Officials are on alert for threats to elections ahead of Election Day in states including Virginia on Tuesday, one year after a contentious 2020 presidential election. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) put out a statement Monday announcing that it would set up an election situational awareness room to monitor elections in over 30 states. This space will serve to coordinate election security efforts between CISA, the key agency responsible for election security, and election officials at the state and local levels, along with representatives from political organizations and other private sector groups. CISA stressed Monday that while preparations were underway to monitor for any security concerns, there is currently “no specific, credible threat to election infrastructure.” “CISA has supported state and local election officials to help secure their systems and push back against malicious actors seeking to disrupt our democratic process and interfere in our elections,” Geoff Hale, the director of CISA’s Election Security Initiative, said in a statement Monday. “We look forward to continuing this work in collaboration with our election partners to ensure the security and resilience of elections in 2021 and beyond.” The agency is also again using its “rumor control” page to help push back against election disinformation and misinformation. The page was created by the agency ahead of the 2020 presidential election, and was a key factor behind President Trump’s decision to fire former CISA Director Christopher Krebs in the days after the election, as CISA and election officials sought to stress the accuracy of the 2020 election results.
Pennsylvania elections officials brace for 2021 vote in toxic political climate | Jonathan Lai/Philadelphia Inquirer
This is supposed to be a low-key election. But there’s no such thing anymore for the people who actually run elections in Pennsylvania. Yes, voter turnout drops significantly after a presidential race, as public interest dissipates and the stakes feel lower. And officials haven’t had to scramble to respond to changing election rules the way they did last year. But after a year of Donald Trump’s lies about a stolen election tearing at the country’s political fabric, anxiety is as high as ever for local elections officials before polls open Tuesday, according to interviews with about a dozen of them. They used to toil in obscurity for little pay or recognition. Now they’re targets. They continue to face anger and baseless accusations from voters and even other elected officials. The threats and harassment of last year have lessened, but they haven’t gone away. And when the small technical or human errors that have long been a benign feature of American elections pop up, they brace themselves for it to be weaponized, spun, or just amplified in a way that erodes voter trust. “It’s definitely different, and it’s not as fun as it used to be,” said Tim Benyo, the chief elections clerk for Lehigh County. “Now everyone attacks, and you’ve got to talk them off the ledge to try to get them to see how things really are.” “I catch myself mentally preparing to see what fire I have to put out,” added Benyo, who’s been running Pennsylvania elections since 2008.
National: ‘It’s absolutely getting worse’: Secretaries of state targeted by Trump election lies live in fear for their safety and are desperate for protection | Isaac Dovere and Jeremy Herb/CNN
“I am a hunter — and I think you should be hunted,” a woman can be heard saying in a voicemail left for Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs in September. “You will never be safe in Arizona again.” Or there’s the man who spit, “Die you bitch, die! Die you bitch, die!” repeatedly into the phone, in another of several dozen threatening and angry voicemails directed at the Democratic secretary of state and shared exclusively with CNN by her office. Officials and aides in secretary of state offices in Arizona and other states targeted by former President Donald Trump in his attack on last year’s election results told CNN about living in constant terror — nervously watching the people around them at events, checking in their rearview mirrors for cars following them home and sitting up at night wondering what might happen next. Law enforcement has never had to think much about protecting secretaries of state, let alone allocating hundreds of thousands of dollars in security, tracking and follow-up. Their jobs used to be mundane, unexciting, bureaucratic. These are small offices in a handful of states with enormous power in administering elections, from mailing ballots to overseeing voting machines to keeping track of counted votes.
National: Elections Officials Are Still Receiving Death Threats and Harassment About the 2020 Election. They’re Asking Congress For Help. | Kate Elizabeth Queram/Route Fifty
Two weeks after the 2020 presidential election, a crowd of protesters gathered outside the home of Katie Hobbs, Arizona’s secretary of state. “Katie, come out and play,” they chanted. “We’re watching you.” The threats, which also targeted Hobbs’ children and husband, came from far-right voters who believed former President Donald Trump’s false assertions that the election was stolen from him in states like Arizona, Hobbs said this week at a hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration. And they’ve reached far beyond her, she added. “What concerns me more is the near-constant harassment faced by the public servants who administer our elections,” said Hobbs, a candidate for governor in Arizona. “These are people who truly make our government work. They never ran for office or appeared in political ads. But nearly every day they are on the receiving end of abusive phone calls and emails. We’re seeing high turnover among elections staff, and I fear that many more will reach a breaking point and decide that this line of public service is no longer worth it.” The hearing, held Tuesday, gave state and local election officials the opportunity to brief lawmakers on the continued threats and harassment directed their way, most stemming from the failed legal challenges and torrent of misinformation that followed last year’s election. Their testimony urged Congress to pass a suite of voting rights legislation, including a bill that would strengthen protections for election administrators during the voting, counting and certification processes.
