Georgia: Raffensperger, Sterling defend election from ‘disinformation’ | Susan McCord/Augusta Chronicle

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger continued efforts Wednesday to dispel disinformation about the Nov. 3 general election as voters turn out in record numbers for U.S. Senate runoffs Jan. 5. “The facts are on our side. There are those that are exploiting the strong feelings so many of President Trump’s supporters have for him,” Raffensperger said at a news conference. “Truth has been a casualty of the campaigns.” The president, Republicans nationwide and Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue have assailed Raffensperger, a lifelong Republican, for allegedly mishandling the election. Trump retweeted Tuesday that Raffensperger and Gov. Brian Kemp were “going to jail” for their roles. The National Republican Senatorial Committee said Tuesday that “Republicans are so concerned about the Georgia Secretary of State’s competence.” Republicans Loeffler and Perdue are in high-stakes runoffs with Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. Wins by Warnock and Ossoff will shift control of Congress to Democrats. On Thursday, a federal judge in Augusta will hear one of the latest lawsuits alleging the potential for fraud in the use of absentee, mail-in ballots, an unsubstantiated claim raised in earlier suits on Trump’s behalf that judges have dismissed. It contends Raffensperger did not properly require signature matching in the general election and seeks to change the process and remove ballot drop boxes in the runoffs, for which advance voting started Monday.

Full Article: Raffensperger, Sterling defend Georgia election from ‘disinformation’

Michigan: New Supreme Court filing includes blatantly wrong information about election | Dave Boucher/Detroit Free Press

A long-shot legal effort relying on conspiracy theories and inaccurate analyses to argue President Donald Trump actually won Michigan included additional blatantly false information in a new filing with the U.S. Supreme Court this week. The legal team, including attorney Sidney Powell, told the court the Republican-controlled Michigan Legislature backs its effort to allow a so-called GOP slate of Electoral College delegates cast the state’s 16 electoral votes for Trump. This is wrong. On Monday, Republican leaders of the Michigan House and Senate publicly acknowledged President-elect Joe Biden won the election. The same day, the state’s actual 16 Electoral College delegates voted for Biden, who received 154,000 more votes than Trump in Michigan. It’s unlikely the Supreme Court will take up this or any of the legal claims from Powell and her team. Powell previously appeared at news conferences with Rudy Giuliani and other Trump attorneys, but the campaign has since sought to distance itself from her. Gregory Rohl, a Michigan attorney working with Powell, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. The group of Republicans who incorrectly argue they can cast electoral votes for Trump were not allowed into the state Capitol on Monday. Powell and her team represent several people who would have served as GOP delegates to the Electoral College had Trump won Michigan.

Full Are: New Supreme Court filing has blatantly wrong information about Michigan

Michigan: Former election security chief for Trump knocks down Antrim County report | Todd Spangler/Detroit Free Press

A former Trump administration official who oversaw election security and was ousted after saying there were no widespread problems on Wednesday pointed out problems with a report claiming irregularities in Antrim County and cited as proof of corruption by President Donald Trump and others. Testifying before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Chris Krebs, the former chief of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, called the report by Allied Security Operations Group throwing doubts on the election systems used in Antrim County “factually inaccurate.” “It implies those systems are undependable,” said Krebs, who explained that he went over the report the group issued as part of a lawsuit questioning the vote results in the county that has been used by Trump and his allies to widely suggest corruption. He said he could find nothing in it to support those claims. The Free Press, which has been following the Antrim County case, has looked closely at the Allied Security Operations Group report, which claims the county’s equipment supplied by Dominion Voting Systems was “intentionally and purposefully designed with inherent errors to create systemic fraud and influence election results.” In those reports, the Free Press has concluded that some of its claims — including one that suggested machines had a 68% error rateas if that percentage of the county votes had been misred, left untallied or changed — were false or misleading. Krebs said when he went over the report he was thrown by that claim of a 68% error rate and he saw it “repeated in social media by the (Trump) campaign, by the president.” But as he looked more closely, he concluded that the number cited by the group is the number of alerts reported by the voting machines or tabulators, not necessarily errors or changes in the actual ballots as they were counted.

Full Article: Antrim County report debunked by former Trump election official

Editorial: Missouri GOP’s resolution to overturn the election is worse than baseless | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Forty Missouri House Republicans have co-sponsored a resolution that is both un-Republican and un-American. It calls on Congress to reject election results in six other states, based on President Donald Trump’s fabricated claims of mass voter fraud. This cynical attack on democracy wouldn’t have the force of law even if it were to pass the full House, but it should stand as evidence that it isn’t just the president who has gone around the bend to a dangerous place; he has brought much of his party with him. To be clear: This has been the most closely vetted election in American history, with multiple vote recounts and dozens of lawsuits — and none of it has produced evidence to suggest significant irregularities, let alone mass fraud. Judge after judge has thrown out Trump’s cases. State election officials around America, including avowed Trump supporters, have repeatedly confirmed Joe Biden’s clear victory. Yet the Missouri GOP on Monday gave committee approval to HR2, declaring the House has “no faith in the validity of the results of the 2020 presidential election” in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, Arizona or Nevada. It demands a “full and fair investigation” into alleged election irregularities — ignoring the multiple bipartisan reviews that already have occurred. Barring such a probe, it says, Congress should refuse to accept the electoral votes of those states, which would disenfranchise millions.The resolution claims those states’ election laws were “likely ignored and violated in numerous ways,” but offers no evidence beyond a bunch of vague conspiracy tropes. It argues that the low rejection rate among absentee ballots somehow proves something nefarious. It regurgitates a debunked analysis by InfoWars attorney Robert Barnes that supposedly proves fraud — crediting by name this infamous conspiracy monger whose “work” has included maligning the parents of the dead children of Sandy Hook.

