Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp says that voters waiting in long lines can order from Uber Eats

Brian Kemp
Gov. Brian Kemp (R-Georgia) speaks during an April 3 news conference in Atlanta about Major League Baseball’s decision to move the 2021 All-Star Game over the league’s objection to the state’s new voting law.

  • Gov. Brian Kemp suggested that voters waiting in long lines could order food from delivery apps.
  • “They can order a pizza,” he said. “They can order Grubhub or Uber Eats, right?”
  • Kemp then accused Democratic-led jurisdictions of mismanaging their elections.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

GOP Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia suggested in a Newsmax interview earlier this week that voters waiting in line to vote could order food from online delivery apps like Grubhub or Uber Eats, as he continues to face blowback for the 2021 MLB All-Star Game leaving the state over its newly-enacted voting law.

The law, known as the Election Integrity Act of 2021 or SB 202, tightens election rules in the state by limiting drop boxes, strengthening voter identification requirements, and banning water and food from being distributed by volunteers to voters waiting in line, among other measures. It has been slammed by prominent Democrats including President Joe Biden and former Georgia state House Minority Leader and potential 2022 gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.

Several major companies – including Coca-Cola and Delta – have spoken out against the bill or voter suppression more broadly, which has upset Kemp and most statewide Republicans, who say the law is being distorted.

Kemp addressed one of the more contentious aspects of the law, which bars volunteers from distributing water or food to voters in line.

“They can order a pizza,” Kemp said of voters waiting to vote. “They can order Grubhub or Uber Eats, right?”

He added: “The county officials can provide water stations. This is just within 150 feet of the precinct. If you’re 151 feet, campaigns can set up tables, food trucks … they can hang up flyers and set up signs. This is all they [Democrats] have to grasp at.”

Read more: Introducing Todd Young, the most important senator you’ve never heard of

Kemp then accused Democratic-led jurisdictions of bungling their own election administration.

“The question too that you need to ask … Why are voters standing in line that long?,” he said. “It’s because it’s in Democratic-controlled counties. They need to do a better job of running their elections and moving people through the lines so that they’re not standing out there so long. Voters should be furious that that’s the case.”

Last year, a ProPublica and Georgia Public Broadcasting investigation found that the cause of the state’s voting issues were the state’s population growth, which has been accelerated by new residents in the blue-trending Atlanta suburbs, along with a failure to increase the number of polling precincts.

The report showed that while the state’s voting rolls had increased by 2 million people since 2013, polling locations have declined by 10 percent, especially in the populous Atlanta metropolitan region.

GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger asked for additional resources and polling precincts after being elected in 2018, but was unable to push legislation through the GOP-led legislature before the 2020 presidential election, which saw Biden win the state by roughly 12,000 votes.

During the Democratic presidential primary held in the state last June, The Guardian spoke with Simone Alisa, an Atlanta voter who waited for five hours to vote after initially expecting that she might only have to wait 30 minutes.

“Something’s wrong with this picture,” she said after finally casting her vote.

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Ohio Secretary of State blasts Tim Cook as ‘elite’ and says the Apple CEO’s idea of voting on iPhones is ‘preposterous’

Tim Cook, Apple CEO
Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Apple CEO Tim Cook’s hopes for a future where Americans can vote on their iPhones is “preposterous,” according to Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose.

In an interview with Fox News, LaRose said the idea is, “a classic example of one of these, kind of, elites, thinking they have a simple solution to a complex problem.”

Cook suggested the concept in a recent interview with The New York Times, published just days after Cook joined a growing coalition of business leaders who criticized a restrictive new Georgia voting law.

“I would dream of that, because I think that’s where we live,” Cook said when asked if tech would be the answer to some modern voting issues, like accusations of fraud. “We do our banking on phones. We have our health data on phones. We have more information on a phone about us than is in our houses. And so why not?”

Read more: The 11 biggest hacks and breaches of the past decade that are still causing reverberating damage

LaRose’s major criticisms ranged from identifying the phone’s user to technological competence. “You have to have the technological competence to do it right,” he said in reference to America’s biggest smartphone maker and one of the world’s most profitable companies. “And that may exist sometime in the near future, but it is more complicated than people realize.”

In the Times interview, Cook argued that current voting systems in America are “pretty arcane,” and that allowing people to vote on their smartphone could expand the reach and accessibility of voting to more Americans.

“I think we’re probably all having the wrong conversation on voting rights. We should be talking about using technology,” he said.

Of the voting age population in the US, just shy of 67% voted in the 2020 presidential electionthe highest percentage of any election in over 100 years.

“How can we make it so simple that our voting participation gets to 100? Or it gets really close to 100. Maybe we get in the 90s or something,” Cook said.

While LaRose agreed with Cook on expanding voting availability, he wasn’t convinced that iPhones are the path forward.

“Trying something untested, like voting on iPhones,” he said, could result, “in a loss of confidence” among voters.