National: Election officials don’t need to report cyber incidents to the feds. That could soon change. | AJ Vicens/CyberScoop
Security personnel charged with the challenging and high-stakes work of protecting election systems from digital threats might soon have another task on their to-do list: reporting any cyber incidents to the federal government. That’s if election technology, designated critical infrastructure in 2017, falls under proposed rules requiring critical infrastructure owners and operators to notify federal officials about cyber incidents, such as attempted hacks and ransomware attacks. The idea has surfaced again in a recent Stanford Internet Observatory paper authored by a former high ranking election security official who offered recommendations for election administration reform, ranging from increased funding to centralizing election IT infrastructure at the state level. The proposals are consistent with multiple bills under consideration in Congress, where momentum is building to require operators of critical infrastructure — pipeline owners, electrical grids, and other industries key to U.S. interests — to disclose yet-to-be defined cyber “incidents” to the Department of Homeland Security, FBI or officials who can quickly respond to cyberattacks. It remains unclear whether the federal government could mandate that the roughly 10,000 election jurisdictions — ranging from small towns to counties to states — report cyber incidents. And if it could, questions abound about who should hold that responsibility at a time when partisan politics are testing trust in the electoral system.
National: Trump Campaign Knew Lawyers’ Dominion Claims Were Baseless, Memo Shows | Alan Feuer/The New York Times
Two weeks after the 2020 election, a team of lawyers closely allied with Donald J. Trump held a widely watched news conference at the Republican Party’s headquarters in Washington. At the event, they laid out a bizarre conspiracy theory claiming that a voting machine company had worked with an election software firm, the financier George Soros and Venezuela to steal the presidential contest from Mr. Trump. But there was a problem for the Trump team, according to court documents released on Monday evening. By the time the news conference occurred on Nov. 19, Mr. Trump’s campaign had already prepared an internal memo on many of the outlandish claims about the company, Dominion Voting Systems, and the separate software company, Smartmatic. The memo had determined that those allegations were untrue. The court papers, which were initially filed late last week as a motion in a defamation lawsuit brought against the campaign and others by a former Dominion employee, Eric Coomer, contain evidence that officials in the Trump campaign were aware early on that many of the claims against the companies were baseless. The documents also suggest that the campaign sat on its findings about Dominion even as Sidney Powell and other lawyers attacked the company in the conservative media and ultimately filed four federal lawsuits accusing it of a vast conspiracy to rig the election against Mr. Trump.
National: Biden administration expected to name GOP official who challenged Trump’s lies to key election security role | Sean Lyngaas/CNN
The Biden administration is expected to name Kim Wyman, a Republican secretary of state who challenged former President Donald Trump’s false claims of election fraud, to lead the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to protect future elections from foreign and domestic interference, multiple people familiar with the matter tell CNN. The move would put Wyman in a prominent role working with election officials across the country at a time when many members of her party have baselessly cast doubt on the integrity of elections. Federal officials have for weeks been in talks with Wyman, who is Washington state’s secretary of state, to serve as the election security lead for DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The sources said Wyman’s selection would not be official until all administrative paperwork is cleared with the White House and the administration announces her appointment. As a Republican secretary of state, Wyman repeatedly refuted Trump’s false assertions that mail-in ballots invite fraud. Trump’s proclamations, she said, were undermining US democracy. And in a May interview with CNN’s “New Day,” Wyman sharply criticized the sham “audit” of 2020 election results commissioned by Arizona Republicans.
