Arizona: Judge Rejects GOP Bid to Delay Vote Certification in Phoenix | Jacques Billeaud/Associated Press

A judge has rejected the Arizona Republican Party’s bid to postpone the certification of election results in Maricopa County and dismissed the party’s legal challenge that sought a new audit of a sampling of ballots. Judge John Hanna issued the ruling Thursday with little explanation, saying only that the GOP’s request to amend its lawsuit was futile, barring the party from refiling the case and promising a full explanation of his reasons for the decision in the future. Maricopa County officials are expected to certify elections results Friday. It’s unclear whether the party plans to appeal the decision. While the Republican Party said the purpose of its challenge is to determine whether voting machines were hacked, Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’ office said the suit is a delay tactic aimed at undermining the certification. No evidence of fraud or hacking of voting machines has emerged during this election in Arizona. The court ruling comes as the state GOP has pressured county officials statewide to delay certifying their election results, leading officials in Republican-heavy Mohave County to postpone their certification until Monday. Eleven of Arizona’s 15 counties have already certified election results. Kelli Ward, chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party, responded to the decision by asking for an examination of a larger audit of ballots cast throughout Arizona. “Arizona voters deserve to have complete trust in their election procedures. They should also have supreme confidence that only legal ballots were counted in the 2020 election,” Ward said. “Failure to address their concerns actively harms our state and our nation.”

Full Article: Judge Rejects GOP Bid to Delay Vote Certification in Phoenix | Arizona News | US News

Georgia drawn into election conspiracy claims by Trump allies | Alan Judd/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

 

Georgia was drawn into a vortex of conspiracy theories over the 2020 presidential election on Thursday as President Donald Trump’s lawyers and a prominent Atlanta supporter pressed unfounded claims that the state was a hotbed of fraud. In a hearing late Thursday, a federal judge in Atlanta rejected a request to bar state officials from certifying that former Vice President Joe Biden defeated Trump in Georgia. State law requires election results to be certified by Friday. U.S. District Judge Steven Grimberg, a Trump appointee, said he found no evidence of irregularities that affected more than a nominal number of votes. Biden beat Trump by more than 12,000 votes in Georgia. Grimberg said halting the election’s certification could have invalidated 1.3 million absentee ballots cast by Georgia voters. “It harms the public interest in countless ways, particularly in the environment in which this election occurred,” Grimberg said at the end of a nearly three-hour hearing. “To halt the certification at literally the 11th hour would breed confusion and significant disenfranchisement.”

Full Article: Trump allies draw Georgia into election conspiracy claims

Georgia: ‘Integrity still matters’: the unlikely Republican standing up to Trump’s voter fraud lies | Sam Levine/The Guardian

Of all the Republicans to push back on Donald Trump’s baseless claims about voter fraud, Brad Raffensperger, the mild-mannered top election official in Georgia, did not seem like a likely candidate. It was just a few months ago that civil rights groups called on Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, to resign from his position after voters spent hours waiting to vote in the primary election. He also faced criticism for declining to mail an absentee ballot application to all voters for the general election – something he did in the primary. And he raised alarms by creating an election fraud taskforce and trumpeting potential voter fraud prosecutions with little context. But after Trump lost Georgia to Joe Biden by around 13,000 votes, Raffensperger has emerged as one of the few Republican officials across the US who has aggressively disputed Trump’s baseless claims that fraud tainted the election result in the state. Trump, who endorsed Raffensperger in 2018, is now directing his ire at the secretary of state, and Georgia’s two Republican senators, both locked in separate runoff contests against Democrats, have called on Raffensperger to resign. Raffensperger, who is quarantining after his wife tested positive for Covid-19, continued to push back on the attacks against his office on Wednesday, saying Trump’s loss in the state – long considered a Republican stronghold – was the candidate’s fault.

Full Article: ‘Integrity still matters’: the unlikely Republican standing up to Trump’s voter fraud lies | US news | The Guardian

Georgia: Lindsey Graham’s alleged interference in election is felony election fraud | Mark Joseph Stern/Slate

Since narrowly losing Georgia to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump has promoted baseless claims of voter fraud in a desperate effort to overturn the results of the election. So far, however, the only individual credibly accused of a fraudulent effort to steal the election is South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. On Monday, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger—who, like Graham, is a Republican—told the Washington Post that Graham asked him if he could throw out all mail ballots from counties with a high rate of signature mismatch. Raffensperger later clarified that he believed Graham wanted his office to throw out valid, legally cast ballots. The senator has contested this account. Graham’s alleged request is unseemly and corrupt. But is it criminal? In short, yes, according to multiple Georgia election law experts. If Raffensperger’s account is true, there is virtually no doubt that Graham committed a crime under Georgia law. The more difficult question is whether Graham will suffer any consequences for his alleged offense. Because he is a Republican and a sitting U.S. senator, Graham likely won’t face an investigation, let alone prosecution, for conduct that would get almost anyone else arrested. It might be tempting to dismiss Graham’s alleged interference as unscrupulous strategizing blown out of proportion. But Georgia has a sordid history of prosecuting putative voter fraud involving far more innocent conduct. Graham does not deserve a pass simply because he is a wealthy white senator.

