National: Forget Hanging Chads. Copyright Laws Could be the Next Electoral Quagmire. | Isabella Farr and Olivia Reingold/Politico

If you used a mail-in ballot in Fulton County, Georgia this year, you may have noticed peculiar language at the top of the ballot: “Copyright © 2020 Dominion Voting Inc.” Dominion Voting is a private company that sells election technology. And this ballot design — which was created by Dominion and counted using the company’s proprietary equipment is technically its intellectual property.Unusual as it may seem, this isn’t uncommon: Most voting technology used throughout the U.S. is covered by intellectual property law. That means the touch-screen you might have tapped on to vote could be patented. The software used to process your vote could be copyrighted. Before you even got to the voting booth, your ballot was likely designed on copyrighted software. And all of it could cause a nightmare after Nov. 3, according to election-security experts. “We’re going to wind up with a thousand court cases that cannot just be resolved by just going into the software and checking to see what happened, because it’s proprietary,” said Ben Ptashnik, the co-founder of the National Election Defense Coalition, a bipartisan advocacy group that pushes Congress to reform election security.

Full Article: Forget Hanging Chads. Copyright Laws Could be the Next Electoral Quagmire. – POLITICO

National: Two decades after the ‘Brooks Brothers riot’, experts fear graver election threats | Adam Gabbatt/The Guardian

In late November 2000, hundreds of mostly middle-aged male protesters, dressed in off-the-peg suits and cautious ties, descended on the Miami-Dade polling headquarters in Florida. Shouting, jostling, and punching, they demanded that a recount of ballots for the presidential election be stopped. The protesters, many of whom were paid Republican operatives, succeeded. A recount of ballots in Florida was abandoned. What became known as the Brooks Brothers riot went down in infamy, and George W Bush became president after a supreme court decision. In 2020, fears are growing that the US could see an unwanted sequel to the Brooks Brothers debacle – but with more violent participants. After a year in which armed Donald Trump supporters have besieged state houses across the country and shot and killed Black Lives Matter protesters – and in which Trump has said he will only lose if the election is rigged – a 2020 reboot of the Brooks Brothers stunt could be dangerous. “Everything is far more amplified or exaggerated than it was 20 years ago,” said Joe Lowndes, professor of political science at the University of Oregon and co-author of Producers, Parasites, Patriots, a book about the changing role of race in rightwing politics. “In terms of party polarizations, in terms of the Republican shift to the far right and in terms of the Republican party’s open relationship with and courting of far-right groups. This puts us on entirely different grounds.”

Full Article: Two decades after the ‘Brooks Brothers riot’, experts fear graver election threats | US elections 2020 | The Guardian

Editorial: Trump wants the courts to stop the counting. He’s going to be disappointed. | Edward B. Foley/The Washington Post

President Trump can rail as much as he likes, but he can’t stop the counting of valid votes. And while he is threatening to race to the Supreme Court to overturn any result against him, that, too, is likely to be a losing play — even with the bolstered conservative majority. In his remarks early Wednesday morning, Trump seemed to suggest that the court might halt the counting of all ballots that remain untallied. That is sheer nonsense. The vast majority of uncounted ballots suffer from no legal infirmity whatsoever. Many arrived at their local election offices weeks ago, piling up waiting to be counted because of misguided state laws that did not permit the process to start until Election Day or, in the case of Michigan, the day before. The fact that local officials could not make it through the unprecedently large pile in a single day is no basis for discarding those ballots — or for disenfranchising the eligible voters who properly cast them. There is not one iota of possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court, or any court, would disqualify those ballots. These ballots are not the hanging chads of Bush v. Gore. That case involved something genuinely susceptible to judicial determination: whether it was a violation of the equal protection clause of the Constitution for identically cast Florida ballots to be treated differently in a statewide recount depending on whether they were in Miami or Palm Beach. That’s not the situation now. The remaining uncalled states, where not even unofficial winners have been projected by the media, are not yet in a recount situation. Vast numbers of ballots have not yet been counted for the first time. Until that happens, it’s premature to imagine that this election, as in 2000, might be decided in court.

