North Carolina: Absentee ballots continue to narrow margins in uncalled elections | Danielle Battaglia/Raleigh News & Observer

North Carolina voters are waiting for six statewideraces to be called as elections officials meet to poreover absentee ballots. Boards of elections in all 100 counties will collect ballots with a Nov. 3 postmark through 5 p.m. Thursday. Then the boards will meet to finalize North Carolina’s election results. There are 27,500 absentee ballots that have been accepted by county boards after Election Day and 23,091 provisional ballots that haven’t been disqualified whichcould ultimately be counted toward the results, the state Board of Elections said in a written statement Tuesday afternoon. As boards continue to count the absentee ballots, the margins have narrowed between candidates in many of the uncalled races. As of Tuesday there were about 93,000 outstanding absentee ballots. Many of those ballots won’t be returned, and some might not be counted. Election Day was Nov. 3, but the margins between some candidates were too close for a winner to be declared.

Full Article: Absentee ballots continue to narrow margins in uncalled NC elections | Danielle Battaglia/Raleigh News & Observer

Pennsylvania: Postal worker admits fabricating ballot tampering claims, officials say | Shawn Boburg and Jacob Bogage/The Washington Post

A Pennsylvania postal worker whose claims have been cited by top Republicans as potential evidence of widespread voting irregularities admitted to U.S. Postal Service investigators that he fabricated the allegations, according to three officials briefed on the investigation and a statement from a House congressional committee. Richard Hopkins’s claim that a postmaster in Erie, Pa., instructed postal workers to backdate ballots mailed after Election Day was cited by Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) in a letter to the Justice Department calling for a federal investigation. Attorney General William P. Barr subsequently authorized federal prosecutors to open probes into credible allegations of voting irregularities and fraud before results are certified, a reversal of long-standing Justice Department policy. But on Monday, Hopkins, 32, told investigators from the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General that the allegations were not true, and he signed an affidavit recanting his claims, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe an ongoing investigation. Democrats on the House Oversight Committee tweeted late Tuesday that the “whistleblower completely RECANTED.”

Full Article: Postal worker admits fabricating Pennsylvania ballot tampering claims, officials say – The Washington Post

North Carolina continues counting mail-in votes as some races hang in the balance | Brian Gordon/USA Today

North Carolina election officials continue to count mail-in votes as the state begins its final week of tabulating the 2020 Election. According to the N.C. State Board of Elections, seven county boards, including Buncombe, on Nov. 9 were scheduled to consider and potentially approve at least 3,200 mail-in ballots. These are ballots county boards received after Election Day but were postmarked by Nov. 3. North Carolina will continue accepting properly postmarked mail-in ballots until Nov. 12. On Nov. 6, 10 county boards approved 4,750 mail-in ballots. These votes favored Democratic candidates, with around 65% supporting President-elect Joe Biden to 35% supporting President Donald Trump. These votes also helped Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Cal Cunningham narrow the gap with incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, though Cunningham still trails by more than 95,700 votes. Democrats were much more likely to vote by mail this election, both across the state and the country, as different campaigns emphasized and deterred voting by mail.

Full Article: NC mail-in voting count continues for Trump, Biden, Cunningham, Tillis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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: 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

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

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

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 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

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: 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

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

Nevada Supreme Court rejects Trump campaign emergency request to limit mail ballot counting in Clark County | Riley Snyder/Nevada Independent

The Nevada Supreme Court has denied an emergency request by President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign and the state Republican Party to immediately order Clark County election officials to stop processing mail ballots. The appeal, filed Tuesday in the state Supreme Court, was a last-minute request for the state’s highest court to block Clark County’s mail ballot process. Carson City District Court Judge James Wilson on Monday issued an order flatly rejecting all of the requests to modify the county’s mail ballot processing plan as lacking standing to warrant last-minute judicial intervention in the state’s election process. The order, signed by all seven members of the court, stated that the appeal failed to demonstrate a “sufficient likelihood of success to merit a stay or injunction” and that the request failed to identify any “mandatory statutory duty” or “manifest abuse of discretion” that would warrant judicial intervention at this point on Election Day. “Appellants motion, on its face, does not identify any mandatory statutory duty that respondents appear to have ignored,” Justice Kristina Pickering wrote in the order. “Further, appellants fail to address the district court’s conclusion that they lack standing to pursue this relief.” The order did set an expedited briefing schedule, with the Trump campaign and state Republican Party given until Thursday to file a formal brief and the defendants given until Monday, Nov. 9, to file a response.

Full Article: Nevada Supreme Court rejects Trump campaign emergency request to limit mail ballot counting in Clark County

Pennsylvania: GOP Sues To Throw Out Corrected Mail-In Ballots | Alison Durkee/Forbes

A Republican congressional candidate in Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday against election officials in Montgomery County over officials’ decision to let voters correct their mail-in ballots if they have obvious deficiencies, asking the court to throw out the “cured” ballots and potentially threatening mail-in ballots in an essential battleground state. Kathy Barnette, who’s running to represent Pennsylvania’s 4th Congressional District in the House, and voter Clay D. Breece allege that Montgomery County officials’ decision to inspect sealed ballots for any obvious defects—like “naked ballots” that lack a secrecy envelope or not signing the outside of the envelope—ahead of Election Day violates Pennsylvania’s ban on processing and counting ballots before 7:00 a.m. on Election Day. Pennsylvania left it up to counties to determine how or if to contact voters to correct their mail-in ballots, which the Philadelphia Inquirer previously reported resulted in a “patchwork of policies” across the state regarding how and whether voters will be contacted to correct their ballots.