Full Article: Lindsey Graham’s alleged interference in Georgia’s election is felony election fraud.

Michigan: Trump invites Republican leaders to meet him at White House as he escalates attempts to overturn election results | Tom Hamburger, Kayla Ruble, David A. Fahrenthold and Josh Dawsey/The Washington Post

President Trump has invited the leaders of Michigan’s Republican-controlled state legislature to meet him in Washington on Friday, according to a person familiar with those plans, as the president and his allies continue an extraordinary campaign to overturn the results of an election he lost. Trump’s campaign has suffered defeats in courtrooms across the country in its efforts to allege irregularities with the ballot-counting process, and has failed to muster any evidence of the widespread fraud that the president continues to claim tainted the 2020 election. Trump lost Michigan by a wide margin: at present, he trails President-Elect Joseph R. Biden in the state by 157,000 votes. Earlier this week, the state’s Republican Senate Majority Leader said an effort to have legislators throw out election results was “not going to happen.” But the president now appears to be using the full weight of his office to challenge the election results, as he and his allies reach out personally to state and local officials in an intensifying effort to halt the certification of the vote in key battleground states. In an incendiary news conference in Washington, Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York mayor who is now serving as Trump’s lead attorney, made baseless claims that Biden had orchestrated a national conspiracy to rig the vote. Trump’s team appear to be increasingly focused on Michigan as a place where Republican officials — on the state’s Board of Canvassers and in the legislature — might be persuaded to overturn the results.

Full Article: Trump called Monica Palmer, Wayne County official who asked to ‘rescind’ vote certifying election resultsIn Wayne County, Mich., GOP members of canvassing board ask to ‘rescind’ their votes certifying the election – The Washington Post

Michigan: What the affidavits to stop Detroit ballot count claimed, and how they were rebutted | Mark Hicks/The Detroit News

When Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, focused Thursday on the recent lawsuit by Detroit poll challengers who sought to stop the canvassing of Wayne County election results, he pointed to the affidavits made public in the case. Those eight filings in the Costantino v. Detroit lawsuit included claims that targeted alleged restrictions on poll challengers, late-arriving absentee ballots and clerk’s office workers who encouraged early voters to cast their ballots for Democratic President-elect Joe Biden and Democrats. Giuliani’s claims Thursday joined a series of attempts by President Trump’s supporters to discount Biden’s win in Michigan and undermine the election of Joseph Biden Jr. as president. A Wayne County judge last week denied the request, finding many of the claims without merit following rebuttals from city officials. The city of Detroit has denied the allegations in the case and said they are proof the plaintiffs “do not understand absent voter ballot processing and tabulating.” “It is clear also that they did not operate through the leadership of their challenger party, because the issues they bring forward were by and large discussed and resolved with the leadership of their challenger party,” according to an affidavit by Chris Thomas, a retired 36-year elections director for Michigan under both Republican and Democratic secretaries of state.

Full Article: What the affidavits to stop Detroit ballot count claimed, and how they were rebutted

New Hampshire: Gardner seeks 23rd term as secretary of state | Holly Ramer/Associated Press

After what felt like the longest election cycle ever, the nation’s longest serving secretary of state said Thursday he will seek a 23rd two-year term in New Hampshire. First elected by the Legislature in 1976, Bill Gardner faced little competition until two years ago, when he defeated former gubernatorial candidate Colin Van Ostern by just four votes. He kept quiet about his plans for the next biennium until he finished overseeing recounts for the most recent elections. “Three months ago or a year ago or even three weeks ago, I didn’t know if I was going to do it or not,” he said in an interview. Gardner, 72, has built a reputation for fiercely defending New Hampshire’s position at the front of the presidential primary calendar. This year’s Feb. 11 contest was under extra scrutiny after the leadoff Iowa caucuses descended into chaos, with technical problems and results that remained muddied for days. Then came the coronavirus pandemic, which created challenges for municipal elections and traditional Town Meetings in March, followed by the September state primary and November general election. The state temporarily expanded eligibility for absentee voting for those concerned about the pandemic, and extensive safety measures were in place at the polls. All of that influenced his decision, Gardner said,

Full Article: Gardner seeks 23rd term as New Hampshire secretary of state

New Mexico: Republicans try to cast doubt on presidential results after Biden won by 11 points | Matthew Reichbach/NM Political Report