Full Article: Opinion | Trump wants the courts to stop the counting. He’s going to be disappointed. – The Washington Post

Arizona: No truth to GOP claims that Sharpies are invalidating ballots | Jerod MacDonald-Evoy/AZ Mirror

For the first time ever, Arizona voters were given Sharpie permanent markers to mark their ballots at Arizona polls this year, and they have spawned false claims from Republican officials in Arizona and members of the state’s conservative fringe that election officials are using the markers to invalidate votes for Donald Trump and other GOP candidates.  Similar claims have been made by prominent people in the national conservative sphere, including Matt Schlapp, the chairman of the American Conservative Union, and Sean Davis, the co-founder of the right-wing Federalist news site. Elected Republicans in Arizona have made similar claims. U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, no stranger to fringe conspiracy theories, called it “voter fraud” and urged Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich to investigate. Rep. Warren Petersen, the GOP leader in the state House of Representatives, alleged that some of his constituents had their votes “cancelled” without explanation and said he referred them to the AG; he later shared a news story alleging malfeasance with the Sharpies. And state Rep. Bret Roberts said anyone who used a Sharpie to mark their ballots should ensure it was counted. … “To me it smacks of grandstanding and politics,” former state Elections Director Amy Chan said, adding that she is concerned the AG’s request is also coming from a place of fundamental misunderstanding, as voters have for years been told that Sharpies and similar markers were not to be used on ballots because the old machines couldn’t read them. 

Full Article: No truth to GOP claims that Sharpies are invalidating Arizona ballots

Connecticut secretary of the state urges Constitutional amendment allowing ‘no excuse’ absentee ballots | Kenneth R. Gosselin/Hartford Courant

After a strong turnout by absentee balloting in Tuesday’s election, Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill announced Wednesday she will propose an amendment to the state’s Constitution to allow for “no-excuse” voting by absentee ballot. “Connecticut voters have spoken, and they want options that make voting more convenient for them, just like voters across the country have,” Merrill said. “The availability of absentee ballots allowed more than 650,000 people to safely and conveniently cast their ballots and helped to drive what will ultimately be among the highest turnout elections in Connecticut history.” As of late afternoon Wednesday, the unofficial voter turnout number for Tuesday’s presidential election stood at 73%, as votes continue to be tabulated across Connecticut. Merrill has said that could climb close to 80%. The proposal drew immediate support from Connecticut’s two Congressional senators. “The success that we’ve had in Connecticut in expanding out absentee-ballot voting opportunities should cause us to once again try to fix the infirmities of our voting system in Connecticut and allow for universal mail-in voting and early in-person voting,” U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy said.

Full Article: Connecticut secretary of the state urges Constitutional amendment allowing ‘no excuse’ absentee ballots – Hartford Courant

Georgia election official: Machine glitch caused by last-minute vendor upload | Kim Zetter/Politico

A technology glitch that halted voting in two Georgia counties on Tuesday morning was caused by a vendor uploading an update to their election machines the night before, a county election supervisor said. Voters were unable to cast machine ballots for a couple of hours in Morgan and Spalding counties after the electronic devices crashed, state officials said. In response to the delays, Superior Court Judge W. Fletcher Sams extended voting until 11 p.m. The counties use voting machines made by Dominion Voting Systems and electronic poll books — used to sign in voters — made by KnowInk. The companies “uploaded something last night, which is not normal, and it caused a glitch,” said Marcia Ridley, elections supervisor at Spalding County Board of Election. That glitch prevented pollworkers from using the pollbooks to program smart cards that the voters insert into the voting machines. Ridley said that a representative from the two companies called her after poll workers began having problems with the equipment Tuesday morning and said the problem was due to an upload to the machines by one of their technicians overnight.

Full Article: Georgia election official: Machine glitch caused by last-minute vendor upload – POLITICO

Georgia: Fulton, Gwinnett counties struggle to count absentee ballots | Ben Brasch and Arielle Kass/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

 

The most populous counties in the state, on the biggest stage imaginable, are having trouble counting their absentee ballots. As of press time, neither Fulton nor Gwinnett counties had finished tallying their early and Election Day results. The counties, home to nearly one out of every five Georgians, had separate issues with their mail-in voting systems. Tuesday’s tallying issues meant there was no clear call in the state for the presidential contest and for key congressional races with consequences that could ripple across the nation. Bianca Keaton, chair of the Gwinnett Democratic Party, said she expected a delay in knowing whether Gwinnett had helped flip Georgia to Joe Biden, but by 11 p.m., the county had not finished counting a single precinct and issues affected the count of tens of thousands of absentee ballots.