Full Article: GOP Sues To Throw Out Corrected Mail-In Ballots In Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania: Republicans seek to sideline mail-in ballots that voters were allowed to fix |

Inside the spacious exhibition center at the York Fairgrounds, dozens of county employees on Tuesday sorted through thousands of mail ballots in the lead-up to the close of polls. If they came across “naked ballots,” or ballots that lacked a secrecy envelope, they alerted the political parties. The parties could then contact voters, tell them there was a problem, and urge them to fix it. But in neighboring Dauphin and Lancaster Counties, voters who mailed in naked ballots, or made some other error, will never get the chance to fix them, because officials there believe the law does not allow them to do anything but reject ballots that contain mistakes. As Pennsylvania’s 67 counties began the painstaking process of processing and counting more than 2.5 million mail ballots, whether or not voters were given a chance to fix errors and ensure their votes were counted depended largely on where they lived. That inconsistency is now at the heart of an eleventh-hour lawsuit filed Tuesday by a group of Republican candidates and voters seeking for counties to set aside any ballots that voters were allowed to fix.

Full Article: Republicans seek to sideline Pa. mail-in ballots that voters were allowed to fix –

Wisconsin: Influx of absentee ballots means election results won’t come early | Local Government | Briana Reilly/The Cap Times

Four years ago, the Associated Press didn’t call a winner in the presidential contest in Wisconsin until well after midnight, a determination that led the news agency to declare Republican Donald Trump as the president-elect. This time, with more than 1.8 million absentee ballots cast and COVID-19 cases surging in this key battleground state, all bets are off as to when Wisconsin and broader U.S. will know whether Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden is victorious.Because so many are voting by absentee ballot this fall, election workers will face longer-than-normal processing times as they move to accurately count votes throughout the day Tuesday — work that, by state law, can’t start until 7 a.m., when polls open.Wisconsin is one of just four states that can’t begin processing ballots until Tuesday, according to a New York Times roundup. While there was some bipartisan support for changing that law or making other adjustments, nothing was enacted, making it unlikely that unofficial statewide results will be known here Tuesday. Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe predicted observers will have to wait until Wednesday for an indication of the state’s unofficial election results. “It doesn’t mean something went wrong — it means election officials are doing their jobs and making sure every legitimate ballot gets counted,” she said in a statement Monday.

Full Article: Don’t wait up: Influx of absentee ballots means Wisconsin election results won’t come early | Local Government |

November Surprise: Fewer Ballots Rejected by Election Officials | Michael Wines/The New York Times

With absentee ballots flooding election offices nationwide, the officials processing them are tentatively reporting some surprising news: The share of ballots being rejected because of flawed signatures and other errors appears lower — sometimes much lower — than in the past. Should that trend hold, it could prove significant in an election in which the bulk of absentee voters has been Democratic, and Republicans have fought furiously, in court and on the stump, to discard mail ballots as fraudulent. In Fulton County, Ga., home to Atlanta, just 278 of the first 60,000-odd ballots processed had been held back. In Minneapolis, Hennepin County officials last week had rejected only 2,080 of 325,000 ballots — and sent replacement ballots to all of those voters. In Burlington, Iowa, the number of rejected ballots on Monday was 28 of 12,310. And of 474,000 absentee ballots received in Kentucky, barely 1,300 rejects remain uncorrected by voters, compared to more than 15,000 during the state’s presidential primary in June. The number of rejections could fall further. In those jurisdictions and many others, voters are notified of errors on ballots and can correct their mistakes, or vote in person instead. There is no shortage of caveats to those and other upbeat reports from state and local election officials, which are far from comprehensive. In some states, including battlegrounds like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, regulations prevent early processing of millions of mail ballots, and it is impossible to know how many will be turned down.

Full Article: Fewer Ballots Rejected by Election Officials This Election – The New York Times

National: Millions of Votes Are in Postal Workers’ Hands. Here Is Their Story. | Photographs by Philip Montgomery, Text by Vauhini Vara/The New York Times

On the eve of the election, more than 90 million voters have been sent absentee or mail ballots, and 60 million of them have already been returned. In Florida — a swing state with many aging residents, who are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 — six million people requested mail ballots, and more than 4.6 million have sent them back. For postal workers there, shepherding the votes is the latest challenge in an already exhausting year. In the spring, as the coronavirus spread, letter carriers began hauling bulky deliveries of toilet paper and bottled water. Then came the quarantines. A worker’s husband or son would test positive, and she would be out of commission. This summer, under the newly installed postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, the agency moved to curtail overtime and get rid of sorting equipment, desisting only after a public outcry and accusations of political motivation. Then the election onslaught arrived.

Full Article: Millions of Votes Are in Postal Workers’ Hands. Here Is Their Story. – The New York Times