National: ‘A dark, empty place:’ Public officials face personal threats as tensions flare | Hannah Knowles, Annie Gowen and Tom Hamburger/The Washington Post

State and local officials of both parties have warned that President Trump’s increasingly desperate tweets about election fraud are fueling the potential for violence as well as another ominous trend of 2020, in which public servants and others who disagree are targeted at their offices and homes with armed protests, harassing phone calls and stalkers. Last week, an “enemies” list of state and federal officials who rejected Trump’s baseless election conspiracy theories floated up from the dark corners of the Web, with home addresses listed and red targets over their photos, the latest in a string of threats to public officials. The list falsely accused swing-state governors, voting systems executives and the former top U.S. cybersecurity official responsible for securing November’s presidential election of “changing votes and working against the President” in a treasonous attempt to “overthrow our democracy.” The names from the list shared on social media included the hashtags #remembertheirfaces and #NoQuarterForTraitors. Over the weekend, demonstrations by Trump supporters in D.C.; Olympia, Wash.; and elsewhere turned violent, with four people stabbed in the nation’s capital and one person shot in Olympia. These kinds of conflicts, coupled with increasingly personal attacks on public officials, are raising fears of worse to come. “If blood is spilled, it is on the hands of the president,” an attorney for Christopher Krebs said in a statement Wednesday. Krebs, the former top cybersecurity official, is suing the Trump campaign and one of its lawyers working to overturn the election results for defamation, after the president fired him and the lawyer suggested that Krebs should be executed. “Trump and U.S. senators have refused to condemn these death threats,” said Jordan Fuchs, the deputy secretary of state in Georgia, after the “enemies” list surfaced online.

Full Article: Public officials face personal threats from Trump supporters – The Washington Post

Editorial: These Republicans may not be capable of shame, but you should know who they are | Ruth Marcus/The Washington Post

I never imagined that the aftermath of the election would pose a greater danger to American democracy than the four previous years. But here we are. Not just because of President Trump — his authoritarian impulses are a given — but because of the craven response of his fellow Republicans.With the always doomed-to-fail litigation at the Supreme Court, Republicans have gone beyond the indulge-the-toddler-while-he-cries-it-out phase of this debacle to a dangerous new stage: Incentivize the toddler. Reward his bad behavior. Encourage his belief, as poisonous to democracy as it is delusional, that the election was stolen.And they are laying the predicate for a contentious new phase of American democracy, if it can continue to be called that, in which election results — after appropriate recounts and audits and certifications — are no longer accepted. Instead they merely open the door for a second phase of legal and political guerrilla warfare in which no tactic, no lie, no baseless claim is off-limits. Democracy cannot function this way.It had looked like we dodged a bullet with Trump’s defeat. Turns out there were more in the gun.One interminable month ago, in response to Trump’s unsupported claims of electoral victory — then shocking, now routine — I wrote that history would judge the response of Republican leaders. Only those willing to ignore their gutless record over the past four years would have expected many profiles in courage. Still, what’s happened is even worse: not servile silence but vigorous incitement.Which brings us to Texas’s risible bid to have the Supreme Court throw out the election results — which the justices predictably rejected Friday evening. The dry legal language of the court’s order barely concealed its exasperation with Texas’s shenanigans. “Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections,” the court noted tartly.

Full Article: Opinion | These Republicans may not be capable of shame, but you should know who they are – The Washington Post

Editorial: The G.O.P. Can No Longer Be Relied On to Protect Democracy | John Cassidy/The New Yorker

How low has the Party of Lincoln fallen? In answering this question, it is instructive to look at the example of Kevin McCarthy, a seven-term California congressman who, since 2019, has served as the House Minority Leader. Until Donald Trump appeared on the scene, McCarthy wasn’t regarded as particularly conservative—at least by the standards of today’s Republican Party. When, in 2015, he abandoned a bid to become Speaker of the House, some Tea Party activists celebrated. In the summer of 2016, McCarthy endorsed Trump for President, but only after the interloper from New York had sewn up the nomination. A year later, it emerged that, in June of 2016, McCarthy had told some of his fellow-members of the House Republican leadership that he believed—“swear to God”—that Trump was in the pay of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin. When the Washington Post eventually reported about these comments, McCarthy tried to laugh them off as a joke. The nature of the accommodation that McCarthy made with his conscience, when he jumped onto the Trump train, can only be speculated upon. It’s perhaps fair to assume that he didn’t realize exactly where the tracks would lead, but, given his comments in 2016, it’s also clear that he didn’t harbor any illusions about the man he was endorsing. In any case, after McCarthy took over as House Minority Leader, he followed Trump’s wishes so slavishly that the President started to refer to him as “my Kevin.” On Friday, McCarthy took the ultimate Trump-loyalist move and threw his backing behind the President’s outlandish bid to overthrow the 2020 election result. Along with a hundred and twenty-five other Republican representatives, McCarthy added his name to an amicus brief supporting the lawsuit filed by Ken Paxton, the attorney general of Texas, and backed by seventeen other Republican state attorneys general, that requested the Supreme Court throw out the duly certified election results from Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Full Article: The G.O.P. Can No Longer Be Relied On to Protect Democracy | The New Yorker

