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Posts tagged ‘mail-in ballots’

How No-Excuse Absentee Voting Allows Special Interests To Manipulate Voters


REPORTED BY: WILLIAM DOYLE | FEBRUARY 15, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/02/15/how-no-excuse-absentee-voting-allows-special-interests-to-manipulate-voters/

ballots

Signs outside every physical polling place forbid electioneering. Each state has some form of restriction on political activities near polling locations when voting is taking place. These restrictions are usually on the display of signs, handing out campaign literature, attempting to influence voters, or soliciting votes within a predetermined distance (typically 50 to 200 feet) of a polling place. A list of the specific electioneering prohibitions adopted by each state can be found here.

Opposition to electioneering is the main reason election integrity advocates oppose allowing political activists to provide food and water to voters waiting in line at polling places. What has been portrayed as a measure to starve and dehydrate suffering voters is really a commonsense prohibition against electioneering. Allowing such practices would allow anybody with a few water bottles or a bag of sandwiches an opportunity to harangue, harass, or otherwise intimidate voters who are waiting in line to cast their ballots.

But nobody has yet come to terms with a new type of electioneering that goes hand in hand with universal absentee voting. We call it “remote electioneering” and define it as an attempt to influence or solicit votes among absentee voters between the time they receive their absentee ballot and the time they submit it to their election office. Obviously, the opportunities for what in normal circumstances would qualify as illegal electioneering multiply considerably with absentee voting, since there is no way of knowing the extent to which partisan activists attempt to influence the behavior of absentee voters.

CTCL’s Goal Was to Influence Absentee Voters

But we have a glimpse of the attitudes of Democrat election activists toward electioneering with absentee ballots through Center for Technology and Civic Life (CTCL) documents, which outline the actions that the major recipients of their Covid-19 Response Grant Program would have to fulfill as conditions of keeping their grant money. By the admission of the activist election officials in Wisconsin who were funded by CTCL in 2020, absentee ballot electioneering was one of their major goals. Grant recipients were required to “Encourage and Increase Absentee Voting (By Mail and Early, In-Person),” mainly through providing “assistance” in their completion and the installation of ballot drop boxes. They were also to “dramatically expand strategic voter education & outreach efforts, particularly to historically disenfranchised residents” in states such as Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, which in 2020 were flooded with no-excuse absentee ballots for the first time ever.

We know that absentee ballot electioneering occurred in areas in these states where CTCL had a substantial presence because it was part and parcel of CTCL’s requirement that absentee voting be promoted, assisted, and increased. Ongoing contact between activist election officials and millions of new absentee voters was not only encouraged in areas that received big CTCL money, it was required.

Wisconsin Illustrates Extravagant Plans

The Wisconsin Safe Voting Plan, which served as the basic template for CTCL’s nationwide efforts during the 2020 election, provides documentation of their extravagant plans to use key election offices to electioneer the absentee vote that they were so intent on promoting.

Election officials in Wisconsin who were “on the street” had enough contact with voters to bemoan the fact that “countless [individuals]” in their municipalities attempted to submit cell phone “selfies” as valid photo ID. Explaining to them that this was not a valid form of photo ID and instructing them on how to properly submit valid ID reportedly “took considerable staff time and resources.”

If election officials had such knowledge, they must have had extensive contact with such low-information absentee voters while they were in the process of completing and submitting their ballots. If this were at the polling booth, it would qualify as illegal electioneering because election officials had “extensive contact” with in-person voters who were completing and submitting their ballots.

A great deal of concern was expressed about “Voters who, understandably, were completely confused about the timeline and rules for voting in the midst of a pandemic and required considerable public outreach and individual hand-holding to ensure their right to vote.” Figuratively “holding someone’s hand” as they cast a vote — whether absentee or in person — seems to be the very definition of electioneering.

The city of Green Bay planned to spend $45,000 to employ bilingual “voter navigators” to help residents properly upload valid photo ID, complete their ballots, comply with certification requirements, and offer witness signatures.  But it would be illegal for poll workers to help voters complete their ballots when voting in person. Why should it not be illegal for partisan activists to help people complete their absentee ballots?

The city of Racine wished to create a corps of “vote ambassadors.” Racine officials said they would recruit, train, and employ such paid ambassadors to set up at the city’s community centers to assist voters with all aspects of absentee ballot requests. But how do we know that the diplomatic efforts of such “ambassadors” would not be exercised exclusively on behalf of their own partisan interests when “assisting” in the completion of absentee ballots?

Violating Voting Booth’s Sanctity

The sanctity of the voting booth used to be considered one of the sacred traditions of American democracy, as it protects the right of individuals to determine who will represent them in government. But the kind of Democracy™ that involves the indiscriminate mass mailing of no-excuse absentee ballots is a top-down endeavor, where most of the power, initiative, and agency is on the side of Democrat politicians and leftist election activists rather than voters.

Their plan is to influence, cajole, and incentivize the least civically engaged, least informed, most apathetic individuals within their jurisdictions to fill out absentee ballots in a way that validates the consolidation of Democratic Party power. Absentee ballot electioneering is the key to a more modern way of “stuffing the ballot box” in an era where activists have convinced a significant number of people that their voting rights have been fatally compromised if they are not permitted to cast a ballot in whatever way is most effortless for them.

The fact that opportunities for electioneering are so few at the polling place, and so plentiful during the time that elapses between the receipt of absentee ballots and their submission, suggests another reason those who wish to find new ways to interfere in legitimate elections are the most strident advocates of universal mail-in voting. It also provides yet another reason why people who believe in free and fair elections should spare no effort to resolutely oppose no-excuse absentee voting in 2022.


