President Trump warned us this past week: He will not pledge to accept the results of the 2020 presidential election. We should pause to examine the magnitude of this blatant violation of our democratic norms. The head of the executive branch, sworn to uphold the Constitution, which enshrines the process for electing the president and provides for the peaceful transition of power, effectively tells us, Maybe I’ll go along with the results. Maybe not. His comments have not been sufficiently condemned. Trump has already begun to cast doubt on an election that every public national poll and virtually every poll for critical swing states say he is losing, and losing badly. He has repeated the falsehood that voting by mail, which will be used more widely this year than in any previous election in U.S. history, is subject to fraud. The Post’s fact-checking team has repeatedly debunked this assertion. Salvador Rizzo recently explained:
Documented instances of voter fraud are exceedingly rare in the United States, the odds being lower than those of being struck by lightning, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. More than 250 million votes have been cast via mail ballots since 2000, according to the Vote at Home Institute. In 2018, more than 31 million Americans voted by mail, representing one-quarter of election participants. Five states — Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington — use mail ballots as the primary method of voting.
The percentage of ballots that are even potentially cast fraudulently, rather than as the result of errors, each year is minuscule. As Elise Viebeck explains, “A Washington Post analysis of data collected by three vote-by-mail states with help from the nonprofit Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) found that officials identified 372 possible cases of double voting or voting on behalf of deceased people out of about 14.6 million votes cast by mail in the 2016 and 2018 general elections, or 0.0025 percent.”
Florida: Lawyer says ex-Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin illegally voted in Florida, asks Aramis Ayala to pursue charges | Katie Rice/Orlando Sentinel
A man running for election supervisor in Pinellas County is asking Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala pursue charges against Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis ex-cop accused of killing George Floyd, alleging he voted illegally in two Florida elections. Dan Helm, a Democrat and attorney, sent Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala a letter notifying her of Chauvin’s voting record. “While living in Minnesota, working there, paying taxes there, Derek Chauvin cannot claim residency in Orange County. His home, residency and where he intends to live is in Minnesota, not Florida,” Helm wrote. His letter cites the Florida statute prohibiting false swearing and the submission of false voter registration information, adding that violation of the statute is a third-degree felony. “I encourage you to hold people accountable for their actions, especially breaking the laws of our state,” Helm wrote.
State law-enforcement officials found “no evidence of fraudulent intent” by the Florida Democratic Party after more than a yearlong investigation into alleged vote-by-mail fraud, records show. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement on Wednesday released records tied to an investigation into Democratic Party members altering election forms at the tail end of the 2018 election cycle, which was dominated by three statewide recounts. Investigators found “no evidence of fraudulent intent to use the altered forms” on April 20 and handed the case over to the Florida Office of Statewide Prosecution to determine if there was enough evidence and information to file charges. “It is closed now, so prosecutors have determined no charges,” Jessica Cary, a spokeswoman for FDLE, wrote in an email Wednesday to The News Service of Florida. Florida Statewide Prosecutor Nick Cox said Wednesday there was a “lack of sufficient evidence to support prosecution” in the case.
North Carolina: Voter-fraud investigation in North Carolina focuses on immigrants | The Washington Post
At about 4 a.m. on Aug. 23, federal agents rousted Jose Solano-Rodriguez from his bed in the suburbs of Raleigh. A couple of hours later, three agents knocked on Hyo Suk George’s door as she fed her rabbits and chickens in rural Columbus County. Jose Ramiro-Torres was at his job at a fencing company near the Outer Banks when his girlfriend called to tell him to come home, where federal agents were waiting. In all, 20 immigrants – two still in pajamas – were rounded up over several days, many of them handcuffed and shackled, and charged with voting illegally in the 2016 presidential election. The sweep across eastern North Carolina was one of the most aggressive voting-fraud crackdowns by a Trump-appointed prosecutor – and also a deliberate choice that demonstrates where the administration’s priorities stand. At the time of the arrests, an organized ballot-tampering effort that state officials had repeatedly warned about was allegedly gearing up in the same part of North Carolina. The operation burst into public view after Election Day in November, when the state elections board, citing irregularities in the mail-in vote, refused to certify the results of the 9th Congressional District race. That seat remains unfilled while state officials investigate.
