Texas: Carrollton Democrat proposes changing state law to let hand marked paper ballot counties to have countywide vote centers | James Barragán/Dallas Morning News

State Rep. Michelle Beckley wants to bring countywide voting centers to Denton, which would allow residents to vote at any polling location in the county. To do so, she is pushing a bill in the Legislature to allow counties with paper-based ballots, like Denton, to participate in the state’s countywide polling place program. “You run for office and you want to increase voter turnout,” said Beckley, a Carrollton Democrat who considers this bill her top priority for the 2021 session that begins next month. “You just need to make it easier and less confusing.” Currently, to operate a countywide polling program, a county must use all electronic equipment to count votes. Denton County uses paper-based ballots that voters fill out by hand and are then scanned electronically into the voting system. Beckley’s bill would add language into the election code allowing counties that use such technology into the state’s countywide vote center program. “I think that’s a positive development,” said David Jones, president of the nonpartisan Clean Elections Texas. “We’re in favor of anything that makes it easier for people to vote.”

Full Article: Carrollton Democrat proposes changing Texas law to let Denton have countywide vote centers

Editorial: Texas Tries an Election Long Shot | Wall Street Journal

Ken Paxton, the Texas Attorney General, seems intent on developing a name for himself as the patron saint of lost legal causes. He’s the father of the recent and long-shot case against ObamaCare, and this week he launched another implausible appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn state presidential election results.In Texas v. Pennsylvania, Mr. Paxton, joined by 17 other states and President Trump, claims that four states have harmed Texas by violating their election laws in ways that poisoned the result. He wants the Court to take the case directly, in “original jurisdiction,” and order the legislatures in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Georgia to overturn election certifications for Joe Biden. The Court asked the four states to reply by 3 p.m. Thursday, but it would be a legal and political earthquake if the Court took the case. Cases of original jurisdiction—when a state bypasses lower courts and goes directly to the Supreme Court—are rare and typically involve interstate disputes. This one concerns election law in states other than Texas. The first issue is whether Texas has the legal standing to sue. To have standing, a plaintiff must point to a specific injury and there must be some possibility of a remedy. In this case, what is the injury? No one is interfering with Texas’s authority to deliver its Electoral College votes. Mr. Paxton argues that the four states have harmed his state and violated the Electors Clause of the Constitution by holding elections with major procedural irregularities. He’s saying Texas can be harmed by the way another state manages its elections. But if Texas can sue on these grounds, then some unhappy state will sue another state after every close election whose outcome it doesn’t like.

Source: Texas Tries an Election Long Shot – WSJ

Wisconsin: Federal Judge: ‘Incredible’ That Trump Waited To File Lawsuit | Shawn Johnson/Wisconsin Public Radio

The judge hearing President Donald Trump’s federal lawsuit seeking to overturn Wisconsin’s November election said Thursday that such a move would be without precedent in U.S. history. The comments were the latest example of a skeptical tone struck by U.S. District Judge Brett Ludwig, who is being asked to reverse President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in…

Wisconsin Republicans are calling partisans instead of election professionals for their hearing on voting | Patrick Marley/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A month ago, Republican lawmakers said they were prepared to issue subpoenas for the first time in decades to haul election officials before them to get answers about how the presidential contest was conducted. But they have now abandoned that plan and aren’t even bothering to invite them to attend a Friday hearing looking into an election that Democrat Joe Biden won by about 21,000 votes in the state. Instead, they’re asking to hear from a conservative radio talk show host, a former state Supreme Court justice, a postal subcontractor who has offered a debunked theory about backdated absentee ballots and an election observer whom President Donald Trump wants to testify in court in one of his lawsuits over the election. Friday’s hearing before two committees is being overseen by Rep. Ron Tusler of Harrison and Sen. Kathy Bernier of Lake Hallie. The two have not sought testimony from Meagan Wolfe, the director of the state Elections Commission, or Claire Woodall-Vogg, the director of the Milwaukee Election Commission. Tusler has spent the last month reviewing what he has said are thousands of complaints and concerns about the election, but he’s yet to talk to Woodall-Vogg about them, Woodall-Vogg said. “No one has contacted me during the course of their ‘investigation’ into claims over the past month,” Woodall-Vogg said by email.

Full Article: Wisconsin GOP election hearing will hear from partisans, not pros

National: 17 Republican Attorneys General Back Trump in Far-Fetched Election Lawsuit | Jeremy W. Peters and Maggie Haberman/The New York Times

Despite dozens of judges and courts rejecting challenges to the election, Republican attorneys general in 17 states on Wednesday backed President Trump in his increasingly desperate and audacious legal campaign to reverse the results. The show of support, in a brief filed with the Supreme Court, represented the latest attempt by Trump loyalists to use the power of public office to come to his aid as he continues to deny the reality of his loss with baseless claims of voter fraud. The move is an effort to bolster a lawsuit filed on Tuesday by the pro-Trump attorney general in Texas that seeks to delay the certification of the presidential electors in four battleground states the president lost. Mr. Trump has been holding out hope that the Supreme Court will hear the case and ultimately award him a second term. Legal experts are skeptical, however, and have largely dismissed it as a publicity stunt. Late Tuesday, the president asked Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, a Republican, if he would be willing to argue the case, according to a person familiar with their conversation. Mr. Cruz agreed, this person said. And the president has filed a motion with the court to intervene, which would make him a party to the case. The willingness of so many Republican politicians to publicly involve themselves in a legal campaign to invalidate the ballots of millions of Americans shows how singular a figure Mr. Trump remains in the G.O.P. That these political allies are also elected officials whose jobs involve enforcing laws, including voting rights, underscores the extraordinary nature of the brief to the court. Even in defeat — a reality that a significant number of Republicans refuse to accept, polls show — allegiance to Mr. Trump is viewed as the ticket to higher office.

