US intelligence officials say Iran and Russia obtained voter registration information to interfere in election

“Iran and Russia are using voter registration data to interfere in the US elections, top national security officials announced during a surprise press conference Wednesday night.

Iran is behind the spoof emails to some voters, and is spreading disinformation online about sending fraudulent ballots from overseas, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said Wednesday. Russia has also gotten access to voter registration data, just as it did in 2016, he said.

Both Ratcliffe and FBI Director Christopher Wray said no votes have been compromised. “Today, that [election] infrastructure remains resilient,” Wray said Wednesday. “You should be confident that your vote counts.”

National security officials didn’t really offer many other details in their abrupt announcement. The spoof emails appear to be those sent to some voters in Alaska and Florida, which claimed to be sent from the Proud Boys, a far-right organization. The emails reportedly targeted Democratic voters, claiming they had access to voting infrastructure and threatening them if they did not vote for Trump.

The Washington Post reported before the press conference that the US government had concluded Iran was behind the emails.”

Efforts To Limit Ballot Drop-Off Boxes Are Cynical Electoral Gamesmanship

“On Election Day, there will be literally hundreds of polling places open in Harris County, Texas—which makes sense because more than 4.7 million people live in the county that includes Houston, America’s fourth-largest city.

But voters who requested absentee ballots will have to either put them in the mail or return them to a single location: a parking lot outside the Houston Texans’ NRG Stadium. That’s because Republican officials in Texas—like in Ohio and elsewhere—have ordered counties to have no more than one ballot dropoff location.”

“it’s difficult to look at the available data regarding absentee balloting for the 2020 election and conclude that these Republican-backed efforts are anything other than a cynical ploy to salvage an election that could get ugly for the GOP. In states that track the party affiliation of voters who requested absentee ballots, the numbers are overwhelmingly tipped towards Democrats. But requested ballots mean nothing until they are returned—and therefore any barriers erected to reduce the number of ballots returned is likely to help Republicans.”

“In close states, every little bit could matter.”

” Until a court says otherwise (and perhaps even then, depending on appeals rulings) all of this is legal. But it’s also ugly, cynical, and corrosive to the legitimacy of elections.”

McConnell-led Republicans hold steady against Trump concession

“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and top Republican lawmakers on Monday refused to recognize Joe Biden as the president-elect, defending President Donald Trump as he continues to launch unsubstantiated allegations about widespread voter fraud.

McConnell, like many other Senate Republicans, neither repeated Trump’s false claims that Democrats are trying to “rig” and “steal” the election, nor publicly pressured the president to concede. Their reluctance to recognize Biden’s victory two days after he secured enough Electoral College votes highlights the grip that Trump still holds on the GOP, even as he will likely soon be leaving the White House. For now, they’re sticking with the president”

“Trump has continued to assert that there were widespread irregularities in several states but has so far provided no evidence. He falsely claimed on Twitter that he won the election, even as Biden on Saturday secured the necessary 270 electoral votes to win the White House, according to numerous media projections. The president has even suggested the election was “stolen” from him, but his campaign has lost several court fights already.”

“Senate Republicans said they expect the disputes to be resolved sooner rather than later. One GOP senator, speaking on condition of anonymity to candidly describe the party’s thinking, said “most people recognize where this is headed and that clearly Biden is leading in enough states to win, but let’s not rush the process.”

So far, only four Republican senators — Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Susan Collins of Maine — have acknowledged Biden’s victory and referred to him as the president-elect.

But like McConnell, most Senate Republicans have refused to publicly acknowledge that Biden will become the next president, even though they admit that’s going to happen in private. While Biden is already aggressively planning his transition to power, GOP senators are deferring to the Trump campaign’s pending legal challenges to the election results in various battleground states.”

“Even as Biden’s team is preparing for the transfer of power, a top political appointee in the Trump administration is thus far refusing to officially certify Biden as the president-elect. Such a declaration is necessary in order to kick-start the presidential transition process; specifically, it would unlock resources for Biden’s team, including federal funding and access to the federal agencies that will need staffing.

Republicans largely declined to weigh in on whether the appointee, General Services Administration chief Emily Murphy, should certify Biden as the winner, though Collins went as far as to say that Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris “should be given every opportunity to ensure that they are ready to govern” when they take office on Jan. 20.”

The Trump campaign’s allegations of election fraud are a bunch of nonsense

“Their strategy is to make allegations first and hopefully find evidence for them later. This state of affairs was thrown into stark relief late Friday morning during a Fox News interview with RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel. During it, Fox News hosts appeared to be out of patience with her evidence-free insinuations that the election was somehow stolen from Trump.

“We just haven’t seen it. It hasn’t been presented. There’s all kinds of stuff flying on the internet, but when we look into it, it doesn’t pan out,” anchor Bret Baier told McDaniel, as she failed to explain how her technical gripes about election observers in Michigan could possibly affect the result in a state Biden appears poised to win by well over 100,000 votes.”