Full Article: Fulton, Gwinnett counties struggle to count absentee ballots

Hawaii: Long wait for vote spurs call for more voter centers | Audrey McAvoy/Associated Press

Voter advocates say Hawaii should set up more voter service centers after a last-minute surge of interest led to hours-long lines for in-person voting on Election Day even as the state switched to a vote-by-mail system for casting ballots. Overall, the state’s vote-by-mail election appears to have been a big success, leading to record numbers of voters participating. More than 69% of registered voters cast ballots, the highest ratio for the state since 1994. The overwhelmingly majority voted by mail. Even so, there were hundreds of people in line at Oahu’s two voter services centers when polls were scheduled to close at 7 p.m. Tuesday. It took about four hours for the line at the Kapolei center to clear, delaying the release of election results until about 11:30 p.m. Honolulu’s election administrator and lawmakers expressed skepticism that more facilities would make the difference. Sen. Chris Lee, one of the authors Hawaii’s vote-by-mail law, said increasing the number of voter service centers is something that could be considered, but boosting education to get voters to act before Election Day would be effective to prevent a recurrence.

Full Article: Long wait for Hawaii vote spurs call for more voter centers

 

Louisiana: Voting machine malfunctions reported; Ardoin says issue was ‘intermittent’ | Mark Ballard/The Advocate

Voters around the state are complaining Tuesday of voting machine malfunctions, particularly when candidates from different parties are chosen. For instance, one voter at Banneker Elementary School in New Orleans reported that she noticed that after finishing, her presidential choice had been unselected, requiring her to go back and reselect her candidate. The voter told the poll worker, fearing that other voters wouldn’t notice. “So far, we have identified at least four different Parishes where this problem is occurring: Orleans, Lafayette, Caddo, and East Baton Rouge,” Victoria Wenger with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. in New York City said in a statement. “The malfunction deselects or changes voters’ selections for the presidential election, requiring a voter to both notice the malfunction and reselect their presidential votes — sometimes multiple times — in order to ensure that their ballot is completed, otherwise the ballots are submitted with the voter’s presidential choice changed or blanked out,” Wenger wrote. “Although the majority of reports concern the Presidential selection, one report mentioned this issue occurred on down-ballot races as well. It has become very apparent that this issue is not isolated to one or two machines, but rather spread across the state.”

Full Article: Voting machine malfunctions reported in Louisiana; Ardoin says issue was ‘intermittent’ | Elections | theadvocate.com

Massachusetts to Mull Permanent Mail-in Voting System, Galvin Says | oung-Jin Kim and Jim Haddadin/NBC Boston

Massachusetts will explore the possibility of making mail-in voting a permanent option, Secretary of State William Galvin said Wednesday, after what he called “successful” elections in the state this week. “We’ve now proven it works, and voters know how to use it well, so I certainly think we want that going forward,” Galvin told reporters Wednesday. Galvin said he would form a working group including local clerks to mull the possibility, including whether the option would be available for municipal elections as well. The working group will also consider various smaller changes based on this week’s elections including about how drop boxes are operated. “All in all, I think it was a very successful day,” Galvin said about the elections, adding the state was still counting some ballots, including overseas military ballots, before official results are made public.

Full Article: Massachusetts to Mull Permanent Mail-in Voting System, Galvin Says – NBC Boston

Michigan’s Antrim County election results investigated after going blue | Paul Egan/Detroit Free Press

Officials are investigating wonky election results in Antrim County in northern Michigan that could add a few thousand votes to the tallies for President Donald Trump and Republican Senate candidate John James. Antrim County Clerk Sheryl Guy, a Republican who ran unopposed and won a third four-year term Tuesday in the strongly GOP county, said results on electronic tapes and a computer card were accurate but it appeared that some of the results were somehow scrambled after the cards were transported in sealed bags from township precincts to county offices and downloaded onto a computer. In 2016, Trump won Antrim County with about 62% of the vote, compared with about 33% for Democrat Hillary Clinton. Trump beat Clinton by about 4,000 votes. Wednesday morning, Antrim results showed Democrat Joe Biden leading Trump by slightly more than 3,000 votes, with 98% of precincts reporting. Officials had not checked the results before posting them, but later asked: “How could Democrats take over this county?” Guy said Wednesday. Now, officials are going over the tape of all the results and inputting the numbers manually, Guy said. They hoped to post updated numbers Wednesday night, she said.

