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Election Fraud, Voter Intimidation, Voter Suppression, Gerrymandering

Voter suppression is the worse type of voter fraud it deprives you of your right to cast your vote. Voter suppression and voter intimidation are ways republicans rig (steal) elections from the people by denning you your right to vote, gerrymandering is another. In the old days, the KKK used voter intimidation; threats, sticks, knives, guns and killed people to prevent people from voting. Now days Republicans remove you from the voter rolls, use voter ID laws, use poll watcher to intimidate voters to make it harder for some to vote so they can steal the elections so they can stay in power. The Republican Party motto is if you cannot beat them fairly use voter suppression and voter intimidation to deprive people of their right to vote. Republicans also use voter ID laws to make it harder to vote and use gerrymandering to stay in power, that way they control our elections so they can stay in power and control our laws and our lives. #Election, #VoterIntimidation, #VoterSuppression, #Gerrymandering, #ElectionFraud, #VoterFraud

Tracking Interference into our elections

Tracking the Mueller investigation into how the Russians infiltrated the Trump campaign  and conspired with the Trump campaign to help Donald J. Trump win the election

A  practice intended to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating district boundaries. The resulting district is known as a gerrymander; however, that word is also a verb for the process. The term gerrymandering has negative connotations. Two principal tactics are used in gerrymandering: "cracking" (i.e. diluting the voting power of the opposing party's supporters across many districts) and "packing" (concentrating the opposing party's voting power in one district to reduce their voting power in other districts). The third tactic, shown in the top-left diagram in the diagrams to the right, is that of homogenization of all districts. In addition to its use achieving desired electoral results for a particular party, gerrymandering may be used to help or hinder a particular demographic, such as a political, ethnic, racial, linguistic, religious, or class group, such as in U.S. federal voting district boundaries that produce a majority of constituents representative of African-American or other racial minorities, known as "majority-minority districts". Gerrymandering can also be used to protect incumbents.

A strategy to influence the outcome of an election by intimidating specific groups of people to prevent them from voting. 18 U.S. Code § 594. Intimidation of voters: Whoever intimidates, threatens, coerces, or attempts to intimidate, threaten, or coerce, any other person for the purpose of interfering  with the right of such other person to vote or to vote as he may choose, or of causing such other person to vote for, or not to vote for, any candidate for the office of President, Vice President, Presidential elector, Member of the Senate, Member of the House of Representatives, Delegate from the District of Columbia, or Resident Commissioner, at any election held solely or in part for the purpose of electing such candidate, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than  one year, or both.

Voter suppression is voter fraud. A strategy to influence the outcome of an election by discouraging or preventing specific groups of people from voting. It is distinguished from political campaigning in that campaigning attempts to change likely voting behavior by changing the opinions of potential voters through persuasion and organization. Voter suppression, instead, attempts to reduce the number of voters who might vote against a candidate or proposition. The tactics of voter suppression range from minor changes to make voting less convenient, to physically intimidating prospective voters, which is illegal. Voter suppression can be effective if a significant number of voters are intimidated or disenfranchised. In 2013, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Shelby v. Holder that voting laws had resulted in voter suppression and discrimination.

It is important to protect the integrity of our elections. But we must be careful not to undermine free and fair access to the ballot in the name of preventing voter fraud.

Election officials in US battleground states are still fighting to limit their usage with only days left until 3 November
Jess Hardin - guardian.org

On the East Side of Youngstown, Ohio, a steady stream of early voters drop off completed absentee ballots into the new drop box outside the Mahoning County Board of Elections. Gloria Phifer is one of them. The 68-year-old retired mail carrier drove about 15 minutes to the former hospital-turned-county office center. She doesn’t mind walking, so she found a parking spot outside, walked up to the entrance and dropped her ballot into the red drop box – the only one in the county.