Less than a week before New Mexico certifies its election results, President Donald Trump’s political team said there are allegations of voter fraud in the state, even as the state’s post-election process to verify and audit results moved forward. Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani made the allegations as part of a rambling press conference on Thursday that contradicted some arguments the Trump campaign has made in courts. The Trump campaign has consistently lost their cases as they attempt to overturn election results in states where the Republican lost, like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. “And the state that we’re looking at that would surprise you, we’re seeing very, very significant amount of fraud allegations in the state of New Mexico,” Giuliani claimed. A spokesman for the Secretary of State said elections in New Mexico were secure. He also said there have been, to his knowledge, there have been no lawsuits filed yet. “We have safe and secure elections here in New Mexico because of our use of best practices like paper ballots, regular voter roll maintenance, and post-election audits,” the spokesman, Alex Curtas, said in a statement.

Full Article: Republicans try to cast doubt on NM presidential results after Biden won by 11 points | The NM Political Report

How are North Carolina counties going to recount millions of ballots? | Jordan Wilkie/Carolina Public Press

North Carolina is conducting a statewide recount, spurred by one of the closest elections the state has ever seen. The Republican candidate for chief justice of the state Supreme Court, current Associate Justice Paul Newby, leads Democratic incumbent Cheri Beasley by 406 votes, or seven-thousands of a percent. In the span of a few days, every county in North Carolina will recount each of the more than 5.5 million ballots cast in this election, which saw record-setting turnout. While voters cast those ballots over the span of weeks, counties have until Nov. 25 to finish the second count. “It’s a very methodical process that needs to be done in a very condensed time frame,” said Robert Inman, Haywood County’s elections director. Inman, like a fifth of North Carolina’s election directors, is doing his first recount with paper ballots. Until the end of 2019, 21 counties were using touchscreen voting machines that stored votes on memory cards. During the 2016 recounts, these counties simply had to rerun those memory cards through the computer, which yielded the same results.

Full Article: How are NC counties going to recount millions of ballots? – Carolina Public Press

Pennsylvania: Trump campaign asks court to declare Trump winner | Marina Pitofsky/The Hill

President Trump’s campaign filed a lawsuit on Wednesday over election results in Pennsylvania, arguing that he should be named the winner in the battleground state and that the GOP-controlled state legislature should be given the authority to assign its electoral votes, according to reports. The suit also argues that the campaign’s constitutional rights were violated because observers were not given adequate access as election officials processed mail-in ballots. The claim was dropped in an earlier version of the lawsuit. The campaign said in its new filing said that the claim was dropped due to a miscommunication among attorneys for the president. It also argues that 1.5 million votes across the state “should not have been counted” and that they led to “returns indicating Biden won Pennsylvania.” Attorneys for the Trump campaign also criticized a decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court earlier this week. The court ruled on Tuesday that election observers had adequate opportunity to watch to the vote-counting process, even if they could not see the individual ballots.

Full Article: Trump campaign asks Pennsylvania court to declare Trump winner | TheHill

Divided Pennsylvania House approves audit of 2020 election, citing inconsistencies and confusion in electorate | Ford Turner/The Morning Call

A deeply divided state House on Thursday voted to approve a Republican-sponsored measure that sets up an audit of the 2020 election, citing inconsistencies and confusion in the electorate as evidence the process must be improved for future contests. The vote was 112 in favor of the audit and 90 against, with all Republicans and three Democrats voting in favor. “There is no need to fear this audit. I welcome it. We all should welcome it, to find out what went right and what went wrong,” said Bedford County Republican Rep. Jesse Topper, the prime sponsor of the audit resolution. The intent, he said, is not to look for fraud but to get an in-depth assessment of how the Nov. 3 election was carried out, in time to possibly take legislative action early next year to improve the system. The resolution directs the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee ― a bipartisan committee with members from both House and Senate ― to oversee a “risk-limiting” audit. It allows the committee to hire an outside contractor to do the work. It may begin almost immediately and is expected to be complete by early February, at the latest. Democrats attacked the proposal, calling it unconstitutional, damaging to democracy and unnecessary. Gov. Tom Wolf issued a written statement during the debate, saying any audit done by this approach would be “incomplete, duplicative and unreliable.”

