President Donald Trump's new director of national intelligence, John Ratcliffe, notified the House and Senate intelligence panels on Friday that it would send written reports instead, giving lawmakers less opportunity to press for details as the Nov. 3 election approaches.
"This is a shocking abdication of its lawful responsibility to keep the Congress currently informed, and a betrayal of the public’s right to know how foreign powers are trying to subvert our democracy," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said in a statement on Saturday.
Ratcliffe, a close political ally of Trump, is a former member of the House intelligence panel and was a vocal defender of the president during investigations of Russia's efforts to influence the 2016 election.
Post by Gary Riccio on Sept 3, 2020 6:04:15 GMT -5
With millions of Americans expected to vote by mail in November, election officials and printers are racing to print enough ballots for everyone.
Printers say they believe there is enough capacity in the U.S. to make and ship the millions of mail-in ballots expected to be cast this year as the coronavirus pandemic keeps people away from the polls. However, some warn that if demand for ballots exceeds projections from local election officials, it could set off a last-minute scramble to find additional printing and shipping providers, potentially leaving some voters without ballots they requested.
“If DeJoy thinks he can just throw a bed sheet over what’s going on behind these doors, he is sadly mistaken. It looked like the post master had something to hide,” Wasserman Schultz said in a statement. “Without access to these public facilities, the public is blindfolded to the problems or fixes taking place there. DeJoy cannot delay the mail and delay oversight of these facilities.”
U.S. elections face extreme pressure in 2020. The Covid-19 crisis has created new challenges for election officials and pushed them to make last-minute changes to the voting process, typically with resources that were already stretched thin. Pandemic-related voting changes have become an election issue themselves, with political actors sowing confusion for the benefit of their party. Bad actors have circulated lies to trick certain groups out of voting — and thanks to social media, these deceptive practices can instantly reach huge numbers of people. Experts warn that foreign powers have learned from Russia’s 2016 election interference efforts and will try to covertly influence the American electorate this year.
State and local election officials play a crucial role in defending U.S. elections against these threats and in protecting American voters from disenfranchisement due to disinformation. Internet companies and members of the public can also take action against deceptive practices, voter intimidation, and other forms of digital vote suppression. In all cases, accurate information from trusted official sources provides the best antidote to disinformation about voting.
Develop plans and procedures to publicize corrective information.
Publicize official sources of accurate information to build public trust.
Protect official sources from hacking and manipulation.
U.S. citizens and residents are not powerless in the face of these incursions against the fundamental rights of our democracy. By taking action on Unitarian Universalist Service Committee’s key human rights priorities, we can help prevent the disenfranchisement of communities and expand the ability of all members of society to participate in the government decisions that affect them.
[Time to start educating the public that election "day" is not a day. November 3 is the start of a vote counting process that will unfold over many days because we still have the 19th century practice of starting to count votes only after the last day votes can be cast even though votes start coming in well over a month before. Let's turn this into something fun, almost like a game, even though this is no game. It could be quite engaging, an epic mini-series.]
From the article
Between the lines: Hawkfish is not just trying to educate the public about the possibility that Trump could prematurely declare victory, or try to delegitimize a Biden victory if it took days or weeks to determine.
The group is also trying to sensitize state and county elections officials, news and social media organizations, and the courts to the perils of premature results — and to the possibility of Trump and his team applying challenges and political pressure to reject a high share of mailed-in ballots counted after election day.
And the group is warning voters that rejection rates for mail ballots are higher than in-person voting.
To avoid having their votes thrown out, Hawkfish is advising voters to be extra careful about voting early enough and following all the instructions to the letter — or, potentially, putting on masks and gloves and going early either to safely vote in person or return the mail ballot in person.
The graphic as the link above shows the order of electoral processes and milestones across the United States. The exact dates of the milestones prior to election "day" varies across States.
Election "day" actually is only the beginning of a vote tallying process that can take many days, if not weeks of the election is close in a particular State.
Ballots can be cast as early as September in many States. Processing can begin immediately but tallying of votes does not being until November 3. During the processing period before November 3, ballots can be rejected for a variety of reasons, some of which (e.g., lack of voter signature or witness signature, signature that doesn't match, inclusion or not of middle initials or spaces/hyphens in compound names) that are easily "cured" by the voter if notified.
Tallying of votes can take days and even weeks if an election is close in a particular State (e.g., Florida in 2000). If tallies are not concluded by December 14 when the Electoral College votes for POTUS on behalf of the voters in each State, this can create a Constitutional Crisis. Assuming a partisan SCOTUS doesn't determine the outcome, as in 2000, the decision about the election will be made in the House of Representatives on January 6, 2021, after the new Congress is established on January 3, 2021. Each State delegation in the House of Representatives would get one and only one vote. None of this has been tested in practice, thus nobody really knows how it would play out.
Where you live determined how your Election Day experience went. The epicenter of the long lines and lack of polling stations appeared to be in Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s largest city, which is located in a county that’s home to nearly 70 percent of the state’s African American residents.
“For black people in Milwaukee, the fear is significant,” said Rashad Robinson, a spokesperson for Color of Change, of the calculus voters were making. “The black community in Milwaukee is facing the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic — accounting for over half of coronavirus cases and 81 percent of related deaths.”
The lack of available poll workers on Election Day meant the number of polling places in Milwaukee shrank from 180 to just five for a city of about 592,000, according to Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reporter Molly Beck. In the state capitol of Madison — which has less than half Milwaukee’s population — there were 66 polling places open, Beck pointed out. Madison and other areas also had more locations with drive-through voting.
Elections aren’t just a measure of what parties and candidates people prefer; they’re a measure of who counts in a country. And that’s what Vox’s new Netflix special series Whose Vote Counts is about.
Americans vote at much lower rates than most other developed countries, and one of the most common reasons given is that people don’t think their vote matters. Voting does matter, enormously — but it makes sense that so many Americans feel that way. All kinds of systems unique to the United States keep voters from the polls, tip elections in favor of moneyed interests, and give some votes a lot more power than others.
For the three episodes in this series, “The Right to Vote,” “Can You Buy an Election?” and “Whose Vote Counts,” we combed through piles of studies, analyzed reams of data, and spoke to leading experts who’ve lived these systems from the inside. The result, we hope, is three compelling stories that make the issues and their stakes clear — brought to life by our three incredibly talented narrators, who shared our passion for these issues: Leonardo DiCaprio, Selena Gomez, and John Legend.
Last Edit: Sept 29, 2020 19:43:55 GMT -5 by Gary Riccio
Voter suppression has been around in various forms since the 19th Century but, since 2018, it has been unveiled. The tide of innovation in voter suppression was turned in 2018 by informed efforts to counter these undemocratic practices. There still is a long way to go. This is a decadal battle for democracy that ultimately must become a conversation about how we feel about true proportional representation. Does America really want to walk the talk? We shall see.
"The 2020 elections have generated an avalanche of litigation in states across the US" that will take a decade to play out. It is fascinating that overshadowing erstwhile ideological differences, the two major parties differ most on the very nature of voting and who should be able to vote.