House Democrats file legal brief opposing Texas’ limits on absentee ballots

The Democratic chairs of two key House committees on Monday filed a legal brief opposing Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s order limiting counties to only one drop-off location for absentee ballots.

Reps. Jerrold Nadler of New York, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, and Zoe Lofgren of California, who chairs the Committee on House Administration, said the Republican governor’s plan restricts Texas residents’ ability to vote in the upcoming election.

“Governor Abbott’s unreasonable order to limit ballot drop off locations to one per-county will disproportionally suppress voting options and access to the ballot for millions of Texans,” Ms. Lofgren said in a statement. “This last-minute mandate in the midst of a deadly pandemic is not only ill-considered, but it poses a danger to the health and well-being of Americans seeking to safely exercise their right to vote.”

Earlier this month, Mr. Abbott issued an executive order limiting mail ballot drop-off locations to one per county. Several civil rights and voting rights groups hit back with a lawsuit opposing the plan.

A federal judge had ruled against Mr. Abbott’s plan, but a temporary order from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit halted that decision.

In its order, the federal appeals court said the lower court’s injunction usurped the state’s power to govern itself. That ruling is currently being appealed.

The federal appeals court’s ruling sets up a last-minute legal battle over absentee voting in Texas as early voting is scheduled to begin Tuesday.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

fbq('init', '329974197684672'); fbq('init', '450591302454597');

fbq('track', "PageView"); fbq('track', 'ViewContent');

fbq('trackSingle', '450591302454597' , 'Subscribe', {value: '0.00', currency: 'USD', predicted_ltv: '0.00'});

Source Article

Read more

White House touts unusual Justice Department announcement about ‘discarded’ Trump ballots in Pennsylvania

The Justice Department said Thursday that it is investigating “potential issues with mail-in ballots” in the swing state of Pennsylvania and, in a highly unusual disclosure, revealed that several ballots marked for President Donald Trump were “discarded.”



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera: President Donald Trump listens to a question during a news conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, in Washington.


© Evan Vucci/AP
President Donald Trump listens to a question during a news conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, in Washington.

US Attorney David Freed said a preliminary inquiry determined that nine “military ballots were discarded” and that seven of them “were cast for presidential candidate Donald Trump.” The incident occurred in Luzerne County, a swing county in northeastern Pennsylvania that is home to Wilkes-Barre. Trump flipped the county in 2016 after years of narrow Democratic wins.

The statement was highly unusual because it highlighted the fact that the ballots were marked for Trump — which immediately raised suspicions that the Justice Department was trying to furnish material that Trump could promote for political gain. Indeed, Trump and other White House aides used the information, even before it was made public, to attack mail-in voting.

Election officials go to extraordinary lengths to protect ballot secrecy. It’s unclear how investigators figured out who the votes were for, and why they made that information public.

Additionally, the Justice Department typically does not comment about ongoing investigations, though there are rules allowing it when there is a public interest at stake, like election integrity.

The federal probe was apparently triggered by a request from Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis, a Republican who announced Tuesday that federal investigators were assisting with an election issue. Freed, also a Republican, was appointed by Trump in 2017. A spokesperson for Salavantis told CNN that the nine affected ballots are for the general election. Many military and overseas ballots were sent out last weekend.

“It seems worth investigating, but I think it is really weird that they say who the votes were cast for,” CNN election law analyst Rick Hasen said in response to the announcement. “I think it will become fodder for the President to claim that people are messing with ballots in Pennsylvania.”

While any missing ballots can cause a problem, the issue appears to be miniscule, based on statements from investigators. More than 6.1 million Pennsylvanians voted in the 2016 election.

Trump uses news to criticize mail-in voting

In an interview earlier on Thursday morning, before the Justice Department announcement, Trump seized on the Pennsylvania situation to question the legitimacy of the 2020 election. It wasn’t clear at the time what he was referring to, and there had been local reports of an inquiry, but his comments generally align with the information released by Freed on Thursday afternoon.

Trump, who had apparently been briefed, told Fox News Radio, “They found six ballots in an office yesterday, in a garbage can. They were Trump ballots. Eight ballots, in an office yesterday in a certain state. … This is what’s going to happen. And we’re investigating that.”

Shortly

Read more