Full Article: Michigan’s Antrim County election results investigated after going blue

New Jersey’s first primarily vote-by-mail general election went off without a hitch as counts continue, elections officials say | Katie Kausch and Rebecca Everett | NJ.com

New Jersey’s unprecedented vote-by-mail general election went smooth throughout the state, election officials said, as an army of workers counted millions of ballots before and on Election Day. Compared to some states that didn’t start counting ballots until Election Day, some parts of New Jersey got a head start. Pre-election measures, like allowing early counting of ballots and calling in assistance from the National Guard, alleviated most of the concern surrounding an election that saw mail-in ballots automatically sent to over 6 million registered New Jersey voters. Some of those ballots are still being counted, as many were delivered to polling places or drop boxes on Election Day, and provisional ballots cast at polls will not be counted until Nov. 10, the last day officials can accept ballots postmarked by Nov. 3. In Burlington County, things went so smoothly that the only significant issue was a traffic jam as election workers tried to drive to the county building to drop off bundles of ballots collected from polling locations and drop boxes at the close of polls.

Full Article: N.J.’s first primarily vote-by-mail general election went off without a hitch as counts continue, elections officials say – nj.com

North Carolina: How many ballots are left to count and other burning questions answered | Adam Wagner/Raleigh News & Observer

A day after polls closed across the country, North Carolina is waiting for the results of many tight races, including the state’s closely watched presidential race. North Carolina’s 15 electoral college votes hung in the balance Wednesday. President Donald Trump, a Republican, led by nearly 77,000 votes, but 116,200 ballots that people had requested had not yet been returned. Those absentee ballots could ultimately decide not only North Carolina’s presidential vote, but also whether incumbent Democrats hold onto the state Attorney General’s Office or the chief justice seat on the N.C. Supreme Court. Here are answers to some of the questions readers have been asking The News & Observer about those mail-in ballots and what comes next.

Full Article: Here are answers to readers’ post-election questions in NC | Raleigh News & Observer

Pennsylvania: Trump tries to stop ballot count | Michael Finnegan/Los Angeles Times

President Trump sought Wednesday to block Pennsylvania from counting more than 1 million ballots cast by mail in Tuesday’s election as the tabulation narrowed his lead over Democratic challenger Joe Biden. Trump’s extraordinary attack on the voting system came in a broad legal assault on ballot counting across a handful of toss-up states that will decide the presidential election. The Republican president was more than 600,000 votes ahead of Biden early Wednesday in Pennsylvania, but by the end of the day that margin had shrunk to fewer than 140,000 votes. Biden’s lopsided victory in the mail ballots counted by Wednesday, 77% to 22%, put the former vice president on track to erase Trump’s lead entirely by the time the count of the remaining 763,000 mail ballots was complete. Most were cast in counties that Trump lost in 2016. Mail ballots take extra time to process and count so each voter’s eligibility can be verified.

Full Article: Trump tries to stop Pennsylvania ballot count in election – Los Angeles Times

Pennsylvania: GOP effort to block ‘cured’ ballots gets chilly reception from judge | Katherine Landergan and Josh Gerstein/Politico

A federal judge gave a skeptical reception Wednesday to a Republican lawsuit seeking to throw out votes in a Pennsylvania county that contacted some voters to give them an opportunity to fix — or “cure” — problems with their absentee ballots. During a morning hearing in Philadelphia, U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Savage said he was dubious of arguments from a lawyer for GOP congressional candidate Kathy Barnette, who argued that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had concluded that the law prohibits counties from allowing voters who erred in completing or packaging their mail-in ballots to correct those mistakes. “I’m not sure about that,” said Savage, an appointee of President George W. Bush. “Is that exactly what was said or is what was said was that there is no mandatory requirement that the election board do that?….Wasn’t the legislative intent of the statute we are talking about to franchise, not disenfranchise, voters?” “This isn’t disenfranchising voters,” insisted Thomas Breth, an attorney for Barnette. “They can’t do this unless the election code provides them the authority to do this.” But Savage chafed at the lawyer’s suggestion that a miscast absentee vote blocked a voter from fixing that ballot or casting a provisional ballot at the polls. “It counts as your vote, but your vote is not counted,” the judge said quizzically.