Texas: A Woman Who Voted With A Green Card Was Sentenced To 8 Years In Prison — And A Court Upheld It | Bustle
On Wednesday, an appeals court upheld a voter fraud conviction against a Texas woman who voted with a green card. Rosa Maria Ortega was originally convicted in 2017, despite the fact that she claimed she had no idea her green card didn’t provide her voting rights. Now, Ortega, a mother of four, has been sentenced to a jail time of eight years, as well as likely deportation. According to NBC News, Ortega voted five times from 2004-2014, and served as a poll worker; she even voted for the attorney general who is now prosecuting her, a man named Ken Paxton. Ortega’s attorney told The Washington Post in 2017, “She’s got this [green] card that says ‘resident’ on it, so she doesn’t mark that she’s not a citizen. She had no ulterior motive beyond what she thought, mistakenly, was her civic duty.” In a statement in 2017, when Ortega was first convicted, Paxton said, “This case shows how serious Texas is about keeping its elections secure, and the outcome sends a message that violators of the state’s election law will be prosecuted to the fullest.” He added, “Safeguarding the integrity of our elections is essential to preserving our democracy.”
President Donald Trump and Republicans in Arizona and nationally are stoking claims of deliberate election fraud in the state’s U.S. Senate race as Martha McSally and Kyrsten Sinema await results of a vote that could swing in either’s favor. The tight race has left Republicans in jeopardy of losing a Senate seat in the state for the first time in 30 years. Though McSally held a lead in early-vote totals, the tally flipped in Sinema’s favor Thursday night. Updated results Friday evening kept Sinema with a 20,000-plus advantage, but an estimated 360,000 ballots remain to be counted. No group has brought forward allegations of specific criminal activity, although one Republican lawsuit addressed an equity issue over how early-ballot signatures are verified. … Amy Chan, former state elections director under Republican Secretary of State Ken Bennett, tweeted, “Unfounded allegations of voter fraud are totally irresponsible and should rightly be condemned because they shake voter confidence & can affect future participation. Voter fraud in my experience is almost nonexistent.”
Gov. Rick Scott asked state law enforcement to investigate Broward County election officials because of potential “rampant [voter] fraud,” even though monitors from his own administration say they have seen none in that county. “Our staff has seen no evidence of criminal activity at this time,” Department of State spokeswoman Sarah Revell wrote in an email on Saturday. Scott is the state’s current governor and the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate with a narrow lead over incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) That assessment, which was first reported by the Miami Herald, jives with that given by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which said Friday it has also seen no allegations of fraud.
California: Voter fraud conviction inspires bill loosening oversight of lawmaker residency | The Sacramento Bee
Four years ago, Rod Wright resigned from the California Senate and served 71 minutes in jail after being convicted of eight felonies, including perjury and voter fraud, for living outside the district where he ran for office. Wright argued that he had done everything necessary to establish as his legal “domicile” an Inglewood home that he owned and where he registered to vote. But using photos of another house in the upscale neighborhood of Baldwin Hills, with his Maserati parked in front and closets full of his clothes, Los Angeles County prosecutors convinced a jury that Wright actually lived several miles away. The conviction upset many of Wright’s colleagues, who point out that the definition of a “domicile,” which establishes the eligibility of someone to run for a particular legislative seat, does not include the word “live” anywhere in it: “that place in which his or her habitation is fixed, wherein the person has the intention of remaining, and to which, whenever he or she is absent, the person has the intention of returning.”
The 43-year-old Texas woman who was sentenced to five years in prison last month for filling out a provisional ballot while she was still on supervised released for a felony tax fraud conviction has requested a new trial. Crystal Mason and her attorney, Alison Grinter, filed a motion for a new trial in Tarrant County, Texas on Wednesday, arguing that not only did Mason not actually vote — her provisional ballot was rejected — in the 2016 presidential election, she may have been eligible to vote in the state of Texas, Grinter told TPM Wednesday. According to the motion shared with TPM, in the state of Texas it is legal for a person to vote if they have a state felony conviction, but only if they are out prison, are off probation and off parole or supervision. When Mason cast her provisional ballot — which she filled out with an election official because her name was not on the voter roll — she was on federal supervised release, which is a period of interaction with federal authorities that is tacked on to the end of every federal prison sentence.
Editorials: Judge deserved more than probation after trying to rig election | Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Former Justice of the Peace Russ Casey walked out of a Tarrant County courthouse this week with a gift: He got a five-year, probated sentence after consciously trying to manipulate the electoral process. Casey’s plea deal looks even sweeter when compared to two other election fraud cases recently prosecuted by the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office. In those two cases confused — or at the very least misguided — women got prison sentences for voting violations. Forcing Casey to surrender his office — and his $126,000 salary — may be seen as a just penalty. It’s not enough. This Editorial Board thinks prosecutors and the public need to ask themselves if the scales of justice are out of balance. It offends our sense of fair play to see this kind of inequality. In the one case where an election was in real jeopardy, the guilty guy skates.
