Ballot Design Issues and Overvotes in GA Special Election Senate Race

This new paper from Herron, Smith, et. al., out incredibly fast, suggests that there were 4,000 people in Gwinnett County who accidentally voted twice in the Loeffler-Collins-Warnock race, due to confusion of the double-column ballot used there. Pictures of the ballot in Gwinnett County compared to the one in Bibb County, from their paper is below. This has no effect on the presidential election and did not affect the outcome in the Senate race,…

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“Trump campaign files lawsuit asking judge to overturn or annul Nevada’s presidential election results

…den in the state. “We’re quite confident in the fact that when the law and the facts are clearly adjudicated in this matter, that it will be very clear that once all the voting happened, once everything occurred, the results were unreliable because of the irregularities and the fraud” Binnall said. Dan Kulin, a spokesman for Clark County, said in an emailed statement that the county has not yet seen the lawsuit but that it “sounds like they are re…

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“Residual Votes in the 2020 Election in Georgia”

New draft by David Cottrell, Felix E. Herron, Michael C. Herron, and Daniel A. Smith: The 2020 General Election took place against the backdrop of a pandemic and numerous claims about incipient voter fraud and election malfeasance. No state’s presidential race was closer than Georgia’s, where a hand recount of the presidential contest is planned. As an initial post-election audit of the 2020 election in Georgia, we analyze residual vote rates in…

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“Trump Legacy: Boom in Corporate Political Disclosure”

New from Bruce Freed, Karl Sandstrom, and Dan Carroll: How has the Trump presidency impacted corporate political disclosure and accountability? The answer might come as a surprise. It’s been a boon and a boom. Over the past four years, more large publicly held U.S. companies than ever before have adopted sound transparency and oversight practices for their political spending. This trend has strengthened between the 2016 presidential election and…

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#2DaysOut: “Ten Things to Watch for on (and after) Election Day” (Dan Tokaji)

The following symposium contribution is from Dan Tokaji (Wisconsin): It’s been an election year like no other.  The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered the way that we register and vote, in ways that will have lasting effects.  The United States is also facing up to a long legacy of unjustified official violence toward people of color, especially black men, which continues to this day as exemplified by the recent killing of George Floyd a…

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“In Florida, voters of color and young voters have had ballots flagged for possible rejection at higher rates than others”

…ballots from Black and Hispanic voters at two times the rate of ballots from White voters, according to an analysis by University of Florida political science professor Daniel Smith. For people younger than 24, the rate was more than four times what it was for those 65 and older….

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“Despite polls showing a close race, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick claims if Democrats win on Election Day, it will be ‘because they stole it”

Texas Tribune: Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick repeated unsubstantiated claims in a Thursday interview that the only way Republicans can lose on Election Day is if Democrats cheat. “The Democrats have just decided this election, Mark, we don’t have to pay attention to any laws. We’re gonna use COVID as an excuse to steal the election, and that’s what they’re trying to do everywhere,” Patrick, a Republican, said during a radio interview on “The Mark D…

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“Minnesota Democrats ramp up push for absentee ballot turnout”

…g out to voters with unreturned absentee ballots, and Democratic Sen. Tina Smith, who is up for re-election Tuesday, is creating a television ad to send the same message. The city of Minneapolis expanded hours for ballot drop-off sites to make voting more accessible…. Simon said voters who still have absentee ballots in hand may drop them off at a designated location before 3 p.m. on Election Day, vote early at an early voting station, or vote in…

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“Trump announces intention to nominate two individuals to serve as FEC members”

…firm Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, and served as a law clerk for Judge Jerry Smith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. Broussard currently serves as counsel to FEC Vice Chair Steven Walter, an independent. Broussard previously served as an attorney-adviser at the Internal Revenue Service and as deputy disciplinary counsel at the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board, along with previously serving as a New Orleans assistant district att…

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“In two political battlegrounds, thousands of mail-in ballots are on the verge of being rejected”

Herron & Smith: Tens of millions of Americans have already cast their ballots for the 2020 election by mail, building on a historic shift in voting methods that started with primary elections held during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mail-in ballots, however, aren’t automatically accepted as in-person ballots are. Rather, they can be rejected if they have signature defects on their return envelopes. Unless cured by voters – which means that voters fix…