Editorial: Republican officials have followed Trump along his dangerous and destructive path | Dan Balz/The Washington Post

President Trump’s unsuccessful but unceasing efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election represent an unprecedented assault on the underpinnings of American democracy. They have been equally destructive to a compliant Republican Party. The depths to which the party has fallen played out in bold colors the past few days as first 17 Republican state attorneys general and then 126 Republican members of the House signed onto a lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that asked the Supreme Court to reject the certified vote counts in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Georgia and throw out the results of the election. The high court rejected the challenge late Friday, stating that Texas did not have standing to challenge how other states conduct their elections. The terse denial only underscored the folly of the support that came from members of Trump’s party. The decision came after the Trump campaign and its allies had filed dozens of other lawsuits. Those too were routinely dismissed, often in scathing language. In those prior lawsuits, no evidence of widespread fraud — certainly not enough to change the result in any of the affected states — was presented. In many cases, the lawyers did not even explicitly claim there was fraud.

Full Article: Republican officials have followed Trump along his dangerous and destructive path – The Washington Post

Arizona: US Supreme Court asked to decertify Biden’s win in state | Jacques Billeaud/Associated Press

Conservative lawyer Sidney Powell has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to decertify Democrat President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over Republican President Donald Trump in Arizona. Powell, who filed the request with the court on Friday night, also asks the justices to bar Biden’s electors from casting Electoral College votes on Monday. Her appeal marks the second petition for review filed with the nation’s highest court in challenges to Biden’s win in the state. Arizona GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward on Friday asked the Supreme Court to review her case seeking to overturn Arizona’s election results. Powell is appealing the dismissal of her lawsuit that alleged voting equipment in Arizona switched votes from Trump to Biden. A lower-court judge dismissed the challenge on Wednesday, ruling no evidence of fraud had been presented and that those who filed the lawsuit lacked legal standing. Arizona certified its elections results on Nov. 30, showing that Biden had won the state by more than 10,000 votes. The lawsuit alleged Arizona election systems have security flaws that let election workers and foreign countries manipulate results and that those systems switched votes from Trump to Biden. Opposing attorneys said the lawsuit used conspiracy theories to make wild allegations against one of Maricopa County’s vendors for voting equipment, without providing proof to back up its claims of widespread Arizona election fraud.

Full Article: US Supreme Court asked to decertify Biden’s win in Arizona

Iowa Democrats, 10 Months Later, Blame National Party for Caucus Meltdown | Reid J. Epstein/The New York Times

With Iowa’s closely watched presidential caucuses more endangered than ever after a disastrous showing in February that delayed results for days, the Iowa Democratic Party on Saturday sought to shift blame for the meltdown onto the Democratic National Committee. More than 10 months after the fiasco marred Iowa’s first-in-the-nation nominating contest, the state party circulated a blistering internal report asserting that the national party had meddled in and delayed the development of an app for reporting results, implemented coding errors in its back-end result reporting system and required new data that further complicated the process. The renewed sniping between Iowa Democrats and the national party comes at a critical time for the future of Iowa’s standing at the beginning of the presidential nominating calendar. The caucuses are a cherished tradition for Iowans, but an increasing number of national Democrats say they are outdated and undemocratic. The heart of the 26-page Iowa report blames the D.N.C. for the delay in results on caucus night. It states that the national party, weeks before the Feb. 3 caucuses, demanded a new tool to give it real-time results. This new tool, the report states, included coding errors that delivered inaccurate results, leading to a days-long delay before former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont finished in a virtual tie for first place.

Full Article: 10 Months Later, Iowa Democrats Blame National Party for Caucus Meltdown – The New York Times

Michigan: Judge to conduct hearing on whether to lift protective order, release Antrim County results | Paul Egan/Detroit Free Press

A judge is expected to hold a hearing Monday morning on a lawyer’s request to lift a protective order shielding the results of a court-ordered examination of voting equipment in Antrim County — a county that President Donald Trump easily won, but where his legal team is alleging irregularities.Portage attorney Matthew DePerno filed an emergency motion Friday with 13th Circuit Judge Kevin Elsenheimer, claiming he has “received initial preliminary results which are important for the public, the U.S. government and the Michigan Legislature to review and understand,” and are “an issue of national security.” It’s the latest bizarre twist in a saga that began with an election night error in how the county compiled and reported its unofficial election results. County Clerk Sheryl Guy, a Republican, has claimed responsibility for an error that resulted in Democrat Joe Biden initially appearing to have won the northern Michigan County. State and county officials and an election security expert from the University of Michigan have all said the Dominion Voting Systems tabulators and related election software in Antrim functioned the way it should have. But Guy made a mistake when she updated ballot information in Antrim after learning the name of a candidate in one township had been omitted. Because she updated information only in the one affected township, instead of updating the information in all precincts across the county, there was a mismatch when results from various precincts were combined to compile the unofficial results, causing numbers to be transposed and reported inaccurately, officials have said. The results were corrected during the county canvass, conducted by two Republican and two Democratic board members, and the official county results show Trump defeating Biden by nearly 4,000 votes, with just over 16,000 votes cast for president. But DePerno, who has said he is not working for but is “happy to cooperate” with the Trump campaign, has claimed in court filings that the tabulators are compromised.

