Trump warned Wisconsin GOP legislative leaders to support 2020 election audit or be ‘quickly run out of office’

Former US President Donald Trump addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on February 28, 2021 in Orlando, Florida.

  • Former President Donald Trump is pressuring Wisconsin GOP leaders to back a 2020 election audit.
  • “These REPUBLICAN ‘leaders’ need to step up and support the people who elected them,” he said.
  • Arizona Republicans are currently pursuing a partisan forensic audit in Maricopa County.
  • Sign up for the 10 Things in Politics daily newsletter.

Former President Donald Trump on Friday put Wisconsin GOP legislative leaders on notice, saying that they would be “primaried” if they don’t back an audit of the 2020 presidential election in the critical swing state.

Last November, President Joe Biden defeated Trump in Wisconsin by roughly 20,000 votes out of nearly 3.3 million ballots cast. The results were certified with no verifiable evidence of voter fraud.

However, with Trump continuing to spread debunked claims of malfeasance months after his electoral loss to Biden, Republican leaders are feeling the heat from the former president’s loyalists, many of whom back partisan audits similar to what is occurring in Arizona, another swing state that Trump lost to Biden.

Republicans in Arizona are carrying out an audit of the results in Maricopa County, which for generations was one of the most dominant GOP-leaning urban areas in the entire country until 2020, when Biden carried the locality.

GOP state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos hiring retired police officers to conduct a probe looking into “potential irregularities and/or illegalities” from the election, but Trump brushed aside that effort.

“Wisconsin Republican leaders Robin Vos, [Senate President] Chris Kapenga, and [Senate Majority Leader] Devin LeMahieu, are working hard to cover up election corruption, in Wisconsin,” Trump said in a statement. “They are actively trying to prevent a Forensic Audit of the election results, especially those which took place in Milwaukee, one of the most corrupt election locales in the country. Don’t fall for their lies!”

He added: “These REPUBLICAN ‘leaders’ need to step up and support the people who elected them by providing them a full forensic investigation. If they don’t, I have little doubt that they will be primaried and quickly run out of office.”

Read more: How Trump could use his relationship with Putin and Russia to skirt prosecution back in the USA

Milwaukee County, the state’s most populous jurisdiction and a longtime Democratic stronghold, gave Biden a hefty 183,000-vote margin over Trump.

The Trump campaign last November spent $3 million on recounts in Milwaukee County and Dane County, another Democratic bastion, only to see Biden pick up 132 votes in Milwaukee.

The former president sent a similar message to Republican leaders in Pennsylvania, saying that leaders who did not back his calls for an audit were “stupid, corrupt, or naïve” and “will be primaried and lose by big numbers.”

Biden defeated Trump in the Keystone State by a little over 1% of the vote, or roughly 80,000 votes out of 6.9 million ballots cast.

Read the original article on Business Insider

OAN correspondent who is covering the Arizona election audit has been aiding the effort since at least December, documents show

A reporter with One America News Network works at a campaign rally with President Donald Trump on September 25, 2020 in Newport News, Virginia.

  • Christina Bobb, a correspondent for the far-right news network OAN, has been both covering the Arizona election audit and fundraising for the effort.
  • Bobb was aiding AZ Senate Republicans with the effort as early as December, according to new documents.
  • The controversial recount is winding down, with reports that auditors are on track to end ballot-counting this week.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A correspondent for the far-right One America News Network, who is covering the ongoing Maricopa County election audit, has also been aiding the GOP-backed recount effort since at least December and using her visibility on the pro-Trump channel to fundraise for the controversial audit.

Audit-related documents requested and published by The Center for Public Integrity and watchdog We Are Oversight reveal that Christina Bobb, host of “Weekly Briefing” on OAN was supplying Arizona Senate President Karen Fann with witness declarations, statements, and expert testimony in early December to help bolster the Republican-led effort to undermine election results in Maricopa County, where President Joe Biden beat former President Donald Trump by 45,000 votes.

Fann has been spearheading the ballot-counting, which has been decried by elections experts. Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs has alleged security violations, software malfunctions, and personnel issues and the US Justice Department has warned the recount may even violate federal law.

In emails between Bobb and Fann from December, Bobb appears to be acting as a liaison between Fann and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, providing Fann declarations from election observers on behalf of the then-president’s attorney.

Screen Shot 2021 06 08 at 7.16.10 PM
An email from Christina Bobb to Karen Fann.

In a December 4 email, Fann also asked Bobb to pass along lists containing names of “deceased or illegal aliens” who allegedly voted that Bobb’s team reportedly said they would send. An additional document shared by the Center for Public Integrity’s Carrie Levine includes a report from Donald J. Trump for President to be presented by Giuliani, which appears to be referenced in the email.

Experts have found no evidence of any “deceased” voters, except for one Pennsylvania man accused of pretending to be his dead mother to cast a vote for Trump; baseless claims of non-citizens voting have been widely debunked.