“My fellow mail carriers, god bless them and everything, but I thought it would easier just bring it down here,” Phifer said. “This is an important election and I wanted to just make sure [there were] no problems.” In response to safety concerns spurred by the coronavirus pandemic and worries about potential mail delays, drop boxes are popping up all over the country – in many places for the first time. The largely secure voting method has long been available to voters in states like Colorado and Washington. But amid the partisan battles over access to the polls, election officials in battleground states are still fighting to limit their usage with only days left until 3 November.

Directives from Ohio secretary of state Frank LaRose and Texas governor Greg Abbott – both Republicans – limit drop boxes to one per county. In Harris county, Texas, home to Houston, that’s one box for 4.7 million people. For the 228,000 residents in more sparse Mahoning county, a single drop box could result in a lengthy trip to the Board of Elections. In stark contrast, for the 2.3 million residents of King county in greater Seattle, there are 73 24-hour drop boxes within easy reach of voters. more...

“The vast majority of Americans are going to have a completely uneventful voting experience.”
By Jerusalem Demsas

Defining voter suppression is hard, which has made confronting the problem even more difficult. Certain forms of voter suppression are clear. For instance, armed militias policing predominantly Black polling locations, or the threatening emails signed by the Proud Boys (that the US government alleges were a fraud perpetrated by Iran) which were sent to voters in several states.

There are murkier cases, however. Is it suppression if a jurisdiction fails to properly train its poll workers and the line takes hours to progress? How about if your friend pesters you about your vote so much that you abstain from engaging altogether? If a Milwaukee reader finds Vox’s reporting on the recent Supreme Court decision ruling that a vote-by-mail deadline should not be extended and then feels discouraged — is that voter suppression? Can covering voter suppression become a self-fulfilling problem?

Complicating the matter, we’re seeing signs of sky-high voter participation rates across the country and there are some people confirming that making voting more difficult has actually inspired them to turn out. So, is voter suppression simply a matter of intent or should we still focus on the impact? Media needs to be sensitive to this debate, says Myrna Pérez, the director of the Brennan Center’s Voting Rights and Elections Program. “Now, there will be some people who are deterred. It can both be true that some people are deterred and also that some people are inspired,” she told Vox, pointing out that there are responsible ways to cover issues of potential voter suppression without “nationalizing the worst case scenario.” more...

The pro-Trump duo are in trouble with the law, yet again.
Will Sommer

Conservative operatives Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman have been indicted in Ohio, once more over a racist robocall aimed at minority voters. Wohl and Burkman, who rose to some level of infamy online for blundering attempts to manufacture sexual assault allegations against Democratic politicians and other Trump foes, have each been charged in Ohio’s Cuyahoga County with eight counts of telecommunications fraud and seven counts of bribery, a charge that includes attempts to convince people not to cast ballots. The indictment only adds to the growing mountain of criminal and civil problems facing the notorious pro-Trump pair.

In late August, a robocall that claimed to come from Wohl and Burkman warned voters not to use mail-in ballots, falsely claiming that the ballot information would be used to enforce vaccine mandates and collect on credit card debts. In the call, which was sent to 67,000 voters in the Midwest, according to prosecutors, a Black woman warned potential voters not to send in mail-in ballots or risk being fooled by “the man.” “The right to vote is the most fundamental component of our nation’s democracy,” Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley said in a statement. “These individuals clearly infringed upon that right in a blatant attempt to suppress votes and undermine the integrity of this election These actions will not be tolerated.” more...

By Ashley Killough and Caroline Kelly, CNN

(CNN) The Texas Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled in favor of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's order to limit mail-in ballot drop box locations to one site per county, a decision that largely affects the Houston and Austin areas. The court ruled that Abbott's order "provides Texas voters more ways to vote in the November 3 election than does the Election Code" and that it doesn't "disenfranchise anyone."

Opponents of Abbott's order had argued it exceeded the governor's authority and also created an unjust burden on voters in larger counties to travel far distances to drop off their ballots. Critics also argued it increased voters' risk of contracting Covid-19. The court did not agree with the plaintiffs' argument that the governor's order had exceeded his authority, nor that the order "severely" burdened voters and their right to vote. "The plaintiffs complain that limiting early hand-deliveries of mail-in ballots to one office per county requires more travel time for some voters. But this ignores the other options for casting their ballots that these voters have," the opinion read.

