Category Archives: Voting Issues

Losing by Five, With 1,400 Votes Rejected

WSJ  By  Editorial Board, 

The headlines say a House election in Florida has been won by a mere five votes, 11,662 to 11,657, which is a remarkable piece of news. But here’s what those reports are missing: Nearly 1,400 mail ballots were thrown out for one reason or another. If this isn’t a warning about the perils of trusting your vote to the postman, it’s hard to know what would be.

The Nov. 2 election was a primary in the 20th Congressional District, a safe Democratic seat formerly held by Rep. Alcee Hastings, who died in April at age 84. After recounts and the typical arguing over some disputed ballots, Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick was certified last week as the Democratic nominee with a five-vote victory. She will almost certainly prevail in the January special election.

Yet what a mess: 1,253 mail votes were tossed for missing the Election Day deadline, according to staff at Broward and Palm Beach counties. Of those, 294 were postmarked before Election Day, meaning these voters probably assumed they’d done everything right. Another 708 had missing or illegible postmarks, so there’s no way to know when they were mailed. That’s an alarming failure rate for the U.S. Postal Service.

In addition to the tardy ballots, 140 mail votes were rejected for other reasons, county staff say. Forty of them were unsigned. Seventy-eight signatures were mismatched or otherwise faulty. A dozen and a half were ballots for the wrong precinct or wrong party, since Florida has closed primaries for registered partisans only.

The result is an ambiguous hash: In an election decided by five votes, who knows what another 1,400 might have done? The second-place candidate at one point said he was considering his legal options, and he probably regrets not urging his supporters to vote in person.

This is a real problem with widespread mail voting, and it isn’t getting enough attention. One screwy primary in a safe House district isn’t a threat to the republic, but George W. Bush won Florida—and thus the White House in 2000—by 537 votes. The federal Election Assistance Commission reports that, during the voting in November 2020, Florida rejected 13,919 mail ballots. The figure for Michigan is 20,480, and 34,171 for Pennsylvania.

The Democratic answer is for states to change their laws so that mail votes will be valid long after Election Day. Under H.R.1, the bill the House passed in March to take over voting rules, mail ballots would be valid for 10 days after the fact, provided they were either postmarked on time or “signed by the voter on or before the date of the election.”

Letting the counting drag on that long would be corrosive to public trust. Look no further than former President Trump’s wild fraud claims about 2020, which were aided by the muddled information coming out of laggard states like Pennsylvania. Clearly the USPS’s postmarks are not a reliable fail-safe, and unpostmarked ballots are open to charges of backdating. States should stick to clear Election Day deadlines.

A better solution to these problems is simply to get back to pre-Covid normalcy. If you’re sick or out of town during the voting period, by all means get a mail ballot and send it in early, or drop it off yourself. If not, then we should see you at the polling place, where messy handwriting and postal oversights won’t stand in the way of your vote being counted.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/losing-by-five-with-1-400-votes-rejected-florida-primary-election-voting-by-mail-usps-11637159981?mod=hp_opin_pos_2#cxrecs_s

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The Bipartisan Moral Rot of America’s Institutions

Well, what do you know? The first I have heard the WSJ at least open to the concept that some political shenanigans may have had an influence on the 2020 Presidential election. mrossol

WSJ  11/5/2021

In politics, in business, in the cultural discourse that plays out on a never-ending doom loop on our screens and in our heads, the year has been marked by the triumph of cynical expediency, the relentless pursuit of self-interest dressed up as public-spirited principle.

Political leaders, business chiefs and the media and entertainment figures they ventriloquize have grasped their opportunities in this tempestuous year to advance their own causes. A pandemic, urban violence, the machinery of electoral democracy—all carefully repurposed and packaged in a gauzy wrapping of useful lies to ensure above all else their gain.

 

Some of the nation’s biggest and most powerful companies exploited an unprecedented human crisis to grow bigger and more powerful, making sure to shed crocodile tears for the losers. Progressive politicians at the local and national levels cynically seized on repeated crises to promote their ideological objectives. Most of the nation’s celebrated newsrooms abandoned the last pretense of objectivity and revealed their selective use and manipulation of facts as little more than propaganda.

There are exceptions, but depressingly few to celebrate. The most notable last holdouts to this encroaching empire of dishonesty are the millions of decent and honorable Americans who have suffered unprecedented human and economic damage this year, even as their comfortably distanced, self-aggrandizing superiors lecture them on their ignorance and inadequacy. Lions led by donkeys.

Two episodes last week stand as fitting codas to this spectacle, timely examples of the moral corruption eating away at American institutions.

