New Hampshire town rejects bid to ban use of voting machines | Associated Press

A New Hampshire town has resoundingly rejected a proposal to ban the use of voting machines and return to counting ballots by hand. Voters in the town of Greenland on Saturday defeated a citizen petition that would have stopped the use of voting machines in all local, state and federal elections. reports the vote was 1,077 against to 120 in favor of the proposal. Town Clerk Marge Morgan told the news outlet that turnout was higher than expected and officials had to print more ballots. Greenland has a little over 4,000 residents, according to the 2020 U.S. Census. Similar attempts to ban voting machines are under way in Hampton and Kensington, and a bill calling for a statewide ban was filed in the Legislature.

Full Article: New Hampshire town rejects bid to ban use of voting machines

Pennsylvania judge rules Republicans have to wait until next month before working out rules for inspection of voting machines | Associated Press

Republican lawmakers aiming to expand what they call a “forensic investigation” of Pennsylvania’s 2020 election into a new frontier of inspecting voting machines must wait until next month, a judge decided Tuesday. After a telephone conference, Commonwealth Court Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt sided with a lawyer for Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration and said that Fulton County must first work out an agreed-upon set of rules for an inspection. Leavitt gave them until Jan. 10, at the suggestion of a lawyer representing Wolf’s top election official in a separate lawsuit involving Fulton County’s voting machines. In that lawsuit, Fulton County is contesting the state’s decertification of voting machines it used in last year’s presidential election. State lawyers last week discovered that Fulton County commissioners had voted to allow a contractor hired by Senate Republicans to download data and software on the voting systems. The exchange had been scheduled for Wednesday.

Full Article: Republicans have to wait until next month before working out rules for inspection of voting machines, Pennsylvania judge rules – The Morning Call

Texas: Phil Waldron’s Unlikely Role in Pushing Baseless Election Claims | Alan Feuer/The New York Times

A few days after President Biden’s inauguration put to rest one of the most chaotic transitions in U.S. history, a former Army colonel with a background in information warfare appeared on a Christian conservative podcast and offered a detailed account of his monthslong effort to challenge the validity of the 2020 vote count. In a pleasant Texas drawl, the former officer, Phil Waldron, told the hosts a story that was almost inconceivable: how a cabal of bad actors, including Chinese Communist officials, international shell companies and the financier George Soros, had quietly conspired to hack into U.S. voting machines in a “globalist/socialist” plot to steal the election. In normal times, a tale like that — full of wild and baseless claims — might have been dismissed as the overheated rantings of a conspiracy theorist. But the postelection period was not normal, providing all sorts of fringe players an opportunity to find an audience in the White House. Mr. Waldron stands as a case study. Working in conjunction with allies of President Donald J. Trump like Rudolph W. Giuliani, Sidney Powell and Representative Louie Gohmert of Texas, a member of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus — and in tandem with others like Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s first national security adviser and a retired lieutenant general — Mr. Waldron managed to get a hearing for elements of his story in the very center of power in Washington. Last week, the House committee investigating the events of Jan. 6 issued a subpoena to Mr. Waldron, saying that it wanted to know more about his role in circulating an explosive PowerPoint presentation on Capitol Hill and to Mark Meadows, Mr. Trump’s last chief of staff.

Full Article: Phil Waldron’s Unlikely Role in Pushing Baseless Election Claims – The New York Times

Editorial: Intimidation of Wisconsin election officials corrodes democracy | Bob Bauer and Ben Ginsberg/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The recent pattern of attempted intimidation of state and local election officials, combined with attempts to inject partisan influence over the casting and counting of votes, has thrust Wisconsin into the harsh spotlight of a destructive nationwide trend which, if successful, will corrode public faith in our election process. We formed the bipartisan Election Officials Legal Defense Network precisely in response to these extraordinary developments — threats of physical harm and of criminal prosecutions directed against election officials who will not bend to one party’s desired outcomes. The network is managed by the nationally-respected, nonpartisan Center for Election Innovation and Research, and includes a bipartisan advisory board of more than 30 election officials and experts from around the country. All officials and staffers under attack who want free legal representation will have access to it through the network. We have been gratified by the number of lawyers and law firms prepared to offer their services, and seek additional volunteers. To underscore our commitment to this effort and make clear the availability of support through the network for election officials in Wisconsin as well around the nation, we will be holding a press event in Madison with election experts and a Wisconsin state senator to address the nature of this threat and the response that we believe is required. Actions and threats of prosecution by some Wisconsin legislators and the Racine County sheriff illustrate why the network is necessary.

