Pennsylvania: As DOJ probes election, Republicans’ pursuit of voter fraud hits hurdle — a lack of evidence | Daniel Moore/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Peters, said he had not yet seen evidence of election fraud, yet backed the U.S. Department of Justice’s announcement this week it would probe any allegations of voting irregularities in states President Donald Trump lost to former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 election. “If I’m looking at this through a lens of someone who used to be a magisterial district judge, the evidence is not there yet,” Mr. Reschenthaler acknowledged in an interview Tuesday. “But it’s also premature to predetermine the outcome.” The comments by Mr. Reschenthaler — who sits on the House Judiciary Committee and is a member of the House Republican leadership circle — are another sign of Pennsylvania Republicans straddling the line between backing the president’s unsubstantiated claims of a victory while also ignoring Mr. Biden’s win. Mr. Reschenthaler — who last week won a second term in Pennsylvania’s 14th Congressional District by about 30 percentage points — compared the current moment to the aftermath of the 2000 election, in which the outcome was not known for several weeks after Election Day.

Full Article: As DOJ probes election, Republicans’ pursuit of voter fraud hits hurdle — a lack of evidence | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pennsylvania appellate court sides with Trump in fight over ID deadlines for voters, tossing small number of ballots | Jeremy Roebuck/Philadelphia Inquirer

A Pennsylvania appellate court handed President Donald Trump’s campaign a minor victory Thursday, barring counties from including in their final vote tallies a small pool of mail ballots from people who had failed to provide required ID by a Monday deadline. In a two-page order, a Commonwealth Court judge struck down a decision by the Wolf administration to give voters more time, post-election, to fulfill the ID requirement. Though state law only requires first-time voters to show ID at the polls, all voters who applied to vote by mail had to be validated their identification against state records by Nov. 9. Two days before the election, Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar pushed that date back by three days, citing a court decision earlier this year that allowed late-arriving mail ballots to be counted as long as they had been mailed by Nov. 3 and received within three days of that date. But it was unclear just how many ballots statewide would now be thrown out. The number is likely to be vanishingly small compared to the larger pools of votes Republicans are seeking to have tossed in other ongoing court fights across the state.

Full Article: Pa. appellate court sides with Trump in fight over ID deadlines for voters, tossing small number of ballots

Wisconsin: Misplaced Milwaukee flash drive morphs into false reports of election fraud | Howard Hardee and Keenan Chen/Wisconsin State Journal

As a tornado of disinformation regarding the vote count has descended on Wisconsin, political spinmeisters have seized upon a lapse by a Milwaukee election officer to falsely claim evidence of voter fraud in a critical swing state decided by a little more than 20,000 votes. Claire Woodall-Vogg, Milwaukee’s chief election official, briefly misplaced a flash drive containing vote counts on Election Night, she said in a Nov. 9 letter to the Wisconsin Elections Commission. About 3 a.m. on Nov. 4, as poll workers finished counting absentee ballots in Milwaukee, she delivered several flash drives containing absentee vote tallies to the Milwaukee County Election Commission — and realized that she had left one in a tabulator at the central counting center. She called a member of her team, who retrieved the flash drive and a police officer delivered it shortly afterward. “I believe it is important to document that the flash drive was never left unattended and that the staff had remained in the room throughout the process,” Woodall-Vogg said. “The incident bears no impact on the validity of the results.” Nothing indicates that the contents of the flash drive were altered. Asked by Wisconsin Watch to address the incident, Reid Magney, spokesman for the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission, said, “We are confident that there are no issues with the election results in Milwaukee.”

Full Article: Misplaced Milwaukee flash drive morphs into false reports of election fraud | Local Government | madison.com

Wisconsin elections head says still no evidence of fraud | Scott Bauer/Associated Press

There remained no evidence of any wrongdoing, fraud or irregularity in Wisconsin’s presidential election on Thursday, as counties worked to wrap up the certification of their votes and their estimates of how much it would cost to recount them, the state’s top elections official said. Democrat Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump in Wisconsin by about 20,500 votes, based on unofficial results. Trump and his allies have made unsubstantiated claims of wrongdoing, with no evidence, and Republicans in the Legislature have said they planned to launch an investigation into the integrity of the election. Election results from 55 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties were certified as of Thursday morning, with only marginal net changes to the unofficial results that were reported on election night. Biden has picked up 43 additional votes while Trump gained 39, giving Biden a net pickup of just four votes. One reason for the changes is the counting of provisional ballots that came in after Election Day, said Meagan Wolfe, the state’s top elections official. She said there were 366 provisional ballots issued in the presidential election. “It’s rare to see any sort of significant changes,” Wolfe said. “There’s always minor errors. … We’re certainly not seeing anything unusual.” Wolfe defended the integrity of the election, noting all the opportunities the public has to observe the process, including on Election Day, during the county canvass and during any recount that may occur.