Screen Shot 2021 06 08 at 7.13.32 PM
Emails sent between Karen Fann and Christina Bobb.

Earlier this year, the state’s GOP-controlled Senate chose Cyber Ninjas, a private firm, to carry out another count of the 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa County. Cyber Ninjas has no previous election experience and is spearheaded by a Trump supporter who promoted false conspiracy claims last fall. The recount decision was made in spite of the county’s Republican-controlled board of supervisors objecting to it since the election had already been audited more than once by credible firms.

In addition to playing a long-time behind-the-scenes supportive role, Bobb has also been covering the audit since it began in April. BuzzFeed News reported earlier this year that Bobb and OAN are getting special access to the effort that other local outlets have been denied. The Trump-approved network was also given primary access to livestream the audit process.

In an impromptu CNN interview last week, Fann cited OAN’s live coverage of the audit as proof that the entire process has been transparent.

When CNN reporter Kyung Lah pushed back, Fann feigned insult.

“Are you saying OAN is not a credible news source?” Fann asked. “Okay, I’ll remember that. CNN is saying that OAN is not a credible one.”

But Fann was corresponding with OAN’s Bobb about the recount effort as early as December and emails released last week by American Oversight show the lawmaker was also aware that Bobb was doing her own fundraising to support the audit through a group called Voices and Votes.

Fann did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.

On April 9, Bobb tweeted about her organization and asked her followers to donate to support the Arizona audit. Later that day, she said the group reached its $150,000 fundraising goal, but the correspondent has continued to solicit financial support on social media and on-air at OAN.

In May, Bobb told BuzzFeed that her employer is not “in any way” affiliated with Voices and Votes or her fundraising “other than allowing me to mention my efforts on air.” She also told the outlet that OAN has not received any perks in return for Voices and Votes’ support.

Bobb did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Though OAN’s partisanship has been well-documented, Bobb’s ongoing promotion of baseless claims about the 2020 election results, in tandem with her overt support of the partisan Arizona audit as she covers the effort for a news network, is new ground when it comes to journalistic ethics.

OAN did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

And as the Maricopa spectacle begins to wind down – AZCentral reported that auditors are on track to finish counting ballots this week – the long-term repercussions of the Arizona audit are only beginning to come into view.

On Tuesday, state senators from Georgia and a senator from Alaska visited the audit site on the tail of three Pennsylvania legislators who toured last week. An audit official told KTAR News lawmakers from Virginia and Wisconsin may also fly in later this week.

The slew of observers comes as GOP state reps across the country field growing calls for similar audit efforts of their own, more than six months after Biden unequivocally beat Trump.

Read the original article on Business Insider

GOP state senators in Pennsylvania started lobbying for an election audit back in December: WaPo

Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano
Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, center, speaks to supporters of President Donald Trump as they demonstrate outside the Pennsylvania State Capitol, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Harrisburg, Pa., after Democrat Joe Biden defeated Trump to become 46th president of the United States.

  • GOP senators in Pennsylvania lobbied for 2020 election audits in December, The Washington Post reported.
  • At least one county accepted the offer and submitted to a recount done by Wake TSI, a company also involved in Arizona’s recount.
  • Trump has targeted Pennsylvania once again in recent days, calling on the GOP to conduct a full audit.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

All eyes were on Pennsylvania following the 2020 presidential election. In the days, weeks, and months that followed, the battleground state witnessed a riveting post-election day percentage shift from Trump to Biden, several Trump-sponsored accusations of fraud, and a series of rejected legal attempts by the then-president and his allies to overturn the results.

But after two months of election pandemonium in the keystone state, a group of GOP senators staged a final attempt to undermine President Joe Biden’s win, according to The Washington Post.

In late December, Republican senators in the state legislature targeted officials in at least three conservative-leaning counties asking if they would agree to an unofficial, voluntary audit of their ballots, the outlet reported.

Though previously unreported, the lawmakers’ post-election efforts to sow doubt about the 2020 election results and curry favor with former President Donald Trump set a precedent for the expanding list of places across the country looking to conduct similar reviews of the election that refuses to die.

Trump loyalists are clamoring for opportunities to find evidence that could prove Trump’s relentless conspiracy theories. But experts and institutions have found no evidence of any widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.

The Post’s reporting on the Pennsylvania Republicans’ methods comes as the state’s GOP fields growing calls to greenlight an Arizona-style election audit of its own. Last week, a three-person delegation from Pennsylvania met with fellow Republicans and ballot counters in Maricopa County, where Biden beat Trump by more than 45,000 votes and where a GOP-backed audit has been ongoing since March.

Sen. Doug Mastriano, who developed a close relationship with Trump following the election, helped spearhead the county audit attempts in Pennsylvania last year and reportedly told Trump at a meeting last month that he could bring about an audit in his state moving forward. Mastriano was also one of the lawmakers who toured the Phoenix site last week and called for a similar recount after his visit.

