Trump’s Former DOJ Official Jeffrey Clark Files Post-Hearing Brief Poking Holes in the D.C. Bar’s Disciplinary Panel Findings

Donald Trump’s former DOJ official, Jeffrey Clark, is fighting a recommendation from the D.C. Bar’s disciplinary panel to discipline him over his concerns about illegalities in the 2020 election. Last month, he filed a Post-Hearing Brief challenging a nonbinding preliminary finding of culpability for drafting a letter that was never sent to Georgia officials advising them of their options in dealing with the irregularities.

Read More

Judge Orders New Democrat Mayoral Primary in Connecticut After Seeing ‘Shocking’ Ballot-Stuffing Videos

A Superior Court judge in Connecticut has ordered a new Democrat mayoral primary in Bridgeport after surveillance videos showed a Democrat official apparently stuffing absentee ballots into an outdoor ballot box ahead of the original primary.

Incumbent Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim won the election by 251 votes out of 8,173 cast, and absentee ballots reportedly played a deciding role in his margin of victory.

Read More

Election Integrity Issues for November Elections Begin with Absentee Ballots

As state and local elections are set to conclude on Election Day next month, election integrity issues have already begun with absentee ballots. 

Counties across the country have already run into problems with absentee ballots for local November elections, as Republicans such as former President Donald Trump and U.S. Senate candidate for Arizona, Kari Lake, have repeatedly criticized issues with absentee ballots. 

Read More

In Disbarment Trial of Former Trump Attorney John Eastman, Kari Lake’s Attorney Goes over Significant Laws Broken in Various States During 2020 Election

The disbarment trial of Donald Trump’s former attorney and constitutional legal scholar, John Eastman, wrapped up its seventh week on Friday, with more testimony from Kari Lake’s attorney Kurt Olsen, and Eastman resuming the stand briefly at the end. Olsen discussed several laws he said he believes were violated by state election officials in Wisconsin, Georgia, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Olsen began testifying about a Motion for Leave to File a Bill of Complaint that he and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking to stop Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin from certifying their 2020 election results due to multiple violations of state law and constitutional problems. One of the reasons he said he brought the complaint was that signature verification was halted in the 2020 election in Detroit. 

Read More

Commentary: GOP Split on How to Handle Absentee Votes

“I can’t begin to understand what ballot harvesting is,” Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the former Republican House Speaker, said in an interview in the wake of a 2018 political upset in Orange County, California. Democrats had swept the congressional seats in one of California’s few Republican strongholds, largely due to a well-executed strategy of harvesting, or the collection and submission of ballots by someone other than the voter.    

Read More

Senate Panel Recommends Schmidt as Pennsylvania Secretary of State, Votes for Anti-ERIC Bill

Pennsylvania’s Senate State Government Committee on Monday recommended confirming secretary of the commonwealth nominee Al Schmidt.

The panel voted 10-1 to back the Republican acting secretary and former Philadelphia city commissioner. In a subsequent, off-the-floor meeting, the committee approved a bill to facilitate removal of Pennsylvania from the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), a controversial multi-state data-sharing program supporters say helps states maintain accurate voter rolls. The bill would permit the state to use the Social Security death database and change-of-address records to identify voter-registry errors.

Read More

New Study Identifies Eight Reforms that Took Florida’s Election Day from ‘Worst to First’

Florida elections have come a long way since the “hanging chad” debacle of 2000. During the 2022 midterms, the state reported the results of all elections within two hours of polls closing, and a new report examines the election law changes that have been credited for the turnaround.

The 2000 presidential election between then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush and then-Vice President Al Gore was decided by the 25 electoral votes from Florida, which didn’t announce its results until five weeks after Election Day.

Read More

Drop-Box Elimination Proposed in Pennsylvania

A Pennsylvania state senator this week announced he will soon reintroduce legislation he proposed last session to end use of election drop boxes and satellite offices. 

In a memorandum asking colleagues to cosponsor his bill, Senator Cris Dush (R-Bellefonte) characterized drop boxes where voters can deposit absentee ballots as fraught with security problems. Lawmakers never enacted a law authorizing counties to set up the receptacles, but the commonwealth’s Democrat-controlled executive branch issued guidance to counties in 2020 permitting drop boxes’ usage. 

Read More

Runbeck: Election Firm Involved in Maricopa County’s Alleged Chain-of-Custody Violations

As Republican Kari Lake appeals a legal defeat in her lawsuit challenging certification of her narrow loss in Arizona’s Nov. 8 gubernatorial election, she is alleging that ballot chain-of-custody issues occurred at Runbeck Election Services, a company that municipalities across the country use for outsourcing election operations.