Full Article: Wisconsin elections head says still no evidence of fraud

Georgia: Hand recount moves ahead under interpretation of election rules | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

This wasn’t the way recounts or audits were supposed to work under Georgia election rules. By ordering a statewide hand recount of every ballot in the presidential race, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger combined different parts of recount and audit procedures. His decision will result in a time-consuming, labor-intensive process that’s never been attempted before. Raffensperger said it will be worthwhile if it builds confidence in the election, where Joe Biden was leading Donald Trump by over 14,000 votes. The count will be conducted under Georgia’s rules for election audits, but not as envisioned when those rules were drafted. The audit rules call for a random sample of ballots to be pulled, and the text or bubbles to be reviewed and counted. The audit would have concluded when all ballots were counted and the odds that the full tabulation was incorrect was less than 10%, according to State Election Board rules. But instead of pulling a smaller sample of ballots, Raffensperger plans to audit every ballot. The sample would have had to be over 1 million ballots, according to the secretary of state’s office, so Raffensperger decided a full count was justified given the closeness of the race.

Full Article: Georgia election recount: What the law and state election rules say

Trump’s election challenge looks like a scam to line his pockets | Dana Milbank/The Washington Post

President Trump isn’t really trying to overturn the election. He’s simply running one more scam before he leaves office that would enable him to enrich himself. That’s the way it appears, at least, from the scores of fundraising emails his campaign has sent out since the election. He seems to be asking for funds to challenge the election, but the fine print shows that the money could let him line his own coffers. The tin-pot-dictator routine looks more as if it’s about passing the tin cup. “They’re trying to STEAL this Election,” declared one such Trump campaign fundraising missive Wednesday afternoon. from “Donald J. Trump, President of the United States.” “I promise you my team is fighting the clock to DEFEND the integrity of this Election, but we cannot do it alone. We need EVERY Patriot, like YOU, to step up and make sure we have the resources to keep going. … Please contribute ANY AMOUNT RIGHT NOW to DEFEND the Election.” But at the provided link to the “OFFICIAL ELECTION DEFENSE FUND,” the legalese at the end says something rather different: Sixty percent of the contribution, up to $5,000, goes to “Save America,” Trump’s newly created leadership PAC. And 40 percent of the contribution up to $35,500, goes to the Republican National Committee’s operating account, its political (not legal) fund. Only after reaching the first maximum would a single penny go to Trump’s “Recount Account,” and only after reaching the second maximum would a penny go to the RNC’s legal account.

Full Article: Opinion | Trump’s election challenge looks like a scam to line his pockets – The Washington Post

National: Pressure mounts on state Republicans as lawsuits challenging election results founder | Elise Viebeck, Tom Hamburger, Jon Swaine and Emma Brown/The Washington Post

Pressure mounted on state and local officials in battleground states to accept claims of ballot-counting irregularities and voter fraud in the election despite a lack of evidence, as Republicans sought new ways to block certification of Joe Biden’s clear victory in the presidential race. In Michigan, Republican lawyers lobbied the Wayne County canvassing board to consider evidence of alleged improprieties before certifying the vote. In Pennsylvania, GOP lawmakers were the target of social media campaigns demanding the appointment of electors who favor President Trump. And in Georgia, the Republican secretary of state defended the election and announced a hand audit of the results, despite calls by the state’s Republican senators for him to resign over alleged problems. The efforts in these states — where Biden has won or is leading in the count — come as the Trump campaign struggles to amass genuine evidence of fraud that will pass muster in court. Republican lawsuits seeking to challenge the Nov. 3 election results so far have foundered, and affidavits cited as proof of election fraud in cities such as Detroit have failed to substantiate serious claims that votes were counted illegally. While the Trump campaign’s lawsuits have so far been “summarily dismissed,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) said Wednesday that she is concerned the GOP may try to use baseless claims about irregularities or vote tampering to disrupt the certification of Biden’s win, depriving him of the state’s 16 electoral votes.