Mastriano did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.

Of the three counties that Pennsylvania Republicans targeted last winter, Trump won all with ease. According to The Post, the lawmakers proposed to have a private company review the counties’ ballots for free – an unusual act not part of official election challenge processes.

Fulton County, a rural area on the border of Maryland, is the only county known to have accepted the senators’ offer, The Post reported. On December 31, Wake TSI, a company initially involved in the Arizona recount as well, recounted about 1,000 mail-in ballots and examined county voting machines, according to the outlet.

The company, which was contracted to a nonprofit run by ex-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, declared the election had been “well run” and conducted in “a diligent and effective manner” in a February draft report reviewed by The Post.

But the final version of the report that ended up on the county’s website was revised.

“This does not indicate that there were no issues with the election, just that they were not the fault of the County Election Commission or County Election Director,” it added to its assessment.

County officials did not respond to The Post’s questions about who made the last-minute revision.

As Trump continues to spread lies about the 2020 election, he has zeroed in on Pennsylvania once again, joining the crowd of those calling for a state audit.

“The people of Pennsylvania and America deserve to know the truth,” Trump said in a statement. “If the Pennsylvania Senate leadership doesn’t act, there is no way they will ever get re-elected!

Read the original article on Business Insider

With Trump focused on election recounts, here are the ongoing attempts by GOP officials to ‘review’ the 2020 election results

GettyImages 1232636477
Protestors in support of former President Donald Trump gather outside Veterans Memorial Coliseum where Ballots from the 2020 general election wait to be counted on May 1, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona.

  • Republicans and Trump loyalists nationwide are still pushing for reviews of the 2020 election.
  • Recounts or audits likely won’t unearth new information, but calls for reexaminations are growing.
  • From rural Michigan to sunny San Luis Obispo, recount fever persists six months after the election.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

More than six months after President Joe Biden beat former President Donald Trump by seven million votes and 74 electoral votes, the hunger for third-party, partisan reviews of the 2020 election among conspiracy theorists and Trump supporters throughout the country isn’t dissipating.

Trump himself is said to be “laser-focused” on the state GOP-led audit in Maricopa County, Arizona, and hopes more states will follow suit. The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman said this week Trump thinks “they are going to overturn the election” and believes he will be reinstated by August, a baseless conspiracy theory.

Outside Arizona audit, no other major, official post-election audits are currently in motion. But the desire among Trump loyalists to rewrite history by recounting ballots that have already been counted and certified is spreading far beyond south-central Arizona.

For months leading up to the November election and in the months since, Trump pushed lies about election fraud, amplifying baseless claims of a “rigged” or “stolen” election that culminated in the January 6 Capitol insurrection when a mob of pro-Trump rioters attacked the Capitol as Congress moved to certify Biden’s win.

Elections experts told The Associated Press the Arizona audit – though widely condemned and mocked, even among some Republicans – has set a dangerous precedent.

“This is bad enough to see it happen once,” Eddie Perez, an expert on voting systems at the OSET Institute, told the AP about Arizona, but seeing it elsewhere in the country is “dangerous for democracy.'”

Since Democrats won control of the federal government in the 2020 election, GOP lawmakers at the state level have introduced and in some cases, passed, a flurry of voting rights legislation aimed at appeasing Trump and his allies’ baseless claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election by making voting access more difficult in many instances.

And in recent weeks, GOP leaders across the US at the state, county, and local levels have undertaken efforts and attempts to stage “reviews” of the 2020 election in hopes of sowing doubt and stoking anger among vocal conservatives.

Maricopa County, Arizona

By how many votes did Biden win?

  • Biden won Maricopa County by 45,109 votes.
  • He won 50.3% of the county while Trump won 48.1%, according to Politico.
  • Biden’s statewide victory was narrower – 10,457 votes – but he won 49.4% of the vote to Trump’s 49.1%.

What is the GOP trying to do?

After Biden’s victory in the once-red Arizona, the Republican-controlled state senate subpoenaed the more than 2 million ballots cast in Maricopa County, where Trump and his allies relentlessly claimed there had been “irregularities” in the election process, though none have ever been officially noted.

As the lie grew among Trump loyalists, senate president Karen Fann said an audit was necessary because so many of her constituents believed there had been “serious issues.” The decision to proceed with a recount was notably made in spite of objections by the county’s Republican-controlled board of supervisors, who said the election had already been audited more than once by credible firms.

Republicans chose Cyber Ninjas, a private company with no prior election experience and spearheaded by a Trump supporter, to carry out another count of ballots in Maricopa County. Since it began on April 23, the audit has been plagued by ongoing questions of legality and partisanship stemming from a slew of errors and absurdities.

Where are they in the process of the audit?

By late May, auditors said they had counted about 500,000 of the more than 2 million ballots, according to The Hill. A spokesperson for the audit told the outlet they hope to be done by the end of June, when the vendor’s rental term on the stadium where votes are being counted is up.

