Oregon elections director fired after sharing security, spending concerns | Andrew Selsky/Associated Press

Oregon’s elections director was abruptly fired in a text message by the secretary of state after he pointed out serious issues with the state’s aging and vulnerable technology for running elections. Elections Director Stephen Trout learned in a text message Thursday night — as his department and county elections officials were still counting votes from the Nov. 3 election — that he was out. On Friday, Secretary of State Bev Clarno, a Republican appointed to the position by Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, announced to county clerks and other elections officials in Oregon’s 36 counties that “today is also Steve Trout’s last day with the Agency.” Election officials in the state were stunned. Steve Druckenmiller, the veteran Linn County clerk, said Clarno’s action was “dangerous and so ignorant.” “We are still in the election process right now. We are reconciling, we’re dealing with problems right now as far as your signatures and communicating with voters who didn’t sign the ballots,” Druckenmiller said. “We’re going to have to do recounts, all of these things. She doesn’t understand elections.” Clarno spokeswoman Andrea Chiapella said Trout was “a knowledgeable advocate for the democratic process on our team” and that he planned to leave on Dec. 15 anyway. Deputy Director Michelle Teed has been named acting elections director, Chiapella said. Trout said in an email to The Associated Press that although he had already planned to seek a new job, he did not want to go this soon.

Full Article: Oregon elections director fired after sharing security, spending concerns – oregonlive.com

Pennsylvania: Trump campaign moves to bar state from certifying election results in new lawsuit | Jeremy Roebuck/Philadelphia Inquirer

President Donald Trump’s campaign launched a new legal effort Monday aimed at stopping the certification of election results in Pennsylvania and potentially invalidating thousands of votes cast by mail statewide. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Harrisburg, accuses state and county officials of grossly mismanaging the process of voting by mail and shrouding the tabulation of mail ballots in secrecy by denying Republican monitors sufficient access to inspect them as they were being counted. Though many of its claims have already been presented and litigated in courts across the state — many which ruled against the president’s campaign — the new 86-page filing presented GOP lawyers’ most comprehensive case yet in attempting to undermine public confidence in Pennsylvania’s election results. “The very officials charged with ensuring the integrity of the election in Pennsylvania have so mismanaged the election process that no one — not the voters and not President Trump’s campaign — can have any faith that their most basic rights under the U.S. Constitution are being protected,” wrote attorneys Ronald L. Hicks Jr. and Carolyn B. McGee, of Pittsburgh, and Linda Kerns, of Philadelphia. “Nothing less than the integrity of the 2020 presidential is at stake in this action.”

Full Article: Trump campaign moves to bar Pennsylvania from certifying election results in new lawsuit

Pennsylvania: Philadelphia elections officials get death threats amid Trump election attacks | Jonathan Lai/Philadelphia Inquirer

“Hey, how are you? You know what happens to corrupt Democrat politicians and election officials who support Black Lives Matter and who use voter fraud and voter suppression, voter intimidation and election tampering? You know what happens?” a man said, according to a recording of the call. “They learn first hand, the hard way, why the Second Amendment exists. We are a thousand steps ahead of you motherf—, and you’re walking right into the lion’s den.” It was an unsettling reminder of how heated — and dangerous — American politics have become. As officials prepared for the possibility of violence and civil unrest following Election Day, they worried about the city commissioners, the three elected officials who run Philadelphia’s elections, along with their staffs. Police performed threat assessments of the commissioners’ homes ahead of Election Day and planned strict security for the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where ballots would be counted and the commissioners and their staff would spend every hour of the day. “We are working around the clock in a location that probably has the best security and is the safest place in the entire City of Philadelphia,” Al Schmidt, the lone Republican of the three commissioners, recalled of the last week in an interview Monday. “We have the police department, we have the sheriff’s office, and we have private security.” Outside, tensions were rising, inflamed by President Donald Trump’s false attacks on the state’s electoral process and the sense that Pennsylvania — and Philadelphia — would play a key role in determining the presidency. As legal and political fights escalated, so did the vitriol: a torrent of death threats, harassment, and abuse, aimed at the city’s elections administrators.