The first was the sudden discovery by the media, a month after the votes were safely cast, of the news that Hunter Biden has a serious problem stemming from his penchant to sell himself to foreigners with potential business before his father.

The New York Post broke the most explosive element of this story before the election. But back then it was deemed a “distraction” by one of our leading news organizations and a menace to democratic health by the technology companies that control the flow of much of our information. And it was more or less completely ignored or rubbished by most of the U.S. and world media.

We’ll never know what effect the story might have had on the election if it had been given the airing it deserved. The electoral margin in three states—Georgia, Wisconsin and Arizona—that combined to give Joe Biden 37 electoral votes, and the presidency, was a little under 43,000 votes, a vanishingly small sliver of the two men’s 155.5 million total nationwide votes.

But it’s less its potential electoral impact that stinks and more the cynical way in which the Biden-supporting press shouldered the story aside, in the process defaming fellow journalists as traitors peddling Kremlin propaganda. Who would have thought that 2020 would be the year Joe McCarthy and John Birch finally got the recognition from the American media they deserved?

The other episode was the spectacle of a large part of the Republican party selling its soul for the tainted penny of an embittered president’s approval in a political stunt that was irresponsible, futile and deeply undermining of the principles for which the party is supposed to stand.

There’s a case to be made that the presidential election was conducted in a way that casts doubt on the official outcome. The changing of the electoral rules in midcampaign in many states, enabling an avalanche of postal voting—with its notably greater susceptibility to fraud and manipulation—had political consequences that may well have influenced the result.

But there’s a difference between challenging those results and completely abandoning constitutional propriety and political principle to do so.

That’s what the state of Texas, joined by more than a dozen other Republican-controlled states and more than half the House Republican caucus, did in signing on to a Supreme Court case that took the justices—three of them appointed by President Trump—about four minutes to dismiss.

Again, the object of our scorn should be not the argument itself, but the chosen means for pursuing it: the idea that conservatives should embrace a political mechanism to produce a remedy that explicitly demands the subjugation of states’ constitutionally protected rights.

What are they going to argue the next time some activist federal judge seeks to impose California-style environmental regulations on Texas?

At a stroke, these conservatives were ready to jettison two of the foundational principles of conservative jurisprudence, federalism and judicial restraint, for a short-term political advantage in furtherance of a highly controversial objective of overturning an election.

The truly depressing aspect to these cynical assaults on the nation’s honor is that they act like a ratchet. With every new breach in the political or cultural proprieties that hold a nation together, a new norm is established. The already low dishonesty of our institutions becomes a ceiling, not a floor.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-bipartisan-moral-rot-of-americas-institutions-11607969301?cx_testId=3&cx_testVariant=cx_4&cx_artPos=3&mod=WTRN#cxrecs_s

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Obama’s Gerrymander Fable

WSJ  10/13/2021,  By Karl Rove

I guess I should be honored that the National Democratic Redistricting Committee slapped my name and picture on its fundraising email, but am I really “the latest Republican attack on democracy?”

The committee’s appeal appeared after former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie were named co-chairmen of the National Republican Redistricting Trust and—horror!—I became an adviser to the group, which provides data and legal support to GOP efforts in the redistricting that occurs each decade.

The NRRT was formed in response to Democratic efforts organized in 2016 by former President Barack Obama and his attorney general Eric Holder. Mr. Holder is NDRC chairman, and Mr. Obama says the group is the main focus of his post-White House political activity. The NDRC works to elect more Democratic state legislators and then provide data and legal services as they draw maps. An affiliate, called All on the Line (AOTL), mobilizes volunteers for these endeavors.

Practicing habits they’ve built up over their political careers, Messrs. Obama and Holder cloak their activities in righteousness while angrily attacking similar efforts from Republicans. Mr. Holder says GOP redistricting maps represent “a threat to our democracy” and, along with recent election reforms, “put our entire system of government in jeopardy.” The “vicious cycle” of Republican “anti-democratic gerrymandering” will only produce victories by “candidates with unpopular and even dangerous views,” according to Mr. Holder.

This sort of rhetoric isn’t unusual from the NDRC or AOTL, which routinely rip into political rivals. In AOTL’s words, GOP governors in Florida, Georgia, Ohio and Texas are “showing disdain for our democracy” in their state’s redistricting. The group also denounced the Supreme Court for making it “harder to have a truly representative democracy.” Taking a page from the Trump playbook, an AOTL fundraising pitch claims that in the 2000 White House race, Republicans “pushed to disenfranchise voters and steal an election.” Mr. Obama should be ashamed of lending his prestige to such a charge.

