National: Pro-Trump threats, protests rattle elections officials in several states | Norman Merchant and Tim Sullivan/Associated Press

Election officials in several states said Thursday they are worried about the safety of their staffs amid a stream of threats and gatherings of angry protesters outside their doors, drawn by President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of widespread fraud in the race for the White House. “I can tell you that my wife and my mother are very concerned for me,” said Joe Gloria, the registrar in Clark County, Nevada, which includes Las Vegas. He said his staff was bolstering security and tracking vehicles coming and going from the election offices. But he added that he and others would not be stopped from “doing what our duty is and counting ballots.” Groups of Trump supporters have gathered at vote tabulation sites in Phoenix, Detroit and Philadelphia, decrying counts that showed Democrat Joe Biden leading or gaining ground. While the protests have not been violent or very large, local officials were distressed by the crowds and concerned about the relentless accusations. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel tweeted a plea to “stop making harassing & threatening calls” to her staff.

Full Article: Election officials worried by threats and protesters

National: Judges in two states reject Trump campaign lawsuits as the president continues to press unsubstantiated claims of fraud | Amy Gardner, Jon Swaine, Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Emma Brown/The Washington Post

President Trump and his allies pressed their claims Thursday that election officials have allowed ballot fraud to infect the counting process in the battleground states poised to decide the presidency, but they offered no evidence of irregularities and met with two immediate defeats in court. In Georgia, a local judge in Chatham County, home of Savannah, denied the Trump campaign’s effort to disqualify about 50 ballots that a Republican poll watcher claimed may have arrived after the 7 p.m. deadline on Election Day. In court, the poll watcher offered no evidence that the ballots had arrived late, and county election officials testified that they had arrived on time. And in Michigan, a Court of Claims judge said she would deny the campaign’s request for an emergency halt to the counting of votes in the state. She noted that the request made little sense, given that the counting has essentially been finished in the state, with former vice president Joe Biden ahead by about 150,000 votes. He has been declared the winner of the state by national news organizations. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office described Trump’s request as an “attempt to unring a bell.” Meanwhile, the Trump campaign announced its intent to file a lawsuit in another state where counting is continuing apace: Nevada. At a chaotic news conference in Las Vegas, campaign officials said that they plan to file a suit in federal court to stop the counting of what they called “improper votes.”

Full Article: Judges in two states reject Trump campaign lawsuits as the president continues to press unsubstantiated claims of fraud – The Washington Post

National: Officials on alert for potential cyber threats after a quiet Election Day | Maggie Miller/The Hill

Election officials are cautiously declaring victory after no reports of major cyber incidents on Election Day. “After millions of Americans voted, we have no evidence any foreign adversary was capable of preventing Americans from voting or changing vote tallies,” Christopher Krebs, the director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), said in a statement Wednesday. But the long shadow of 2016, when the U.S. fell victim to extensive Russian interference, has those same officials on guard for potential attacks as key battleground states tally up remaining ballots. Agencies that have worked to bolster election security over the past years are still on high alert during the vote-counting process, noting that the election is not over even if ballots have already been cast. “I think while it’s fantastic that yesterday was quiet, that tells you that the work is paying off. But we know the nature of the threats in the cybersecurity landscape don’t go away, and you don’t get to say, ‘Oh, we’re good.’ You see the commitment and the effort and that has to continue,” Election Assistance Commission Chairman Benjamin Hovland, who was nominated by President Trump, told The Hill on Wednesday.

Full Article: Officials on alert for potential cyber threats after a quiet Election Day | TheHill

National: Trump, in White House address, continues to level unfounded charges of election fraud | Matthew Choi/Politico

President Donald Trump on Thursday evening listed a string of unfounded conspiracy theories to accuse state election officials of plotting to steal the election from him. Taking the White House lectern for his first public address since election night, Trump offered no evidence for his assertions that officials are rigging the tallies or for his characterization of mail-in ballots as somehow illegitimate. The address came as his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, expands his lead to secure the presidency and as Trump’s path to a second term hinges on winning four key states. Those states have yet to finish counting their ballots amid an unprecedented number of mail-in voting because of the coronavirus pandemic. “If you count the legal votes, I easily win,” Trump said. “If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us. If you count the votes that came in late — we‘re looking at them very strongly, but a lot of votes came in late.” State elections officials have resoundingly denied they are counting “illegal votes“ and have assured voters that this year’s election was hardly the chaos many feared due to Covid-19. Despite the occasional technical glitch and extended polling-site hours, there were no reports of major issues or interference. Though counting is taking longer this year, there is no support for the position that mailed-in ballots were part of a mass fraud.