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5th Circuit Reverses District Court Order Which Would Have Made It Easier for Texas Voters to “Cure” Signature Mismatch; Case Shows Danger of Pursing These Cases with Increasingly Conservative Judiciary

…y Judge Higgenbotham at this link. This case is a nice illustration of the dangers of bringing these suits seeking federal court orders easing voting during a pandemic. Not only do such suits face a greater chance of reversal as they work their way up the increasingly conservative appellate food chain. They run the risk of getting really bad voting rights precedent on the books. In this case, the opinion by Judge Jerry Smith will have very bad imp…

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PA: A Potentially Explosive Mix of the Worst Election Laws in A Potentially Decisive State

…ts and an automatic letter-opener that can unseal 20,000 ballots per hour, Smith said. Each envelope takes about 90 seconds to scan and prepare for counting, work that Smith would love to do ahead of time. But a state law prohibits opening and preparing mail-in envelopes for tallying before Election Day and counting those ballots before the polls close. So far, neither lawmakers nor the courts have approved a change to the rules. [emphasis added]…

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Dan Balz: “As Trump refuses to say he’ll accept election results, Republicans press to make voting harder”

Balz at WaPo: Republican officials have rhetorically brushed aside President Trump’s refusal to say he will accept the results of the election. They note that presidencies have changed hands peacefully since the start of the republic. Meanwhile, they are engaged in a systematic effort to make voting more difficult. These actions are not the work of a confident, expanding party; they are not signs of a party that sees its coalition growing and it…

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“Vote-by-mail ballot rejection and experience with mail-in voting”

David Cottrell, Michael Herron, and Dan Smith have posted this new draft. Here is the abstract: Although most ballots in the United States have historically been cast in-person, an increasing number of Americans are turning to mail-in voting during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Voters inexperienced with the form of voting, however, disproportionately submit ballots that end up being rejected, either because they arrive late at local elections o…

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Ohio SOS Frank LaRose Says Federal Court Misunderstood His Order, Tells Cuyahoga County to Stand Down on Ballot Collection Expansion

…cy set by Secretary of State Frank LaRose. On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Dan Polster dismissed a lawsuit from voter rights’ advocates who sought an expansion of ballot drop box sites in Ohio. His rationale was that LaRose had issued a written directive to county elections officials that said staffed, off-site ballot collection sites like the ones Cuyahoga County had planned were allowed, making the issue moot. But that’s not what LaRose’s guidan

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“Ohio counties can offer expanded ballot collection options, but only at a single site, Secretary of State Frank LaRose says”

…d in a directive to local elections officials on Monday. LaRose’s extra guidance comes shortly before a 12 p.m. deadline set by a federal judge overseeing a federal lawsuit over ballot drop boxes. U.S. District Judge Dan Polster had given LaRose until then to explain why he wouldn’t permit Cuyahoga County elections officials to move forward with a plan that sought to sidestep an Aug. 11 order from LaRose that set a limit of one ballot drop box per…

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The Normally Understated Dan Balz: “Facing possible defeat, Trump threatens the integrity of the election”

Dan Balz WaPo column: Each week has brought evidence of the damage President Trump has done during his nearly four years in office. According to his own words, he is not finished. This past week brought a renewed warning of a harm he could yet inflict on the integrity of elections. The president did more than simply refuse to pledge that he would facilitate a peaceful transfer of power if he loses to former vice president Joe Biden, though that…

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“Federal judge sidesteps ruling on whether multiple drop boxes for ballots are needed in Ohio counties”

…t to see how a state appeals court handles the matter. U.S. District Judge Dan Polster issued a seven-page decision that criticized Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose and the state legislature for failing to come up with a solution sooner. He ordered LaRose to work with the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections to alleviate “the looming crisis for voters who plan to personally deliver their ballots for the November 3 election rather than returning…

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“Dan Forest asks Trump administration to investigate NC Democrats over mail-in voting”

…to a proposed change in North Carolina’s vote-by-mail rules, N.C. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest said Thursday. Forest, a Republican like Trump, wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr asking him to look into potential changes the N.C. State Board of Elections voted on earlier this week, to settle a lawsuit against the state. Barr, a close Trump ally, has frequently been accused of politicizing the U.S. Department of Justice to help Trump’s re-e…