Full Article: 17 Republican Attorneys General Back Trump in Far-Fetched Election Lawsuit – The New York Times

Michigan Secretary of State Benson to audit results of state, 200 jurisdictions including Wayne, Antrim counties | Beth LeBlanc/The Detroit News

The Michigan Bureau of Elections will conduct a raft of audits in the coming weeks, including reviews at the state level, in Antrim and Wayne counties, and in 200 other jurisdictions. The undertaking is the “most comprehensive post-election audits of any election in state history,” the bureau said Wednesday.  The preliminary plans come after more than a month of lawsuits, press conferences, committee hearings and protests questioning Michigan’s election results, which placed President-elect Joe Biden 154,000 votes ahead of President Donald Trump. Post-election audits are common, but those announced Wednesday by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson are more than have ever been conducted before in an effort to demonstrate “the integrity of our election.” “Clerks across the state carried out an extremely successful election amidst the challenges created by record-breaking turnout and more than double the absentee ballots ever before cast in our state, a global pandemic and the failure of the Michigan Legislature to provide more than 10 hours for pre-processing of absentee ballots,” Benson said in a statement.

Full Article: Benson to conduct statewide audits, plus ones in Wayne, Antrim counties

National: Trump’s effort to steal the election comes down to some utterly ridiculous statistical claims | Philip Bump/The Washington Post

President Trump has moved all of his electoral eggs into a new basket. Now, his efforts to undermine the will of the electorate and seize a second consecutive term in office hinges upon a lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a lawsuit that essentially argues that Texas is harmed by the election results in four states that flipped from red to blue last month. It is a lawsuit that people with much more legal expertise than myself have dismissed out-of-hand as ridiculous given the legal case being made. But it is also a lawsuit that makes statistical claims that are so bizarre, it falls well within my area of expertise to point out that on that rhetoric alone, it’s a disaster. The lawsuit’s statistical case comes down to this question: How many zeros will it take for you to be sufficiently impressed that you’ll ignore basic logic? The author of the lawsuit appears to have settled on the number 15. “The probability of former Vice President Biden winning the popular vote in the four Defendant States — Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — independently given President Trump’s early lead in those States as of 3 a.m. on November 4, 2020, is less than one in a quadrillion, or 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000,” it reads at one point. “For former Vice President Biden to win these four States collectively, the odds of that event happening decrease to less than one in a quadrillion to the fourth power.” After citing the individual credited for this interesting math, it continues. “The same less than one in a quadrillion statistical improbability of Mr. Biden winning the popular vote in the four Defendant States — Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — independently exists when Mr. Biden’s performance in each of those Defendant States is compared to former Secretary of State Hilary [sic] Clinton’s performance in the 2016 general election and President Trump’s performance in the 2016 and 2020 general elections,” it reads. “Again, the statistical improbability of Mr. Biden winning the popular vote in these four States collectively is 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000.” Just complete nonsense.

 

Full Article: Trump’s effort to steal the election comes down to some utterly ridiculous statistical claims – The Washington Post

National: Trump pressures congressional Republicans to help his fight to overturn the election | Rachael Bade, Josh Dawsey and Tom Hamburger/The Washington Post

President Trump is shifting his focus to Congress after the courts roundly rejected his bid to overturn the results of the election, pressuring congressional Republicans into taking a final stand to keep him in power. Trump’s push is part of a multipronged approach as he also seeks to lobby state and federal lawmakers to give him cover for his unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud, as well as rally support for a last-gasp legal challenge in the Supreme Court that election law experts almost universally dismiss. The president has been calling Republicans, imploring them to keep fighting and more loudly proclaim the election was stolen while pressing them on what they plan to do. He spoke to Arizona GOP Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward and Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.), head of the conservative Republican Study Committee, on Wednesday, and is expected to meet Thursday at the White House with several state attorneys general. Meanwhile, Rudolph W. Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer and point man in the legal fight, has been making similar calls from the hospital, where he is being treated for covid-19. The president also has enlisted Vice President Pence to reach out to governors and other party leaders in key states to see what else can be done to help the president. A person familiar with the calls said Pence has not exerted pressure on lawmakers to take specific actions and sees them as “checking in.” The individual spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak frankly. The vice president’s office declined to comment. Tim Murtaugh of the Trump campaign also declined to comment. Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, Trump’s conservative allies in the House have been privately buttonholing GOP senators, seeking to enlist one to join in objecting to slates of electors on Jan. 6, according to multiple people familiar with their effort who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss their plans.

