Category Archives: absentee ballots

“Kansas GOP lawmakers revive a plan to stop giving voters 3 extra days to return mail ballots”


Republican legislators in Kansas have revived a proposal to stop giving voters three extra days after polls close to return mail ballots after making key concessions in a bid to get enough votes from rural GOP lawmakers to overcome the Democratic governor’s potential veto.

Republicans have argued that allowing election officials to count ballots received after Election Day undermines people’s confidence in the results, through there’s no evidence that the practice has led to fraud or serious mistakes. The Republican-controlled Legislature expects to take final votes this week on a version of the proposal drafted Monday by GOP negotiators for the House and Senate.

The push to end the “grace period” arose as election conspiracy promoters gained influence within the Kansas GOP. They have spread baseless claims that elections are rife with fraud and amplified ex-President Donald Trump’s lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him.

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“GOP scrambles to organize early and mail voting despite Trump’s attacks”


In December, Donald Trump called for the end of mail-in voting in presidential elections. In February, he told Michigan voters that “mail-in voting is totally corrupt.” He later told Fox News host Laura Ingraham that “if you have mail-in balloting, you automatically have fraud.”

“The ballots are a disaster,” he said earlier this month to British TV host Nigel Farage, without offering evidence and despite having voted by mail himself in recent elections. “Any time the mail is involved, you’re going to have cheating. It’s too bad people don’t say it. They don’t want to say it.”

That message is complicating plans by officials at Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee to orchestrate aggressive efforts in key battleground states to persuade voters to cast their ballots early and by mail. Party officials say the efforts are crucial to win the election.

In an interview, RNC Chairman Michael Whatley said the party would spend considerable money — he would not say how much — to encourage voters to vote by mail and help collect ballots, a practice known as ballot harvesting that is legal in some states but that Trump has decried.

“We’ve got to get every one of our voters to vote, no matter the method,” Whatley said. “We want people to use mail-in voting where it is legal. We want people to ballot harvest where it’s legal. We want to comply with the laws in every state.”

Trump advisers say their get-out-the-vote effort will include persuading people to vote by mail if they believe it is the method the person is likely to use based on their voting history, including making sure ballots are mailed to people who request them.

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California: “A Central Valley politician was charged with voter fraud. Right-wing conspiracies took over”

LA Times:

Hicks, a real estate agent from Lodi, believes California’s universal vote-by-mail process is fraught with fraud risks, echoing unfounded messaging from the far right that election officials nationwide have worked to combat since Donald Trump and his allies began blaming his 2020 presidential loss on claims of fraud that have been shot down by numerous courts.

That paranoia is difficult to dismiss in this part of California’s Central Valley, though, after a local politician was arrested on allegations of a slew of crimes involving election fraud.

Former Lodi City Council member Shakir Khan pleaded “no contest” in January to felony charges, including election fraud, after the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office said it found 41 sealed, completed ballots in his home and about 70 people registered to vote using his address, phone number or email.

The alleged scheme, which stems from Khan’s run for City Council in 2020, is just one piece of a complex criminal case in which he also faces charges for illegal gambling, money laundering, tax evasion and Employment Development Department fraud.

Officials seemed to foresee the potential fallout after the years-long investigation, reiterating that Khan, a 34-year-old “no party preference” voter who has lived among Lodi’s vineyards since he was a child, did not appear to have ties to any broader voter-fraud plot.

“I want to make it clear that this investigation has only uncovered criminal activity in our county here, in a local election,” San Joaquin County Sheriff Patrick Withrow said at a news conference last year announcing Khan’s arrest. “It has nothing to do with and has no impact on any state or federal elections that we know of.”

Still, the case has drawn the attention of national conservative commentators, supercharged a group of local right-wing activists, sowed voter distrust in an already chaotic political environment and pushed the county to spend thousands of dollars on election security measures such as new ballot boxes and cameras to monitor them….

While running for City Council in 2020, Khan pressured people to vote for him, sometimes registering them to vote, filling out ballots for them, forging their signatures and collecting their information without their knowledge of his intent to illegally vote on their behalf, according to the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office, which conducted the investigation that led to his arraignment last year…..

Some of Khan’s alleged fraud victims were elderly and, like him, Pakistani immigrants, unfamiliar with the American voting process, according to police.

California’s voting system didn’t immediately flag the ballots tied to Khan because the people being registered were real citizens with legitimate information, according to Hale, who was appointed in 2022 as the San Joaquin County registrar of voters.

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“GOP backs voting by mail, yet turns to courts to restrict it in battleground states”

Zach Roth:

Fearing that Democrats hold a crucial edge in ballots cast before Election Day, national Republicans are working to convince their voters to take advantage of mail and early voting this year.