Though voting through smartphone could expand accessibility for some voters, cybersecurity experts speaking to CBS News last November listed a number of ways it could also disenfranchise other voters: Security issues, the cost of iPhones, internet access, and voter identification were all among the main issues cited.

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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The ‘laughable’ comparison between Colorado and Georgia voting requirements

GettyImages 1229498887
Election workers validate ballots at the Gwinnett County Elections Office on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020 in Lawrenceville, GA.

  • Fox News and Republican politicians are comparing Colorado’s voting laws to Georgia’s.
  • But that comparison is “laughable,” said Paul Teske of the University of Colorado, Denver.
  • Colorado has fully embraced voting by mail, automatically sending ballots to all registered voters.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

When Major League Baseball announced it was moving its All-Star Game from Georgia to protest new restrictions on voting, local Republicans and conservative media outlets bemoaned the rise of “woke capital” and created a false equivalence. Colorado, they said – the game’s new home – was really no better when it comes to voting rights.

“I think it’s a little bit laughable,” Paul Teske, dean of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado Denver, told Insider of the comparison. “Colorado is such an easy place to vote.”

Georgia is not so easy, and it will now become more difficult.

Among other things, Georgia’s new elections law, passed by the state’s Republican-led legislature following a campaign by party leaders to paint the 2020 election as fraudulent, curtails the use of mail-in ballots. While before voters had up to six months before an election to request a ballot, they now have 11 weeks, and will have fewer drop boxes to cast their vote.

Crucially, people who vote by mail will also have to provide a driver’s license or other state-issued identification card, similar to the requirement for in-person voting. Previously, poll workers simply checked signatures to make sure they matched those on file – a process that, according to Georgia’s Republican elections officials, uncovered no real fraud.

That, according to GOP Gov. Brain Kemp, is no different than Colorado. In an appearance on Fox News this week, Kemp said he was confused by MLB’s decision to move its All-Star contest to Colorado where, “I’m being told, they also have a photo ID requirement.”

He was told wrong.

What counts as an “ID” in the Rocky Mountains is not the same as in Georgia. According to Colorado’s Secretary of State, acceptable forms of identification include not just those issued by the state or federal government, but those printed by colleges and universities. Don’t have one of those, either? Not a problem: the state also accepts utility bills, bank statements, and paycheck stubs.

In 2020, a super-majority of voters in Colorado cast their ballots by mail – all registered voters receive them automatically, as they have for years prior to the pandemic, with bipartisan support.

“The truth is Colorado’s election model works,” Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, said in a statement on Tuesday. “[T]he proof is in voter turnout, consistently among the top in the nation,” she said, adding the state is “grateful that MLB is giving us the opportunity to showcase how elections can be.”

Mail-in ballots can also be deposited at any time; as Colorado Public Radio notes, there is one drop box for every 9,400 active registered voters, available 24 hours a day. By contrast, the new law in Georgia actually caps the number of drop boxes for ballots to one per 100,000 voters, while limiting accessibility. It also requires Georgians to provide ID every time they vote absentee, not just when they initially register (the state, previously, compared signatures, as they do in Colorado).

Nevertheless, Kemp’s false claim was provided journalistic cover. Fox News, for example, published a story stating that, “As it turns out, Colorado also requires voters to show identification when voting in person.” The outlet’s Peter Doocy, at a White House briefing, likewise asked Biden spokesperson Jen Psaki if the administration was concerned about the MLB game moving to Colorado, “where voting regulations are very similar to Georgia.”

Psaki rebutted the comparison. “It’s important to remember the context here,” she added. “The Georgia bill is built on a lie.”

Indeed, the new Georgia law comes not after evidence of voter fraud – the state’s Republican elections officials uncovered none that would alter the outcome of the 2020 election – but a concerted effort by a former president and other GOP politicians to invalidate ballots cast for Democrats.

“It’s just abundantly clear, from the outside looking in, that they had some close elections but they lost,” Teske said, “and so the Republican legislature is looking to restrict voting in ways that they think will help them win elections in the future.”

“That is not a great way to have a democracy,” he added.

Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.com

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Tim Cook wants Americans to be able to vote on their iPhones

Tim Cook, Apple CEO
Apple CEO Tim Cook attends the world premiere of Apple’s “The Morning Show” at David Geffen Hall on Monday, Oct. 28, 2019, in New York City.

Would you feel comfortable voting via iPhone?

Apple CEO Tim Cook suggested that concept in a new interview with The New York Times, published just days after Cook joined a growing coalition of business leaders who criticized a restrictive new Georgia voting law.

“I would dream of that, because I think that’s where we live,” Cook said when Swisher asked if the tech would be the answer to some modern voting issues, like fraud. “We do our banking on phones. We have our health data on phones. We have more information on a phone about us than is in our houses. And so why not?”

America’s voting systems are notoriously low-tech, which stands in glaring contrast to modern systems of banking, commerce, and healthcare.