Full Article: Trump, in White House address, continues to level unfounded charges of election fraud – POLITICO

National: Whether the GOP Can Stop Voters From Legally Fixing Rejected Mail-In Ballots Could Decide the Election | ProPublica

Victoria Benedict, a stationery store owner in Atlanta who has been voting by mail for years, was surprised last month when she went to the Georgia secretary of state’s website and found her ballot had been rejected. A problem with her signature — the state said the one on her ballot did not match what it had on file — set her on a dayslong quest to make sure her vote would be counted. County staff told her that she would either have to show up at the local election office to sign her ballot or vote in person on Election Day. Either option would risk her health during a pandemic. Instead, on the advice of a friend who volunteers with the state’s Democratic Party, she filled out a form known as a ballot cure affidavit. This time, her vote was accepted. “I knew to press,” Benedict said. “It just worries me that other voters who didn’t may fall through the cracks.” The blue wave widely predicted by pollsters never came Tuesday. Now, the unexpectedly thin margins in key states, combined with the vast increase in voting by mail, are highlighting the esoteric process of “curing” ballots, in which people whose mailed ballots are rejected because of signature or other problems are given a second chance. Since mailed ballots in most states tilt Democratic, curing them so that they can be counted is believed to help former Vice President Joe Biden. “The cure process is going to be really important for a lot of close states,” said Amber McReynolds, CEO of the voting advocacy group Vote At Home, which tracks rejection rates and suggests best practices for states to cure rejected ballots.

Full Article: Whether the GOP Can Stop Voters From Legally Fixing Rejected Mail-In Ballots Could Decide the Election — ProPublica

National: How Trump loyalists are driving his campaign’s legal efforts to challenge ballots | Rosalind S. Helderman, Josh Dawsey and Elise Viebeck/The Washington Post

In 2000, when George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore were deadlocked in the Florida vote for president, a high-powered team of legal experts flocked south to lead Bush’s ultimately successful strategy to prevail in a recount, guided by the Republican Party’s premier strategist of the time, former secretary of state James Baker. This year, as President Trump’s campaign mounts a multistate effort to challenge the counting of ballots around the country, many of the GOP’s preeminent election-law litigators remain on the sidelines. Instead, the legal team driving the efforts under the leadership of deputy campaign manager Justin Clark includes longtime Trump loyalists and the president’s personal attorneys. Among them: Jay Sekulow, the conservative lawyer who defended the president during the special counsel probe and the impeachment process, and William Consovoy, an experienced Supreme Court litigator who has led the efforts in New York courts to withhold the president’s tax returns from investigators. In public, the legal maneuvers are being touted by some of the president’s most combative and unpredictable allies, including former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and Richard Grenell, Trump’s former acting director of national intelligence, as well as by Trump’s son Eric, an executive at his father’s development company, and former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi.

Full Article: How Trump loyalists are driving his campaign’s legal efforts to challenge ballots – The Washington Post

National: The Disinformation Is Coming From Inside the White House | Matthew Rosenberg, Jim Rutenberg and Nick Corasaniti/The New York Times

A disinformation push to subvert the election is well underway, and it is coming straight from President Trump and his allies. The goal: to somehow stop a victory by former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., or, failing that, undermine his legitimacy before he can take office. Mr. Trump’s false declaration of victory in the small hours of Wednesday morning quickly united hyperpartisan conservative activists and the standard-bearers of the right-wing media, such as Breitbart, with internet trolls and QAnon supporters behind a singular viral message: #StopTheSteal. But its impact has become apparent far beyond the internet, with the theme dominating conservative talk radio and the prime-time lineup on Fox News. There, Trump-aligned hosts pressed the false notion that the vote counting in the crucial, still-undecided states was illegitimate — the sort of message that was drawing flags on Twitter and Facebook but flourishing elsewhere. “How big of a mistake is it for the Democrats to have kind of a burn-it-all-down approach,” Laura Ingraham asked on her program Wednesday night, “to destroy the integrity of our election process with this mail-in, day-of-registration efforts, counting after the election’s over — dumping batches of votes a day, two days, maybe even three days after the election?” The messaging was far blunter from the president himself, who used a Thursday evening briefing at the White House to reel off a series of baseless attacks on an election system he described as “rigged” by Democrats trying to “steal an election.” It was the continuation of a diatribe he had started earlier in the day with a tweet reading “STOP THE FRAUD!” that Twitter quickly flagged as containing information that “might be misleading.”

