Category Archives: election subversion risk

New Fox Poll Shows Kemp with Comfortable Lead in Polls

A new Fox News poll shows Republican primary voters supporting Brian Kemp by wide-margins. This strikes me as going to the point that it is easier to distrust “other” people’s election systems than one’s own. Even in a swing state, like Pennsylvania and Michigan, that is the case: It is the cities–with all the racial coding–that cannot be “trusted.” The article also reports: “Early voting started May 2 and Georgia voters are turning out in record numbers.”

“Incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp leads former Sen. David Perdue by a 32-point margin in the Georgia Republican gubernatorial primary race, tripling his advantage from March, according to a new Fox News Poll of Georgia Republican primary voters released Wednesday.

Sixty percent of Republican voters prefer Kemp, while 28% go for Perdue (it was 50% vs. 39% in March). Another 8% support either Kandiss Taylor (6%), Catherine Davis (1%) or someone else (1%). Only 3% are undecided.”

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Tom Daschle and Trent Lott Advocate for Reforms to the Electoral Count Act of 1887

Former Senate majority leaders Tom Daschle (D) and Trent Lott (R) have published an Op Ed in the WSJ endorsing the need for swift bi-partisan action to reform the Electoral Count Act of 1887 in advance of the next presidential election.

“Nowhere does the Constitution give Congress or the vice president the authority to toss out election results. But last year’s events made clear that in this hyperpolarized time, the Electoral Count Act is convoluted and ambiguous enough to be vulnerable to abuse. A bipartisan group of senators is working to update the law, which was cobbled together in the wake of the disputed 1876 election to prevent—or settle—such disputes. This bipartisan momentum is promising.

One aspect of the act that is ripe for exploitation is the provision allowing a state legislature to decide how to choose electors if the state has somehow “failed to make a choice” on Election Day. Some have incorrectly suggested this vague language means state lawmakers could use any number of trumped-up excuses to override the will of the voters and unilaterally appoint electors of their choosing. To address this, Congress should narrowly define the limited circumstances—like natural disasters or terrorist attacks—under which a state may appoint electors after Election Day.”

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“Georgia county under scrutiny after claim of post-election breach”

WaPo:

A former elections supervisor in rural Coffee County, Ga., has told The Washington Post that she opened her offices to a businessman active in the election-denier movement to help investigate results she did not trust in the weeks after President Donald Trump’s 2020 defeat.

Trump had carried the conservative county by 40 points, but elections supervisor Misty Hampton said she remained suspicious of Joe Biden’s win in Georgia. Hampton made a video that went viral soon after the election, claiming to show that Dominion Voting System machines, the ones used in her county, could be manipulated. She said in interviews that she hoped the Georgia businessman who visited later, Scott Hall, and others who accompanied him could help identify vulnerabilities and prove “that this election was not done true and correct.”

Hampton said she could not remember when the visit occurred or what Hall and the others did when they were there. She said they did not enter a room that housed the county’s touch-screen voting machines, but she said she did not know whether they entered the room housing the election management system server, the central computer used to tally election results.

Voting experts said that, whether they accessed sensitive areas or not, Hampton’s actions underscore a growing risk to election security.

In the year and a half since the 2020 election, there has been steady drumbeat of revelations about alleged security breaches in local elections offices — and a growing concern among experts that officials who are sympathetic to claims of vote-rigging might be persuaded to undermine election security in the name of protecting it.

“Insider threat, while always part of the threat matrix, is now a reality in elections,” said Matt Masterson, who previously served as a senior U.S. cybersecurity official tracking 2020 election integrity for the Department of Homeland Security.

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Judge Michael Luttig: “The five alarm fire alarm has been going off continuously since January 6th. That’s why I am very concerned about where the country is today. In my view, we haven’t even begun to address the problems.”

Watch:

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“An openly pro-coup Trumpist could become Pennsylvania’s next governor”

Greg Sargent:

What must be conveyed clearly and unflinchingly is this: If Mastriano wins the general election, there is almost certainly no chance that a Democratic presidential candidate’s victory in Pennsylvania in 2024 will be certified by the state’s governor.

Consider Mastriano’s own words. During Trump’s 2020 effort to steal the election, Mastriano explicitly endorsed the idea that the state legislature has “sole authority” to reappoint new electors, given “mounting evidence” that Joe Biden’s win was “compromised.”