Full Article: Divided Pennsylvania House approves audit of 2020 election, citing inconsistencies and confusion in electorate – The Morning Call

Wisconsin: Trump continues alleging irregularities in Democratic strongholds without evidence | Briana Reilly/The Capital Times

President Donald Trump is targeting two of Wisconsin’s biggest and bluest counties as he pursues a partial recount of the state that played a crucial role in vaulting him to the White House four years ago and denying him this year. With his 2016 win decided by less than 1 percentage point, he repeatedly denounced a recount pursued in Wisconsin and elsewhere as a “scam.” But this time, with the outcome reversed, his campaign has embraced a re-tallying of the votes in this key battleground state. Chief among his campaign’s complaints is the repeated and unsubstantiated claim of “irregularities” in the absentee voting process, though Trump operatives haven’t provided evidence and elections officials have said they haven’t heard about issues surrounding how the election was conducted. The Trump campaign’s decision to focus on Dane and Milwaukee counties is notable; the two play a crucial role in any Democrat’s statewide election bid given their populations and heavily blue nature.

Full Article: Trump continues alleging irregularities in Wisconsin Democratic strongholds without evidence | Local Government | madison.com

Wisconsin: Trump is seeking a recount in two counties, but what he’s really doing is preparing for a lawsuit | Patrick Marley/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

President Donald Trump for now is seeking a recount in two Wisconsin counties, but what he’s really doing is preparing for a lawsuit. Why? Trump could see a long-shot chance of getting multiple states to change their vote totals. Or, a legal challenge could provide Trump fodder to keep his base revved up for a 2024 run, alleging the long-standing process of electing presidents that delivered former Vice President Joe Biden a victory was unfair. The recount petition he filed Wednesday asked to throw out broad swaths of votes in the state’s two most Democratic areas — something the county clerks there are sure to reject. But by pursuing the recount, Trump has given himself a vehicle for a lawsuit that would likely go before a judge by early December. It could quickly get to the state Supreme Court, where conservatives hold a 4-3 majority. The influence of the high court would be felt from the start. Under state law, Supreme Court Chief Justice Patience Roggensack will get to choose which judge initially hears a recount lawsuit. She will also get to select the court that hears any appeals. Democrats called Trump’s arguments against counting some ballots baseless and said clerks were unlikely to accept his claims when they begin recounting votes on Friday. But they also expressed worries that the state’s high court, with its history of siding with Republicans, could go along with a request to toss ballots in Milwaukee and Dane counties and shift the state’s 10 electoral votes from Biden to Trump.

Full Article: Trump is seeking a recount in two Wisconsin counties, but what he’s really doing is preparing for a lawsuit | Patrick Marley/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

National: Confrontations in swing states escalate as Trump continues to attack the election process. | Nick Corasaniti, Jim Rutenberg and Kathleen Gray/The New York Times

President Trump’s false accusations that voter fraud denied him re-election are causing escalating confrontations in swing states across the country, leading to threats of violence against officials in both parties and subverting even the most routine steps in the electoral process. In courtrooms, statehouses and election-board meetings across the country, the president is increasingly using the weight of his office to deliver his message to lower-level election workers, hoping they buckle. It has not worked. The extraordinary assault on the voting system by the president and his allies has taken on added intensity as the deadlines for certifying results in several states approach. Once certified, the final tallies will further complicate Mr. Trump’s attempt to overturn his loss. Here is a look at some of the states where tensions are rising and local officials are receiving threats of violence.

Full Article: Confrontations in swing states escalate as Trump continues to attack the election process. – The New York Times

National: As defeats pile up, Trump tries to delay vote count in last-ditch attempt to cast doubt on Biden victory | Amy Gardner, Robert Costa, Rosalind S. Helderman and Michelle Ye Hee Lee/The Washington Post

President Trump has abandoned his plan to win reelection by disqualifying enough ballots to reverse President-elect Joe Biden’s wins in key battleground states, pivoting instead to a goal that appears equally unattainable: delaying a final count long enough to cast doubt on Biden’s decisive victory. On Wednesday, Trump’s campaign wired $3 million to election officials in Wisconsin to start a recount in the state’s two largest counties. His personal lawyer, ­Rudolph W. Giuliani, who has taken over the president’s legal team, asked a federal judge to consider ordering the Republican-controlled legislature in Pennsylvania to select the state’s electors. And Trump egged on a group of GOP lawmakers in Michigan who are pushing for an audit of the vote there before it is certified. Giuliani has also told Trump and associates that his ambition is to pressure GOP lawmakers and officials across the political map to stall the vote certification in an effort to have Republican lawmakers pick electors and disrupt the electoral college when it convenes next month — and Trump is encouraging of that plan, according to two senior Republicans who have conferred with Giuliani and spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter candidly. But that outcome appears impossible. It is against the law in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin law gives no role to the legislature in choosing presidential electors, and there is little public will in other states to pursue such a path.