Full Article: Lawyer to judge: Release results of voting equipment exam in Antrim

Michigan: Trump backers want Supreme Court to review another election case | Craig Mauger/The Detroit News

Six of President Donald Trump’s supporters in Michigan want the U.S. Supreme Court to consider their case to overturn the state’s election results based on conspiracy theories and unsubstantiated claims of fraud. It’s an attempt that’s unlikely to succeed, according to other lawyers involved the matter. On Friday night, the nation’s high court denied a lawsuit championed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who hoped to challenge the results in four battleground states, including Michigan, that voted for President-elect Joe Biden. The Supreme Court said Paxton lacked standing to bring his case, which focused on the states’ election laws. Also on Friday night, attorneys representing six Michigan residents informed the defendants in a separate case that they intended to seek an emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to consider their claims against the state’s election. The case in question involves President Donald Trump supporter and conservative attorney Sidney Powell. She originally brought the litigation in Michigan’s Eastern District on behalf of three individuals who would have been presidential electors for Trump and three local GOP officials.

Full Article: Trump backers want Supreme Court to review Michigan election case

Nevada: Why Trump’s lawsuit seeking to overturn state’s presidential race sputtered in court | Riley Snyder/Nevada Independent

Ten days after major media outlets called Nevada for Joe Biden, attorneys and allies of President Donald Trump’s campaign stood outside state party headquarters in Las Vegas to make a stunning announcement — the campaign had identified enough irregularities to call election results in the state into question and planned to file a lawsuit challenging them in court. “Donald Trump won the state of Nevada, after you account for the fraud and irregularities that occurred in the election,” campaign attorney Jesse Binnall said on Nov. 17, adding that the Trump campaign was “quite confident in the fact that when the law and the facts are clearly adjudicated in this matter, that it will be very clear that once all the voting happened, once everything occurred, the results were unreliable because of the irregularities and the fraud.” But the Trump campaign’s eyebrow-raising accounts of voter fraud — tens of thousands of mail ballots sent from out-of-state, vote totals mysteriously changing overnight, and testimony that volunteers in a Biden van were caught filling out blank mail ballots — failed to make any headway in state courts. The election contest lawsuit, filed the day of the press conference, was summarily rejected by Carson City District Court Judge James Russell, who in an order earlier this month wrote that the campaign had produced evidence with “little to no value,” a far cry from casting enough reasonable doubt on Biden’s 33,596-vote victory over Trump.

Full Article: Why Trump’s lawsuit seeking to overturn Nevada’s presidential race sputtered in court

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has had Trump’s back. But his latest gambit has failed. | Arelis R. Hernández and Maria Sacchetti/The Washington Post

The Texas attorney general who tried to orchestrate President Trump’s last stand spent most of his career under indictment for state securities fraud, but his closeness to the president had buffed that tarnish. Trump listens to Ken Paxton. He called so often the White House once caught him in the shower. And the state attorney general had the digits to call him back. Paxton’s star seemed ascendant as he positioned himself as one of Trump’s biggest allies, willing to fight legal battles on sanctuary cities, the Affordable Care Act and now the outcome of the presidential election. But the shadows over Texas’s folksy attorney general have been growing longer. Trump has lost the election. Paxton’s last-gasp effort to overturn the outcome via the U.S. Supreme Court has failed. His top deputies recently reported him to the FBI for alleged crimes such as bribery. And the Associated Press has reported that he cheated on his wife, Angela Paxton, who is a Republican state senator in Texas. Paxton, a tea party darling known as a shrewd politician, did not respond to requests for comment, but he appeared cheerful Thursday as he spoke to a conservative commentator on YouTube before heading into the Oval Office to talk about his petition seeking to dismiss the election results. “It’s our last chance, and it may be our last chance forever,” Paxton said in an interview with conservative commentator Steven Crowder. “Because if this gets set this way, I mean, we may never have elections again that we can count on.” After he spoke, the Austin American-Statesman reported that FBI agents served at least one subpoena at his office 1,500 miles away. The FBI declined to comment.

Full Article: Ken Paxton has had Trump’s back. But the Texas attorney general’s latest gambit has failed. – The Washington Post

Wisconsin: A Stunning Passage from the Latest Court Rejection of Team Trump | Andrew C. McCarthy/National Review

The most telling aspect of the Wisconsin federal district court’s rejection of another Trump campaign lawsuit on Saturday is so obvious it is easy to miss. And no, it is not that the rejecting was done by a Trump-appointed judge, Brett H. Ludwig, or that it was done on the merits. After all that’s been said over the last six weeks, this fleeting passage near the start of the court’s workmanlike, 23-page decision and order should take our breath away (my highlighting):

With the Electoral College meeting just days away, the Court declined to address the issues in piecemeal fashion and instead provided plaintiff with an expedited hearing on the merits of his claims. On the morning of the hearing, the parties reached agreement on a stipulated set of facts and then presented arguments to the Court.