It wasn’t actually “compromised,” of course. But Mastriano continued to insist it was. He even pushed the Justice Department to accept this, at the moment when Trump wanted the department to announce fraud to create a pretext to overturn his loss. Mastriano is running for governor on the very idea that Trump’s loss was compromised.

This functionally means that Mastriano adheres to the notion that the mere claim of fraud is enough to justify the certification of presidential electors in defiance of the popular-vote outcome. As governor, he would be in a good position to help operationalize this very principle.

In Pennsylvania, the secretary of state certifies the election results, and the governor signs the certification of the winner’s electors. The state legislature exercised its constitutional role in determining the “manner” of appointing electors by passing a law creating this process.

If the Democratic contender wins the popular vote in Pennsylvania in 2024, and Gov. Mastriano declares widespread fraud, what’s to stop his handpicked secretary of state from certifying the GOP candidate as winner, after which he could sign certification of that candidate’s electors?

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NYT: No Indication That AG Merrick Garland and U.S. Department of Justice Examining Donald Trump’s Potential Criminal Liability for January 6

In this NYT story about a DOJ investigation into the potential removal by Donald Trump and his allies of classified materials from the White House at the end of Trump’s term, comes this statement:

Despite Mr. Trump’s role in helping incite the mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 and his other efforts to disrupt the counting and certification of the election, there has been no indication to date that the Justice Department has begun examining any criminal culpability he might have in those matters.

And on the new investigation:

Charges are rarely brought in investigations into the handling of classified documents. But the Justice Department typically conducts them to determine whether any highly sensitive information may have been exposed so the intelligence community can take measures to protect sources and methods.

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“Michael Gableman’s vendetta over Wisconsin’s 2020 election must end – before he wreaks havoc the next one”

Barry Burden and Trey Grayson oped in Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

Last fall, we warned about the risks of a so-called investigation into the settled 2020 election led by former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman — a costly, bad-faith endeavor with no credibility or transparency. 

Remarkably, Gableman’s sham review and his partisan antics are still going on, with no end in sight. Just a few days ago, Gableman was campaigning at a rally with hyper-partisan actors in Wisconsin, including conspiracy theorists and candidates running on disinformation and lies. 

As a majority of Wisconsin voters know, the 2020 election was free, fair, and accurate —and occurred more than 18 months ago. But the bill to Wisconsin taxpayers for Gableman’s “investigation” of that election will be at least $676,000.

This review is more than a waste of money. It’s dangerous.

As the nearly 2,000 clerks in Wisconsin prepare for the mid-term elections, a more pernicious risk of the sham election review is emerging: that Gableman’s charade  erodes confidence in our elections and the officials who make them run smoothly.

It’s time for the so-called investigation to end, before Gableman does even more long-term damage in Wisconsin. 

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John Eastman Proposed that Pennsylvania Legislators Do Some Creative Math About Ballot Fraud to “Provide Some Cover” for Appointing an Alternative Slate of Electors to Help Trump Steal Election

Politico on how the Eastman revelations get worse and worse:

Attorney John Eastman urged Republican legislators in Pennsylvania to retabulate the state’s popular vote — and throw out tens of thousands of absentee ballots — in order to show Donald Trump with a lead, according to newly unearthed emails sent in December 2020, as Trump pressured GOP lawmakers to subvert his defeat.

This recalculation, he posited in an exchange with one GOP state lawmaker, “would help provide some cover” for Republicans to replace Joe Biden’s electors from the state with a slate of pro-Trump electors, part of a last-ditch bid to overturn the election results.

Per the exchange, Eastman suggested that GOP legislators could simply cite their concerns with Pennsylvania’s absentee ballot procedures and then use historical data to “discount each candidates’ totals by a prorated amount based on the absentee percentage those candidates otherwise received.”

“Having done that math, you’d be left with a significant Trump lead that would bolster the argument for the Legislature adopting a slate of Trump electors — perfectly within your authority to do anyway, but now bolstered by the untainted popular vote,” Eastman wrote in a Dec. 4, 2020 email to Pennsylvania Rep. Russ Diamond. “That would help provide some cover.”

Biden ultimately won Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes.

The exchange was part of a batch of emails obtained from the University of Colorado, where Eastman worked as a visiting professor at the time he was helping Trump strategize ways to remain in power. The emails were obtained via public records requests by the Colorado Ethics Institute, which sent them along to the Jan. 6 select committee last month. It’s unclear whether the select committee had previously obtained these emails — which are available via public records requests — or whether they are in receipt of the Colorado group’s files….