 

Full Article: Trump pressures congressional Republicans to help his fight to overturn the election – The Washington Post

National: Trump’s Challenges to Election Results Face End of the Legal Road | Brent Kimbrell and Deanna Paul/Wall Street Journal

A sweeping multistate legal effort by President Trump and his supporters to override President-elect Joe Biden’s victory has reached the end of the line, with losses in courts at all levels including the U.S. Supreme Court. In the five weeks since Election Day, the Trump campaign and other Republicans have lost at least 40 times in six pivotal states: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. In several other cases, the campaign or allies withdrew claims after filing them. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court in a one-sentence order turned away a last-ditch effort by Pennsylvania Republicans to invalidate votes from the vote-by-mail system enacted by the state legislature last year. No justice noted a dissent to the order, which was released on the deadline for states to complete election results before the Electoral College meets and casts its vote on Dec. 14. Trump campaign lawyers promised to push forward. “The only fixed day in the U.S. Constitution is the inauguration of the president on January 20,” the Trump campaign’s legal team said. A handful of longshot election challenges remain, including an effort by Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton to sue four battleground states directly in the Supreme Court. He will need the court’s permission to do so, and legal experts say the case has almost no chance at success. In a tweet Wednesday, Mr. Trump called the Paxton case “the big one” and said his campaign would seek to intervene. Dana Nessel, the Democratic attorney general of Michigan, said Mr. Paxton’s lawsuit was a publicity stunt that would fail.

Full Article: Trump’s Challenges to Election Results Face End of the Legal Road – WSJ

Georgia: ‘It’s surreal’: the US officials facing violent threats as Trump claims voter fraud | Ed Pilkington and Sam Levine/The Guardian

On 1 December Gabriel Sterling, a Republican election official in Georgia, stood on the steps of the state capitol in Atlanta and let rip on Donald Trump. “Mr President, it looks like you likely lost the state of Georgia,” he said, contradicting Trump’s increasingly unhinged claim that he had won the presidential race against all evidence. “Stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence,” Sterling went on, referring to a storm of death threats and intimidation that had been unleashed by Trump supporters against public officials in the state. “Someone is going to get shot, someone is going to get killed. And it’s not right.” Then Sterling uttered the phrase that instantly entered the annals of American political rhetoric: “It has to stop.” It did not stop. Two days after Sterling’s impassioned speech went viral, Elena Parent, a Democratic state senator in Georgia, turned up for a hearing organized by Republican leaders to try to cast doubt on the election result. Trump attorneys, led by Rudy Giuliani, presented the hearing with a raft of conspiracy theories and baseless claims that tens of thousands of dead people and other ineligible individuals had voted. The Republicans hadn’t warned Parent that the event would be attended by Giuliani, Trump’s henchman in his mission to undermine American democracy until this week when the former New York mayor came down with Covid-19. So she had no idea that a big crowd of far-right fanatics and the media outlets that feed them lies and falsehoods would also be in the chamber. If she had known, she would have been careful to protect her personal details online. And she might not have sent out an anodyne tweet decrying the event accurately as a “sad sham”.

Full Article: ‘It’s surreal’: the US officials facing violent threats as Trump claims voter fraud | US news | The Guardian

Georgia: Trump warns state Attorney General not to rally other Republicans against Texas lawsuit | Greg Bluestein/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

President Donald Trump warned Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr not to rally other Republican officials against a long-shot Texas lawsuit seeking to toss out the state’s election results, according to several people with direct knowledge of the conversation. The roughly 15-minute phone call late Tuesday came shortly before U.S. Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue issued a joint statement saying they “fully support” the improbable lawsuit asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reject election results in Georgia and three other battleground states that Trump lost. Earlier in the day, Carr’s office called the lawsuit by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton “constitutionally, legally and factually wrong.” The complaint asks the justices to delay the Monday deadline for certification of presidential electors in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The two men spoke at the urging of Perdue, who along with Loeffler also received calls from Trump about Carr’s opposition to the lawsuit, according to three Republican officials, two of whom described Trump as “furious” in his call with Loeffler over the attorney general’s stance. Minutes after Trump and Carr hung up, the two senators issued a joint statement proclaiming their support for the Paxton lawsuit. “This isn’t hard and it isn’t partisan. It’s American,” the senators said. “No one should ever have to question the integrity of our elections system and the credibility of its outcomes.”

Full Article: Trump warns Georgia AG not to rally other Republicans against Texas lawsuit

Michigan moves to intervene in Antrim County lawsuit alleging voter fraud | Paul Egan/Detroit Free Press

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson filed an emergency motion Wednesday to intervene in a lawsuit alleging fraud in Antrim County, as the small GOP stronghold in northern Michigan is emerging as a last hope for allies of President Donald Trump seeking to cast doubts on the outcome of the Nov. 3 presidential election. As chief election officer, Benson is concerned about allegations in the lawsuit that the county’s election results were “somehow influenced by fraud or the purported rigging of the … tabulators,” Assistant Attorney General Heather Meingast said in a Tuesday email to an attorney pursuing the lawsuit. A hearing on the motion is set for 3 p.m. Thursday. If the judge grants approval, it would give Benson a seat at the table, through the Attorney General’s Office, to scrutinize the claims more closely and defend the actions of state and local election officials and the election equipment they use. Well-publicized errors in the unofficial election results Antrim County sent to the state of Michigan on election night made it appear that Democrat Joe Biden received more votes than Trump, when in fact Trump had won the county by nearly 4,000 votes. The errors were corrected and Antrim County Clerk Sheryl Guy, a Republican, took responsibility. According to a court filing, Guy made an error Oct. 23 when she updated ballot information to include a Mancelona Township candidate who had been inadvertently omitted from the ballot.

