Category Archives: Election Integrity

It’s Mueller Time!

Investigative reporter Michael Isikoff reports that Mueller is preparing endgame for Russia investigation:

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors have told defense lawyers in recent weeks that they are “tying up loose ends” in their investigation, providing the clearest clues yet that the long-running probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election may be coming to its climax, potentially in the next few weeks, according to multiple sources close to the matter.

The new information about the state of Mueller’s investigation comes during a pivotal week when the special counsel’s prosecutors are planning to file memos about three of their most high profile defendants — former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

A Flynn sentencing memo is due Tuesday, and memos about Manafort and Cohen are slated for Friday. All three documents are expected to yield significant new details on what cooperation the three of them provided to the Russia investigation.

There has been much speculation that Mueller might file his memo in Manafort’s case under seal in order to prevent public disclosure of the additional crimes his office believes Manafort committed when he allegedly lied to prosecutors and broke a plea deal after agreeing to cooperate.

But Peter Carr, spokesman for the special counsel, confirmed to Yahoo News on Monday that the Manafort memo “will be public,” although he added there could be some portions that are redacted or filed as a sealed addendum. The Manafort memo has been requested by the federal judge in his case so that prosecutors could, for the first time, spell out what matters they believe Manafort has lied to them about.

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House Democrats have won an historic mandate

FiveThirtyEight now projects The Last Unresolved House Race Of 2018, the California 21st is likely to be the 40th Democratic pickup. Democrat TJ Cox will turn out Republican Rep. David Valadao.

NBC News reports, Democrats smash Watergate record for House popular vote in midterms:

Democrats won the House with the largest margin of victory in a midterms election for either party, according to NBC News election data.

While votes are still being tallied, Democratic House candidates currently hold an 8,805,130 vote lead over Republicans as of Monday morning. The Democrats’ national margin of victory in House contests smashes the previous midterms record of 8.7 million votes in 1974, won just months after President Richard Nixon resigned from office in disgrace amid the Watergate scandal.

Of the more than 111 million votes cast in House races nationwide, Democrats took 53.1 percent — retaking control of the House of Representatives by flipping nearly 40 seats — while Republicans received 45.2 percent of the vote.

Brent Budowsky writes at The Hill, House Dems won a historic mandate (excerpt):

In the most important midterm election in a century, after voter turnout of epic and historic proportions, House Democrats won a popular vote majority of more than 9 million votes. By contrast, Donald Trump lost the 2016 popular vote by some 3 million votes, and is now viewed as a great divider and dangerous pariah by peoples and leaders of democratic nations throughout the world.

Politics is about power. Effective January 2019, no bill will be enacted into law, and no dollar will be authorized or appropriated, without the support of the Democratic House. House Democrats have won a dramatic mandate to propose — and ultimately pass — legislation to lift the health, wages and lives of Americans, as well as to set the stage to elect the next Democratic president and Democratic Senate in 2020, when most senators running for reelection will be Republicans.

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Republicans lose their minds over Arizona election losses

The political parties are once again headed in opposite directions on the right to vote. Democrats want to make voting easier to increase participation, and Republicans want to make voting more difficult based upon unfounded conspiracy theories of voter fraud.

Even the slow counting of ballots, because of the time it takes to verify signatures on early mail-in ballots, has engendered new conspiracy theories among Republicans.

Here in Arizona, GOP lawmakers are already opening bill folders to take aim at the slow counting of ballots, the chain of custody of ballots, and emergency voting centers. The Arizona Capitol Times reports, Slow vote count spurs talk of changes in election laws:

Arizona’s prolonged vote count has borne a batch of proposed law changes designed to speed up the process and instill more confidence in the system.

It took a week in Arizona for a victor to be declared in the U.S. Senate race, which garnered national attention both for its competitiveness and the ensuing frustration of being unable to determine a winner for nearly seven days. And Arizona’s final legislative race wasn’t declared for a full 13 days after the election.

