Georgia polling places face threats on election day | David Wickert/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Polling places in Cherokee County and elsewhere in Georgia are on guard against election day threats. The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office said Sunday that it learned of a threatening email that went to several county employees “regarding threats to polling locations on election day.” Employees at several other counties received the same email. The sheriff’s office did not elaborate on the threats and said the source of the emails has not been identified. The FBI and the GBI are investigating, and the sheriff’s office said officers from various departments will be stationed at all 40 Cherokee County polling places. The threats come as Georgia has become the center of the American political universe — Tuesday’s runoff election will determine which party controls the U.S. Senate. The races pit Republican U.S. Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue against Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, respectively. On the eve of the race, both President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden visited Georgia to encourage their supporters to vote in the Senate race. Gabriel Sterling, who has served as the secretary of state’s voting system manager, said he’s aware of a number of potential threats on election day, and law enforcement authorities have been notified. “We encourage everybody to please turn out, be safe, be smart and don’t let anybody get in the way of you casting your vote,” Sterling said. “We are aware of some (threats), but we’re trying to not discuss in too much detail about that while we’re trying to investigate and find out what the actual nature of those threats might be.”

Full Article: Georgia polling places face threats on election day

Michigan: Trump repeats false claims about election in leaked Georgia phone call | Malachi Barrett/MLive.com

President Donald Trump repeated several inaccurate statements about Michigan’s election results while pressuring Georgia officials to overturn his defeat over the weekend. Trump urged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, to reverse his loss in the state during a one-hour phone call published by The Washington Post. A recording of the conversation shows Trump pointed to false claims about Michigan while describing “turmoil” surrounding the results in several states won by Democratic President-elect Joe Biden. Raffensperger pushed back against Trump’s claims during the phone call, telling the president “the data you have is wrong” and “we don’t agree that you have won” Georgia. Election officials in Michigan have likewise debunked allegations Trump repeated Saturday about inflated turnout and dead people voting. Trump made two claims about Michigan deemed untrue by election officials. First, the president claimed “In Detroit, I think it was, 139% of the people voted.” Certified results show only 51% of the city turned out to vote. There are 506,305 registered voters in the city of Detroit, and 257,619 ballots were cast. Detroit turnout in the 2020 election was only slightly higher than in 2016, when 49% of registered voters cast a ballot. Trump earned 5,207 more Detroit votes in 2020, while Democratic votes increased by 6,055. Trump also claimed “a tremendous number of dead people” voted, suggesting “it was 18,000.” Trump said the figure came from “going through the obituary columns in the newspapers.” It’s not clear where the specific figure came from, but there is no evidence to corroborate what the president suggested over the weekend. Claims of dead voters in Michigan have been a common subject of unproven fraud allegations since the election.

Full Article: Trump repeats false claims about Michigan election in leaked Georgia phone call – mlive.com

New Jersey: Advocates argue paper ballots are key to secure elections | Genesis Obando/NJ Spotlight News

Stephanie Harris says she started using an absentee ballot after an incident at her polling place in 2004 left her unsure if her vote counted. In the primary election that year, Harris, a farmer in Hopewell, cast her vote in Mercer County. But after she picked her candidates and hit the “cast vote” button, she says that there was not an audible confirmation that verified her vote had been successful. The poll worker recommended to Harris that she try a few more times. Even though there was no sound, she assumed her vote had gone through. But Harris says she never knew if her vote was counted or if the machines had been infected with malware or were just not functioning properly. And with no paper record of that specific ballot, Harris said she could not know for sure. So began Harris’ quest to fortify New Jersey’s voting system, a fight she’s waged in the courts and pressed in the Legislature. Her lawsuits have forced officials to confront evidence that voting machines can be hacked and that paper ballots may be the best method for securing elections. The November elections, due to COVID-19, were the first time Harris saw the paper ballots she had been fighting for finally put into action.

Full Article: Pushing paper ballots for NJ elections | NJ Spotlight News

New York: New Congress begins without NY-22 House member or election results | Steve Howe/Utica Observer-Dispatch

The latest session of Congress began Sunday, and New York’s 22nd Congressional District has no representation. The winner of the nation’s last House of Representatives race remains undecided, with Republican Claudia Tenney leading Democrat Anthony Brindisi by 29 votes. The judicial review intended to resolve hundreds of contested ballots, which began Nov. 23, remains in progress, with the Oswego County Supreme Court case resuming Monday. Monday’s proceedings continued the ballot-by-ballot review process, where ballots contested by each candidate are presented with the legal reasoning for and against the objection. State Supreme Court Justice Scott DelConte began the day with a few ballots in Chenango County, before moving to remaining Madison County issues and starting Broome County’s ballots. The full day of ballot review centered around several issues, including the argument over “right church, wrong pew” voters and “wrong church, wrong pew” voters. “Right church, wrong pew” voters are those who voted at the right polling place, but the wrong election district. Some polling places will have different tables for several election districts. “Wrong church, wrong pew” are voters who cast affidavit ballots at the wrong polling site and wrong election district. The dispute first was hashed out in separate court filings submitted electronically on New Year’s Eve, before being picked up when the review resumed in court.