A “stipulated set of facts,” in this context, is an agreement between the lawyers for the adversary parties about what testimony witnesses would give, and/or what facts would be established, if the parties went through the process of calling witnesses and offering tangible evidence at a hearing or trial.… So what happened in Wisconsin? Judge Ludwig denied the state’s claims that the campaign lacked standing. Instead, he gave the campaign the hearing they asked for — the opportunity to call witnesses and submit damning exhibits. Yet, when it got down to brass tacks, the morning of the hearing, it turned out there was no actual disagreement between the Trump team and Wisconsin officials about the pertinent facts of the case. The president’s counsel basically said: Never mind, we don’t need to present all our proof . . . we’ll just stipulate to all the relevant facts and argue legal principles. In the end, after all the heated rhetoric, what did they tell the court the case was really about? Just three differences over the manner in which the election was administered — to all of which, as Ludwig pointed out, the campaign could have objected before the election if these matters had actually been of great moment.

Full Article: Trump Campaign Wisconsin Election Lawsuit: Court Rejects Allegations | National Review

Wisconsin GOP withholds Trump recount funds for Milwaukee, Dane counties | Patrick Marley/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Republican-led Legislature’s budget committee is holding up reimbursements to two counties for their recount costs. President Donald Trump’s campaign paid $3 million for recounts in Dane and Milwaukee counties, Wisconsin’s two most Democratic areas. But two top Republicans said Friday they were withholding the money from the counties for now. They did not explain why. Lawmakers “are playing politics with money that isn’t theirs,” said Milwaukee County Clerk George Christenson. “It’s acting in bad faith,” he said. “It’s not their money. It’s Trump’s money and this is what he decided to spend it on.” Under state law, losing candidates can request recounts but must pay the cost upfront if they lost by more than 0.25 percentage points. Trump lost Wisconsin to Democrat Joe Biden by 0.6 points and paid in advance for the recounts in the two counties. The recounts resulted in Biden slightly widening his lead, and courts so far have upheld Biden’s victory in the state.

Full Article: Wis. GOP withholds Trump recount funds for Milwaukee, Dane counties

Wisconsin GOP election official says no evidence of voter fraud | Bill Glauber and Patrick Marley/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A Republican member of the Wisconsin Elections Commission told legislative committees Friday that he has “not seen credible evidence of large-scale voter fraud in Wisconsin during the November election.” There were no dumps of ballots during the night, none,” Dean Knudson told lawmakers looking into the conduct of the Nov. 3 election that Democrat Joe Biden won by about 21,000 votes over President Donald Trump. “There is no evidence of any fraud related to Dominion voting machines in Wisconsin,” Knudson said. “Counting in Wisconsin did not stop and restart. Election observers were allowed to be present throughout Election Day and election night proceedings. The number of voters on our poll books match the number of ballots cast. “There has been no criminal evidence presented to the Elections Commission that any of these problems occurred in Wisconsin,” he said.

Full Article: Wisconsin GOP election official says no evidence of voter fraud

Wisconsin Trump lawsuit is thrown out, 5th adverse ruling in days | Patrick Marley/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A state judge concluded Wisconsin’s election was conducted properly Friday, dealing President Donald Trump and his allies their fifth legal defeat in a little over a week. “There is no credible evidence of misconduct or wide-scale fraud,” Reserve Judge Stephen Simanek said. Simanek issued his decision from the bench 73 hours before the Electoral College is to meet Monday to officially deliver the presidency to Democrat Joe Biden. Wisconsin’s slate of 10 electors for Biden has already been certified, and Simanek’s decision upheld that finding. Over the last week, courts in Wisconsin have thrown out four other lawsuits brought by Trump and his backers. And after a daylong hearing Thursday, U.S. District Judge Brett Ludwig said he thought Trump might have taken too long to file yet another lawsuit. Ludwig is expected to rule in that case by Saturday. Trump lost Wisconsin by about 21,000 votes out of 3.3 million. That’s a margin of 0.6 percentage points. He paid $3 million for recounts in Dane and Milwaukee counties, the state’s most populous and most liberal areas. The recounts slightly widened Biden’s winning margin. Trump then filed a lawsuit directly with the state Supreme Court, but the justices last week on a 4-3 vote rejected it. The majority concluded Trump should have started in circuit court rather than the state’s high court.