Full Article: Intimidation of Wisconsin election officials corrodes democracy

Meadows and the Band of Loyalists: How They Fought to Keep Trump in Power | Katie Benner, Catie Edmondson, Luke Broadwater and Alan Feuer/The New York Times

Two days after Christmas last year, Richard P. Donoghue, a top Justice Department official in the waning days of the Trump administration, saw an unknown number appear on his phone. Mr. Donoghue had spent weeks fielding calls, emails and in-person requests from President Donald J. Trump and his allies, all of whom asked the Justice Department to declare, falsely, that the election was corrupt. The lame-duck president had surrounded himself with a crew of unscrupulous lawyers, conspiracy theorists, even the chief executive of MyPillow — and they were stoking his election lies. Mr. Trump had been handing out Mr. Donoghue’s cellphone number so that people could pass on rumors of election fraud. Who could be calling him now? It turned out to be a member of Congress: Representative Scott Perry, Republican of Pennsylvania, who began pressing the president’s case. Mr. Perry said he had compiled a dossier of voter fraud allegations that the department needed to vet. Jeffrey Clark, a Justice Department lawyer who had found favor with Mr. Trump, could “do something” about the president’s claims, Mr. Perry said, even if others in the department would not. The message was delivered by an obscure lawmaker who was doing Mr. Trump’s bidding. Justice Department officials viewed it as outrageous political pressure from a White House that had become consumed by conspiracy theories. It was also one example of how a half-dozen right-wing members of Congress became key foot soldiers in Mr. Trump’s effort to overturn the election, according to dozens of interviews and a review of hundreds of pages of congressional testimony about the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Full Article: Trump Found Crucial Support in Congress as He Fought to Stay in Power – The New York Times

USPS built and secretly tested a mobile voting system before 2020 | Joseph Marks and Jacob Bogage/The Washington Post

The U.S. Postal Service pursued a project to build and secretly test a blockchain-based mobile phone voting system before the 2020 election, experimenting with a technology that the government’s own cybersecurity agency says can’t be trusted to securely handle ballots. The system was never deployed in a live election and was abandoned in 2019, Postal Service spokesman David Partenheimer said. That was after cybersecurity researchers at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs conducted a test of the system during a mock election and found numerous ways that it was vulnerable to hacking. The project appears to have been conducted without the involvement of federal agencies more closely focused on elections, which were then scrambling to make voting more secure in the wake of Russian interference in the 2016 contest. Those efforts focused primarily on using paper ballot so the voter could verify their vote was recorded accurately and there would be a paper trail for auditors — something missing from any mobile phone or Internet-based system. The secrecy of the Postal Service’s mobile voting project alarmed election security officials and advocates who fear it could spark conspiracy theories and degrade public faith in the democratic process. Those concerns have grown immensely since the 2020 election, bolstered by baseless claims of election fraud by former president Donald Trump and his supporters. Matt Masterson, who was then a senior adviser to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the federal government’s chief liaison to state and local election officials, said he was never aware of the Postal Service program while in office. “If you’re doing anything in the election space, transparency should be priority number one. There should be no guessing game around this,” Masterson said.

Full Article: USPS built and secretly tested a mobile voting system before 2020 – The Washington Post

National: In Bid for Control of Elections, Trump Loyalists Face Few Obstacles | Charles Homans/The New York Times

When thousands of Trump supporters gathered in Washington on Jan. 6 for the Stop the Steal rally that led to the storming of the U.S. Capitol, one of them was a pastor and substitute teacher from Elizabethtown, Pa., named Stephen Lindemuth. Mr. Lindemuth had traveled with a religious group from Elizabethtown to join in protesting the certification of Joseph R. Biden’s victory. In a Facebook post three days later, he complained that “Media coverage has focused solely on the negative aspect of the day’s events,” and said he had been in Washington simply “standing for the truth to be heard.” Shortly after, he declared his candidacy for judge of elections, a local Pennsylvania office that administers polling on Election Day, in the local jurisdiction of Mount Joy Township. Mr. Lindemuth’s victory in November in this conservative rural community is a milestone of sorts in American politics: the arrival of the first class of political activists who, galvanized by Donald J. Trump’s false claim of a stolen election in 2020, have begun seeking offices supervising the election systems that they believe robbed Mr. Trump of a second term. According to a May Reuters/Ipsos poll, more than 60 percent of Republicans now believe the 2020 election was stolen. This belief has informed a wave of mobilization at both grass-roots and elite levels in the party with an eye to future elections. In races for state and county-level offices with direct oversight of elections, Republican candidates coming out of the Stop the Steal movement are running competitive campaigns, in which they enjoy a first-mover advantage in electoral contests that few partisans from either party thought much about before last November. And legislation that state lawmakers have passed or tried to pass this year in a number of states would assert more control over election systems and results by partisan offices that Republicans already decisively control. “This is a five-alarm fire,” said Jocelyn Benson, the Democratic secretary of state in Michigan, who presided over her state’s Trump-contested election in 2020 and may face a Trump-backed challenger next year. “If people in general, leaders and citizens, aren’t taking this as the most important issue of our time and acting accordingly, then we may not be able to ensure democracy prevails again in ’24.”