Full Article: Editorial: Missouri GOP’s resolution to overturn the election is worse than baseless. | Editorial | stltoday.com

New York: Judge tells counties to resolve Brindisi-Tenney election by start of new Congress | Mark Weiner/Syracuse Post-Standard

A judge today told election officials he wants to resolve disputes in the undecided House race between Rep. Anthony Brindisi and Claudia Tenney by the start of the new Congress on Jan. 3. It was the first time State Supreme Court Justice Scott DelConte set a goal for ending the review of challenged ballots in the 22nd Congressional District – a process that has dragged on for more than a month after the election. DelConte told lawyers for the eight counties in the district that he wants to meet with them privately Friday “to address the scheduling and logistics for resuming review of all challenged envelopes and ballots as safely and efficiently as possible.” The judge said his goal is to start reviewing disputed ballots on Monday, Dec. 21. Lawyers for Brindisi, D-Utica, and Tenney have raised objections about hundreds of absentee and affidavit ballots cast in the election, leaving it to DelConte to decide which votes are valid. For now, Tenney leads Brindisi by 12 votes out of more than 318,000 cast in the election, according to uncertified returns from the counties. Tenney, a Republican from New Hartford, led by 28,422 votes on election night. But her lead evaporated as election officials counted about 60,000 absentee ballots cast under new rules during the coronavirus pandemic.

Full Are: Judge tells counties to resolve Brindisi-Tenney election by start of new Congress – syracuse.com

Pennsylvania congressmen who wanted to throw out their own state’s votes still don’t acknowledge Biden’s win | Jonathan Tamari/Philadelphia Inquirer

The seven Republican congressmen from Pennsylvania who supported a lawsuit that would have thrown out their own state’s votes in the presidential race had little to say about the final outcome after the U.S. Supreme Court flatly rejected their effort and the Electoral College certified President-elect Joe Biden as the winner Monday. Three of the seven, Reps. Fred Keller, Dan Meuser, and Scott Perry, issued statements saying the amicus brief they signed, which supported a Texas lawsuit targeting Pennsylvania’s votes, was only trying to ensure the proper procedures were followed. Aides to the four others, Reps. John Joyce, Mike Kelly, Guy Reschenthaler, and Glenn Thompson, did not respond to emails and phone calls Monday and Tuesday requesting comment. None formally acknowledged what the Electoral College confirmed and has been clear for weeks: that Biden won. Perry has previously said he will mount a long-shot effort to block Pennsylvania’s presidential electors when Congress formally receives them Jan. 6. It’s unclear if others from the state will join him. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) congratulated Biden as the president-elect on the Senate floor Tuesday morning. The Texas lawsuit sought to dismiss the 6.9 million presidential votes cast in Pennsylvania and allow the GOP-controlled state legislature to instead award the state’s 20 Electoral College votes. The suit, supported by 126 House Republicans and 18 state attorneys general, sought similar remedies in Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin, also key battlegrounds Biden won. Several of the Pennsylvania congressmen who joined the brief are seen as potential candidates for Senate or governor in 2022.

Full Article: Pa. congressmen who wanted to throw out state’s votes still don’t acknowledge Joe Biden’s win

Virginia: Amanda Chase, Republican contender for governor, says Trump should declare martial law | Laura Vozella/The Washington Post

State Sen. Amanda F. Chase, a brash Republican gubernatorial contender who bills herself as “Trump in heels,” called on President Trump on Tuesday to declare martial law to prevent his removal from office. One day after the electoral college formally confirmed former vice president Joe Biden’s victory over Trump, Chase (Chesterfield) doubled down on baseless allegations of election fraud in an early-morning Facebook post. “Not my President and never will be,” she wrote, referring to Biden. “The American people aren’t fools. We know you cheated to win and we’ll never accept these results. Fair elections we can accept but cheating to win; never. It’s not over yet. So thankful President Trump has a backbone and refuses to concede. President Trump should declare martial law as recommended by General Flynn.” Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser pardoned by the president, recently shared a Twitter post advocating that the president “temporarily suspend the Constitution” and declare martial law. In an interview Tuesday, Chase said she was holding out hope that Trump somehow would be declared the winner when the electoral college ballots are formally counted during a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6 — an all-but-impossible outcome, especially as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday publicly acknowledged Biden’s victory for the first time since the election. Barring that extremely unlikely turn of events, Chase thinks martial law is in order.