It noted that voters can also vote in person for an expanded period of time than usual, drop off their mail-in ballot in a 45-day window before Election Day rather than on November 3 only, and also mail in their ballots. The court also argued the risk of mailing the ballot is "small," and "voters who are worried about it can mail their ballots in plenty of time before Election Day to eliminate the chance of untimely delivery." In a statement Tuesday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office cheered the ruling as having "correctly stopped the district court's unlawful injunction and preserved election integrity." "The 2020 general election is already underway and the integrity of our election process must be protected and preserved," the statement continued. "Governor Abbott's order rightfully bolsters the security of dropped-off ballots." more...

By Ed Kilgore

A week ago I wrote about the big surge of early voting around the country, which had already reached an amazing 21 million! Now that number is up to an estimated 52.7 million and is continuing to climb.

In my earlier piece I echoed many political analysts in warning against too-hasty interpretations of the total numbers or the heavy Democratic tilt of early voting in places where that can be determined or at least estimated. Yes, the surge could mean massive overall turnout — or it could simply reflect fears of health risks for in-person voting on Election Day, or unusually early mail-in or in-person voting based on concerns about postal delivery or long lines. And the Democratic skew could mean a big sweep, or simply the partisanship in voting methods resulting from the president’s endless and false attacks on voting by mail.

But journalist Ari Berman has a different theory based on what he’s seen in Texas:
In the last week of September, Chris Rollins, the county clerk of Harris County, Texas, sent out mail ballots to voters in the Houston area who had requested them and set up 12 locations where voters concerned about delays with the US Postal Service could drop their ballots off. Then, on October 1, just as voters had started to return their mail ballots, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott issued an emergency declaration limiting mail ballot drop-off sites to one per county. The move appeared designed specifically to make voting harder in Harris County, the largest county in the state, which has 2.4 million registered voters and a larger landmass than Rhode Island … more...

By Sarah Blaskey, Nicholas Nehamas, C. Isaiah Smalls II, Christina Saint Louis, Ana Claudia Chacin, David Smiley, Shirsho Dasgupta, and
Yadira Lopez

Donald Trump’s team knew they couldn’t win the 2016 election simply by persuading people to vote for Trump. They also had to make sure Hillary Clinton supporters didn’t come out to the polls. So the campaign and its allies used big data to target Black communities along Miami-Dade County’s historically disenfranchised Interstate 95 corridor. There, residents became some of the 12.3 million unwitting subjects of a groundbreaking nationwide experiment: A computer algorithm that analyzed huge sums of potential voters’ personal data — things they’d said and done on Facebook, credit card purchases, charities they supported, and even personality traits — decided they could be manipulated into not voting. They probably wouldn’t even know it was happening.

Internally, Trump’s staff described this part of their operation with a term that went beyond the usual strategy of negative campaigning. They called it “deterrence.” The campaign blasted these voters selected for deterrence — usually wavering Hillary Clinton supporters — with advertisements, disinformation and misleading messaging designed to convince them to lose faith in Clinton and not show up to the polls, according to an investigation by the Miami Herald and the U.K.’s Channel 4 News, which exclusively obtained a massive cache of internal Trump campaign data from 2016.

What exactly went into the selection algorithm isn’t known — the Trump campaign’s machine-learning model remains a black box. But however sophisticated the model, it produced clear results: In Miami-Dade, more than 116,000 Black people identified by the campaign as potential voters were selected for deterrence, roughly half of all Black voters in the county.

That was almost twice the rate of deterrence for non-Black voters, a Herald analysis shows. Not only were Blacks far more likely to be selected for deterrence, but even non-Black voters were more likely to be on the deterrence list if they lived in Black communities like those along Interstate 95 heading north to Broward County. “The laser-like focus on suppressing Black turnout is clear,” said Dan Smith, a political scientist at the University of Florida who reviewed the Herald’s analysis of the campaign data. “It’s very striking.” more...