Full Article: New Congress begins without NY-22 House member or election results

Pennsylvania: Election officials want a say in voting reforms, but politics may get in the way | Marie Albiges/Philadelphia Inquirer

Democrats and Republicans in the Pennsylvania legislature haven’t agreed on much when it comes to the 2020 election — only that change is needed. Those changes will be hotly debated during the General Assembly’s next session, which begins this week. Already, two Republicans have proposed eliminating universal mail-in voting altogether, while some Democrats are again pushing in-person early voting. But the people who actually run elections across the state, whose pleas for assistance have been largely ignored by the legislature over the past few months, said they should be front-and-center in the reform process — not partisanship and misinformation. In 2021, they want their voices to be heard. “We feel pretty strongly that we want to be at the table for those conversations with our legislature,” said Sherene Hess, an Indiana County commissioner and chair of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania election reform committee. “There’s no question that we can improve, and now is the time to do it.” Central to the discussions of election law changes will be the state’s expansion of mail-in voting for any registered voter. Passed in 2019 and used for the first time last year in the midst of a pandemic that prevented many from going to the polls, Act 77 contributed to Pennsylvania’s record turnout in the general election, with more than 2.6 million people casting a ballot by mail.

Full Article: Election officials want a say in Pa.’s voting reforms, but politics may get in the way

Pennsylvania: 21 uncounted ballots discovered among Westmoreland County voting equipment | Rich Cholodovsky/Tribune Review

Westmoreland County elections officials disclosed Monday that 21 uncounted provisional ballots submitted at a North Huntingdon voting precinct on Election Day were discovered last week among computer equipment used at the polls in November. Elections bureau staffers found the unopened ballots during a routine inspection of voting machines stored at the department’s Greensburg warehouse on Dec. 28. JoAnn Sebastiani, the county’s elections director, said additional precautions had been enacted ahead of the Nov. 3 election that were designed to prevent the misfiling of ballots returned to the courthouse from the precincts, but those measures were unsuccessful. “Unfortunately, the judge of elections did not follow instructions,” Sebastiani said. The discovered provisional ballots were cast in North Huntingdon’s 4th ward, second precinct at the United Methodist Church on Coulterville Road. Poll workers submitted an empty envelope to elections officials on Nov. 3 at the courthouse that indicated no provisional ballots were cast at the precinct, Sebastiani said. Officials in November processed and counted about 3,800 provisional ballots cast at the county’s 307 voting precincts. The 21 uncounted ballots were found stuffed under a touchscreen computer during routine inspections of the nearly 900 voting machines and 307 scanners placed throughout the county on Election Day. Those machines, along with 900 bins containing the more than 143,000 paper ballots cast at the precincts on Nov. 3, under the state’s election code were required to remain under seal until Nov. 23.

Full Article: Uncounted ballots discovered among Westmoreland County voting equipment | TribLIVE.com

Texas Republican Congressman Chip Roy objects to seating 67 lawmakers from states Trump disputes to highlight GOP election hypocrisy | Tom Benning/Dallas Morning News

Austin Rep. Chip Roy, in a dramatic escalation in the GOP feud over whether to challenge Democrat Joe Biden’s White House win, on Sunday night objected to the seating of his House colleagues elected in the six states where President Donald Trump disputes the results. Roy, a conservative firebrand, used the tactic to underscore his opposition to the efforts by some Republicans – including several Texans – to not certify Biden’s victory on Wednesday. The Republican’s point was that if anyone is claiming the presidential election in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin was marked by widespread fraud, then the same would have to hold true for the down-ballot candidates elected in those states. “Those representatives were elected through the very same systems — with the same ballot procedures, with the same signature validations, with the same broadly applied decisions of executive and judicial branch officials,” he said.

Full Article: Chip Roy objects to seating 67 lawmakers from states Trump disputes to highlight GOP election hypocrisy

Wisconsin: Federal judge scoffs at election lawsuit brought by state Republicans | Patrick Marley/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A federal judge on Monday rejected the underpinning of a lawsuit seeking to undo election results brought by two Wisconsin Republicans and others, writing that it was riddled with errors, unserious and brought in bad faith. The lawsuit by state Reps. David Steffen of Howard and Jeffrey Mursau of Crivitz, among others, is rife with so many problems that their lawyers may need to be sanctioned professionally, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg of Washington, D.C., wrote. He noted the attorneys had not served the lawsuit on its numerous defendants, even after Boasberg reminded them they needed to do that. “Courts are not instruments through which parties engage in such gamesmanship or symbolic political gestures,” he wrote. “As a result, at the conclusion of this litigation, the Court will determine whether to issue an order to show cause why this matter should not be referred to its Committee on Grievances for potential discipline of Plaintiffs’ counsel.” His ruling denied a preliminary injunction that sought to undo the certifications of elections in Wisconsin and other battleground states that went to Democrat Joe Biden over President Donald Trump.