Here’s a letter with Eastman’s “math” suggestion:

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“Inside Mark Meadows’s final push to keep Trump in power”

WaPo:

A review of Meadows’s actions in that periodby The Washington Post — based on interviews, depositions, text messages, emails, congressional documents, recently published memoirs by key players and other material — showshowMeadows played a pivotal role in advancing Trump’s efforts to overturn the election. In doing so, Meadows “repeatedly violated” legal guidance against trying to influence the Justice Department, according to a majority staff report of theSenate Judiciary Committee.

Meadows grantedthose peddling theories about a stolen election direct access to the Oval Office andpersonally connected some with the president, according to congressional reports and interviews with former White House officials. He pressedthe Justice Department to investigate spurious and debunked claims, including a bizarre theory that an Italian operation changed votes in the United States — an allegation a top Justice official called “pure insanity,” according to email correspondence released by congressional investigators. He also pushed the Justice Department, unsuccessfully, to try to invalidate the election results in six states through federal court action.

Now Meadows’s actions are at the center of probes by both the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack and the Justice Department, which is examining whether to press contempt-of-Congress charges against him and is conducting its own inquiry into the events surrounding the insurrection. North Carolina officials, meanwhile, are looking into whether Meadows himself potentiallycommitted voter fraud by registering to vote in 2020 at a mobile home he reportedly never stayed in.

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Trump Records Robocall in Georgia Secretary of State Race Supporting Candidate Who Parrots Trump’s False Claim of a Stolen 2020 Election

AJC:

In a new and rambling robocall this week for U.S. Rep. Jody Hice that we got our hands on, the former president goes on for more than a minute and a half, talking about himself, repeating disproven election conspiracies, and floating a new one.

Hello, this is President Donald J. Trump, hopefully your all time favorite president of all time,” Trump begins.

“Georgia has one of the worst secretary of states in America, and I mean the worst, RINO Brad Raffensperger.”

The former president then accuses Raffensperger of being “perhaps in collusion with Stacey Abrams, I don’t know if that’s possible, but perhaps,” and praises Hice for his commitment to “free, fair and honest elections.”

Hice was a key Member of Congress in Trump’s “Stop the Steal” campaign following his 2020 election loss and is now Trump’s pick to defeat Raffensperger in the GOP primary.

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“Oath Keepers Leader Sought to Ask Trump to Unleash His Militia”

NYT:

Even as the beleaguered police were still trying to disperse a violent mob at the Capitol last January, Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the far-right Oath Keepers militia, undertook a desperate, last-ditch effort to keep President Donald J. Trump in the White House, according to court papers released on Wednesday.

In a suite at the Phoenix Park Hotel, just blocks from the Capitol, Mr. Rhodes called an unnamed intermediary and, the papers said, repeatedly implored the person to ask Mr. Trump to mobilize his group to forcibly stop the transition of presidential power.

But the person refused to speak with Mr. Trump, the papers said. And once the call was over, Mr. Rhodes, turning to a group of his associates, declared, “I just want to fight.”

Witnessing this scene, which unfolded in the twilight hours of Jan. 6, 2021, was William Todd Wilson, a midlevel Oath Keepers leader from North Carolina. On Wednesday, Mr. Wilson, 44, pleaded guilty in federal court in Washington to charges of seditious conspiracy and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in their investigation of the Oath Keepers’ role in the Capitol attack.

Mr. Wilson’s tale of what took place at the Phoenix Park — the same hotel that Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the far-right Proud Boys, had stayed at days earlier — was among the most dramatic accounts to have emerged so far in the government’s monthslong investigation of the Oath Keepers.

Phillip Linder, a lawyer for Mr. Rhodes, said he did not know who his client had called from the hotel in his effort to reach Mr. Trump.

In a 15-page statement of offense released in conjunction with his plea, Mr. Wilson also admitted to helping stockpile weapons in hotel rooms in Virginia for a so-called quick reaction force assembled to “provide firearms or cover to co-conspirators” who were “operating inside of Washington” on Jan. 6.