Full Article: Amanda Chase, Republican contender for Virginia governor, says Trump should declare martial law – The Washington Post

Washington: ‘Prepare for war’: A local GOP official goes all-in against election conspiracy theories | Danny Westneat/The Seattle Times

I’m a fan, for the most part, of the Republican leadership we have in this state right now. The party is so sidelined in blue Washington that its rudder right now is three people — the minority leaders of the state House and Senate (Rep. J.T. Wilcox of Yelm and Sen. John Braun of Centralia, respectively) and the Secretary of State, Kim Wyman. We’re lucky that all three are rational actors who value the norms of democracy, and who aren’t caterwauling off into crazed conspiracy theories about the election. “We have to stop this,” a frustrated Wilcox said Monday, about the continuing unsubstantiated cries of fraud that have led to threats against public officials following President Donald Trump’s loss. He added that he “believes in the results” of the ballot counts. Wilcox was responding specifically to a website called Enemies of the People that alleged Trump’s election was stolen. “Your days are numbered,” the site said. “Changing votes and working against the President is treason and patriotic Americans should never forget those who helped overthrow our democracy.” But that was an anonymous website. A bigger issue for the GOP is that this type of insane rhetoric is also ingrown in the party. In fact it’s being voiced right now by one elected Republican right here in Puget Sound.

Full Article: ‘Prepare for war’: A local GOP official goes all-in with election conspiracy theories | The Seattle Times

West Virginia: Harrison County Commission dismisses election contest; filers plan to appeal | JoAnn Snoderly/WV News

The Harrison County Commission on Wednesday dismissed an election contest complaint filed by the Harrison County Republican Executive Committee and the Republican candidate for County Commission.Republican Executive Committee Chair Virginia Rockwell told The Exponent Telegram later that the committee will “absolutely” appeal the decision to Harrison Circuit Court.Commissioners voted 2-to-1 to dismiss, with only Commissioner David Hinkle voting against Commissioner Patsy Trecost’s motion. In a letter to commissioners, attorney Michael Taylor, representing County Clerk and Commissioner-elect Susan Thomas, requested the commission dismiss the contest on the grounds that the filing was “deficient procedurally, factually and legally.” In the letter, Taylor claimed that a contest first requires a recount request unless there are allegations of fraud or illegality, or the candidate’s eligibility is in question. In this case, there were no such allegations, just procedural questions, so the lack of a recount would require dismissal, he wrote. According to Taylor, accepting the contest would also subject every race on the ballot — from the county to the federal level — to the challenge.

Full Article: Harrison County (West Virginia) Commission dismisses election contest; filers plan to appeal | WV News | wvnews.com

Wisconsin: Ron Johnson’s last hearing as chair of the Senate homeland security committee unfolds in post-election acrimony | Craig Gilbert/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Ron Johnson’s final hearing as chairman of the Senate homeland security committee was a divisive and bitter one, devolving at one point Wednesday into a near shouting match between the Wisconsin Republican and the panel’s top Democrat, Gary Peters of Michigan. “This is terrible what you’re doing to this committee,” Peters exclaimed to Johnson. “It is what you have done to this committee,” Johnson answered heatedly. The subject of that angry exchange — the two accused each other of spreading falsehoods — was the role of Russian disinformation, a source of bitter partisan feuding ever since the 2016 election. It was the 2020 election that was the official subject of Wednesday’s hearing. And that provided plenty of acrimony as senators on both sides took turns airing their grievances about the presidential contest and its aftermath. Johnson, who acknowledged Tuesday that Democrat Joe Biden won the election, said Wednesday he hoped the hearing would be a noncontroversial probe into how to improve public confidence in elections. At the same time, he aired broad claims at the hearing of fraud and irregularities made by President Donald Trump’s campaign that have repeatedly failed in court. … “We’re past the point where we need to be having conversations about the outcome of the election,” said the Democrats’ chief witness, Christopher Krebs, a homeland security official that was fired by Trump after he defended the security of the election. Krebs also bemoaned the threats of violence that have been made against local election officials for certifying the outcome of the election, saying: “This is not an America I recognize. It’s got to stop. We need everyone across the leadership ranks to stand up. I would appreciate more support from my own party, the Republican Party, to call this stuff out and to end it. We’ve got to move on. We have a president-elect.”

Full Article: Senate hearing on election leads to acrimony over fraud allegations

Editorial: Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Hagedorn chose the rule of law over political pressure | Paul Higginbotham/Cap Times

A deeply divided Wisconsin Supreme Court dismissed President Trump’s claims of election irregularities by Dane County and Milwaukee County in the presidential and state elections earlier this week. The outcome of the Supreme Court’s decision is a reason for serious celebration. The wishes of Wisconsin voters have been given voice to a change in our government. The Supreme Court’s decision is notable for a few reasons, but two stand out. First, conservative Justice Brian Hagedorn authored the opinion for the majority. In his first term on the Supreme Court, Justice Hagedorn has demonstrated the sort of judicial independence we hope all judges and justices would display. This decision is notable for a second, and more disturbing reason — that three of the justices, Chief Justice Patience Roggensack, Rebecca Bradley, and Annette Ziegler — thought that upending a properly administered presidential election in a pique of partisan solidarity was acceptable. The partisan hacks of the Supreme Court failed to muster enough votes to overturn Wisconsin’s election, while sending a message to their far-right colleagues that they are ready and willing to ignore the law in a display of extreme judicial activism. The conservatives often excoriate liberal judges for judicial activism when a decision fails to meet their conservative and right-wing agenda. This time, though, reasonable heads prevailed, and a majority of the Supreme Court put a halt to President Donald Trump’s assault on Wisconsin’s election results. In his lawsuit, Trump sought to have over 220,000 votes tossed out based on alleged irregularities in how Dane County and Milwaukee County administered the election — an argument that could and should have been brought before the election.