William Doyle, Ph.D., is principal researcher at Caesar Rodney Election Research Institute in Irving, Texas. He specializes in economic history and the private funding of American elections. Previously, he was associate professor and chair in the Department of Economics at the University of Dallas. He can be contacted at doyle@rodneyinstitute.org.

Pennsylvania Court Strikes Down Mail-In Voting Law As Unconstitutional


REPORTED BY: MARGOT CLEVELAND | JANUARY 31, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/01/31/pennsylvania-court-strikes-down-mail-in-voting-law-as-unconstitutional/

hands holding paper mail in ballot

On Friday, a Pennsylvania court declared the state’s statute authorizing no-excuse mail-in voting was unconstitutional. Within hours, Pennsylvania officials filed a notice of appeal with the state Supreme Court, putting on hold the lower court decision and thereby leaving in place the vote-by-mail option until the state’s high court rules.

With Pennsylvania Supreme Court justices elected on a partisan ticket and Democrats currently holding a 5-2 majority on the state’s high court, Democrats are predicting the no-excuse mail-in voting law will be upheld. That forecast seems accurate given the hyper-partisan approach to legal analysis seen since the 2020 election. It’s unfortunate because yesterday’s opinion in McLinko v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania reached the proper conclusion as a matter of constitutional analysis and controlling precedent.

The McLinko case consisted of two lawsuits consolidated by the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court. Both cases challenged the constitutionality of no-excuse mail-in voting. Doug McLinko, a member of the Bradford County Board of Elections, was the plaintiff in one case, and Timothy Bonner and 13 additional members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives were the plaintiffs in the second case.

At issue in the consolidated case was Act 77, which, as the court explained in Friday’s opinion, “created the opportunity for all Pennsylvania electors to vote by mail without having to demonstrate a valid reason for absence from their polling place on Election Day.” The plaintiffs argued that provision violates Article VII, Section 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution.

Article VII, Section 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution provides (emphasis added):

Every citizen 21 years of age, possessing the following qualifications, shall be entitled to vote at all elections subject, however, to such laws requiring and regulating the registration of electors as the General Assembly may enact.

1. He or she shall have been a citizen of the United States at least one month.

2. He or she shall have resided in the State 90 days immediately preceding the election.

3. He or she shall have resided in the election district where he or she shall offer to vote at least 60 days immediately preceding the election, 10 except that if qualified to vote in an election district prior to removal of residence, he or she may, if a resident of Pennsylvania, vote in the election district from which he or she removed his or her residence within 60 days preceding the election.

The key language in Section 1, the plaintiffs argued, and the court held, was “shall offer to vote,” which the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had previously interpreted in Chase v. Miller, a case from 1862. At issue in Chase was whether 420 votes received from Pennsylvania soldiers fighting in the Civil War, who had cast their ballots by mail, were valid. While Pennsylvania’s legislature had authorized absentee ballots for military members, the state Supreme Court held the Military Absentee Act of 1839 violated the state’s constitution because “offer his vote” required in-person voting, explaining:

To ‘offer to vote’ by ballot, is to present oneself, with proper qualifications, at the time and place appointed, and to make manual delivery of the ballot to the officers appointed by law to receive it. The ballot cannot be sent by mail or express, nor can it be cast outside of all Pennsylvania election districts and certified into the county where the voter has his domicile.

We cannot be persuaded that the constitution ever contemplated any such mode of voting, and we have abundant reason for thinking that to permit it would break down all the safeguards of honest suffrage. The constitution meant, rather, that the voter, in propria persona, should offer his vote in an appropriate election district, in order that his neighbours might be at hand to establish his right to vote if it were challenged, or to challenge if it were doubtful.

In other words, “to offer his vote,” required a qualified elector to “present oneself. . . at the time and place appointed” and to make “manual delivery of the ballot.” The fuller discussion in Chase, however, provides a helpful reminder of the long-understood danger of absentee voting: “a break down” of “the safeguards of honest suffrage.”

Pennsylvania’s constitution was later amended to permit electors in military service to vote by absentee ballot. Then in 1923, the state legislature again attempted to expand absentee voting to allow non-military citizens, “who by reason of his duties, business, or occupation [are] unavoidably absent from his lawfully designated election district, and outside of the county of which he is an elector,” to cast an absentee ballot in the presence of an election official.

Another election dispute, however, resulted in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 1924 In re Contested Election of Fifth Ward of Lancaster City, declaring the 1923 Absentee Voting Act unconstitutional. The Lancaster decision again concluded that the “offer to vote” language of the Pennsylvania state constitution requires in-person voting. Because at that time the constitution only authorized absentee voting for individuals absent by reason of active military service, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held the 1923 Absentee Voting Act unconstitutional.

“However laudable the purpose of the [1923 Absentee Voting Act], it cannot be sustained,” the Pennsylvania Supreme Court explained, adding: “If it is deemed necessary that such legislation be placed upon our statute books, then an amendment to the Constitution must be adopted permitting this to be done.”

In Friday’s decision in McLinko v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the three-judge majority opinion found Chase and Lancaster City controlling and struck down Act 77’s authorization of no-cause mail-in voting. In holding Act 77 unconstitutional, the McLinko court rejected the acting secretary of state’s argument that Article VII, Section 4 of the Pennsylvania Constitution granted the state legislature authority to allow mail-in voting for any reason. That constitutional provision provides: “All elections by the citizens shall be by ballot or by such other method as may be prescribed by law: Provided, That secrecy in voting be preserved.”

