: Constitutional Challenges Loom Over Proposed Voting Bill – The New York Times

A town of 14,000 people in New Hampshire is now part of Trump’s post-election fantasia | Philip Bump/The Washington Post

The last time Windham, N.H., was at the center of presidential politics, it was because it was the proving ground for Corey Lewandowski’s style of smash-mouth politics. The campaign manager for Donald Trump’s 2016 sprint through the Republican primaries earned a write-up in the New York Times for his aggressive efforts to upend politics-as-usual in the 14,000-person town. Now Windham is central to Trump in a different way. The former president’s always-shifting efforts to prove that he didn’t lose the 2020 election, eternally encumbered by the fact that he did, have settled for the time being on an anomalous recount in Windham’s 2020 state representative race. “You’re watching New Hampshire,” he told customers at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., during an apparently spontaneous speech there last week. “They found a lot of votes up in New Hampshire just now. You saw that.” This, he said, was further evidence that the 2020 election was “rigged.” But the reality of the situation in Windham, perhaps predictably, is more complex than the former president suggests. The problem in Windham arose after a Democratic candidate named Kristi St. Laurent requested a recount in the race to seat four members of the state legislature. Eight candidates ran, four from each major party, with the top four winning election. After the votes were initially tallied, St. Laurent came in fifth, by a margin of 24 votes. After the recount, though, she lost by more than 400. How? Because the recount found that all four Republicans had actually earned about 300 more votes than were included in the initial tally — and that St. Laurent had been allocated 99 more votes than she deserved.

Full Article: A town of 14,000 people in New Hampshire is now part of Trump’s post-election fantasia – The Washington Post

National: G.O.P. Seeks to Empower Poll Watchers, Raising Intimidation Worries | Nick Corasaniti/The New York Times

The red dot of a laser pointer circled downtown Houston on a map during a virtual training of poll watchers by the Harris County Republican Party. It highlighted densely populated, largely Black, Latino and Asian neighborhoods. “This is where the fraud is occurring,” a county Republican official said falsely in a leaked video of the training, which was held in March. A precinct chair in the northeastern, largely white suburbs of Houston, he said he was trying to recruit people from his area “to have the confidence and courage” to act as poll watchers in the circled areas in upcoming elections. A question at the bottom corner of the slide indicated just how many poll watchers the party wanted to mobilize: “Can we build a 10K Election Integrity Brigade?” As Republican lawmakers in major battleground states seek to make voting harder and more confusing through a web of new election laws, they are simultaneously making a concerted legislative push to grant more autonomy and access to partisan poll watchers — citizens trained by a campaign or a party and authorized by local election officials to observe the electoral process. This effort has alarmed election officials and voting rights activists alike: There is a long history of poll watchers being used to intimidate voters and harass election workers, often in ways that target Democratic-leaning communities of color and stoke fears that have the overall effect of voter suppression. During the 2020 election, President Donald J. Trump’s campaign repeatedly promoted its “army” of poll watchers as he publicly implored supporters to venture into heavily Black and Latino cities and hunt for voter fraud.

Full Article: G.O.P. Seeks to Empower Poll Watchers, Raising Intimidation Worries – The New York Times

National: The slow, painful death of Trump allies’ voting-machine conspiracy theories | Aaron Blake/The Washington Post

Among the many wild conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, few rank as high when it comes to both baselessness and reach as those involving voting machines. The theory that voting machines were programmed to steal the election from President Donald Trump had the benefit, while being utterly without merit, of at least being simple and easy for people to grasp. There were big swings in the vote totals! (Because Biden did a lot better in mail balloting, which were often added to the totals en masse!) Unfortunately for its proponents, these theories carried one very significant drawback: legal liability. While broad claims of voter fraud are relatively unspecific and involve many potential perpetrators, there are relatively few voting-machine companies. Claiming such things means impugning them specifically and creating a situation in which your baseless claims can lead to calculable personal and business harm, which is important when it comes to suing someone for defamation. And sue they have. The result: Many if not most of the high-profile purveyors of such claims have since backed off. One by one, they’ve succumbed to legal pressure by issuing corrections, clarifications or apologies. While some true believers of these theories viewed such lawsuits as opportunities to prove malfeasance once and for all, through the discovery process, those facing penalties have repeatedly left them high and dry — almost as if these theories were completely baseless in the first place and they didn’t have a leg to stand on.