Lake is appealing a ruling against her last month in her suit against former Secretary of State and current Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs and Maricopa County election officials demanding the election result be set aside due to alleged failures and misconduct by the county. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson found that Lake failed to meet a legal standard of clear and convincing evidence that intentional misconduct changed the outcome of the election.

In her appeal, which challenges the legal standard applied by the trial court, Lake alleges that Maricopa County’s “massive violations of law and maladministration” included violating Arizona law’s chain-of-custody requirements by not having Election Day dropbox ballots counted at Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center (MCTEC) before going to Runbeck.

Read More

Pennsylvania Political Consultant: Philadelphia Suburbs a Hotbed of a Legal Version of Ballot Harvesting

Pennsylvania just completed its third year of no-excuse mail-in voting, with Democrats scoring major victories in statewide and legislative offices. According to a political strategist from the state’s southeast, one factor affecting the Democrats’ 2022 success was its engagement in a legal form of “ballot harvesting” in the suburbs west of Philadelphia.

Athan Koutsiouroumbas, a managing director of the Harrisburg-based consultancy Long Nyquist and Associates, refers in a Monday commentary for RealClearPennsylvania to Democrats’ efforts to encourage mail-in voting in Delaware County. He called the effort a “completely legal ballot-harvesting juggernaut.” 

Read More

Pennsylvania Senate GOP Leaders Ask Secretary of State to Comply on Undated Ballots, Other Election Rules

Days before the 2022 midterm elections, Pennsylvania Republican Senate leaders wrote to their commonwealth’s chief voting overseer seeking assurance that laws governing undated absentee ballots will be followed. 

The letter from Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward (R-Greensburg) and Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte) goes on to urge acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman (D) to follow official procedure on other electoral matters as well. 

Read More

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Decides Against Counting Undated Ballots

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court this week ordered counties to decline to count any absentee or mail-in ballot delivered in an undated envelope.

State law, which has permitted no-excuse absentee voting since 2020, requires those not voting in person to place their ballot into a secrecy envelope before placing it into a return envelope. Voter must sign and date that outer envelope for their ballot to be valid under state statute. 

Read More

Republicans Sue to Discard Undated Pennsylvania Absentee Ballots

Pennsylvania’s Republican Party and its national counterpart filed a lawsuit this week to prevent the state’s Democrat-run executive branch from requiring counties to count undated absentee ballots. 

A lawsuit that originated in 2021 to settle a dispute about whether such ballots should be tallied resulted in the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals answering in the affirmative this June. That ruling decided a race for Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas in favor of Democrat Zachary Cohen over Republican David Ritter. 

Read More

U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against Counting Undated Pennsylvania Mail-In Ballots

The U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a lower federal court’s decision Tuesday allowing Pennsylvania counties to count undated mail-in ballots. 

The case originated in 2021 after Republican David Ritter and Democrat Zachary Cohen vied for a judgeship on the Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas and their race came to a near tie. Cohen eventually netted a five-vote lead when the Philadelphia-based Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals resolved a dispute between the candidates about whether to count 257 absentee ballots. Those sheets were returned in envelopes on which the voter failed to write a date. 

Read More

Trio of Election Integrity Measures Advance in Pennsylvania

A trio of bills are working their way through the Legislature to enhance the security of election ballots and remove deceased residents from the voter rolls. 

The House State Government Committee met on Monday to vote on House Bill 34, House Bill 143, and House Bill 2484, advancing all three of them past first consideration. The bills will need to get through three considerations before a final vote can be held.

Read More

Court Orders Three Pennsylvania Counties to Count Undated Ballots

Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court on Friday ordered three counties that declined to count undated absentee ballots to count them.

Republican Commonwealth Court President Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer issued the ruling affecting Berks, Fayette and Lancaster counties. Last month, Acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman (D) sued the three jurisdictions to compel them to include votes delivered in undated envelopes in their May 17 primary results. 

Read More

After Pennsylvania Court Ruling on Absentee Voting, Republicans Renew Call for Reform

This week’s decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upholding Act 77 which legalized no-excuse absentee voting in the Keystone State is spurring Republican lawmakers to renew their push for election reform. 