Full Article: Pressure mounts on state Republicans as lawsuits challenging election results founder – The Washington Post

National: Few legal wins so far as Trump team hunts for proof of fraud | Maryclaire Dale and Alanna Durkin Richer/Associated Press

During a Pennsylvania court hearing this week on one of the many election lawsuits brought by President Donald Trump, a judge asked a campaign lawyer whether he had found any signs of fraud from among the 592 ballots challenge. The answer was no. “Accusing people of fraud is a pretty big step,” said the lawyer, Jonathan Goldstein. “We’re all just trying to get an election done.” Trump has not been so cautious, insisting without evidence that the election was stolen from him even when election officials nationwide from both parties say there has been no conspiracy. On Wednesday, Trump took aim at Philadelphia, the Democratic stronghold that helped push President-elect Joe Biden over the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the race. The president accused a local Republican election official Al Schmidt, of ignoring “a mountain of corruption & dishonesty.” Twitter added a label that said the election fraud claim is disputed. Trump loyalists have filed at least 15 legal challenges in Pennsylvania alone in an effort to reclaim the state’s 20 electoral votes. There is action, too, in Georgia, Arizona, Nevada and Michigan.

Full Article: Few legal wins so far as Trump team hunts for proof of fraud

National: Few Courts Have Intervened in Elections in Ways Sought by Trump Campaign | Jacob Gershman/Wall Street Journal

Few courts have considered the types of requests being made by the Trump campaign, such as keeping a state from certifying its election based on allegations that Republican poll observers lacked sufficient access to ballot counting. President Trump’s lawyers in federal court this week asked a judge to take that unprecedented step, arguing that Pennsylvania had inadequate safeguards to detect voting fraud. The campaign is pursuing similar claims in Michigan, where Republicans also are alleging misconduct in the election process. But such relief has rarely, if ever, been awarded to a campaign running behind in an election. “I don’t think there’s any precedent for this,” said Daniel Tokaji, an election-law expert and dean of University of Wisconsin Law School, referring to the Pennsylvania case. “The lawsuit is a Hail Mary pass.” The Trump campaign’s suit in Pennsylvania alleges counties controlled by Democrats processed ballots in unmonitored back rooms or in larger barricaded spaces with poll observers kept at a distance. State election officials have said they followed all laws and have declined to comment on the litigation. Republicans haven’t offered evidence of fraud in Pennsylvania.

Full Article: Few Courts Have Intervened in Elections in Ways Sought by Trump Campaign – WSJ

‘A grand scheme’: Trump’s election defiance consumes GOP | David Siders/Politico

It was just noise when it started — Donald Trump spouting wild, unsubstantiated claims about election fraud, his lawyer seething at an almost comical press conference in the parking lot of a Philadelphia landscaping business. But one week after an election in which Joe Biden received close to 5 million more popular votes than Trump and captured more than 270 electoral votes, the president and top Republican Party officials are nowhere near conceding. And with his posturing — and statements of Cabinet officials like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — Trump is fueling a bonfire that’s consuming the GOP and disrupting the traditional transfer of power. It will be nearly impossible for Republicans to alter the outcome or prevent Biden from taking office. Counting all the states where he currently leads in voting, Biden has 306 electoral votes. In Michigan, Biden’s lead at the moment is more than 10 times larger than Trump’s winning margin was there in 2016. To date, Trump’s campaign has yet to produce evidence in any state of the kind of widespread ballot fraud the president alleges. Yet one week after the election, there is no sign any of that is sinking in. Instead, the controversy seems to be metastasizing within GOP circles, as the party unites behind an idea that threatens to distract Washington and state capitals for weeks amid an ongoing pandemic and a looming transition of government.

Full Article: ‘A grand scheme’: Trump’s election defiance consumes GOP – POLITICO

Misinformation by a thousand cuts: Varied rigged election claims circulate | Brandy Zadrozny/NBC

For Trump supporters intent on finding it, proof of the president’s claims that the 2020 election was “stolen” is everywhere. For some, it’s in the videos: the one in which a Colorado man claiming to be a poll worker, dressed in a yellow vest, rips up Trump ballots (it was a TikTok prank) or the trash bag of torn ballots found by a wedding party in an Oklahoma church (they were actually “spoiled ballots”) or the testimony from a Pennsylvania postal worker who claimed he was ordered to backdate ballots mailed after Election Day (he has since recanted and also denied recanting). For others, the evidence of a so-called Democratic plot could be found in the numbers. “Is it me, or do people not understand statistics?” asked one of the 1.3 million members in Nationwide Recount 2020, a private Facebook group, presenting an impassioned, if confusing, case for why mail-in ballots in swing states were favoring Biden. “Benford’s Law,” a supporter commented, linking to an anonymous Twitter account that claimed in a series of tweets that a mathematical observation that the first digits of numbers are likely to be smaller somehow suggested widespread fraud by the Democrats. Posts like these, discussing a dizzying array of false claims and conspiracy theories, have dominated social and ultraconservative media since the early morning after Election Day, when President Donald Trump prematurely and incorrectly declared himself the winner. As the votes continue to be counted and Joe Biden’s lead has increased (Biden was up by more than 5 million votes Wednesday), so has Trump’s insistence that the election was stolen from him.