Full Article: Paul Higginbotham: Justice Hagedorn chose the rule of law over political pressure | Column | madison.com

Michigan: Paper ballots verified election results, says Dominion CEO in Senate oversight hearing | Samuel Dodge/MLive.com

Dominion Voting Systems CEO John Poulos defended the integrity of his company’s tabulating machines Tuesday during a state Senate Oversight Committee hearing. The company has been the focus of a “disinformation campaign,” Poulos told committee members on Dec. 15, adding that he is not aware of any legal claim against his hardware or software that hasn’t been dismissed or deemed “inaccurate” in court. Even in the slim chance Dominion’s machines were compromised, he said, a hand count of the physical paper ballots would have shown disparities before the vote was certified by the Board of State Canvassers. “All the tabulator does is count the votes of the paper ballots that have been created and securely cast by the voters,” he said during his three-hour testimony. “The number reported by the machine can always be compared to a hand count of those original paper ballots. People can speculate about votes being switched or secret algorithms or glitches, but if any of that were true, the paper ballots wouldn’t match the machine count.” The state canvassing board certified the vote last month, and President Donald Trump has not requested a hand recount. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson will conduct a post-election audit, while the Michigan Bureau of Elections and Antrim County officials will tally all ballots by hand there, as many allegations against Dominion center around initial disparities reported in the county on Nov. 3.

Source: Paper ballots verified election results, says Dominion CEO in Senate oversight hearing – mlive.com

Wisconsin: A pandemic. False fraud claims. A misplaced flash drive. How Milwaukee elections chief led high-pressure vote count. | Nora Eckert/Channel 3000

Election workers across the nation have been threatened with violence, accused of tampering with results of the Nov. 3 election, and some have battled a virus that’s killed nearly 300,000 people nationwide. For these people, the desire to serve their communities has come with unexpected tensions because of a bitterly contentious presidential race and the subsequent legal battles over its outcome. Claire Woodall-Vogg has weathered many such challenges in her five months as the top election official in Milwaukee — the largest city in a swing state whose results were scrutinized, criticized and the subject of allegations of “late-night ballot dumps” that favored President-elect Joe Biden. “(It’s been) extremely partisan and divided,” said Woodall-Vogg, executive director of the Milwaukee Election Commission. “That doesn’t shock me, but the fact that people are supporting someone trying to overturn the actual results is disappointing.” Many of her colleagues laud her performance. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett told Wisconsin Watch that she’s supervised the most transparent election the city has ever seen. Common Council President Cavalier Johnson called her performance “stellar” and her predecessor, Neil Albrecht, said he “couldn’t think of anyone more dedicated to avoiding error.” Her deputy, Jonatan Zuniga, said if she “had a million and one things to do, she did them all.” Still, critics rebuke her missteps, such as mistakenly leaving behind a flash drive in a tabulator on election night, which she later retrieved.

Full Article: A pandemic. False fraud claims. A misplaced flash drive. How Milwaukee elections chief led high-pressure vote count.

National: Former head of the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity agency to testify as Senate GOP pursues alleged ‘irregularities’ / Allison Pecorin/ABC

Chris Krebs, the former head of the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity agency — fired by President Donald Trump after stating there was no evidence of election fraud — is scheduled to testify Wednesday before a GOP-controlled Senate committee claiming it needs to keep investigating unfounded claims about the 2020 election. The hearing “Examining Irregularities in the 2020 Election” was announced by Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chair Ron Johnson last week and immediately drew blowback from Democrats who argued that holding a committee challenging the election results would be damaging to democracy. The hearing will come just one day after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell publicly stated for the first time that Joe Biden is the president-elect, with many Republicans falling in line behind him. Krebs, who came to public attention after Trump fired him via tweet for claiming that the November election was the “most secure in American history,” was called as a witness by the committee’s top Democrat, Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich. “I am appalled by many of my colleagues’ choice to help spread the President’s lies and false narratives about the outcome of the 2020 election,” Peters said in a statement. “This isn’t simply another partisan political issue – repeating these falsehoods erodes the public’s trust in this fair and free election, lays the groundwork to weaken the public’s trust in future elections, emboldens our adversaries, and undermines our democracy and the peaceful transition of power.”

Full Article: Fired election security official to testify as Senate GOP pursues alleged ‘irregularities’ – ABC News

National: McConnell urges GOP senators not to object to Electoral College vote | Jordain Carney and Alexander Bolton/The Hill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is urging Republicans not to object during Congress’s count and certification of the Electoral College vote next month. McConnell’s comments were made during a caucus call on Tuesday, according to two sources familiar with the call, and come as House Republicans are eyeing a challenge to the results on Jan. 6 during a joint session of Congress. A Republican senator who participated in the call said that McConnell, Senate Republican Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) and Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) all urged colleagues not to object to states’ electoral votes when they are received on the House floor next month. McConnell warned that any GOP senator who signed onto a House Republican objection to a state’s electoral votes would then force the Senate to debate and vote on the objection, putting fellow GOP senators in a bad position. The GOP leader said an objection “isn’t in the best interest of everybody.” No Senate Republicans indicated during the call that they are currently planning to object.