A Republican-led legislature passed and Democratic Governor Tom Wolf signed Act 77 three years ago. Moderate Democratic Senator Lisa Boscola (D-Bethlehem) initially drafted the bill to get rid of straight-party voting, a policy on which Republican legislators largely agreed with her. More Democrats came around to support the measure once a section was added allowing voters to cast mail-in ballots without providing a reason they could not come to the polls (i.e., illness, injury or travel). 

Read More

Pennsylvania Department of State Sues Counties to Count Undated Ballots

Pennsylvania’s Department of State this week filed a lawsuit against three counties, all controlled by Republicans, to count undated absentee ballots.

Acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman (D) wants Berks, Fayette and Lancaster counties to follow the rest of the state in counting votes delivered in undated envelopes toward the official tallies for candidates nominated in May 17’s primaries. A Pennsylvania law requiring absentee and mail-in voters to date their ballot envelope has underwent significant court scrutiny over the last two years.

Read More

Mastriano Bill to Allow Out-of-County Poll Watchers in Pennsylvania Passes Senate

Pennsylvania’s state Senate passed legislation this week that would permit a Pennsylvania voter to serve as a poll watcher in an election precinct outside of his or her county.

Current law lets candidates and parties appoint poll watchers — volunteers who are often party committee members — to election precincts only in those watchers’ respective counties. State guidance allows these appointees to “make good-faith challenges” to an elector’s residence, identity or voting eligibility.

Read More

Oz’s Counsel to Commonwealth Court: ‘The Voters of Pennsylvania Have Spoken’

Attorneys for Senate candidate Dave McCormick on Monday found themselves in the atypical position of arguing in Commonwealth Court alongside Pennsylvania’s Democratic Secretary of State about which ballots to count.

The Republican and former hedge-fund executive is challenging the vote-counting standard that has determined the gap of 922 votes between him and his leading primary opponent, celebrity surgeon Mehmet Oz.

Read More

Pennsylvania GOP and National GOP Side with Oz on Undated Absentee Ballots

The Republican National Committee joined Pennsylvania’s Republican Party this week in a legal effort to effectively help Mehmet Oz sew up last Tuesday’s Senate primary election battle against rival Dave McCormick.

As of Tuesday afternoon, McCormick is 982 votes behind the celebrity surgeon, though vote counting hasn’t concluded. Tuesday marked the final day that absentee military ballots could arrive at their respective counties and still get counted. What impact those final military votes will have on the race remains to be seen, though it bears observing that McCormick himself served in the U.S. Army and noted that fact well throughout his campaign. 

Read More

Pennsylvania Senate Nomination Could Hinge upon Mail-In Ballot Decision

The determination of Pennsylvania’s unsettled Republican Senate nomination battle between Mehmet Oz and Dave McCormick could depend on a federal court decision regarding undated mail-in ballots.

As of Sunday afternoon, Oz held 418,535 votes to McCormick’s 417,465, putting the former ahead by far less than the 0.5 percent maximum gap that triggers an automatic recount. While over 99 percent of all ballots cast in the election have been counted, an ongoing dispute about whether undated absentee ballots should be deemed valid has the potential to erase Oz’s lead.

Read More

Grove Proposes Bill to Address Future Pennsylvania Election Complaints

State Rep. Seth Grove (R-PA-York) told legislative colleagues on Monday that he will introduce a measure to ease the process by which Pennsylvanians can report voter fraud and other election-related problems. 

The bill would require the Pennsylvania secretary of state to establish a 1-800 hotline that voters could call to note any alleged misconduct they encounter in the course of an election. The secretary would also need to host annual training sessions for county-level prosecutors on the commonwealth’s election rules. 

Read More

Pennsylvania Lawmaker Proposes ‘Office of Election Crimes and Security’

Pennsylvania State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Gettysburg) announced on Thursday he intends to draft legislation creating an Office of Election Crimes and Security.

The new division within the Pennsylvania Department of State would be charged with probing all alleged violations of voting laws. The proposed bill also targets “ballot harvesting,” the illegal practice of hand-delivering absentee ballots — usually by depositing them in election drop boxes — on behalf of voters other than oneself. Currently, state law treats ballot harvesting as a misdemeanor; Mastriano’s measure would make it a third-degree felony.

Read More

Corman to Bannon: Election Integrity Will Be Paramount in Pennsylvania Gubernatorial Administration

Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tempore and gubernatorial candidate Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte) appeared on Steve Bannon’s War Room Thursday to discuss his proposed reforms to make elections more secure in his state.

Corman promised to call for a special legislative session on election-related legislation the day he takes office. Items he said he intends to address foremost are requiring identification of all voters, rescinding a state policy allowing people to vote by mail without submitting an excuse, banning absentee-ballot drop boxes and banning the use of private grants for election administration.