Full Article: As defeats pile up, Trump tries to delay vote count in last-ditch attempt to cast doubt on Biden victory – The Washington Post

G.O.P. faces outcry in Michigan after refusing to certify vote: ‘You could see the racism.’ | Kathleen Gray, Jim Rutenberg, Nick Corasaniti and Glenn Thrush/The New York Times

Mayor Mike Duggan of Detroit on Wednesday accused President Trump’s allies in Michigan’s most populous county of racism after they initially refused to certify the election results over slight discrepancies in majority-Black precincts — while ignoring similar problems in heavily white areas. The complaint echoed accusations against Mr. Trump and his allies around the country, charging Republicans with preying on ugly racist stereotypes to cast doubt on Black voters in their last-ditch effort to overturn a legitimate election that Mr. Trump lost decisively. Republican election board members in Wayne County, which contains Detroit and its inner suburbs, refused to certify the county’s election results in a nakedly partisan effort to hold up President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory over Mr. Trump. Hours later, they reversed themselves after an outcry from state officials and Detroit residents who accused them of trying to steal their votes. “You could see the racism in the behavior last night,” Mr. Duggan said at a news conference on Wednesday. “American democracy cracked last night, but it didn’t break. But we are seeing a real threat to everything we believe in.” The Rev. Wendell Anthony, the head of Detroit’s N.A.A.C.P. chapter, said the Trump campaign’s attempts to discredit the election in cities with large Black populations like Detroit, Philadelphia and Atlanta fit a racist pattern of stoking divisions and undermining democratic institutions.

Full Article: G.O.P. faces outcry in Michigan after refusing to certify vote: ‘You could see the racism.’ – The New York Times

National: Trump’s effort to overturn the election results may be inept. But it’s still a scandal. | Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, Carrie Dann and Melissa Holzberg/NBC

Forget Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Or Trump’s impeachment for asking Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden. Arguably the biggest political scandal we’ve ever seen in this country is playing right before our eyes: President Trump and his allies are trying to reverse the election results of a contest he lost. It doesn’t look like the scheme is going to work. The Wayne County (Detroit) Board of Canvassers last night certified its election results after its two Republican members initially withheld support. (Biden won Wayne County, 68 percent to 31 percent, and the state of Michigan by 148,000 votes.) But being unsuccessful doesn’t erase the magnitude of the scandal — or the fact that the president of the United States has cheered it on every step of the way.

Full Article: Trump’s effort to overturn the election results may be inept. But it’s still a scandal.

‘Pathetic’ Trump denounced over Krebs firing as campaign presses for recounts | Maanvi Singh, Sam Levine, Martin Pengelly and Joan E Greve/The Guardian

Donald Trump was condemned by opponents on Wednesday for firing the senior official who disputed his baseless claims of election fraud, as the president pressed on with his increasingly desperate battle to overturn Joe Biden’s victory. The president’s election campaign team continued to press for recounts and investigations in battleground states where Biden has already been declared the winner, including a new request in Wisconsin for a partial recount. And there was uproar over his decision late on Tuesday, announced by tweet, to fire a federal official in charge of election security who dismissed his claims of widespread voter fraud. The firing of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (Cisa) director, Christopher Krebs, was “pathetic and predictable from a president who views truth as his enemy”, senior House Democrat Adam Schiff said. Officials have declared 3 November’s contest between Trump and Biden the most secure US election ever.

Full Article: ‘Pathetic’ Trump denounced over Krebs firing as campaign presses for recounts | Donald Trump | The Guardian

National: GOP senators blast Trump’s firing of election security official: ‘A terrible mistake’ | Allison Pecorin and Lauren Lantry/ABC

In a rare instance of breaking ranks, GOP senators on Wednesday roundly criticized President Donald Trump’s firing of Chris Krebs, a top election security official who publicly contradicted his claims of voting fraud. “I thought this was a terrible mistake,” said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine said. Krebs, a political appointee as head of the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity agency, was highly respected on both sides the political aisle. His dismissal came after he tweeted that the 2020 election was “the most secure election in American history.” “I don’t agree with it,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., told reporters. “I think he’s kept us very well informed. He’s been very professional.” “I was very disappointed when I found out that he had been terminated,” said Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who frequently defends Trump, said while the president has the right to choose his own people, firing Krebs “adds to the confusion and chaos.”

Full Article: GOP senators blast Trump’s firing of election security official: ‘A terrible mistake’ – ABC News

Secretaries of state react to CISA Director Krebs’ firing | Benjamin Freed/StateScoop

 