Full Article: State wants to intervene in Antrim suit alleging vote fraud

Michigan Supreme Court, in 4-3 decision, rejects election fraud case | Paul Egan/Detroit Free Press

The Michigan Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision, denied requests from two voters who backed President Donald Trump and sought an election audit and other actions to address alleged fraud related to absentee ballots. Angelic Johnson and Linda Lee Tarver, both members of Black Voices for Trump, petitioned the state Supreme Court directly on Nov. 26. They sought a range of court actions, in addition to an audit, including: a declaration that Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson had violated their constitutional rights; seizure of ballots, ballot boxes and poll books; appointment of a special master or legislative committee to investigate claims of fraud related to the counting of absentee ballots at the TCF Center in Detroit, and an injunction preventing Gov. Gretchen Whitmer from certifying Michigan’s presidential election results, which has already happened. The three Democratic-nominated justices — Chief Justice Bridget McCormack and Justices Richard Bernstein and Megan Cavanagh — were joined by Republican nominee Elizabeth Clement in denying the requested actions without first hearing oral arguments. Justices Brian Zahra, David Viviano and Stephen Markman dissented, saying the court should call for additional briefings and oral arguments and hear the case fully on an expedited basis. Clement, in concurring with the majority on the court, wrote that some areas of Michigan law remain unsettled surrounding elections, audits and what actions can be taken by those who believe a statewide presidential election has been wrongly decided. However, “this court routinely chooses not to hear cases which raise interesting and unsettled legal questions in the abstract when we conclude the case would be a poor practical vehicle for addressing those questions — which is my view of this case and these questions,” Clement wrote.

Full Article: Michigan Supreme Court, in 4-3 decision, rejects election fraud case

Missouri: No Excuse? No Problem — That’s Where Some Want To Move State’s Absentee Ballot System | Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

The coronavirus pandemic exposed Missouri’s complex absentee balloting system. Before 2020, voters needed to check off a specific excuse to vote earlier. But on the final day of this year’s General Assembly regular session, lawmakers expanded how Missourians could cast an absentee ballot in a manner that many found confusing and unintuitive. With that absentee ballot expansion set to go away at the end of the year, some election officials and lawmakers want to keep things simple on how to permanently change how Missourians vote early. “They don’t need an excuse. Just come in and get it done,” said Republican Henry County Clerk Rick Watson. “We work so hard to get people registered. I don’t know why we can’t make it easier to cast their ballot without having to make up an excuse that they’re not going to be able to go to the poll.” Many of Missouri’s county clerks and election authority officials have wanted to scrap the state’s list of possible excuses to obtain an absentee ballot for years, contending, among other things, that it’s basically impossible to do anything if voters don’t actually have a reason for voting early. And while nobody feels the push for a no-excuse system will be a slam dunk, supporters are hoping the idea gains more traction after this year’s contentious election cycle. “The Legislature has not had much appetite for election administration reform lately,” said St. Louis County Democratic Elections Director Eric Fey. “I don’t know if I hold out a lot of hope. But if there’s any chance, it should probably be this session because it’s front in everybody’s mind after the presidential election.”

Full Article: No Excuse? No Problem — That’s Where Some Want To Move Missouri’s Absentee Ballot System | St. Louis Public Radio

North Carolina: Protests, recounts for state’s chief justice election results | Danielle Battaglia/Charlotte Observer

North Carolina’s next Supreme Court chief justice remains undecided and likely will stay that way until at least Dec. 18. Incumbent Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, a Democrat, filed 87 protests across the state and contends that thousands of North Carolina votes were wrongly disqualified. It’s unclear how many of Beasley’s protests remain outstanding but she has filed 48 appeals for those that have been dismissed. Her opponent, Justice Paul Newby, the Republican candidate filed 14 protests and 12 appeals. Newby likely will succeed Beasley after leading the race with 401 votes following a statewide machine recount that concluded last week. Beasley also demanded a hand-to-eye recount that began Monday and is scheduled to finish Dec. 14. Beasley filed protests throughout the state alleging that some county board of elections offices had made errors when reviewing ballots after election law changes went back and forth in federal and state courts after the election had already begun. Those changes included extending the number of days that ballots would be accepted following the election.

Full Article: Protests, recounts for NC’s chief justice election results | Charlotte Observer

Ohio: Stark County to get new Dominion voting machines | Robert Wang/The Canton Repository

After about three years of shopping around for new voting machines, the Stark County Board of Elections finally found a deal that it likes. And the machines will work very similarly to the touch screen machines many Stark County voters have become accustomed to using the past 15 years. Voters are expected to start using the machines in the May 4, 2021 primary. “You put the card in the bottom versus the side. It’s very similar,” said Regine Johnson, the deputy director of the Stark County Board of Elections. “It looks slightly different. The legs are slightly different. The way the paper trail is shown is slightly different. So there will be things that people have to get used to. But it’s not a huge change.” Following the recommendation of staff, the board voted 4-0 Wednesday afternoon to purchase 1,450 Dominion ImageCast X Kit Prime VVPAT touch screen voting machines that each cost $3,500, four high-speed $25,000 optical ballot scanners with more memory capacity, $11,560 ballot printers, a $17,000 server that tabulates votes and a long list of other election equipment. The optical ballot scanners are used to scan absentee mail ballots, provisional ballots and ballots cast at polling locations by voters who don’t want to use touch-screen machines. The total cost of the equipment is $6.45 million.

