Tag Archives: 2022 Election Cycle

“China, Russia, Iran and Cuba all tried to meddle in 2022 US congressional elections, intelligence assessment finds”


Foreign government efforts to target the 2022 US midterm elections appeared to grow compared with the 2018 elections, according to a declassified intelligence assessment released Monday, with a “diverse and growing group of foreign actors” participating.

There was no known order from any foreign leader to “undertake a comprehensive, whole-of-government influence campaign” like the one Russia carried out in 2016, according to the report. But the assessment found that China, Russia, Iran and Cuba all tried to meddle in congressional elections in 2022.

The intelligence community assesses with high confidence that China “tacitly approved efforts to try to influence a handful of midterm races involving members of both US political parties” – likely as part of a broad series of directives by Chinese Communist Party leaders since 2020 to “intensify efforts to influence US policy and public opinion in China’s favor.”

Update: NYT coverage of the story, and here’s the National Intelligence Council assessment.

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What role, if any, might turnout play in explaining the pattern of backlash to the President’s party in the first midterm of their presidency?

Almost exactly a year ago, I expressed skepticism that the Republican Party’s wins in Bucks County in the off-cycle 2021 election “amount[ed] to the GOP roaring back to life in the Pennsylvania suburbs.” In that post, I grumbled that: “No one ever seriously discusses turnout” when making predictions, and I remarked that “[w]e would have to see next year’s midterm turnout drop to 2014 levels for the 2021 election to be a useful benchmark of GOP support in the state.”

So here we are, one year later. Democrats in Pennsylvania captured both state-wide offices, kept their hold on three competitive House districts that many feared would flip, and seemingly secured the very slimmest majority in the state’s lower house for the first time in over a decade. They held on to suburban voters, and those voters turned out at high rates—as one might have expected based on the fact that high SES, college-educated individuals are consistent voters.

Democrats in Pennsylvania did much better than expected, as they did in Colorado and elsewhere. But this was not true not everywhere. The President’s party did worse than expected in Florida, but also in New York and Connecticut, and both Beto O’Rourke and Stacey Abrams lost their elections by wider margins than in their previous bids.

It is well-known that states vary a great deal when it comes to turnout. Turnout in a handful of states always outpaces the rest of the country. Minnesota, Maine, Colorado, Oregon, and Wisconsin generally leading the pack, including in midterms.

So, what might we learn if we compared turnout in states where the Democrats exceeded expectations to turnout where their losses were worse than anticipated? The simplest and most direct comparison would be Pennsylvania versus Florida—two consistently competitive states; both of which generally have middling turnout numbers.

Preliminary reports suggest that turnout in Pennsylvania was extremely high. U.S. Elections Project estimates 55% of eligible voters turned out in Pennsylvania in 2022. By contrast, it estimates that turnout in Florida was 49.3% of VEP. In other words, Pennsylvanians turned out at a higher rate than in the 2018 midterm election (which boasted the highest overall turnout in 100 years), while Floridians turned out at rates only slightly above the 2014 midterm (which set the record for the lowest voter turnout since 1942). For those who are curious, both states are capable of high and low turnout: Turnout in Florida in 2018 was 54.3%, and turnout in Pennsylvania in 2014 was 36.5%.

It is too early to have a good picture of how representative the electorate that turned out on November 8 was along axes of class, race, and education. But we do have some early information about representativeness with respect to age. A critical mass of young voters turned out in Pennsylvania, and some argue they were decisive to Fetterman’s victory. Florida’s young voters turned out at comparable levels, but as in Ohio, young voters in Florida are more divided in their partisan preferences than those in Pennsylvania.

The voter turnout story is not simple, however. In Colorado, where Democrats exceeded expectations, voter turnout is estimated to be slightly down from 2018, but hardly bad: Turnout in Colorado in 2018 was 61.4%. This year 57. 9% of voters in Colorado are estimated to have turned out. Turnout was also high in Michigan where it is estimated to have reached 59% this cycle (compared to 57.7% in 2018 and 43.2% in 2014).