Full Article: Philadelphia elections officials get death threats amid Trump election attacks

Texas: Lawmakers will revisit election code in upcoming legislative session | Cayla Harris/San Antonio Express-News

After an election season unlike any other — one that saw dozens of lawsuits concerning voter access and a record 11.4 million Texans casting ballots — state legislators are preparing for a partisan battle over laws that govern early voting, absentee ballots and related matters during the upcoming legislative session. Monday was the first day to pre-file bills for the 87th session, scheduled to begin Jan. 12. As of 5:30 p.m., more than 550 bills had been filed in both chambers — and thousands more are expected over the next several weeks. While just a small fraction of those bills will make it to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk, the influx of legislation gives an early hint at the priorities weighing on lawmakers’ minds this year, with dozens of bills addressing health care, racial injustice, abortion, redistricting and election law. The voting bills come from both sides of the aisle, with Democrats generally trying to expand voter access and Republicans limiting options in the name of election security. Democratic Reps. Lina Ortega of El Paso and Terry Meza of Irving, alongside Sen. José Menéndez of San Antonio, for example, introduced a bill that would give all registered voters the option to cast mail-in ballots during early voting. On the other side, Republican Rep. Valoree Swanson of Spring introduced a bill that would prohibit state officers and employees from distributing applications for early voting ballots. Rep. Briscoe Cain of Deer Park introduced several measures to prevent undocumented immigrants from voting, including a bill that would require the secretary of state to check databases at least twice a year for noncitizens who have been improperly allowed to register.

Full Article: Lawmakers will revisit Texas election code in upcoming legislative session – ExpressNews.com

National: George W. Bush congratulates Biden on his victory. | Peter Baker/The New York Times

Former President George W. Bush congratulated President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Sunday, becoming the highest-profile Republican to publicly declare the election over in defiance of President Trump’s refusal to accept the results. “I extended my warm congratulations and thanked him for the patriotic message he delivered last night,” Mr. Bush said in a statement released after he spoke with Mr. Biden by telephone. “I also called Kamala Harris to congratulate her on her historic election to the vice presidency. Though we have political differences, I know Joe Biden to be a good man who has won his opportunity to lead and unify our country.” He added: “I want to congratulate President Trump and his supporters on a hard-fought campaign. He earned the votes of more than 70 million Americans — an extraordinary political achievement. They have spoken, and their voices will continue to be heard through elected Republicans at every level of government.” Mr. Bush, the only living former Republican president, put his stamp on the outcome even as many of his party’s elected leaders held back either out of loyalty to Mr. Trump or out of fear of crossing the outgoing president. Mr. Trump has falsely asserted that the election was stolen without any evidence, leaving his party in the awkward position of following a president refusing to accept the reality that other Republicans have, even if they do not say so out loud.

Full Article: George W. Bush congratulates Biden on his victory. – The New York Times

National: Guns seen outside vote-counting centers becoming increasingly normal | Associated Press

The most turbulent and norm-breaking presidential election of a lifetime has led to an extraordinary spectacle in the United States over the past three days: armed protesters gathering nightly outside offices where workers are counting the votes that will decide who wins the White House. Some carry shotguns. Some have handguns. Often, they carry black, military-style semiautomatic rifles. The protesters with weapons are a small minority of the demonstrators. There have been no reports of anyone getting shot, and the laws in Arizona, Nevada and Michigan — where guns have been seen outside vote-tabulation centers in recent days — allow people to openly carry firearms in public. But in a nation increasingly inured to weapons at rallies – most often carried by right-wing demonstrators, though also sometimes by left-wing protesters – experts warn that the guns create a dangerous situation that could be seen as intimidation or tip easily into violence. “The more we see, the more people see it as a normal reaction – even though it’s not. There’s nothing normal about it,” said Cynthia Miller-Idriss, a professor at American University who studies extremism. “The potential for violence becomes normalized.”

Full Article: Guns seen outside vote-counting centers becoming increasingly normal – pennlive.com

‘We will not allow anyone to stop us’: Day and night, under historic scrutiny, the nation’s vote counters carried on | Amy Gardner, Reis Thebault, Hannah Knowles and Michelle Ye Hee Lee/The Washington Post

A burst pipe in the ceiling of Atlanta’s State Farm Arena, where Fulton County election officials had set up their vote-counting command center this fall, was perhaps the easiest of the challenges the staff faced in this singular year. Water splattering on the floor halted counting for two hours on Election Day, but it didn’t damage any ballots. And it was nothing compared to the seemingly Augean task of processing nearly 150,000 mail ballots, the unfounded accusations of fraud, the physical threats and the online harassment — and the distinctly racial overtones of mostly White protesters outside the building hurling unfounded accusations of wrongdoing as a largely Black staff of election officials inside methodically counted ballots. In the background was an anxious nation hitting “refresh” on their devices for the latest vote tallies, desperate to know who the next president would be, their eyes trained on Georgia and a handful of other states like no election in history. “I knew there was going to be more scrutiny here,” said Fulton County Elections Director Richard Barron. “I’ve learned to expect it, and you just deal with the pressure as it comes.”