“It’s pretty arcane,” Cook said of America’s voting apparatus. “I think we’re probably all having the wrong conversation on voting rights. We should be talking about using technology.”

Read more: The 11 biggest hacks and breaches of the past decade that are still causing reverberating damage

Incorporating updated technology – like iPhones – in the voting process could expand the reach and accessibility of voting to more Americans, he argued.

Of the voting age population in the US, just shy of 67% voted in the 2020 presidential electionthe highest percentage of any election in over 100 years.

“How can we make it so simple that our voting participation gets to 100? Or it gets really close to 100. Maybe we get in the 90s or something,” Cook said.

Though voting through smartphone could expand accessibility for some voters, cybersecurity experts speaking to CBS News last November listed a number of ways it could also disenfranchise other voters: Security issues, the cost of iPhones, internet access, and voter identification were all among the main issues cited.

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Mitch McConnell says big companies like MLB ‘must stop taking cues from the Outrage-Industrial Complex’ when it comes to voting laws

Mitch McConnell
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., listens as the Senate Rules Committee holds a hearing on the “For the People Act,” which would expand access to voting and other voting reforms, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, March 24, 2021.

  • Mitch McConnell slammed big companies for “taking cues from the Outrage-Industrial Complex” on voting.
  • A number of major corporations have spoken out or taken action over Georgia’s new voting law.
  • McConnell said that “businesses must not use economic blackmail to spread disinformation” on voting.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell blasted large companies and corporations for fueling a campaign to “mislead and bully the American people” about voting laws in a scathing Monday statement.

A number of major corporations both based within and outside of the state of Georgia have spoken out to criticize a major new voting law in the state.

The nearly 100-page Election Integrity Act was passed along party lines and signed by Gov. Brian Kemp, who defended the bill passed by Republicans as an effort to fix problems from the last election. The expansive legislation affects nearly every aspect of Georgia’s voting and election system, touching on everything from absentee and early voting, ballot drop boxes, runoffs, the composition and authority of the State Elections Board, and restrictions on volunteers delivering food and water to voters waiting in lines.

McConnell and other conservatives have criticized major corporations for adopting Democrats’ misleading claims about what the bill actually does and comparing it, as President Joe Biden did, to “Jim Crow on steroids.”

Read more: Introducing Todd Young, the most important senator you’ve never heard of

“Our private sector must stop taking cues from the Outrage-Industrial Complex. Americans do not need or want big business to amplify disinformation or react to every manufactured controversy with frantic left-wing signaling,” McConnell said.

McConnell scolded “parts of the private sector” for “dabbling in behaving like a woke parallel government,” warning that the companies “will invite serious consequences if they become a vehicle for far-left mobs to hijack our country from outside the constitutional order.”

He added: “Businesses must not use economic blackmail to spread disinformation and push bad ideas that citizens reject at the ballot box.”

McConnell lost his job as Senate majority leader due to Democrats winning back two US Senate seats in Georgia in a pair of dual January 5 runoffs, giving Democrats 50-50 control of the Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vote.

After pressure from activists and Democrats in the state, a number of large companies based in Georgia have spoken out against the law.

Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian reversed course after initially releasing a statement tepidly praising the legislature’s work on the bill, later calling the legislation “unacceptable” and “based on a lie”

The CEO of Coca-Cola, another major company based in Atlanta, issued a statement saying: “we want to be crystal clear and state unambiguously that we are disappointed in the outcome of the Georgia voting legislation.”

Notably, many of the companies and CEOs who spoke out have only issued vague statements decrying voter suppression and emphasizing their commitment to democracy, with few listing objections to specific provisions of the bill. Microsoft’s Brad Smith singled out new regulations and limits on ballot drop boxes (which did not exist in Georgia before 2020 and are now codified into state law), reducing the window to request absentee ballots, and banning most out-of-precinct provisional ballots from being counted.

The Major League Baseball organization took the most drastic step yet of any big business by pulling the 2021 All-Star Game out of Georgia, citing the new voting law. It is unclear where the flagship game will be held instead.

Sports leagues have previously wielded their economic might against state laws they find objectionable in the past decade. In 2016, the NCAA pulled all its scheduled championship events from North Carolina over the state legislature passing a bill targeting its transgender residents.

McConnell also called out Biden for repeatedly misrepresenting the bill’s provisions around early voting hours. Biden’s repeated false claim that the bill ends voting at 5 pm earned him a Four Pinocchio rating from the Washington Post’s fact-checker.

“It’s jaw-dropping to see powerful American institutions not just permit themselves to be bullied, but join in the bullying themselves,” McConnell said. “There is no consistent or factual standard being applied here.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

The Trump campaign reportedly cheated donors who thought they were making a one-time contribution, collecting recurring donations

trump impeached
Former President Donald Trump.