That slow count is at the core of voters’ frustration with Arizona elections, since the lengthy process naturally invites skepticism about results, Republican lawmakers say. [Skepticism created by President Trump and other Republicans who falsely claim that elections are rigged, and voter fraud is rampant without any evidence to support this baseless claim.] But GOP concerns extend to questions about the use of emergency voting centers and ballot curing, a process by which voters can assure their mail-in ballots count toward the final tally.

Democrats have accused their colleagues across the aisle of playing a key role in fanning suspicion in the election process – chiefly by accusing Democrats of “stealing the election,” in the words of top officials with the state Republican Party.

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Arizona Supreme Court sides with GOP voter suppression of citizens initiatives

While you were distracted by the long Thanksgiving Day holiday weekend, the Arizona Supreme Court finally issued its opinion in the “Outlaw Dirty Money” initiative case. Arizona Supreme Court ruling supports legal tactic used to keep initiatives off ballot:

The Arizona Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of a legal tactic used by those seeking to keep voter-proposed laws off the ballot. [“The only issues we must decide are the constitutionality of §19-118(C) and the propriety of the trial court’s exclusion of the non-appearing subpoenaed circulators’ petition signatures.”]

The Court’s opinion is narrowly tailored. “As our decision does not turn on whether the Committee strictly complied with § 19-118(C), we need not determine the constitutionality of the strict compliance requirement of § 19-102.01(A).” The “strict compliance” constitutional challenge is left to another day.

In a unanimous ruling Wednesday, the justices reaffirmed the right of people to craft initiatives and seek to have them approved.

“And we are reluctant to impede such civic efforts,” they said.

But Justice John Lopez, writing for the court, said there is nothing unduly burdensome about requiring paid circulators to register and provide an address where they can be subpoenaed. Lopez said throwing out the signatures collected by those who don’t show up in court does not impair the constitutional rights of people to propose their own laws.

This is fundamentally anti-democratic, and wrongly decided. The valid signatures of voters who legally signed the petition in good faith are disenfranchised if the circulator cannot be located or fails to appear in court, for any reason. This legal tactic invalidates the otherwise valid signatures of voters given in good faith through no fault of their own.

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If you want to put a citizens initiative on the 2020 ballot, you had better file it by early 2019

Voting rights and electoral issues were on the ballot in 13 states, and voters overwhelmingly supported expanding access to the ballot box. Voting Rights Were The Biggest Winner In The Elections:

One clear winner emerged from last week’s elections: voting.

Voting rights and electoral issues were on the ballot in 13 states, and in almost all of them, voters overwhelmingly supported initiatives that expand access to the ballot box and make the right to vote easier to exercise.

In Colorado, Michigan, and Missouri, ballot initiatives aimed at replacing gerrymandering — the redrawing of legislative districts by political incumbents to strengthen their party’s electoral representation — with nonpartisan methods of redistricting all received more than 60% of the vote. Colorado’s proposal to allow independent commissions to handle redistricting garnered over 70%.

Marylanders turned out in favor of same-day voter registration. Nevadans ushered in “motor voter” automatic registration for those who visit the Department of Motor Vehicles. Floridians, meanwhile, restored the right to vote for 1.4 million released felons(excluding those convicted of murder or sex crimes).

Perhaps the most significant victory for voting rights came in Michigan, where two-thirds of voters adopted Proposal 3. Among other provisions, the new law guarantees same-day voter registration, automatic registration at the DMV, and no-excuse absentee voting. Voting has never been easier in one America’s most important swing states.

This bodes well for the millions of Americans who have expressed a newfound interest in democratic participation in recent years.

In Arizona, the “dark money” forces of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the “Kochtopus” network blocked voters from even considering the Outlaw Dirty Money initiative. Anti-‘dirty money’ initiative knocked off ballot in Arizona, Supreme Court rules.

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