Full Article: The Disinformation Is Coming From Inside the White House – The New York Times

National: Trump stages corrosive attempt to undermine the US election as his path to 270 evaporates | Kevin Liptak and Kaitlan Collins/CNN

President Donald Trump staged a corrosive and potentially dangerous attempt at undermining the US election on Thursday, baselessly claiming the presidency was being stolen from underneath him as vote counts showed his path to victory disappearing. Standing at the White House podium, the President repeated false claims that a count of legally cast ballots would show him winning against former Vice President Joe Biden. He complained that in certain states where he had been leading on election night, tallies have been “whittled down” or have shown his rival leading. Using the briefing room to espouse baseless claims he is being deprived a second term by fraud, Trump thrust into question the democratic notion of a peaceful transition of power should Biden win. Instead he suggested he would fight in the courts until the election is decided in his favor. “This is a case where they’re trying to steal an election, they’re trying to rig an election, and we can’t let that happen,” Trump said in a dour monotone, providing no evidence and departing the room without answering for his false claims. The spectacle, though foreshadowed by the President for months, was nevertheless a sign of Trump’s unwillingness to cede the White House without a prolonged battle. Even as he complained that his own race had been rigged, Trump used the occasion to trumpet down-ballot wins by Republicans without explaining why those races wouldn’t be similarly afflicted by his claims of fraud.

Full Article: Trump stages corrosive attempt to undermine the US election as his path to 270 evaporates – CNNPolitics

Editorial: Trump Can Try, but the Courts Won’t Decide the Election | Richard H. Pildes/The New York Times

This is the moment in a close election, with close states, we knew would arrive. Even before Tuesday, this was already the most litigated election in history. It was inevitable, then, that tight margins in potentially decisive states would spawn a flurry of postelection lawsuits as well. With delayed outcomes, the Trump campaign is pursuing legal action in several states (as well as a recount request in Wisconsin). I had hoped that we could avoid this situation and get to a final count quickly with simple measures: voting in person, processing absentee ballots early. But now that we are here, it is better that these battles over ballots play out in the courts than in the streets. We have been told, rightly, to be patient and let election administrators do their job. That same steady calm is needed now as some of the contest shifts to the courts. Some of these suits are best understood as reflecting the Trump campaign’s own disorganization. Indeed, coming from the campaign that appears behind, they are a sign of Mr. Trump’s weakness. The bottom line is that the suits filed so far are highly unlikely to affect the overall outcome of the election. The law entitles campaigns to pursue recounts, if outcomes fall within certain margins, even if they are likely to be fruitless. Desperate campaigns are free to throw Hail Mary legal passes. But in court, claims have to be proved with facts.

Full Article: Opinion | Trump Can Try, but the Courts Won’t Decide the Election – The New York Times

Arizona: Pro-Trump protesters gather around Maricopa County counting center | Henry Austin, Gadi Schwartz, Kurt Chirbas and Colin Sheeley/NBC

A crowd of protesters, some of them armed, claimed the vote had been stolen from President Donald Trump as they gathered outside the counting center in Maricopa County, Phoenix, late Wednesday, ahead of the release of new results in the presidential and Senate races. It was one of several demonstrations across the country — some about the election, some about racial inequality. In New York, 50 people were arrested, officials told NBC New York. In Maricopa, some in the 300-strong crowd chanted “count the votes” and “Fox News sucks,” after the TV network called Arizona in Joe Biden’s favor. Arizona is too close to call, according to NBC News. Biden leads there with 50.5 percent to Trump’s 48.1 percent, with 86 percent of the expected vote in — a difference of just under 70,000 votes. Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, is the largest in the state and will prove crucial in the presidential race.