The court rejected Pennsylvania’s argument, noting that when Lancaster City was decided, the Pennsylvania high court had quoted the entire text of Article VII, Section 4, and yet held that the “offer to vote” language required in-person voting unless the constitution expressly authorized absentee voting. Friday’s decision explained that Section 4 merely authorized the state to allow mechanical voting, as opposed to voting by ballot. (Two judges dissented from the McLinko decision, reasoning that mail-in voting is not a subset of absentee voting but a new method of voting the legislature may be approved under Section 4.)

Pennsylvania’s acting secretary of state’s argument that Section 4 of the state constitution authorizes the legislature to permit no-fault mail-in voting defies logic. As the McLinko court explained, if Section 4 gave the legislature that power, then there was no need for the state’s constitution to be amended in 1997, to add as a permissible basis for absentee voting, “observance of a religious holiday or Election Day duties.”

While concluding it was bound by Chase and Lancaster City, the majority in Friday’s decision in McLinko added that “no-excuse mail-in voting makes the exercise of the franchise more convenient” and that, “if presented to the people, a constitutional amendment to end the Article VII, Section 1 requirement of in-person voting is likely to be adopted.” “But a constitutional amendment must be presented to the people and adopted into our fundamental law,” the court in McLinko concluded, “before legislation authorizing no-excuse mail-in voting can ‘be placed upon our statute books.’”

The majority’s detailed analysis in McLinko was correct, both as a matter of constitutional interpretation and precedent. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, however, will not be bound by its decisions in Chase and Lancaster City, even though the principal of stare decisis should caution the justices against overturning that precedent.

That prudential principle is especially relevant here, where the “offer to vote” language “has been part of the Pennsylvania Constitution since 1838 and has been consistently understood, since at least 1862, to require the elector to appear in person, at a ‘proper polling place’ and on Election Day to cast his vote.”

A decision by the Democratic-controlled Pennsylvania Supreme Court abiding by that precedent and reminding its citizens that the constitution controls notwithstanding the passions of the day would also go a long way toward healing a divided populace.

Further, striking Act 77 now, when no votes have been cast and no citizens would be disenfranchised, would do no harm to Pennsylvanians. That was the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s justification in Kelly v. Commonwealth, for refusing to consider the constitutionality of Act 77 as part of a challenge to the results of the November of 2020 based on the equitable doctrine of “laches.”

“At the time this action was filed on November 21, 2020, millions of Pennsylvania voters had already expressed their will in both the June 2020 Primary Election and the November 2020 General Election,” the state Supreme Court explained in Kelly v. Commonwealth and striking the state statute at that point, “would result in the disenfranchisement of millions of Pennsylvania voter.”

There is no such danger, now, however. So, will the constitution control or will the partisan interests of the Democratic-majority of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court supplant the rule of law? Sadly, that latter danger is everpresent.


ZuckBucks-Connected Private Organization Taught Election Officials To ‘Control the Narrative’ About Mail-In Voting


REPORTED BY: LOGAN WASHBURN | JANUARY 26, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/01/26/zuckbucks-connected-private-organization-taught-election-officials-to-control-the-narrative-about-mail-in-voting/

Wisconsin election volunteers

A left-leaning nonprofit instructed public officials how to “control the narrative” about mail-in ballots in the 2020 election. The National Vote at Home Institute (NVAHI) guided officials to sway public opinion in favor of mail-in voting with their 2020 Election Official Communications Toolkit.” The group shared this document with public officials in Wisconsin while working with the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) to influence the 2020 election.

CTCL used nearly half a billion dollars from Facebook tycoon Mark Zuckerberg to fund private action within government election offices. They spent most of the money in Democrat-saturated districts, which boosted Joe Biden’s narrow presidential win in 2020. As a partner for the “Zuckbucks” recipient, NVAHI gave public officials advice on how to “control the narrative” about mail-in ballots.

“Do not repeat myths as a way to refute them,” the document says. “Instead, control the narrative by presenting information that affirms the safety, security, and reliability of mail balloting.”

Mail-in voting is not only proven to be more susceptible to voter fraud and errors than in-person voting, it is well known to favor Democrats over Republicans. It essentially functions as a get-out-the-vote operation on behalf of Democrats, whose voters are less motivated to show up at the polls on election day. Republican voters far prefer to vote in person, accurately believing it is more secure.

The group also told election officials to push mail-in voting by placing articles in media outlets: “Reporters will likely already be writing up voter information guides as well as shaping their articles around how well or poorly the election is running. A proactive op-ed strategy is helpful here,” the document says.

NVAHI explained that officials should target free, popular local news publications: “For all these types of outlets, approach them about whether they would run an article on your behalf about the upcoming election,” the document says.

The organization recommended officials use public information strategies such as “playing up the security” of mail-in voting. NVAHI told election officials to dissuade concerns about mail-in ballots by claiming that they contain “over a dozen security features.”

“Voters may be reluctant to fill out a mail ballot because of concerns they’ve heard about stolen or lost ballots. Assuage those concerns without leaning into them,” the document says.

The guide also tells public officials to “instill a sense of urgency” about mail-in voting, recommending an appeal to popularity: “Voters may be unsure whether voting by mail is right for them. Social proof (showing how many people are taking up a behavior) is a powerful way of making mail-in ballots a compelling option.”

The document also recommended that government election offices use particular slogans for public information campaigns, such as “Voting by mail is easy and secure,” and “Let’s all vote safely. Choose to vote by mail.”

NVAHI partnered with the organization Ideas42 to create this toolkit. According to its website, the group is “a non-profit that uses insights from behavioral science to improve lives, build better systems and policies, and drive social change.” Ideas42 works with CTCL partner Center for Civic Design, along with several offices of government secretaries of state.