Full Article: Misinformation by a thousand cuts: Varied rigged election claims circulate

Editorial: The Completely Insane Electoral College Strategy | Rich Lowry/Politico

Why limit yourself to the far-fetched when the utterly fantastical is an option? President Donald Trump is challenging the outcome of the Nov. 3 presidential election in several razor-thin battleground states, pushing for recounts and filing lawsuits that are very unlikely to overturn Joe Biden’s current leads. Faced with this prospect, some allies of the president are advocating, or beginning to whisper about, Republican state legislatures taking matters into their own hands and sending slates of Trump electors to Congress regardless of the vote count. This is a poisonous idea that stands out as radical and destructive, even in a year when we’ve been debating court-packing and defunding the police. The best that can be said for it is that it is almost certainly a nonstarter, which doesn’t mean that it won’t get more oxygen. Donald Trump Jr. has pushed this option and Sen. Lindsey Graham, now bonded to Trump more firmly and completely than he was to the late Sen. John McCain, says “everything should be on the table.” A conservative in the Pennsylvania House, Daryl Metcalfe, has declared, “Our Legislature must be prepared to use all constitutional authority to right the wrong.” We may be one presidential tweet away from this gambit becoming orthodoxy for much of the Republican Party.

Full Article: Opinion | The Completely Insane Electoral College Strategy – POLITICO

Arizona: Could election officials have done more to prevent ‘Sharpiegate’ this election? |  Jen Fifield/Arizona Republic

When Julie Flesch got home from voting at her local church on Election Day, she was still thinking about a few things that didn’t seem right. The Mesa resident said she didn’t see her name show up when she cast her ballot, and she had noticed how the Sharpie she had been given to mark her votes had bled through to the other side. She hoped her votes registered OK, after reading that any errant mark on a ballot could pose problems. That’s when she read on Facebook that the use of Sharpies was invalidating votes — a rumor that has since been debunked. “It corroborated the concern that I had,” she said. “Oh, now I understand why my vote didn’t count.” Flesch did research and eventually heard from the county that her ballot had been counted and learned that Sharpies are OK to use on the county’s ballots. But for Flesch and the other Arizona voters who walked into a polling place on Election Day with even an inkling of suspicion of voter fraud or a doubt of election integrity, the rumors about Sharpies circulating online in the hours and days after polls closed last week was enough to make them believe that their votes hadn’t been counted. That fueled a conspiracy theory about poll workers giving Republican voters Sharpies so their votes wouldn’t count.   The question is whether what has now been dubbed as “Sharpiegate” in Arizona could have been avoided.

Full Article: ‘Sharpiegate’: Could Arizona election officials have prevented it?

California: Trump falsely claims fraud in Los Angeles elections. The truth is there were few problems | Matt Stiles/Los Angeles Times

Voters may have differed on their ballot choices in last week’s election, but they seemed to be in agreement on one thing: Drop boxes are a great idea. The boxes sprinkled around Los Angeles County were a “phenomenal” success, according to the county’s top election official. President Trump thinks they’re evidence of fraud. Spoiler alert. They’re not. The president Wednesday tweeted a long-debunked video showing election workers collecting votes from a drop box on Nov. 4, the day after polls closed, suggesting that the process is evidence of fraud. In fact, the boxes had been closed and locked the night of the election, when the polls closed, and it took time for election workers to collect them in the following days. Under state law, mail votes cast by election day will be collected and counted until Nov. 20. The spurious suggestion of fraud is the latest in the president’s strategy to question the results of the election, in which former Vice President Joe Biden was declared the winner Saturday. Fact checkers have since debunked concerns about the drop boxes, more than 400 of which were spread from Lancaster to Long Beach.