Full Article: Judge scoffs at election lawsuit brought by Wisconsin Republicans

‘I just want to find 11,780 votes’: In extraordinary hour-long call, Trump pressures Georgia secretary of state to recalculate the vote in his favor | Amy Gardner/The Washington Post

President Trump urged fellow Republican Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state, to “find” enough votes to overturn his defeat in an extraordinary one-hour phone call Saturday that legal scholars described as a flagrant abuse of power and a potential criminal act. The Washington Post obtained a recording of the conversation in which Trump alternately berated Raffensperger, tried to flatter him, begged him to act and threatened him with vague criminal consequences if the secretary of state refused to pursue his false claims, at one point warning that Raffensperger was taking “a big risk.” Throughout the call, Raffensperger and his office’s general counsel rejected Trump’s assertions, explaining that the president is relying on debunked conspiracy theories and that President-elect Joe Biden’s 11,779-vote victory in Georgia was fair and accurate. Trump dismissed their arguments. “The people of Georgia are angry, the people of the country are angry,” he said. “And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, that you’ve recalculated.” Raffensperger responded: “Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong.” At another point, Trump said: “So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.”

Read the full transcript of the Trump-Raffensperger call

Full Article: Trump pressures Georgia’s Raffensperger to overturn his defeat in extraordinary call – The Washington Post

Editorial: Trump’s strategy: overturn result, cheat democracy – The president is seeking to bring down a system that defeated him | The Guardian

This week, Donald Trump will undermine democracy in the US by supporting the claim that Democrat Joe Biden did not fairly win last November’s presidential election. A peaceful handover of power in a democracy requires losing candidates and their followers to admit defeat. But Mr Trump has manufactured a controversy purely to maintain power and to overturn a legitimate election. US courts have repeatedly thrown out Mr Trump’s evidence-free cases. This has not stopped the president’s accomplices in Congress. They, backed by Mr Trump’s vice-president, on Wednesday plan to challenge Mr Biden’s win to force a debate and votes in Congress. Some scholars point to a historical precedent as offering a slim, perhaps vanishing, chance that the nightmare will continue. Mr Trump will not let an opportunity pass to relitigate an election he lost. For the good of America, he must fail. The alternative is ultimately the collapse of political norms and civil strife. A classic demagogue, Mr Trump is signalling to his supporters that they, like him, should refuse to respect the election’s outcome and reject Mr Biden’s presidency. There is a well-grounded fear that protests could erupt, some of them armed. Mr Trump might call out the national guard or send federal agents to deal with demonstrations. This chaos, Mr Trump no doubt hopes, will pave the way for an autocratic takeover. Mr Trump is a sore loser who cannot stand that he was beaten in a fair election. He should move on but sees no reason why he should yield. After all, Mr Trump has not been punished for his transgressions against tradition, decency and the law. Instead, he has been rewarded. He thinks he can get away with almost anything. The Republican party has only itself to blame for incubating Trumpism, a parasitical ideology that threatens to take over the host.

Full Article: The Guardian view on Trump’s strategy: overturn result, cheat democracy | US politics | The Guardian

National: As Understanding of Russian Hacking Grows, So Does Alarm | David E. Sanger, Nicole Perlroth and Julian E. Barnes/The New York Times

On Election Day, General Paul M. Nakasone, the nation’s top cyberwarrior, reported that the battle against Russian interference in the presidential campaign had posted major successes and exposed the other side’s online weapons, tools and tradecraft. “We’ve broadened our operations and feel very good where we’re at right now,” he told journalists. Eight weeks later, General Nakasone and other American officials responsible for cybersecurity are now consumed by what they missed for at least nine months: a hacking, now believed to have affected upward of 250 federal agencies and businesses, that Russia aimed not at the election system but at the rest of the United States government and many large American corporations. Three weeks after the intrusion came to light, American officials are still trying to understand whether what the Russians pulled off was simply an espionage operation inside the systems of the American bureaucracy or something more sinister, inserting “backdoor” access into government agencies, major corporations, the electric grid and laboratories developing and transporting new generations of nuclear weapons. At a minimum it has set off alarms about the vulnerability of government and private sector networks in the United States to attack and raised questions about how and why the nation’s cyberdefenses failed so spectacularly. Those questions have taken on particular urgency given that the breach was not detected by any of the government agencies that share responsibility for cyberdefense — the military’s Cyber Command and the National Security Agency, both of which are run by General Nakasone, and the Department of Homeland Security — but by a private cybersecurity company, FireEye.