  • The Trump 2020 campaign reportedly duped supporters into making recurring donations without their consent.
  • Donors, including cancer patients, who intended to make a one-time contribution ended up making more.
  • According to the New York Times, donations were automatically set to repeat when supporters got to the final stages of contributing.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In what seemed to be an effort to bolster political contributions in the heat of the 2020 election against now President Joe Biden, the Trump 2020 campaign reportedly duped supporters into making recurring donations without their explicit or known consent.

An investigation of Federal Election Commission records done by the New York Times found that the Trump campaign, in the last two months of 2020, was forced to give hundreds of thousands of refunds in the amount of about $64 million. In total the campaign refunded $122 million, the newspaper said.

Many of these accidental repeat donors believed they were signing up to give a one-time contribution, the New York Times reported. Some of the victims of this scheme, like 63-year-old Stacy Blatt, were cancer patients who found themselves unable to pay bills and rent because of the repeated donations to the Trump campaign, the newspaper reported.

It started with an unusual and “aggressive” move: the addition of a small, bright yellow box on Trump’s campaign donation portal in March 2020.

“Make this a monthly recurring donation,” the text in the box read. The box had automatically been checked off as soon as donors landed on the page, the Times reported.

In order to avoid this recurring donation, donors had to manually opt out, the Times said.

Months later, the donation portal added a second pre-checked box. This time, the box automatically directed an additional contribution from the donor in honor of Trump’s birthday in June, according to the Times.

Between June and September, contributions were pouring into the Biden campaign. So the Trump campaign ramped up its approach.

By September, the text in the initial pre-checked box silently changed from “monthly” to “weekly” donation, according to the newspaper.

At this point, the Biden campaign had outraised Trump’s by about $150 million, the Times reported. At the same time, Trump’s own campaign finances were depleting.

Unrealizing Trump supporters began to make several repeated donations to the campaign over the course of a month.

Critics who spoke to the Times blasted the move.

“It’s unfair, it’s unethical and it’s inappropriate,” Ira Rheingold, executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, said.

“It should be in textbooks of what you shouldn’t do,” London-based Harry Brignull, a user-experience designer familiar with manipulative digital marketing practices, told the paper.

Jason Miller, a spokesperson for Trump, told the Times: “The fact we had a dispute rate of less than 1 percent of total donations despite raising more grass-roots money than any campaign in history is remarkable.”

The repeat donations became particularly rampant in the months between September and October, after the campaign employed the series of aggressive moves, the Times reported.

In total, the Trump campaign returned a staggering 10.7% of money secured through WinRed, the Republican Party’s contribution portal. In contrast, the Biden campaign returned just 2.2% of the money raised through ActBlue, the Democratic Party’s counterpart.

Trump supporters who had unwittingly donated their money to the campaign filed fraud complaints upon noticing unauthorized withdrawals, the Times reported.

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The ACLU, NAACP, and the Southern Poverty Law Center are suing Georgia over its new voting law

georgia voting
Demonstrators stand outside of the Georgia Capitol building on March 3, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Civil rights groups have filed a lawsuit against Georgia over its new voting law, the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund announced on Tuesday.

The lawsuit was brought against the state by the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Georgia, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), and law firms WilmerHale, and Davis Wright Tremaine.

The new voting law, SB 202, was signed by Gov. Brian Kemp last week.

It brings big changes to several aspects of the election process, and civil rights groups have said it suppresses voters, particularly Georgia’s Black voters.

This is a developing story. Please come back for updates.

Read the original article on Business Insider

What Georgia’s controversial new election law means for voters, election officials, and outside groups

Georgia election protest
African Methodist Episcopal Church Bishop Reginald Jackson announces a boycott of Coca-Cola Co. products outside the Georgia Capitol on Thursday, March 25, 2021 in Atlanta. ackson says Coca-Cola and other large Georgia companies haven’t done enough to oppose restrictive voting bills that Georgia lawmakers were debating as Jackson spoke

  • Gov. Brian Kemp recently signed a major election and voting-related omnibus bill into law.
  • Civil rights advocates have slammed the nearly 100-page legislation as suppressing votes.
  • Here’s a breakdown of how the law affects voters, election officials, and outside groups.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

On Thursday, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a complex and controversial omnibus bill that makes sweeping changes to practically every aspect of the state’s voting and election system.

The nearly 100-page long bill known as SB 202, or the Election Integrity Act of 2021, is the first major election-related bill signed into law in a swing state since the 2020 election.

Civil rights groups and Democratic elected officials, including President Joe Biden, have forcefully denounced the law as suppressing voters, particularly the state’s Black voters, and have called on major corporations who do business in the state to speak out.

Read more: Gen Z is already shaking up the Biden White House. Meet 12 up-and-coming staffers.

Biden called SB 202 a “blatant attack on the Constitution and good conscience,” and even likened it “to Jim Crow in the 21st century.”

Civil rights groups including the New Georgia Project, Black Voters Matter, Common Cause, and the Georgia NAACP have filed federal lawsuits against the law, charging that its provisions violate laws including the Voting Rights Act and the 14th and 15th Amendments.