Full Article: In Bid for Control of Elections, Trump Loyalists Face Few Obstacles – The New York Times

National: Momentum grows for Senate to take up voting bills ahead of budget package | Lindsey McPherson and Kate Ackley/Roll Call

Senate Democrats are inching closer to pushing floor action on their sweeping safety net and climate package into 2022 amid growing momentum in the caucus to make a last-ditch attempt to pass voting rights legislation before the end of the year. In a sign of the shifting mood, one of the top progressive voices on Capitol Hill who’s been leading the charge for much of this year to get President Joe Biden’s economic agenda enacted suggested maybe it was time to change gears. “Obviously voting rights have got to be dealt with immediately,” Senate Budget Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., told reporters Wednesday. “I would like to see a Build Back Better bill move as quickly as possible, but if we can’t deal with that right now, it’s a lot more important that we deal with the voting rights issue.” Sen. Richard Blumenthal also noted the “intensifying focus” on prioritizing voting rights legislation over the spending package. “We may not be able to do both, but certainly we should have votes and we should do at least one,” the Connecticut Democrat said. A month ago as the House passed its $2.2 trillion version of the social safety net and climate budget reconciliation package, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer set a Christmas deadline for the Senate to follow suit. Since then, the measure’s bogged down in the slow process of tweaking it to ensure it complies with the chamber’s “Byrd rule” that restricts what can be included in budget reconciliation bills. It also does not yet have buy-in from 50 members of the Senate Democratic Caucus. Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., continues to hold out, despite personal intervention from Biden and lobbying from colleagues.

Full Article: Momentum grows for Senate to take up voting bills ahead of budget package

National: Election denier who circulated Jan. 6 PowerPoint says he met with Meadows at White House | Emma Brown, Jon Swaine, Jacqueline Alemany, Josh Dawsey and Tom Hamburger/The Washington Post

A retired U.S. Army colonel who circulated a proposal to challenge the 2020 election, including by declaring a national security emergency and seizing paper ballots, said that he visited the White House on multiple occasions after the election, spoke with President Donald Trump’s chief of staff “maybe eight to 10 times” and briefed several members of Congress on the eve of the Jan. 6 riot. Phil Waldron, the retired colonel, was working with Trump’s outside lawyers and was part of a team that briefed the lawmakers on a PowerPoint presentation detailing “Options for 6 JAN,” Waldron told The Washington Post. He said his contribution to the presentation focused on his claims of foreign interference in the vote, as did his discussions with the White House. A version of the presentation made its way to the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, on Jan. 5. That information surfaced publicly this week after the congressional committee investigating the insurrection released a letter that said Meadows had turned the document over to the committee. “The presentation was that there was significant foreign interference in the election, here’s the proof,” Waldron said. “These are constitutional, legal, feasible, acceptable and suitable courses of action.”

Full Article: Phil Waldron, backer of Jan. 6 PowerPoint, says he met with Mark Meadows, briefed lawmakers – The Washington Post

National: The Pro-Trump Conspiracy Internet Is Moving From Facebook To Your Doorstep | Sarah Mimms/BuzzFeed

The man at the door said he was just there to verify some publicly available information. In the home security video, he seems nervous and out of breath as he waits at the doorway, glancing frequently at his phone. Strangers don’t knock on doors much in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire, a small ski town. For a decade, it had just 250 year-round residents, until the pandemic hit and a bunch of Massachusetts residents decided to cross state lines and turn their rural vacation spot into a home. But the man at the door wasn’t one of them. He said his name was Dean and he was with the New Hampshire Voter Integrity Group. The homeowner knew right away something was up, he said later in an interview. He didn’t go to answer the door, but spoke to the man through his Ring camera, pressing him on what exactly the New Hampshire Voter Integrity Group was and who they represented. In the video shared with BuzzFeed News, Dean, haltingly, says they are volunteers. They don’t represent anybody but themselves. They are just trying to verify the town’s voter rolls. The homeowner keeps pressing, and finally Dean gets to the point: “[We] took a look at the election so we’re a little concerned about what happened, so we’re, uh, checking.” The homeowner, a Democrat, tells him to go to hell and get off his property. “That’ll be a nice trip, thank you,” Dean replies cheerfully in the security footage as he turns to leave. “I’ll see you there.”

Full Article: Election Fraud Conspiracy Groups Go Door-To-Door

National: America’s Anti-Democratic Movement – It’s making progress | David Leonhardt/The New York Times

American politics these days can often seem fairly normal. President Biden has had both big accomplishments and big setbacks in his first year, as is typical. In Congress, members are haggling over bills and passing some of them. At the Supreme Court, justices are hearing cases. Daily media coverage tends to reflect this apparent sense of political normalcy. But American politics today is not really normal. It may instead be in the midst of a radical shift away from the democratic rules and traditions that have guided the country for a very long time. An anti-democratic movement, inspired by Donald Trump but much larger than him, is making significant progress, as my colleague Charles Homans has reported. In the states that decide modern presidential elections, this movement has already changed some laws and ousted election officials, with the aim of overturning future results. It has justified the changes with blatantly false statements claiming that Biden did not really win the 2020 election. The movement has encountered surprisingly little opposition. Most leading Republican politicians have either looked the other way or supported the anti-democratic movement. In the House, Republicans ousted Liz Cheney from a leadership position because she called out Trump’s lies. The pushback within the Republican Party has been so weak that about 60 percent of Republican adults now tell pollsters that they believe the 2020 election was stolen — a view that’s simply wrong.