Full Article: GOP effort to block ‘cured’ Pennsylvania ballots gets chilly reception from judge – POLITICO

South Carolina: Lancaster County ‘mislabeled’ thumb drive causes 20,000 ballot recount | Morgan Newell/WBTV

Absentee ballots in one South Carolina county had to be recounted after a mislabeled thumb drive could not be connected with a voting machine. The 20,000 ballot recount took so long the results did not come in until 6:30 Wednesday morning. Every single absentee in-person vote got counted because this was human error rather than a computer’s mistake. Mary Ann Hudson, Elections Director in Lancaster County, has been running the election process in Lancaster County for years. So when she made a mistake on election night, she knew exactly what needed to be done. “It was just something that I had to make right,” says Hudson. “It was my job, it’s my responsibility, it was my human error.” The error? Hudson mislabeled a thumb drive for one of the absentee ballot voting machines. It means the results could have been off by hundreds if not thousands. “We could have tried to decide that maybe these ballots went to this thumb drive and these ballots went to this thumb drive but it was an all-or-none situation,” she says.

Full Article: Lancaster County ‘mislabeled’ thumb drive causes 20,000 ballot recount

South Carolina: Dorchester Coounty counting 14,600 absentee ballots by hand due to ballot printing error | Zak Koeske/The State

Dorchester County, which was unable to count about 14,600 mail-in absentee ballots Tuesday night due to a printing error, has a phalanx of people hand counting the ballots Wednesday, officials said. State Election Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire said about 40 people were working to hand count the ballots early Wednesday afternoon and that more would be joining them throughout the day. There is currently no estimate of when they will be finished, he said. Dorchester County elections director Todd Billman said Tuesday that officials discovered the ballot printing error Tuesday morning, after beginning to open the ballot envelopes and realizing they could not be read by ballot scanning machines due to incorrect timing marks. Despite the delay, Billman and the Election Commission have reassured voters that all votes will eventually be counted. “We want everyone to know that this will be an open process, we’ll keep you guys notified along the whole way of how we’re doing,” Billman said Tuesday. “I’m very thankful that we have a lot of workers here ready to make sure that your vote counts and that your vote is counted accurately.”

Full Article: Dorchester Co. counting 14,600 absentee ballots by hand | The State

Wisconsin did not ‘find’ 100K ballots around 4 a.m. the morning after the election, or take break from counting votes | Eric Litke and Madeline Heim/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

chart from FiveThirtyEight.com showing how the Wisconsin race changed as results were reported sparked an array of unfounded conspiracy theories. It showed a sharp uptick in Democratic votes at around 4 a.m. on the morning after the election. A conservative website trumpeted this as “Voter Fraud in Wisconsin.” One widely shared Facebook post called it a “ballot dump,” while another referred to the votes as being “found.” President Donald Trump followed the same narrative when he tweeted about 9 a.m. that his lead in key states “started to magically disappear as surprise ballot dumps were counted.” These claims are ridiculous. This jump was expected and explainable. “We are not finding ballots,” Julietta Henry, director of elections for Milwaukee County, told PolitiFact National. “Ballots are being counted.” The increase in the chart simply shows when the City of Milwaukee reported its absentee ballot results. We knew well before the election that Democrats were much more likely than Republicans to vote absentee, that it takes longer to count such ballots, and that Milwaukee is a Democratic stronghold.