Full Article: Trump lawsuit in Wisconsin is thrown out, 5th adverse ruling in days

With Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton facing federal probe, lawsuit to help Trump comes amid whispers of pardons | Matthew Mosk,Katherine Faulders, andJohn Santucci/ABC

Full Article: With Texas AG facing federal probe, lawsuit to help Trump comes amid whispers of pardons – ABC News

National: In Blistering Retort, 4 Battleground States Tell Texas to Butt Out of Election | Adam Liptak and Jeremy W. Peters/The New York Times

In blistering language denouncing Republican efforts to subvert the election, the attorneys general for Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to reject a lawsuit that seeks to overturn the victories in those states by President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., calling the audacious effort an affront to democracy and the rule of law. The lawsuit, filed by the Republican attorney general of Texas and backed by his G.O.P. colleagues in 17 other states and 106 Republican members of Congress, represents the most coordinated, politicized attempt to overturn the will of the voters in recent American history. President Trump has asked to intervene in the lawsuit as well in hopes that the Supreme Court will hand him a second term he decisively lost. The suit is the latest in a spectacularly unsuccessful legal effort by Mr. Trump and his allies to overturn the results, with cases so lacking in evidence that judges at all levels have mocked or condemned them as without merit. Legal experts have derided this latest suit as well, which makes the audacious claim, at odds with ordinary principles of federalism, that the Supreme Court should investigate and override the election systems of four states at the behest of a fifth. The responses by the four states — represented by three Democratic attorneys general and, in Georgia, a Republican one — comprehensively critiqued Texas’s unusual request to have the Supreme Court act as a kind of trial court in examining supposed election irregularities with the goal of throwing out millions of votes. “The court should not abide this seditious abuse of the judicial process, and should send a clear and unmistakable signal that such abuse must never be replicated,” a brief for Pennsylvania said.

Full Article: Four State A.G.s Ask Supreme Court to Reject Texas Election Lawsuit – The New York Times

National: Website targeting U.S. election officials draws attention of intelligence agencies | Andy Sullivan, Brad Heath, Mark Hosenball/Reuters

The harassment campaign against U.S. election officials following President Donald Trump’s defeat took an ominous turn on Thursday after a website surfaced that accused them of “treason” and included photographs and home addresses, drawing the attention of U.S. intelligence agencies. The site, along with several associated social media accounts, included photographs of Republican and Democratic officials, with rifle crosshairs superimposed on them. The FBI said on Thursday that it was aware of the issue. U.S. intelligence agencies are also looking into the website and its origins, a source said on Thursday. Several of the officials targeted said the messaging amounted to a call for violence against those who worked to oversee the Nov. 3 election, which Trump lost to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden. They urged Trump to denounce it. “If anyone needs to be reminded that public calls for violence beget violence, this is the clarion call. If blood is spilled, it is on the hands of the president, his campaign, his lawyers, and the silent Republicans standing in the president’s shadow,” said Jim Walden, a lawyer for Christopher Krebs, who oversaw cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security until he was fired by Trump after the election. Georgia’s deputy secretary of state, Jordan Fuchs, likewise pointed the finger at the president. “Trump and U.S. senators have refused to condemn these death threats,” she told Reuters. “In fact, he continues to support those who are actively calling for elections officials to be shot.”

Full Article: Website targeting U.S. election officials draws attention of intelligence agencies | Reuters

National: States targeted in Texas election fraud lawsuit condemn ‘cacophony of bogus claims’ | The Guardian

Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin on Thursday urged the US supreme court to reject a lawsuit filed by Texas and backed by Donald Trump seeking to undo Joe Biden’s victory, saying the case has no factual or legal grounds and makes “bogus” claims. “What Texas is doing in this proceeding is to ask this court to reconsider a mass of baseless claims about problems with the election that have already been considered, and rejected, by this court and other courts,” Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania’s Democratic attorney general, wrote in a filing to the nine justices.Texas filed the longshot suit against the four election battleground states on Tuesday directly with the supreme court. It asked that the voting results in those states be thrown out because of their changes in voting procedures that allowed expanded mail-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic.On Thursday afternoon, more than 100 Republican members of the House filed an amicus brief with the court in support of the Texas lawsuit. Trump’s campaign and his allies already have been spurned in numerous lawsuits in state and federal courts challenging the election results. Legal experts have said the Texas lawsuit has little chance of succeeding and have questioned whether Texas has the legal standing to challenge election procedures in other states.

Full Article: States targeted in Texas election fraud lawsuit condemn ‘cacophony of bogus claims’ | US elections 2020 | The Guardian

National: Two reasons the Texas election case is faulty: flawed legal theory and statistical fallacy. | Jeremy W. Peters, David Montgomery, Linda Qiu and Adam Liptak/The New York Times

Ken Paxton, the Texas attorney general, has asked the Supreme Court to do something it has never done before: disenfranchise millions of voters in four states and reverse the results of the presidential election. The case is highly problematic from a legal perspective and is riddled with procedural and substantive shortcomings, election law experts said. And for its argument to succeed — an outcome that is highly unlikely, according to legal scholars — a majority of the nine justices would have to overlook a debunked claim that President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s chances of victory were “less than one in a quadrillion.” Mr. Paxton is a compromised figure, under indictment in a securities fraud case and facing separate accusations, by several former employees, of abusing his office to aid a political donor. Here are some reasons this case is probably not “the big one” like President Trump has called it. Texas appears to have no claim to pursue the case, which would extend Monday’s deadline for certification of presidential electors in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. It relies on a novel theory that Texas can dictate how other states run their elections because voting irregularities elsewhere harm the rights of Texans. The Paxton case fails to establish why Texas has a right to interfere with the process through which other states award their votes in the Electoral College, said Edward B. Foley, a law professor at Ohio State University and director of its election law program. The authority to manage elections falls to the states individually, not in any sort of collective sense that the Paxton suit implies.