In New York, where Democrats did worse than expected voter turnout out was abysmal (42.6%), but nowhere near as low as it was in 2014 (29.0%) and only slightly down from 2018 (45.7%). And, at least, based on the preliminary data, it is hard to see either Beto O’Rourke or Stacey Abrams’ losses as a product of significantly depressed voter turnout.

The conventional wisdom is, of course, that low voter turnout doesn’t matter because the electorate that turns out largely shares the same preferences as those who stay home. I am on record as skeptical about this conventional wisdom.

So, would more systematic attention to variable voter turnout complicated the conventional wisdom that the President’s party always gets a shellacking in the first midterm after their election?  It is hard to tell, but probably, to varying degrees, in different places.

But the real point is: Wouldn’t it be great if we could hold turnout constant in our efforts to analyze the political implications of elections? Wouldn’t it be great if more states were like Minnesota, Maine, Colorado, and Wisconsin and fewer were like New York, Texas and Tennessee (which had the lowest turnout this cycle)?

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Pennsylvania Update

Philadelphia 3.0 ended the week with an election round-up.

First, it notes, that youth voters seem to have tipped the election toward Fetterman: “According to data from CIRCLE at Tufts University, voters under 29 netted John Fetterman 120,000 votes of his 185,000-vote total.”

Second , it lays out in great detail the parliamentary details that explain why control of the Pennsylvania State House won’t be clear until long after the final districts are called:

“If the 142nd goes to Hogan, Democrats will have won 102 seats to 101 seats for the Republicans, but the chamber would still be split 101-101 in that scenario because the late Rep. Tom DeLuca passed away between the primary and the general election. One important wrinkle in this situation is the open question of whether the General Assembly leadership must be elected by 102 votes, or just a simple majority of those present and voting.”

There is also the added complication:

“It remains unclear how this will get resolved in the short term, since in January, state Reps. Austin Davis and Summer Lee will resign from their seats to take their new positions as Lt. Governor and member of Congress, respectively. Rep. Austin Davis is not required to resign until January 17th. Those two resignations will temporarily reduce the Democrats’ margin to 99-101 for some duration until special elections are conducted to fill the three open seats from the late Rep. DeLuca, along with Davis, and Lee.”

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Breaking News–GA Trial Court Rules Voting May Proceed on Saturday, Nov. 26, in the GA Senate runoff election

Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that a Georgia Trial court has granted the Democratic Party and Warnock Campaign’s request for a declaratory judgment and injunction to allow for early voting on Saturday, November 26. Order is embedded in the article.

“Fulton County Superior Court Judge Thomas Cox decided Friday that state law permits counties to offer voting Nov. 26, finding in favor of Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock’s campaign.

County governments may now choose to offer residents an opportunity to vote on that Saturday in addition to five mandatory weekdays of early voting the following week.”

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Updated–It’s Now Official: Kari Lake Will Not Concede

Earlier in the week, I wrote that true to her brand, Kari Lake is refusing to concede in the Arizona Governor’s race. In a video released today, she has raised questions about the election process and emphasized to supporters that she is “busy here collecting data and evidence.” Rumors on Twitter are that she has been seen at Mar-a-Lago. It is now official and those rumors have been confirmed.

“Refusing to concede, Kari Lake, the defeated Republican candidate for Arizona governor, said Thursday she is assembling lawyers and collecting evidence of voters having trouble casting ballots on Election Day as she considers her next move.

Lake, who was endorsed by Donald Trump, traveled to the former president’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida on Thursday, her campaign spokesman told The Associated Press.”

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“Arizona voters reject effort to enact stricter voter ID law”

AP News says it is now clear that Proposition 309,  which would have imposed additional hurdles for absentee ballots and stricter voter ID requirements, has failed. The measure has fallen short by about 20,000 votes–over the recount margin.

“Arizona voters who overwhelmingly cast their ballots by mail have rejected a measure that would have required them to add more information to the simple signature and date they now put on the back of the return envelope.”

Had the measure passed, voters would have been required “to write their birthdates and add state-issued voter identification numbers, driver license or identification card numbers or a partial social security number to affidavits rather than just signing and dating them.” The back-of-envelope signature used by many counties would also have been changed to require that they be placed into a second envelope.