Moreover, Messrs. Obama and Holder’s claim that they’re concerned only with crafting fair maps is bunk. Their definition of a “fair” map is one that gives Democrats an unfair advantage.

Take Maryland. Democrats wiped out a GOP seat in redistricting in 2011, giving the state seven Democratic representatives and one Republican. As this year’s redistricting heats up, Democratic leaders look to gut the state’s single remaining Republican district by dividing it among adjoining Democratic districts. Messrs. Obama and Holder haven’t said a thing.

Then there’s Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D., Ill.), who entered office pledging to end gerrymandering by giving the job of redistricting to an independent commission. That never happened. Instead, Democratic legislators are preparing a new congressional map that likely will wipe out two Republican districts while shoring up Democrats who are at risk in 2022. And guess what? Nothing but crickets from Mr. Obama and his old attorney general.

There’s also New York. In 2014 voters approved a nonpartisan commission to draw congressional lines that only a legislative supermajority could reject. How’s the state faring as it crafts new maps while losing one of its 27 seats in reapportionment? First, the Democratic Legislature tried starving the commission, refusing to supply funds to operate.

Then Democratic commissioners refused to meet with Republicans to settle on a bipartisan map, while their party’s legislative leaders worked to weaken the supermajority vote requirement. Gov. Kathy Hochul also pledged to flip GOP congressional seats, which could take the delegation from today’s 19-8 Democratic majority to 23-3. Again, no denunciation of “threats to democracy” or cries of “fair maps or death!” from Messrs. Obama and Holder.

They’re quick to scream when Republicans’ share of a congressional delegation is larger than their share of the vote, but they never apply this standard to states where Democrats dominate redistricting. Take Oregon, where Democrats have 80% of the seats though Republicans received 40% of the vote. Or Massachusetts, where Democrats have 100% of contested seats and Republicans received 33% of the vote. Or California, where Democrats have 76% of seats contested by the GOP while Republicans received 38% of the vote. Or Illinois, where Democrats hold 67% of seats even though Republicans got 41% of the vote. Or . . . well, you get the picture.

Mr. Obama gave away his game in a recent email. “Every issue we care about—from income inequality and health care to climate policy—depends on the results of this redistricting process.” So this isn’t about fairness, democracy or ending gerrymandering. In redistricting, Democrats want to elect more of their partisans to advance their agenda. So do Republicans. The only difference is that Messrs. Obama and Holder are hypocrites about it, claiming a higher purpose. Like I said, old habits die hard.

Mr. Rove helped organize the political-action committee American Crossroads and is author of “The Triumph of William McKinley” (Simon & Schuster, 2015).

https://www.wsj.com/articles/obama-gerrymander-fable-holder-redistricting-republican-seats-nrrt-drc-aotl-karl-rove-11634158472?mod=opinion_lead_pos10

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Arizona 2020 Vote Audit Finds Potentially Election-Shifting Numbers Of Illegal Ballots

Arizona 2020 Vote Audit Finds Potentially Election-Shifting Numbers Of Illegal Ballots

While the reports made several significant findings supporting former President Trump’s complaints about the 2020 election, the corporate media ignored those aspects of the audit.

On Friday, the Arizona State Senate released the final reports on the results of the Maricopa County Forensic Election Audit. While the reports made several significant findings supporting former President Trump’s complaints about the 2020 election, the corporate media ignored those aspects of the audit to focus instead only on the results of the hand recount.

As broadly reported, the audit established “there were no substantial differences between the hand count of the ballots provided and the official canvass results for the County.” Maricopa County, which represents Arizona’s most populous county thanks to its county seat of Phoenix, had provided Biden a 45,000-vote advantage in the state, propelling Biden to a victory by 10,457 votes. So the media presented the recount as confirming Biden’s victory in the state.

Left unmentioned, however, were the numerous findings of problems with the election and, most significantly, evidence indicating tens of thousands of ballots were illegally cast or counted. A report entitled “Compliance with Election Laws and Procedures,” issued by Senate Audit Liaison Ken Bennett, highlighted several issues, of which two were particularly significant because of the number of votes involved.

First, Bennett excerpted the Arizona statutory provisions governing early ballots. Those provisions require early ballots to be accompanied by a signed affidavit in which the voter declares he is registered in the appropriate county and has not already voted. The statute further mandates that a voter “make and sign the affidavit,” and directs the early election board to check the voter’s affidavit.

Significantly, “if the affidavit is insufficient, the vote shall not be allowed.” The secretary of state’s Election Procedures Manual reinforces this point, stating: “If the early ballot affidavit is not signed, the County Recorder shall not count the ballot.”