Have state lawmakers passed voting legislation since the 2020 election?

In May, Republicans in the state legislature passed a bill limiting distribution of mail ballots from an early voting list. The controversial bill removes voters from the state’s Permanent Early Voting List, a method that voters used en masse in the 2020 election.

The law could purge tens of thousands of people from a list of voters who automatically receive a ballot in the mail. Gov. Doug Ducey signed the bill into law hours after the legislature passed it.

Then on May 26, Republicans on both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees voted to strip Democrat Katie Hobbs of her election powers as secretary of state, a seemingly partisan response to her continued criticism of the Maricopa County audit. The bill, which would still have to pass the full legislature to become law, would transfer many of her election powers to the state’s Republican attorney general.

maricopa county recount arizona
Maricopa County ballots cast in the 2020 general election are examined and recounted by contractors working for Florida-based company, Cyber Ninjas, Thursday, May 6, 2021 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix. The audit, ordered by the Arizona Senate, has the U.S. Department of Justice saying it is concerned about ballot security and potential voter intimidation arising from the unprecedented private recount of the 2020 presidential election results.

Fulton County, Georgia

By how many votes did Biden win?

  • Biden secured another narrow victory in Georgia, beating Trump by 11,779 votes, carrying 49.5% of the state compared to Trump’s 49.3%.
  • In Fulton County, the most populous in the state, which includes the capital Atlanta, Biden beat Trump by 242,965 votes, winning 72.6% of the county compared to Trump’s 26.2%, according to Politico.

What are election skeptics trying to do?

A longtime voting activist in Georgia and well-known conspiracy theorist, Garland Favorito, is spearheading a campaign in Fulton County to review the 2020 election results. He filed a lawsuit earlier this year against the county alleging improper counting and fraudulent ballots.

According to The Atlanta Journal Constitution, the case includes testimony from Republican Party members who allege to have witnessed suspiciously “pristine” absentee ballots. The lawsuit also claims there were notable increases among votes for Biden late on election night.

The attempted review comes even after election officials in the state counted ballots three times, audited voter signatures, and opened several investigations, before certifying Biden’s win, according to the AJC.

Favorito told the AP he voted for Don Blankenship, the US Constitution Party candidate in the 2020 election.

“Our ultimate objective is the truth. What is the truth of this election?” Favorito told the outlet. “Don’t tell us what the results are and then hide it from us and pretend we have to accept whatever you tell us.”

Where are they in the process of a possible audit?

Favorito and company secured a massive win in May, when a judge ruled the plaintiffs in the lawsuit could inspect 147,000 mail ballots. Unlike the Maricopa audit, Fulton County’s review would not focus on a ballot recount. Instead, the judge said he would order county officials to create high-resolution digital images to determine the legitimacy of the ballots.

A judge had plans to consider procedures for the digital inspections, but postponed the meeting in light of motions by Fulton County to dismiss the case, the AJC reported.

Have state lawmakers passed voting legislation since the 2020 election?

Earlier this year, Georgia became a battleground among voting rights activists and GOP attempts to make voting more restrictive. In March, Gov. Brian Kemp signed a complicated and controversial omnibus bill into law that makes changes to almost every part of the state’s voting and election system.

It was the first major election-related bill signed into law in a swing state after the 2020 election.

Civil rights groups and Democrats decried the law, arguing it suppresses votes – particularly those of Black people. Delta, Coca-Cola, United, and other Georgia-based companies blasted the law in a wave of fierce corporate backlash.

As Insider’s Grace Panetta reported, the bill’s impact on voters, election officials, and candidates will be complex and wide-ranging. For example, most counties will see expansions in early voting dates and hours, but legislators also shortened the window to request an absentee ballot.

GettyImages 1231601521
Demonstrators bring signs inside the Capitol building in support of House Bill 531 on March 8, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia.


By how many votes did Biden win?

  • Wisconsin proved to be another close state, but Biden narrowly won by 20,682 votes. The president won 49.6% compared to Trump’s 48.9%, according to Politico.

What are Republican lawmakers trying to do?

Top Republican and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos in late May said he would hire retired police officers and an attorney to investigate parts of the November election that Republicans have raised issues about in the months since, including possible voter fraud.

Vos said investigators would spend three months looking into evidence of any election issues and pursuing credible tips, though he told The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he acknowledges Biden’s narrow Wisconsin win and is not trying to overturn the presidential election results.

“Is there a whole lot of smoke or is there actual fire? We just don’t know yet,” Vos told the Journal Sentinel.

State GOP has already tried unsuccessfully to raise some election issues in court, including accusations that $6 million in private grants were used to run elections in some of the state’s largest cities, the outlet reported.

The move comes after Republicans in February launched a different audit led by the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau, whose work will be separate from the investigators Vos hires.

State Democrats have voiced concerns the three-month investigation could erode public faith in an election that was conducted legitimately.