Full Article: The slow, painful death of Trump allies’ voting-machine conspiracy theories – The Washington Post

National: Newsmax apologizes to Dominion employee Eric Coomer for falsely alleging he manipulated votes against Trump | Amy B Wang/The Washington Post

The conservative news network Newsmax has apologized to an employee of Dominion Voting Systems for baselessly alleging that he had rigged the company’s voting machines and vote counts against President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election. In a statement Friday, Newsmax said it wanted to “clarify” its coverage of Eric Coomer, the director of product strategy and security at Dominion, who filed a defamation lawsuit against the right-wing network in December. After the election, misinformation about Coomer’s supposed role in manipulating the vote proliferated on right-wing sites, including Newsmax. Coomer said he had been forced into hiding after receiving death threats from Trump supporters, who believed Trump’s false assertion that the election had been stolen from him and that Coomer had played a role. On Friday, Newsmax said there was no evidence that such allegations were true. “There are several facts that our viewers should be aware of,” Newsmax’s statement read. “Newsmax has found no evidence that Dr. Coomer interfered with Dominion voting machines or voting software in any way, nor that Dr. Coomer ever claimed to have done so. Nor has Newsmax found any evidence that Dr. Coomer ever participated in any conversation with members of ‘Antifa,’ nor that he was directly involved with any partisan political organization.”

Full Article: Newsmax apologizes to Dominion employee Eric Coomer for falsely alleging he manipulated votes against Trump – The Washington Post

National: Senate Democrats agonize over voting rights strategy | Burgess Everett and Marianne Levine/Politico

Senate Democrats made a major commitment to muscle through Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s ethics and voting reform bill. Yet many say they have no idea how to pass it and wonder what exactly the end game is for a signature Democratic priority. Democrats are preparing to kick off a sensitive internal debate over the issue this month as the Senate Rules Committee takes up the sprawling House package. But no Republicans support it, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) hasn’t signed on and at least a half-dozen Democrats have issues with the bill, according to senators and aides. That’s not to mention the constraints of the filibuster in a 50-50 Senate. “We know we’ve got to pass voting rights,” said Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.). “We ought to have 10 Republicans … in that sense the ball is in their court. I’m not saying the outcome is in their court.” What’s at stake is not only the party’s promise on a key issue, but also potentially the future Democratic majorities. Many in the party privately worry that frontline Democrats, like Warnock or House Democrats vulnerable to redistricting, could lose their seats if Congress doesn’t send a federal election and ethics bill to President Joe Biden’s desk by this summer.

Full Article: Senate Dems agonize over voting rights strategy – POLITICO

Arizona: The obvious goal of the Maricopa recount: Injecting more doubt into the 2020 results | Philip Bump/The Washington Post

The reason it’s fun to lie back on a warm spring day and look for shapes in the clouds is that you can usually pick something out. When there are a lot of clouds, slowly swelling and shifting as they drift along, it’s not hard to apply a bit of imagination and see a marching elephant or a hot-air balloon. Humans are good at spotting patterns in chaos. I’m not an evolutionary scientist, so I’ll defer to them for an explanation of how this was advantageous. But our skill is obvious, even outside the context of lazy afternoons lying in the grass. Give us a big set of data and we can find some throughline. This ability has collided uncomfortably with the Internet. Give people an endless supply of information, not all of it legitimate, and people can build up entire ecosystems of belief only loosely bound to reality. The flagship example of this in recent months is the QAnon movement, a self-assembled community that has plunged deep into a surreal and dangerous world of belief. But the same can also be said of claims that the 2020 election was somehow stolen from President Donald Trump, a claim that itself depends on a flimsy latticework of cherry-picked dubious or debunked assertions. Give people a wide range of information and a motivation to find a particular pattern, and humans really shine. A subset of this tendency is underway in Arizona. There, the Republican-controlled state Senate authorized a recount of ballots cast in Maricopa County last year. Maricopa is not only the largest county in Arizona, but it accounted for more than 60 percent of the votes cast in the state in 2020. Joe Biden won the county by about 45,000 votes while eking out a statewide victory by about 10,000. So the value in undercutting the results in Maricopa is clear: Drop 10,458 votes from that total into the shadow zone of uncertainty and the results in the state overall fall into the same space. And then: Who knows what? This theory is ascribed to by none other than Trump himself. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they found thousands and thousands and thousands of votes,” Trump told a crowd at Mar-a-Lago last week. “So we’re going to watch that very closely. And after that, you’ll watch Pennsylvania and you’ll watch Georgia and you’re going to watch Michigan and Wisconsin. … Because this was a rigged election, everybody knows it.”