Full Article: America’s Anti-Democratic Movement – The New York Times

National: Far too little vote fraud to tip election to Trump, AP finds | Christina A. Cassidy/Associated Press

An Associated Press review of every potential case of voter fraud in the six battleground states disputed by former President Donald Trump has found fewer than 475 — a number that would have made no difference in the 2020 presidential election. Democrat Joe Biden won Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and their 79 Electoral College votes by a combined 311,257 votes out of 25.5 million ballots cast for president. The disputed ballots represent just 0.15% of his victory margin in those states. The cases could not throw the outcome into question even if all the potentially fraudulent votes were for Biden, which they were not, and even if those ballots were actually counted, which in most cases they were not. The review also showed no collusion intended to rig the voting. Virtually every case was based on an individual acting alone to cast additional ballots. The findings build on a mountain of other evidence that the election wasn’t rigged, including verification of the results by Republican governors. The AP review, a process that took months and encompassed more than 300 local election offices, is one the most comprehensive examinations of suspected voter fraud in last year’s presidential election. It relies on information collected at the local level, where officials must reconcile their ballots and account for discrepancies, and includes a handful of separate cases cited by secretaries of state and state attorneys general.

Full Article: Far too little vote fraud to tip election to Trump, AP finds | AP News

National: The network of election lawyers who are making it harder for Americans to vote | Peter Stone/The Guardian

A powerful network of conservative election lawyers and groups with links to Donald Trump have spent millions of dollars promoting new and onerous voting laws that many key battleground states such as Georgia and Texas have enacted. The moves have prompted election and voting rights watchdogs in America to warn about the suppression of non-white voters aimed at providing Republicans an edge in coming elections. The lawyers and groups spearheading self-professed election integrity measures include some figures who pushed Trump’s baseless claims of fraud after the 2020 election. Key advocates include Cleta Mitchell with the Conservative Partnership institute; J Christian Adams of the Public Interest Legal Foundation; Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation; Jason Snead of the Honest Elections Project; and J Kenneth Blackwell with the America First Policy institute. These conservative outfits tout their goal as curbing significant voter fraud, despite the fact that numerous courts, the vast majority of voting experts and even former top Trump officials, such as ex-attorney general Bill Barr, concluded the 2020 elections were without serious problems. Watchdogs say that tightening state voting laws endanger the rights of Black voters and other communities of color who historically back Democrats by creating new rules limiting absentee voting and same day registration, while imposing other voting curbs.

Full Article: The network of election lawyers who are making it harder for Americans to vote | US voting rights | The Guardian

National: Now in Your Inbox: Political Misinformation | Maggie Astor/The New York Times

A few weeks ago, Representative Dan Crenshaw, a Texas Republican, falsely claimed that the centerpiece of President Biden’s domestic agenda, a $1.75 trillion bill to battle climate change and extend the nation’s social safety net, would include Medicare for all. It doesn’t, and never has. But few noticed Mr. Crenshaw’s lie because he didn’t say it on Facebook, or on Fox News. Instead, he sent the false message directly to the inboxes of his constituents and supporters in a fund-raising email. Lawmakers’ statements on social media and cable news are now routinely fact-checked and scrutinized. But email — one of the most powerful communication tools available to politicians, reaching up to hundreds of thousands of people — teems with unfounded claims and largely escapes notice. The New York Times signed up in August for the campaign lists of the 390 senators and representatives running for re-election in 2022 whose websites offered that option, and read more than 2,500 emails from those campaigns to track how widely false and misleading statements were being used to help fill political coffers. Both parties delivered heaps of hyperbole in their emails. One Republican, for instance, declared that Democrats wanted to establish a “one-party socialist state,” while a Democrat suggested that the party’s Jan. 6 inquiry was at imminent risk because the G.O.P. “could force the whole investigation to end early.”

Full Article: Now in Your Inbox: Political Misinformation – The New York Times

Colorado: Election denialism and far-right activism sit firmly within the GOP mainstream | Alex Burness/The Denver Post

Conservative activist Joe Oltmann of FEC United, a Colorado group with an active and armed citizen defense wing, called this week for his “traitor” political opponents to be hanged. “(T)wo inches off the ground, so they choke to death,” Oltmann said on his podcast, emphasizing to his co-host that he meant this literally. Those remarks have been met with silence from Republican leaders who say they’d rather not pay attention to that sort of rhetoric. They say it doesn’t represent the party and that voters in the state don’t want to discuss the sorts of extreme ideas Oltmann, a prominent voice in favor of the unproven claim that the 2020 election was rigged in Democrats’ favor, espouses on a regular basis. Average voters “actually are talking about education and crime and how expensive it is to live in Colorado,” state Republican Party chair Kristi Burton Brown told The Denver Post on Wednesday. As much as she and many other GOP leaders interviewed this month by The Post say they would like to distance themselves from FEC United, the ties between it and the conservative mainstream of Colorado are substantial. A lot of what Oltmann represents — chiefly election denial and the fervent belief that the country is besieged by treasonous Democrats and phony Republicans — is popular among the conservative base. And it figures to be a potentially major factor in 2022 elections here and around the country.