Full Article: Wisconsin didn’t find ballots or stop count; voter fraud claims untrue

Philadelphia’s Ballot-Counting Livestream Is the Only Thing Worth Watching Today | Brian Barrett/WIRED

It is possible that watching hours of inconclusive election results deep into the night has poisoned your brain. It happens! Fortunately, that same vote-tallying vortex also offers an antidote: the gentle zen of the Philadelphia City Commissioners’ ballot-counting livestream. Yes, things are stressful right now, especially as President Donald Trump embraces a scorched-earth path to keeping his office. (All the more surprising given that he still has a chance of winning legitimately, without lies and spurious lawsuits.) But no matter your political preference, you should be able to find some comfort in this live view of Philly’s election workers moving ballots through the system. And get comfortable: As of 4 am East Coast time on Wednesday, the state had at least 1.4 million ballots still to be counted, with hundreds of thousands of those in Philadelphia alone. As long as they were postmarked by November 3, incoming ballots can continue to be processed through Friday. For all the conspiratorial talk about rigged elections—there’s no evidence of that, and it would be easy to spot if there were—there’s something reassuring about watching the process unfold. There’s no grifting here, no ballots materializing out of thin air or being dumped into a river. There’s no comment section, no sound. There’s just the plodding, methodical machinations of democracy at work. In fact, closer observation reveals almost every step of how a ballot becomes a vote, although an apparent shift system means that not every gear is turning at the same time.

Full Article: Philly’s Ballot-Counting Livestream Is the Only Thing Worth Watching Today | WIRED

Voter Check-In Systems Slow Down Voting and Results Across U.S. | Kartikay Mehrotra and Margaret Newkirk/Bloomberg

The system voters use across the country to identify themselves at polling places may be yet another reason for delayed results on Election Day, after digital poll books failed at local voting jurisdictions in at least four states. Voters in parts of Georgia, Ohio and Texas all experienced various levels of system disruption with their ePollbooks provided by the vendor, KnowInk. In Nevada, voters in some Clark County precincts had to wait for their digital poll books to access their voter records before polls could open. DeKalb County in Georgia, population 760,000 and heavily Democratic, is allowing two polling places to stay open an additional 40 to 45 minutes because of “inability to operate the poll pads as designed, preventing voters from casting their ballots,” county Superior Court Judge Courtney L. Johnson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Franklin County, Ohio ditched their ePollbooks for paper records at 5:30 a.m. after election officials couldn’t determine why they were malfunctioning, said Ed Leonard, director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, adding that the move to paper could slow tabulation of results in the Columbus region.

Full Article: Election News: Digital Poll Books Cause Voting and Results Delays in Some States – Bloomberg

As Counting Begins, a Flood of Mail Ballots Complicates Vote Tallies | Stephanie Saul and Danny Hakim/The New York Times

Voters returned nearly 64 million mail-in ballots before Election Day, a pandemic-driven record that is certain to make for a more complicated vote count this year but could also reshape American elections for years to come. Today, the counting begins. But there will be major differences among battleground states in how that plays out, and potential legal challenges — particularly from the Trump campaign — are likely to further complicate the process. Some battleground states, like North Carolina, have been processing ballots for weeks. Elections officials there expect at least 97 percent of votes to be counted on Tuesday night. But in one of the most hotly contested states, Pennsylvania, the Trump campaign and Republican allies blocked counties from processing votes ahead of the election. Mail-in balloting this year doubled from 2016, and for many voters, the shift has been a revelation.

Full Article: As Counting Begins, a Flood of Mail Ballots Complicates Vote Tallies – The New York Times

National: Election Day Issues Reported Across U.S. as Voters Find Broken Machines, Locked Doors, Absent Officials | Sophia Waterfield/CNN

Problems at polling stations such as technical issues with polling machines and absentee officials, including head precinct judges, are being reported across the U.S. on Election Day.Twitter user @PJeffC, who writes from the Bronx in New York, said that an election site didn’t have working scanners. “Disappointed with election site at CS 150 on Fox Street. After waiting in line since 5:30 AM and filling out ballots after they opened up tardy, we were informed that the scanners were not working. Very disorganized.” In Florida, News8 reporter Josh Navarro reports that a polling location in Grace Church in Rochester was having technical issues with voting machines. “An elections inspector on scene told me off-camera it has been two hours they are trying to troubleshoot it. No ETA when it’ll be back online.” In Buffalo, Erie County, New York, long lines were reported by news anchor Dave Greber. He said: “There was a power cord issues here when the polls opened at 6 am. The issue has been resolved, and all 314 precincts in @ErieCountyNY are open and operating.”