Full Article: Pro-Trump protesters gather around Maricopa County, Arizona, counting center

Arizona: Use of Sharpies on ballots in court as Secretary of State’s Office calls concerns a ‘conspiracy theory’ | Jen Fifield Andrew Oxford/Arizona Republic

The day after Arizona gained national attention for concerns about the use of Sharpies on ballots, Maricopa County elections officials were in court explaining to a judge that the use of the markers on Election Day did not cause votes to go uncounted. Judge Margaret Mahoney in a scheduling hearing on Thursday asked attorneys representing a voter and poll worker concerned about the use of Sharpies and attorneys representing county officials to discuss how quickly they could move forward with the case, considering the county is nearly finished processing ballots and counting votes. The judge did not make any decisions in the case, but told both sides that she would need more information if the case proceeded. Maricopa County had about 280,000 votes left to count as of Thursday morning. More results were expected on Thursday night. Meanwhile, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’ office told state Attorney General Mark Brnovich that, by investigating the issue, he helped perpetuate a “conspiracy theory that undermines the hard work of Arizona’s election administrators, poll workers and voters.”

Full Article: Use of Sharpies on Arizona ballots in court

Georgia judge dismisses Trump campaign case in Chatham ballot dispute | Brad Schrade and Chris Joyner/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Trump campaign and the Georgia GOP’s challenge to vote counting in Savannah was rejected on Thursday by a Chatham County Superior Court judge. The campaign had filed a petition that raised questions about whether Chatham County election officials were following Georgia law to ensure no late-arriving absentee ballots were counted. State law requires any ballot that arrives after 7 p.m. on Election Day to be invalidated. A pair of Republican election watchers who had raised concerns on Wednesday about the process testified in the video-conferenced hearing. They both testified about concerns about the process they observed involving a stack of 53 ballots, but offered no evidence that the ballots had come in after the deadline. After listening to testimony for more than a hour, including a details outlining the procedures the Chatham County registrar’s office uses to receive and track absentee ballots, Judge James F. Bass swiftly threw out the case. “I’m denying the request and dismissing the petition,” he said.

Full Article: Georgia judge dismisses Trump campaign case in Chatham ballot dispute

Michigan: Judge denies Trump campaign request to stall ballot count | Beth LeBlanc/The Detroit News

Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens said Thursday she plans to deny a  request by  President Donald Trump’s campaign to stop the counting of Michigan ballots until more poll challengers can observe. Stephens said she will issue a written order by Friday afternoon. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has already told local election officials to give access to poll challengers, the judge said. But the responsibility to give that access ultimately lies with the local election officials, who are not listed in the complaint.  Further, Stephens said, Michigan’s count largely is completed and relief in the form of a halt to counting is unavailable. When the suit was filed at 4 p.m. Wednesday, the state had made large inroads into completing its count, she said. “I have no basis to find that there’s a substantial likelihood of success on the merits as it relates to this defendant, nor am I convinced that there is a clear legal duty on the part of anyone who is promptly before this court to manage this issue,” Stephens said. The suit — which alleged damages to election challenger Eric Ostergren of Roscommon County — argued that Michigan’s absent voter counting boards are not allowing inspectors from each party to be present.

Full Article: Judge to deny Trump campaign request to stall Michigan ballot count

Michigan: There’s a Simple Reason Workers Covered Windows at a Detroit Vote-Counting Site | Davey Alba/The New York Times

Protesters who stormed a vote-counting site in Detroit on Wednesday, banging on windows and shouting “Stop the count!” appear to have had one thing in common: They organized themselves online. A New York Times analysis found 32 public and private Facebook groups with a total of 301,000 followers organized an “urgent call to action in Detroit,” asking Republican poll challengers to watch the vote counting at the downtown site, TCF Center. The call was also shared on less popular social networks like Parler and the pro-Trump website TheDonald.win. The earliest call for additional Republican poll challengers was posted to Facebook at 7:27 a.m., according to The Times’s analysis. “Come to TCF Center,” read the post in a group called Michigan for Donald Trump. “Help needed to protect our lead. Tell others.” By around 3 p.m., there were dozens of calls posted on Facebook, and people responded by showing up; over 100 people were at the vote-counting site by then. NBC News earlier reported on a private Facebook group, Stand Up Michigan to Unlock Michigan, that was part of the calls; Facebook removed the group shortly after. Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Full Article: Here’s Why Michigan Officials Covered Vote-Counting Center Windows – The New York Times