Full Article: Stark County to get new Dominion voting machines.

Pennsylvania appellate court delivers another loss to Trump’s GOP allies seeking to void the state’s election results | Jeremy Roebuck/Philadelphia Inquirer

A Pennsylvania appellate court on Wednesday denied the latest in a string of legal challenges seeking to roll back certification of the election results, ending the last active court battle in the state over the outcome of the race. In a four-page opinion, Commonwealth Court President Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt dismissed the suit brought by a group of nine GOP state lawmakers, led by Rep Daryl Metcalfe (R., Butler), saying they had waited too long to file their challenge. They “are unable to demonstrate a clear right to relief or likelihood of prevailing on the merits because their underlying action … is really an improper and untimely election contest,” she wrote. Metcalfe’s suit, filed Friday, followed a string of other recent lawsuits filed by President Donald Trump’s allies in the GOP, even as Trump himself appears to have abandoned his campaign’s efforts to bludgeon its way to victory through the courts. The ruling from Leavitt, a Republican, came a day after the U.S. Supreme Court declined a request from U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, a Republican also from Butler County, to void the state’s certified results, which declared President-elect Joe Biden the winner in Pennsylvania by some 81,000 votes. Metcalfe’s suit in state court sought a similar goal. But unlike Kelly, who had argued that the law that widely expanded voting by mail in the state was unconstitutional, Metcalfe zeroed in on decisions by elections administrators and the state’s Supreme Court that which he called “so severely flawed it is impossible to certify the accuracy of the purported results.”

Full Article: Pa. appellate court delivers another loss to Trump’s GOP allies seeking to void the state’s election results

Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey calls Trump’s campaign to overturn election ‘completely unacceptable’ | Jonathan Tamari/Philadelphia Inquirer

Sen. Pat Toomey said Tuesday that it’s “completely unacceptable” for President Donald Trump to pressure state lawmakers to overturn Pennsylvania’s election result, a rare rebuke from an elected Republican as Trump continues his effort to subvert the will of the voters. “It’s completely unacceptable and it’s not going to work and the president should give up trying to get legislatures to overturn the results of the elections in their respective states,” Toomey, Pennsylvania’s most prominent elected Republican, said in a phone interview. His comments came a day after it emerged that Trump called the Republican state House Speaker to seek help in undoing the outcome. Toomey, one of fewer than 30 congressional Republicans to openly acknowledge Joe Biden’s victory, said he spoke with the president-elect by phone late last week, congratulated him, and discussed some of the few areas where they might be able to cooperate, such as on international trade. “We had a very pleasant conversation,” Toomey said. He added that the outcome was “clear” and that “Joe Biden won the election.” The call, and Toomey’s rejection of Trump’s latest maneuvers, stood out as an unusually direct Republican response to the president’s unprecedented attempts to thwart the election result. His stand put Toomey at odds with many fellow Republicans in Congress, the Pennsylvania state legislature, and some in the state’s congressional delegation, who have either sued to throw out Pennsylvania’s results — effectively disenfranchising the entire state — or who plan to oppose formal recognition of their own state’s outcome in Congress. Their opposition to the outcome comes despite the Trump campaign’s failure to produce evidence of even a single Pennsylvania vote intentionally cast illegally.

Full Article: Trump campaign to overturn Pennsylvania election results ‘unacceptable,’ Pat Toomey says

Arizona: Federal judge throws out last election challenge pending in state | Maria Polletta/Arizona Republic

A U.S. District Court judge on Wednesday tossed out the last election challenge pending in Arizona, dismissing its sweeping fraud claims as “sorely wanting of relevant or reliable evidence.” “Allegations that find favor in the public sphere of gossip and innuendo cannot be a substitute for earnest pleadings and procedure in federal court,” U.S. District Court Judge Diane Humetewa wrote in a blistering 29-page ruling. “They most certainly cannot be the basis for upending Arizona’s 2020 General Election.” The lawsuit — filed by a group primarily composed of would-be Donald Trump electors, including Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward — claimed “massive election fraud” in Arizona involving Dominion voting machines, foreign interference and illegal votes. With the assistance of attorney and Donald Trump advocate Sidney Powell, the plaintiffs pushed to have the state’s election results “decertified” and election equipment seized.

