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

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