Nevada Attorney General urges patience with vote count, brushes off lawsuit threat | Hillary Davis/Las Vegas Sun

Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford called for patience as Nevada’s vote count continued today, brushing aside threats of litigation from President Donald Trump’s camp. “We knew that the process would take time, but this process is working,” Ford said. Elections officials should be commended for ensuring an accurate count, he said. Trump’s campaign in Nevada, meanwhile, announced plans to file a lawsuit to stop the counting of “improper” votes in Clark County over unspecified reports of “irregularities.” Elections officials have not reported any widespread irregularities. Ford called the threatened lawsuit a last-ditch attempt at influencing the election outcome, noting that voter fraud is exceedingly rare. “I will leave the hysteria and the hyperbole to those who are attempting to undermine this process,” Ford said. “What I’m going to do is to defend the process — one that is legal, lawful, safe and secure and that’s going to guarantee every lawful vote that has been cast is going to be counted.” In Nevada, Democrat Joe Biden is running ahead of Trump by 11,438 votes, with about 190,150 ballots still to be counted, state officials said. Most of the outstanding ballots — about 90% of them — are in Democratic-leaning Clark County, officials said.

Full Article: Nevada AG urges patience with vote count, brushes off lawsuit threat – Las Vegas Sun Newspaper

Nevada: Tensions rising at protest at Clark County election headquarters | lexis Ford/Las Vegas Review-Journal

Co-organizer Mike Coudrey said the Stop the Steal group’s Facebook page was taken down, citing misinformation of Facebook’s Terms of Service, which Coudrey said the group followed carefully. “We want a fair and open and honest and transparent election and right now we are in the belief that we do not have that,” he said. “We feel this disenfranchises voters, that potentially our votes are not being heard.” One counter-protester was seen waving a Democrat flag. He told police other protesters were trying to assault him. When a group approached him, a protester with a Women for Trump flag encouraged others to respect him even if they didn’t agree with him. A protester in a MAGA hat was also seen shining a strobe light into the eyes of the counter-protester and an ABC reporter. A similar protest on Wednesday drew about 70 people to the election department while protests elsewhere in the nation demanding a halt to counting ballots led to safety concerns in several cities.

Full Article: Tensions rising at protest at Clark County election headquarters | Las Vegas Review-Journal

North Carolina: What’s with all the uncounted votes? | Jordan Wilkie/Carolina Public Press

Neither the presidential nor U.S. Senate race in North Carolina has been called by major news outlets, which are generally reporting that 5% of the votes are still left to be counted. But state news outlets are reporting a much smaller number, closer to 2%. The difference has quite a few people scratching their heads. Here’s what we know, what we will find out soon and what we’ll have to be patient for. No one has called the big statewide races because their margins are too close. Additional races that aren’t at the top of the ballot are even closer, including N.C. attorney general and N.C. chief justice of the Supreme Court, as well as several legislative races and many local races. For even those big statewide races, the number of remaining absentee-by-mail and provisional ballots is greater than the total lead that President Donald Trump has over former Vice President Joe Biden or that U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis has over Cal Cunningham. But in order for either of those Democratic candidates to win, an improbable number of by-mail ballots would need to arrive in county offices and an unusual number of provisional ballots would need to be counted.

Full Article: What’s with all the uncounted votes in North Carolina? – Carolina Public Press

Pennsylvania elections officials tune out the noise and count mail ballots | Jonathan Lai and Jessica Calefati/The Philadelphia Inquirer

Outside a former metalworks warehouse on the north side of the city, it’s around-the-clock news coverage, speculation, misinformation, litigation, and anxiety about Pennsylvania’s election results. Inside, it’s all about the count. A sea of black totes containing already scanned ballots spreads across one side of the warehouse, under the guard of several armed county law…

Texas: Comal County investigates scope of Election Day tech issues | Leah Durain/KENS 5

Comal County Elections Officials are reviewing voter logs to see how many people could have been impacted by a technical issue at the polls on Tuesday. The glitch impacted ballots cast on Election Day after poll pads were rebooted. Election workers heard from three voters who noticed local races were missing but others may not have known their ballots were incomplete. “It’s very possible that they didn’t realize that it wasn’t on there,” said Comal County Clerk, Bobbie Koepp. “We’re checking each one up against what could have voted versus what voted.” Koepp says the company that makes the poll pads, where the issue seems to have originated, should have notified her sooner and should take some responsibility. “It’s part of my duties to make sure that everybody gets what they’re supposed to get when they come to vote and I do take responsibility for that,” said Koepp. “But in my defense, I honestly feel that [KnowInk] needs to make it right. They need to make a statement and need to tell everybody what happened.”