Read More

Pennsylvania Senate Passes Election Integrity Measures

Pennsylvania Republican Senators this week celebrated their chamber’s passage of two pieces of election-security legislation.

One bill, sponsored by state Sen. Cris Dush (R-Wellsboro), would prohibit the use of drop boxes to collect mail-in and absentee ballots. The other, sponsored by Sens. Lisa Baker (R-Dallas) and Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-Jacobus), would bar state or county employees from approving the use of private donations to fund election administration.

Read More

Montgomery County, Pennsylvania GOP Says County Democratic Officials Ignoring Election Rules to Protect Their Own

Person putting mail-in ballot in ballot return box

Montgomery County, Pennsylvania’s Democrat-controlled administration has defended a woman who dropped off numerous voters’ absentee ballots last year—and Republicans are saying political favoritism is the reason.

As The Pennsylvania Daily Star reported last week, Montgomery County Chief Operating Officer   Lee Soltysiak wrote a letter to Montgomery County Republican Committee (MCRC) Chair Liz Preate Havey insisting that MCRC was “irresponsible” to allege the woman acted illegally. 

Read More

Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Denies That Ballot Harvesting Occurred

A Montgomery County, Pennsylvania administrator this week responded to the local Republican Party’s allegations of “ballot harvesting,” insisting that video surveillance does not show that it occurred.

As The Pennsylvania Daily Star reported, Montgomery County Republican Committee (MCRC) Chair Liz Preate Havey addressed the county Board of Commissioners last Thursday regarding numerous election-integrity concerns. She mentioned video footage of a woman depositing handfuls of ballots into a drop box in Upper Dublin Township in the run-up to the 2021 general election. Such drop boxes have been in use in Pennsylvania for absentee-ballot delivery since 2020. 

Read More

Federal Court Considers Whether to Count Undated Ballots in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania Election

Pennsylvania Judicial Center

A federal appeals court this week blocked certification of the election results for the contest between Republican David Ritter and Democrat Zachary Cohen for Lehigh County, Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas Judge.

Currently, Ritter is 74 votes ahead of Cohen, but the win would flip to the Democrat should the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decide to count 257 absentee ballots that lack handwritten dates on their return envelopes. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Pennsylvania is litigating on behalf of five of the voters who cast those ballots.

Read More

Montgomery County, Pennsylvania GOP Asks Commissioners to Consider Election Reforms

NORRISTOWN, PA—Montgomery County, Pennsylvania’s Republican Party yesterday asked the county’s Democrat-controlled Board of Elections to consider several election-security measures, mainly regarding absentee voting.

At a County Commissioners’ meeting, Montgomery County Republican Committee (MCRC) Chair Liz Preate Havey said the reforms her organization proposes will curb alleged breaches of law and foulups in administration that have already taken place in the county during recent elections.

Read More

The Star News Network’s National Political Editor Neil McCabe Visits Georgia State Capitol to Question Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger

The Star News Network National Political Editor, Neil W. McCabe visited the Georgia State Capitol Thursday to ask Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger specific questions about the documents underpinning the 2020 election results. 

Read More

Senate Bill Would Reform Pennsylvania Mail-In Voting

A Pennsylvania Senate committee passed legislation Tuesday to make absentee-ballot canvassing more transparent, clarify ballot-submission deadlines and allow signature “curing” on mail-in-ballot envelopes.

Sen. Judy Ward (R-Hollidaysburg) said her reforms address concerns raised especially by the 2020 presidential election. The Senate State Government Committee advanced the bill in a party-line vote, with Republicans approving and Democrats opposed.

Read More

Pennsylvania Decision Against Counting Undated Mail Ballots Prompts Supreme Court Appeal

Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court this week ruled that 257 flawed ballots in a Lehigh County judgeship election cannot be counted, prompting Democratic candidate Zachary Cohen to announce a state Supreme-Court appeal. 

Excluding these mail-in ballots, which contain no date on their return envelopes, puts Republican David Ritter 74 votes ahead of Cohen in their contest for Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas judge, in which about 22,000 total votes were cast. Ritter initially sued in county court to exclude 261 ballots, four of which displayed a date, albeit not on the correct line. Trial Judge Edward D. Reibman (D) handed down a ruling favorable to Cohen, spurring Ritter to appeal to the Commonwealth Court which handles litigation between governing entities, public officials and candidates. 

Read More