Full Article: McConnell urges GOP senators not to object to Electoral College vote | TheHill

National: Some GOP-Led States Defy Trump to Push for Expanded Voter Access | Ryan Teague Beckwith/Bloomberg

Some Republican state officials are newly open to expanded voting options after such moves proved popular and the party’s down-ballot candidates won in a high-turnout election, despite President Donald Trump railing against the changes. Republican elections officials and state lawmakers in Kentucky, Missouri and Texas are considering changes that would either make vote-by-mail more accessible or increase early in-person voting. Any such moves would be going against the current in the Republican Party, where Trump’s baseless claims of fraud have spurred GOP state lawmakers in Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania to consider tightening requirements on mail-in ballots. Officials in Georgia have even filed suit to curtail the use of drop boxes for absentee ballots and add new layers of scrutiny to the signature-matching process before the Jan. 5 Senate run-off votes.

Full Article: Some GOP-Led States Defy Trump to Push for Expanded Voter Access – Bloomberg

National: The Wrong Hack – Trump has been conspicuously quiet about the SolarWinds hack. | Fred Kaplan/Slate

The attack penetrated at least five U.S. government agencies and 18,000 other users of the Orion network management system, manufactured by a privately traded company called SolarWinds. Those five agencies—the departments of State, Homeland Security, Commerce, and Treasury, and the National Institutes of Health—are the only ones so far identified as victims of the hack, though there may have been others. (Ironically, one mission of Homeland Security is to protect the nation from cyberattack. Jake Williams, principal consultant of Rendition InfoSec and a former official in the National Security Agency’s elite hacker unit, said Monday, in a YouTube video explaining the hack, that the system is used throughout the federal government, including the Defense Department, as well as many “heavy-hitter” private corporations—300,000 customers in all. “Who uses SolarWinds?” Williams asked. “A better question is ‘Who doesn’t use SolarWinds?’ ” One of the customers that the Russians hacked was FireEye, and here they went a hack too far. Analysts at FireEye, one of Silicon Valley’s leading cybersecurity firms, detected the intrusion, analyzed it, and—in an act of unusual transparency—publicized everything they could find out about it. The malware turns out to have been embedded in what appeared to be a software-update message from SolarWinds, sent through SolarWinds servers with a valid digital signature. This sort of attack—which is particularly pernicious because it makes users reluctant to download legitimate software updates—is known as a “software supply-chain attack.” This means the malware came not from any product made by SolarWinds but from a feature or component made by an outside source—a code, a digital library, or any number of other common suppliers—that the company used in making the product. Williams said software supply-chain attacks are “ridiculously hard” to detect or, once detected, to trace. Russian and Chinese intelligence have launched a few of them in recent years. “I suspect,” Williams said, “we are going to see a lot more of them.”

Full Article: Trump has been conspicuously quiet about the SolarWinds hack.

National: Trump took the nation in the wrong direction on cybersecurity, experts say | Joseph Marks/The Washington Post

President Trump took the nation in the wrong direction on cybersecurity, according to a solid majority of experts polled by The Cybersecurity 202. During four years in office, Trump failed to hold adversaries including Russia accountable for hacking U.S. targets, removed experienced cyber-defenders from their posts for petty reasons and undermined much of the good work being done on cybersecurity within federal agencies, according to 71 percent of respondents to The Network, a panel of more than 100 cybersecurity experts who participate in our ongoing informal survey. The survey concluded before news broke about probably the most significant breach of the Trump administration — a hack linked to the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, or SVR, that infected at least five federal agencies — the Commerce, Treasury, Homeland Security and State departments as well as the National Institutes of Health — and probably several others, as well as foreign governments and companies across the globe. Yet, the respondents’ comments reflect widespread concern Trump is disinterested in the damage that hack has done to national security, unwilling to take Russia to task and preoccupied instead with his own efforts to sow baseless doubts about his election loss. “Much of the work done … [during the Trump administration] was weakened by a president who didn’t prioritize cyber-issues and who, in many cases, actively undercut any actions or messaging against our adversaries,” said Chris Painter, the State Department cyber-coordinator under President Obama who also served for several months under Trump until his post was eliminated.

Full Article: The Cybersecurity 202: Trump took the nation in the wrong direction on cybersecurity, experts say – The Washington Post

National: The U.S. government spent billions on a system for detecting hacks. The Russians outsmarted it. | Craig Timberg and Ellen Nakashima/The Washington Post

When Russian hackers first slipped their digital Trojan horses into federal government computer systems, probably sometime in the spring, they sat dormant for days, doing nothing but hiding. Then the malicious code sprang into action and began communicating with the outside world. At that moment — when the Russian malware began sending transmissions from federal servers to command-and-control computers operated by the hackers — an opportunity for detection arose, much as human spies behind enemy lines are particularly vulnerable when they radio home to report what they’ve found.Why then, when computer networks at the State Department and other federal agencies started signaling to Russian servers, did nobody in the U.S. government notice that something odd was afoot? Why then, when computer networks at the State Department and other federal agencies started signaling to Russian servers, did nobody in the U.S. government notice that something odd was afoot? The answer is part Russian skill, part federal government blind spot. The Russians, whose operation was discovered this month by a cybersecurity firm that they hacked, were good. After initiating the hacks by corrupting patches of widely used network monitoring software, the hackers hid well, wiped away their tracks and communicated through IP addresses in the United States rather than ones in, say, Moscow to minimize suspicions. The hackers also shrewdly used novel bits of malicious code that apparently evaded the U.S. government’s multibillion-dollar detection system, Einstein, which focuses on finding new uses of known malware and also detecting connections to parts of the Internet used in previous hacks. But Einstein, operated by the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), was not equipped to find novel malware or Internet connections, despite a 2018 report from the Government Accountability Office suggesting that building such capability might be a wise investment. Some private cybersecurity firms do this type of “hunting” for suspicious communications — maybe an IP address to which a server has never before connected — but Einstein doesn’t.