Here’s what the law’s new provisions mean, in practice, for voters, election officials, and outside groups:

Georgia early voting
In this Oct. 12, 2020, file photo, hundreds of people wait in line for early voting in Marietta, Ga.

Changes for voters:

  • Most counties will see expansions in early voting dates and hours.
    • The bill requires early voting from 9 am to 5 pm during the week from Monday to Friday, giving counties the option to open as early as 7 am and close as late as 7 pm. Counties must also hold two Saturdays of early voting from 9 am to 5 pm and have the option to hold early voting on or both of the Sundays during the period.
    • Previously, Georgia required Monday through Friday voting during “normal business hours,” which were up to each county’s interpretation, and one mandatory Saturday of voting from 9 am to 4 pm.
    • The new requirements mean that voters in small, more rural jurisdictions will likely see the greatest expansions in early voting while early voting dates and times may stay largely the same for voters in larger, more urban counties.
  • Voters have to provide identification information to vote absentee.
    • Georgia previously conducted signature matching by comparing the voter’s signature on the outer envelope to a previous signature on file to verify absentee ballots and applications. Now, voters will need to provide the number on their driver’s license or state ID card to apply for an absentee ballot and provide one of those numbers or the last four digits of their Social Security number to verify their ballot. The state already requires voters to show a photo ID to vote in-person.
  • Legislators shortened the window to request an absentee ballot.
    • Voters can now request an absentee ballot starting 11 weeks before the election and ending 11 days before the election, a change that better fits the US Postal Service’s delivery standards. Previously, voters could request a ballot starting six months before the election up to four days before.
  • Ballot drop boxes are now permanent but only available at certain locations and during limited times.
    • In 2020, Georgia voters got to use drop boxes for the first time thanks to an emergency regulation from the State Board of Elections. The new law codifies drop boxes as a permanent fixture of Georgia’s election system, but only allows one drop box per 100,000 residents or one per early voting location, whichever figure is smaller.
    • Drop boxes will only be available during the early voting period during certain hours, not 24 hours, seven days a week.
Gwinnett County voting
Voters stand in line to cast their ballots during the first day of early voting in the US Senate runoffs at Lenora Park, December 14, 2020, in Atlanta, Georgia.

  • The period between general elections and runoffs has been condensed from nine to four weeks.
    • This means that voters have less time to register, request a mail ballot, and vote early before runoffs, excepting military and overseas voters and those on the permanent absentee list who can sign up to receive a ballot for every election in a given cycle.
    • Overseas and military voters will get ranked-choice instant runoff ballots along with their general election ballots that will be counted in the event of a runoff.
  • The bill sets more clear requirements for challenging voters’ registrations. Voters can challenge an unlimited number of other voters’ registrations, but a voter whose registration is being challenged must be notified of the challenge and have a hearing date set within 10 days of the challenge being filed.
  • “Ballot selfies” are banned. The law explicitly prohibits voters from taking a photo of voting machines or their absentee ballot.
  • The state will set up a voter intimdation hotline.
  • Some provisional ballots will have new restrictions. Provisional ballots cast by voters who cast a ballot in the wrong precinct won’t be counted unless they vote after 5 pm and sign a sworn statement attesting that they couldn’t make it to their correct precinct in time.
Brad Raffensperger
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

Changes for election officials:

  • The bill demotes the secretary of state from chairing the State Election Board, with the legislature appointing a nonpartisan chair of the five-person board instead. The secretary will be a non-voting, ex-officio member.
  • In the immediate term, the new law diminishes the power of Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who rose to national prominence in 2020 for standing up to former President Donald Trump in defending the integrity of the 2020 election.
  • Some Democratic state lawmakers raised concerns that the legislature appointing the Board’s chair and giving the Board more influence over local election departments that run their own elections could present a conflict of interest.
  • The Board also has more power to temporarily suspend local election superintendents for repeated violations of the law or “nonfeasance, malfeasance, or gross negligence” over a period of two years. The law allows the Board to appoint temporary replacements pending formal reviews and hearings investigating the superintendent’s conduct.
  • The Board cannot independently enter into settlements or consent decrees with litigants.
  • State and local election offices cannot send out unsolicited absentee ballot applications to voters.
  • The shorter runoff period will impact election offices, which will have to immediately turn around and run another election after certifying the last one.
  • Individual counties can no longer accept outside grants and funding from private organizations, as many did in 2020 to held bear the costs of running an election in a pandemic. The State Election Board has been tasked to come up with a plan to accept philanthropic funds and disperse them to county offices.
  • Election offices cannot run mobile voting buses during early voting, as Fulton County did in 2020, except in emergency situations.
  • Paper ballots must be printed on special security paper, which is more expensive than the type of paper currently used.
Georgia ballot counting
Observers watch an official work as ballots are counted for Georgia’s Senate runoff election at the Georgia World Congress Center on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Atlanta