Some secretaries of state were quick to denounce Trump’s move, which came two weeks after Election Day, a period during which Krebs frequently promoted CISA’s “Rumor Control” website, designed to push back on waves of rumors and misinformation about how the presidential election was conducted, with many of those baseless claims about widespread fraud being pushed by Trump himself. “It’s a dark day when Director Krebs has been fired by tweet for adhering to the truth,” Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos wrote on Twitter. “We have enough work fending off election disinformation campaigns from foreign bad actors without having to fight those same battles within our own government.” And Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill said Krebs’ “ouster is bad for our country’s election cybersecurity, for our national security, and for the goal of free and fair elections untainted by the interference of foreign adversaries.” In a direct message to StateScoop, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson wrote that the White House’s dismantling of CISA’s leadership — along with Krebs, the White House has also dismissed his deputy, Matt Travis, and CISA’s assistant director for cybersecurity, Bryan Ware — will “immediately, negatively impact our national security and Americans’ safety.” “Chris Krebs spoke truth to power, the 2020 elections were safe, secure and legitimate,” California’s Alex Padilla said. Condos, Merrill, Benson and Padilla are all Democrats. Yet in sticking up for a political appointee hired — and now fired — by a president of the opposing political party, they also cited what they described as a nonpartisan approach toward election security. “[Krebs] is the ultimate, consummate professional and leaders on both sides of the aisle appreciate his integrity, experience, and commitment to democracy,” Benson said.

Full Article: Secretaries of state react to CISA Director Krebs’ firing

National: Firing CISA chief leaves Trump unchecked to make false claims about election fraud | Joseph Marks/The Washington Post

By firing the government’s top election security official by tweet last night, President Trump showed he’s ready to remove any internal check on his baseless claims about election fraud. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Chris Krebs was dispatched after the government’s top election security official debunked on Twitter the baseless claim by Trump and his allies that the recent election was widely manipulated. Trump has refused to concede the contest to President-elect Joe Biden despite no evidence of systematic irregularities at the voting booth. “This is the first business in history where the surest way of getting fired is doing your job” Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) told me when rumors about Krebs’s firing began circulating. Krebs’s firing is part of a government effort to clean house at the Homeland Security Department agency that vouched for the security of the 2020 election. Krebs’s agency also ran a “Rumor Control” page that knocked back phony election fraud claims — including some made by the president. Following that move, acting homeland security secretary Chad Wolf told Krebs’s deputy Matthew Travis that the White House was also forcing him to resign, effectively purging CISA of its top leadership, Ellen Nakashima and Nick Miroff report. The assistant director for CISA’s cybersecurity division, Bryan Ware, was forced to resign last week. Krebs shepherded the federal government from playing virtually no role in protecting elections against foreign interference before 2016 to serving as a go-to source for cybersecurity know-how, testing and intelligence. His agency was widely credited with helping to ensure the 2020 election was free of foreign interference four years after Russia upended the 2016 contest.

Full Article: The Cybersecurity 202: Firing CISA chief leaves Trump unchecked to make false claims about election fraud – The Washington Post

National: How The U.S. Fended Off Serious Foreign Election Day Cyberattacks | Tim Mak and Dina Temple-Raston/NPR

On Election Day, Geoff Brown watched lines of text flow by on monitors at New York City Cyber Command in downtown Manhattan. Brown, the head of the city’s cybersecurity operation, was plugged into a bank of virtual conference rooms, checking in with partners at the local, state and federal levels working together to monitor election systems for any security breaches or disinformation campaigns that might target the voting process. After all the waiting, after months of hardening defenses, the serious threats never came. “It was a long night. It was sort of a lonely night, perhaps, because we’re all in our own rooms in this day and age,” Brown reflected. He singled out for particular praise his counterparts at the Department of Homeland Security, especially Christopher Krebs, “who I think has done an absolute, tremendous job in their mission.” President Trump’s Tuesday evening firing of Krebs, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency at DHS, which oversaw federal efforts on election security and countering voting system disinformation, highlights a broader point: After all the concerns raised about foreign adversaries hacking into systems and launching disinformation campaigns such as those that marred the 2016 presidential election, the 2020 race went smoothly on both fronts.

Full Article: Foreign Hacking In 2020 Election Averted; Domestic Disinformation Still A Threat : NPR

The dead voter conspiracy theory peddled by Trump voters, debunked | Tom Perkins/The Guardian

Late last week, Students for Trump founder Ryan Fournier declared on social media that he had unearthed definitive proof of widespread voter fraud in Detroit. He pointed to an absentee ballot cast by “118-year-old William Bradley”, a man who had supposedly died in 1984. “They’re trying to steal the election,” Fournier warned in a since-deleted Facebook post, though the election had already been called for Joe Biden by every major news network days before. But the deceased Bradley hadn’t voted. Within days, Bradley’s son, also named William Bradley, but with a different middle name, told PolitiFact that he had cast the ballot. That was confirmed by Michigan election officials, who said a clerk had entered the wrong Bradley as having voted. Though the living Bradley had also received an absentee ballot for his father, he said he threw it away, “because I didn’t want to get it confused with mine”. The false claim that the deceased Bradley had voted in the 3 November election is one of a barrage of voter fraud conspiracy theories fired off by Trump supporters across the country during recent weeks, and all have been debunked while failing to prove that widespread irregularities exist. Instead, the theories often reveal Trump supporters’ fundamental misunderstandings of the election system while creating a game of conspiracy theory whack-a-mole for election officials.