With his guilty plea, Mr. Wilson, a military and law enforcement veteran, became the third member of the Oath Keepers charged with sedition to reach a deal with the Justice Department to help in its most serious criminal case connected to the Capitol attack. As part of their inquiry, prosecutors have fanned out across the country interviewing dozens of members of the group. More than 20 Oath Keepers have been charged.

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Dahlia Lithwick on Celebrity Journalism and the Inability to Communicate Effectively About the Risks of Election Subversion

Spot-on Dahlia Lithwick, pivoting off the White House Correspondents dinner:

All of which leads us to the second category error. It’s not merely that the American free press is not quite as free as we’d prefer to believe, but also that American democracy itself is not nearly as free as Noah implied. And while Noah and his colleagues in the ballroom have quite creditably reported on that fact—on election suppression, and entrenched minority rule, and speech restraints, and the events of Jan. 6, 2021, and the continuing consequences of the lack of accountability for those things—the truth is that none of that news is terribly sticky or new or exciting as a story. In fact, the U.S. media pays stunningly little sustained attention to the possible looming death of freedom and democracy in the U.S. because it’s vastly easier to seek to entertain than to document abstract creeping illiberalism at home.

Consider just for example last week’s essay from Judge J. Michael Luttig, who offered an explicit warning about the ways in which the 2020 election was a dry run for stealing the 2024 election. The argument was shocking coming from an avowed lifelong Republican judge. It was, however, also fundamentally the same analysis professor Richard Hasen has been offering for more than a year, that pro-democracy organizations have been reporting on consistently with alarm, that academics have been on fire over for years, and that has been the subject of innumerable open letters as scholars have warned repeatedly about what’s been taking place at every level of voting rights. As the nation reemerges from more than two years of pandemic life with mounting inflation worries as the chief public concern, it’s really, really, really hard to get people to care about the same problem of authoritarian creep that has been going on for years and that is just always getting incrementally worse.

Yes, the media has done the big stories about what is happening on the ground to elections apparatuseselections officials, and democratic collapse. The Washington Post may have devoted great resources to the tick tock of Jan. 6, but you can only really write—and get readers to click on—so many pieces about the independent state legislature doctrine, even if we do try and try and try and try. The truth is that the ballroom gala on the decline of democracy would probably happen at an airport Holiday Inn somewhere in Muncie, Indiana, and at the conclusion—after all in attendance had nodded vigorously at the 30-minute keynote by some famous academic who has been warning of this every day for years, and no longer has any friends on the faculty—everyone would just go home and feel sad.

So while Noah’s fundamental critique is correct, and every working journalist in the world should do some soul-searching about what they are doing to protect freedom every day, the larger truth is that we have constructed a world of journalism in which most consumers don’t want to buy that news and most purveyors don’t really care to sell it. Faulting the press for systemic failures around what “the press” means, or actually does every day, is quite literally the definition of shooting the messenger. The U.S. media is not “free” both because there are increasing economic and ideological constraints on news-gathering and news publication, but it’s also not “free” because it depends on a system that has no meaningful or sustained interest in reporting on freedom. That is a much bigger problem than flighty reporters and their insufficient ethical or political seriousness. It is the problem of an entire machinery of news-gathering and news dissemination that lacks that necessary degree of ethical or political seriousness.

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“Republican election-deniers elevate races for secretary of state”

AP:

States United Action, a nonpartisan advocacy organization co-founded by Whitman, has been tracking secretary of state races and identified nearly two dozen Republican candidates who deny the results of the 2020 presidential election.

That includes John Adams, a former state lawmaker challenging Ohio’s incumbent secretary of state, Frank LaRose, in Tuesday’s GOP primary. Adams has said “there’s no way that Trump lost” and said LaRose wasn’t any different than Stacey Abrams, a Democrat and national voting rights advocate who is running for governor in Georgia.

LaRose hasn’t talked much about the 2020 election in the campaign other than to say it was secure in Ohio and to tout his office’s pursuit of voter fraud cases. This marked a departure following the 2020 vote in which he praised the work of bipartisan election officials in running a smooth election, promoted voter access and presented statistics showing how rare voter fraud is.

Earlier this year, LaRose brushed aside questions about his shifting rhetoric.

“Unfortunately, some people want to make a political issue out of this,” he said. “Of course, it’s right to be concerned about election integrity.”

The pivot was enough to earn him an endorsement from Trump, who is considering another run for president in 2024 and said LaRose was “dedicated to Secure Elections.” LaRose has been touting the endorsement.

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