After CTCL gave a grant of $1.6 million to the Wisconsin city of Green Bay in 2020, NVAHI gained access to absentee ballots and influence over election preparations in the area. NVAHI Wisconsin State Lead Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein emailed the elections guide to former Green Bay City Clerk Kris Teske in August 2020.

When reaching out to Teske, Spitzer-Rubenstein described the toolkit as “a groundbreaking resource that uses behavioral science insights from our partners at Ideas42 to help you connect with communities and get voters the information they need.”

Spitzer-Rubenstein, who worked for Democrat political campaigns in the past, emailed Teske to ask if his group could “cure” absentee ballots. This means altering absentee ballots after they are filed to allegedly fix errors, rather than counting improperly marked ballots as invalid. When Teske turned down the offer, Spitzer-Rubenstein emailed former Green Bay Mayor’s Office Chief of Staff Celestine Jeffreys, who ordered Teske to open the city elections’ ballot-curing process to NVAHI, a private special interest group.

A 2021 audit of Wisconsin elections found the state had counted enough illegal ballots in 2020 to potentially switch its Electoral College votes from Biden to Donald Trump. Vote curing in the election could have contributed to the state counting illegal votes, the audit found.

Also in 2021, a judge ruled that the state’s 2020 use of ballot drop boxes and ballot harvesting, both of which are only possible with mail-in ballots, was illegal. The majority of mail-in ballots in Wisconsin were votes for Biden, who won the state by a margin of 0.63 percent, or approximately 20,600 votes.

Before election day, Green Bay elections officials gave Spitzer-Rubenstein four out of five keys to the room in which the absentee ballots were stored, former Brown County Clerk Sandy Juno told Wisconsin Spotlight.

After the election, Juno expressed concerns that the Central Count location was “tainted by the influence of a person working for an outside organization influencing the election,” according to Wisconsin Spotlight. Teske said she felt that third-party groups such as CTCL and NVAHI excluded the clerk’s office from the election process.

“As you know, I am very frustrated, along with the Clerk’s Office. I don’t know what to do anymore,” she emailed a colleague. “I don’t understand how people who don’t have knowledge of the process can tell us how to manage the election.”


Logan Washburn is studying politics and journalism at Hillsdale College. He is a correspondent for Campus Reform and an outreach assistant for the Freedom Foundation.

Mollie Hemingway Op-ed: GOP’s Old Guard Out of Touch with Their Voters on Election Integrity


Commentary BY: MOLLIE HEMINGWAY | JANUARY 13, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/01/13/gops-old-guard-out-of-touch-with-their-voters-on-election-integrity/

President Trump and Mitch McConnell

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden gave a speech asserting that people who oppose his plan for a federal takeover of elections are domestic enemies and racists.

“Do you want to be on the side of John Lewis or Bull Connor? Do you want to be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis?” Biden asked in his speech falsely claiming that the “right to vote” was in doubt throughout the country.

Biden is lobbying to end the Senate’s legislative filibuster in order to push through his plan for a radical takeover of elections. The election bill would unconstitutionally empower the federal government to control state election procedures, and help make permanent the decreased election safeguards that caused so many problems throughout the country in 2020.

The response of the old guard of the Republican Party this week has been to wholeheartedly endorse the media narrative that the 2020 election had no significant problems, while also opposing Biden’s plan to run elections. It’s a politically insane approach.

The 2020 election was riddled with problems. Voters know this. Republican voters know this very well. Time Magazine described what happened with the election as “a well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information.” They added that it was a “revolution in how people vote.”

The rigging of the election included changes to hundreds of laws and processes in the months prior to election day, flooding the system with tens of millions of mail-in ballots even as scrutiny of those ballots was decreased. Mark Zuckerberg spent $419 million to finance the private takeover of government election offices — primarily focused on the blue areas of swing states — to enable Democrats to run their Get Out The Vote operations from government offices. The funding was significant enough to affect the outcome of races, independent analysts have concluded. And that’s to say nothing of Big Tech’s election meddling in the form of censorship and algorithmic persuasion nor of corporate media’s move into straight-up propaganda.

On Sunday, George Stephanopoulos — formerly President Bill Clinton’s press secretary — asked in his usual biased way for Republican Sen. Mike Rounds to opine against election integrity:

STEPHANOPOULOS: You voted to certify the election last year. You condemned the protest as an insurrection. What do you say to all those Republicans, all those veterans who believe the election was stolen, who have bought the falsehoods coming from former President Trump?

Even the dumbest Republican should have been able to answer this question without accepting the premise of the biased Democrat reporter. Knowing that the filibuster and election integrity are on the line, even a lowly, distracted Republican precinct person should have been able to respond by talking about fighting the federal takeover of elections, fighting the private takeover of government election offices, fighting the unconstitutional changes of voting laws, and fighting the second-class treatment of Republican voters by the media and Big Tech.

Instead, Rounds made bizarre claims about looking at “accusations” in “multiple states,” saying that while there were “some irregularities,” none were significant. Then he claimed — ludicrously — “The election was fair, as fair as we have seen.”

I mean, heck, if the election was as fair as any in history, why not join with Democrats in their push for a federal takeover of elections to make permanent the “revolution in how people vote”? But also, why say something that is not true?

The 2020 election was not the fairest in history, not by a long shot. It was riddled with problems, whether it’s the Zuckerberg funding or the coordinated Democrat campaign to weaken election security. The man who ran that coordinated effort was Marc Elias, the same man who ran the 2016 Russia collusion hoax. His partner was recently indicted by John Durham for just some of his lies associated with that hoax that did so much damage to the country and which itself was an attack on the 2020 election’s fairness.

As soon as Rounds showed himself subservient to Stephanopoulos, the Democrat media went wild. They amplified his comments, knowing how helpful they were to their cause of decreased election security and opposition to Republican victories.