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Now Available with Free Access: Election Law Journal: Special Section: Elections During the COVID Pandemic

…ions in the Age of the Coronavirus Anna Baringer,  Michael C. Herron, and  Daniel A. Smith Pages:289–320 Published Online:17 September 2020 Abstract Full text PDF Permissions Preview Abstract Signature Verification and Mail Ballots: Guaranteeing Access While Preserving Integrity—A Case Study of California’s Every Vote Counts Act William Janover and  Tom Westphal Pages:321–343 Published Online:4 September 2020 Abstract Full text PDF Permissions Pre…

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“Pennsylvania Law and the 2020 Presidential Election (Virtual)” Sept. 29

…ationally-recognized, independent election law experts will join Professor Dan Mallinson for a public discussion of how Pennsylvania’s election laws could affect the 2020 voting process and potential legal challenges.  The panelists will focus, in particular, on the currently pending proposals to modify Pennsylvania’s Election Code. Informed by their insights into the policies on these issues in other states and their experience with election law…

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Former DNI Dan Coats in NYT Oped Calls for High Level Election Commission to Weigh In on Election Issues

…nnot find common ground now, on this core issue at the very heart of our endangered system, we never will. Our key goal should be reassurance. We must firmly, unambiguously reassure all Americans that their vote will be counted, that it will matter, that the people’s will expressed through their votes will not be questioned and will be respected and accepted. I propose that Congress creates a new mechanism to help accomplish this purpose. It shoul…

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October 7: Georgetown Law at 150: Alumni and Faculty in Conversation: Voting Rights Panel (Virtual Event)

…Public Representation Civil Rights Law ClinicRick Hasen, Visiting Associate Professor at Georgetown Law, Election Law Analyst for CNNMarc Morial (L’83), President and CEO of the National Urban LeaguePaul Smith, Professor from Practice at Georgetown Law, Vice President for Litigation and Strategy at the Campaign Legal CenterAndrea Young (L’79), Executive Director of the ACLU of Georgia…

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“Trump and allies ratchet up disinformation efforts in late stage of campaign”

…roup, and the video was shot in October. White House social media director Dan Scavino shared a manipulated video that falsely showed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden seeming to fall asleep during a television interview, complete with a fake TV headline. And Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the second-ranking House Republican, released a video splicing together quotes from activist Ady Barkan — who has Lou Gehrig’s disease and uses comput…

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“Political group tied to Kanye West campaign law firm sent misinformation on Biden with mail-in ballot applications to battleground state voters”

…en, his running mate California Sen. Kamala Harris and Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith, while positively portraying positions taken by President Donald Trump and Republicans.Trump and his supporters have railed against mail-in voting, particularly of mass mail ballots that are sent unsolicited, and falsely claim that it is plagued by widespread fraud. In reality, there is no evidence that mail-in voting leads to fraud. CNN obtained pictures of the maile…

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“Twitter changing labeling practices after deceptive videos hit Biden”

…inority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, White House social media director Dan Scavino and the reelection campaign for President Donald Trump. On Monday, the Trump campaign tweeted a truncated clip of Biden saying, “You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America.” The clip was in fact from a speech in which Biden said Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were making that argument. The full quote from the speech: “Trump and Pence are running on this, and…

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“Google greenlights ads with ‘blatant disinformation’ about voting by mail”

…nder Law. “And so it is deeply troubling.” A Google spokeswoman, Charlotte Smith, declined to answer specific questions about the ads or explain how they complied with the company’s policies, saying only in an emailed statement: “We have zero tolerance for ads that employ voter suppression tactics or undermine participation in elections. When we find those ads, we take them down.” Facebook removed similar ads from the same group in response to a W…

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“How to Run An Election – the ABA Way”

…ross & Leoni, LLP; Member, ABA Standing Committee on Election Law– Paul M. Smith – Vice President for Litigation & Strategy, Campaign Legal Center; Professor from Practice, Georgetown Law– Megan Wolfe – Administrator, Wisconsin Elections Commission– Estelle H. Rogers (Moderator) – Chair, ABA Standing Committee on Election Law Joint Sponsors: ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice, ABA Standing Committee on Election Law Co-Sponsors: Coaliti…

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“How Pro-Trump Forces Work the Refs in Silicon Valley”