“We can’t play catch up. We can’t start from behind. We can’t let Dems get a big head start and think we’re going to win it all on Election Day,” Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel said in November on a conference call aimed at promoting the group’s Bank Your Vote initiative to encourage early and mail voting. “Things happen on Election Day.”

But the party’s army of lawyers is, more quietly, sending a very different message. The RNC is fighting in courtrooms and legal filings in key election battlegrounds across the country to make it harder to cast a mail ballot and to have it counted. 

On Feb. 20, attorneys for the RNC were in a federal courtroom in Philadelphia, in a bid to require that Pennsylvania throw out mail ballots with missing or incorrect dates. 

Eleven days earlier, they filed a lawsuit challenging several provisions of Arizona’s newly adopted election rules, including a rule allowing voters who have not shown proof of citizenship to cast a mail ballot. 

And that same day, they asked a court in Georgia to uphold a state law that imposes stricter rules on mail voting. 

Separately, in recent months the RNC has asked courts to let it join the defense of laws in OhioWisconsin, and North Carolina that similarly impose tighter rules on mail voting (judges in the latter two states denied the requests, while the Ohio motion was approved). 

The party also has sued to block a New York law that lets people vote by mail without an excuse (the state’s Supreme Court this month dismissed the complaint). And it has formally weighed in against proposed changes to Nevada’s election rules, including one that makes it easier for election officials to prevent volunteer observers from disrupting the counting of mail ballots. 

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“Effort to allow for early processing of Wisconsin absentee ballots stalls out”


Local clerks may still have to wait until Election Day to begin processing absentee ballots in Wisconsin, despite a bipartisan effort to allow for early canvassing.

The state Assembly passed legislation in November that would allow election workers to begin processing absentee ballots the day before an election.

But in an interview that aired Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, told WISN-TV that the bill is likely dead, saying he doubts the legislation will make it out of a Senate committee….

The Senate Committee on Shared Revenue, Elections and Consumer Protection held a public hearing on the bill in December. Claire Woodall, executive director of the City of Milwaukee Election Commission, spoke in support of the bill, saying voting by mail continues at nearly 400 percent of the level the city saw prior the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is not just an issue that’s important for the city of Milwaukee, but it affects many communities throughout the state of Wisconsin,” Woodall said at the hearing. “Creating a process that allows us to report our results on election night will just continue to strengthen the transparency and trust in our democratic process.”

Woodall said Milwaukee processed 170,000 absentee ballots in 2020 and 61,000 absentee ballots in 2022.

Backers of the legislation could still try to force a vote on the bill before lawmakers adjourn in March, but LeMahieu’s comments suggest such an effort would face steep odds in the Senate.

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“Republican lawsuits challenge mail ballot deadlines. Could they upend voting across the country?”


Republicans are challenging extended mail ballot deadlines in at least two states in a legal maneuver that could have widespread implications for mail voting before the presidential election in November.

A lawsuit filed last week in Mississippi follows a similar one last year in North Dakota, both brought in heavily Republican states before conservative federal courts. Democratic and voting rights groups are concerned about the potential impact beyond those two states if a judge rules that deadlines for receiving mailed ballots that stretch past Election Day, Nov. 5, violate federal law.

They say it’s possible such a decision would lead to a nationwide injunction similar to one last year when a Texas judge temporarily paused the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the abortion pill mifepristone.

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“Conn. mayor wins do-over race after GOP seized on Democratic ballot-stuffing”


A Connecticut mayor whose September primary election win was invalidated after ballot-fraud allegations won a do-over primary Tuesday, months after his case became a flash point in conservative arguments about debunked theories of voter fraud.

Donald Trump barrels toward the Republican nomination and continues promoting debunked claims that the 2020 election was rigged against him, he and his allies have seized on this case out of Democratic-leaning Bridgeport. They see the case — which resulted in a mayor formerly convicted of conspiracy winning a general election that had been voided by the courts — as evidence that Democrats are committing widespread fraud. Elections experts say those claims are baseless and that the Bridgeport case is unique.

“There is no indication to say that what took place in Bridgeport is happening nationally,” said David Levine, a senior fellow with the German Marshall Fund’s Alliance for Securing Democracy. “But election deniers just need a toehold to get greater traction on a bigger claim. For those that want to make mountains out of molehills, it’s incumbent on them to bring the evidence to support those accusations.”

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“Election Fraud Is Rare. Except, Maybe, in Bridgeport, Conn.”


Two months ago, Joe Ganim received the most votes in the race for mayor of Bridgeport, Conn. This week, the city will vote again — to decide if he should even be the Democratic candidate.

The unlikely and confusing situation arose after a judge ruled that there was enough evidence of misconduct in the Democratic primary in September to throw its result — a victory by Mayor Ganim — into doubt. The judge pointed to videos showing “partisans” repeatedly stuffing absentee ballots into drop boxes.