Where are they in the process of an audit?

Vos made his investigation announcement in May and said officials will likely complete a report by the fall. According to The Journal Sentinel, he has not ruled out referring some matters from the investigation to prosecutors in an attempt to identify election laws that should be changed.

Have state lawmakers passed voting legislation since the 2020 election?

The GOP-controlled state legislature in May passed bills making absentee voting more difficult in the state in an attempt to address some of the “issues” Republicans have raised about the 2020 election in the state.

But Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has vowed to veto any legislation targeting voting rights and access in the state.

Windham, New Hampshire

By how many votes did Biden win?

  • Biden beat Trump in New Hampshire by 59,277 votes.
  • Biden won 52.9% of the state while Trump won 45.5% of the state, according to Politico.
  • In Rockingham County, where the small town of Windham is located, Biden beat Trump by 4,206 votes. The president won 50.3% of the county while Trump secured 48.2%.

What are skeptics trying to do?

Concerns over election results in Windham, New Hampshire, a town of about 14,000 have focused on both alleged vote-count discrepancies and voting machine irregularities.

According to The Washington Post, a Democrat who came in fifth in a race for a state legislature position requested a hand recount after a narrow loss. After the review, the margin of her loss grew from 24 votes to more than 400. Ross McLeod, the chairman of the local board of selectmen, told the outlet there was broad agreement in the town that some kind of recount was needed after that.

“If there’s an error found in the machines, you could extrapolate that to all the machines in New Hampshire. Then, it could go nationwide,” he told The Post.

Disagreements between the town selectmen and residents over who should run the recount came to a head in May, when almost 500 people attended a town meeting in order to voice their support for an auditor who served as a consultant in Maricopa County’s recount instead of the selectman’s choice of an experienced auditor who publicly questioned the need for the Maricopa County audit.

GettyImages 1232996580
Election officials tally votes by hand during a forensic election audit at the New Hampshire Army National Guard Regional Training Institute in Pemboke, N.H., on May 18, 2021.

Where are they in their recount process?

The town’s recount began on May 11. According to The Post, live-stream cameras and audio discussion followed each ballot as it was counted and volunteers working the audit were named online each day.

Auditors concluded May 27 there was no evidence of fraud or partisanship in the extra vote tallies, and instead, determined the mistake was likely due to human error and an overworked folding machine, according to the local NBC News affiliate, WBTS.

But Republicans in town are still clamoring for a wider audit, arguing a statewide recount may be needed to reassure worried voters, CNN reported.

Have state lawmakers passed voting legislation since the 2020 election?

Republicans in control of New Hampshire’s legislature are considering a preemptive move against the sweeping federal voter-rights legislation being debated in Washington DC, the AP reported.

The House Election Law Committee heard testimony in May on an amendment that would essentially bar any changes to the state’s election system should Congress pass the “For the People Act.”

The legislation passed the Democrat-controlled House in DC but hit a wall in the 50-50 Senate.

Cheboygan County, Michigan

By how many votes did Biden win?

  • Biden beat Trump in Michigan, a state Trump won in 2016, by 154,188 votes. The president won 50.6% of the vote compared to Trump’s 47.8%, according to Politico.
  • But in rural Cheboygan County in Northern Michigan, where desire for an audit is brewing, Trump beat Biden by 4,749 votes, winning 64.2% of the county compared to Biden’s 34.3%.

What are conservatives trying to do?

In April, Doug Logan, founder of Cyber Ninjas, and Ben Cotton, a cybersecurity expert who is also involved in Arizona’s audit, filed separate witness reports alleging security problems in the state’s Dominion voting machines in a lawsuit in Antrim County, Michigan, hoping to spark a statewide election audit, according to the AP. A judge dismissed that case in May, but the men’s allegations have been used by Michigan attorney Stephanie Lambert, who represented plaintiffs who sought to overturn state election results in the fall, as fodder for a future “forensic audit” of the voting machines in Cheboygan County, a small, rural area in northern Michigan.

The Dominion machines have been an ongoing point of contention in Michigan after an early election night error in red Antrim County suggested Biden had a 3,000-vote lead over Trump, according to The Washington Post. The mistake was quickly corrected and attributed to human error, but that didn’t stop Trump loyalists and Trump himself from zeroing in on the case and using it to stoke recount fervor.

Where are they in the process of a possible audit?

Lambert has offered to pay for an audit in Cheboygan County herself. Even after the Antrim County dismissal, one of Cheboygan’s Republican commissioners, Steve Warfield, told The Post he thought Lambert’s argument was credible and is thinking about voting in favor of the outside audit.

The office of the Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, who is a Democrat, sent letters to both Cheboygan and Antrim county clerks in May, warning them the county boards have “no authority” to order election audits, The Post reported, and telling election clerks not to give outside parties access to conduct them.