Full Article: Election workers carried on vote count under historic scrutiny – The Washington Post

National: With No Evidence of Fraud, Trump Fails to Make Headway on Legal Cases | Jim Rutenberg, Nick Corasaniti and Alan Feuer/The New York Times

President Trump’s bellicose pledge to fight the outcome of the election in the courts crashed on Friday into skeptical judges, daunting Electoral College math and a lack of evidence for his claims of fraud. On a day that began with vote tallies in Georgia and Pennsylvania tipping in Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s favor, Mr. Trump’s campaign declared, “This election is not over,” as the Republican National Committee announced it had activated “legal challenge teams” in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania. And the Trump forces named a new general to lead the effort, the hardened conservative political combatant David Bossie. But none of the dozen or so lawsuits they had brought in battleground states appeared to be gaining any traction in the courts. And in any case, none seemed likely to give Mr. Trump the edge he would need in vote counts in the states that will determine the outcome. In seeking to foment widespread doubt about the legitimacy of the election, Mr. Trump and his surrogates seemed less focused on substantive legal arguments that could hold up in court than on bolstering the president’s political narrative, unsupported by the facts, that he was somehow being robbed of a second term.

Full Article: Trump’s Election Fraud Claims Make No Headway on Legal Cases – The New York Times

National: The Big Success Story of the Election Is the One You Didn’t Hear – Government employees were the unsung heroes of the voting process. | Tom Shoop/Government Executive

The central story of the 2020 election was the one you heard over the weekend: Joe Biden was declared the winner and is president-elect of the United States. But it was the story you probably didn’t see, hear or read that was at least as impressive: At all levels of government, dedicated, patriotic civil servants and local volunteers made sure the election went off without significant disruption. Biden acknowledged as much in his victory speech Saturday night. “To all those who volunteered, worked the polls in the middle of this pandemic, local election officials—you deserve a special thanks from this nation.” They’re not the only ones owed a debt of gratitude: There were the U.S. cyber operators who went on the offensive against Iranian hackers seeking to meddle in the election. The postal workers who moved mountains to deliver millions of mail-in ballots in time to be counted. The local officials who worked tirelessly in the weeks before the election to swat down misinformation. And many more.

Full Article: The Big Success Story of the Election Is the One You Didn’t Hear – Government Executive

National: Federal judge keeps pressure on USPS to deliver remaining mail-in ballots by state deadlines | Dinah Voyles Pulver/USA Today

Former Vice President Joe Biden won the race for the White House on Saturday, but the counting of mail-in ballots cast in the tightly contested presidential election goes on. The U.S. Postal Service must continue searching its processing facilities twice a day for missing mail-in ballots in states where they are still being accepted, under a federal judge’s orders aimed at making sure every eligible ballot gets delivered in time. Those ballots are not expected to change the outcome of the election but will be included in each state’s final, certified tally. U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan began issuing the orders earlier this week after the USPS reported low delivery scores and ballots that appeared to have entered their facilities but perhaps not exited them.  Since then, the USPS has found and delivered thousands of ballots. Sullivan also directed the agency to continue reporting the number of ballots found in the sweeps as well as other performance measures. The sweeps must continue until the state deadlines pass.

Full Article: Judge presses USPS to deliver remaining ballots by state deadlines

National: Trump’s wild claims test limits of Republican loyalty | Steve Peoples and Jill Colvin/Associated Press

President Donald Trump’s wild and unsupported claims of voter fraud have emerged as a high-stakes Republican loyalty test that illustrates the tug of war likely to define the future of the GOP whether he wins or loses the presidency. There is a pervasive sense among current and former GOP officials that the president’s behavior is irresponsible if not dangerous, but a divide has emerged between those influential Republicans willing to call him out publicly and those who aren’t. Driving their calculus is an open acknowledgement that Trump’s better-than-expected showing on Election Day ensures that he will remain the Republican Party’s most powerful voice for years to come even if he loses. That stark reality did little to silence the likes of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a second-term Republican who has not ruled out a 2024 White House bid. He described the president’s claims as “dangerous” and “embarrassing.”