Full Article: The obvious goal of the Arizona recount: Injecting more doubt into the 2020 results – The Washington Post

Arizona: Antifa fears, UV lights: What the group running GOP’s election audit tried to keep secret | Jane C. Timm/NBC

The private companies hired by Arizona Senate Republicans to recount millions of ballots from the 2020 election are concerned about possible Antifa attacks and planned to use UV lights to hunt for fraud, internal documents released as part of a legal battle with Democrats revealed. State Senate Republicans and the companies also initially sought National Guard protection for their review of Maricopa County ballots but were turned down by Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, according to one of the documents, which was released Thursday by the Maricopa Superior Court over GOP objections. A judge ruled on Friday that the security document, which was posted publicly to the court’s electronic docket on Thursday night, could be sealed by agreement of the parties. The documents offer a detailed look at the conspiratorial thinking behind an extraordinary partisan hunt for fraud some six months after former President Donald Trump lost the election and began pushing the lie that it was stolen from him. “It would be comical if it weren’t so scary,” Rick Hasen, an election law expert and a professor at the University of California, Irvine, said of the audit.

Full Article: Antifa fears, UV lights: What the group running Arizona GOP’s election audit tried to keep secret

Arizona: Everything we know about who is funding the Maricopa election audit | By Jerod MacDonald-Evoy/Arizona Mirror

The Arizona Senate’s audit of Maricopa County’s election results is still underway and a number of pro-Trump and conspiracy-minded groups are raising money for it, though it is unclear how much money has been raised, how much the audit will cost and who will receive that money. Cyber Ninjas, the Florida-based firm heading up the audit team, has refused to say who is paying it and how much they are paying. The Senate agreed to pay the company only $150,000 — an amount that Senate President Karen Fann acknowledged she knew was far short of what it would cost — and let it raise the rest from private sources, even though the Senate is sitting on a $3.5 million nest egg it could have used to pay for the audit. Ken Bennett, the Senate’s liaison to the auditors, has said he will “fight” to get information about private funding released, but he has also chided the public for questioning where the money is coming from, telling reporters “it doesn’t matter who paid for it.” Likewise, Fann told the Arizona Mirror that she wants the information on who is funding Arizona’s audit made public, but may be unable to force Cyber Ninjas to do so. The Senate’s contract with the company doesn’t mention outside funding or require that the firm disclose that information.

Full Article: Everything we know about who is funding the Arizona election audit

Florida Republicans rushed to curb mail voting after Trump’s attacks on the practice. Now some fear it could lower GOP turnout. | Amy Gardner/The Washington Post

Republican operatives worth their salt remember well the Sunshine State’s 1988 U.S. Senate race. Floridians went to sleep that Nov. 8 believing that Democrat Buddy MacKay had prevailed with a slim lead of less than one percentage point. The television networks had called the race for him. The St. Petersburg Times published a story the…

With Florida Bill, Republicans Continue Unrelenting Push to Restrict Voting | Nick Corasaniti and Reid J. Epstein/The New York Times

The pleas from Florida election officials were direct and dire: Passing the state’s new voting bill would be a “grave security risk,” “unnecessary” and a “travesty.” The restrictions imposed by the new law, they warned, would make it harder to vote and hurt confidence in the balloting process. But their objections were brushed aside on Thursday night as the Legislature gave final passage to a bill that would limit voting by mail, curtail the use of drop boxes and prohibit actions to help people waiting in line to vote, among other restrictions, while imposing penalties on those who do not follow the rules. It was perhaps the clearest sign yet that Republicans are determined to march forward across state capitols to establish new restrictions on voting. The Republican effort puts added pressure on Democrats in Congress to find a way to pass federal voting laws, including a sweeping overhaul known as the For the People Act. But in Washington, just as in state capitols across the country, Republicans have remained united and steadfast against the Democratic efforts. Georgia Republicans in March enacted far-reaching new voting laws that limit ballot drop-boxes and forbid the distribution of food and water to voters waiting in line. Iowa has also imposed new limits, including reducing the period for early voting and in-person voting hours on Election Day. Next up is Texas, where Republicans in the legislature are trampling protestations from corporate titans like Dell Technologies and American Airlines and moving on a vast election bill that would be among the most severe in the nation. It would impose new restrictions on early voting, ban drive-through voting, threaten election officials with harsher penalties and greatly empower partisan poll watchers. The main bill passed a key committee in a late-night session on Thursday, and could head to a full floor vote in the House as early as next week. Bills to restrict voting have also been moving through Republican-led legislatures in Arizona and Michigan.