Full Article: As Understanding of Russian Hacking Grows, So Does Alarm – The New York Times

National: ‘Traitors and patriots’: Republican push to keep Trump in power seems doomed | Martin Pengelly/The Guardian

All 12 Republican senators who have pledged not to ratify the electoral college results on Wednesday, and thereby refuse to confirm Joe Biden’s resounding victory over Donald Trump in the presidential election, declined to defend their move on television, a CNN host said on Sunday. “It all recalls what Ulysses S Grant once wrote in 1861,” Jake Tapper said on State of the Union, before quoting a letter the union general wrote at the outset of a civil war he won before becoming president himself: ‘There are [but] two parties now: traitors and patriots.’ “How would you describe the parties today?” Tapper asked. The attempt to overturn Trump’s defeat seems doomed, a piece of political theatre mounted by party grandees eager to court supporters loyal to the president before, in some cases, mounting their own runs for the White House. Nonetheless on Saturday Ted Cruz of Texas and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin led 11 senators and senators-elect in calling for “an emergency 10-day audit” of results in states where the president claims electoral fraud, despite failing to provide evidence and repeatedly losing in court. The senators followed Josh Hawley of Missouri – like Cruz thought likely to run for president in 2024 – in pledging to object to the electoral college result. A majority of House Republicans are also expected to object, after staging a Saturday call with Trump to plan their own moves.

Full Article: ‘Traitors and patriots’: Republican push to keep Trump in power seems doomed | Donald Trump | The Guardian

National: Trump Call to Georgia Official Might Violate State and Federal Law | Eric Lipton/The New York Times

The call by President Trump on Saturday to Georgia’s secretary of state raised the prospect that Mr. Trump may have violated laws that prohibit interference in federal or state elections, but lawyers said on Sunday that it would be difficult to pursue such a charge. The recording of the conversation between Mr. Trump and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger of Georgia, first reported by The Washington Post, led a number of election and criminal defense lawyers to conclude that by pressuring Mr. Raffensperger to “find” the votes he would need to reverse the election outcome in the state, Mr. Trump either broke the law or came close to it. “It seems to me like what he did clearly violates Georgia statutes,” said Leigh Ann Webster, an Atlanta criminal defense lawyer, citing a state law that makes it illegal for anyone who “solicits, requests, commands, importunes or otherwise attempts to cause the other person to engage” in election fraud. At the federal level, anyone who “knowingly and willfully deprives, defrauds or attempts to deprive or defraud the residents of a state of a fair and impartially conducted election process” is breaking the law. Matthew T. Sanderson, a Republican election lawyer who has worked on several presidential campaigns — including those of Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and Rick Perry, the former Texas governor — said that while it did appear that Mr. Trump was trying to intimidate Mr. Raffensperger, it was not clear that he violated the law.

Full Article: Trump Call to Georgia Official Might Violate State and Federal Law – The New York Times

National: Will 2020’s vote lead to more federal oversight in US elections? | Joseph Stepansky/Al Jazeera

The dust is settling in a United States presidential election conducted in the face of an unprecedented health crisis and a misinformation campaign like none other in history.The 2020 contest has again shone a spotlight on one of the most decentralised election systems in the world and prompted renewed calls for increased election uniformity across the country. In the US, national elections – those for president and Congress – are administered by local and county officials, typically following policies and procedures set by the state. As noted by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), these systems developed “organically” within the particular context of each state “and there is quite a bit of variation in election administration even within states”. In some ways, the 2020 elections made clear the importance of having authority spread out across the country amid President Donald Trump’s widespread campaign to the results.

Full Article: Will 2020’s vote lead to more federal oversight in US elections? | US Elections 2020 News | Al Jazeera

National: ‘Exercise in futility’: Republicans lambaste Hawley’s push to challenge election | Burgess Everett/Politico

Multiple Senate Republicans unloaded on an effort led by Sen. Josh Hawley to challenge Joe Biden’s election victory as the party hurtles toward its most consequential confrontation with Donald Trump of his entire presidency. Hawley (R-Mo.) denied that he was trying to overturn the election by challenging the certification of at least one state and forcing the Senate into an up-or-down vote on Biden’s wins. He said he was merely trying to voice his frustration with the election results, arguing this is his one chance “to stand and be heard.” But some of his colleagues are thoroughly unimpressed. “I think it’s awful. I am going to support my oath to the Constitution. That’s the loyalty test here,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) called Hawley’s move “disappointing and destructive. And borrowing from Ben Sasse it’s ambition pointing a gun at the head of democracy.” Sasse (R-Neb.) said this week that “adults don’t point a loaded gun at the heart of legitimate self-government.” “I’m going to vote to certify the election,” said Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) of Hawley’s effort. “I don’t think it’s a good idea and I don’t understand his reasoning.” Already it’s become clear the effort will fail given the public opposition from those senators and others like Sens. Shelly Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who flatly said “no” Friday when asked if he would join Hawley. A simple majority is enough to certify Biden’s win, and there are 48 Senate Democrats. But the vote on Jan. 6 to certify Biden’s win is viewed within the GOP as a painful litmus test. Republicans either risk blowback or a primary challenge by approving Biden’s win amid Trump’s baseless claims of widespread fraud, or they can align themselves with Trump’s attempt to subvert the election results.