Full Article: Election Day Issues Reported Across U.S. as Voters Find Broken Machines, Locked Doors, Absent Officials

National: Crush of mail-in ballots slows count in key states: Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin still counting | Jeremy Herb and Fredreka Schouten/CNN

Four key battleground states — Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Georgia — began Wednesday with tens of thousands of absentee ballots uncounted, leaving the White House race between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden up in the air. Election officials in some states called it a night and planned to resume the count in the morning, while some counties in Pennsylvania weren’t even to start tabulating their mail-in votes until later Wednesday morning. The mail-in ballots, which smashed records this year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, are expected to favor Biden, whose campaign encouraged Democrats to vote early, while in-person votes on Election Day may have given Trump an advantage. Trump and his allies have repeatedly called for results to be tallied quickly so that a winner could be declared on election night, though officials technically have days or weeks to complete official counts before state totals are certified. But in three key states — Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — election officials were not allowed to begin processing absentee ballots until on or just before Election Day, after Republican-led state legislatures successfully opposed changing laws to allow earlier preparations like other states.

Full Article: Mail-in ballots: Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin still counting – CNNPolitics

National: Voters battle lines, malfunctioning machines, misinformation at some polling sites | Erik Ortiz and Caroline Radnofsky/NBC

Long lines dominated polling sites across the country on Election Day, as some voters saw hiccups with election machines and infrastructure Tuesday morning, but no major reports of widespread problems for what is expected to be an historic turnout. Particular attention is being given to key battleground states, such as Georgia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, where President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden are vying for votes in what is largely viewed as one of the most bitterly divisive presidential elections in recent memory and coming amid a backdrop of a raging pandemic that has killed more than 232,000 in the United States. “Thought we would be smart getting here early,” Becca McCormick, 35, said in a video as she waited on a line 100 people deep just before 7 a.m. in Roxborough, a Philadelphia neighborhood. “But turns out so did everyone else.” In the swing state of North Carolina, several polling places were reporting technical issues when polls opened at 6:30 a.m., including a site in the capital city of Raleigh. Voters in Franklin County, Ohio, and Spalding County, Georgia, were instructed to use paper ballots after technical glitches with machines. The issues in Spalding County were resolved later in the morning.

Full Article: Voters battle lines, malfunctioning machines, misinformation at some polling sites

National: Election Day voting sees some lines, scattered glitches and ample anxiety across the nation | Amy Gardner, Elise Viebeck and Michelle Ye Hee Lee/The Washington Post

Americans jittery about the integrity of U.S. elections and the risk of coronavirus infection contended with scattered equipment outages and sporadic crowds as they lined up for the election season’s final day of voting Tuesday. But as the polls began closing across the country, a portrait emerged of a far smoother Election Day than the nation had braced for amid a pandemic that upended how Americans cast ballots and a bitter presidential race that played out against a backdrop of social unrest and racial divisions. Nearly 102 million people had cast ballots in person or by mail before voting began on Election Day, a stunning figure that put the country on a path to the highest voter turnout in more than a century. On Tuesday, voting was largely brisk and steady, with election administrators and voters alike marveling at the relative ease with which the day unfolded after a spring and summer of chaotic primaries, Postal Service delays and multiple legal battles between Republicans and Democrats over how the election should be run.

Full Article: Election Day voting sees some lines, scattered glitches and ample anxiety across the nation – The Washington Post

National: An Expert on Voting Machines Explains How They Work | Sophie Bushwick/Scientific American

Serious political tensions and fears of COVID-19 have led record-breaking numbers of Americans to vote early this year, either by mail or in person. Now the process of counting these votes—whether in states that did so on a rolling basis as they came in or those that waited until Election Day—relies on machines that vary a great deal from state to state and even from county to county. Although the technology used in voting continues to evolve, it remains vulnerable to both malicious and unintentional errors. To protect the systems against both, explains Douglas W. Jones, a computer scientist at the University of Iowa and co-author of the book Broken Ballots, election officials need to be able to check and double-check the election’s results. “There’s a nice dictum that that [computer scientist and electronic-voting-security researcher] David Dill came up with at Stanford University: if we do it right, the Devil himself could build the voting machines, and we could hold an honest election,” Jones says. “And doing it right means having genuinely auditable technology—with ballots where the average voter knows that the marks they made on their ballot express their real intent.” Scientific American spoke with Jones about how voting machines work, their vulnerabilities, and what to expect on and after Election Day.