Full Article: Trump’s wild claims test limits of Republican loyalty

National: After Warnings It Could Go Off the Rails, the Election Actually Ran Smoothly | Reid J. Epstein/The New York Times

In Georgia, a high school senior organized her classmates to be poll workers so voters would not have to wait hours in line like they did back in June. In Wisconsin, Milwaukee officials leased the whole floor of a downtown office building to serve as the headquarters to count a record number of absentee ballots. And in Michigan, the secretary of state organized three shifts of more than 700 people each in Detroit who counted twice as many ballots as they had for the August primary in just over half as much time. Even as the nation waited for the call designating the winner — Joseph R. Biden Jr. was declared the victor on Saturday morning — it had reason to breathe a sigh of relief. Despite warnings of violence, threats of foreign interference, rampant disinformation, cuts to the Postal Service, President Trump’s sowing of distrust and a pandemic that forced the relocation of thousands of polling places, the machinery of American democracy adapted and held up this past week. The result was a relatively smooth election free of the hourslong lines and vote-suppressing shenanigans that have characterized the voting experience in recent years, particularly during the primaries of the coronavirus era.

Full Article: After Warnings It Could Go Off the Rails, the Election Actually Ran Smoothly – The New York Times

Editorial: What happens if Trump won’t concede? | Richard L. Hasen/Slate

President Donald J. Trump hasn’t conceded the presidential race to his Democratic challenger Joe Biden yet—something that would be a normal step in the peaceful transition of power. Instead, Trump has continued to make unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud and to threaten new lawsuits that he says will expose the fraud and lead to his victory. (They won’t.) Given Trump’s norm breaking throughout his presidency, his failure to concede early is hardly a surprise. The question is whether we should worry about it, and whether his failure threatens that peaceful transition. So far, the signs are hopeful that we will make it through this period, but all is not rosy. Responsible Republican congressional leaders are not yet on board but likely will be soon. On Sunday, all Republican House leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy would say was that the nation had to wait for the process to play itself out, while former President George W. Bush called Biden “president-elect” and acknowledged Trump could pursue his legal remedies: “The American people can have confidence that this election was fundamentally fair, its integrity will be upheld, and its outcome is clear.” Irresponsible voices, though, are trying to delegitimize the Biden presidency from the beginning. There has been no official calling of the results yet. It will take days and weeks more before results are certified in the states, as officials double-check results and as candidates have the opportunity to demand recounts. Eventually, after certification, presidential electors will meet, governors will transmit the Electoral College results to Congress, Congress will count those votes on Jan. 6, and Biden will be sworn in as president. What we have right now are nearly final election results across almost all the states, giving vote-counting experts working for reputable media organizations the ability to predict with very high certainty that Biden has captured more than enough votes in more than enough states to win the Electoral College vote.

Full Article: What happens if Trump won’t concede.

Arizona: Faced with defeat, armed protesters insist election stolen | Mimi Dwyer and David Shepardson/Reuters

Hundreds of supporters of President Donald Trump rallied in downtown Phoenix on Saturday to contest Joe Biden’s election as U.S. president, charging the media with conspiring to steal the election and calling the results a “coup.” The Trump campaign lent support to protests questioning the current vote tally, filing a lawsuit in Arizona Saturday over rejected ballots that Arizona’s Secretary of State said was “grasping at straws.” Trump’s campaign alleged the Southwestern state’s most populous county incorrectly rejected votes cast on Election Day by some voters in the U.S. presidential race. The lawsuit, filed in state Superior Court in Maricopa County, said poll workers told some voters to press a button after a machine had detected an “overvote.” Pro-Trump protesters have been assembling outside the Maricopa County Elections Department and at the Arizona State Capitol for days, espousing unsubstantiated claims that Democratic operatives had interfered with the election to illegitimately deliver Arizona to Biden.

Source: Faced with defeat, armed protesters in Arizona insist election stolen | Reuters

California dramatically cut provisional ballots. Here’s how | Lewis Griswold/CalMatters

Election workers around California discovered good news in this year’s crush of ballots to be processed and counted: far fewer provisionals. Officials who faced a mountain of 1 million provisional ballots four years ago instead found just over one-third of that this year. The Secretary of State’s office reported Thursday that counties have an estimated 354,600 to process. Provisional ballots chew up time from election workers because of the work involved. They must verify that the voter is registered in the county and has not already cast a ballot. Election officials credit new vote centers available in 15 counties for the lower number of provisional ballots. Brandi Orth, registrar of voters for Fresno County, said the centers allow staff to resolve issues on the spot, unlike traditional polling places that didn’t offer similar services. “They can now determine if they voted or not,” she said. Provisional ballots are used when election workers cannot verify at the polls if the voter is eligible to vote.