Full Article: Trump falsely claims fraud in L.A. elections. The truth is there were few problems – Los Angeles Times

Georgia launches statewide hand recount of presidential race | Mark Niesse and Greg Bluestein/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

 

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger took the extraordinary step on Wednesday to order a recount of all 5 million ballots cast in the presidential election, under mounting pressure by fellow Republicans who leveled unsubstantiated accusations of voter fraud to discredit Joe Biden’s 14,000-vote lead in the state. Flanked by local elections officials at a Capitol press conference, Raffensperger said the count will be conducted by hand under Georgia’s election audit rules before a Nov. 20 deadline to finalize results. The cost of the enormous undertaking, requiring hundreds of poll workers, wasn’t immediately clear. The decision came after an immense effort by President Donald Trump and his supporters to cast doubt on Georgia’s election results, despite no evidence of any wrongdoing or irregularities. U.S. Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, facing Jan. 5 runoffs, called for Raffensperger’s resignation, and Trump’s campaign demanded the hand recount Tuesday. Raffensperger, who has said there’s no evidence of widespread voter fraud, maintained that he wasn’t influenced by the outside pressure, which was amplified by Trump on Twitter. Instead, he cast it as an effort to bolster faith in the election results. “This will help build confidence. It will be an audit, a recount and a recanvass, all at once,” Raffensperger said from the steps of the state Capitol. “It will be a heavy lift. But we will work with the counties to get this done in time for our state certification.”

Full Article: Georgia orders full recount of the presidential election vote

Georgia audit to trigger hand tally of presidential vote | Kate Brumback/Associated Press

Georgia’s secretary of state on Wednesday announced an audit of presidential election results that he said would be done with a full hand tally of ballots because the margin is so tight. State law requires an audit but leaves it up to the top elections official to choose the race. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said at a news conference that the presidential race makes the most sense. Raffensperger’s office has said there’s no evidence of systemic problems with the voting or the count that shows Democrat Joe Biden with a lead of about 14,000 votes over President Donald Trump. Raffensperger said his office wants the process to begin by the end of the week and he expects it to take until Nov. 20, which is the state certification deadline. “It will be a heavy lift, but we will work with the counties to get this done in time for our state certification,” Raffensperger said, flanked by local election officials on the steps of the state Capitol. “We have all worked hard to bring fair and accurate counts to assure that the will of the voters is reflected in the final count and that every voter will have confidence in the outcome, whether their candidate won or lost.” Georgians cast nearly 5 million votes in the presidential race and counties have until Friday to certify their results.

Full Article: Georgia audit to trigger hand tally of presidential vote

Michigan: In poll watcher affidavits, Trump campaign offers no evidence of fraud in Detroit ballot-counting | David A. Fahrenthold, Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger/The Washington Post

Inside Detroit’s absentee-ballot-counting center, one Republican poll watcher complained that workers were wearing Black Lives Matter gear. She thought one of them — a “man of intimidating size” — had followed her too closely. Another Republican poll watcher complained about the public address system. Workers were using it to make announcements. It was loud. “This was very distracting to those of us trying to concentrate,” he said. A third poll watcher noticed that when absentee ballots came in from military personnel, many showed votes for Democrats. He found that odd. “I can estimate that at least 80% of military ballots I saw were straight ticket Democrat or simply had Joe Biden’s name filled in on them,” the man wrote. “I had always been told that military people tended to be conservative, so this stuck out to me.” On Wednesday, President Trump’s campaign asked a federal judge to take a drastic step: block the state of Michigan from certifying the results of its presidential election. President-elect Joe Biden now leads Trump by about 148,000 votes there. To back up that lawsuit, Trump’s campaign had promised “shocking” evidence of misconduct. Instead, the campaign produced 238 pages of affidavits from Republican poll watchers across Michigan containing no evidence of significant fraud but rather allegations about ballot-counting procedures that state workers have already debunked — and in some cases, complaints about rude behavior or unpleasant looks from poll workers or Democratic poll watchers.

Full Article: In poll watcher affidavits, Trump campaign offers no evidence of fraud in Detroit ballot-counting – The Washington Post

Michigan: Detroit judge promises opinion on lawsuit alleging election fraud | Clara Hendrickson/Detroit Free Press

The attorney who brought a lawsuit against Wayne County and Detroit election officials this week claimed at a hearing Wednesday that local election officials had failed to refute claims of election fraud leveled against them and stated his right to ask the court to intervene to block certification of the election results. The lawsuit, filed by attorney  David Kallman, also asks the court to void the Nov. 3 election and order a new one. Lawyers representing local election officials denied the claims of fraud and argued that the case, if allowed to proceed, would disenfranchise voters, give credence to election conspiracies and potentially prevent Michigan from being able to appoint electors in time to cast the state’s Electoral College votes. Wayne County Circuit Chief Judge Timothy M. Kenny promised to issue his ruling Friday. The lawsuit — filed on behalf of Wayne County residents Cheryl A. Costantino and Edward P. McCall Jr. — bases its claims on what it says are instances of election fraud observed at the  TCF Center, where Detroit election workers processed and counted absentee ballots cast by the city’s voters.

