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Tag: absentee ballots

Cheney Backs Voter Suppression Bills Based On Trump’s Big Lie

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) has been an outspoken critic of Donald Trump and her fellow Republican lawmakers who have lied about voter fraud in the 2020 election — so vocal, in fact, that she lost her position in House GOP leadership over it.

Yet in an interview with Axios that aired on Sunday, Cheney said she supports the voter suppression legislation Republicans have pushed across the country in 2021, even as the same lies of fraud are being used to justify those bills.

In the interview with Axios' Jonathan Swan, Cheney denied that the hundreds of voter suppression bills — some of which have already become law — were based on Trump's voter fraud lies.

"I will never understand the resistance, for example, to voter ID," Cheney told Axios' Jonathan Swan. "There's a big difference between that and a president of the United States who loses an election after he tried to steal the election and refuses to concede."

However, many of the more than 360 pieces of voter suppression legislation Republican state legislators have introduced this year attack the very same methods of voting Trump has falsely blamed for his loss.

For example, GOP-controlled state legislatures in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and Iowa have all passed laws making it harder to vote by mail — a method of voting Trump falsely said is rife with fraud and demanded be scaled back in future elections.

Arizona's Republican governor recently signed into law a bill that purges the state's Permanent Early Voting List of voters who do not vote in two straight election cycles. The list allowed voters to opt to receive absentee ballots for every election, and the change could purge more than 125,000 voters from the list.

Georgia and Florida also now require ID to vote by mail, and both cut back on the use of ballot drop boxes — which Trump falsely said could lead to fraud.

Voting rights advocates say the changes are directly aimed at making it harder for voters of color to cast ballots. It's led voting rights experts to describe the GOP voter suppression effort as Jim Crow 2.0.

What's more, states like Georgia took away power from Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger — who refused to follow Trump's demand to steal the 2020 — and instead gave it to GOP state lawmakers who could use it to overturn elections.

"Had their grand plan been law in 2020, the numerous attempts by state legislatures to overturn the will of the voters would have succeeded," Stacey Abrams, the former Georgia state representative who now runs a voting rights organization, told the New York Times in March.

Ultimately, Cheney's refusal to fight back against voter suppression efforts shows she is still a Republican, even though she's bucked her party on support for Trump.

And the Republican Party has been the party of voter fraud lies and voter suppression even before Trump's 2020 effort to steal the election.

For example in 2019, conservatives in Wisconsin sought to purge more than 230,000 people from the voter rolls ahead of the 2020 election. The effort failed; however, a report showed that the purge would have affected Black voters at higher rates — a group that backs Democrats by wide margins.

Meanwhile, in 2016, Republicans in North Carolina passed a voter ID law that was struck down by a federal court, which said the law targeted "African Americans with almost surgical precision," and that it would "impose cures for problems that did not exist."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

In Georgia Runoff, Republicans Attack Absentee Voting, Again

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Absentee voting worked well for Republicans for years. Then Democrats won one election through heavy absentee voting, and now Republicans are trying to crack down on that. The effort is most pressing in Georgia, thanks to the two Senate runoff elections there on January 5, 2021, and Georgia Republicans are all in.

More than 378,000 Georgia voters have already sent in their absentee votes, and another 846,000 ballots have been mailed out but not yet returned. But Republicans are in court trying to make it easier to toss out ballots over signature matching questions and trying to end the use of drop boxes for turning in absentee ballots.

"Let me be clear: Before an absentee ballot is ever cast, a signature match is confirmed twice," Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has explained, referring to the signature matching when an absentee ballot application is received and when the ballot itself is received. "Not once, twice. As in the signature is matched twice. I don't know how much clearer I can make that for everyone to understand."

However, Republicans are targeting the fact that under current signature-matching procedures, two of three election officials inspecting an envelope have to say that a signature doesn't match the one on file before it will be rejected. Instead, they want to reject ballots based on the say-so of one out of three officials. Talk about a situation ripe for abuse.

That's one lawsuit. Another challenges drop boxes, takes its own whack at signature verification, and wants to delay absentee ballots from being processed until Election Day, just to make sure the vote-counting process drags out as long as possible. And then, reports Politico, "A third suit filed in state court by the Republican National Committee and state Republican Party seeks to restrict the use of drop-boxes to business hours and suggests changes related to poll observers."

Phew. That's a lot.

Democrats are filing their own suits, with Marc Elias suing four counties on behalf of the New Georgia Project, trying to get early voting times extended.

On Fox Business, Sen. Rand Paul (of Kentucky, not Georgia) spewed out a lot of lies about voter fraud and then explained some of the logic behind attacks on absentee voting—which, again, was a big Republican voting strategy right up until Donald Trump decided he didn't like it and Republicans stopped doing it but Democrats won by doing it a lot—saying "I'm very, very concerned that if you solicit votes from typically non-voters, that you will affect and change the outcome."