Full Article: California dramatically cut provisional ballots. Here’s how | CalMatters

Florida: Where’s the drama? Not in Florida, and that’s fine with elections officials | Allison Ross/Tampa Bay Times

Thanks in part to the tumultuous 2000 presidential election of Bush v. Gore, the Sunshine State has long been — often unfairly, sometimes deservedly so — a punchline or cautionary tale of election woes. But in this year’s presidential race, voting ran smoothly in Florida’s 67 counties. With 29 key electoral votes up for grabs in a fraught election, Florida’s counties tabulated and shared results within hours after the polls closed. As other states — Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada and Georgia — found themselves under the national glare and mounting partisan pressure as they tabulated results, Florida officials exchanged congratulatory tweets. “Florida is a model for the rest of the nation to follow,” Gov. Ron DeSantis tweeted Wednesday afternoon, thanking elections officials and poll workers for their hard work. Florida’s elections rules, many created after the 2000 meltdown, put officials in prime position to conduct a presidential election during a pandemic.

Full Article: Where’s the drama? Not in Florida, and that’s fine with elections officials

Georgia elections officials project calm amid Trump uproar over fraud | Tamar Hallerman and Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Facing the glare of the national spotlight, state and local officials on Friday sought to highlight Georgia’s election integrity safeguards while steering clear of the voter fraud claims leveled by President Donald Trump and some of his GOP allies. In a press conference at the Capitol, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the Republican who oversees Georgia’s elections system, acknowledged that emotions are high but insisted “we will not let those debates distract us from our work.” “We will get it right, and we’ll defend the integrity of our elections,” he said. Raffensperger’s comments came less than a day after Trump made a litany of unsubstantiated claims about Georgia’s and Fulton County’s voting systems. In a White House address late Thursday, the president suggested GOP election observers were being denied access to the process “in critical places” without offering any specifics. Trump’s allies have zeroed in on ballot counting operations in key battleground states to raise questions about former Vice President Joe Biden’s lead and delegitimize the election results, although experts have repeatedly indicated instances of voter fraud are low.

Full Article: Georgia elections officials project calm amid Trump uproar over fraud

Michigan: Failure updating software caused Antrim County vote glitch | Paul Egan/Detroit Free Press

A failure to properly update software was the reason for a computer glitch that caused massive errors in unofficial election results reported from Antrim county, the Michigan Department of State said late Friday. And a U-M professor of computer science and engineering who specializes in voting systems and securities says it appears the snafu arose from an “unusual sequence of events very unlikely to affect any other jurisdictions.” … J. Alex Halderman, the U-M professor and voting systems expert, said he has looked into the incident and determined that the problem arose because Antrim officials made a mistake before the election when they loaded a new version of the “election definition” — the data that is similar to a spreadsheet describing the races and candidates on the ballot. According to the state, the new “election definition” was loaded in October after county officials learned of two local races in which ballot information had to be updated. County officials correctly loaded the new version onto the scanners for the affected precincts, but left the old version on scanners for precincts where the ballot was not affected by the late change, Halderman said. So although the scanners in the tabulators counted all the votes in each precinct correctly, the different versions of the ballot resulted in problems and erroneous vote totals when the precinct results were combined in the election management system, a separate software package used to manage and consolidate results before they are reported to the state, he said. “Since the scanners … used slightly different election definitions, some of the positions didn’t line up properly,” Halderman said. “As a result, when the results were read by the election management system, some of them were initially assigned to the wrong candidates.”

Full Article: Michigan: Failure updating software caused Antrim County vote glitch

Michigan: State election agency says failure to update software caused Antrim County election glitch | Paul Egan/Detroit Free Press

A failure to update software was the reason for a computer glitch that caused massive errors in unofficial election results reported from Antrim county, the Michigan Department of State said late Friday. “The erroneous reporting of unofficial results from Antrim county was a result of accidental error on the part of the Antrim County clerk,” the state agency that oversees elections said in a news release. There was no problem with the voting machines or vote totals, which were preserved on tapes printed from the tabulators, the state said. The problem occurred when the totals by precinct were combined into candidate county-wide totals for transfer to the state, using election management system software, the state agency said in a news release. “All ballots were properly tabulated. However, the clerk accidentally did not update the software used to collect voting machine data and report unofficial results.” State officials did not immediately respond to questions about whether they track when and how local officials update their election-related software or whether local officials are required to report needed updates to the state, once they are completed.