Full Article: Two Reasons the Texas Election Case Is Faulty – The New York Times

National: The Trump team throws in the towel on proving voter fraud | Aaron Blake/The Washington Post

The GOP’s latest effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election results, like many such efforts before it, is a bit of a mess. The lawsuit, which was filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) and is now joined by the Trump campaign and 17 other Republican attorneys general, wrongly claims that no presidential candidate has lost both Florida and Ohio and won the presidency. (This would be news to John F. Kennedy.) It ridiculously suggests that late vote shifts in key states were astronomically improbable — to the tune of 1 in 1 quadrillion — a claim with which Philip Bump dispatches here. Its attempt to invalidate the vote in four states has already been rebuked by several top Republicans, and not exactly Mitt Romney Republicans. But the GOP’s new focus on this hail-Mary case is also notable for one key reason: It essentially throws in the towel on proving fraud. Ever since the election, President Trump’s legal team and allied lawyers have said they had myriad evidence of actual, provable fraud. This has been rejected in almost every case by the courts, but the Trump team has asserted that its evidence — based largely on affidavits from people involved in the vote-tabulating process — is sound and demonstrates malfeasance. The Texas lawsuit, though, effectively acknowledges that that effort has failed. Rather than claiming evidence of proven fraud, it instead claims that the fraud is actually “undetectable,” because election officials made it so by doing illegal things. And that’s why it wants the results overturned.

Full Article: The Trump team throws in the towel on proving voter fraud – The Washington Post

National: Legislatures across country plan sweeping election reform push | Reid Wilson/The Hill

State legislatures across the country are contemplating sweeping changes to the way elections are administered after a tumultuous presidential contest, one that ended with both the highest voter turnout in American history and the outgoing president baselessly calling its integrity into question. In its wake, election rules have become the hottest topic for state legislatures, especially in presidential battleground states. Lawmakers in a handful of states have begun introducing legislation in so-called pre-filing periods, windows that open before a session begins that enable lawmakers to propose bills. At least 60 election-related bills have been introduced in Texas, 26 are pending in New Hampshire and 41 in Montana, according to a count compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). “We can expect a busier than ever elections agenda for the states in 2021,” said Wendy Underhill, director of the NCSL’s elections and redistricting programs. In some states, legislators plan to make permanent access to absentee and mail-in voting that were temporarily expanded by the coronavirus pandemic, while others are looking to enact new restrictions on how people can vote.

Full Article: Legislatures across country plan sweeping election reform push | TheHill

National: Security advocates see a possible silver lining in Trump’s election assaults | Joseph Marks/The Washington Post

Attacks on the voting company Dominion and the integrity of the election by President Trump and his allies are posing a conundrum for election security advocates. On one hand, they’ve long battled with Dominion and other top voting machine vendors to take security more seriously and be more transparent about their operations so they can be vetted by outside security experts. “If there’s one positive piece that comes out of this it would be greater oversight of election vendors,” David Levine, elections integrity fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy, told me. Dominion, along with two other major vendors, control about 80 percent of the U.S. market for election systems. “If there’s a successful cyberattack against one of them, that could have devastating consequences,” he said.On the other hand, the attacks by Trump and his supporters are basically made up out of whole cloth and contrary to all available evidence. Security pros worry these conspiracy theories that go far beyond any legitimate concerns will corrode public faith in elections and convince people it’s not worth turning out to vote. “Unfortunately, there’s a danger that the entire effort to increase cybersecurity in elections will get tarred by the unfounded rantings of a few people,” Lawrence Norden, director of the Election Reform Program at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice, told me. “There are legitimate things that need to be done to improve the security of our election systems and they should be done regardless of what some crazy people are alleging.”

Full Article: The Cybersecurity 202: Security advocates see a possible silver lining in Trump’s election assaults – The Washington Post

Matt Masterson, CISA’s top election security official, to step down | Sean Lyngaas/CyberScoop

Matt Masterson, one of the U.S. government’s top election experts, is leaving his post as of next week for a role in academia where he will continue to study the disinformation campaigns that have plagued the country, he told CyberScoop on Thursday. Masterson has been a senior adviser at the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency since 2018. He led a team that reassured the public that the 2020 election was secure, despite President Donald Trump’s baseless assertions to the contrary. Masterson will join the Stanford Internet Observatory, a team of academics and tech experts led by former Facebook security chief Alex Stamos, which works on election security and social media challenges. Masterson said his last day at CISA will be Dec. 18. At Stanford, “We’re going to unpack what we’ve learned over the last few years [on election security],” Masterson said in an interview, including “what more needs to be done on a broader level.” Masterson said he wants to continue to tackle disinformation campaigns, which could extend to the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine. Experts fear that a large swath of Americans are distrustful of the efficacy of the vaccine, in part because of conspiracy theories that spread online. Masterson, a former election official in Ohio, was part of a team of CISA officials who rebuilt trust between election officials across the country and federal personnel after the 2016 election.