Full Article: Federal judge throws out last election challenge pending in Arizona

Texas can’t block votes cast in other states. Absurdly, it’s trying. | Lisa Marshall Manheim/The Washington Post

In Texas, Republicans have worked hard to impose burdens on voters — at least, within the state’s own borders. But now they have grander plans. On Tuesday, Texas filed a lawsuit announcing its desire to interfere with voting processes in other states across the country. The lawsuit has no merit. It will fail. The effort though represents a galling expansion of Texas officials’ disregard for voters and the electoral process. In anticipation of the 2020 elections, Texas set a plan for its voters. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the plan included shuttering voting locations and refusing to meaningfully expand registration or mail-in voting options. The pandemic, in turn, convinced Texas officials to race into court — but not to ensure that voters could safely cast a ballot. Instead, officials litigated to prevent voters from securing a mail-in ballot for the purpose of avoiding the virus. Republican plaintiffs, including a member of the Texas House of Representatives, tried to convince courts to invalidate the votes of over 100,000 Texans who had voted at outdoor polling locations designed to reduce risks of contagion. Yet another line of litigation saw Texas officials vigorously defending voters’ ability to enter a polling place without wearing a mask. Efforts of this sort will help Texas to retain an ignominious title: hardest state in the country in which to cast a ballot. And yet that anti-democratic trophy appears not to be enough. At least, it is not enough for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who seeks to overturn the 2020 presidential election results by suing four swing states that already have certified victories for President-elect Joe Biden. (Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, also a Republican, announced late Tuesday that he was joining the lawsuit, and President Trump claimed Wednesday morning that he too would “be intervening” in the case.) Audaciously, Texas filed these claims directly in the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

Full Article: The Texas Supreme Court lawsuit won’t go anywhere – The Washington Post

Wisconsin: GOP head of elections panel won’t acknowledge Biden’s win | Patrick Marley/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The chairman of the Assembly’s elections committee says he is unsure who won Wisconsin’s presidential election and might support having the GOP-controlled Legislature try to flip Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes from Joe Biden to Donald Trump. Republican Rep. Ron Tusler of Harrison, the chairman of the Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections, also said he would not vote early in person in the spring election, as he did in November, because he no longer believes the procedure is being conducted legally by officials around the state. Tusler’s committee plans to host a wide-ranging hearing Friday alongside a Senate committee to look into the Nov. 3 election, which Biden won by about 21,000 votes, a margin of 0.6 percentage points. The legislative hearing comes as courts in Wisconsin try to resolve lawsuits by Trump and his allies before the Electoral College casts ballots Monday. Meanwhile, one of Tusler’s colleagues warned of a revolt over the election and a Republican on the state Elections Commission said he had filed a complaint against Democratic Gov. Tony Evers for certifying the results. Trump and his backers have been trying without success to overturn the election, and officials from both parties, including U.S. Attorney General William Barr, have said they have not found any signs of widespread fraud that would change the outcome. Trump last month fired cybersecurity chief Christopher Krebs after he announced the election was the most secure in the country’s history. In an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Tusler wouldn’t say whether he agreed with election officials who found Biden won Wisconsin.

Full Article: GOP head of elections panel won’t acknowledge Biden’s win in Wisconsin

Texas files an audacious suit with the Supreme Court challenging the election results. | Adam Liptak/The New York Times

The state of Texas filed an audacious lawsuit in the Supreme Court on Tuesday against four other states, asking the justices to extend the Dec. 14 deadline for certification of presidential electors. The suit, filed by the state’s attorney general, Ken Paxton, said Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin had engaged in election irregularities that require investigation, and it asked the court to “enjoin the use of unlawful election results without review and ratification by the defendant states’ legislatures.” Legal experts called the suit outlandish, and it comes at a time when Mr. Paxton is battling a scandal in his own state over whistle-blower allegations that he engaged in bribery and other wrongdoing to illegally help a wealthy Austin real estate developer and political donor. “It looks like we have a new leader in the ‘craziest lawsuit filed to purportedly challenge the election’ category,” Stephen I. Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas, wrote on Twitter. The Constitution gives the Supreme Court “original jurisdiction” to hear disputes “in which a state shall be party.” In such cases, the Supreme Court acts much like a trial court, appointing a special master to hear evidence and issue recommendations. Though the Constitution seems to require the court to hear cases brought by states, the court has ruled that it has discretion to turn them down and often does. When the court does exercise its original jurisdiction, it is usually to adjudicate disputes between two states over issues like water rights. In 2016, the justices turned down a request from Nebraska and Oklahoma to file a challenge to Colorado’s legalization of recreational marijuana. The states said the Colorado law had spillover effects, taxing neighboring states’ criminal justice systems and hurting the health of their residents.

Full Article: Texas files an audacious suit with the Supreme Court challenging the election results. – The New York Times

National: Letter from more than 1,500 attorneys says Trump campaign lawyers don’t have ‘license to lie’ | Kim Bellware and John Wagner/The Washington Post