Full Article: Detroit judge promises opinion on lawsuit alleging election fraud

Nevada: Military voters included on Trump campaign list of ‘improperly cast’ ballots: reports | Josh Bowden/The Hill

A list produced by the Trump campaign purporting to detail just over 3,000 instances of alleged voter fraud in Nevada contains hundreds of addresses used by active-duty military members and their families. The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that the list of 3,062 alleged instances of people voting in Nevada while living elsewhere included hundreds of active-duty military members who apparently live in Nevada but are stationed elsewhere in the U.S. or overseas. Active-duty members of the armed services frequently vote absentee while stationed away from home. “Our voter registration is in Nevada, our cars are registered in Nevada, our licenses are in Nevada,” one woman whose husband is stationed in California told the Journal after finding their address on the list. “We just don’t live there because the military has told us to move somewhere else.” “To see my integrity challenged, along with other members of the military to be challenged in this way, it is a shock. And to be potentially disenfranchised because of these actions, that’s not OK,” the woman, Amy Rose, added to Military.com in a statement. “It’s pretty obvious that hundreds of military people are on this list. There didn’t seem to be any effort to look at this list before they made their accusations.”

Full Article: Military voters included on Trump campaign list of ‘improperly cast’ ballots: reports | TheHill

North Carolina doesn’t verify voter signatures on mail-in ballots. Is that a problem? | Helen Mamo/Charlotte Observer

As local boards of elections meet this week to review the final set of mail-in ballots, they’ll look to make sure that the voter’s name and signature are on the front of each envelope. But they won’t look to see if that signature matches one on file somewhere, because voter signature matching is not required in North Carolina. Signature matching is a common practice, required in 30 states, to help protect the legitimacy of absentee mail-in ballots. But it’s not mandated in everywhere, including in key battleground states such as Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Karen Bell, the executive director of the N.C. State Board of Elections, explained North Carolina’s policy in a memo in August. “County boards shall accept the voter’s signature on the container-return envelope if it appears to be made by the voter, meaning the signature on the envelope appears to be the name of the voter and not some other person,” Bell wrote.

Full Article: North Carolina: No mail-in voter signature matching required | Charlotte Observer

Oregon: New secretary of state to examine election system warnings | Andrew Selsky/Associated Press

Oregon Secretary of State-elect Shemia Fagan, a Democrat, said she will examine the “critical warnings” that the state’s former elections director voiced before he was fired last week by the incumbent secretary of state. In a blunt memo to Fagan and her Republican challenger on the eve of the 2020 election, Oregon Elections Director Stephen Trout said some of the state’s election systems are running on an operating system that Microsoft stopped supporting last January, pointed out an absence of multifactor authentication to access those election systems and raised other issues. He said the current state of technology and lack of support in the agency made his job impossible. “Oregon’s former Elections Director, Steve Trout raised critical warnings that concern me as Oregon’s next Secretary of State,” Fagan tweeted late Tuesday, Nov. 10. “I spoke with Mr. Trout personally this week and we plan to speak later this week and go through his memo together, line by line.” Trout also said the secretary of state’s office used federal funds inappropriately and may need to be returned after an audit. It is unclear who would do an audit if it comes to that with no conflict of interest, since the secretary of state’s office runs the audits division, besides being in charge of elections.

Full Article: New secretary of state to examine election system warnings | State | eastoregonian.com

Pennsylvania: Trump’s campaign is challenging mail and provisional ballots at record rates in Philadelphia and its suburbs | Jeremy Roebuck and William Bender/Philadelphia Inquirer

Even as President Donald Trump’s campaign is waging a well-publicized legal war on the broad rules governing the presidential election in Pennsylvania, its lawyers are engaging in lower-profile but no less important, county-by-county trench battles to disqualify individual votes in Philadelphia and its suburbs over technicalities. In hearings before county Boards of Elections and Common Pleas Court judges, campaign attorneys have pushed for several thousand mail votes to be cast aside due to voter mistakes like failing to date the envelope. Meanwhile, they are pursuing record numbers of challenges to “provisional” ballots, in some cases for grounds as small as the name of the county being misspelled. But just as with the more sweeping lawsuits that Trump has filed in state and federal courts across the state seeking to cast doubt on the overall integrity of the electoral system, few of these county-level skirmishes have anything to do with the allegations of widespread and deliberate voter fraud that Trump and his allies have pushed without evidence for days. Instead, their filings ask courts and county boards to disenfranchise potentially thousands of legitimate voters in Philadelphia and its suburbs over procedural errors made when filing their ballots.