Full Article: Election denialism and far-right activism sit firmly within the Colorado GOP mainstream

Georgia: Quest for ballot inspection renewed by candidate Perdue | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Republican candidate for Georgia governor David Perdue filed a lawsuit Friday seeking to inspect absentee ballots in Fulton County, repeating some of the same unproven allegations as in a lawsuit dismissed two months ago. Perdue’s complaint, filed four days after he launched his campaign, revives a series of failed lawsuits by supporters of former President Donald Trump searching for fraud in last year’s election. Perdue has put false claims of election fraud at the center of his campaign against incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp. The former U.S. senator said he wouldn’t have certified the election results and wanted a special legislative session to delve into conspiracy theories about the outcome. State election officials have said there’s no indication of fraud after three ballot counts and multiple investigations. Democrat Joe Biden defeated Trump by about 12,000 votes in Georgia. Perdue’s lawsuit echoes a case that also sought to inspect about 147,000 absentee ballots in Fulton County. Digital images of the ballots were made public earlier this year, but the plaintiffs want to review the originals.

Full Article: Quest for ballot inspection in Georgia renewed by candidate Perdue

Georgia lawsuit looks to ban election machines over use of QR codes | Justin Gray/WSB

Critics of Georgia’s elections were back in court Wednesday in Fulton County trying to ban the use of the voting machines used at every Georgia polling place. Wednesday’s hearing was not about overturning the 2020 election. Instead, the plaintiffs were trying to block the continued use of the $100 million in voting machines Georgia uses at every polling place in the state. A seemingly skeptical judge Kimberly Esmond Adams presided over the virtual court hearing. The plaintiffs claim counting ballots by QR codes is against Georgia law. “Doesn’t your argument totally ignore the evidence?” Adams asked the plaintiffs at one point. “The heart of the lawsuit is that the vote is acclimated out of the QR code, and the voter cannot verify that,” Garland Favorito with said. “You’re suggesting that there would be some kind of intricate system that would reflect one set of votes but record something entirely different?” “Well, there may, be I don’t know. I can’t verify that,” an attorney for said.

Full Article: Lawsuit looks to ban election machines over use of QR codes – WSB-TV Channel 2 – Atlanta

Maine eyes securing voter data from partisan activists pushing election misinformation | Steve Mistler/Maine Public Radio

The 2020 presidential election ended more than a year ago, but efforts to undermine public confidence in the result by pro-Trump activists — and by Trump himself — continue. Some are pushing for what they call “audits” and access to voter information to promote a conspiracy theory that the former president is the victim of a plot to deny him a second term. At the same time, supporters of a new bill in Maine are proposing to tighten the chain of custody of ballots and voting equipment. Disputes over who has access to counted ballots have been exceedingly rare in Maine. The most recent was in a state senate race in 2014, when 21 ballots from the tiny town of Long Island were mistakenly counted twice on election night. A more serious episode occurred nearly three decades ago when an aide to the then-Democratic House Speaker pled guilty to ballot tampering charges during a recount of two House races. State Rep. Teresa Pierce, a Falmouth Democrat who has backed bills to expand voting access, says state and local election officials have a sterling record of running secure elections and protecting voter information.

Full Article: Maine eyes securing voter data from partisan activists pushing election misinformation | Maine Public

How a Michigan Clerk Got Embroiled in Trump’s Attempt to Overturn the Election | Mark -Bowden and Matthew Teague/Time

Antrim County, Michigan, seemed an unlikely setting for the attempted overthrow of an American election. In the mitten shape of the state’s lower peninsula, Antrim makes up a fingertip in the far north. It sits on the eastern side of Grand Traverse Bay, which took its name from French voyagers who in the eighteenth century paddled canoes across its lonesome width: la grand traverse, they called it. About twenty-three thousand people live in Antrim. Many work in fruit production, including the cherry farms that make the region the “cherry capital of the world.” They grow sweet cherries and sour: Montmorency cherries, Balaton tart cherries. Cavaliers, Sams, Emperor Francises, Golds, and a particular local favorite, Ulsters. In spring, those cherry trees cover the landscape with pink and white blossoms. And the county features what people here call the chain of lakes, a series of fourteen terraced lakes and rivers starting with Beals Lake at the top and finally flowing into the Grand Traverse. The largest and deepest body in the chain is Torch Lake, where long ago Native Americans fished by torchlight. Today Antrim’s residents sail their boats up and down its length on turquoise waters. So Antrim County sits on a peninsular outcrop, its people are few and scattered, and its landscape is sublime. All of which makes it seem outlandish as the stage for what followed: private jets arriving in the night, intrigue, threats of violence, and an effort to subvert the will of the American people.