Sender address was from the far-right Proud Boys, but evidence suggests the origin was faked
By Isaac Stanley-Becker and Craig Timberg

Authorities in Florida and Alaska on Tuesday were investigating threatening emails sent to Democratic voters that claimed to be from the Proud Boys, a far-right group supportive of President Trump, but appeared instead to be a deceptive campaign making use of a vulnerability in the organization’s online network.

The emails, which appeared to target Democrats using data from digital databases known as “voter files,” told recipients the group was “in possession of all your information” and instructed voters to change their party registration and cast their ballots for Trump. “You will vote for Trump on Election Day or we will come after you,” the emails warned. Enrique Tarrio, the chairman of the Proud Boys and the Florida state director of Latinos for Trump, denied involvement, saying the group operates two sites, and was increasingly migrating away from the domain used in the email campaign. more...

By Melissa Quinn, Stefan Becket and Graham Kates

Washington — Dozens of voters in a heavily Democratic county in Florida and across several states reported receiving emails on Thursday purporting to come from a right-wing group threatening to "come after" them unless they vote for President Trump. But an examination of the messages, which are now under investigation by state and federal authorities, shows they were sent via servers located overseas, raising questions about their origin amid concerns about voter intimidation just two weeks before Election Day.

Democratic voters in Alachua County, Florida, began receiving the email on Tuesday morning, and voters in Alaska and Arizona also reported receiving the message. Early voting began in Florida on Monday. The emails appeared to come from the right-wing group The Proud Boys, and showed a "from" address of info@officialproudboys.com. The Proud Boys has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights advocacy group. more...

California ballot drop box set ablaze in possible arson, damaging up to 100 ballots
Joshua Bote USA TODAY

A ballot drop box in a majority-Latino town in California was set on fire Sunday night, which may have destroyed up to 100 ballots two weeks before the Nov. 3 election. Los Angeles County officials are investigating the fire, which took place in Baldwin Park — a suburb nearly 20 miles east of downtown Los Angeles with a nearly three-quarters Latino populationn.

“The arson of an official ballot drop box by the Baldwin Park Library in the First District has all the signs of an attempt to disenfranchise voters and call into question the security of our elections,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis in a statement. “Tampering, or attempts to tamper, with our democracy will not be tolerated.” The County Registar’s Office has asked both the FBI and the Attorney General to investigate the fire. more...

Stephen Fowler

Kathy spotted the long line of voters as she pulled into the Christian City Welcome Center about 3:30 p.m., ready to cast her ballot in the June 9 primary election. Hundreds of people were waiting in the heat and rain outside the lush, tree-lined complex in Union City, an Atlanta suburb with 22,400 residents, nearly 88% of them Black. She briefly considered not casting a ballot at all, but decided to stay. By the time she got inside more than five hours later, the polls had officially closed and the electronic scanners were shut down. Poll workers told her she'd have to cast a provisional ballot, but they promised that her vote would be counted.

"I'm now angry again, I'm frustrated again, and now I have an added emotion, which is anxiety," said Kathy, a human services worker, recalling her emotions at the time. She asked that her full name not be used because she fears repercussions from speaking out. "I'm wondering if my ballot is going to count." By the time the last voter finally got inside the welcome center to cast a ballot, it was the next day, June 10. more...

By Dianne Gallagher, Pamela Kirkland and Denise Royal, CNN

(CNN) Almost 1,000 absentee ballots are sitting in a locked bin somewhere in the Guilford County Board of Elections waiting to be processed. At least two voters in Greensboro, North Carolina, part of Guilford County, had no idea their ballots were sitting in that pile. Vincent Gager, a 48-year-old Black man, and his 83-year-old father Nathaniel mailed in their ballots on September 4. They wanted to vote by mail to avoid exposure to Covid-19. Over a month later, neither man had any idea their ballot had been listed as "pending cure" -- which meant there was something wrong with them that would prevent them being accepted.