  • Officials can begin verifying and processing absentee ballots starting two weeks before the election, but cannot start tabulating the ballots until the time the polls open on Election Day.
  • Election offices must report the total number of ballots cast absentee, early, and on Election Day by 10 pm on election night to serve as a denominator of the total votes that will be counted. Officials must count all the ballots in one session to complete the count as soon as possible.
  • The deadline to certify election results is pushed up from the second Friday after the election, or ten days after Election Day, to 5 pm on the next Monday, six days after.
  • Officials can recruit poll workers from other counties outside of their own.
  • In precincts that serve over 2,000 voters and had wait times of over an hour in the last election, election officials must either split up the precincts into two voting locations or add more staff and/or voting equipment to the location.
  • Election officials must give sufficient public notice for location changes to early voting sites, and the time and locations of pre-election logic & accuracy testing of voting machines, which is open to the public.
Georgia polling place
A voter walks to the entrance during early voting for the Senate runoff election, at Ron Anderson Recreation Center, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, in Powder Springs, Ga.

Changes for candidates and third-party organizations:

  • In one of the most controversial provisions that even some Republicans have trouble defending, the bill bans volunteers from delivering food, drinks, chairs, or rain gear within 150 feet of a polling place and 25 feet of a line to vote. Elections workers can, however, set up water stations.
  • There are no more “jungle” special elections where candidates from all parties run on the same ballot. Going forward, there will be separate Democratic and Republican primaries for special elections.
  • Third-party groups and campaigns that wish to send out absentee ballot applications to voters must clearly state that the application is not coming from a government office and is not a ballot. They also cannot send applications to voters who have already requested a ballot on their own or already voted absentee.
  • The legislation clarifies training procedures and rules for partisan poll-watchers affiliated with campaigns.
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From Rudy Giuliani to Fox News, here’s everyone Dominion and Smartmatic are suing over election conspiracy theories so far

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, Sidney Powell, and Rudy Giuliani are being sued by Dominion.

  • Conspiracy theorists claim Dominion and Smartmatic “flipped” votes from Donald Trump to Joe Biden.
  • The election technology companies are now suing the people who spread those claims.
  • Here’s who’s being sued so far.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Dominion and Smartmatic have launched a series of defamation lawsuits against individuals and groups who spread election fraud conspiracy theories related to their voting machines during the 2020 presidential election.

Dominion filed a $1.6 billion defamation suit against Fox News on Friday, and more could be on their way. Dominion has sent cease-and-desist notices and warnings to preserve documents to more than 150 people, and its CEO previously told CNBC that the company was “not ruling anyone out.”

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, people turned to alternative ways to vote in the election, and voter fraud conspiracy theories quickly sprung up.

One posited that Dominion and Smartmatic developed technology that “flipped” votes from Donald Trump to Joe Biden through a method developed with the regime of the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez.

The theory has been thoroughly debunked. That didn’t stop pro-Trump attorney Sidney Powell and Trump’s former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani from pushing elements of the theory while filing a series of failed lawsuits seeking to overturn the results of the election. Lindell has also spread misinformation about the machines, saying Dominion “built them to cheat.”

As well as making the brand “radioactive” and putting its multiyear contracts in jeopardy, according to its attorney Tom Clare, the allegations about Dominion also put its employees in danger, the company wrote in a lawsuit.

Its customer support number received a voicemail message saying “we’re bringing back the firing squad,” it wrote in the suit in January. The need for heightened personal security cost Dominion $565,000, according to the lawsuit, bringing its total costs attributed to the vote fraud claims to almost $1.2 million.

Here’s a list of everyone is being sued so far.

Sidney Powell by Dominion and Smartmatic

Sidney Powell
Attorney Sidney Powell at a Trump Campaign press conference.

Dominion was the first to snap.

On January 8, it filed a defamation suit against pro-Trump attorney Sidney Powell, seeking $1.3 billion in damages.

Powell was one of the faces of the Trump campaign’s legal team in November, but Trump kicked her off the team after she floated her conspiracy theory at a press conference.

Despite being purged from Trump’s “Elite Strike Force” legal team Powell used her false theories as the premise of four federal lawsuits seeking to overturn the election result. All of them failed, and some have resulted in motions for her to be disbarred.

Dominion’s lawsuit alleges that Powell’s claims caused the company business losses after she baselessly accused the company of fraud, election rigging, and bribery.

“Powell’s statements were calculated to — and did in fact — provoke outrage and cause Dominion enormous harm,” Tom Clare, the attorney representing Dominion, wrote in the lawsuit.

The 124-page defamation lawsuit also outlines how Powell raised money from her media tour peddling her conspiracy theory through a corporate vehicle called “Defending the Republic,” also named as a party in the lawsuit.