Full Article: State: Failure to update software caused Antrim vote glitch

Nevada Election Results: the 3,000 Challenged Votes | Zusha Elinson and Sara Randazzo/Wall Street Journal

When Trump campaign attorneys released a list of 3,000 people who they said voted in Nevada after moving to another state, they said it was evidence of voter fraud in a closely contested battleground state. Military families and Nevada elections officials point to something else: Service members who have legally voted in Nevada after being transferred elsewhere. President-elect Joe Biden was declared the winner of Nevada’s six electoral votes, according to the Associated Press. He was leading by roughly 31,000 votes on Sunday afternoon, with 93% of the vote counted. The Trump campaign has vowed to investigate alleged voter irregularities and is backing a lawsuit filed in the state challenging ballot counting. Trump campaign attorneys sent U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr a letter Thursday alleging “criminal voter fraud” in Nevada and asking for an investigation. It sent Mr. Barr a list of unnamed individuals who “appear to have improperly cast mail ballots” in Nevada after moving elsewhere, according to a search of what it called a change-of-address database. The publicly released list gave ZIP Codes of where the voters currently and previously lived, but no other personally identifying information or dates of moves.

Full Article: Nevada Election Results: the 3,000 Challenged Votes – WSJ

North Carolina: With the nation’s focus elsewhere, North Carolina is still collecting, counting and too close to call. | Michael Gold/The New York Times

Election officials in North Carolina, where both the presidential race and one of the most critical Senate contests in the country have remained too close to call, said on Friday that about 31,000 eligible mail ballots had arrived since Election Day. Just 4,300 ballots were going to be considered by county election officials on Friday, the state’s board of elections said in a statement, but most will have to wait until next week. The attention now is primarily on Pennsylvania, Arizona and Nevada, with former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. leading in all three. But leading up to Election Day, a victory in North Carolina was seen as crucial to President Trump’s re-election hopes. With most of the votes tabulated in the state, he is currently ahead by around 76,000 votes, or 1.4 percentage points. In the Senate race, Senator Thom Tillis, a Republican, is up by more than 96,000 over his Democratic challenger, Cal Cunningham. It is not clear exactly how many ballots remain outstanding in North Carolina because the state accepts mail ballots until Nov. 12, as long as they are postmarked by Election Day. The state’s board of elections said that so far, 99,000 voters who had requested a mail ballot had not yet returned one or cast a vote during the state’s early voting period. Some of those voters may have cast a ballot in-person on Election Day, and others may not have voted.

Full Article: With the nation’s focus elsewhere, North Carolina is still collecting, counting and too close to call. – The New York Times

Pennsylvania: Upward of 100,000 provisional ballots could further delay a winner being named | Tom Lisi/The Philadelphia Inquirer

Those across the nation eager for a winner to be declared in Pennsylvania might have to wait a little longer because of a flood of provisional ballots, most of which are only now being counted in a process that takes a lot more time than tallying in-person or mail votes.As of Friday morning, 56 of the state’s 67 counties reported about 85,000 provisional ballots cast based on only a partial count, a Pennsylvania Department of State spokesperson said. House Speaker Bryan Cutler told reporters Friday he’s told the number could top 100,000.Provisional ballots are cast when a voter’s eligibility is in question. And so far, 2020 looks like it might be a record year, owing mostly to the state’s expansion of no-excuse mail voting. Any voter who requested a mail ballot but did not receive it — or who forgot or lost their ballot or envelopes — could still vote at the polls on Election Day using a provisional ballot. There were also reports on Election Day that some voters were told to cast a provisional ballot even if they brought their entire mail ballot to the polls, which should have allowed them to vote in person. Usually, county officials do not review provisional ballots until after in-person, mail, and absentee ballots are counted. That’s why many counties did not begin until after 5 p.m. Friday, the deadline to accept mail ballots sent by Election Day. Late-arriving mail ballots are being segregated because they are subject to a pending U.S. Supreme Court case.