The issue was with their witness information, one aspect of North Carolina's voting rules that's been thrown into confusion amid efforts to ease voting amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. "I've been doing it the same way for years," Gager said of his father's ballot. "I sign his. I'm his son. I'm his witness. And no one ever said his ballot wouldn't count." A mismatched signature or missing envelope can lead to mail-in ballots getting thrown out. But ballot "curing" is the process where voters can correct these mistakes, to make sure their votes are counted. States have different "curing" mechanisms -- some automatically notify voters about problems, while other states force voters to proactively follow-up with election officials. A federal judge on Wednesday blocked the North Carolina State Board of Elections from allowing voters to "cure" or fix a missing witness signature with a signed affidavit but determined that other types of deficient witness information, like a missing or incomplete address, can be cured without casting a new ballot. more...

*** Trump is right the election will be rigged; he is using voter suppression to rig (steal) the election. ***

The president’s lawyers are finding traction with their efforts to quash voting by mail.
By ANITA KUMAR

President Donald Trump is increasingly finding success in his strategy to restrict voting by mail — using lawsuits to stop late-arriving ballots from being counted in swing states. After failing to stop any states from automatically mailing ballots to all registered voters, Republican attorneys have starting to make inroads on a different issue — limiting when any ballots can be counted.

In Wisconsin, federal judges halted a plan to count ballots received up to six days after Election Day. In New Hampshire, a lawsuit calling on the state to tally ballots arriving up to five days late was rejected. And in Georgia, an appeals court dropped a three-day deadline extension for ballots. These legal fights are shaping up to be one of the most important factors in determining whether Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden is inaugurated as president in January.

Democrats, backed by some election officials, are pushing to have state deadlines extended due to fears the beleaguered United States Postal Service will struggle to deliver the millions of extra expected ballots on time. Republicans argue, with minimal evidence, that prolonging the counting period will lead to fraud and unnecessarily extend the presidential election.

It’s a fight that could continue in the days, or even weeks, following the Nov. 3 election. The margin of victory in a handful of states is expected to be so razor-thin that late ballots could determine who wins. Even following the election, Democrats will likely push for states to wait for outstanding ballots while Republicans will ask for them to be excluded, arguing, in part, that there’s no way to prove all of the late-arriving ballots were mailed prior to the election because of the lack of a postmark. more...

By Sarah Moon and Paul LeBlanc, CNN

(CNN) The California Republican Party said Wednesday it will not comply with the state's cease-and-desist order over unofficial ballot drop boxes placed in at least four counties, escalating a brewing political showdown ahead of the November election. The unauthorized ballot boxes, which state officials have called illegal, have been found in at least four counties across the state: Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange and Fresno. "Ballot harvesting program will continue," California Republican Party spokesman Hector Barajas said in a statement to CNN.

The fight over the unofficial drop boxes comes as the coronavirus pandemic has led to historic interest in mail-in voting, even as President Donald Trump and the GOP have spent months attacking the integrity of mail ballots and fighting in court against drop boxes. Trump has repeatedly made unfounded claims that the election tally will be fraudulent because of the proliferation of mail-in voting and drop box usage and has warned that he may not agree to a peaceful transfer of power due to those misleading beliefs.

The party made their intentions clear in a letter to the California Secretary of State on Wednesday. In the letter, attorneys for the state GOP say all of the ballot boxes deployed by the party are indoors, staffed by volunteers or party officials, secure and not labeled "official." While images of the ballot boxes have shown the boxes labeled as "official," the state GOP said it did not authorize the use of that term and had it removed. more...

By Emily Czachor

A Texas appeals court dismissed the state GOP Party's lawsuit pushing for early voting restrictions on Wednesday morning, questioning the petition's delayed filing. The Republican Party of Texas filed its suit against Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins late Monday, less than 24 hours before the state's early voting period began. The lawsuit aimed to limit curbside voting access and end drive-through voting altogether in Harris County. Drive-through voting is a new procedure in Texas, which Hollins announced in early September as a means to reduce risks of COVID-19 transmission at polling sites. Harris—where Houston is located—is the state's most populous county, and the county hit hardest by COVID-19 relative to others across the state.