In his report, Bennett noted that “while the Audit scope of work did not include comparing signatures with voter registration records for each voter, it did identify a number of missing signatures on ballot envelop affidavits, which to the extent the ballots in such envelopes were tallied, would violate the above statutes and procedures.”

Although Bennett did not elaborate on the issues related to affidavit signatures or the numbers of affected ballots, in a 99-page report, Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineer Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai detailed numerous anomalies.

First, Ayyadurai analyzed the early voting ballot return envelopes, on which voters were required to sign an affidavit within a signature block. That review revealed more than 17,000 duplicate images of the return envelopes. When the duplicates were eliminated from the review, Ayyadurai’s company, EchoMail, concluded that Maricopa County had recorded more than 6,545 early voting return envelopes than EchoMail determined existed. EchoMail also concluded that another approximately 500 of the envelopes’ affidavits were left blank.

Ayyadurai also highlighted several implausible statistics, such as that while there was a 52.6 percent increase from 2016 to 2020 in the number of early voting ballots, Maricopa County reported a decrease in signature mismatches of 59.7 percent. “This inverse relationship requires explanation,” the report noted, and then recommended a full audit of the signatures.

Bennett’s report on election law compliance highlighted several additional issues, but of particular note, in light of the audit report, was his reference to Arizona’s statutory requirements for individuals to be considered eligible voters, as delineated in Articles 1, 1.1, and 2 of the Arizona election code.

“The Audit identified numerous questions regarding possible ineligible voters,” Bennett noted, while adding that because “these determinations were made from comparisons between the County’s final voted information and private data sources,” the cooperation of Maricopa County and further investigation would be necessary to “determine whether ineligible persons actually were allowed to vote in the 2020 election.”

The referenced articles of the election code discuss voter registration requirements and the requirement for individuals to be registered to vote at their address of residence, although individuals moving within 29 days of the election remain properly registered to vote in the county in which they previously resided. However, students, members of the military, and others temporarily living at another address remain properly registered at their permanent home address.

Also of significance is the Arizona secretary of state’s Election Procedures Manual, which according to the audit provides that “ballot-by-mail must be mailed to voters by first-class, nonforwardable mail.”

These statutory provisions and procedures prove significant because the audit revealed that 15,035 mail-in votes in Maricopa County were from voters who had moved prior to the registration deadline, another 6,591 mail-in-votes came from voters who had moved out of Arizona prior to the registration deadline, and 1,718 mail-in votes came from voters who moved within Arizona but out of Maricopa prior to the registration deadline.

One of three scenarios seems possible here: First, the mail-in ballot was delivered to the old address and then provided to the named voter, who had only temporarily relocated. Such votes would be legal and entirely proper.

Second, the mail-in ballot was delivered to the old address and then provided to the named voter, who had permanently moved, but failed to timely update his registration record yet signed an affidavit attesting to a false address of residence. Such votes would be illegal.

Or third, the mail-in ballot was delivered to the old address, and then someone other than the named voter cast the vote. Such votes would be both illegal and fraudulent.

Neither Maricopa County nor the state of Arizona knows how many of these 23,000-plus votes fall within each of these three scenarios. And that’s a problem.

As I wrote when similar problems, albeit with more conclusive evidence, were unearthed in Georgia, “Elections are too tight and the populace too divided for ‘close enough for government work’ to cut it anymore. The American voting system must be reformed to ensure security, transparency, replicability, and election officials’ uniform compliance with state election law.”

Sixteen years ago, both Democrats and Republicans would have agreed on these goals, as the bipartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform’s report “Building Confidence in U.S. Elections” confirms. That commission, co-chaired by Democrat Jimmy Carter and Republican James Baker III, spoke of “the administration of elections as a continuing challenge, which requires the highest priority of our citizens and our government.”

Unfortunately, rather than acknowledge the problems the Maricopa County audit revealed and rise to the challenge of ensuring they are not repeated, while also investigating areas of potential fraud and illegal voting, Democrats and some Republicans pretend the hand recount’s confirmation of the official vote tally ends the matter.

The corrupt press likewise pushes this narrative: The audit confirms Trump lost, and that is all there is to the matter.

But this isn’t about Trump, just as the 2005 report on building confidence in American elections wasn’t about Al Gore. This is about election integrity and our democracy because, as the commission wrote not even 20 years ago:

The vigor of American democracy rests on the vote of each citizen. Only when citizens can freely and privately exercise their right to vote and have their vote recorded correctly can they hold their leaders accountable. Democracy is endangered when people believe that their votes do not matter or are not counted correctly.

The Arizona audit ended nothing including, sadly, the view held by half of our country that their votes do not matter and are not counted correctly—and that many politicians and members of the press don’t care.

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