A federal judge Friday cleared Broward Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes in a lawsuit that accused her office of facilitating voter fraud. U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom concluded that Snipes had a program in place “that makes a reasonable effort to remove the names of ineligible voters from the official lists of eligible voters by reason of death or change of address.”Bloom said the American Civil Rights Union, which filed suit against Snipes because of the potential for voter fraud, had not proven that the Broward elections office violated the National Voting Rights Act.
The former chairman of the Colorado Republican Party was sentenced to four years of probation and 300 hours of community service for voter fraud. Steve Curtis blamed a “major diabetic episode” for causing him to vote his ex-wife’s absentee ballot in October 2016. Curtis, 57, told District Judge Julie Hoskins Friday it was “a customary thing” for him to fill out his wife’s ballot and he didn’t know it was illegal, but he said he didn’t remember doing it. In October of 2016, Kelly Curtis called the Weld County Clerk and Recorder’s Office to obtain her mail-in ballot. She was told she had already voted, CBS Denver reports.
Less than a day after President Donald Trump dismantled his voter fraud commission, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has filed criminal charges against two people he says voted illegally in the 2016 election. Kobach, a candidate for Kansas governor who had served as the commission’s vice chair, obtained prosecutorial power in 2015 and is the only secretary of state in the nation with such authority. He has filed charges against 15 people since then for a variety of election crimes, resulting in nine convictions or plea deals and one dismissal. The remaining five cases, including the charges announced Thursday, remain pending. Most of those cases have involved U.S. citizens who have allegedly voted in more than one jurisdiction rather than non-citizens, despite Kobach’s claims that hundreds of non-citizens are on the voter rolls.
At the risk of being lost down a rabbit hole and subject to endless trolling, I just have to weigh in on the so-called evidence of vote fraud that was contained in Roy Moore’s court filing, in which he tried to get a delay in having the vote certified. (The reason I decided to plow ahead is that Moore’s filing points out an interesting pattern in the precinct returns — it’s just that it’s not evidence of vote fraud.) There are a lot of claims made in Moore’s filing, and I don’t pretend to have time to take them all on. The one that has the look of seriousness is based on some number crunching by Philip Evans, an electrical engineer from South Carolina who has taken a look at the precinct-level election returns from Jefferson County (Birmingham) and declared them to be impossibly skewed — or, as Mr. Evans puts it, based on analyzing more than one hundred elections, “never has there been the level of statistical proof on the scale of Jefferson County” that the results were fabricated.
Defeated U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore on Thursday pleaded for donations to help him investigate potential election fraud, the same day Alabama officials said they investigated but found nothing improper regarding a TV interview that had raised suspicions. Democrat Doug Jones defeated Moore, a Republican, on Dec. 12 to become the first Democrat elected to the Senate from Alabama in a quarter-century. Moore was beset by accusations of sexual misconduct involving teenage girls. He has denied the allegations. During the live, election-night TV broadcast, a man supporting Jones made a comment that some of Moore’s supporters pointed to as evidence of out-of-state voters taking part in Alabama’s election.
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill says he is investigating concerns of voter fraud in last week’s Senate special election, even though he has publicly said there is no evidence of it. Merrill, a Republican, told Fox10 Monday he was investigating a viral clip of a Doug Jones supporter on election night. In a spontaneous interview in the moments after the race was announced for Jones, the supporter spoke about getting people out to vote. “We came here all the way from different parts of the country as part of our fellowship and all of us pitched in to vote and canvas together and we got our boy elected,” the supporter, who is not identified, says.
Colorado: Former GOP chairman found guilty of voter fraud and forgery for signing ex-wife’s ballot | The Denver Post
Steve Curtis, a former chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, faces up to three years in prison after being convicted Thursday of voter fraud and forgery for signing his ex-wife’s ballot during the 2016 election, prosecutors say. The 58-year-old, who also was a KLZ radio host, was charged in February after authorities say DNA evidence and handwriting analysis linked him to the ballot of his ex, Kelly Curtis. The Weld County District Attorney’s Office says court testimony during Curtis’ trial revealed that Kelly Curtis had moved to Charleston, S.C., in December 2015. When she called the county’s clerk and recorder to get her mail-in ballot, she was told she had already voted.