Full Article: The dead voter conspiracy theory peddled by Trump voters, debunked | US news | The Guardian

National: Giuliani peddles election conspiracy theories and falsehoods. | Linda Qiu/The New York Times

Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, has spread a litany of falsehoods and conspiracy theories in media appearances and social media over the past week. Mr. Giuliani, who has a long history of fudging the truth and who has led the Trump campaign’s largely unsuccessful legal fight over the election, has focused particularly on debunked claims of barred poll workers and unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about a voting software company affecting the election’s outcome. In interviews on Fox News, Mr. Giuliani has repeatedly claimed that Democratic officials blocked Republican poll watchers from observing ballot counting in “10 different crooked Democratic cities,” including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Milwaukee, Reno, Phoenix and Atlanta. And in the counties where Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are, he has said, the lack of access affected over 680,000 votes. There’s no evidence to support any of these allegations. Mr. Trump’s own legal filings acknowledged the presence of Republican observers in Nevada, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona and there were at least 134 Republican poll challengers present inside TCF Center in Detroit, a convention center where votes were counted. Mr. Giuliani has brought up Philadelphia and Pittsburgh several times. That’s because a Trump campaign lawsuit had claimed that some 682,000 ballots in those cities’ two counties were processed “when no observation was allowed” and sought to have those votes thrown out.

Full Article: Giuliani peddles election conspiracy theories and falsehoods. – The New York Times

Editorial: Trump is testing democracy. Nine out of 10 senior elected Republicans are failing. | Max Boot/The Washington Post

President Trump is cynically trying to overturn the election results based on claims of fraud that are themselves fraudulent. He is unlikely to succeed. But if he did, the United States’ 232-year history as a democracy would be finished. Now is a time of testing: Do you stand with the democrats or the autocrats? Unfortunately, most Republicans are failing this test — just as they have failed every other test during Trump’s presidency. According to Axios, only six Republican senators (out of 53), seven Republican governors (out of 26) and 10 Republican members of the House (out of 197) have thus far acknowledged that Joe Biden won. That means fewer than 1 in 10 of the most senior elected Republicans publicly stands behind our electoral system. Even fewer have followed Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) in warning that Trump’s unfounded claim of election-rigging “damages the cause of freedom.” Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) has often championed freedom abroad, but now he is a threat to freedom at home. The Republican secretary of state in Georgia, Brad Raffensperger, says that the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee pressured him to throw out as many ballots as possible in a state that Biden won narrowly. (Graham denies it.) Anyone who thought that Lickspittle Lindsey would grow a spine now that he has been reelected — and Trump defeated — will be disabused of that illusion.

Full Article: Opinion | Trump is testing democracy. Nine out of 10 senior elected Republicans are failing. – The Washington Post

Alaska: Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer says no fraud found in 2020 election, but he will ask for an audit to reassure voters | James Brooks/Anchorage Daily News

The elected official in charge of Alaska’s 2020 election said on Wednesday that he has seen no evidence of fraud or illegal activity in this year’s vote. “No, we have not seen anything that looks like fraud or looks weird or looks like an irregularity,” Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer said after the Alaska Division of Elections published final unofficial results. As of 12:14 p.m. Wednesday, 360,684 votes had been counted in Alaska’s 2020 general election. That’s the most votes ever cast in an Alaska election. Election officials will now spend a week double-checking the machine-counted result. Officials expect to certify the result Nov. 25. After that, any losing candidate can request a recount. “We do not accept recount applications until the election has been certified,” said Tiffany Montemayor, the division’s public relations manager. Meyer said on Wednesday that although he cannot request a recount, he intends to take the extraordinary step of asking officials to count all Ballot Measure 2 votes by hand. “It’s never been done,” Meyer said. That hand audit would take place after the results are certified.

Full Article: Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer says no fraud found in 2020 election, but he will ask for an audit to reassure Alaskans – Anchorage Daily News

Arizona Judge Expresses Skepticism of GOP Maricopa Recount Suit | Erik Larson/Bloomberg

An Arizona judge expressed skepticism about a Republican lawsuit seeking to force the state’s biggest county to re-do a hand recount of some ballots despite having no evidence of voter fraud or software errors. The Arizona Republican Party sued Nov. 12 claiming Maricopa County’s state-mandated hand count of a sample of ballots — to audit voting machine accuracy — must be repeated because officials sampled votes from 2% of polling places, called vote centers, instead of 2% of precincts. Maricopa County, which includes the city of Phoenix, favored President-elect Joe Biden in the election, helping make him the presumptive winner of the state over President Donald Trump by more than 10,000 votes. Judge John Hannah said at a Wednesday hearing in Phoenix that he was “having a hard time” understanding why the GOP waited so long to challenge the audit details given that they had a representative involved with the process more than two weeks before the election, during early voting. “This audit process effectively started before the election,” Hannah said. “They waited until after the election, until they knew how the vote had apparently come out before they filed” the lawsuit. All Arizona counties need to report their results in time for the state to certify the election by Nov. 30, and Democrats argue the suit intentionally puts that deadline at risk. Hannah said he’d issue a ruling as soon as Thursday morning.