Full Article: ‘Exercise in futility’: Republicans lambaste Hawley’s push to challenge election – POLITICO

National: Ex-GOP Speaker Ryan denounces effort to challenge Electoral College results | Zach Budryk/The Hill

Former Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Sunday blasted Congressional Republicans’ efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. “Efforts to reject the votes of the Electoral College and sow doubt about Joe Biden’s victory strike at the foundation of our republic. It is difficult to conceive of a more anti-democratic and anti-conservative act than a federal intervention to overturn the results of state-certified elections and disenfranchise millions of Americans,” Ryan said in a statement. “The Trump campaign had ample opportunity to challenge election results, and those efforts failed from lack of evidence,” the statement continues. “The legal process was exhausted, and the results were decisively confirmed. The Department of Justice, too, found no basis for overturning the result. If states wish to reform their processes for future elections, that is their prerogative. But Joe Biden’s victory is entirely legitimate.” The Trump campaign and its allies’ have attempted numerous legal challenges to the election results, all of which have been unsuccessful in undoing President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, including two lawsuits rejected by the Supreme Court. Ryan, who was Speaker for the first two years of Trump’s term, has largely avoided weighing in on current events since leaving office, but did previously call on the president to accept the results of the election in late November, during a period when the General Services Administration was refusing to sign off on the transition.

Full Article: Ex-GOP Speaker Ryan denounces effort to challenge Electoral College results | TheHill

National: Election Day Voting in 2020 Took Longer in America’s Poorest Neighborhoods | Kevin Quealy and Alicia Parlapiano/The New York Times

Most election experts agree that in-person voting went smoothly on Election Day in 2020, thanks to a record number of early and absentee votes, and local changes to lessen the risk of voting in a pandemic. But one longstanding disparity appears to have persisted: Casting a vote typically took longer in poorer, less white neighborhoods than it did in whiter and more affluent ones. At the request of The New York Times, Cuebiq, a company that analyzes location data for advertisers and marketers, identified more than 250,000 likely voters across the country, based on anonymous smartphone location data and public databases of polling locations from Google and the Center for Public Integrity, a journalism nonprofit. This analysis found that voters in the very poorest neighborhoods in the country typically took longer to vote, and they were also modestly more likely to experience voting times of an hour or more. Analysts at Cuebiq identified likely voters as people who visited a polling location on Election Day, filtering out passers-by and people who either lived nearby or routinely visited that polling location on other days of the year. This technique is based on one developed by researchers in a study of the 2016 vote, which found similar differences. The data used by Cuebiq is imperfect, but it shows trends similar to those other researchers have found, both in 2020 and in previous elections.

Full Article: Election Day Voting in 2020 Took Longer in America’s Poorest Neighborhoods – The New York Times

Editorial: 10 former defense secretaries: Involving military in election disputes would be dangerous, unlawful | Ashton Carter, Dick Cheney, William Cohen, Mark Esper, Robert Gates, Chuck Hagel, James Mattis, Leon Panetta, William Perry and Donald Rumsfeld/The Washington Post

As former secretaries of defense, we hold a common view of the solemn obligations of the U.S. armed forces and the Defense Department. Each of us swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. We did not swear it to an individual or a party. American elections and the peaceful transfers of power that result are hallmarks of our democracy. With one singular and tragic exception that cost the lives of more Americans than all of our other wars combined, the United States has had an unbroken record of such transitions since 1789, including in times of partisan strife, war, epidemics and economic depression. This year should be no exception. Our elections have occurred. Recounts and audits have been conducted. Appropriate challenges have been addressed by the courts. Governors have certified the results. And the electoral college has voted. The time for questioning the results has passed; the time for the formal counting of the electoral college votes, as prescribed in the Constitution and statute, has arrived. As senior Defense Department leaders have noted, “there’s no role for the U.S. military in determining the outcome of a U.S. election.” Efforts to involve the U.S. armed forces in resolving election disputes would take us into dangerous, unlawful and unconstitutional territory. Civilian and military officials who direct or carry out such measures would be accountable, including potentially facing criminal penalties, for the grave consequences of their actions on our republic. Transitions, which all of us have experienced, are a crucial part of the successful transfer of power. They often occur at times of international uncertainty about U.S. national security policy and posture. They can be a moment when the nation is vulnerable to actions by adversaries seeking to take advantage of the situation.

Full Article: Opinion | 10 former defense secretaries: Involving military in election disputes would be dangerous, unlawful – The Washington Post

Editorial: Ted Cruz disrupting electoral college count won’t change anything. It can still hurt democracy. | Edward B. Foley/The Washington Post

Sen. Ted Cruz’s 11th-hour effort to derail certification of Joe Biden’s election victory is the wrong solution to a non-problem at the wrong time. Fortunately, it also won’t succeed, but it nonetheless provides one more alarming sign of the perilous state of our democracy. Cruz (R-Texas) and 10 colleagues announced Saturday that they will vote to challenge electoral college votes in “disputed states” when Congress meets Jan. 6, though it was unclear how many states that will be. In practical effect, the move adds nothing but numbers to the process that Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) had already vowed to set into motion: two hours of debate, in both the House and Senate, on each state the Republicans challenge. This will greatly slow what should be a straightforward process, but the bottom line is clear: Unless Vice President Pence, in his presiding role as president of the Senate, were to unexpectedly deviate from the procedures established by Congress in 1887 — a truly lawless move that would be swiftly resisted by senators and representatives of both parties — the outcome remains inevitable. Nonetheless, the fact that a dozen senators and senators-elect, along with apparently more than 100 House members, want to disrupt congressional ratification of the electoral college result is one more horrendous sign of the severity of the disease afflicting the United States’ democratic system. It will make it even harder for Biden to heal this pathology of partisan polarization, as he has promised to do.