National: Election Cybersecurity: Protecting Against Election Cyber Attacks | Phil Muncaster/Government Teechnology
Election cybersecurity is one of the hottest topics in the country today. It dominated both the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, and most likely will continue to do so until state and local governments can demonstrate that their voting infrastructure and solutions are as secure and tamper-proof as possible. When voters go to the polls, they might not realize the complex blend of components that power today’s democratic system. Secure these, and you stand a much better chance of mitigating the threat from external actors. Electronic voting is quicker, faster and more accurate than manual voting and counting by hand. But because intelligent systems can be used to gather data and communicate with other systems, they could be exposed to cyber threats. For example, potential vulnerabilities in the machines used to supply registration data might allow unauthorized individuals to manipulate voter information.
Arizona GOP Senate President Says Cyber Ninjas in Breach of Contract Following Audit | Daniel Villareal/Newsweek
Karen Fann, the Republican leader of the Arizona state Senate, has said that Cyber Ninjas, the private company commissioned to conduct an audit of Maricopa County’s election results, is now in “breach of contract” with the state for not providing audit-related documentation. In an October 26 letter to Cyber Ninjas and CEO Doug Logan, Fann said that she had previously sent Logan a September 14 letter. In that letter, Fann told the company to submit all its audit-related records to her in order to comply with a court order. Cyber Ninjas only provided 300 records, “an insubstantial percentage of all existing responsive records,” Fann wrote. “Accordingly, Cyber Ninjas’ inadequate response to my September 14 request places it in material breach of the (contract) as construed by the court,” her letter continued. “The Senate reserves its rights to pursue any and every applicable claim or reemit to enforce the agreement’s provisions.”
Colorado: Election disinformation has clerks trying new tactics to assure voters | Bente Birkeland/Colorado Public Radio
If you want to see the kind of disinformation clerks in Colorado are up against, it is on full display in the video Republican state lawmaker Ron Hanks made to announce his run for U.S. Senate. It opens with Hanks standing next to a truck bed that holds a rifle and a large printer bearing the label ‘Dominion Voting Machine.’ Most counties in Colorado use Dominion’s equipment and the Denver-based company is at the heart of false claims that it somehow rigged the 2020 election against Donald Trump. “As our next Senator, I’ll fight for our conservative values, and I’ll start by targeting our broken election system,” he tells viewers. Moments later he fires a shot that causes the machine to explode. While Colorado’s U.S. Senate election isn’t until 2022, Hanks recently asked his supporters to call his team if they find anything they believe is fraud during this year’s election. “There are multiple scenarios that could be revealed, and any evidence we gather will tighten the noose,” stated Hanks in the email. The whole thing has left Fremont County Clerk Justin Grantham frustrated. “I am his county clerk and recorder. And for him to spout out election fraud and not even come hear it from the trusted source,” said Grantham, a Republican.
Michigan voting machine missing after clerk stripped of election power | Jonathan Oosting/Bridge Michigan
Michigan State Police launched a criminal investigation Thursday after election equipment at the center of a voting tabulator conspiracy theory went missing this week in a rural, conservative community. Adams Township Clerk Stephanie Scott, a Republican whose social media has included QAnon memes, had refused to allow a vendor to conduct routine maintenance on a Hart Intercivic Inc. voting machine. Hillsdale County Clerk Marney Kast, a fellow Republican who the state tasked with running the local election instead of Scott, told Bridge Michigan her office attempted to retrieve the Adams Township equipment earlier this week but was unable to locate the tablet, which she described as the “brains” of the machine. “I don’t know where it’s at or if it’s been tampered with,” Kast said. Scott, the Adams Township clerk, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday from Bridge. In a rare move, the Michigan Bureau of Elections this week stripped Scott of her election administration authority, accusing the first-term clerk of refusing to fulfill her “legal responsibilities” and spreading misinformation about the tabulators used in Hillsdale County.