Full Article: Comal County investigates scope of Election Day tech issues | kens5.com

Virginia: Here’s what happened to Henrico County’s ‘missing’ absentee ballots | Tom Lappas/The Henrico Citizen

There were some raised eyebrows Wednesday when Henrico Voter Registration and Elections officials realized that they had failed to report nearly 15,000 absentee ballots with a batch of other absentee votes earlier that morning. … The ballots in question all involved in-person absentee votes, he said. When a voter casts a ballot in person, he or she scans the ballot into a machine just as voters do on Election Day, and memory sticks in the machine take images of each ballot. Each machine has two sticks – a primary one and a backup, he said. Each 4 GB stick can hold about 9,000 ballots, while an 8 GB stick can hold about 17,000. As more sticks began to fill up, Coakley suggested that (instead of buying new ones) officials scan more in-person absentee ballots using a machine that typically scans only provisional ballots. On election night and well into the early morning hours of Wednesday, Coakley’s team was uploading the data from each memory stick used during the absentee process to produce an overall absentee report to send to the Virginia Department of Elections. But, he said, the report’s parameters by default were set to collect only the data from absentee machine sticks – and not from the provisional ballot machine. As a result, the ballots that had been saved on the provisional machine memory stick (just shy of 15,000) were not part of that report, Coakley said.

Full Article: Here’s what happened to Henrico’s ‘missing’ absentee ballots | The Henrico Citizen

Wisconsin: With a tight margin, attention turns to a potential recount | Patrick Marley/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Wisconsin might get recount deja vu. Unofficial tallies showed Democrat Joe Biden winning the state by the thinnest of margins four years after Republican Donald Trump narrowly won it. The lead of some 20,000 votes prompted Trump’s team to say the president would demand a recount. That brought flashbacks of 2016’s recount. If Trump remains behind by less than 1 percentage point once the official tally is completed, he can force a recount. If the margin is larger than that, there’s no chance for one. Before any decision could be made on a recount, the official results need to be finalized over the coming weeks. The recount in 2016 resulted in few changes to the final tally in Wisconsin. That year, Trump won the state by fewer than 23,000 votes out of about 3 million cast. Under the recount rules at the time, Green Party candidate Jill Stein was able to make the recount happen, even though she had received only about 31,000 votes, a tiny sliver of the vote total. Stein’s campaign had to pay about $3.5 million for that recount. In response to the 2016 recount, Republicans who controlled the state at the time changed the law to tighten the recount rules. That put in place the requirement that a losing candidate can demand a recount only when the margin is 1 point or less.

Full Article: With a tight margin in Wisconsin, attention turns to a potential recount

Pennsylvania: Bucks County judge dismisses Trump suit against Bucks Board of Elections | Peg Quann/Bucks County Courier Times

The Trump campaign lost a legal challenge that if successful would have prohibited political observers from notifying Bucks County voters that their mail-in ballots were being challenged on Election Day. The observers were taking the names of those voters and their addresses and notifying them of the challenge in hopes that they would go to the polls and vote with a provisional ballot, which would be counted if their mail-in ballots were rejected. These mail-in ballots, officials said, were challenged due to voters not using the secrecy envelope or other defects. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, was ultimately denied and dismissed by county Judge Gary Gilman. “We were successful. The case was thrown out and the county’s practices continued through the day,” County Solicitor Joseph Khan said Wednesday during the county commissioners meeting.