Full Article: Opinion | Ted Cruz disrupting electoral college count won’t change anything. It can still hurt democracy. – The Washington Post

Arizona GOP’s attorney blasts judge in new legal filings over election ruling | Howard Fischer/Arizona Daily Star

The Arizona Republican Party is telling a judge he’s treading on First Amendment rights if he imposes sanctions on the party for bringing what he called a “meritless” lawsuit over the Nov. 3 election. “Public mistrust following this election motivated this lawsuit, and there is absolutely nothing improper or harassing about that,” the attorney for the party, Jack Wilenchik, told Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah. He said forcing those who bring such actions to pay the other side’s legal fees, even if the cases are ultimately thrown out of court, effectively silences those who exercise their constitutional rights to challenge results. And Wilenchik contended the fact it is being considered shows “a degree of bias” by Hannah and that the judge is ignoring the feelings of those voters who question the legitimacy of the general election results. Hannah has not said when he will rule on the issue. The dispute is what’s left of a bid by the state GOP to force a different method of conducting the legally required random hand count of ballots. In that procedure, officials from both parties select a batch of ballots to determine if the machine-tallied results match what humans found. In all cases in Maricopa County in the general election, the match was 100%.

Full Article: Arizona GOP’s attorney blasts judge in new legal filings over election ruling | Local news | tucson.com

Georgia finishes re-check of absentee ballot signatures – No election fraud found | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Law enforcement and election investigators didn’t find a single fraudulent absentee ballot during an audit of over 15,000 voter signatures, according to a report by the Georgia secretary of state’s office released Tuesday. The audit contradicted allegations that absentee ballots were rife with fraud after President Donald Trump said the election had been stolen, said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Trump lost to Joe Biden by about 12,000 votes in Georgia. There were 10 absentee ballots that had been accepted but voter signatures didn’t match or signatures were missing, according to the report. But agents from the GBI and investigators with the secretary of state’s office contacted those voters and confirmed they had submitted those ballots. In one case, a voter’s wife signed her husband’s ballot envelope. Another voter signed the front of the envelope instead of the back. Eight voters had mismatched signatures, but the voters told investigators the signatures were legitimate. Raffensperger, a Republican said the audit results confirmed the election outcome again after two recounts— both by hand and machine — of all 5 million ballots cast in Georgia’s presidential election. “The secretary of state’s office has always been focused on calling balls and strikes in elections, and in this case, three strikes against the voter claims and they’re out,” Raffensperger said. “This audit disproves the only credible allegations the Trump campaign had against the strength of Georgia’s signature match process.”

Full Article: Georgia finishes re-check of absentee ballot signatures – No election fraud found

Georgia’s Raffensperger should investigate Trump over phone call, state elections board member says | Teo Armus/The Washington Post

The only Democrat on Georgia’s state election board on Sunday called on Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) to investigate possible civil and criminal violations committed by President Trump during a phone call over the weekend in which the president pressured Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to overturn his defeat. David J. Worley, an Atlanta lawyer, said a transcript of the hour-long call, a recording of which was obtained by The Washington Post, amounted to “probable cause” to believe that Trump had violated Georgia election code. “It’s a crime to solicit election fraud, and asking the secretary to change the votes is a textbook definition of election fraud,” he said in an interview with The Post on Sunday. In his letter to Raffensperger, Worley said that “such an incident, splashed as it is across every local and national news outlet, cannot be ignored or brushed aside.” Worley cited Georgia state code § 21-2-604, which makes it a crime to solicit someone else to commit election fraud. Such a violation can be punished by up to three years in prison.

Full Article: Georgia’s Raffensperger should investigate Trump over phone call, state elections board member says – The Washington Post

Georgia: Judge rolls back order on runoff voter challenges | Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney/Politico

A federal judge has agreed to allow a Georgia county to require that certain voters cast provisional ballots, just days before two runoff elections in the state that will decide control of the U.S. Senate. More than 4,000 voters faced eligibility challenges ahead of the Jan. 5 runoffs based on unverified postal change-of-address records. The new injunction from U.S. District Court Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner, issued just before midnight on Wednesday, replaces an earlier restraining order she had issued that prevented Muscogee County from forcing those voters to cast provisional ballots at all. The latest order represents a significant move in the direction the county board urged during a court hearing earlier Wednesday. Although the county may now require provisional ballots from those voters, Gardner’s order directs that no challenges to their eligibility be upheld based exclusively on data in the National Change of Address Registry, a U.S. Postal Service database that Democrats have worried is an unreliable and unverified indicator of whether individuals have changed their legal residence. “The challenge to their eligibility will not be sustained absent specific evidence of ineligibility,” ordered Gardner, who sits in Albany, Ga. “Such specific evidence shall not include the appearance of a voter’s name or other information on the NCOA registry” Her order also requires Muscogee County to notify any voters for whom it finds such evidence of ineligibility and give them a chance to present evidence to count their ballot by Jan. 8. The order came in a suit brought by Majority Forward, a Democratic nonprofit, affiliated with Senate Majority PAC, that focuses on voter registration.