Mississippi: Hinds County election commissioner questions how contractor was chosen to deliver voting machines | Anthony Warren/WLBT
Correspondence obtained by WLBT shows that Hinds County hired a contractor to deliver voting machines for next week’s special election before the company submitted a bid for the work, and after a more experienced vendor’s bid had been rejected. The county recently selected Terry’s Installation to deliver voting machines, chairs, and tables to all 108 precincts for the November 2 special election. An email from District 5 Election Commissioner Shirley Varnado questions why the county chose the firm prior to it submitting a bid and prior to the company having the information needed so it could submit a bid. Meanwhile, a more experienced contractor’s bid was rejected the same day it was submitted, her email states. “It is blatantly obvious that improprieties are at play and every effort is being made to malign the work of the election commission,” she said. She and other commissioners have also questioned why a firm with no experience was chosen while the bid submitted by Kenneth Williams was turned down. In her letter, Varnado cites state statute, which requires the county to choose the “lowest and best bidder” for contracts. “The word ‘BEST’ clearly rules out Terry(’s) Installation, who voluntarily stated that they had never completed a task of this magnitude,” she wrote.
New Hampshire: Hampton selectman joins effort to remove voting machines | Patrick Cronin/Portsmouth Herald
Petitions are circulating to get rid of all electronic voting tabulation machines in Hampton and in other cities and towns in New Hampshire. Those pushing the petitions say their goal is to ensure “integrity” in future elections. Selectman Regina Barnes is behind the Hampton effort, saying it is being done in conjunction with the nonprofit political citizen group Marigold Coffee Club as part of its “Remove the Machines” campaign. “This is actually a statewide effort,” said Barnes, who is a team leader for the group in Hampton. “Marigold Coffee Club is doing it and in Hampton we are also doing a warrant article for Town Meeting.” Barnes went before the town’s Board of Selectmen last week requesting they call for a special Town Meeting to ask voters if they want to return to hand-counting paper ballots for all town, state and federal elections. The board voted 4-1 Monday against it citing they needed more information. Selectmen Chairman Rusty Bridle noted a citizen requested special Town Meeting would require a petition signed by 5% of registered voters while a regular March Town Meeting petition would require 25 resident signatures for a question to be placed on the ballot.
Pennsylvania GOP Commissioner Details Death Threats: ‘RINOs Stole Election, We Steal Lives’ | Aila Slisco/Newsweek
A Republican Pennsylvania election official has detailed death threats he received from supporters of former President Donald Trump after refusing to back the ex-president’s false claims about massive election fraud. Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt, the official responsible for overseeing the 2020 election in Pennsylvania’s biggest city, made the remarks while testifying at a Senate Rules and Administration Committee hearing on Tuesday. He said that supporters of the former president labeled him a “traitor” and a RINO, short for “Republican in name only,” for correctly counting the votes. “I am a Republican and I believe that counting votes in our democracy is a sacred responsibility,” Schmidt told the committee. “For doing my job, counting votes, I’d like to quickly share with you some of the messages sent to me and my family.” Schmidt then read a message that demanded he “tell the truth or your three kids will be fatally shot.” The threatening message also contained Schmidt’s home address, the names of each of his children and a picture of his house.
Tennessee: Inside Franklin election issue: Poll workers caught errors, secretary of state advised hand count | Brinley Hineman/The Tennessean
After a voting machine tabulator possibly miscounted the total number of votes cast in a Tennessee municipal election, the county election commission held a hand count to verify vote totals. Under 4,000 people voted Tuesday in the Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen race. A software issue may have led the Dominion voting machines to incorrectly calculate vote totals. Of the five races, four were won by significant margins and are likely to not be impacted by the hand count. The Ward 3 seat was won by only 25 votes. This was the first time the county has had issues with the voting machines, Election Administrator Chad Gray told The Tennessean. In his 21-year career as the election administrator, nothing like this has happened before. The hand count was performed by 40 people in groups of four spread out among 10 tables. The tables worked in pairs to hand count the ballots to ensure accuracy. Only about two dozen people attended the count — mostly candidates and their representatives. The hand count was quiet and calm with a few deputies present. Election officials expected the count to take late into the night. Conservatives have been suspicious of Dominion voting machines following the 2020 presidential election, when inaccurate claims surfaced that the company rigged the election and contributed to widespread voter fraud.