One corrupt media outlet that excitedly amplified Rounds’ comments and used them to advance their political agenda was CNN. Russia hoax co-conspirator Manu Raju, known for pestering Republicans to get them to support Democrat narratives, wrote an article gleefully headlined “Top Republicans stand up for Rounds after Trump’s attack: He ‘told the truth’.” Some lowlights:

  • “I think Sen. Rounds told the truth about what happened in the 2020 election,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told CNN on Tuesday. “And I agree with him.”
  • Sen. Kevin Cramer, a North Dakota Republican who contended Democrats took advantage of more voting rules eased during the pandemic. “I’ve moved on a long time ago, and most members of Congress have, including Mike.”
  • Other Republicans said it was time to focus on something other than 2020. “I say to my colleague, welcome to the club,” Sen. John Thune, the senior South Dakota Republican, said of the Trump attack on Rounds — something he has endured himself in the past. “I don’t think re-litigating or rehashing the past is a winning strategy. If we want to be a majority in 2023, we’ve got to get out and articulate what we’re going to do with respect to the future the American people are going to live and the things they’re going to care about when it comes to economic issues, national security issues.”

It is absolutely charming that Cramer has the luxury of “moving on” from the important election integrity battle, but Biden sure hasn’t moved on. Pelosi hasn’t moved on. Chuck Schumer hasn’t moved on. The entire corporate media hasn’t moved on. Why has Cramer moved on?

North Dakota is a state that voted for Trump in 2020 by 33 points. Its senator should probably be able to use some of his political capital to tackle the top issue of the week for American voters.

Thune says the politically wise thing to do is to not relitigate the past but work on issues people are going to “care about.” Someone should tell him that one of the top issues Republican voters care about is … election integrity.

The Washington Post this month reported that at least 69 percent of Republicans are seriously concerned about the 2020 election. Perhaps the worst thing a party could do if it cared about serious political power would be to signal that the issue means so little to them. This pathetic cowardice and incompetent weakness are exactly what Republican voters are sick to death of.

In previous months, Biden has falsely claimed that the country is experiencing “Jim Crow” resistance to the right to vote. He asked corporations to boycott the state of Georgia after Georgia’s legislature passed a bill to mildly improve its election security. Some of them bowed to the pressure. Major League Baseball, for instance, pulled its All-Star Game from Atlanta in response to Biden’s request, causing untold economic damage to the Peach State.

All of this is clearly an effort to keep Republicans from stopping Democrats’ 2020-style assault on election security. It works precisely because too many Republicans are too scared to fight. What if instead of Stephanopoulos easily pressuring Rounds into spouting Democrat talking points, Rounds had instead fought hard against these attacks on election security? What if he knew the facts about what actually happened enough to speak knowledgeably about what Republican voters want their leaders to advocate for?

What if establishment Republican politicians put away literally any thoughts about Trump — much less their anger or petulance about him — for a minute to think about the importance of election integrity and how to obtain it?

What if Republicans stopped running interference for what Democrats did in 2020 at the same moment that Dems are trying to take over the entire country’s election system? This isn’t merely academic. Old-guard Republican cowardice and fecklessness could lead to Pelosi becoming America’s election czar.

In general, Republican voters deserve a far better class of politician than what the old guard of their party has been forcing on them.


Mollie Ziegler Hemingway is a senior editor at The Federalist. She is Senior Journalism Fellow at Hillsdale College. A Fox News contributor, she is a regular member of the Fox News All-Stars panel on “Special Report with Bret Baier.” Her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, the Guardian, the Washington Post, CNN, National Review, GetReligion, Ricochet, Christianity Today, Federal Times, Radio & Records, and many other publications. Mollie was a 2004 recipient of a Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship at The Fund for American Studies and a 2014 Lincoln Fellow of the Claremont Institute. She is the co-author of Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court. She is the author of “Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections.” Reach her at mzhemingway@thefederalist.com

Democrats Are Using The Same 2020 Election Shenanigans To Overtake Virginia This Year


Reported By Hayden Ludwig | NOVEMBER 1, 2021

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2021/11/01/democrats-are-using-the-same-2020-election-shenanigans-to-overtake-virginia-this-year/

Virginia’s hotly contested gubernatorial race is just days away, and with Republican Glenn Youngkin and former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe tied in the polls, the professional left isn’t leaving anything to chance. A McAuliffe defeat is largely considered a bellwether for congressional Democrats in the 2022 midterms.

So how do Democrats plan to ensure a McAuliffe win and a subsequent retention of power in the state and U.S. Senate? By using the same tactic they used in the 2020 national contest: profligate mail-in voting and fake grassroots get-out-the-vote efforts funding by philanthropies and wealthy leftists, a strategy revealed through Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s gift to the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL).

And it’s a smart strategy. Joe Biden voters were twice as likely as Donald Trump voters to vote by mail in 2020, for example; and we know the effect of Zuckerberg’s millions on the 2020 election. The Capital Research Center specializes in exposing the activists behind these efforts. Here’s what we’ve discovered about the funding and activists behind them.

Getting Out the Vote for Democrats

Vote Forward is one of the get-out-the-vote (GOTV) groups swamping Virginians with a letter practically begging them to vote early. Here’s my copy:

Vote Forward is ostensibly nonpartisan—until you look at its original website from 2018, which reads “Flip the House Blue: Send letters to unlikely voters.” Elsewhere, the group admits it was founded to send “get-out-the-vote” mailers to “traditionally underrepresented communities,” code for Democrat-leaning constituencies.