All the lies about voter fraud and the crux of it is still the concern that people will vote who don't usually do so. Not people who shouldn't be allowed to vote. Just people who don't always do so. That's the danger Republicans are worried about. That's the reason to fight to make it harder to vote. It's literally just about keeping people from voting. Which we knew, but it's still amazing that they say it right out.


Brett Kavanaugh Explained How He Plans To Cheat American Voters

Unless my Election Day expectations are badly mistaken, we're going to hear a lot less from the U.S. Supreme Court in coming weeks than many anticipate, because the presidential election won't be close enough to steal. If I'm wrong, the nation is in for a spectacle of legalistic casuistry, pettifoggery and intellectual dishonesty like something out of Kafka's The Trial.

My own favorite literary portrayal of the judiciary, however, occurs in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, in which our hero explains his native country's legal system to his Master Houyhouyhnm, a philosophical talking horse who has never encountered a Yahoo capable of reason.

"I said, 'there was a society of men among us, bred up from their youth in the art of proving, by words multiplied for the purpose, that white is black, and black is white, according as they are paid. To this society all the rest of the people are slaves.'"

Of course, Swift lived in an Ireland ruled by English judges, but the situation feels familiar. Citing a dispute over livestock, Gulliver explains: "they never desire to know what claim or title my adversary has to my cow; but whether the said cow were red or black; her horns long or short; whether the field I graze her in be round or square; whether she was milked at home or abroad; what diseases she is subject to, and the like; after which they consult precedents, adjourn the cause from time to time, and in ten, twenty, or thirty years, come to an issue."

These days, of course, things can move more quickly when politically convenient. So it is that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh got the ball rolling early with a recent opinion so filled with factual and legal absurdities that it became necessary for him to issue a correction. It is not recorded whether or not the great man's well-known fondness for beer played a role.

A constitutional "originalist" like his newly-installed colleague Amy Coney Barrett, Kavanaugh embraced what the Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin called the "Cinderella theory" of voting—i.e. that votes not counted by midnight on Election Day turn into pumpkins.

This would be news to the authors of the Constitution, who lived in a time when it could literally take weeks to travel, from, say, Washington to Boston, depending upon the winds and tides. That's why the Electoral College doesn't meet until several weeks after the election, and the results aren't tabulated by Congress until the second week in January.

Nevertheless, Kavanaugh's opinion claims that states "definitively announce the results of the election on election night." This is brazen nonsense. Even the TV networks don't necessarily do that; not that it's Wolf Blitzer or Lester Holt's decision to make.

"To the contrary," as Mark Joseph Stern writes in an astringent takedown in Slate, "every state formally certifies results in the days or weeks following an election," and every state always has. None certify results on election night, nor ever have. For most of American history it's been a practical impossibility, and remains so today.

So why would a supposedly brilliant Supreme Court Justice make so elementary an error? Basically, because it's not a mistake at all, but a necessary prelude to Kavanaugh's attempt to cast suspicion (and to instruct Trump-appointed judges around the country) regarding mail-in and absentee ballots.

"States," the Justice pronounces, "want to avoid the chaos and suspicions of impropriety that can ensue if thousands of absentee ballots flow in after Election Day and potentially flip the results of an election."

To which Justice Elena Kagan responded tartly in her dissent that "there are no results to 'flip' until all valid votes are counted. And nothing could be more 'suspicio[us]' or 'improp[er]' than refusing to tally votes once the clock strikes 12 on election night."

Never mind also that Boss Trump himself has always voted absentee until 2020. Nor that many 'suckers" and "losers" mailing ballots from U.S. military deployments around the world would also be disenfranchised. That's the Trump plan to abscond with the presidency: just don't count upwards of one third of the ballots and he wins.

Bret Kavanaugh is down with it all the way. It appears likely that the rest of the GOP-appointed justices, with the possible exception of Chief Justice Roberts, who sometimes appears concerned about the court's future, would back his play. Assuming, as I say, that there's any play to be made; and that the Justices believe that the spectacle of courts ordering millions of legally-cast votes to be discarded would serve even the short-term interests of the Republican Party.

If so, they ought to ditch the sacerdotal black robes and wear brightly-colored red team uniforms on the bench. For that matter, I can just see Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett decked out in cheerleader costumes with a big T on their chests, can't you?

#EndorseThis: Mark Hamill Says Every Military Absentee Vote Must Be Counted

In "Absentee," a powerful new Lincoln Project ad that runs nearly two minutes, Mark Hamill delivers a short course in American political history. The beloved actor reminds us all how absentee voting began during the Civil War as a way for Union Army troops to cast their ballots, far from home -- and how everything they fought to defend is at stake today.

"Nothing is more important than counting every vote, especially those that are serving our country. Suppressing any vote is un-American," says Hamill. If Trump gets his way and tosses out millions of absentee ballots, he warns, then many thousands of military absentee voters "will be deprived of their most sacred right.