Full Article: Matt Masterson, CISA’s top election security official, to step down

Editorial: There’s Still a Loaded Weapon Lying Around in Our Election System | Richard H. Pildes/The New York Times

The 2020 election revealed longstanding fractures in the foundation of our system for conducting presidential elections. Before these lead to an earthquake in a subsequent presidential election, we need to shore up that foundation. The single most dangerous threat the election exposed was the prospect of legislatures directly appointing a state’s electors and overriding the vote of the people in that state. No state legislature has attempted to do this since at least the Civil War. But in the run-up to the 2020 election, this seemed the most likely means that might circumvent the voters and subvert the election. This concern has been proven warranted: After the Trump campaign’s postelection lawsuits failed around the country, its strategy was precisely to get state legislatures in key swing states to appoint the electors themselves. Indeed, President Trump continues to pursue that strategy even now — he reportedly twice called the Republican speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in recent days — despite these states having legally certified Joe Biden as the winner of their state’s popular vote. There is no legal basis for what the president is urging, but it calls attention to a previously obscure provision in federal election law. This provision, known as the “failed election” provision, lies around like a loaded weapon. It is the only place in federal law that identifies circumstances in which, even after a popular vote for president has been taken, a state legislature has the power to step in and appoint electors. The “failed election” provision traces back to the Presidential Election Day Act, first enacted in 1845. That act, after specifying the date for the presidential election, goes on to provide: “Whenever any State has held an election for the purpose of choosing electors, and has failed to make a choice on the day prescribed by law, the electors may be appointed on a subsequent day in such a manner as the legislature of such State may direct.”

Full Article: Opinion | There’s Still a Loaded Weapon Lying Around in Our Election System – The New York Times

Alaska will not join Texas-led election suit | Peter Segall/Juneau Empire

Gov. Mike Dunleavy said Wednesday Alaska will not be joining the state of Texas and 16 other Republican attorneys general in a lawsuit alleging unlawful election proceedings in several states where President Donald Trump lost in his reelection bid. In a post on Facebook Dunleavy said his office did not have enough time to review the facts of the case, but would be watching the results closely. “Electoral integrity remains a cornerstone of our democracy, and every American should know that their vote matters,” Dunleavy said in his post. The Supreme Court is set to hear the case which demands the 62 total Electoral College votes in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin be invalidated, but a date has not been set according to The Associated Press. Wednesday President Trump requested he be allowed to join as a plaintiff one day after the U.S. Supreme Court refused without comment to call into question the certification process in Pennsylvania, The AP reported.

Full Article: Dunleavy: Alaska will not join Texas-led election suit | Juneau Empire

Georgia: Here’s what happened when a state lawmaker scrutinized the Trump campaign’s list of allegedly illegal votes | Michelle Ye Hee Lee/The Washington Post

When Georgia state Rep. Bee Nguyen (D) reviewed a list of voters who President Trump’s campaign claimed cast illegal ballots in the state, three names caught her eye: two friends and a constituent. For days, Nguyen pored over public records, spoke with voters by phone and even knocked on doors in person to vet the Trump list. She found that it included dozens of voters who were eligible to vote in Georgia — along with their full names and home addresses. On Thursday, when a data analyst who compiled the list told a panel of state lawmakers that it proved thousands of voters cast ballots in Georgia who should not have, Nguyen was ready. “I do want to share with you some of the things that I found that appeared to be incorrect to me,” the two-term lawmaker told Matt Braynard, whose research has been cited in numerous suits filed by Trump and his allies, several of which have been tossed out of the courts. Nguyen’s 10-minute dissection of the data offered a rare real-time fact check of the unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud that the president’s allies have promoted in state hearings around the country, largely before friendly Republican audiences. “If you are going to take the names of voters in the state of Georgia and publish their first, middle and last name, their home address, and accuse them of committing a felony, at the very minimum there should have been an attempt to contact these voters,” she said in an interview after the hearing. “There was no such attempt.” Braynard said in an email to The Washington Post that he “appreciated her feedback and look forward to getting her records that are questionable. I was happy to make a statement and happy to hear feedback and questions.” The episode shows how quickly the allegations by Trump and his supporters have fallen apart under scrutiny, particularly in the courts, which have consistently rejected assertions that rampant irregularities tainted the vote.