Meanwhile, those who lack photo IDs issued by state, tribal, or federal authorities would no longer have been able “to vote by presenting two alternate documents, such as a utility bill.”

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“Biden Made a Play for Young Voters. It Worked — and Helped Democrats Keep the Senate”

Behind its firewall, Bloomberg has an analysis of the decisive role young voters appear to have played in key Senate races, most prominently Nevada’s. The article summarizes this publicly available analysis from Circle at Tufts University.

As summarized by Bloomberg:

“Twenty-seven percent of voters aged 18 to 29 cast ballots in last week’s elections, the second-highest turnout in three decades, according to the analysis.”

“Voters under 30 were decisive in Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto’s win in Nevada — which officially secured the party’s hold on the chamber. And Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock might not have been able to force a December runoff against Republican challenger Herschel Walker without them.”

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Breaking: NBC Projects Arizona Governorship for Democrats

NBC News:

“Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs has defeated Republican Kari Lake in Arizona’s race for governor, NBC News projected Monday.

Hobbs’ victory is key for Democrats in a presidential battleground and a rebuke to a prominent election denier — though the closeness of the contest left the result up in the air for nearly a week.”

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Breaking News: ACLU Seeks to Stop Hand-Count in Nye County, NV Again

The ACLU of Nevada has filed a second suit asking the courts to enjoin Mark Kampf, the county clerk in Nye County, Nevada, from conducting a hand count of ballots received in the 2022 midterm elections. The ACLU of Nevada — which is represented by itself and the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law — argues that Kampf does not have the legal authority to move forward with the hand-count under either state law or the state constitution, which guarantees Nevada voters‘ right to have “election contests resolved fairly, accurately and efficiently.”

“The Nye County Clerk’s insistence on doing a hand-count of all ballots that have already been counted by machine tabulators defies best practices in the election security field,” said Sadmira Ramic, ACLU of Nevada Voting Rights Attorney. “It’s a haphazard and disorganized approach to one of the greatest responsibilities of election administration, counting every eligible vote.”

The primary basis for the suit is that any hand-counting procedures would have needed to be secured in advance of the election because Nevada law requires that at least 90 days before an election, counties submit to the Secretary of State’s office – and receive approval for – any election administration procedures related to ballot security and voting accuracy.

The plaintiffs also argue that the county clerk’s proposed hand-counting procedures do not include basic security measures to ensure that ballots are not altered during the counting process. Hand counting procedures deployed before Election Day – before the count was stopped by the Nevada Supreme Court in response to a previous lawsuit by the ACLU of Nevada – did not appear to have sufficient processes in place to keep volunteers from having access to the individuals counting and reading the ballots, or to ensure ballot preservation.

The petition is available here, along with more background on ACLU of Nevada v. The County of Nye and Mark Kampf.

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Pennsylvania–Split Tickets and White Rural Voters

Some of you might be interested in this thread on Twitter with Lara Putnam analyzing the votes in Pennsylvania. Two themes are worth highlighting:

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Election Deniers Win Races for Secretary of State in Four Red States

Bolts Magazine rounds up the wins and losses for Secretary of State positions. Four “Republicans who ran on the Big Lie” won their races for Secretary of State. They will take office in Alabama, Indiana, South Dakota, and Wyoming. The good news:

  • All election deniers who ran for secretary of state in battleground states . . . lost on Tuesday, blocking major avenues for the former president to manipulate the next election cycle.”
  • Election deniers also failed to take over these offices in blue states like Massachusetts and Vermont.”
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“Doug Mastriano concedes to Josh Shapiro, five days after Election Day”

Although it has been clear since Election Day, Doug Mastriano has finally got around to conceding, as the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. He lost by 14 points. Still, in a world where election denying has become normal, and from an election denier who was at the Capitol on January 6 apparently considering crossing police barricades, this is, indeed, good news. Equally important news: The PA Republicans are definitely coming around to Senator Toomey’s “dump Trump,” mantra.

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