"Drive-Thru Voting (DTV) was created in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic as a safer, socially-distant alternative to walk-in voting for all voters," reads a description posted to the Harris County Clerk's website. Whereas any registered voter is able to cast ballots at drive-through locations, curbside voting is restricted to individuals with certain medical conditions. The GOP's lawsuit also suggested curbside voting options should only be available to those who previously submitted applications that prove they meet qualifications to use them. more...

By Ewan Palmer

Cards describing a "social visit" from the Ku Klux Klan were left at the homes of Joe Biden supporters in Tennessee, intimidating local residents. Breana Green, of Shelbyville, described how she noticed that a sign showing support for Biden in her neighbor's yard had been disturbed. Speaking to WSMV, Green said the yard was littered with a number of "business cards" reportedly belonging to the KKK.

Green believed the cards were left in response to the Biden-Harris yard sign, which also had tire marks indicating it had been run over. "It's scary knowing that just supporting a presidential candidate can incite this kind of vandalism," Green said. "There is some anxiety that people could be targeted in my family," she added. "People in the community could be targeted as well. I just don't think this should be something that we're dealing with in 2020." Speaking to WPLB, Green described that the cards said how the KKK had paid "a social visit," with a warning that the next time will be "a business call." more...

The court found that Abbott's intention was to make it easier for Texans to vote.
By JOSH GERSTEIN

What happened: A federal appeals court has reinstated Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s order limiting the use of absentee ballot drop boxes to one location per county, regardless of population. Just before midnight Monday Texas time, a unanimous three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted a district judge’s preliminary injunction against Abbott’s October 1 directive.

Fifth Circuit Judge Stuart Duncan said the lower court erred by failing to view the governor’s order as part of a broader initiative aimed at making it easier for Texans to vote amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. “Critics were clearly clueless about the legality of my action & simply voiced prejudicial political opinions,” Abbott wrote in a celebratory tweet.

The background: Civil rights groups and Democrats complained that the one-dropbox-location-per-county rule that Abbott abruptly imposed two weeks ago unfairly burdens large urban counties and has the potential to deter voters and create health hazards. However, Duncan said the rule would have a “de minimis” impact on voters, at most. more...

By Sarah Moon, Stella Chan and Paul LeBlanc, CNN

Washington (CNN)The California Secretary of State and Department of Justice have sent a cease and desist order to the California Republican Party to remove unofficial ballot drop boxes placed in at least three counties, officials announced in a news conference on Monday. "These unauthorized drop boxes are a disservice to state and local election administrators who have spent months working on the placement and deployment of official ballot drop boxes," California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said.

Images of the unofficial boxes showed that some had been labeled as "official," Padilla explained, adding that his office received reports of the unofficial boxes being deployed by the state Republican Party in Fresno, Los Angeles and Orange counties. California state law does not allow for the use of unauthorized vote-by-mail ballot drop boxes. Only county election officials have the authority to oversee drop boxes and ensure that they're in compliance with the law. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, however, said Monday that his office received "disturbing reports" that some Republican Party officials are not willing to remove the "unofficial" boxes. more...

Peter Weber, The Week

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla's office has received complains about what appear to be unauthorized ballot drop boxes in Los Angeles, Orange, and Fresno counties, and it appears from social media posts that California Republicans have set them up to collect ballots, The Orange County Register reported Sunday night. The metal boxes, which purport to be "official," have been reported at local political party offices, churches, and headquarters for GOP candidates.

"Operating unofficial ballot drop boxes — especially those misrepresented as official drop boxes — is not just misleading to voters, it's a violation of state law," Padilla said, and a felony conviction would land perpetrators in prison for two to four years. County elections officials and registrars are solely empowered to set up and maintain drop boxes in accordance with strict state security rules.

The California Republican Party did not respond to the Register's requests for comments, nor did individual GOP operatives who have implicated themselves on social media. But the state GOP has "been defending the practice in replies on Twitter, alleging the process was made legal under a 2016 law that allows California voters to designate a person to return their ballot for them," the Register reports. "The GOP calls the practice 'ballot harvesting' and blames it for losses to the Democrats in OC and other places in 2018." State officials say unauthorized drop boxes would violate that law since there's no designated person to sign for the ballot, as required. more...