Full Article: An Expert on Voting Machines Explains How They Work – Scientific American

USPS disregards court order to conduct ballot sweeps in 12 postal districts after more than 300,000 ballots cannot be traced | acob Bogage and Christopher Ingraham/The Washington Post

The U.S. Postal Service turned down a federal judge’s order late Tuesday afternoon to sweep mail processing facilities serving 15 states, saying instead it would stick to its own inspection schedule. The judge’s order came after the agency disclosed that more than 300,000 ballots nationwide could not be traced. U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the District of Columbia had given the mail agency until 3:30 p.m. to conduct the “all clear” checks to ensure there would be enough time to get any found ballots to election officials before polls closed. His order affected 12 postal districts spanning 15 states. But in a filing sent to the court just before 5 p.m., Justice Department attorneys representing the Postal Service said the agency would not abide by the order to better accommodate inspector’s schedules. “This daily review process, however, occurs at different times every day,” DOJ attorney John Robinson wrote. “Specifically, on Election Night, it is scheduled to occur from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., a time period developed by Postal Service Management and the Postal Inspection Service in order to ensure that Inspectors are on site to ensure compliance at the critical period before the polls close. Given the time constraints set by this Court’s order, and the fact that Postal Inspectors operate on a nationwide basis, Defendants were unable to accelerate the daily review process to run from 12:30pm to 3:00pm without significantly disrupting preexisting activities on the day of the Election, something which Defendants did not understand the Court to invite or require.

Source: Judge orders USPS to conduct ballot sweep in 12 districts covering 15 states – The Washington Post

National: Russian internet trolls are amplifying election fraud claims, researchers say | heera Frenkel/The New York Times

Social media accounts tied to a group of Russian trolls are amplifying claims of election fraud, according to researchers at the Election Integrity Partnership, a coalition of misinformation experts. “Assets linked to the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA) have been promoting unverified or false claims of massive ballot tampering, often with lurid, hyper-partisan headlines,” according to the report the coalition published Tuesday. The Russian agency was linked by federal officials to a wide-ranging disinformation campaign during the 2016 election. The false information being amplified was first shared by U.S. citizens, and Russian-linked trolls were sharing it across a number of fringe social media sites popular in right-wing circles, like Gab and Parler, the report said. The claims being made, including that ballots were being thrown away or shredded, have been widely debunked. Researchers at the Election Integrity Partnership tied I.R.A.-linked social media accounts to two websites, USA Really and The Newsroom for American and European Based Citizens. USA Really was launched by the Federal News Agency, a Russian outlet funded by the Russian oligarch Yevgeniy Prigozhin, who also founded the I.R.A. The Newsroom for American and European Based Citizens, a Hungary-based outlet, was exposed in early October as a Russian asset. Both entities were sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury in December 2018 under the heading of “attempted election interference.”

Full Article: Russian internet trolls are amplifying election fraud claims, researchers say. – The New York Times

Georgia: Fulton County election results delayed after pipe bursts in room with ballots | Ben Brasch/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A broken water pipe at the ballot processing site at State Farm arena caused a delay in Fulton County’s ability to process thousands of absentee-by-mail votes Tuesday night.Despite the broken pipe, which did not lead to any ballots being damaged, elections officials said they performed better than the disastrous June 9 primary, which made national headlines as voters waited hours in line to cast their ballots.Still, the Tuesday’s delayed tallies for the presidential contest and for key congressional races with consequences that could ripple across the nation.Fulton Commission Chairman Robb Pitts told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday evening that the pipe burst at 6:07 a.m. and was repaired within two hours. The burst pipe wasn’t mentioned by county officials during a 10 a.m. press conference. Elections officials were still expecting results from the majority of ballots cast to be counted Tuesday night — including the roughly 315,000 early in-person votes, which represent the most popular way of voting this cycle. As of 10:15 p.m., Fulton was displaying the results of more than 170,000 votes. There are 800,000 registered Fulton voters.

Full Article: Fulton County election results delayed after pipe bursts in room with ballots