Colorado: Former GOP Chair Who Admits Casting His Ex-Wife’s Absentee Ballot Says He Doesn’t Remember | Greeley Tribune
By his own admission on the witness stand Wednesday afternoon, October 2016 was a rough month for former Colorado Republican Party Chairman Steve Curtis. It was the month during which he is accused of committing voter fraud and forgery, after he filled out his ex-wife’s ballot and mailed it in. She had recently moved out of their Firestone home, and, at that time, she lived in Charleston, S.C. If convicted, he faces up to three years in prison. Yet, Curtis said in court Wednesday, though he concluded he must have filled out the ballot and submitted it in an envelope with his ex-wife’s name on it, he had no memory of the incident for months. That’s because, he said, he was in the grips of a severe diabetic episode at the time. He’s lived with Type 1 diabetes for almost 30 years, he said, and it is a very debilitating condition. He has difficulty concentrating, he said, and difficulty sleeping. If he gets more than 90 minutes of sleep at one time in a night, he said, it’s a “miracle.”
Colorado: Former GOP chairman accused of voter fraud blames diabetic episode in Weld District Court | Greeley Tribune
In the first day of testimony in Weld District Court on Tuesday, a former Colorado Republican Party chairman accused of committing voter fraud blamed a diabetic blackout for his filling out his ex-wife’s ballot during the 2016 election. Steve Curtis, 57, who from 1997-99 served as chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, is charged with one count of voter fraud and one count of forgery after prosecutors say he filled out and mailed in the ballot of his ex-wife, Kelly Curtis, from his Firestone home in fall 2016. After a day of jury selection Monday, attorneys delivered their opening arguments in his trial at about 11 a.m. Tuesday, during which Curtis’ attorney, Christopher Gregory, told the jury Curtis has lived with Type 1 diabetes for about 30 years and he was prone to serious diabetic episodes. “He has a notoriously bad history of monitoring and controlling his blood sugar,” Gregory said.
Just weeks before the 2016 presidential election, Steve Curtis told his radio listeners “Virtually every case of voter fraud, that I can remember in my lifetime was committed by Democrats or do I not have the facts?” Now Curtis, the chairman of Colorado’s Republican party in the late 1990’s and a former talk show host for KLZ-560 AM, is on trial in a Weld County Courtroom, charged with forgery, a felony and election fraud, a misdemeanor. The 58-year-old is accused of forging his ex-wife’s signature on her 2016 mail-in ballot after the couple divorced and she moved to South Carolina. Kelly Curtis has been subpoenaed to testify. She spoke with the Problem Solvers back in March of 2017, when Fox 31 first broke the story of ex-husband’s arrest. “To me it was demeaning and presumptuous and I had no idea what would go on in someone`s mind to cast my ballot for me illegally,” said Kelly.
Montana’s secretary of state said Tuesday that he’s looked into whether there was election fraud during this May’s special election and hasn’t seen any evidence showing a coordinated effort to cast mismatched, or illegal, signatures on ballots. Secretary of State Corey Stapleton raised the issue of potential voter fraud in August. At a meeting with state lawmakers, he said that just because it hasn’t happened in Montana before doesn’t mean it’s not happening now. But in a Tuesday afternoon phone conference with clerks, Stapleton said that after examining results from a survey of illegal ballots from the May 25 special election, he now believes Montana has a healthy election system that could use some improvement.
Voting rights and potential fraud remain politically charged issues in New Hampshire, but the state’s new elections investigator said he’s ignoring the partisan divide and focusing on his job. The hiring of Orville “Bud” Fitch by the secretary of state’s office comes as Republican lawmakers have increasingly sought to tighten voter registration and other election laws. The Republican-led Legislature included the new investigator position to enforce election laws in the state budget, and it passed legislation requiring the secretary of state’s office to look into cases in which address verification letters sent to voters are returned by the postal service as undeliverable. Fitch said he was confident in his ability to get the job done and “to provide professional and thorough work.”
Ohio: Grand jury rejects charges against 17 identified in Jon Husted’s illegal voting probe | Cleveland Plain Dealer
A grand jury voted not to charge 17 Cuyahoga County residents who were among dozens of non-U.S. citizens identified by Ohio Sec. of State Jon Husted’s office as illegally voting or registering to vote in past elections. The grand jury voted late Tuesday not to hand up false voter registration charges against 16 people, and not to charge a 17th person with illegal voting, according to court documents made public Wednesday. The dates of offenses listed in court records date back to September 1996. Voter fraud cases can be hard to bring because investigators must show the voter knew they were not allowed to register to vote or cast a ballot.