GOP promoted fake "official" drop-off sites at churches and gun stores. Officials say they're illegal
Igor Derysh

The California Republican Party is operating unofficial ballot drop boxes that Secretary of State Alex Padilla said on Sunday were in "violation of state law." Jordan Tygh, a regional field director for the California Republican Party, promoted an "official ballot drop off box" on Twitter and urged followers to message him for "convenient locations" to drop their ballots last week, The Orange County Register first reported. One voter reported an "Official Ballot Drop Box" that was "approved and bought by the GOP" outside of a Los Angeles area church before it was removed after county officials warned on social media that it was "not an official vote by mail drop box and does not comply with [state] regulations for drop boxes," according to KCAL.

The boxes were set up across Southern California in front of churches, gyms, and gun stores by the California GOP, according to The Washington Post. And at least one chapter of the state Republican Party in northern California has also rolled out its own drop-off sites, echoing President Donald Trump's baseless allegations over the "security" of mail voting even though it has been repeatedly shown to be safe and secure.

"CONSERVATIVE VOTER ALERT!," the Fresno GOP said while announcing a list of unofficial locations to drop off ballots. "President Trump is very concerned about the lack of security with mail in ballots. Don't take a chance that your vote will not be counted. Once your ballot arrives in the mail, mark your ballot completely and then walk it in, as soon as possible, to one of the secure locations listed below. Make sure your vote counts!" Padilla, a Democrat, said on Sunday that it was illegal to operate unofficial ballot drop boxes. more...

Jacob Jarvis

The California Republican Party has faced questions over unofficial drop-off boxes set up to collect mail-in ballots across the state. Reports of such boxes, which claim to be official, have been shared with the California Secretary of State, Alex Padilla—who has suggested they could be illegal. "Operating unofficial ballot drop boxes—especially those misrepresented as official drop boxes—is not just misleading to voters, it's a violation of state law," he said, in comments reported by The Orange County Register.

Following a drop-off box being flagged with him, Orange County Registrar Neal Kelley said: "We are looking into this and the CA Secretary of State has also issued guidance confirming unofficial ballot drop boxes are not in compliance with state law. Third party ballot collections are allowed, but a voter must designate someone to return their ballot on their behalf." more...

Yelena Dzhanova

For nearly 40 years, the Republican National Committee was barred from engaging in voter intimidation tactics and "ballot security" measures like paying law enforcement to appear at polling sites. But in 2018, a federal judge lifted the restriction, ending the 1982 consent decree. This year will be the first time in nearly four decades that a presidential election is held without this agreement in place — an addition to the heap of challenges already influencing voters amid a global health crisis.

The coronavirus pandemic has upended US elections, bringing on postponed primaries, changes to in-person polling sites, and a battle over expanded vote-by-mail. "We've never seen a presidential election quite like this one because the dynamics of it are just so different," Jon Greenbaum, chief counsel and senior deputy director for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, told Business Insider. more...

Matthew S. Schwartz

A federal judge in Pennsylvania has thrown out a lawsuit by the Trump campaign that tried to limit the battleground state's use of drop boxes in the current presidential election. The lawsuit also challenged the Pennsylvania secretary of state's guidance that mail-in ballots shouldn't be rejected if the voter's signature doesn't match the one on file, and a state restriction that poll watchers be residents of the county where they are assigned.

All of these claims turned on a common theme: the idea that without sufficient security measures, people might commit voter fraud. The campaign argued that that fraud would then "dilute" lawfully cast votes, in violation of the state and U.S. constitutions. In reality, voter fraud is extremely rare, though Trump has repeated baseless claims about it being widespread. U.S. District Court Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan, who wrote the opinion, was reluctant to second-guess the judgment of the state legislature and election officials.