The footage provided a particularly lurid illustration of ballot tampering, though experts say election fraud is rare in the United States and often accidental when it occurs.

But in Bridgeport, Connecticut’s largest city, ballot manipulation has undermined elections for years.

In interviews and in court testimony, residents of the city’s low-income housing complexes described people sweeping through their apartment buildings, often pressuring them to apply for absentee ballots they were not legally entitled to.

Sometimes, residents say, campaigners fill out the applications or return the ballots for them — all of which is illegal.

“Bridgeport has a very long, tortured history of absentee ballot abuse,” said Bill Bloss, a lawyer who persuaded the judge to order the fall primary to be rerun.

“It’s not a secret,” he added. “It has been going on for years.”

Last June, the State Election Enforcement Commission found evidence of criminality in the 2019 Democratic primary for mayor. In 2022, a judge ordered a Democratic primary for state representative to be rerun amid an allegation of ballot fraud.

In 2018, Bridgeport was forced to hold three primaries for City Council. The first was invalidated over a miscounted absentee ballot; the second was voided by the State Supreme Court in part because a police officer had improperly collected absentee ballots….

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“Battle over ‘legal ballot harvesting’ being waged in New York”


U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik is waging a court challenge against New York’s new vote-by-mail law in court while also promoting “legal ballot harvesting” on the campaign trail as the fierce and costly battle for control of Congress in next year’s election has already begun. 

New York Republicans are arguing the state law allowing “no-excuse” mail-in voting is unconstitutional and, if not halted right away, could hurt the “likelihood of future victory” for GOP candidates. …

Democrats, in legal briefs filed in response to the lawsuit in recent weeks, contend the state Legislature’s method to create early voting by mail for all New Yorkers — through a bill and not a constitutional amendment — is a sound, legal practice. 

“There is no express language in the New York constitution that precludes early voting by mail,” attorneys for state Attorney General Letitia James countered in a brief. 

Democrats argue extending vote by mail to anyone is within the scope of the Legislature’s ability to act within its constitutional right to dictate the “manner” in which New Yorkers vote. 

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Iowa: “Woodbury County supervisor’s wife found guilty of 52 counts of voter fraud”

Iowa Public Radio:

A jury spent about five hours deliberating before convicting Kim Phuong Taylor on 52 counts of voter fraud in federal court Tuesday in Sioux City. Taylor faces up to five years in prison on each count. A sentencing date hasn’t been set.

Prosecutors say Taylor took advantage of other Vietnamese immigrants by illegally filling out election forms and ballots. Her husband, Jeremy Taylor, lost a GOP primary for the U.S. House and won election to the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors in 2020….

Gill testified early in the trial about how he discovered issues with absentee ballots and how some of the signatures and forms looked like they were filled out by the same person. Since the ballots were separated from the envelopes that people signed, it was impossible to tell who submitted the ballots.

During the general election, Gill said he was able to trace suspicious ballots. Gill also said he witnessed both Kim and Jeremy Taylor dropping ballots off at a drop box outside the Woodbury County Courthouse. He alerted the FBI, who then investigated.

The prosecution also said evidence showed Taylor’s voter forms had similar handwriting. They showed the jury several voting forms to try and prove their point.

Two Iowa State students, Tam and Thien Doan, took the stand and said that when they tried to file absentee ballots in Ames, they discovered someone had already cast a ballot in their names. They are Democrats, but their votes supported all Republican candidates, including former President Donald Trump. They were able to get new ballots in time for the general election.

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“Judge says ‘undated’ Pennsylvania ballots should count, setting up a likely appeal”

Hansi Lo Wang for NPR:

Mailed ballots that arrive on time but in envelopes without dates handwritten by Pennsylvania voters should be counted, a federal judge ruled Tuesday in a case that’s likely to end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Susan Paradise Baxter is expected to be appealed to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals before it ultimately reaches the high court, whose final word on what are often referred to as “undated ballots” may help determine the outcome of the 2024 presidential race and other key upcoming elections in the swing state.

The plaintiffs in this pair of lawsuits — including the Pennsylvania State Conference of the NAACP and the Democratic campaign committees for U.S. House of Representatives and Senate candidates — argue that ballots in return envelopes without any handwritten date or with an incorrect one should not be disqualified from the 2022 midterm elections and future races in Pennsylvania.

While those handwritten dates are required by Pennsylvania state law, they are not used to confirm whether a person is allowed to vote. Counties have included ballots arriving in undated or misdated return envelopes in final vote tallies for past elections.

Not counting these kinds of ballots, the plaintiffs argue, would violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which says a person’s right to vote cannot be denied for “an error or omission” that is “not material” in determining voting eligibility.

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