Ben Smith NYT column: But the referees who really matter nowadays are no longer the big media companies. The new referees are the Silicon Valley giants that control what we see when we search, browse or post online. But some in the news media learned lessons from back then, ones that Silicon Valley chief executives would be wise to reflect on this election season. The biggest one is about false balance, and false symmetry. The American right and…

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“Bice: Wisconsin Republicans help Kanye West in his attempt to get on state presidential ballot”

…elector for the state’s 5th Congressional District. McCoy could not be reached late Tuesday. But there is a J.M. McCoy from Wauwatosa who is a national committeeman for the Wisconsin Young Republicans. West’s elector for the 3rd Congressional District is James Smith of Stoddard. On his Facebook page, Stoddard has of a picture of his house with a Trump sign in front of it. Contacted by the Journal Sentinel, Smith was tight-lipped about his support…

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“How the Media Could Get the Election Story Wrong We may not know the results for days, and maybe weeks. So it’s time to rethink “election night.””

Ben Smith NYT media column: Picture this Thanksgiving: turkey, football (maybe), tenser-than-usual interactions with relatives. And perhaps a new tradition: finding out who actually won the presidential election. The coronavirus crisis means that states like Pennsylvania may be counting mail-in ballots for weeks, while President Trump tweets false allegations about fraud. And the last barriers between American democracy and a deep political cris…

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Paul Smith and Mark Gaber: “Florida Voters Ask Supreme Court to Lift Stay”

The following is a guest post from Paul Smith and Mark Gaber of the Campaign Legal Center: In a one-line decision issued on July 1, the en banc Eleventh Circuit stayed a district court order enjoining Florida’s “pay-to-vote” system for people with prior felony convictions. In so doing, they abruptly changed election rules that appeared settled after the same court declined to re-hear an earlier panel decision, which declared that Florida citizen…

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Election Law Academics Update

…o pursue an NSF-funded project on detecting anomalies in election results. Daniel A. Smith was reappointed for a four year term as Chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Florida. Nick Stephanopoulos moved to Harvard Law School. Jeff Wice was appointed as a Senior Fellow and Adjunct Professor at New York Law School where he is teaching classes on the census and redistricting and directing a new redistricting institute. Co…

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“More than 18,000 mail ballots not counted in Florida’s March presidential primary”

…mbers of voters expected to vote by mail for the first time come November. Daniel Smith, a University of Florida political science professor who specializes in elections, has previously found that mail ballots are more likely to be rejected than ballots cast in person. His research has found that rejection rates varied widely by county, which he has said suggests non-uniformity in how county elections officials verify signatures and other details…

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Federalist Society Panel on COVID-19 and the 2020 Elections

…or International PeaceProf. Michael T. Morley, Assistant Professor, Florida State University College of LawProf. Richard H. Pildes, Sudler Family Professor of Constitutional Law, New York University School of LawHon. Bradley A. Smith, Josiah H. Blackmore II/Shirley M. Nault Professor of Law, Capital University Law SchoolModerator: Hon. R. Patrick DeWine, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of OhioThe full conference program is here: https://lnkd.in/e…

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“LeBron James and Other Stars Form a Voting Rights Group”

…tion, called More Than a Vote, will partly be aimed at inspiring African-Americans to register and to cast a ballot in November. But as the name of the group suggests, Mr. James and other current and former basketball stars — including Trae Young, Skylar Diggins-Smith and Jalen Rose — will go well beyond traditional celebrity get-out-the-vote efforts. Mr. James, 35, said he would use his high-profile platform on social media to combat voter suppre…

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“Lawyer says ex-Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin illegally voted in Florida, asks Aramis Ayala to pursue charges”

…illing 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 sta…

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Breaking: 5th Circuit Stays Lower Court Order on Challenge to Texas Absentee Voting Rules During a Pandemic, Creating Some Bad Law Along the Way

…of COVID, But The Opinion is Vulnerable to Reversal by 5th Circuit. Judge Smith’s opinion simply excoriates the sloppy and poorly written district court decision; it was the most unhelpful way for the district court to have written a decision to be reviewed by a much more conservative 5th circuit. Judge Smith’s opinion helpfully rejects the argument, which was advanced by a federal district court in Georgia, that these cases raise nonjusticiable…

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