Virginia counties shift election procedures to head off conspiracy theorists | Zach Montellaro/Politico
Recent polls have the high-stakes Virginia governor’s race as a neck-and-neck contest between Terry McAuliffe and Glenn Youngkin — and that means it could take days to determine the winner. The vast majority of Virginia’s votes are expected to be counted on Election Day, and the state has made improvements to election laws earlier this year that will likely expedite the election night process — including some changes made, at least partially, to prevent conspiracy theories about the count from taking hold. But exceedingly close elections can take longer to resolve, including recounts. And in this case, Virginia law allows mail ballots postmarked by Election Day to be counted if they arrive by Nov. 5, three days later. Former President Donald Trump and some of his supporters have already begun warning of voter fraud and laying the groundwork to question the veracity of Virginia’s elections after undermining faith in the 2020 results with a series of baseless claims. “The Virginia governor’s election — you better watch it,” Trump said in an interview with John Fredericks, a popular conservative radio host in the state, in September. “You have a close race in Virginia, but it’s not close if they cheat.”
Virginia: Election-Rigging Claims Fuel Governor’s Race | Alexa Corse and Joshua Jamerson/Wall Street Journal
Former President Donald Trump’s push to relitigate the results of the 2020 election has become a focal point in the closely watched Virginia governor’s race between Republican Glenn Youngkin and Democrat Terry McAuliffe. With recent polls showing their race essentially tied, Mr. McAuliffe has made the issue a key plank of his case against Mr. Youngkin, tying the Republican nominee to the former president and his unsupported claims of widespread voter fraud. Mr. Trump’s claims helped spark the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. Mr. Youngkin has highlighted Democrats’ questioning of the results of the 2000 presidential race and the 2018 Georgia governor contest. Mr. Biden carried Virginia by 10 points last year, and the outcome was confirmed by a statewide audit. Audits and lawsuits across the country have turned up no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election. Mr. Trump has endorsed Mr. Youngkin, a former Carlyle Group Inc. executive and political newcomer. The former president has continued to focus on false claims of election fraud, and recently said that Republicans shouldn’t vote next year if his concerns aren’t addressed.
Wisconsin is ready to move on from the election. Why can’t Gableman? | Barry C. Burden and Trey Grayson/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
It’s been almost a year since the 2020 election, local elections are on the agenda this year and the 2022 midterms are right around the corner. And yet, bad-faith actors in Wisconsin can’t seem to focus on moving the state forward. They are stuck on the misunderstandings and falsehoods about the 2020 election. Some of these same unfounded suspicions led to a violent insurrection in our nation’s Capitol in January. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, State Rep. Janel Brandtjen and former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, all Republicans, have created an embarrassing, chaotic mess as they subject the state to a dangerous disinformation campaign that undermines the work of trusted election officials, is costing taxpayers at least $680,000, and casts doubt on the state’s history of free, fair and secure elections. Just as we — along with other leaders — have warned, Wisconsin is at risk of turning into a Cyber Ninjas-style mess. We’ve taken a close look at the trend of so-called 2020 election reviews popping up across the country. Make no mistake: They are a waste of time, energy and taxpayer money. And they leave our elections less secure and the public less rather than more confident in the election system. There’s a reason bipartisan leaders and election experts alike have alled out the dangers of this sort of “investigation.” As we outlined in a report this summer, the Cyber Ninjas operation in Arizona is not credible and suffered from an array of problems: lack of transparency, lack of impartiality, problematic contracting, faulty ballot review processes, unacceptable built-in error, insufficient security and false allegations. And now anti-democratic leaders in Wisconsin are driving the state down a similar, chaotic path.
National: How to Fight False Election Information and Other Problems | Jule Pattison-Gordon/Government Technology
With 2021 municipal races days away, former Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) director Chris Krebs discussed the challenges to retaining voter trust in the face of mis- and disinformation, during a Harvard Kennedy School event Thursday. Protecting election systems from cyber and physical attacks was only one battle within the election security war in 2020 — the other, more difficult conflict was defending mindsets against false narratives about what had taken place. “We spent three and a half years working on threat modeling, trying to figure out every possible disruption that could be launched against the election,” Krebs said. ”We were thinking through, ‘You know, it’s not the technical attacks that are keeping us up at night, because we think we’ve got a pretty resilient system with good indicators’ … It came down to the perception hack that we were most worried about.” … As fear spreads, it can quickly transform into real-world threats, with this summer’s ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline serving as a prime example, Krebs said. When the pipeline shut down, a panicked public made runs on gas supplies, accelerating shortages and exacerbating the problem.