Full Article: How a Michigan Clerk Got Embroiled in Trump’s Attempt to Overturn the Election | Time

Nevada: Lander County to consider replacing Dominion voting machines | Associated Press

Local officials in rural Nevada are scheduled on Thursday to discuss replacing equipment manufactured by Dominion Voting Systems amid concerns about tampering and fraud that endure in many parts of the United States more than a year after the 2020 election. Lander County, which has a population of 5,734, is among a group of counties in Nevada that have considered alternatives to the voting machine company, which was the subject of conspiracy theories in the aftermath of the last year’s election, with Trump campaign attorneys suggesting without evidence that it had ties to Venezuela, George Soros and Antifa. Those claims have been largely debunked. News networks that promulgated them have faced defamation lawsuits. Election officials in counties like Lander and Elko that are considering breaking their contracts with Dominion have expressed confidence in the machines and have not discovered proof of significant election fraud or tampering. Though Trump won nearly 80% in Lander County, commissioners have considered an Arizona-style voting machine audit and, to allay concerns about tampering, discussed hand-counting ballots in future elections. County Clerk Sadie Sullivan told commissioners that hand-counting may lead to inaccuracies and human error.

Full Article: Lander County to consider replacing Dominion voting machines | AP News

New Hampshire State Commission approves standards for new voting machines | Kevin Landrigan/New Hampshire Union Leader

The state Ballot Law Commission on Tuesday approved standards that would one day permit a different automated voting machine than the one used in most New Hampshire cities and towns for decades. In the interim, the commission voted unanimously to let the town of Milford test one of the new devices during municipal and school board elections in the spring. As part of the pilot program, Milford will have to conduct a hand recount of all ballots counted with the new machine and report to the commission on its accuracy. ‘This would allow a test of this device, let Milford use it in an election that isn’t as complicated,” said Chairman Bradford Cook. The commission decided to take up the issue of new voting machines only after the Milford Board of Selectmen voted last September to seek permission to use a different device. Milford Town Moderator Pete Basiliere and Town Clerk Joan Dargie told the commission it was an ideal time for the town to try new technology. “While the AccuVote machines are highly accurate, we are concerned about the long-term availability of parts and programming,” they wrote. “With the commission’s approval, we will have four elections before the 2024 Presidential Primary to work with the new tabulators.” In 2022, Milford will be using an ImageCast machine — made by Dominion Voting Systems of Denver — which is sold, serviced and maintained by LHS Associates of Salem.

Full Article: State Commission approves standards for new voting machines

New York: ‘O’ my! Filling in candidate’s middle initial changes outcome in Lewiston race | Thomas J. Prohaska/The Buffalo News

Call it a case of bad initial judgment. John O. Jacoby Jr. on Monday was awarded the victory in a close election for a Lewiston Town Board seat, and the reason has everything to do with the letter between “John” and “Jacoby.” State Supreme Court Justice Frank A. Sedita III ordered the counting of ballots from 43 Lewiston voters who filled in the “O” in Jacoby’s name, instead of the oval for voting on their paper ballots. The computerized scanner that counts Niagara County votes missed those 43 votes because they are programmed to register marks in the oval. The scanner did count 21 ballots for Jacoby on which the voter filled in both the oval and the O. Acting Republican Election Commissioner Michael P. Carney sought to disallow those 21 votes because of the double marking, but Sedita refused.

Full Article: ‘O’ my! Filling in candidate’s middle initial changes outcome in Lewiston race | Buffalo Politics News |

North Carolina: Modems removed from voting machines in five counties | David N. Bass/Carolina Journal

The N.C. State Board of Elections recently removed analog modems from voting equipment in five counties, a move that has drawn criticism from the N.C. House Freedom Caucus. The Freedom Caucus — 25 House members chaired by Rep. Keith Kidwell, R-Beaufort — has sought for months to inspect voting equipment to check for internet connections, most recently in Durham County. News that the state elections board has removed modems from voting equipment in Watauga, Graham, Macon, Montgomery, and Swain counties drew a stinging rebuke in a statement from the caucus, which claimed that the elections board “has stonewalled and denied access to voting equipment, as well as even acknowledge the existence of modems in North Carolina voting machines.” The counties in question had used M100 ballot scanners created by the voting machine manufacturer Election Systems and Software, or ES&S, and purchased from the N.C.-based company Printelect. According to a Dec. 10 memo from the elections board, the M100 machines contain “obsolete analog modem hardware” that requires a connection to a telephone. On Nov. 9, state elections director Karen Brinson Bell hosted a Microsoft Teams virtual meeting with officials from the five counties to inform them that Printelect would be conducting preventative maintenance on the machines and would remove the modems. As of mid-December, all modems had been removed from the machines.

Full Article: Modems removed from voting machines in five N.C. counties – Carolina Journal – Carolina Journal

Pennsylvania: Court battle over GOP’s subpoena of sensitive voter data centers on legislative power vs. privacy | Danielle Ohl/Spotlight PA

An appellate court leveled sharp questions Wednesday in the opening round of a closely watched court case over whether Republicans in the state Senate have the power to subpoena sensitive voter information as part of a partisan inquiry into the 2020 election. A coalition of Democrats is seeking an order quashing the subpoena and argues it goes too far by requesting information — including the names, addresses, and partial Social Security numbers — for nearly 9 million registered voters in the state. Republicans who control the state Senate say they believe the sweeping review is necessary to ensure that there were no irregularities in the 2020 election, citing the state’s evolving guidance last year about how counties should handle mail-in and other ballots. GOP legislative leaders have acknowledged, however, that they have found no evidence of fraud. Several official reviews have affirmed the outcome of Pennsylvania’s election. Lawyers for Senate Democrats, Attorney General Josh Shapiro, and Sen. Art Haywood and his wife Julie Haywood, as private citizens, argued that a balancing test should be applied to weigh the necessity of the investigation against the possible disclosure of private information. The Democrats were joined by the ACLU of Pennsylvania.