Dominion sent its own letter to every county in the state, warning them that offering up voting machines to nonaccredited auditors could break licensing agreements and render the equipment unusable, the newspaper reported.

The examination is still in early stages, several members of the county board of commissioners told The Post in late May, and no decision has been made yet on whether to approve Lambert’s offer.

Have state lawmakers passed voting legislation since the 2020 election?

Michigan Republicans in the state Senate have joined in the national GOP efforts to introduce new voting restrictions. Earlier this year, they had introduced nearly 40 election-reform bills, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Most of the bills, which Republicans claim will make voting easier and some Democrats have called “racist,” face an uphill battle toward becoming law, with a Democratic governor and Democratic-controlled Senate.

But lawmakers in the GOP-controlled House on Wednesday also targeted the “For the People” bill in Congress, adopting a resolution that calls the federal legislation a “massive overreach into state election administration.”

GettyImages 1232913232
People hold a sign claiming Trumps victory in the presidential elections during a rally in Fowlerville, Michigan on May 15, 2021.

San Luis Obispo, California

By how many votes did Biden win?

  • In the stalwart blue state, Biden beat Trump by 5,103,821 votes.
  • The president nabbed 63.5% of the state, while Trump won 34.3%, according to Politico.
  • In San Luis Obispo County, Biden beat Trump by 20,874 votes. He won 55.3% of the state while Trump won 42.2%.

What are conservatives trying to do?

In purple San Luis Obispo County, local Republicans are now calling for their own election audit.

In May, a board of supervisors meeting, originally meant to be a discussion forum on the future of voting in the county, was overrun by nearly 100 people voicing their concerns and questions about the 2020 election results, according to KCRW. The meeting reportedly descended into debunked conspiracy theories and racist attacks against the county’s chief elections official.

Much of the group’s focus centered around the county’s Dominion voting machines, The Washington Post reported.

Members of the community have since suggested the inundation of Trump-loyalists calling into the county’s election meeting may have included several people who were not San Luis Obispo residents, the San Luis Obispo Tribune editorial board noted.

Where are they in the process of a possible audit?

It likely will not happen. In an op-ed for The Tribune, Tommy Gong, the county’s chief elections official noted the forensic audit requested by Republicans in San Luis Obispo is not authorized under California law and would “violate the chain of custody of the voting system.”

“A recount could have been requested up to five days after the election was certified, but that time has long since passed,” he wrote.

Has voting legislation passed?

Democrats in California’s state legislature control both chambers and the governorship – though Gov. Gavin Newsom faces a recall – and no legislation aimed at limiting voting access has been passed in the state this year.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Arizona’s top elections official Katie Hobbs announces run for governorship amid ongoing election audit

In this Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, file photo, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs removes her face mask as she addresses the members of Arizona’s Electoral College prior to them casting their votes, in Phoenix.

  • Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, will run for governor in 2022, she announced Wednesday.
  • The top elections official in the state has gained national attention in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election.
  • Hobbs is an outspoken critic of the state’s ongoing Maricopa County election audit.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who rose to prominence defending the state’s election results following the 2020 vote, announced Wednesday that she’s launching a run for governor.

In an announcement video posted to Twitter, Hobbs trumpeted her role as a dependable leader, touting her past political successes and pledging to lead the state through recovery in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

Hobbs, a Democrat, first saw her national profile grow this fall during a series of cable news appearances amid Arizona’s ongoing vote count, which continued days beyond Election Day.

Then, this spring, Hobbs became an outspoken critic of the controversial election audit in Maricopa County, spearheaded by the state’s GOP-controlled Senate. The recount decision was made in spite of objections by the county’s Republican-controlled board of supervisors. The board said the election had already been audited more than once by credible firms.

Hobbs has frequently cited concerns over a lack of transparency and even taken legal action to ensure elections experts are on the ground during the process.

She’s criticized the contentious effort as a danger to democracy and has taken several steps to both stop and document the controversial recount. She’s sent sharply-worded letters to audit organizers about the recount; suggested the county replace its voting machines due to security concerns; and published a detailed summary of concerning witness statements from the recount.

“We did our jobs. They refuse to do theirs,” Hobbs said in her announcement video. “And there is a lot more work to be done. That is why I am running for governor.

Hobbs won the secretary of state position in a narrow victory in 2018 and her current term ends in January 2023. Arizona’s current governor, Republican Doug Ducey, is also term-limited and will be out in 2023.

Kimberly Yee, Arizona’s current state treasurer, and a Republican, has also announced a gubernatorial run, as has Kari Lake, a former anchor for the local Fox station.

Republicans in the politically-changing state’s legislature have responded to Hobbs’ relentless objections in kind. Last month, Republicans passed a measure to strip Hobbs of her election powers and transfer such duties to Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich, but only through the end of 2023 – a seemingly deliberate attempt to punish Hobbs for her criticism.