The New York Times praised Vote Forward’s goal of boosting Democrat turnout just one week before the 2020 election. An old FAQ states that many of its campaigns “typically target low-propensity voters who we believe are likely to vote for Democrats when they do cast a ballot.”

In 2020, that target was 10 million voters. To make that happen, Vote Forward sued the U.S. Postal Service, accusing Postmaster General Louis DeJoy—a Trump nominee—of “undermin[ing] USPS’s ability to ensure the on-time delivery of mail ballots” in the 2020 election. The details of their settlement remain unclear, but USPS agreed to deliver mail-in ballots in time for Georgia’s January special election, the result of which ultimately handed Democrats control of the U.S. Senate.

Like many organizations that present themselves as more interested in voting than election outcomes, Vote Forward is part of the Left’s Voting Machine: A massive web of interconnected GOTV nonprofits commanding tens of millions of dollars, mostly gifted by ultra-wealthy institutions like the Ford, Gates, and Rockefeller Foundations.

We’ve traced more than $600,000 flowing to Vote Forward from the Hopewell Fund, part of a $731 million “dark money” network run by the consultancy Arabella Advisors in Washington, DC. After studying this network for years, it’s become clear to us that wherever Arabella is involved, one is sure to find the left’s top operatives as well.

For example, Vote Forward’s board includes Ezra Reese, a partner at Perkins Coie and its Marc Elias-led spin-off (the Elias Law Group) “focused on electing Democrats, supporting voting rights, and helping progressives make change”—a fact you won’t find advertised on the “nonpartisan” group’s website. Perkins Coie is the left’s law firm of choice. Elias was general counsel to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and a partisan operative whose past dealings include George Soros-funded efforts to abolish voter ID laws.

A Flood of Mail-In Ballots

In September, I reported on a new wave of 2 million applications for Virginians to register for absentee ballots in 2021. These applications weren’t sent out by state or local elections officials, but by politically active nonprofits: the Voter Participation Center and Center for Voter Information (collectively “the center”). An internal memo details the spots they planned to cover most aggressively, many of which parallel Biden’s performance in 2020.

The center explicitly targeted the “New American Majority,” another code for likely Democratic voters that they define as “young people, people of color and unmarried women.” That bloc contains 73 percent of all unregistered voters nationwide, which is why the left-wing strategists at the Democracy Alliance consider their turnout “central to progressive long-term success.”

The IRS requires all nonprofits be officially nonpartisan in order to be tax exempt. In the center’s case, nonpartisanship comes in the shape of a fig leaf—as liberal journalist Sasha Issenberg explains in his 2012 book, The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns: “Even though the group was officially nonpartisan, for tax purposes, there was no secret that the goal of all its efforts was to generate new votes for Democrats” (emphasis added).

The center sent out 15 million vote-by-mail applications in 2020 and registered 4.6 million new voters. Time credits the center’s partisan registration efforts as central to the “shadow campaign that saved the 2020 election” for Biden. No surprise that the center is heavily funded by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), AFL-CIOSierra ClubLeague of Conservation Voters, and Tides Foundation.

Will Zuck Bucks Continue?

We were among the first to report in-depth on how billionaire Zuckerberg and the little-known Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) spent $350 million to effectively privatize the 2020 election in battleground states, helping turnout for Biden in the name of COVID-19 “relief.”

Overnight, this little nonprofit’s revenues grew by more than 12,000 percent from $2.8 million thanks to Zuckerberg’s cash injection—fueling its “nonpartisan,” “charitable” façade to elections officials and helping Democrat turnout in precisely the spots Biden needed to win the presidency.

Across nine states, our data shows that CTCL’s grants consistently ignored Trump counties in favor of big, Democratic-leaning spots like Philadelphia, Maricopa County, and Houston—all essential to Biden’s victory. In Georgia, for instance, Biden counties were two-and-a-half times more likely to receive CTCL funding than Trump counties.

Virginia received close to $4 million in Zuck Bucks, more than one-third of which went to populous Fairfax County to support in-person early votingand “vote by mail.” Fairfax County was Biden’s biggest vote-haul in the state and is the linchpin to McAuliffe’s strategy.

Nearly $970,000 paid for “temporary staffing support” to bolster Fairfax County’s elections agency. That may sound innocuous, but as CTCL expert William Doyle recently wrote at this site, that funding “supported the infiltration of election offices by paid Democratic Party activists.”

[CTCL] funded self-described ‘vote navigators’ in Wisconsin to ‘assist voters, potentially at their front doors, to answer questions, assist in ballot curing … and witness absentee ballot signatures,’ and a temporary staffing agency affiliated with Stacey Abrams called ‘Happy Faces’ counting the votes amidst the election night chaos in Fulton County, Georgia.

Fairfax County applied for an extension to its CTCL grant in January, but ultimately returned its remaining $187,709 in April, spokesman Brian Worthy told me. To his knowledge, the county has not applied for another grant for the 2021 election. That’s a good start, but to save the integrity of our elections, Zuck Bucks need to be banned. No exceptions.

There’s no faster way to destroy what remaining trust Americans have in their elections than by giving them to the highest bidder. Private funding of elections would take us back to the worst of the 19th century robber barons, when rich political machines won elections by buying public officials and intimidating voters. It also presents opportunities for foreign interests to manipulate our politics and undermine American sovereignty.

It’s unknown how much CTCL money remains in Virginia or if the group has continued to make grants here. Neighboring Fairfax City reports $14,175 in CTCL funds leftover for the 2021 election.

CTCL has been surprisingly mum about the ongoing election considering how loudly it advertised open-ended grants to Georgia counties in January. It’s possible that the dozens of exposés, hundreds of critical news articles, flurry of state Zuck Buck bans, and an inquiry from furious congressional Republicans silenced the leftists running CTCL.