"Perhaps Plaintiffs are right that guards should be placed near drop boxes, signature-analysis experts should examine every mail-in ballot, poll watchers should be able to man any poll regardless of location, and other security improvements should be made," Ranjan wrote. "But the job of an unelected federal judge isn't to suggest election improvements, especially when those improvements contradict the reasoned judgment of democratically elected officials." more...

*** Republicans are willing to kill off Americans to win the election. ***

A lower court had struck down the witness requirement for mail ballots, citing Covid-19.
By ZACH MONTELLARO

In a victory for Republicans, the Supreme Court on Monday reinstated the witness requirement for South Carolina mail ballots after lower courts ruled that having that requirement created risk during the pandemic. In an order issued on Monday evening, the high court set aside a lower court ruling that suspended the witness requirement, effectively restoring the mandate while arguments in the case are ongoing, granting an exception for ballots cast before the stay and received within two days.

There were no noted dissents, while Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch would have granted a stay application in full, meaning ballots already submitted that did not have a witness signature would have been rejected. It is one of the first election-related cases that the Supreme Court has ruled on since the primaries and could suggest the justices will rein in lower courts that seek to alter the rules of an election, even if to expand access to voting as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The Supreme Court “has repeatedly emphasized that federal courts ordinarily should not alter state election rules in the period close to an election,” Kavanaugh wrote defending the court’s orders, citing the so-called "Purcell Principle," in which the high court reinstated Arizona's voter-ID law, which had been struck down by an appellate court just before the 2006 midterms. (No other justices signed on publicly to Kavanuagh’s rationale.) more...

*** Trump was projecting what he was going to do when he said the election would be rigged he is the one rigging the election. ***

Igor Derysh, Salon

President Trump's campaign is waging a behind-the-scenes effort to threaten low-profile county officials into ignoring election rules and sowing doubt in the mail voting process. Trump's campaign launched an "unusually aggressive" push on the local level, sending 100 county election officials in North Carolina "threatening letters" and "misinformation" to urge them to disregard a new rule that makes it easier for voters to fix mistakes on their mail ballots, according to the Associated Press. The warnings came after the state Board of Elections settled a lawsuit after ballots cast by Black voters in the state were disproportionately rejected.

The campaign also sent letters to more than 1,800 municipal clerks in states like Wisconsin and Georgia that raised questions about the security of mail voting, according to CNN. The campaign also threatened to sue officials in Pennsylvania for blocking "poll watchers" from observing election offices where people register to vote and apply for mail ballots, according to the AP.

Trump's team has repeatedly filed lawsuits in response to states easing access to mail ballots amid the coronavirus pandemic but such litigation has so far been unsuccessful. Trump has suggested that he aims to fight the expansions all the way to the Supreme Court as he hopes to add Amy Coney Barrett, his third conservative justice in four years, to the high court before November. Less visible has been the campaign's quiet efforts to undermine voting rules on the local level, where his team has bombarded officials with letters that have raised alarm among election experts. more...

Voting rights advocates warn that suppression efforts in the final weeks of the election threaten the voting blocks Democrats need most.
By MAYA KING

Democrats are running out of time to protect the voters they need the most. As Election Day nears, Democrats are scrambling to counter disinformation campaigns, complicated absentee ballot requirements and consolidated polling locations. All of which they say threaten the groups Joe Biden can't win without in November: Black and Latino voters. Efforts to shore up their votes involve a combination of lawsuits to prevent disenfranchisement and a messaging blitz to encourage voters to have a plan should they encounter trouble at the ballot box.

Since kicking off their campaign with Michelle Obama’s remarks at the national convention in August, Democrats have been deploying state party chairs, PAC leaders and high-profile Biden surrogates to send out a strong message. They’re encouraging voters to cast their mail-in ballots as soon as possible and be mindful of voter registration deadlines in their respective states. In the wake of Trump’s attacks on the U.S. Postal Service, they’ve shifted tactics, incorporating early and in-person options to their voter guidance. There's reason for concern. According to findings from a data leak first reported by the British Channel 4 news, in 2016, the Trump campaign targeted 3.5 million Black voters in a widespread, data-based form of voter suppression. And now voting rights advocates are girding for a repeat. more...

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