Before serving as Secretary of State, Hobbs served as a member of Arizona’s Senate and House of Representatives.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Observers of the Arizona audit say they were mocked over shirt color and witnessed software malfunctions, security violations, and personnel issues with the controversial GOP-led ballot count

maricopa county recount arizona
Maricopa County ballots cast in the 2020 general election are examined and recounted by contractors working for Florida-based company, Cyber Ninjas, Thursday, May 6, 2021 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix. The audit, ordered by the Arizona Senate, has the U.S. Department of Justice saying it is concerned about ballot security and potential voter intimidation arising from the unprecedented private recount of the 2020 presidential election results.

  • Observers of the ongoing Arizona election audit have alleged several security and equipment concerns.
  • Secretary of State Katie Hobbs shared a summary of incidents witnesses have noted in the past week.
  • Witnesses said they saw three non-residents rifling through thousands of ballots last week.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Observers of the ongoing audit of the 2020 election in Maricopa County, Arizona have alleged several problematic incidents last week during the controversial recount.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs published a summary of “new and ongoing” incidents that were noted by observers during the audit beginning on May 24. Among the observations are security concerns, equipment concerns, communication concerns, and policy or press changes.

On Tuesday, she tweeted a link to the summary, saying: “Since the start of the Senate’s so-called audit, my office has had concerns over the lack of transparency and even took legal action to ensure we had election experts on the ground.”

Earlier this year, the state’s GOP-controlled Senate chose Cyber Ninjas, a private firm, to carry out another count of the 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa County, where President Joe Biden beat Trump by more than 45,000 votes.

Since the start of the audit, Hobbes, who is a Democrat, has positioned herself as an outspoken critic of the recount, citing concerns over a lack of transparency and even taking legal action to ensure elections experts are on the ground during the process.

In the past week, those experts said they have reportedly witnessed security gates left open and unattended, confidential materials being left in the open, prohibited pens near the ballots multiple times, unauthorized cell phones on the counting floor, and confirmation that concealed firearms are allowed on the counting floor.

Observers noted Cyber Ninjas software malfunctions that forced the company to roll back an update in the middle of the day. Witnesses also allege Senate Liaison Ken Bennett confirmed that copies of the voting system data were sent to an unspecified lab in Montana, with no mention of what they intend to do with copies of the data or for how long they will keep the data.

Bennett did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

One observer alleges that Audit Co-chair Randy Pullen told one observer that the shirt he was required to wear on the floor “made him look like a transgender,” due to the pink color. Witnesses said audit organizers refer to them as “pinkies” or “pinkos,” implying that they are communists.

Pullen did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Throughout the week, witnesses said they noted “general confusion” among organizers and a lack of quality control practices in place meant to ensure data is entered correctly.

On May 29, witnesses said they saw at least three people who are not Maricopa County residents “rifling through” thousands of military and overseas ballots.

Cyber Ninjas has no previous election experience and is spearheaded by a Trump supporter who promoted false conspiracy claims last fall. The recount decision was made in spite of the county’s Republican-controlled board of supervisors objecting to it, saying the election had already been audited more than once by credible firms.

Cyber Ninjas did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

GOP election official in the Arizona county targeted by ballot recount called Trump ‘unhinged’ and said ‘we can’t indulge these insane lies’

Trump supports the Maricopa County audit, though Democrats and some Republicans have expressed concerns.

  • GOP election official Stephen Richer called Trump “unhinged” over claims about the election.
  • Richer leads the elections department in Maricopa County, where a GOP-backed recount is taking place.
  • “We can’t indulge these insane lies any longer. As a party. As a state. As a country,” he said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Republican official in charge of the elections department in the Arizona county where a GOP-backed recount of the election is taking place lashed out at former president Donald Trump on Saturday.

Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer took to Twitter to refute a statement in which Trump repeated unsubstantiated claims about the election and claimed, without evidence, that the “entire Database of Maricopa County in Arizona has been DELETED!”

“This is illegal and the Arizona State Senate, who is leading the Forensic Audit, is up in arms,” Trump said.

Richer tweeted the statement, calling it “as readily falsifiable as 2+2=5.”

“Wow. This is unhinged. I’m literally looking at our voter registration database on my other screen. Right now,” he wrote. “We can’t indulge these insane lies any longer. As a party. As a state. As a country.”

Read more: Liz Cheney has infuriated her party before and survived. Now she’s in for her biggest fight yet.

Richer, who was elected in the 2020 election and took office in January, is not the only Republican to speak out against false election claims or the widely criticized audit.

Paul Boyer, an Arizona state senator who initially voted in favor of the audit, has since called it “ridiculous.”

Boyer, a Republican who represents a Phoenix suburb, told The New York Times last week that he regretted supporting the recount after seeing for himself how it was being conducted.

“It makes us look like idiots,” Boyer said. “Looking back, I didn’t think it would be this ridiculous. It’s embarrassing to be a state senator at this point.”