Or maybe not. A recent CTCL statement calls lawsuits against its grants program “frivolous” and its funding “equitable,” particularly in small counties with small elections budgets.

Today’s left has cynically embraced Zuck Bucks out of short-term thinking, believing like NPR that “private money from Facebook’s CEO saved the 2020 election.” That’s a losing hand. Americans can see that the same leftists who’ve now embraced plutocracy were just yesterday crying eat the rich and abolish billionaires.” Close to a dozen states have already banned Zuck Bucks and grassroots groups are leading a national movement to audit the 2020 election and save the country.

Leftists believed the country would overlook their desperate indiscretions, claiming—as CTCL does—that Zuckerberg’s unprecedented spending spree somehow made 2020 “the most secure election in U.S. history.” We’ll know even more in December, when CTCL releases its IRS Form 990 filing to the public. If coming revelations are anything like observers expect, that claim will age about as well as milk.

Hayden Ludwig is an investigative researcher for the Capital Research Center in Washington, DC.

Wisconsin Elections Commission ‘Shattered’ Laws By Telling Nursing Home Staffers To Illegally Cast Ballots For Residents


Reported By Kylee Zempel | OCTOBER 29, 2021

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2021/10/29/wisconsin-elections-commission-shattered-laws-by-telling-nursing-home-staffers-to-illegally-cast-ballots-for-residents/

Racine County, Wisconsin law enforcement blew the 2020 election integrity question wide open on Thursday after an investigation into one nursing home. It revealed not only that state election officials flagrantly broke the law and ordered health-care employees to help them, but that the problem likely runs much deeper throughout the swing state’s other 71 counties.

An “election statute was in fact not just broken, but shattered by members of the Wisconsin Elections Commission,” Sheriff Christopher Schmaling said during a Thursday press conference in which he and Sgt. Michael Luell detailed the findings of an investigation into Ridgewood Care Facility. The investigation came about when a woman named Judy signed a sworn affidavit with the Wisconsin Elections Commission after she discovered that her mother, who had died on Oct. 9, 2020 after a period of severe cognitive decline, had voted in the 2020 presidential election. The affidavit was later passed along as a complaint to the county district attorney. Judy alleged that her mother Shirley’s mental state had deteriorated so far that she was having hallucinations and wasn’t able to recall what she had eaten during a day or even what day it was. According to Judy, her mother couldn’t see — her glasses were broken, and she couldn’t even recognize her own daughter — so even if she were of a sound mind, she wouldn’t have known whether someone assisting her with a ballot had voted according to her wishes.

Luell, who led the investigation at the request of the district attorney, found an unusual spike in voting at this care facility: 42 people had voted in the 2020 presidential election. That number is usually 10. Furthermore, in 2020, 38 people had requested absentee ballots, up from the usual 0-3 in normal years.

When Luell attempted to contact the families of these voters to check whether their loved ones had the cognitive capacity to cast a vote, seven replied no, and almost all of them hadn’t voted since 2012. One of the family members said his mother would ask him who he was, meaning she didn’t recognize her own son. She hadn’t voted since 2012 — yet MyVote Wisconsin revealed she voted twice in 2020.

This surge in voting was the result of Wisconsin Elections Commission officials breaking state law. The commission — which is made up of six commissioners, including three Democrats and three Republicans, who are appointed by legislative leaders or the governor and serve as an agency in the executive branch under the governor — authorized nursing home employees to help residents vote, which Luell noted “is a direct violation of law.” According to Luell, employees would ask residents how they voted in the past and then vote according to that party. In other words, if Judy’s mother “could only recall JFK,” staff would vote Democrat for her.

According to state law, however, nursing home staff can’t assist residents with voting. In fact, nobody can help the voter other than a relative or “special voting deputies,” which are people appointed by municipal clerks or elections boards to conduct absentee voting at care facilities. In March, however, the Wisconsin Elections Commission sent out a letter mandating that municipalities should not use the “special voting deputy process.”

“Ladies and gentleman, it’s not a process. It’s the law,” Luell said, citing state Statute 6.875.

The original letter was issued under the guise of COVID guidelines. Nevertheless, in September, after the governors’ lockdown orders had expired and the initial shock of the pandemic had passed, the Wisconsin Elections Commission sent a letter to all residential care facilities telling the workers how to help residents vote, including even marking the ballot for them, in direct violation of state law. Racine law enforcement looked at 2020 visitor logs and found that other visitors were let into the nursing home throughout the pandemic, about 900 times between the decision in March not to use special voting deputies and November 2020. Those visitors included someone to clean the fish tanks and birdcages and even DoorDash delivery people.

“Those people were allowed into the Ridgewood Care Facility, but heaven forbid we make an exception for special voting deputies,” Luell said.

Under Wisconsin state statute 12.13, breaking these laws about special voting deputies constitutes “election fraud,” which is a felony.

“We’re just one of 72 counties, Racine County,” Schmaling noted. “Ridgeland is one of 11 facilities within our county. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of these facilities throughout the entire state of Wisconsin. We would be foolish, we would be foolish to think for a moment that this integrity issue, this violation of the statute, occurred to just this small group of people at one care facility in one county in the entire state. I would submit to you that this needs the attorney general’s investigation,” the sheriff said, calling for the AG to launch an immediate probe into the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

This bombshell investigation is only the latest in the long list of malfeasant actions by the Wisconsin Elections Commission, especially regarding the 2020 election. As Wisconsin radio host and lawyer Dan O’Donnell put it, the commission “was downright derelict in its duty to fairly and impartially oversee an election.”