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said he’s received reports from several voting locations where Alabamians who voted in the Aug. 15 Democratic primary were attempting to cast ballots in Tuesday’s GOP runoff. According to Alabama state law, that’s considered voter fraud and is illegal. State residents are prohibited to vote in one party’s primary and later voting in the other party’s runoff election. The process, deemed “crossover voting,” was made illegal earlier this year in an attempt to limit cross-party candidate selection as Alabamians are not required to register to a specific party to vote, but may only vote in one party’s primary.
As President Trump’s voter integrity commission looks under rocks for possible voter malfeasance, its members might want to examine a presidential nominee awaiting confirmation by the Senate Finance Committee. Documents indicate that Jeffrey Gerrish, the president’s pick to be a deputy United States Trade Representative, moved from Virginia to Maryland last year, but opted in November to vote in the more competitive state of Virginia than his bright blue new home. The Senate Finance Committee, which has been considering Mr. Gerrish’s nomination, was briefed on the matter on Tuesday, including the fact that Mr. Gerrish had almost certainly voted illegally, according to three Democratic congressional aides familiar with the briefing. Public records back up that notion.
During the 2016 election cycle, Donald Trump infamously sought to cast doubt on the integrity of voting systems by arguing that if he lost his supporters should interpret the defeat as proof of a rigged election. He even said he wouldn’t concede unless he won. After his surprising victory, Trump argued that as many as 5 million votes cast illegally during the 2016 presidential election cost him the popular vote. Numerous fact checkers have judged the statement to be false, and the country’s secretaries of state have certified their elections and found no evidence of widespread wrongdoing, but questions about voter fraud persist. No doubt, such questions will live on for some time, and they will do so even if Trump’s commission on voter fraud doesn’t find the massive wrongdoing the president is looking for. Against this worrisome backdrop, it’s good news to read that a recent study by Colorado’s secretary of state, Wayne Williams, in conjunction with counterparts in four other states, found scant evidence of fraud.
Secretary of State Dennis Richardson announced last week that his office has uncovered 54 instances of what could be voter fraud during Oregon’s November 2016 election. The announcement comes at a time when the nation still is dealing with unproven allegations that millions of people voted illegally during the election, a claim that led to the establishment of a presidential commission on electoral integrity. We still think that commission is pursuing a not-so-secret agenda to impose tighter restrictions on voting, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility that it will simply run out of steam.
The numbers aren’t there. Those who are convinced that widespread voter fraud is affecting the outcome of elections — including the unsubstantiated claim by President Trump that between 3 million and 5 million people voted illegally in last year’s presidential election, costing him the popular vote — will frequently point to anecdotes and hearsay to support their claims. But they can’t come up with the verified statistics to back those allegations. Secretary of State Kim Wyman, the Republican who won her second term in November, announced Friday the results of a five-state review of the 2016 General Election that checked for instances of potential voter fraud, including people who voted in this state and another, those who voted twice in Washington state and those who voted using the registration of a deceased individual.
Secretary of State Corey Stapleton said in a letter read by his chief of staff to a legislative committee Thursday that he never made any allegations of 360 cases of voter fraud in the May 25 special election and that media reports were incorrect. “I made no such statement,” Stapleton said in the Sept. 14 letter to Sen. Sue Malek, chair of the State Administration and Veterans Affairs Interim Committee. And he added he would “ask you to correct the public record to the extent that you can.” Malek had invited Stapleton to the meeting saying she wanted him to come and provide more information on the “360 cases of voter fraud” that he discussed at SAVA’s July 20 meeting.
Identified cases of voter fraud are rare in North Dakota, but weaknesses in the election system and lack of prosecution does leave room for getting away with it, according to information from the North Dakota Secretary of State’s Office. “While some individuals argue that there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud, there are others who argue the exact opposite. Regardless, the truth is that under the current forms of election administration, it is not possible to establish whether widespread voter fraud does or does not exist because it is difficult to determine either way when proof is not required of voters when registering or prior to voting,” Secretary of State Al Jaeger wrote to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. When cases are suspected, he wrote, “This office has often been informed the State’s Attorneys have cases of ‘greater consequence’ on which to focus. Unfortunately, there can be no convictions when there is no will to prosecute.”