Full Article: Court battle over Pa. GOP’s subpoena of sensitive voter data centers on legislative power vs. privacy · Spotlight PA

Editorial: The real cost of the Texas elections audit | Dallas Morning News

In the days after Gov. Greg Abbott ordered a “forensic audit” of the November 2020 elections, the elections administrators of the four targeted counties were left scratching their heads. Officials in Dallas and Collin counties told us in late September that they were waiting to receive instructions from the Texas secretary of state. Tarrant and Harris counties were also in the dark. We condemned the audit at that time, though we hoped there would be no follow-through. We thought it might be a superficial stunt to appease President Donald Trump, and nothing more. But our news colleagues recently reported that Secretary of State John Scott sent a long list of requested documents to the four counties. And last month, the governor and GOP legislative leaders shifted $4 million from the state prison system to the office of the secretary of state to pay for the audit. Abbott is making a mistake by pressing on with this forensic audit — whatever it is that GOP leaders mean by “forensic.” The myth of widespread voter fraud is red meat for Republican primary voters but far less palatable to moderate suburban voters in a general election, a political calculus that the governor must make as he campaigns for another term and seeks to carry down-ballot Republicans with him. Above all, this obsession with election audits is eroding democracy for all of us, no matter our political affiliation.

Full Article: The real cost of the Texas elections audit

Wisconsin: ‘This is a charade’: Key Republican calls for end to election review | Patrick Marley/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Republicans and Democrats alike Monday ripped into Wisconsin’s partisan review of the 2020 election, saying it was a baseless exercise that would needlessly damage faith in democracy. State Sen. Kathy Bernier, a Republican from Lake Hallie who leads the Senate Elections Committee, said the review by former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman is firing up people who don’t understand elections. “Mr. Gableman is coming to my county and I will attend that meeting along with my concealed carry permit, to be perfectly honest, because (the election review) keeps jazzing up the people who think they know what they’re talking about, and they don’t,” Bernier said. Bernier, who oversaw elections for 12 years as Chippewa County clerk, said Republicans are reacting to political pressure from former President Donald Trump. Their constant complaints about the election could ultimately hurt Republicans if they don’t believe results can be trusted, she said. “And so I think my advice would be to have Mr. Gableman wrap up sooner rather than later, because the longer we keep this up, the more harm … we’re going to do for Republicans,” she said. In response, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos of Rochester issued a statement saying it was Democrats who were preventing Gableman from completing his work sooner. He did not note that much of Monday’s criticism came from Republicans and offered no timeline for when Gableman would finish his review. “The easiest way to wrap up Special Counsel Gableman’s investigation is to get the Democrats to cooperate,” Vos said in his statement. “Instead, invoking McCarthyism has been their only motive, trying to discredit the investigation rather than finding ways to improve the system and prevent fraud going forward.” Bernier made her comments during a panel discussion in the state Capitol. She was joined by Ben Ginsberg, who spent nearly four decades representing Republicans in election disputes, and Bob Bauer, who served as White House counsel during Barack Obama’s presidency.

Full Article: ‘This is a charade’: Key Republican calls for end to election review

‘Time is running out’: can Congress pass a voting rights bill after months of failure? | Sam Levine/The Guardian

For years, Helen Butler has been on a mission to increase voter turnout, especially among Black voters, in Georgia and across the south. She’s used to the skepticism. People she meets wonder why they should bother, because their vote won’t matter. No matter who’s in office, longstanding problems won’t get solved. More recently, she’s pushed back on efforts by Georgia Republicans to make it harder to vote. She’s seen things like overly aggressive efforts to remove people from the voter rolls and the rapid consolidation of polling places. Last year, she listened as Joe Biden promised he would protect the right to vote if he was elected president. “One thing the Senate and the president can do right away is pass the bill to restore the Voting Rights Act … it’s one of the first things I’ll do as president if elected. We can’t let the fundamental right to vote be denied,” he said in July last year. Months later, Butler and other organizers had a breakthrough that had been years in the making. After years of investing in voter mobilization, turnout among Black voters surged in the November election, helping Joe Biden win a state long seen as a Republican stronghold. In January, Black voters came out again and helped Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock win two upset Senate bids, giving Democrats control of the US Senate. On the night he was elected president, Biden called out the Black voters who helped him capture the presidency, saying: “When this campaign was at its lowest – the African American community stood up again for me. They always have my back, and I’ll have yours.” And so, after Biden was inaugurated, Butler and many others expected that voting rights would be one of the first things the president and Democrats addressed. Instead, during the president’s first year in office, Butler has watched with dismay as Biden and Democrats have failed to pass any voting rights legislation. Meanwhile, Republicans in Georgia passed sweeping new voting restrictions, one of several places across the country that made it harder to vote.