Full Article: The U.S. government spent billions on a system for detecting hacks. The Russians outsmarted it. – The Washington Post

Arizona Senate Republicans subpoena Maricopa County on election | Andrew Oxford and Jen Fifield/Arizona Republic

Arizona Senate Republicans said Tuesday they sent subpoenas to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors seeking images of all mail-in ballots counted during the 2020 general election and a large pile of other records. Senate President Karen Fann, R-Prescott, said she anticipates the county will conduct an audit of the election results but that if it does not, the Senate would proceed with its own. County election officials already conducted a routine bipartisan audit, counting a sample of ballots by hand to double-check the results. Maricopa County reported that it got a 100% match. Republican legislators have nonetheless claimed there were widespread irregularities during the election. Judges have rejected those claims in court but that has not deterred lawmakers, who have sought to rally their base by insisting fraud occurred. “The goal is to verify the machines did what they are supposed to do,” Fann said.

Full Article: Arizona Senate Republicans subpoena Maricopa County on election

Arizona judge scraps election fraud lawsuit in which plaintiff not registered voter | Maria Polletta/Arizona Republic

A Pinal County Superior Court judge on Tuesday jettisoned a lawsuit claiming widespread election fraud in Arizona, saying the plaintiff had no standing to challenge the state’s election results because she was not registered to vote. Judge Kevin White also said former Gilbert Public Schools Board President Staci Burk had waited too long to file her complaint, and allowing it to proceed would “circumvent the strong public policy supporting prompt resolution of election cases.” Burk filed the case Dec. 7, seven days after state officials certified Arizona’s Nov. 3 results. Voters have a five-day window to bring election contests. Her claims closely mirrored those in another suit that was making its way through federal court at the time: Both alleged “massive election fraud” in Arizona involving Dominion voting machines, foreign interference and illegal votes, and both named Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Gov. Doug Ducey as defendants.

Full Article: AZ election fraud suit in which plaintiff not registered voter tossed

Colorado: 8-hour, Republican-led hearing on election integrity ends without of evidence widespread fraud | Jesse Paul/The Colorado Sun

There was no evidence of widespread voter fraud in Colorado presented during a day-long, legislative hearing held by Republicans Tuesday on the state’s election integrity. But there was plenty of bipartisan praise for Colorado’s voting systems and processes. “We are the gold standard for voting in our country,” said El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Chuck Broerman, a Republican. “Everybody wants to be like Colorado.” The Legislative Audit Committee hearing, held at the Colorado Capitol with some lawmakers participating virtually because of the pandemic, was initiated by Republican members of the state House, namely Rep. Lori Saine, the panel’s GOP chairwoman. It happened under the backdrop of persisting, baseless claims from President Donald Trump about mass voter fraud that cost him reelection. Saine, who lives in Firestone, told The Colorado Sun before the meeting that she called for it after hearing concerns from constituents. “You’ve got certain states with election integrity issues,” she said last week. “But did it happen here in Colorado? It’s really kind of on us to help answer that question. Did it happen here? Did we have widespread fraud?” The resounding answer from county clerks, Republican former Secretary of States Scott Gessler and Wayne Williams, and even Jenna Ellis, a top attorney for Trump, was no.

Full Article: 8-hour, Republican-led hearing on Colorado’s election integrity ends without of evidence widespread fraud – The Colorado Sun

Georgia to Review Mail-in Ballot Signatures to Boost Confidence in Elections | Alexa Corse/Wall Street Journal

Georgia will audit signatures submitted by absentee voters in one county, after President Trump and his allies called for such a review as they continued to question President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the state. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who announced the review on Monday, has said the audit wouldn’t change the outcome of the presidential race in Georgia. “Now that the signature matching has been attacked again and again with no evidence, I feel we need to take steps to restore confidence in our elections,” Mr. Raffensperger, a Republican, said Monday at the state Capitol. The secretary of state’s office will work with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to audit signatures in the Atlanta suburb of Cobb County, which is expected to take two weeks, Mr. Raffensperger said. The secretary of state’s office also plans to work with a university to conduct a statewide signature match audit, he said. Also in Georgia, voting is under way for the hotly contested Jan. 5 Senate runoffs, which will determine control of the U.S. Senate. More than 482,000 votes already have been cast, including roughly 314,000 absentee by-mail ballots and 168,000 early in-person votes as of Tuesday morning, the secretary of state’s office said. Election officials were already required to verify signatures before ballots were counted in Georgia. Absentee voters had to sign the outside of the envelope, not the ballot. Election officials had to compare that signature with the voter’s registration file. If the signatures were consistent, the envelopes were then separated from the ballots to protect the privacy of voter’s choices. Election officials also verified signatures on paper applications for an absentee ballot. Mr. Raffensperger has said state investigators haven’t found evidence of widespread fraud. Two recounts, one by hand and one by machine, confirmed Mr. Biden’s victory in Georgia.