Full Article: rump’s campaign is challenging mail and provisional ballots at record rates in Philly and its suburbs

Wisconsin Republicans say election probe likely won’t change results | Patrick Marley/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Wisconsin lawmakers plan to issue their first subpoenas in decades as part of an investigation into the Nov. 3 election, even as the top Republican in the Assembly acknowledges the probe is unlikely to change the outcome. The move comes as supporters of President Donald Trump grapple with a narrow loss in a state they won four years ago by a sliver. As in other states, Wisconsin Republicans are alleging voter fraud but so far are not providing evidence of widespread problems that would take away President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. “I think it is unlikely we would find enough cases of fraud to overturn the election. I think it’s unlikely, but I don’t know that. That’s why you have an investigation,” said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, a Republican from Rochester. The state Senate and Assembly’s committees on elections plan to hold a joint hearing next week on how the election was conducted, said Rep. Ron Tusler, a Harrison Republican and the chairman of the Assembly committee. He said he would call Meagan Wolfe, the director of the state Elections Commission, to testify and plans to subpoena municipal clerks or others to force them to come before the committees.

Full Article: Wisconsin Republicans say election probe likely won’t change results

Wisconsin: Republicans claim clerks illegally altered absentee ballots, but they were following election guidance | Haley BeMiller/USA Today

Wisconsin’s election is under a microscope as President Donald Trump cries fraud about the Nov. 3 presidential race that Democratic nominee Joe Biden is projected to win.  The president and his supporters have said, without evidence, that rampant voter fraud allowed his opponent to claim victory after he started election night ahead. Biden took the lead in Wisconsin and other key battleground states after clerks counted mail-in ballots largely cast by Democrats, according to unofficial results — a trend observers predicted heading into the election. Now, a new claim is making the rounds on social media. … Absentee voters in Wisconsin place their ballot in an envelope, also called a certificate, that they sign before returning it. A witness must also sign the envelope and provide their address. The state Elections Commission sent a memo to clerks on Oct. 19, 2020, instructing them how to spoil absentee ballots for voters who wanted to vote in person. The memo also provides guidance on how to handle absentee ballot errors, including missing witness signatures or addresses.  “The witness can appear without the voter to add their signature or address,” the memo states. “Please note that the clerk should attempt to resolve any missing witness address information prior to Election Day if possible, and this can be done through reliable information (personal knowledge, voter registration information, through a phone call with the voter or witness). The witness does not need to appear to add a missing address.”

Full Article: Wisconsin clerks altered ballot information according to guidance

National: As states press forward with vote counts, Trump advisers privately express pessimism about heading off Biden’s win | Amy Gardner, Tom Hamburger, Jon Swaine and Josh Dawsey/The Washington Post

Six states where President Trump has threatened to challenge his defeat continued their march toward declaring certified election results in the coming weeks, as his advisers privately acknowledged that President-elect Joe Biden’s official victory is less a question of “if” than “when.” Trump began the day tweeting about “BALLOT COUNTING ABUSE” as he and his allies touted unproven claims that fraud had tainted the election in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. Vice President Pence gave a presentation to Republican senators on Capitol Hill about new litigation expected in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia — imploring them to stick with the president, according to several Republicans in the room. But even some of the president’s most publicly pugilistic aides, including White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and informal adviser Corey Lewandowski, have said privately that they are concerned about the lawsuits’ chances for success unless more evidence surfaces, according to people familiar with their views. Trump met with advisers again Tuesday afternoon to discuss whether there is a path forward, said a person with knowledge of the discussions, who, like others interviewed for this report, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions. The person said Trump plans to keep fighting but understands it is going to be difficult. “He is all over the place. It changes from hour to hour,” the person said.

Full Article: As states press forward with vote counts, Trump advisers privately express pessimism about heading off Biden’s win – The Washington Post

The ‘orchestrated’ push to discredit Georgia’s election sparks more GOP infighting | Jim Galloway, Patricia Murphy, Greg Bluestein and Tia Mitchell/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

 

“Republicans in disarray.” That was the three-word response from Senate Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff late Monday to the extraordinary infighting that’s divided the Georgia GOP over President Donald Trump’s effort to taint Joe Biden’s victory. This was supposed to be the week that Republicans united behind U.S. Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue for a pair of Jan. 5 runoffs that could decide control of the Senate. Instead, the two senators leveled unfounded claims of a disastrous “embarrassment” of an election at fellow Republicans who oversaw last week’s vote – and called for the resignation of Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. It was a brazen effort to appease Trump, who has falsely claimed electoral fraud despite no evidence of any wrongdoing as he and his supporters try to discredit Biden. We’re told the president and his top allies pressured the two Republican senators to take this step, lest he tweet a negative word about them and risk divorcing them from his base ahead of the consequential runoff.