Full Article: ‘Time is running out’: can Congress pass a voting rights bill after months of failure? | US voting rights | The Guardian

Inside Trump’s campaign to demonize two Georgia election workers | Jason Szep and Linda So/Reuters

As Donald Trump’s campaign sought to overturn his shocking loss of the state of Georgia in the 2020 presidential election, it hatched a conspiracy theory. At its center were two masterminds: a clerical worker in a county election office, and her mom, who had taken a temporary job to help count ballots. The alleged plot: Wandrea “Shaye” Moss and mother Ruby Freeman cheated Trump by pulling fake ballots from suitcases hidden under tables at a ballot-counting center. In early December, the campaign began raining down allegations on the two Black women. Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, falsely claimed that video footage showed the women engaging in “surreptitious illegal activity” and acting suspiciously, like drug dealers “passing out dope.” In early January, Trump himself singled out Freeman, by name, 18 times in a now-famous call in which he pressed Georgia officials to alter the state’s results. He called the 62-year-old temp worker a “professional vote scammer,” a “hustler” and a “known political operative” who “stuffed the ballot boxes.” Freeman made a series of 911 emergency calls in the days after she was publicly identified in early December by the president’s camp. In a Dec. 4 call, she told the dispatcher she’d gotten a flood of “threats and phone calls and racial slurs,” adding: “It’s scary because they’re saying stuff like, ‘We’re coming to get you. We are coming to get you.’” Two days later, a panicked Freeman called 911 again, after hearing loud banging on her door just before 10 p.m. Strangers had come the night before, too. She begged the dispatcher for assistance. “Lord Jesus, where’s the police?” she asked, according to the recording, obtained by Reuters in a records request. “I don’t know who keeps coming to my door.” “Please help me.”

Full Article: Inside Trump’s campaign to demonize two Georgia election workers

National: Fearing a Repeat of Jan. 6, Congress Eyes Changes to Electoral Count Law Luke Broadwater and Nick Corasaniti/The New York Times

Members of the select congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol are pressing to overhaul the complex and little-known law that former President Donald J. Trump and his allies tried to use to overturn the 2020 election, arguing that the ambiguity of the statute puts democracy itself at risk. The push to rewrite the Electoral Count Act of 1887 — enacted more than a century ago in the wake of another bitterly disputed presidential election — has taken on new urgency in recent weeks as more details have emerged about the extent of Mr. Trump’s plot to exploit its provisions to cling to power. Mr. Trump and his allies, using a warped interpretation of the law, sought to persuade Vice President Mike Pence to throw out legitimate results when Congress met in a joint session on Jan. 6 to conduct its official count of electoral votes. It was Mr. Pence’s refusal to do so that led a mob of Mr. Trump’s supporters to chant “Hang Mike Pence,” as they stormed the Capitol, delaying the proceedings as lawmakers fled for their lives. Members of Congress and the vice president ultimately returned and completed the count, rejecting challenges made by loyalists to Mr. Trump and formalizing President Biden’s victory. But had Mr. Pence done as Mr. Trump wanted — or had enough members of Congress voted to sustain the challenges lodged by Mr. Trump’s supporters — the outcome could have been different. “We know that we came precariously close to a constitutional crisis, because of the confusion in many people’s minds that was obviously planted by the former president as to what the Congress’s role actually was,” said Zach Wamp, a former Republican congressman from Tennessee who is a co-chairman of the Reformers Caucus at Issue One, a bipartisan group that is pressing for changes to the election process.

Full Article: Fearing a Repeat of Jan. 6, Congress Eyes Changes to Electoral Count Law – The New York Times

National: Addressing Insider Threats in Elections | Lawrence Norden and Derek Tisler/Brennan Center for Justice

Election officials were some of the biggest heroes of the 2020 election. After a grueling year that saw a pandemic, unprecedented disinformation efforts, and the highest turnout in over a century, they stood up to pressure from political actors seeking to overturn or cast doubt on the election results in key states. This collective, bipartisan effort helped avoid a constitutional crisis last year. But the effort to sabotage our elections has only intensified, which is why Congress and state and local governments must take critical steps to protect against insider threats. Unfortunately, almost one-third of Americans still believe the false narrative that the 2020 election was stolen. Given this fact, we shouldn’t be shocked that among the more than 8,000 local election officials — and tens of thousands of additional public and private sector employees that support their work — there are some who will also buy into these conspiracy theories. In fact, there has been an active effort to recruit and convince election officials to facilitate these conspiracy theories and push the goals of election deniers. There is reason to worry these efforts could gain traction and followers in the election official community. Following the threats, harassment, intimidation, political pressure, disinformation, and general exhaustion that election officials faced in 2020, many are choosing to leave the election administration field altogether. In Pennsylvania, for example, nearly a third of all county election officials left their posts between the beginning of 2020 and June of this year. And in many cases, the people seeking to fill these open positions are those who have been most activated by the conspiracies surrounding the 2020 election and the most determined to abuse their authority to ensure a different outcome in 2024. At least 10 candidates running for secretary of state and 8 running for attorney general have received former President Trump’s endorsement because they backed his false claims that the 2020 election was illegitimate.

Full Article: Addressing Insider Threats in Elections | Brennan Center for Justice