Full Article: Judge rolls back order on Georgia runoff voter challenges – POLITICO

Iowa Legislature likely to address election recount inconsistencies | James Q. Lynch/Quad City Times

A still-unresolved U.S. House race in Iowa has prompted election officials to call for legislative action to address the procedures for recounts. Nine weeks after the Nov. 3 election, the outcome of Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District is in the hands of the Democratic-controlled U.S. House. Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks had a 282-vote lead in the 24-county southeast Iowa district on election night. That narrowed to 47 votes after late-arriving mail-in absentee and provisional ballots were counted, and precinct reporting errors were corrected. Iowa election officials on Nov. 30 certified her the winner by just six votes. That prompted Democrat Rita Hart to challenge the outcome, filing a petition asking the U.S. House for a review of all ballots cast in the race. Miller-Meeks has been seated provisionally while the fate of the contest is decided, but the U.S. House could reverse that. County auditors, campaigns and others have raised concerns about the vote recount process not being consistent from one county to another. In some counties, complete hand recounts were conducted in the race. Other counties did machine recounts and some, including Johnson and Scott counties, used a hybrid version. Iowa House State Government Chairman Bobby Kaufmann, R-Wilton, doesn’t have a solution — yet. However, leaving the outcome of an Iowa election in the hands of the U.S. House is unacceptable to him.

Full Article: Iowa Legislature likely to address election recount inconsistencies | Local News | qctimes.com

Michigan Attorney General: Attorney in Antrim County case should reveal names of elections review team Dave Boucher/Detroit Free Press

An attorney working with a team that reviewed voting machines in Antrim County wants a judge to prevent Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel from publicly revealing the names or other identifying information of those who conducted the review. The report is at the heart of conspiracies furthered by President Donald Trump and others that incorrectly assert there was widespread election fraud in November. Attorney Matthew DePerno said in a recent legal filing that revealing personal information would endanger the team, whose members “fear for their safety and the safety of their families in this hyper-political climate.” He also says he has been personally threatened. However, a copy of the 23-page report posted to his law firm’s website already includes the name of the firm that conducted the review on Dec. 6, and the name of the man who prepared the report. Attorneys working in Nessel’s office told the court they are willing to agree to an order that would prohibit the release of any contact information, like phone numbers or addresses, for everyone involved in creating the report. But by asking the court to prevent the release of the names of the people who conducted the review, they say DePerno and his client are trying to both publicize the report while withholding information that could bolster or undermine its credibility.

Full Article: AG: Names of Antrim County election review team should be public

New Jersey: Historic election prompts calls for voting reforms | Colleen O’Dea/NJ Spotlight News

The 2020 general election in New Jersey will go down in the history books for both the state’s ability to conduct its first mail-in paper ballot vote under extreme circumstances and for the voters who adapted with relatively few mistakes. Despite the success, most officials and many voters do not want to conduct future elections the way New Jersey did this year. At the top of the list for many, with the lessons learned from the 2020 elections serving to inform proposed reforms, is incorporating true early, in-person voting with electronic poll books. And while the number of votes rejected represented 1.4% of all ballots cast, a total of 66,506 ballots were rejected, according to the state Division of Elections, a number many advocates consider to be too large. “As we get ready for the 2021 elections, we need to be doing a deep dive into our entire election infrastructure — not just mail-in voting — to ensure our elections are robust and accessible,” said Jesse Burns, executive director of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey. Gov. Phil Murphy proclaimed the general election a success and said officials in his administration are still looking into the details of the voting and how to improve on it during a future election conducted in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic or similar crisis. Murphy points most often to allowing early voting in person and adopting electronic poll books. Last August, a Senate committee endorsed one early voting bill (S-99), and two months later an Assembly committee approved a different version (A-4830). Both bills currently are stalled in their respective appropriations committees. Using electronic poll books appears to be the only way the state could conduct the same kind of large-scale mail-in balloting as what occurred this year and still allow for some in-person voting by machine.