More than 1,500 lawyers condemned efforts by the Trump campaign’s legal team to reverse the election results in an open letter that urged the American Bar Association (ABA) to investigate the conduct of the team, including its leader, Rudolph W. Giuliani. “President Trump’s barrage of litigation is a pretext for a campaign to undermine public confidence in the outcome of the 2020 election, which inevitably will subvert constitutional democracy,” the letter says. “Sadly, the President’s primary agents and enablers in this effort are lawyers, obligated by their oath and ethical rules to uphold the rule of law.” The letter escalates the concerns of Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.) who on Nov. 20 filed complaints with ethics boards in five states calling for Giuliani and other members of the team to be investigated and disbarred. The criticism has been echoed in op-eds and letters by attorneys who have rebuked the team for filing frivolous lawsuits and tarnishing the legal profession. “It’s really unusual to see a coalition like this calling for disciplinary action; it takes a lot,” Deborah Rhode, a Stanford Law School professor and one of the leading American legal ethicists, told The Washington Post on Tuesday. “Many of these letters have been crossing the political aisle, and that testifies to both the egregiousness of the conduct and its seriousness for the rule of law and the democratic process.” The signers include a bipartisan coalition of former ABA presidents, state bar presidents, retired federal judges, retired state Supreme Court justices and attorneys in private practice. Coordinated by the nonpartisan group Lawyers Defending American Democracy, the open letter questions the conduct by Giuliani, as well as current and former Trump legal team members Joseph diGenova, Jenna Ellis, Victoria Toensing and Sidney Powell. Representatives for the Trump campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

Full Article: More than 1,500 lawyers sign open letter condemning conduct of Trump legal team – The Washington Post

National: As Trump Rails Against Loss, His Supporters Become More Threatening | Nick Corasaniti, Jim Rutenberg and Kathleen Gray/The New York Times

With a key deadline passing Tuesday that all but ends his legal challenges to the election, President Trump’s frenzied campaign to overturn the results has reached an inflection point: Certified slates of electors to the Electoral College are now protected by law, and any chance that a state might appoint a different slate that is favorable to Mr. Trump is essentially gone. Despite his clear loss, Mr. Trump has shown no intention of stopping his sustained assault on the American electoral process. But his baseless conspiracy theories about voting fraud have devolved into an exercise in delegitimizing the election results, and the rhetoric is accelerating among his most fervent allies. This has prompted outrage among Trump loyalists and led to behavior that Democrats and even some Republicans say has become dangerous. Supporters of the president outraged at his loss, some of them armed, gathered outside the home of the Michigan secretary of state Saturday night. Racist death threats filled the voice mail of Cynthia A. Johnson, a Michigan state representative. Georgia election officials, mostly Republicans, say they have received threats of violence. The Republican Party of Arizona, on Twitter, twice called for supporters to be willing to “die for something” or “give my life for this fight.” “People on Twitter have posted photographs of my house,” said Ann Jacobs, the chair of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, who alerted her neighbors and the police about the constant threats. She said another message mentioned her children and said, “I’ve heard you’ll have quite a crowd of patriots showing up at your door.”

Full Article: As Trump Rails Against Loss, His Supporters Become More Threatening – The New York Times

National: ‘Safe Harbor’ Day Marks a Further Step Toward Sealing Joe Biden’s Victory in Electoral College | Alexa Corse/Wall Street Journal

A federal deadline Tuesday marks the latest formal step toward confirming President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election, further reducing options for President Trump and his supporters to fight the results. States were supposed to try to resolve any disputes over the presidential results and finalize their slate of electors for the Electoral College by Tuesday. It is known as the “Safe Harbor” deadline because, if met, Congress should accept a state’s results as conclusive and reject any further challenges, according to federal law. The deadline usually passes with little notice. This year, the Trump campaign and its allies have so far unsuccessfully launched a battery of lawsuits and sought to persuade some state legislatures to overturn the election results, drawing extra attention to the arcane formalities that states and Congress take to confirm the next president in time for the inauguration on Jan. 20. The “Safe Harbor” deadline doesn’t necessarily end those or other lawsuits. But given that Congress is supposed to respect the results of states that meet the deadline, and with the Electoral College vote coming Monday, it narrows the options for challenging the outcome, according to election law scholars. “I don’t think it’s the kind of the deadline that’s going to bring true finality,” said Richard L. Hasen, an election-law professor at the University of California, Irvine. “It’s more like another nail in the coffin.”

Full Article: ‘Safe Harbor’ Day Marks a Further Step Toward Sealing Joe Biden’s Victory in Electoral College – WSJ

National: The Nation Reached ‘Safe Harbor.’ Here’s What That Means. | Nick Corasaniti, Sydney Ember and Alan Feuer/The New York Times

Joseph R. Biden Jr. has already won the presidential election, but on Tuesday he moved one step closer to the White House. By the end of the day, the nation was set to reach the so-called safe harbor deadline, which is generally accepted as the date by which all state-level election challenges — such as recounts and audits — are supposed to be completed. Broadly, that means that President Trump’s efforts to overturn the presidential election are nearing the end of the line. After Tuesday, state courts would most likely have to throw out any new lawsuit challenging the election. That’s because election results that have been certified by the states are now considered conclusive, and by law those states’ Electoral College votes must be counted by Congress. By late Monday, every state but Hawaii had certified its results, and Mr. Biden had secured more than the 270 electoral votes needed to become president.