Full Article: With Florida Bill, Republicans Continue Unrelenting Push to Restrict Voting – The New York Times

Georgia voting law disqualifies ballots cast in the wrong precinct | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Over 3,300 Georgia voters who showed up at the wrong voting location in November were able to cast provisional ballots and have their votes counted in statewide races, such as for president and the Senate. But most out-of-precinct votes won’t count in future elections, according to Georgia’s voting law, Senate Bill 202 voting law disqualifies ballots cast outside a voter’s home polling place, except if cast after 5 p.m. on election day, when voters might not have time to drive to the correct precinct before polls close. Under previous state law, election officials counted votes for races for which the voter would have been eligible in his or her correct precinct. Election workers counted 3,357 out-of-precinct provisional ballots in the general election, according to state election data The Atlanta Journal-Constitution obtained under the Georgia Open Records Act. Provisional ballots are used when there’s a question about a voter’s eligibility. The most common reasons for using provisional ballots are incorrect precincts, incomplete registrations and signature mismatches on absentee ballots. In all, 10,521 provisional ballots were accepted and 2,795 were rejected in November’s election. Election officials rejected provisional ballots when voters failed to verify registration information or mismatched signatures.

Full Article: Ballots cast in wrong precinct won’t count new Georgia voting law

Michigan: Antrim County holds May elections, rental voting machines brought in for some townships | Paul Steeno/WPBN

Out in Antrim County, several townships are held elections on Tuesday. A normally smaller election in rural Antrim County drawing extra attention after an error by the clerk in the November election flipped a historically red county blue before county officials eventually corrected the results. What happened back in November attracted national attention and Tuesday was the first election since the incident. Antrim County Clerk Sheryl Guy said things were slow Tuesday, similar to other May elections. She said the townships are all going to use the same Dominion voting machines that were used in the November election. The townships with voting machines that were examined as part of a lawsuit against the county alleging election fraud would use rental Dominion voting machines.

Full Article: Antrim County holds May elections, rental voting machines brought in for some townships | WPBN

New Hampshire: Windham stands pat on audit choice after raucous meeting | Josie Albertson-Grove/New Hampshire Union Leader

After almost 500 people showed up to a meeting to push the Windham Board of Selectmen to reconsider its pick for an election audit team Monday night, selectmen decided to stick with their choice. Last month, the board chose Mark Lindeman, of the nonpartisan election-technology research group Verified Voting, to represent the town in an audit of its 2020 election results. On Monday, the state named Finnish data security expert Harri Hursti as its representative. Hursti was a member of the Verified Voting’s non-governing board of advisers until November, according to a Verified Voting spokeswoman. The audit was ordered in a state law passed after a recount in the Nov. 3 election turned up about 300 additional votes for each of four Republicans in the race for Windham’s seats in the state House of Representatives. Under the law, the state and the town each appointed one member to the audit panel. Those two members will choose a third member. The audit must be completed this month. Critics have pointed to the vote discrepancy as proof of claims that the presidential election was tainted by inaccurate vote tallying by machines. Selectman Bruce Breton was the lone opponent in the 3-1 vote for Lindeman last month. Breton supported Jovan Hutton Pulitzer, an inventor and computer scientist who was involved in the Maricopa County, Ariz., recount and was on a list of experts Secretary of State Bill Gardner said were credible — though some Democratic leaders consider Pulitzer as a conservative partisan without election expertise. “We have received over 3,000 emails from everywhere,” Breton said at Monday night’s meeting. “And they agree with me that we made the wrong pick.”