As O’Donnell documented, the commission unlawfully allowed clerks to “cure” ballots, illegally permitted clerks to go home on election night and return to finish counting in the morning, and illegally told clerks they could relocate polling locations in the weeks before the election.

Furthermore, the commission failed to issue relevant laws and rules for training municipal election workers, special voting deputies, and election inspections. Worse, it failed to investigate voter rolls for the hundreds of thousands there incorrectly, including more than 45,000 first-time voters whose names didn’t match Department of Transportation records, among other issues.

As The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway outlines in her new book “Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections,” the Wisconsin Elections Commission also wrongly kept third-party candidates off the ballot, including Kanye West and the Green Party’s Howie Hawkins. Third parties can significantly affect elections in the Dairy State.

“Following the [Legislative Audit Bureau] report, what Sheriff Schmaling has uncovered + disclosed might only be tip of the iceberg of fraud in the 2020 election. The Legislature must be given the time, resources, and cooperation of election officials to conduct a complete investigation of allegations,” tweeted Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin following the Racine press conference. “Using elderly residents with cognitive decline to commit election fraud is reprehensible, and should concern every Wisconsinite and American.”

Johnson continued: “If Democrats will stoop this low to impact elections, one can only imagine what else they’re willing to do.”

Kylee Zempel is an assistant editor at The Federalist. Follow her on Twitter @kyleezempel.

Virginia Democrats Claim ‘Free And Fair’ Election While Rigging It Again


Reported By Stella Morabito | OCTOBER 28, 2021

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2021/10/28/democrats-claim-free-and-fair-election-in-virginia-while-rigging-it-again/

A lot of roadside signs for Virginia’s Democrat gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe include a special message: “Vote in Free and Fair Elections beginning September 17.” Odd. Shouldn’t “free and fair” go without saying? Why include it on a campaign sign?

This is especially odd since the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors recently asked Virginia’s current governor, Democrat Ralph Northam, to waive the legally required witness signature for absentee ballots, as well as the last four digits of the voter’s Social Security number, both statutory requirements. They asked this about a month after voting began.

For me, the gratuitous addition looks like an attempt to cover up the left’s belief that fair elections are below its paygrade. McAuliffe’s operatives can’t possibly believe it, especially as they work to change and ignore rules in the middle of the game. But they sure want you to believe the electoral changes they enacted for 2021 in Virginia—including expansions of mail-in balloting, conditions for ballot harvesting, no requirement for photo ID, etc.—somehow add up to “free and fair.”

On top of that, the huge ballot drop box in front of Fairfax County is supposed to have 24/7 surveillance, but Director of the Fairfax County Office of Elections Scott Konopasek says the camera feed will never be available to the public.

As Mollie Hemingway’s investigative work in her recent bestseller “Rigged” shows, the 2020 elections added a lot of moving parts to the machinery of election rigging. In addition to inviting fraud, there are now more ways to disguise irregularities and to render election results unverifiable. Such chaos-by-design has been in the works for many years. It reached a tipping point when the oligarchical triad of Big Tech, Big Gov, and Big Media used the Wuhan virus shutdowns to vastly expand mail-in voting while relaxing controls on it during the 2020 presidential election.

Obviously, their first order of business was to prevent President Trump from winning re-election. I imagine the second order of business is to entrench these processes for other elections so that a permanent one-party state can cross all state lines.

At the moment, there seems to be just enough pretense—such as the continued existence of in-person polling places and polling officials who request some form of identification—to create an illusion of propriety. The idea is to keep actual voters clutching their ballots with the same persistent trust as Charlie Brown holding onto Lucy’s football every time she offers him a “free and fair” chance to kick it. McAuliffe, a heavily seasoned Democratic National Committee (DNC) operative, is joined at the hip to all that machinery. Yet Democrats in Virginia are acting as though they’re “nervous” that McAuliffe might lose.

Granted, if we’re operating on a level playing field, he should be nervous. For example, his callous assertion during a debate that parents shouldn’t be involved in what their children are learning in school caused a great backlash among his presumed base. It led to lifelong Democrat voters in Virginia openly campaigning for McAuliffe’s opponent, Glenn Youngkin. So, yes, it looks like McAuliffe should be in deep doo-doo. My guess, however, is that he isn’t really worried about “winning.”

Consider that he actually doubled down on excluding parents from their children’s education. He’s just fine with the idea of the FBI investigating concerned parents as domestic terrorists. He even walked away from a televised interview because he didn’t like the questions. This is the sort of behavior I’d expect from someone who believes he has it all locked up, kind of like the Biden campaign’s extreme confidence despite the candidate’s pathetic low energy and gaffe-prone appearances, of the snoozer of the DNC convention.

So if the McAuliffe campaign feels nervous, it’s likely only over the slight possibility of not generating enough fraud. So it looks like a two-track strategy. First, make sure enough leftist operatives (like that guy in Fairfax County) are taking care of the business of generating unverifiable fraud. Second, keep propping up the illusion of “free and fair.”

Maybe that’s how you get a CYA dog-and-pony show with Stacey Abrams stumping for McAuliffe by warning against voter suppression. Maybe that’s the point of Vice President Kamala Harris’s video to 300 black churches during Sunday morning services to get out the vote for McAuliffe. The in-your-face illegality of Harris’s Souls to the Pollsaction adds to the hubris.

I’ll still mark a ballot on Election Day in Virginia (if I’m not told that I already voted.) Assuming McAuliffe ends up in Richmond again, I’ll expect to see local polling places disappear in Virginia in the future. And I’ll continue to have contempt for fake elections in 2022 and beyond.

Stella Morabito is a senior contributor to The Federalist. Follow Stella on Twitter.

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