Florida: ‘Tone down the rhetoric’: Elections officials tell politicians to chill out | Lawrence Mower/Tampa Bay Times
Florida’s elections supervisors have a message for elected officials: “Tone down the rhetoric.” In a plea to officials at “all levels of government,” the group representing the state’s Republican and Democratic county elections officials are asking them to denounce “false claims” surrounding last year’s election. “During and after the 2020 Presidential Election, the integrity of our democracy has been challenged by misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation that sows discord and undermines trust in America’s electoral process,” the memo states. “Many of us have been threatened by our fellow citizens who have been led astray by these deceptions. “Instead of standing idly by, we ask all candidates and elected officials to tone down the rhetoric and stand up for our democracy.” The memo was considered extraordinary for the Florida Supervisors of Elections, the organization representing the officials overseeing elections in the state’s 67 counties. Despite Florida’s turbulent history with elections, supervisors have largely stayed out of the limelight, even while Florida legislators were passing a contentious voting reform bill this year. Thursday’s memo is overdue, said Marion County Elections Supervisor Wesley Wilcox, president of the Florida Supervisors of Elections. “In hindsight, we probably should have done it 8 or 9 months ago,” Wilcox said. “But it needs to be done, just to protect the foundation of this democracy.”
National: Jan. 6 Protest Organizers Say They Participated in ‘Dozens’ of Planning Meetings With Members of Congress and White House Staff | Hunter Walker/Rolling Stone
As the House investigation into the Jan. 6 attack heats up, some of the planners of the pro-Trump rallies that took place in Washington, D.C., have begun communicating with congressional investigators and sharing new information about what happened when the former president’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. Two of these people have spoken to Rolling Stone extensively in recent weeks and detailed explosive allegations that multiple members of Congress were intimately involved in planning both Trump’s efforts to overturn his election loss and the Jan. 6 events that turned violent. Rolling Stone separately confirmed a third person involved in the main Jan. 6 rally in D.C. has communicated with the committee. This is the first report that the committee is hearing major new allegations from potential cooperating witnesses. While there have been prior indications that members of Congress were involved, this is also the first account detailing their purported role and its scope. The two sources also claim they interacted with members of Trump’s team, including former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who they describe as having had an opportunity to prevent the violence. The two sources, both of whom have been granted anonymity due to the ongoing investigation, describe participating in “dozens” of planning briefings ahead of that day when Trump supporters broke into the Capitol as his election loss to President Joe Biden was being certified. “I remember Marjorie Taylor Greene specifically,” the organizer says. “I remember talking to probably close to a dozen other members at one point or another or their staffs.”
Republicans have succeeded this year in passing a range of voting restrictions in states they control politically, from Georgia to Iowa to Texas. They’re not stopping there. Republicans in at least four states where Democrats control the governor’s office, the legislature or both — California, Massachusetts, Michigan and Pennsylvania — are pursuing statewide ballot initiatives or veto-proof proposals to enact voter ID restrictions and other changes to election law. In another state, Nebraska, Republicans control the governor’s office and have a majority in the single-house legislature, but are pushing a voter ID ballot measure because they have been unable to get enough lawmakers on board. Republicans say they are pursuing the changes in the name of “election integrity,” and repeat similar slogans — “easier to vote, harder to cheat.” Democrats dismiss it as the GOP following former President Donald Trump’s false claims that widespread fraud cost him the election. They say Republicans have tried to whip up distrust in elections for political gain and are passing restrictions designed to keep Democratic-leaning voters from registering or casting a ballot. “It’s depressing that this is the way that (the Trump) wing of the Republican Party thinks they have to win, instead of trying to win on issues or beliefs,” said Gus Bickford, the Democratic Party chairman in Massachusetts. “They just want to suppress the vote.”