Full Article: Lessons learned in New Jersey from 2020 elections? | NJ Spotlight News

New York: Brindisi, Tenney argue, vote by vote, in epic nail-biter. How perfect does a voter have to be? | Patrick Lohmann/Syracuse Post-Standard

Thousands of disputed votes in New York’s 22nd Congressional District election will come under intense scrutiny this week as attorneys for both candidates fight for every vote in a race now divided by 29 of 311,695 cast. Attorneys for incumbent Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) and challenger Claudia Tenney, a Republican from New Hartford, have detailed in written briefs the arguments they intend to make in court. State Supreme Court Judge Scott DelConte will rule on which ballots will count. Lawyers for Brindisi, who trails Tenney by 29 votes, are trying to get ballots that have been rejected to be included in the count by arguing that technicalities and alleged errors by government employees should not be enough to toss votes. Tenney’s attorneys are arguing that the judge should adhere strictly to what they say is established law. Dustin Czarny, Democratic election commissioner for Onondaga County, hadn’t read the briefs Saturday but said some of Brindisi’s arguments will be a “tough lift” based on a reporter’s description of them. Other arguments, he said, are fresh territory for the courts, so it’s not clear what will happen. Onondaga County is not part of the 22nd Congressional District. There are about 2,500 absentee and affidavit ballots that are contested from eight counties that comprise the district.

Full Article: Brindisi, Tenney argue, vote by vote, in epic nail-biter. How perfect does a voter have to be? – syracuse.com

Tennessee: AT&T not conducting voting machine audit near Nashville explosion site | Ali Swenson/Associated Press

CLAIM: AT&T got a contract to do a forensic audit of Dominion Voting Systems machines and those machines were recently moved to Nashville, Tennessee — to the same AT&T building that was damaged in a Christmas morning explosion.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. AT&T did not have a contract to audit Dominion machines and was not holding Dominion machines in its Nashville building, both companies confirmed to The Associated Press. Authorities still don’t know the reason for the Christmas day bombing, but there’s no evidence it was election related.

THE FACTS: As federal officials work to piece together a motive for the blast that rattled downtown Nashville on Christmas morning, social media users have invented their own far-fetched theories. One theory shared thousands of times on Facebook over the weekend tries to connect the explosion to voting machines used in the Nov. 3 election. … These claims are groundless. Spokespeople for AT&T and Dominion confirmed to the AP that AT&T had no contract to audit Dominion machines, and no Dominion machines were to be sent to Nashville. Some of the posts attempted to further link AT&T to Dominion by claiming a former owner of the AT&T building was a board member of a firm that owns Dominion.

Cerberus Capital Management, the firm named in the posts, does not own Dominion, nor does it own the company that does own Dominion, Staple Street Capital. “Dominion has no connection to AT&T, the building, Nashville, family members of the Bidens or the Clintons, and Staple Street is not owned by Cerberus,” said Tony Fratto, a partner at the PR firm Hamilton Place Strategies who emailed the AP on behalf of Dominion. “These are conspiracies manufactured out of whole cloth.”

Full Article: AT&T not conducting voting machine audit near Nashville explosion site

Tennessee: Nashville bombing quickly linked with voting, 5G conspiracy theories | Adam Tamburin/Nashville Tennessean

Within minutes of the Christmas Day bombing that blew apart several buildings in downtown Nashville, conspiracy theories surfaced online tying the attack to familiar, debunked claims of voter fraud and the rise of the 5G mobile network. … Conspiracy theorists said the AT&T building near the blast housed tainted voting machines. That false claim was quickly denounced by company spokespeople, and multiple news outlets confirmed the conspiracy theory was not true. Dancy said public officials seeking to dampen the power of conspiracy theories should openly acknowledge uncertainty during emergencies and investigations. “Stick to the evidence,” Dancy said. “You have to be very honest about what you know and what you don’t know.”

Full Article: Nashville bombing quickly linked with voting, 5G conspiracy theories

Wisconsin: Trump Campaign Asks US Supreme Court To Take Case On Overturning Election Results | Danielle Kaeding/Wisconsin Public Radio

The Trump campaign wants the U.S. Supreme Court to consider its lawsuit seeking to overturn Wisconsin’s U.S. presidential election results after the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled against them this month. The Trump campaign’s lead attorney Rudy Giuliani announced the filing on Tuesday. The state Supreme Court rejected the campaign’s lawsuit in a 4-3 vote, ruling that President Donald Trump should have challenged Wisconsin’s rules prior to the November election if he had problems with them. “Regrettably, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, in their 4-3 decision, refused to address the merits of our claim,” said Jim Troupis, Trump’s lead Wisconsin attorney. “This ‘Cert Petition’ asks them to address our claims, which, if allowed, would change the outcome of the election in Wisconsin.” Troupis highlighted that three conservative members of the state Supreme Court, including Chief Justice Pat Roggensack, dissented from the majority. In doing so, they voiced criticism of fellow conservative Brian Hagedorn, who sided with liberal justices in the 4-3 decision. The ruling came hours before the state’s electors were set to cast their votes for President-elect Joe Biden. The Trump campaign wants the nation’s highest court to provide an expedited decision before Congress counts Electoral College votes on Jan. 6.

Full Article: Trump Campaign Asks US Supreme Court To Take Case On Overturning Wisconsin Election Results | Wisconsin Public Radio