Full Article: Upward of 100,000 provisional ballots in Pa. could further delay a winner being named

Pennsylvania: Republican Philadelphia official responsible for vote counting says office getting death threats | Dominick Mastrangelo/The Hill

The Republican city commissioner in Philadelphia whose office is responsible for counting votes in the city, said his staff has been receiving death threats since the count began there last week. “From the inside looking out, it all feels very deranged,” Al Schmidt said during an interview that aired Sunday on CBS News’ 60 minutes. “At the end of the day, we are counting eligible votes, cast by voters. The controversy surrounding it, is something I don’t understand.” Schmidt said critics of his office have been “coming up with all sorts of crazy stuff” about the integrity of the city’s election systems and casting doubt on the impartiality of vote counters. President Trump opened up a sizable lead on projected winner Joe Biden in Pennsylvania, which does not allowed mail-in ballots to be counted before Election Day, on Tuesday evening. But a slew of mail-in votes counted in subsequent days, mostly in the Philadelphia and Pittsburg areas, swung the state toward Biden, and the former Vice President eclipsed the president’s lead early Friday morning.

Full Article: Republican Philadelphia official responsible for vote counting says office getting death threats | TheHill

Pennsylvania: Trump legal team vows to fight on, starting with fresh lawsuit Monday | Craig R. McCoy and Jamie Martines/The Philadelphia Inquirer

Lawsuits contesting Joe Biden’s win of the presidency, starting with a federal suit to be filed Monday alleging that Philadelphia and Pittsburgh were awash in vote fraud. Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, elaborated on the pending suits in an interview on Fox News in which he leveled allegations that, in several cases, the GOP had already argued without success in previous court challenges. However, the Trump legal team did cite at least one case from Pennsylvania in which it appears the vote of a dead woman from the Pittsburgh area was received and marked as “recorded” by election officials. In his Sunday remarks, Giuliani contended the suits could reverse the electionoutcome, at least in Pennsylvania. “We have enough to change Pennsylvania,” he said. “The Pennsylvania election was a disaster.” Democratic lawyers have fought back against GOP lawsuits ever since Tuesday’s election. They have dismissed the challenges as fact-free attacks on what turned out to be a fairly routine election process. “There’s no there there,” Adam Bonin, a lawyer for Democrats who was among the vote-counting observers in Philadelphia for his party, said Sunday.

Full Article: Trump legal team vows to fight on, starting with fresh lawsuit Monday in Pennsylvania

South Carolina: Horry County election officials rescan thousands of absentee ballots after USB device malfunction | Jennifer Roberts/WMBF

The South Carolina Election Commission instructed the Horry County Registration & Elections office to rescan absentee ballots following a “data transfer issue,” officials said. “ES&S, the scanning equipment manufacturer, assisted the elections office throughout the day with the procedure which began this morning [Thursday] around 10 a.m.,” Horry County Government said in a press release. South Carolina Elections Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire said all legally filed ballots must be counted. He added the only way to report those is to rescan them. Officials say the rescanning will not impact voters’ absentee ballots in any way. The move comes after Horry County Director of Elections Sandy Martin said on Wednesday afternoon, there were anywhere between 15,000 to 20,000 votes from mail-in absentee ballots that had yet to be counted in Horry County. On Thursday, her team focused on ensuring thousands of those ballots were rescanned. Martin attributed the delay to a “technical issue.” She said after scanning all of the ballots Tuesday night, including mail-in ballots, they ran into a problem around 2 a.m. Wednesday.

Full Article: Horry County election officials rescan thousands of absentee ballots after USB device malfunction

Texas Republicans follow Trump’s lead, spread misinformation about election | Abby Livingston and Shawn Mulcahy/The Texas Tribune

As votes continue to be counted in the presidential race, President Donald Trump used both Twitter and the White House to sow doubts about the integrity of the electoral process. Some of Texas’ most prominent Republican politicians, including U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, have joined the president in amplifying misinformation about the election across their platforms. Much of the misinformation has been centered on the vote-counting process in states like Pennsylvania, a battleground territory in the race for the presidency. The count in Pennsylvania was expected to be slow because of the large number of mail-in ballots and because state law prevented poll workers from beginning to process them until Election Day. Cruz appeared on Fox News’ “Hannity” on Thursday night and charged that Philadelphia officials are “not allowing the election observers in, despite clear state law that requires election observers being there.” U.S. Rep. Michael Cloud, R-Victoria, said on a local radio show Friday morning that it was disturbing “they won’t let poll watchers in, after a judge’s order, is very telling.”