National: Democrats weigh changes in filibuster to pass voting rights legislation after GOP opposition | Matthew Brown/USA Today
After another failed vote to advance voting rights legislation last week, Democratic lawmakers are debating the merits changes in the filibuster rule that many in the party see as essential. “The most important vote right now in the Congress of the United States is the vote to respect the sanctity of the vote, the fundamental basis of our democracy,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “If there were one vote that the filibuster could enable to go forward, that would be the vote,” Pelosi said. In a CNN town hall Thursday, President Joe Biden said: “I also think we’re going to have to move to the point where we fundamentally alter the filibuster. The idea, for example, my Republican friends say that we’re going to default on the national debt because they’re going to filibuster that and we need 10 Republicans to support us is the most bizarre thing I ever heard.” The shift in attitude toward the rule comes after Senate Republicans filibustered the Freedom to Vote Act, a pared-back voting rights package pushed by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who aggressively courted Republican votes for the bill. The failed vote was the third voting rights package filibustered by Republicans this year.
Alabama: MyPillow’s Mike Lindell again questions election: Secretary of State says state ‘didn’t have any issues’ | William Thornton/AL.com
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill on Friday once again swatted away suggestions by MyPillow founder and CEO Mike Lindell that hundreds of thousands of votes were flipped from Donald Trump to Joe Biden during the 2020 presidential election in Alabama. “The thing we have maintained is that we didn’t have any issues, any irregularities, any inconsistences, any probing, any concerns that was introduced at any level to us,” Merrill said by telephone Friday. Last month, Lindell said in a video that while Alabama is a “role model as to how elections should go,” its voting system was “hacked…just like every other state,” possibly by accessing machines remotely through Bluetooth technology. Lindell did not offer any evidence of his claims in the video or provide details on who he thought was involved. He said at that time that 100,000 votes were changed in the state and “every single county was affected.” Donald Trump garnered 1.4 million votes in Alabama, compared to more than 849,000 for Joe Biden last November. At that time, Merrill said what Lindell was alleging was not possible.
Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward Pushes for Election Audits in Each of State’s 15 Counties | Andrew Stanton/Newsweek
Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward is calling for election audits in every county in the state, even after an audit of Maricopa County upheld the results of the 2020 presidential election. Some Republicans have insisted that former President Donald Trump lost the 2020 presidential election due to widespread voter fraud in battleground states like Arizona, even though no substantive evidence has been presented to support the allegations. Audits have also been called in several other states over such unproven claims. In a new video entitled “Special Update,” Ward claims an analysis of election results in Pima County found inconsistencies. Pima is the state’s second-largest county and home to Tucson, a Democratic stronghold. Ward said there should be an audit of not only Pima County but every county in the state. “I’ve been asking for full audits of all 15 of Arizona’s counties,” she said. “We the people will not back down. We will not waver.” The push for more audits comes days after Trump also called for a review in Pima County. In a statement released October 15, the former president claimed that an analysis of mail-in ballots indicates there were “fictitious votes” cast in the county.
Peters’ attorneys Wednesday, letting stand a district court ruling that bars her and Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley from overseeing this fall’s elections. In a terse order, the court said it would not accept jurisdiction in the matter. The appeal, filed by Peters’ attorney Scott Gessler, tried to argue that neither the Colorado statutes nor existing case law gave District Judge Valerie Robison the authority to approved the replacement of Peters as the county’s designated election official, saying that would be an unprecedented move that could open the door for future secretaries of state to do the same for clerks they don’t like. Robison ruled last week after the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office filed a lawsuit temporarily prohibiting Peters and Knisley from overseeing the election while local, state and federal investigations into allegations the two, and others, breached election security protocols.
Florida’s 67 election supervisors urge voters to reject election falsehoods, audits | National | Steven Lemongello/Orlando Sentinel
Florida’s 67 county elections supervisors wrote a letter to voters Monday urging them to reject falsehoods about the 2020 election and reaffirming the integrity of the state’s voting system. The plea, issued by the Florida Supervisors of Elections, comes after GOP county committees in Lake and Brevard counties called for an Arizona-style “forensic audit” spurred by former President Donald Trump’s false claims of election fraud. It was sent days after the supervisors, headed by Marion County election head Wesley Wilcox, issued a statement to Florida’s elected officials and candidates urging them to tamp down the rhetoric. “The strength of our nation rests on the ability that ‘We the People’ have a voice in its governance and are confident in the integrity of our elections,” Monday’s letter states. “In this hour, public trust in our elections is being systematically undermined, to the detriment of all Americans.” The letter says before and after the 2020 presidential election, “the integrity of our democracy has been challenged by misinformation, disinformation and malinformation that sows discord and undermines trust in America’s electoral process.”