Powell responded by tweeting that the lawsuit “is baseless & filed to harass, intimidate, & to drain our resources as we seek the truth of #DominionVotingSystems‘ role in this fraudulent election.”

Smartmatic filed a defamation lawsuit against Powell a month later, suing her at the same time it sued Rudy Giuliani, a fellow conspiracy theorist, and Fox News.

The company claimed that Powell and Giuliani used right-wing media outlets like Fox News to make their conspiracy theories go viral.

“These defendants are primary sources of much of the false information,” the company said. “Their unfounded accusations were repeated by other media outlets, journalists, bloggers and influencers the world over.”

Rudy Giuliani by Dominion and Smartmatic

Rudy Giuliani
Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani at a Trump Campaign press conference with Sidney Powell.

On January 26, Dominion filed a defamation suit against Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s now-former personal lawyer, again seeking $1.3 billion in damages.

In the lawsuit, Dominion accused Giuliani of creating “a viral disinformation campaign about Dominion,” referring to more than 50 of his statements.

Through hearings, television appearances, Twitter, and his own YouTube show, it said, Giuliani repeatedly accused Dominion of election fraud and misrepresented the company’s security measures while doing so.

He “cashed in by hosting a podcast where he exploited election falsehoods to market gold coins, supplements, cigars and protection from ‘cyberthieves,'” Dominion wrote in the lawsuit.

The 107-page document also cited numerous other people who said they believed Giuliani’s claims, which it argued demonstrated the scope of the damage.

“Rudy Giuliani actively propagated disinformation to purposefully mislead voters,” Dominion CEO John Poulos said in a statement. “Because Giuliani and others incessantly repeated the false claims about my company on a range of media platforms, some of our own family and friends are among the Americans who were duped.”

Smartmatic also included Giuliani as a defendant in its lawsuit filed in February.

The company said Giuliani used the conspiracy theories to enrich himself.

“He reportedly would seek thousands of dollars ($20,000/day) in fees from President Trump to spread the story and file frivolous lawsuits,” the company wrote in its lawsuit.

“He would also use the attention brought to him as one of the primary storytellers to sell various products – from coins to supplements to title fraud protection.”

In a statement, Giuliani said he welcomed the lawsuit and suggested he had not previously done a thorough investigation of Dominion’s practices.

Mike Lindell by Dominion

mike lindell trump
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell

On February 22, Dominion filed a defamation suit against MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, also seeking $1.3 billion in damages.

Lindell is a staunch ally of former president Donald Trump and a major GOP donor, who has repeatedly supported Trump’s claims challenging the integrity of the election.

Dominion’s lawsuit accused Lindell of repeatedly making false allegations while knowing there was no credible evidence to support his claims. As well as rallies, interviews, and a two-hour movie, Lindell used his social-media profiles to spread his baseless claims of voter fraud.

In the lawsuit, Dominion claimed Lindell used the claims as a way to ramp up his pillow sales, advertising on far-right media outlets that parroted his claims and sponsoring a bus tour that sought to overturn the election results. Lindell told Insider that retailer boycotts of MyPillow following the insurrection have cost him tens of millions of dollars in business.

He “knowingly lied about Dominion to sell more pillows to people who continued tuning in to hear what they wanted to hear about the election,” Dominion wrote.

Lindell told Insider Dominion had “zero, zero, zero” chance of winning. The lawsuits were part of cancel culture’s attempts at silencing voices, he said.

“I looked at it as a great day for America when they sued me,” Lindell added. “I can put the evidence for the whole world to see, and it’ll be public record, and the media will quit trying to suppress it.”

Fox News by Smartmatic and Dominion

Donald Trump Fox News
A close-up of the Fox News Channel website with a picture of President Donald Trump displayed on a smartphone.

On February 4, Smartmatic filed a $2.7 billion lawsuit against Fox News, accusing it of waging disinformation campaigns about the company’s role in the 2020 election.

“In November and December 2020, Fox News broadcast multiple reports stating and implying that Smartmatic had fixed and rigged the 2020 election,” the company said.

“They repeated the false claims and accusations on air and in articles and social media postings that were together seen by millions in the US and even more around the world.”

Fox called the lawsuit “meritless” and asked a judge to dismiss the case.

On March 26, Dominion also filed a lawsuit against Fox News. The $1.6 billion suit – its biggest yet – claimed that the network gave prominence to the election-fraud claims as a tactic to revive viewership as ratings dropped after President Donald Trump’s loss.

The voting-technology company said that Fox News “sold a false story of election fraud in order to serve its own commercial purposes, severely injuring Dominion in the process.”

In a statement, Fox News said: “Fox News Media is proud of our 2020 election coverage, which stands in the highest tradition of American journalism, and will vigorously defend against this baseless lawsuit in court.”

Fox News representative told Insider in February that the network ran several “fact-check” segments “prior to any lawsuit chatter.”