Full Article: Arizona GOP Seeks Recount in Phoenix Area Despite ‘Zero’ Errors

Arizona GOP pressures counties to delay certifying vote | Jacques Billeaud and Bob Christie/Associated Press

The Arizona Republican Party is pressuring county officials statewide to delay certifying their election results despite no evidence of legitimate questions about the vote count that shows Democratic President-elect Joe Biden won the state. The GOP also is seeking a court order to postpone the certification in Maricopa County — the state’s largest by population — that’s expected Thursday or Friday before a Nov. 23 deadline. In northwestern Arizona, Mohave County officials postponed their certification until Nov. 23, while other counties press ahead. “The party is pushing for not only the county supervisors but everyone responsible for certifying and canvassing the election to make sure that all questions are answered so that voters will have confidence in the results of the election,” said Zach Henry, a spokesman for the Arizona Republican Party. The party has filed a legal challenge seeking a hand-count of a sampling of ballots in Maricopa County and a court order prohibiting it from certifying results until the case is decided. “This case is about delay — not the adjudication of good faith claims,” lawyers for Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said in a court filing. Jack Wilenchik, a lawyer representing the GOP, said at a court hearing Wednesday that the lawsuit’s purpose is to determine whether voting machines have been hacked.

Full Article: Arizona GOP pressures counties to delay certifying vote

Georgia: Lindsey Graham faces ethics complaint over call to Georgia official | Christal Hayes/USA Today

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a staunch ally of the president, is the target of an ethics complaint after his controversial phone call with a key election official in Georgia over how the state counts ballots. Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger accused Graham earlier this week of pressuring him to find ways to exclude or invalidate legally cast absentee ballots and reverse Trump’s loss in the state, an accusation the South Carolina Republican called “ridiculous.”  Graham said he had also spoken with Arizona’s Republican Gov. Doug Ducey and was briefed about the process in Nevada, both swing states that helped Joe Biden beat President Donald Trump for the White House. The senator’s contact with other states over election counting efforts came as  Trump and his campaign have lodged multiple lawsuits over baseless voter fraud allegations in a longshot attempt to overturn the election results. A complaint filed Wednesday to the Senate Select Committee on Ethics asks the panel to investigate Graham’s phone call with Raffensperger, whether Graham suggested not counting all legal votes and whether he had threatened election officials, who are in the midst of a recount, with a Senate investigation. The complaint was filed by Walter Shaub, a former top ethics watchdog for the federal government under President Barack Obama; Richard Painter, the top ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush; and Claire Finkelstein, who heads the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law. “If these allegations are true, Senator Graham’s conduct constitutes an abuse of office and conduct unbecoming of a senator,” the complaint states.

Full Article: Lindsey Graham faces ethics complaint over call to Georgia official

Florida: Did mail delays lead to more late-arriving ballots? The opposite, counties say | Aaron Leibowitz/Tampa Bay Times

Florida voters had plenty of reasons to question the reliability of voting by mail in the Nov. 3 election. The U.S. Postal Service was delivering ballots at delayed speeds, and thousands of ballots were flagged for signature issues that disproportionately affect young and minority voters. With people voting by mail in record numbers due to COVID-19, rejected ballots had the potential to become Florida’s “hanging chads” of 2020. But that hasn’t come to pass. In fact, early data from some of the state’s largest counties suggests efforts by local elections supervisors, voters and advocates helped drive down the number of ballots received after Florida’s 7 p.m. Election Day deadline. In Miami-Dade County, elections officials told the Miami Herald that, as of Monday, 648 ballots had arrived after the deadline, meaning they won’t count in the general election. In the August primary, even though about 250,000 fewer mail ballots were cast, 4,691 ballots arrived after the deadline — more than seven times as many as in November. Suzy Trutie, the deputy supervisor of elections for Miami-Dade, said she attributes the low number of late ballots to the department’s education efforts about sending in ballots with time to spare. She also pointed to the use of drop boxes at early voting sites, which accounted for about one-third of all mail ballots cast in the county.

Full Article: Did mail delays lead to more late-arriving ballots? The opposite, Florida counties say