"It cannot be allowed to happen."

Be ready to join Mark Hamill, the Lincoln Project, and millions of Americans to defend every ballot.


Federal Courts Invite Republicans To Challenge Absentee Ballots

This article was produced by Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

Two countervailing forces are competing to determine the outcome of the 2020 elections' highest-stakes contests before the close of voting on November 3.

President Trump and his Republican allies are pursuing a full-court press where their success hinges less on winning popular vote majorities and more on disqualifying volumes of absentee ballots via lawsuits to be filed after Election Day—if preliminary results in a few key states are close. The Democratic Party and their allies, meanwhile, have been pushing their party's more highly motivated voter base to continue their turnout lead seen in early and absentee voting, so Republicans cannot gain traction when they turn to the courts to disqualify late-arriving absentee ballots, or cite other technicalities to disqualify votes.

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Who Will Defend Military Ballots From Trump?

At this moment, the president of the United States is threatening to "throw out" the votes of millions of Americans to hijack an election that he seems more than likely to lose. Donald Trump is openly demanding that state authorities invalidate lawful absentee ballots, no different from the primary ballot he mailed to his new home state of Florida, for the sole purpose of cheating. And his undemocratic scheme appears to enjoy at least nominal support from the Supreme Court, which may be called upon to adjudicate the matter.

But what is even worse than Trump's coup plot — and the apparent assent of unprincipled jurists such as Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh — is the Democratic Party's feeble response to this historic outrage. It is the kind of issue that Republicans, with their well-earned reputation for political hardball, would know how to exploit fully and furiously.

They know because they won the same game in Florida 20 years ago.

During that ultimate legal showdown between George W. Bush and Al Gore, when every single vote mattered, a Democratic lawyer argued in a memorandum to the Gore team that the validity of absentee ballots arriving after Election Day should be challenged. He had the law on his side in that particular instance — but not the politics.

As soon as the Republicans got hold of that memo, they realized that it was explosive. Why? Many of the late ballots the Democrats aimed to invalidate in Florida had been sent by military voters, and the idea of discarding the votes of service personnel was repellent to all Americans. Former Secretary of State James Baker, who was overseeing the Florida recount for Bush, swiftly denounced the Democratic plot against the soldiers, saying: "Here we have ... these brave young men and women serving us overseas. And the postmark on their ballot is one day late. And you're going to deny him the right to vote?"

Never mind the grammar; Baker's message was powerful — and was followed by equally indignant messages in the following days from a parade of prominent Bush backers including retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, the immensely popular commander of U.S. troops in the Desert Storm invasion that drove Saddam Hussein's army out of Kuwait. Fortuitously, Schwarzkopf happened to be on the scene as a resident of Florida.

As Jeffrey Toobin recounted in Too Close to Call, his superb book on the Florida 2000 fiasco, the Democrats had no choice but to retreat. "I would give the benefit of the doubt to ballots coming in from military personnel," conceded then-Sen. Joseph Lieberman, Gore's running mate, during a defensive appearance on Meet the Press. But Toobin says Gore soon realized that to reject military ballots would render him unable to serve as commander in chief — and that it would be morally wrong.

Fast-forward to 2020, when many of the same figures on the Republican side are now poised to argue that absentee ballots, which will include many thousands of military votes — should not be counted after Election Day, even if they arrived on time. Among those Republicans is Justice Kavanaugh, who made the opposite argument as a young lawyer working for Bush in Florida 20 years ago. Nobody expects legal consistency or democratic morality from a hack like him, but someone should force him and his Republican colleagues to own this moment of shame.

Who can do that? Joe Biden's campaign and the Democratic Party ought to be exposing the Republican assault on military ballots — and, by the same token, every legally valid absentee ballot — every day. But the Democrats notoriously lack the killer instinct of their partisan rivals, even at a moment of existential crisis like this one.

No, this is clearly a job for the ex-Republicans of the Lincoln Project, who certainly recall what happened in Florida in 2000. They have the attitude and aptitude of political assassins. They surely know how to raise hell over an issue like military votes — and now is the time to exercise those aggressive skills in defense of democracy.

To find out more about Joe Conason and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Federal Appeals Court Orders Minnesota To ‘Segregate’ Absentee Ballots

Reprinted with permission from Independent Media Institute

A federal appeals court on Thursday ordered Minnesota to "segregate" all absentee ballots that are postmarked by Election Day, Nov. 3, but arrive in the mail over the subsequent days. The decision was a stark warning the courts may end up disqualifying these votes in post-election litigation.

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Trump’s Scheme Would Cancel Ballots Mailed By Military Personnel

Donald Trump's latest attack on voting could undermine the right of many active-duty military members to have their votes counted in the 2020 elections.

On Tuesday, Trump again demanded that the election be decided on November 3, rather than waiting for all ballots to be received and counted. He falsely suggested that it is illegal to count any ballots received in the days following the election.

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