Full Article: The Nation Reached ‘Safe Harbor.’ Here’s What That Means. – The New York Times

National: Chris Krebs sues Trump campaign, Joe diGenova for defamation | Spencer S. Hsu and Dan Morse/The Washington Post

The former top U.S. cybersecurity official responsible for securing November’s presidential election sued the Trump campaign and one of its lawyers for defamation Tuesday, asserting that they conspired to falsely claim the election was stolen, attack dissenting Republicans and fraudulently reap political donations. Christopher Krebs, who was fired Nov. 17 by President Trump after he refuted the president’s claims of widespread election fraud, singled out comments made almost two weeks later by attorney Joseph diGenova, who said Krebs should face the same punishment inflicted on those convicted of treason because he had asserted that the 2020 election was the most secure in history. “He should be drawn and quartered,” diGenova said on the outlet Newsmax, a third defendant. “Taken out at dawn and shot.” He also labeled Krebs an “idiot” and a “class-A moron” during the segment, which unleashed a flood of social media comments that left Krebs, his wife and several of their young children in fear for their lives, according to the lawsuit. At one point, according to the lawsuit, the Krebs’s 10-year-old child asked: “Daddy’s going to get executed?” The 52-page complaint was filed in Maryland state court in Montgomery County, where diGenova resides. The lawsuit accused diGenova and the Trump campaign of defamation and “intentional infliction of emotional distress.” It labeled Newsmax an aider and abettor. Krebs seeks a jury trial, money and punitive damages and an injunction ordering Newsmax to remove video of the incident.

Full Article: Chris Krebs sues Trump campaign, Joe diGenova for defamation – The Washington Post

National: Conservative Lawsuits Fuel Distrust of Election Results | Jacob Gershman/Wall Street Journal

Phill Kline says he has filed so many legal challenges to the presidential-election results that he can’t keep track. “It’s hard for me to keep up, honestly,” said Mr. Kline, a former Republican attorney general of Kansas who runs the Amistad Project, an election-focused offshoot of the Thomas More Society, a conservative legal group in Chicago best-known for antiabortion and religious-rights casework. The Amistad Project is among a small but committed band of pro-Trump plaintiffs that have targeted battleground states and swelled the dockets with lawsuits aimed at invalidating President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. As the Trump campaign pursues a handful of long-shot lawsuits in two states, outside activists have at least a half-dozen cases pending before state and federal benches. None have been successful, but they have fed into suspicions among Republicans that the election wasn’t run fairly. The affidavits attached to the lawsuits and video evidence purporting to show mishandling of ballots have gone viral among conservatives and provided fuel for critics of expanded absentee voting. State election officials and U.S. Attorney General William Barr have said they have found no evidence of fraud widespread enough to tip the election. Federal cybersecurity officials have called the election the most secure ever conducted. In Georgia, where the viral videos emerged, state investigators have said the recordings show normal operations, with observers watching legal ballots get counted. Some of the groups say their mission extends beyond next week when the Electoral College meets on Dec. 14 and formalizes Mr. Biden’s victory. They haven’t always marched in lockstep with the Trump campaign legal team and are looking for rulings that could affect future elections.

Full Article: Conservative Lawsuits Fuel Distrust of Election Results – WSJ

National: Major cybersecurity firm FireEye says it was hacked in sophisticated nation-state attack | Maggie Miller and Olivia Beavers/The Hill

FireEye, a top cybersecurity firm that has built a reputation for tracking the digital fingerprints in major cyberattacks, has now become a target in a highly sophisticated attack that it says was done by a skilled nation-state. FireEye acknowledged to The Hill and other news outlets on Tuesday that its own systems were penetrated by “a nation with top-tier offensive capabilities.” FireEye, which was a key firm that helped track Russia’s cyberattack on the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 presidential election, did not name who it believes is behind the attack, but its description points to the Kremlin. FireEye CEO Kevin Mandia wrote in a blog post that “based on my 25 years in cyber security and responding to incidents, I’ve concluded we are witnessing an attack by a nation with top-tier offensive capabilities.” “We were attacked by a highly sophisticated threat actor, one whose discipline, operational security, and techniques lead us to believe it was a state-sponsored attack,” he wrote. Mandia noted that FireEye was working with the FBI and “other key partners,” including Microsoft, to investigate the attack. Matt Gorham, the assistant director of the FBI’s Cyber Division, said in a statement provided to The Hill that “the FBI is investigating the incident and preliminary indications show an actor with a high level of sophistication consistent with a nation state.”

Full Article: Major cybersecurity firm says it was hacked in sophisticated nation-state attack | TheHill

Georgia: Courts jettison more election challenges | David Wickert and Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

 

The rapid pace of court challenges to Georgia’s presidential election pushed ahead with more lawsuits filed Tuesday, even as judges continue to reject every one of them. A Fulton County judge dismissed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking an audit of the state’s voter registration rolls and absentee ballot envelopes from the November election. It’s the fourth time in recent days courts have rejected pleas to overturn the election. But as that suit failed, more arose. The Texas attorney general sued Georgia to overturn election results here and in three other states where Democrat Joe Biden received the most votes. In addition, a former member of President Donald Trump’s legal team appealed a Monday ruling that dismissed her case in federal court. Meanwhile, the president himself brought a separate lawsuit in Fulton County Superior Court. Among other things, the lawsuit alleges tens of thousands of ineligible voters cast ballots in the November election. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has said there is no evidence of voting fraud on a scale that would affect the outcome of the election, though his office is investigating more than 250 cases of suspected improprieties. U.S. Attorney General William Barr has said federal investigators also have found no evidence of widespread fraud.

Full Article: Courts jettison more Georgia election challenges