Full Article: Windham stands pat on audit choice after raucous meeting | Voters First | unionleader.com

Ohio: Inside Stark County’s Dominion Voting machine controversy: What do other counties use? | Robert Wang/The Canton Repository

The Stark County Board of Elections will be using 16-year-old touchscreen voting machines in the May 4 primary while most of the state uses more modern equipment. Most Ohio counties bought new voting equipment in 2019 with the state funding much of the purchase. The Stark County Board of Elections wanted to first see what the other counties experienced. Now the election board is mired in a legal battle with Stark County commissioners over its plan to buy Dominion ImageCast X touchscreen voting machines. Commissioners say the board failed to sufficiently consult them, vet Dominion’s price quote and properly consider other options. The commissioners also heard from dozens to more than 100 people influenced by baseless claims by former President Donald Trump and his supporters about Dominion voting machines. The Stark County Board of Elections wants to buy Dominion ImageCast X machines, with Director Jeff Matthews later citing several reasons. The ImageCast X machines are the most similar to the old TSX machines, presenting voters and board staff with a minimal learning curve. Votes are recorded on USB sticks and on paper receipts. Dominion was the only vendor offering a trade-in credit. And Stark County had a good long-term relationship with Dominion.

Full Article: Other counties using new voting machines as Stark mired in lawsuit

Editorial: How Texas steals your voting rights while you are sleeping | The Houston Chronicle

Ask yourself: If Texas voters are truly clamoring loud and clear, in broad daylight, for the voting restrictions that GOP leaders tell them will protect election security, why do lawmakers insist on passing the legislation in the dead of night? There’s a certain irony, and brazen hypocrisy, in the fact that Republican senators were perfectly comfortable voting past midnight last month on a bill that would ensure Texas voters cannot do the same at the late-night polling places Republicans are trying to ban. Of course, resorting to desperate and unusual methods to pass controversial pet legislation is not novel in Texas. Back in 2016, the conservative 5th Circuit Court of Appeals remarked with obvious skepticism at the “virtually unprecedented” treatment officials gave Texas’ harsh voter ID legislation in 2011 — such as bestowing it with emergency designation, suspending rules to expedite, bypassing regular committee processes in both chambers. The court said the “radical procedural departures” lent credence to accusations of “discriminatory intent.” You don’t say.

Full Article: Editorial: The Big Lie – How Texas steals your voting rights while you are sleeping

Wisconsin Elections Commission rules state results were properly certified | Patrick Marley/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The state Elections Commission determined Friday that Gov. Tony Evers and the commission’s director acted properly last year when they finalized results showing Joe Biden won the presidential election in Wisconsin. The pair of decisions rejected complaints brought by a Republican commissioner who maintained the state’s tally was improperly certified. At least one Republican on the commission sided with the commission’s three Democrats in finding the election results were handled properly. In December, Republican Commissioner Dean Knudson filed complaints against Evers and Meagan Wolfe, the commission’s nonpartisan director, alleging they had improperly handled the results. Such complaints are normally handled by the commission’s staff, but in this case were given to DeWitt, a Madison law firm, to avoid conflicts of interest. The DeWitt attorneys concluded the Democratic governor and Wolfe acted properly and submitted their findings to the commission. The commission adopted those conclusions Friday. If two commissioners had sought one, a public hearing would have been held before the commission rendered a decision in the cases. That didn’t happen and the commission accepted DeWitt’s findings, according to commission spokesman Reid Magney. Knudson did not immediately say Friday whether he would appeal the decisions to circuit court.

Source: Elections Commission rules Wisconsin results were properly certified

Wisconsin: Proposed elections laws could be illegal | Melanie Conklin/Wisconsin Examiner