Full Article: Bucks judge dismisses Trump suit against Bucks Board of Elections

Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud undermine US credibility overseas | James Griffiths/CNN

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, the United States Embassy to Ivory Coast issued a statement calling on leaders in the West African nation to “show commitment to the democratic process and the rule of law.” It was the kind of boilerplate proclamation that US diplomats issue all the time regarding elections around the world, particularly those parts of it where democracy is not completely secure. But it was undermined somewhat by comments from the US President just hours earlier. In a news conference a few hours after midnight at the White House, Donald Trump had railed against his rival, Joe Biden, saying that “all voting must stop” and baselessly accusing the Democrats of fraud. He continued to hit these points on Twitter, leading the social media platform to label several of his posts as “disputed” or “misleading.” Chaotic debates and a ugly campaign had already marred the standing of the US democratic system overseas this year, but the sight of the American leader openly seeking to delegitimize the vote was still a shock for many. Trump’s comments were greeted with horror in many countries, and some glee in others, where critics of the US have long accused Washington of hypocrisy regarding democratic rights. Speaking Wednesday, German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said the US faced a “very explosive situation” and a possible crisis, telling public broadcaster ZDF that “this election has not been decided … votes are still being counted (but) the battle over the legitimacy of the result, however it turns out, has begun.”

Full Article: US election: President Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud undermine US credibility overseas – CNN

National: Ongoing ballot counts put focus on USA’s disjointed voting system | Pat Beall USA Today

Heading into Wednesday’s marathon absentee ballot count, one of every 10 Wisconsin and North Carolina jurisdictions were scanning absentee ballots on equipment so old it is no longer manufactured. And Georgia was tabulating ballots on a new system marred when electronic poll books failed to check in voters in some counties. America’s aging election equipment didn’t appear to be a major, nationwide factor at the polls Tuesday. Nor did brand-new replacement equipment, which states like Georgia rolled out in a historic presidential contest. “For a system like a roller coaster built on wood with the expectation of high-speed cars driving on it, things went pretty good,” said Gregory Miller, co-founder and chief operating officer of the OSET Institute, an election technology research nonprofit. “Nobody got ejected.” Yet because there’s no way to publicly document election system problems nationwide, no one really knows how widespread election day machine failures were, or whether small stumbles were part of a bigger pattern. Issues at one or two precincts can be shrugged off as glitches even as similar problems might occur in other counties. Election officials – and voters – can be left in the dark.

Full Article: Ongoing ballot counts put focus on USA’s disjointed voting system

Georgia: Nation focuses on state’s slow, steady ballot count | Greg Bluestein and Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The nation’s eyes turned to Georgia and a dwindling number of other battlegrounds Wednesday as the undecided presidential race tightened and President Donald Trump’s path to reelection narrowed. While fears of long lines and disastrous complications at polling places evaporated with a smooth Election Day, the sluggish process of counting tens of thousands of outstanding ballots raised Georgia’s importance in the White House race even as Joe Biden gained ground elsewhere by flipping Arizona, Michigan and Wisconsin. About 90,000 absentee ballots remained to be counted late Wednesday, all concentrated in metro Atlanta or Savannah, leaving the outcome of Georgia’s election in doubt. As election workers raced to tally the votes, the Trump campaign and the Georgia GOP filed a lawsuit accusing officials in left-leaning Chatham County of improperly counting absentee ballots.

Full Article: Election: Nation focuses on Georgia’s slow, steady vote count

National: With His Path to Re-election Narrowing, Trump Turns to the Courts | Jim Rutenberg and Nick Corasaniti/The New York Times

With his political path narrowing, President Trump turned to the courts and procedural maneuvers on Wednesday in a last-ditch effort to stave off defeat in the handful of states that will decide the outcome of the bitterly fought election. The president’s campaign intervened at the Supreme Court in a case challenging Pennsylvania’s plan to count ballots received for up to three days after Election Day. The campaign said it would also file suit in Michigan to halt the counting there while it pursues its demands for better access for the observers it sent to monitor elections boards for signs of malfeasance in tallying ballots, modeled on a similar suit it was pursuing in Nevada. On Wednesday evening, Mr. Trump’s team added Georgia to its list of legal targets, seeking a court order enforcing strict deadlines in Chatham County in the wake of allegations by a Republican poll observer that a small number of ineligible ballots might be counted in one location. In Wisconsin, which along with Michigan was called on Wednesday for his Democratic opponent, Joseph R. Biden Jr., the president’s campaign announced it would request a recount. The moves signaled Mr. Trump’s determination to make good on his longstanding threats to carry out an aggressive post-Election Day campaign to upend any result not in his favor and pursue his baseless allegations that the outcome was rigged. But it was not clear how much effect any of his efforts would have. In Georgia, the suit is about 53 ballots, and another case in Pennsylvania is about fewer than 100.