Full Article: Texas Republicans follow Trump’s lead, spread misinformation about election | The Texas Tribune

Virginia: Laws making it easier to vote made counting harder. | Kimberly Pierceall/The Virginian-Pilot

The late-night texts from out-of-state friends and relatives watching cable news on Tuesday night were curious: Virginia? Shortly after polls closed at 7 p.m. in the commonwealth and well into the night, President Donald Trump led former Vice President Joe Biden and, in Virginia’s Senate race, Republican challenger Daniel Gade appeared to hold an advantage over Sen. Mark Warner based on the numbers populating Virginia’s Department of Elections’ ever-updating database. The Trump and Gade leads held well into the late evening, after some Virginians likely already had gone to bed, with all but one precinct reporting in many of Virginia’s localities: the central absentee precinct. That precinct was key for so many ballot decisions and candidates because it held at least 2.8 million votes as of last Saturday, and likely more as ballots wound their way from post offices to registrar offices. One would think with all those votes and all that time they would have been among the first results to be revealed come 7:01 p.m. Tuesday after polls closed in Virginia. It was far from that easy, though. Instead, despite their sizable influence on numerous ballot races, those votes were among the last to be posted, some well after an 11 p.m. deadline set by the state elections commissioner for local registrars to send in results they had in hand on Election Day. Registrars will keep counting votes that were cast by Tuesday but came in later, through noon Nov. 6.

Full Article: What happened in Virginia on Election Day? Laws making it easier to vote made counting harder. – The Virginian-Pilot – The Virginian-Pilot

Wisconsin: ‘Absurd and insulting’: Milwaukee officials ridicule Vos’ call for investigation into vote count | Alison Dirr/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos’ assertion that Milwaukee’s Central Count operation was inefficient is “absurd and insulting,” the city’s top election official said Saturday.  “For the Speaker to separate out Milwaukee and insinuate that our election workers were not part of the well-trained and efficient operations that allowed Wisconsin to have election results in such a timely manner is absurd and insulting,” Milwaukee Election Commission Executive Director Claire Woodall-Vogg said in a statement to the Journal Sentinel. “Our Central Count was open, transparent, well-organized and made up of nearly 70 election workers from Representative Vos’s own Republican Party.” She noted media and observers were present to witness the counting, which she called “smooth, accurate and transparent.” The city also livestreamed the operation.

Full Article: Vos’ call for probe of Milwaukee vote counting dismissed as absurd

More states now have paper trails to verify votes were correctly counted | Joseph Marks/The Washington Post

When all the votes are counted this year, Americans should have far more confidence their votes were tallied correctly than in 2016. After that contest was upended by Russian interference, states vastly increased the number of votes that are cast with paper records that can be audited later. More than 90 percent of votes will have a paper record this year compared with about 80 percent in 2016. States have also significantly improved how often and how scrupulously they perform post-election audits. The changes have been especially significant in some of the states still counting ballots and where the Trump campaign has already launched legal challenges. Georgia and Pennsylvania have both shifted from having paper records for few or none of their voters in 2016  to having paper records for all votes cast in their states — a protection security experts say is a bare minimum to ensure votes weren’t altered by hackers or miscounted because of a technology failure. Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Nevada also probably are performing more rigorous audits of their results this year, though officials haven’t finalized plans in all cases. Edison Research has projected that Biden will win Michigan and Wisconsin. Trump is leading in Pennsylvania, Georgia and North Carolina and Biden is leading in Nevada and Arizona, with many votes still to be counted. … “The country is making distinct progress toward an election system in which every voter is able to verify that their ballot is marked correctly and election officials are able to verify that ballots are counted correctly,” Mark Lindeman, interim co-director of Verified Voting, told me. He added that “2020 is by no means the promised land, but we’re certainly much closer.”

Full Article: The Cybersecurity 202: More states now have paper trails to verify votes were correctly counted – The Washington Post

Fears Rise for Safety of Election Workers in Battleground States | Jeff Seldin/VoA News

Tensions over the still undecided U.S. presidential election are prompting some state and local officials to increase security for those charged with counting the remaining votes. Supporters of Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden have increasingly focused their attention on states like Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania, where slim margins have made calling the race nearly impossible. And the tensions have grown as allegations of irregularities in the vote-counting process have sparked protests outside buildings where the tally is going on. “I am concerned for the safety of my staff,” said Joe Gloria, registrar of voters in Clark County, Nevada, on November 5, after about 75 people, some wearing Trump T-shirts, chanted “Stop the Steal” and protested outside the county’s election center the night before.

Source: Fears Rise for Safety of Election Workers in Battleground States | Voice of America – English