Wisconsin garnered national attention for holding an in-person election at the onset of the pandemic in the spring of 2020 when other states were delaying elections or moving them online. The job of an elections attorney became all-consuming. More than a year and a divisive presidential election later, the Wisconsin Legislature is pushing through a host of bills that would affect future elections — and invite legal battles because of potential violations of state and federal law, as well as constitutional problems. “I think it can feel a little bit like whack-a-mole for people who are litigating these issues,” says Mel Barnes, staff attorney with Law Forward, a progressive law firm spearheading legal fights often on the opposite side of the lawyers who have repeatedly taken the side of Republican legislators at the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL). “It’s a huge volume and a lot of them are problematic. Wisconsin is very much a part of the national trends.” In fact, part of why Law Forward was created was Wisconsin’s reputation as a ”real testing ground for very conservative, very anti-voter ideas,” says Barnes. “We’ve had so much of that jammed through in the past decade. Now everything is slightly different, because we have a governor who will veto some of these things. But there’s still a very well-established conservative infrastructure here. And that’s why we see so many of these bills.” Wisconsin’s election bills mirror national trends placing new restrictions and criminal penalties on voting activities, but because the draconian voter suppression bills are almost certain to be stopped by a veto while Gov. Tony Evers is in office, Wisconsin has not received as much attention as states like Florida and Georgia, despite having nearly two dozen such bills.

Full Article: Proposed Wisconsin elections laws could be illegal – Wisconsin Examiner

National: Nine major sports unions join forces to oppose U.S. state voting restrictions | Reuters

Nine major U.S. sports unions joined together on Monday to declare their opposition to state legislative efforts restricting the right to vote. A number of voting rights groups say the restrictions passed by Georgia, and being weighed in Texas and Arizona among other states, target Black people and other racial minorities. The statement was co-signed by the National Basketball Players Association, the Basketball Players Union, Major League Soccer Players Association, National Football League Players Association, and the United States Women’s National Team Players Association along with players’ bodies representing elite-level women’s ice hockey, soccer and basketball. The Republican-backed Georgia law strengthened identification requirements for absentee ballots, shortened early voting periods for runoffs and made it a misdemeanor for members of the public to offer food and water to voters waiting in line. The sports unions said they were joining hundreds of individuals and corporations in taking a ‘Stand for Democracy’.

Full Article: Nine major sports unions join forces to oppose U.S. state voting restrictions | Reuters

As Trump seizes on Arizona ballot audit, election officials fear partisan vote counts could be the norm in future elections | Rosalind S. Helderman and Josh Dawsey/The Washington Post

More than five months after the 2020 presidential election, and after numerous failed attempts to overturn the results, former president Donald Trump has seized on a new avenue to try to call the outcome into question: a hand recount of 2.1 million ballots cast in Arizona’s largest county. Several advisers said the former president has become fixated on the unorthodox process underway in Phoenix, where the GOP-led state Senate took ballots and voting equipment from Maricopa County and turned them over to Cyber Ninjas, a private contractor whose chief executive has echoed baseless claims that the election was fraudulent but has now promised a fair review of the November results. Ensconced at his private club in Florida, Trump asks aides for updates about the process multiple times a day, advisers said, expressing particular interest in the use of UV lights to scrutinize Maricopa’s ballots — a method that has bewildered election experts, who say it could damage the votes. “He talks about it constantly,” said one person who recently visited Mar-a-Lago and listened to Trump discuss the recount for about 45 minutes, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations. Trump’s embrace of the Arizona effort — which he and his allies claim will prove that the election was stolen — has come amid mounting anxiety among election officials that similar partisan vote counts could become the norm. “I’m very concerned this has ramifications for every state in the country,” Kim Wyman, a Republican who serves as secretary of state in Washington state, said in an interview. “This is politicizing an administrative process with no real structure or laws or rules in place to guide how it goes.”

Full Article: As Trump seizes on Arizona ballot audit, election officials fear partisan vote counts could be the norm in future elections – The Washington Post

The Republicans’ staggering effort to attack voting rights in Biden’s first 100 days | Sam Levine/The Guardian

The most urgent crisis facing the US during the first 100 days of Joe Biden’s presidency has been a ticking time bomb that has unfolded far from the White House and the halls of Congress.It’s an emergency that has unfolded in state capitols across America, where lawmakers have taken up an unprecedented effort to make it harder to vote. Even as attacks on voting rights have escalated in recent years, the Republican effort since January marks a new, more dangerous phase for American democracy, experts say. From the moment Biden was elected, Republicans have waged an unprecedented effort to undermine confidence in the results in the election, thrusting the foundation of American democracy to the center of American politics. An alarming peak in that effort came on 6 January, when Republican lies about the election fomented the attack on the US capitol and several GOP senators tried to block certification of the electoral college vote.

Full Article: The Republicans’ staggering effort to attack voting rights in Biden’s first 100 days | US news | The Guardian