 

Full Article: Here’s what happened when a Georgia lawmaker scrutinized the Trump campaign’s list of allegedly illegal votes – The Washington Post

At Georgia House Hearing, Republicans’ Baseless Claims Of Voting Fraud Persist | Stephen Fowler/Georgia Public Broadcasting

For the second week in a row, Georgia Republican lawmakers have invited the Trump campaign and other right-wing witnesses to spread baseless conspiracies and claims of voting fraud under the guise of improving elections in the state. The House Governmental Affairs committee, chaired by Bonaire Republican Shaw Blackmon, spent Thursday morning hearing from witnesses who have supported lawsuits and efforts to overturn Georgia’s certified election results that show President-elect Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump in the presidential race. Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, who was just released from the hospital after getting COVID-19, reiterated debunked claims of fraud in Fulton County by playing a short snippet of surveillance footage from State Farm Arena. State investigators and county officials have reiterated that there was no “suitcase” of ballots illegally added into vote totals and that the video shows normal vote-counting processes. Investigators also said that while some partisan monitors left when other election workers were done for the night, that nobody was instructed to leave. Georgia law does not require partisan monitors be present for counting to occur. Giuliani also brought forth several other witnesses who spread conspiracies about voting machines and election results being hacked and repeated claims about widespread absentee ballot fraud.

Full Article: At Georgia House Hearing, Republicans’ Baseless Claims Of Voting Fraud Persist | Georgia Public Broadcasting

Georgia House speaker takes aim at state’s top election official | Mark Niesse and David Wickert/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

House Speaker David Ralston said Thursday that he will seek a constitutional amendment for state legislators — not voters — to choose Georgia’s top election official, an attempt to blame Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for perceived election problems. Ralston’s proposal came after a hearing in the state House of Representatives where supporters of Donald Trump made unsubstantiated claims of illegal voting following the president’s loss to Democrat Joe Biden by about 12,000 votes. But Ralston’s proposal would face a difficult path, and he lacks the votes to make it a reality without support from Democrats. A constitutional amendment would need to receive two-thirds majorities in both the state House and Senate, followed by majority approval of the state’s voters. Raffensperger’s staff called the move “a clear power grab” following a concerted election misinformation effort featuring Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, during the daylong hearing. Both Raffensperger and Ralston are Republicans. The strike against Raffensperger is the latest sign of a deep divide among Republicans over how to move forward after Georgia supported a Democratic presidential candidate for the first time in 28 years. Raltson said he’s “dead serious” about holding Raffensperger accountable to legislators after he mailed absentee ballot applications to nearly 7 million voters before the primary election and instituted greater scrutiny of absentee ballot rejections in a court settlement earlier this year.

Full Article: Proposal introduced for legislators to choose Georgia elections chief

Michigan Attorney General says Texas ‘has no standing to disenfranchise’ millions of voters | Zach Budryk/The Hill

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) blasted a Texas lawsuit seeking to overturn the presidential election in four states, calling it “outrageous.”Nessel called the lawsuit “really one of the more outrageous that we’ve ever seen in the United States,” adding “Texas has no standing to disenfranchise the 5.5 million voters in the state of Michigan … there’s been no injury that’s been demonstrated to the state of Texas.”She noted that the results of the election in Michigan have already been certified, that challenges to the result have repeatedly lost in court and that “Texas has failed to identify a single voter who voted in Michigan who should not have.”“It’s outrageous that they filed this and the fact that they would try to disenfranchise the 39 million people that live in these four states,” Nessel told CNN’s Erin Burnett. “It’s really disturbing.” The lawsuit seeks to invalidate the results in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Wisconsin.Nessel took aim at Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) and the other state attorneys general who have signed onto the lawsuit, saying that as attorney general, “I took an oath to uphold the Michigan constitution and the United States constitution to the best of my ability, so help me God.”

Full Article: Michigan AG says Texas ‘has no standing to disenfranchise’ millions of voters | TheHill

New York: 9 ways election officials failed in Brindisi-Tenney House race, judge says | Mark Weiner/Syracuse Post-Standard

A judge this week admonished election officials for failing to provide an accurate, transparent vote count in the undecided race for Congress between Rep. Anthony Brindisi and Claudia Tenney. State Supreme Court Justice Scott J. DelConte made it clear there was no vote fraud in the election. He also said election officials can’t blame the coronavirus pandemic and a record number of absentee ballots for the problems. Instead, he placed the blame squarely on election workers, noting that election boards in seven of the eight counties in the 22nd Congressional District simply didn’t do their job correctly. DelConte blamed the errors for delaying his review of disputed ballots in an election where more than 318,000 people voted. For now, Tenney leads Brindisi by a razor-thin 12 votes. Tenney led by 28,422 votes on election night. “Judicial review of the candidates’ challenges is now impeded because the Boards of Elections failed to follow the canvassing procedures set forth in the election law,” DelConte wrote in a decision Tuesday. “Those failures caused the candidates – who may be separated by as few as 12 votes – and their prospective constituents, to endure changing and confounding vote tallies, perplexing ballot rulings (or, at times, no rulings at all), and mysterious uncanvassed and ‘mislaid’ ballots.”

Full Article: 9 ways election officials failed in Brindisi-Tenney House race, judge says – syracuse.com