Full Article: Georgia to Review Mail-in Ballot Signatures to Boost Confidence in Elections – WSJ

Hawaii: Elections Officials Want To Tweak state’s Mail-Voting Law Next Year | Blaze Lovell/Honolulu Civil Beat

Hawaii Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago plans to ask the Legislature for changes to Hawaii’s mail voting system that could make it easier for officials to open more in-person voting sites and give voters more time to fill their ballots. In a report to the state Elections Commission, Nago said the Office of Elections plans to propose several measures. Chief among them is one that would give county election officials more flexibility than currently allowed under the law to open more voter centers, an issue that came to a head on Nov. 3 when thousands of voters waited for hours in lines outside Hawaii’s eight voter centers — especially in at Kapolei and Honolulu Hale. Right now, all centers must be open at uniform times for a 10-day period before Election Day. Maui County Clerk Kathy Kaohu has previously said that hampered efforts to open another voter center in Hana, where some residents made a more than two-hour drive to cast ballots at the island’s only center in Wailuku in November. Nago said the idea is to establish more voter centers in the days leading up to and on Election Day. Other mail voting states, like Colorado, ramp up the number of in-person voting options in the days before an election. Despite calls from good government and voting rights groups, officials stuck with just eight centers all the way through Election Day, citing that state law requiring uniform times as one impediment to opening more.

Full Article: Elections Officials Want To Tweak Hawaii’s Mail-Voting Law Next Year – Honolulu Civil Beat

Michigan: Dominion’s C.E.O. defends his firm’s voting machines to Michigan lawmakers, denouncing a ‘reckless disinformation campaign.’ | Kathleen Gray/The New York Times

A day after Michigan’s 16 electoral votes formally went to President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., a voting machine manufacturer told state senators that he stood by his company’s work, and shot down unfounded allegations that the results may have been manipulated. Dominion Voting Systems is the victim of “a dangerous and reckless disinformation campaign aimed at sowing doubt and confusion over the 2020 presidential election,” John Poulos, the company’s chief executive, told the State Senate Oversight Committee. The company has come under fire from supporters and lawyers for President Trump, who have claimed without evidence that the company’s voting machines switched votes from Mr. Trump to Mr. Biden. Mr. Poulos assured the committee that his company had no connections to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, or George Soros, the billionaire financier who is a subject of conspiracy theories on the right. “The comments about our company being started in Venezuela with Cuban money with the intent to steal elections are beyond bizarre and are complete lies,” Mr. Poulos added. “My company started in my basement, which happened to be in Toronto.”

Source: Dominion’s C.E.O. defends his firm’s voting machines to Michigan lawmakers, denouncing a ‘reckless disinformation campaign.’ – The New York Times

Michigan: Trump wrongly claims defect with voting machines | Paul Egan and Clara Hendrickson/Detroit Free Press

In a Tuesday tweet, Trump claimed there was a “68% error rate in Michigan Voting Machines. Should be, by law, a tiny percentage of one percent.” He suggested Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson would face legal scrutiny for the alleged errors. “Did Michigan Secretary of State break the law? Stay tuned!” Trump wrote. Trump was reacting to a consultant’s report that a judge made public Monday in connection with an election lawsuit in Antrim County, in northern Michigan, where a misapplied software update initially led to incorrect unofficial results being reported on election night. But Trump’s tweet misinterprets the findings of the report, which itself presents a misleading picture. Michigan vote tabulators do not read ballots incorrectly 68% of the time. Nor is that statement true if applied only to the Antrim County tabulators in the Nov. 3 election. And the report Trump reacted to, while ambiguous and inaccurate on the subject of errors, does not make that claim. The report is signed by cybersecurity analyst Russell James Ramsland Jr. of Allied Security Operations Group, a firm whose representatives have provided analyses and affidavits for lawsuits brought by Trump allies, falsely alleging voter fraud and election irregularities. In one such analysis on voter turnout, Ramsland mistook voting jurisdictions in Minnesota for Michigan towns. In another, filed in support of a federal lawsuit in Michigan, he made inaccurate claims about voter turnout in various municipalities, misstating them as much as tenfold.

Full Article: Trump wrongly claims defect with Michigan voting machines

North Carolina state senator OK with suspending civil liberties in wake of Trump’s defeat | Travis Fain/WRAL

A North Carolina senator suggested Tuesday that the president might suspend basic liberties to overturn an election that he believes, without evidence, was stolen. Sen. Bob Steinburg, R-Chowan, paraphrased on his Facebook page comments that retired Gen. Thomas McInerney made earlier this month on a conservative talk show. Among other things, McInerney suggested President Donald Trump declare a national emergency, invoke the Insurrection Act and suspend habeas corpus. Steinburg told WRAL News on Tuesday evening that he wasn’t endorsing the idea, just “putting out there options that others say still remain on the table,” though he later said he’d be on board with it. In an extended harangue, Steinburg also made it clear he believes the recent presidential election was stolen and that Trump is the victim of a conspiracy to which multiple countries, the media, U.S. government agencies, officials and judges are either a part or turning a blind eye. “There’s something going on here bigger than what anybody is willing to talk about,” he said. “I’m not nuts. … I’m not a conspiracy theory person. I don’t like them. I don’t like conspiracy theories at all. But something is going on here that’s bigger than meets the eye.” Steinburg then offered, unprompted, to take a psychiatric evaluation. He said the CIA and FBI both know there’s a coup d’etat going on in the country but won’t do anything about it.