“While the courts and even Fox News don’t really seem to be buying what Trump is selling, the president does retain loyalty from key elected Republicans. In the hours following a Thursday press event in which the president undermined US elections by making baseless allegations of fraud, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senators Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz went on Fox News and indicated they’ll stand by Trump as he fights it out to the bitter end.”

Wisconsin Was Never A Safe Blue State

“Wisconsin is proof that politicos have short memories. In 2004, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry carried Wisconsin by just 0.4 percentage points — making it the closest state in the country. Four years earlier, it had been even closer — Democrat Al Gore won the Badger State by just 5,708 votes, or 0.2 points.

But Democrat Barack Obama really connected with Wisconsin voters, winning the state by 14 points in 2008 and 7 points in 2012. Going into 2016, that contributed to a sense that Wisconsin was a safe bet for Hillary Clinton — part of the mythical “blue wall.” It had, after all, voted Democratic in seven consecutive presidential elections by that point.”

“Conventional wisdom says that Clinton lost Wisconsin because she infamously did not visit the state at all during the final seven months of the 2016 campaign. But that’s probably not true; Clinton devoted a lot of effort to winning Pennsylvania and still lost there, for instance. Instead, Wisconsin probably got redder in 2016 for the same reason that Pennsylvania and other Midwestern states did: demographics. The one-time home of progressive stalwarts like Robert “Fighting Bob” La Follette and Victor Berger could not escape the modern reality that white people without a bachelor’s degree — who make up 59 percent of Wisconsin’s population age 25 and older — have become more and more Republican, especially in the Trump era.”

Michigan Voters Demand That Police Get Warrants for Electronic Data

“Michigan voters Tuesday night had a message for police: Get a warrant. Yes, for their phones, too.

Voters overwhelmingly approved Michigan Proposal 2. The referendum, put to the ballot by lawmakers, amends the state constitution to add “electronic data and electronic communications” to the state’s search and seizure laws.”

‘A decade of power’: Statehouse wins position GOP to dominate redistricting

“An abysmal showing by Democrats in state legislative races on Tuesday not only denied them victories in Sun Belt and Rust Belt states that would have positioned them to advance their policy agenda — it also put the party at a disadvantage ahead of the redistricting that will determine the balance of power for the next decade.”

Trump Says Mail-in Votes Are Suspicious Because They Overwhelmingly Favor Joe Biden. He’s Wrong.

“Even as dozens of states were expanding mail-in voting eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic, President Donald Trump spent months on the campaign trail telling his supporters not to cast their ballots that way.

“It shouldn’t be mail-in voting. It should be you go to a booth and you proudly display yourself,” Trump said in April, one of the first times that he spoke publicly on the issue. “You don’t send it in the mail where people pick up—all sorts of bad things can happen by the time they sign that, if they sign that, by the time it gets in and is tabulated. No. It shouldn’t be mailed in.”

He beat that same drum for the next six months. Mail-in voting was risky and dangerous, he said. It would allow postal workers or other nefarious forces to alter or lose ballots. “Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed,” he tweeted in May.

The result, unsurprisingly, is that Trump’s supporters voted mostly in person on Election Day. As a result, the piles of mail-in ballots that are now being counted and that may prove to be decisive in several key states tend to favor former Vice President Joe Biden”

‘Old white men are dying,’ so Trump looked elsewhere for votes in Florida

“Along with frequent campaign and surrogate trips, including at least four from the president himself in the final weeks, Team Trump’s winning formula included a heavy dose of messaging that sought to brand Democrats as socialists and anti-police, a focus on opening the economy despite the coronavirus pandemic, generous spending on a traditional ground game, and the buildout of a coalition that Trump in the past had paid little attention to, according to nearly a dozen Florida Republicans and campaign officials.”

“Trump’s largest base of support was, again, with white voters, who helped him outperform his 2016 showing in 32 mostly rural, white counties across the state. That support squeezed an additional 153,000 votes out of areas of the state that already backed Trump by wide margins.
But Trump also sliced into Democratic support in Hispanic-heavy Miami-Dade County, where Biden failed to muster even a fourth of Hillary Clinton’s 30-point margin in 2016.

Biden’s collapse in Miami-Dade drew particular ire from embittered Democrats, but it was only part of the demographic picture that helped Trump carry Florida a second time.”

“Exit polling showed Biden at roughly 38 percent with white voters, an improvement on Clinton’s abysmal 33 percent, but below what public polling averages had predicted.
Had white support held for Biden, he would have won Florida, Odio said.”

“Miami-Dade County is politically complex, heavily influenced by its Venezuelan, Cuban and Nicaraguan communities, where many people have fled or have family who fled leftist strongman regimes in their native countries.

The cohort is particularly influenced by political messaging that casts Democrats as part of a plot to implement socialist policies. On Tuesday, it proved once again to be a solid line of attack in South Florida, where Democrats expected the strategy but were unable to counter it.”