Full Article: With His Path to Re-election Narrowing, Trump Turns to the Courts – The New York Times

 

National: USPS ballot problems unlikely to change election outcomes in contested states – Jacob Bogage and Christopher Ingraham/The Washington Post

The 300,000 ballots the U.S. Postal Service reported as untraceable are unlikely to affect the outcome of the presidential race in key swing states — even in a worst-case scenario where all are lost — according to a Washington Post analysis. On Tuesday, the U.S. Postal Service notified a federal judge in the District of Columbia that the affected ballots had been scanned in at processing plants across the country but had never received exit scans signifying they’d been delivered to vote counters. The tracking issues raised alarms for voters in the 28 states that will not accept votes that arrive after Election Day and drew the ire of U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, who ordered the agency to conduct ballot sweeps at a dozen processing plants by early Tuesday afternoon. But the Postal Service ignored Sullivan’s deadline, saying it would stick to its own inspection timetable, which voting rights advocates worried was too late in the day for any found ballots to make it to election officials. Meanwhile, nearly 7 percent of the ballots in Postal Service sorting facilities on Tuesday were not processed on time for submission to election officials, according to data the agency filed Wednesday in federal court, missing by a significant margin the 97 percent success rate postal and voting experts say the mail service should achieve.

Full Article: USPS ballot problems unlikely to change election outcomes in contested states – The Washington Post

National: European election observers decry Trump’s ‘baseless allegations’ of voter fraud | Carol Morello/The Washington Post

A group of international election observers on Wednesday praised the U.S. vote as orderly but condemned President Trump’s “baseless allegations” of fraudulent ballot counts and his suggestion that the tally be stopped midstream, saying he had undermined public confidence in democratic institutions. “Nobody — no politician, no elected official, nobody — should limit the people’s right to vote,” said Michael Georg Link, a member of the German parliament who led the lawmakers sent by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to observe a U.S. election for the ninth time. “Coming after such a highly dynamic campaign, making sure that every vote is counted is a fundamental obligation of all branches of government. Baseless allegations of systematic deficiencies, notably by the incumbent president, including on election night, harm public trust in democratic institutions.” At the invitation of the State Department, the OSCE sent 100 observers to more than 30 states to watch the vote. The preliminary findings they released Wednesday will be followed by a more comprehensive report early next year from the election monitoring branch of the OSCE.

Full Article: European election observers decry Trump’s ‘baseless allegations’ of voter fraud – The Washington Post

National: ‘No bar’ to what election officials shared on Election Day, DHS says | Benjamin Freed/CyberScoop

As voting culminated Tuesday and vote-counting continued into Wednesday, Department of Homeland Security officials said that a virtual “situational awareness room” where federal, state and local officials shared intelligence about cyber activity and other potential disruptions with each other was largely successful as an information-sharing space on Election Day. Over the course of Tuesday, the room — operated by the federally funded Election Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center — saw participation from about 500 election and voter-protection officials, IT staff, vendors and representatives from social media companies and political parties. And while DHS officials repeatedly described the cyber activity observed on Election Day as “another Tuesday on the internet,” there was a flutter of activity inside the virtual war room. “The engagement was great,” a senior official with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday night. “A lot of sharing around scanning, sharing of IPs, sharing of emails. That’s what we wanted. There’s no bar to what we share.”

Full Article: ‘No bar’ to what election officials shared on Election Day, DHS says

National: Military absentee ballots surging, swing states pledge to count them | Tara Copp/McClatchy

Thousands of military ballots were still arriving in the swing states of Pennsylvania and North Carolina, which are critical to the outcome of the presidential election and will be counted well into next week, election officials said Wednesday. In Pennsylvania, Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar told reporters Wednesday that the state would continue to accept military absentee ballots through Nov. 10. “We want to remind everyone, military and overseas ballots are not due until a week after Election Day,” Boockvar said. “We want to make sure that not only every civilian absentee mail-in valid voter is counted, but also that every man and woman, who are serving our country, that their votes are counted.” In Pennsylvania, almost 8,400 military absentee ballots were returned and counted in the 2016 presidential election. That number is likely to surge. Not only did thousands more Pennsylvania voters – both military and civilian – request absentee ballots in 2020 compared to 2016, but the numbers of ballots returned has already surpassed the 2016 turnout.

Full Article: Military absentee ballots surging, swing states pledge to count them | McClatchy Washington Bureau