Full Article: NC senator OK with suspending civil liberties in wake of Trump’s defeat :: WRAL.com

Pennsylvania: He Wanted to Count Every Vote in Philadelphia. His Party Had Other Ideas. | James Vireni/The New York Times

Opposing crowds of protesters gathered outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center in downtown Philadelphia on the night of Thursday, Nov. 5. One side chanted, ‘Count every vote!’ and the other, ‘Stop the steal!’ Police officers separated the crowds. Sheriff’s deputies guarded the convention center. National Guard troops were stationed around the city. Satellite vans lined the streets, and news crews from New York, Washington, Paris and Tokyo were broadcasting. Joseph R. Biden had at least 253 electoral votes. A win for him in Pennsylvania, with its 20 electoral votes, would decide the race. He and Donald Trump had spent more time in Pennsylvania than in any other state in the last weeks of the race and had closed out their campaigns there. The world was focused on Philadelphia and in particular on the convention center, where, two days after Election Day, the city’s mail-in ballots were still being tallied. Trump led by roughly 18,000 votes in the state. In the Friday predawn, Al Schmidt stepped from his room in the Aloft Hotel, which adjoins the convention center. His watch read 5 a.m. That meant little: Hours, and for that matter days, had lost significance for Schmidt, one of three city commissioners on the Philadelphia County Board of Elections. He had been working seven days a week since the June primary. He hadn’t slept in — he couldn’t say for sure. Three days? Maybe four. Time and the democratic process had become indistinguishable.

Full Article: He Wanted to Count Every Vote in Philadelphia. His Party Had Other Ideas. – The New York Times

Tennessee Defends In-Person Voting Rules at Sixth Circuit | Kevin Koeninger/Courthouse News Service

The state of Tennessee asked a panel of judges Tuesday to reinstate a voting law that requires first-time voters to cast ballots in person, arguing the restriction helps ensure the integrity of elections. The Volunteer State asked the Sixth Circuit in October for a decision without oral arguments so the law could be reinstated before the November election, but the Cincinnati-based appeals court refused and instead scheduled Tuesday’s hearing. U.S. District Judge Eli Richardson, an appointee of President Donald Trump, suspended the law with an injunction in September, after the Memphis A. Philip Randolph Institute and the NAACP filed suit in federal court and claimed the Covid-19 pandemic required the state to allow more of its voters to use absentee ballots. Richardson found the Tennessee Conference of the NAACP had associational standing to bring the suit based on testimony from 20-year-old college student and member Corey Sweet, who told the court he was unsure of how to vote in the 2020 election. In his brief to the appeals court, Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett argued Richardson lacked jurisdiction to issue the injunction because Sweet failed to meet absentee voting eligibility requirements that were wholly unrelated to the first-time voter law. Hargett said Richardson “overstated the burden imposed by the first-time voter requirement,” a burden he called minimal at most, and argued the ruling impacted the ability of the state to verify voters and ensure the integrity of its elections. In their brief to the appeals court, the voting rights groups argued that even if Sweet’s claim was mooted when he became ineligible to vote absentee, the NAACP’s standing is maintained because at least a portion of its more than 10,000 Tennessee members “will be similarly affected by the first-time voter restriction.”

Full Article: Tennessee Defends In-Person Voting Rules at Sixth Circuit

Wisconsin Supreme Court Was One Vote Away From Flipping the State to Trump | Ed Kilgore/New York Magazine

It didn’t get much attention because it happened the very day the Electoral College formally awarded Joe Biden the presidency, but the Wisconsin Supreme Court only narrowly rejected a bid by the Trump campaign to throw out over 200,000 absentee ballots in the state’s two most Democratic counties. The 4-3 decision by what is generally considered the most polarized and politically driven high court in the country involved one conservative justice (Brian Hagedorn) joining three liberal colleagues in rejecting the Trump petition, mostly because it addressed alleged improper local election practices that were apparent long before balloting occurred. The legal doctrine of “laches” (undue delay in asserting a legal right or privilege) was emphasized in the majority opinion. But in dissent, three conservative justices (in an opinion written by Chief Justice Patience Drake Roggensack) agreed with the Trump campaign’s claims that election officials in Dane and Milwaukee Counties violated state laws by instructing election clerks to correct small errors in the addresses listed for witnesses of absentee ballot signatures. They also objected to Dane County accepting absentee ballots at a preelection “Democracy in the Park” event in Madison, regarding it as a form of unauthorized early in-person voting. The dissenters did not address a third Trump claim that voters claiming “indefinitely confined” status due to the COVID-19 pandemic were illegally allowed to evade photo ID requirements.

Full Article: Wisconsin Supreme Court Was Close to Flipping State to Trump