The audit was commissioned by Republicans in Arizona’s state Senate to investigate whether fraud took place in the 2020 election, prompting concern from voting rights groups over how it was being run. Arizona’s election results have already undergone two previous audits, which found no issues of concern and confirmed the results of the election.

Trump, who supports the Arizona recount, has repeatedly insisted the election was stolen from him, though courts and the Justice Department said there was no evidence of widespread fraud. He lost Maricopa County and Arizona to President Joe Biden, in a surprising result.

Observers who have attended the audit described it as sloppy and inconsistent and said it was run by people looking for evidence based on conspiracy theories, Insider’s Tom Porter previously reported.

The audit was temporarily paused Friday because the location of the audit had to be cleared for use in high school graduations, CBS News reported.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Arizona judge suspends Republican vote ‘audit’ being conducted by Cyber Ninjas, a Florida company led by a pro-Trump conspiracy theorist

Officials unload election equipment into the Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the state fairgrounds, Wednesday, April 21, 2021, in Phoenix. Maricopa County officials began delivering equipment used in the November election won by President Joe Biden on Wednesday and will move 2.1 million ballots to the site Thursday so Republicans in the state Senate who have expressed uncertainty that Biden’s victory was legitimate can recount them and audit the results.

  • A state judge has halted a GOP effort to audit the vote in Maricopa County, Arizona.
  • Democrats sued to prevent the audit, noting it is led by a man who promoted pro-Trump conspiracy theories.
  • The pause will last until Monday, when the court will hear further arguments.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

An Arizona judge has suspended work over the weekend on a Republican-led effort to examine ballots from the 2020 election.

Arizona Democrats had filed a lawsuit on Thursday seeking to halt an audit, dismissing it as a partisan effort to validate false claims of election fraud.

On Friday, Judge Christopher Coury of the Maricopa County Superior Court granted their request for a pause until evidence can be presented at an 11:00 a.m. local time hearing on Monday.

The audit, which began Thursday, is being conducted by a Florida-based firm, Cyber Ninjas, that has never previously audited an election; the company’s founder, Doug Logan, also embraced pro-Trump conspiracy theories about voter fraud on his since-deleted Twitter account, the Mirror reported.

Friday’s order requires the company to hand over any documents detailing their internal procedures for the audit, “which should have been made immediately available to the public if this were a transparent or credible process,” Raquel Terán, chair of the Arizona Democratic Party, said in a statement.

Karen Fann, a Republican and president of Arizona’s state Senate, selected the company to conduct the examination in Maricopa County, home to Phoenix, which President Joe Biden won by more than 45,000 votes.

In a letter on Friday, Katie Hobbs, Arizona’s Democratic Secretary of State, called for a state investigation into the audit, expressing concern that ballots and election equipment had been handed over to a biased third party, “resulting in unauthorized and unmonitored access to both.”

A reporter from the Arizona Republic, Jen Fifeld, who attended the audit on Friday raised concerns that those examining the ballots could be in a position to alter them, noting that counting tables had blue pens on them. You are “supposed to only have red ink,” she noted, because the machines that count ballots will accept black or blue ink as a legitimate vote.

Fann did not respond to a request for comment.

The loser of the 2020 election, former President Donald Trump, has backed the state Senate’s effort to reexamine the results in Maricopa County, which he won in 2016. In a statement on Friday, he accused Democrats of resorting to lawyers in an effort to have their supposed election fraud in the GOP-run county “concealed”; he also alleged that the state’s Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, a former ally, was inexplicably collaborating with his political foes.

But the former president’s claims of fraud – vague and ever-shifting – were all debunked months ago, including by members of his own party. Last fall, the Trump campaign promoted a conspiracy theory, known as “SharpieGate,” that alleged ballots from Republicans were being invalidated. Poll workers, the story went, had handed in-person voters permanent markers, instead of pens, knowing that these voters would lean GOP and that the writing utensil would spoil their ballots.

In fact, as both federal officials and Arizona’s Republican Attorney General noted at the time, permanent markers were the preferred tool for completing one’s ballot. And references in the state’s online database to some residents having their votes “canceled,” which had been cited as a smoking gun, referred only to those who had voted in person after having requested a mail-in ballots: It was the unused mail-in ballot that was canceled, not the one filled out the day of the election with a Sharpie, illustrating that it was not possible to engage in election fraud by voting twice.

Allies of the former president also promoted the unsubstantiated theory, among others, that Biden received thousands of mail-in ballots from fictitious voters. That claim was rejected by local Republicans who voted to certify the election results in Arizona’s most populous county.

“In a free democracy, elections result in some people’s candidates losing,” Board of Supervisors President Clint Hickman, a Republican, said at the time. Hickman said he was disappointed that Trump lost but that there was no evidence to suggest the vote was inaccurate, much less any that would justify negating the outcome.

“I’m not going to violate the law or deviate from my own moral compass,” Hickman said, “as some have pushed me to do.”

Have a news tip? Email this reporter:

Read the original article on Business Insider