While several of its news shows reported that there was no evidence of Dominion’s systems changing votes, Fox News, in particular its opinion hosts, “questioned the results of the election or pushed conspiracy theories about it at least 774 times” in the two weeks after the network called the race, according to Media Matters.

Jeanine Pirro, Maria Bartiromo, and Lou Dobbs by Smartmatic. They have filed to dismiss the lawsuit

Jeanine Pirro, Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs
Fox News hosts Jeanine Pirro, Maria Bartiromo, and Lou Dobbs

Smartmatic’s 285-page lawsuit against Fox News also named the hosts Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo, and Jeanine Pirro as defendants.

Smartmatic said the hosts had offered Powell and Giuliani a platform and endorsed their falsehoods.

Bartiromo, Pirro, and Dobbs all filed separate motions to dismiss the lawsuit, Fox News said.

Fox News canceled Dobbs’ show days later and said he would no longer have a relationship with the network. It added that the move had been planned.

Dominion will ‘definitely’ file more lawsuits, its CEO said

More lawsuits could be on their way, with Dominion’s CEO telling CNBC that the company was “not ruling anyone out.”

Dominion has sent cease-and-desist notices and warnings to preserve documents to more than 150 peopleThe Washington Post reported. This includes the media outlets Newsmax and One America News.

 

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Gov. Brian Kemp signs restrictive Georgia voting bill into law in front of painting of former plantation grounds

Brian Kemp bill signing
Gov. Brian Kemp signs SB 202 into law at the Georgia state Capitol in Atlanta on March 25, 2021.

  • Kemp signed Georgia’s voting bill into law against the backdrop of former plantation grounds.
  • The connection was made by Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Will Bunch.
  • Democrats have criticized the new law as a throwback to the Jim Crow-era that targets Black voters.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

GOP Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia on Thursday signed into law SB 202, the state’s sweeping and highly-controversial voting bill, against the backdrop of the grounds of a former slave plantation, according to a historical connection made by Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Will Bunch.

The revelation comes as leaders such as President Joe Biden, US Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia, and former Georgia state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, civil rights groups, and national Democratic-aligned organizations band together to protest the newly-signed law, which has been criticized for targeting the state’s large bloc of Black voters.

Kemp signed the bill in his private office as he was surrounded by six GOP lawmakers, with a painting called “Brickhouse Road – Callaway PLNT” by Siberian-born artist Olessia Maximenko in the background.

The grounds of the Callaway Plantation, located in Wilkes County, in the northeastern part of the state between Athens and Augusta, appear to be depicted in the painting.

Read more: A Trump-appointed prosecutor blindsided the Biden DOJ with a ’60 Minutes’ interview on the Capitol riot cases. Now a federal judge wants to talk about it.

The plantation was established in 1785 with the construction of a Log Cabin by Job Callaway, eventually becoming a 3,000-acre working plantation, according to the Washington-Wilkes Historical Foundation.

In 1869, after the end of the Civil War, the Brick House, which is seen in the painting, was completed.

The site is now “a 56-acre historic restoration project” that “offers a glimpse into the bygone era of working plantations in the agricultural South,” according to the Foundation.

In a document, the Georgia Council for the Arts describes a partnership with the office of the governor to display “354 works of art” in the executive offices at the state Capitol and the Governor’s Mansion in order “to capture the diversity and uniqueness of communities and natural terrain throughout Georgia as seen, explored, and depicted through the artist’s eye.”

Kemp approving the widely-criticized voting bill with the backdrop of such imagery was called out by Bunch, which gained additional significance after state Rep. Park Cannon, a Black woman, was arrested for knocking on the governor’s door during the private bill signing.

“The promotional sites gloss over the fact that by the time of the Civil War, the Callaway Plantation only thrived because of the back-breaking labor of at least 100 enslaved people and perhaps many more who were held in cruel human bondage,” Bunch wrote in his column.

He added: “The Callaway Plantation is a monument to Georgia’s history of brutal white supremacy that unfortunately didn’t disappear when … enslaved people were emancipated in 1865. By the 1890s, Georgia’s white ruling class enacted a series of harsh Jim Crow laws to segregate all public facilities and block most Black people from voting.”

Biden on Friday slammed the new law as a “blatant attack on the Constitution” and further described it as “Jim Crow in the 21st century.”

The new law contains provisions that limit drop box usage, reduce the amount of time between general elections and runoff elections, block the use of mobile voting vans, and criminalize handing out water or food to voters waiting in line at polling precincts.

In both the 2020 primary election and early voting periods, many voters, especially in majority-Black areas in Atlanta, had to endure long lines in order to vote.

Kemp responded to Biden’s comments, alleging that “it is obvious” the president has not read the bill.

“There is nothing ‘Jim Crow’ about requiring a photo or state-issued ID to vote by absentee ballot – every Georgia voter must already do so when voting in-person,” he said in a statement. “President Biden, the left, and the national media are determined to destroy the sanctity and security of the ballot box.”

Insider reached out to Kemp’s office for comment.

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