Full Article: The Jolt: The ‘orchestrated’ push to discredit Georgia’s election sparks more GOP infighting

National: ‘What’s the downside for humoring him?’: A GOP official’s unintentionally revealing quote about the Trump era | Amy Gardner, Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey and Emma Brown/The Washington Post

When the history of the Trump era is written, we’ll struggle to find quotes that are as revealing as one recorded Monday evening by . Speaking about President Trump’s and his legal team’s myriad and baseless claims of massive voter fraud, an anonymous senior Republican official offered a rhetorical shrug. “What is the downside for humoring him for this little bit of time? No one seriously thinks the results will change,” the official said. “He went golfing this weekend. It’s not like he’s plotting how to prevent Joe Biden from taking power on Jan. 20. He’s tweeting about filing some lawsuits, those lawsuits will fail, then he’ll tweet some more about how the election was stolen, and then he’ll leave.” Indeed, what’s a little undermining of democracy between friends?

Full Article: GOP official asks of Trump: ‘What’s the downside for humoring him?’ – The Washington Post

National: No Evidence of Systematic Fraud in U.S. Elections, International Observer Mission Reports | Jess Bravin/Wall Street Journal

A team of international observers invited by the Trump administration has issued a preliminary report giving high marks to the conduct of last week’s elections–and it criticizes President Trump for making baseless allegations that the outcome resulted from systematic fraud. A 28-member delegation from the Organization of American States followed events in several locations across the U.S., including in the battleground states of Georgia and Michigan, both remotely and with observers at polling stations and counting centers. “While the OAS Mission has not directly observed any serious irregularities that call into question the results so far, it supports the right of all contesting parties in an election, to seek redress before the competent legal authorities when they believe they have been wronged,” the report said. “It is critical however, that candidates act responsibly by presenting and arguing legitimate claims before the courts, not unsubstantiated or harmful speculation in the public media.” The OAS assessment followed similar findings by an election observation team from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. “Baseless allegations of systematic deficiencies, notably by the incumbent president, including on election night, harm public trust in democratic institutions,” Michael Georg Link, leader of the short-term OSCE observer mission, said last week.

Full Article: No Evidence of Systematic Fraud in U.S. Elections, International Observer Mission Reports – WSJ.com

National: Shock and frustration inside Justice Dept. over Barr’s vote-investigation memo | Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky/The Washington Post

Current and former Justice Department officials said Tuesday they were stunned and frustrated by Attorney General William P. Barr’s move to loosen internal restrictions on how and when federal prosecutors investigate certain election-fraud cases before the results are certified — and worried that Barr was aiding President Trump’s effort to cast doubt on his defeat. The blow to morale was felt most acutely in the Justice Department’s criminal division, which is typically a key player in prosecuting election-related offenses and setting department policy in that area, people familiar with the matter said. Like others, they spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal Justice Department deliberations. Some weeks ago, when Barr had first proposed the move, officials in the criminal division — including political leadership — had pushed back vigorously and thought they had dissuaded the attorney general from taking such a step, the people said. Then, without warning, Barr’s memo hit their email inboxes Monday night. Within hours, the head of the department’s election-crimes branch, Richard Pilger, told colleagues he was stepping down from that job and taking a lesser position at the department, citing the new guidance, as others privately seethed.

Full Article: Barr election-fraud memo angers Justice Department officials – The Washington Post

National: Trump’s Legal Blitz Isn’t Contesting Enough Votes to Win | David Voreacos, Greg Stohr and Mark Niquette/Bloomberg

President Donald Trump’s hopes of reversing the outcome of the 2020 election in the courts are running into the reality that the numbers just aren’t there in terms of votes he can dispute — at least not yet. In their most advanced legal challenge, the Trump campaign and the Republican Party are trying to have the U.S. Supreme Court toss Pennsylvania ballots that arrived after Nov. 3. But, with all but four of 67 counties reporting, state officials have only logged 7,800 such ballots, said Jacklin Rhoads, spokeswoman for Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. Biden’s lead in Pennsylvania stood at more than 45,000 votes Monday afternoon, not including the late-arriving ballots at issue. “If those ballots couldn’t change the election to make any difference to how Pennsylvania will be decided, then he doesn’t have a claim he can bring,” said Deborah Hellman, a University of Virginia law professor.

Full Article: Trump’s Legal Blitz Isn’t Contesting Enough Votes to Win (1)