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GOP crafting new election bills | News | dentonrc.com

December 4th, 2021|

A new wave of Republican legislation to reshape the nation’s electoral system is coming in 2022 as the GOP puts forward proposals ranging from a requirement that ballots be hand-counted in New Hampshire to the creation of a law enforcement unit in Florida to investigate allegations of voting fraud.The Republican drive, motivated in part by a widespread denial of former President Donald Trump’s defeat last year, includes both voting restrictions and measures that could sow public confusion or undermine confidence in fair elections, and will significantly raise the stakes of the 2022 midterms.After passing 33 laws of voting limits in 19 states this year, Republicans in at least five states — Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, Oklahoma and New Hampshire — have filed bills before the next legislative sessions that seek to restrict voting in some way, including by limiting mail voting. In more than 20 states, more than 245 similar bills put forward this year could be carried into 2022, according to Voting Rights Lab.In many places, Democrats will be largely powerless to push back at the state level, where they remain overmatched in Republican-controlled legislatures. GOP state lawmakers across the country have enacted wide-ranging cutbacks to voting access this year and have used aggressive gerrymandering to lock in the party’s statehouse power for the next decade.Both parties are preparing to use the issue of voting to energize their bases. Democratic leaders, especially Stacey Abrams, the newly announced candidate for governor of Georgia, promise to put the issue front and center.But the left remains short of options, leaving many candidates, voters and activists worried about the potential impacts in 2022 and beyond and increasingly frustrated with Democrats’ inability to pass federal voting protections in Washington.“What we are facing now is a very real and acute case of democratic subversion,” Abrams said in an interview.Democrats and voting rights groups say some of the Republican measures will suppress voting, especially by people of color. They warn that other bills will increase the influence of politicians and other partisans in what had been relatively routine election administration. Some measures, they argue, raise the prospect of elections being thrown into chaos or even overturned.Republicans say the bills are needed to preserve what they call election integrity, although electoral fraud remains exceedingly rare in U.S. elections.

Voting Battles of 2022 Take Shape as G.O.P. Crafts New Election Bills – The New York Times

December 4th, 2021|

Republicans plan to carry their push to reshape the nation’s electoral system into next year, with Democrats vowing to oppose them but holding few options in G.O.P.-led states.A new wave of Republican legislation to reshape the nation’s electoral system is coming in 2022, as the G.O.P. puts forward proposals ranging from a requirement that ballots be hand-counted in New Hampshire to the creation of a law enforcement unit in Florida to investigate allegations of voting fraud.The Republican drive, motivated in part by a widespread denial of former President Donald J. Trump’s defeat last year, includes both voting restrictions and measures that could sow public confusion or undermine confidence in fair elections, and will significantly raise the stakes of the 2022 midterms.After passing 33 laws of voting limits in 19 states this year, Republicans in at least five states — Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, Oklahoma and New Hampshire — have filed bills before the next legislative sessions have even started that seek to restrict voting in some way, including by limiting mail voting. In over 20 states, more than 245 similar bills put forward this year could be carried into 2022, according to Voting Rights Lab, a group that works to expand access to the ballot.In many places, Democrats will be largely powerless to push back at the state level, where they remain overmatched in Republican-controlled legislatures. G.O.P. state lawmakers across the country have enacted wide-ranging cutbacks to voting access this year and have used aggressive gerrymandering to lock in the party’s statehouse power for the next decade.Both parties are preparing to use the issue of voting to energize their bases. Democratic leaders, especially Stacey Abrams, the newly announced candidate for governor of Georgia and a voting rights champion for her party, promise to put the issue front and center.But the left remains short of options, leaving many candidates, voters and activists worried about the potential effects in 2022 and beyond, and increasingly frustrated with Democrats’ inability to pass federal voting protections in Washington.“What we are facing now is a very real and acute case of democratic subversion,” Ms. Abrams said in an interview, adding that the country needed a Senate willing to “protect our democracy regardless of the partisanship of those who would oppose it.”Democrats and voting rights groups say some of the Republican measures will suppress voting, especially by people of color. They warn that other bills will increase the influence of politicians and other partisans in what had been relatively routine election administration. Some measures, they argue, raise the prospect of elections being thrown into chaos or even overturned.Republicans say the bills are needed to preserve what they call election integrity, though electoral fraud remains exceedingly rare in American elections.“This is going to be one of the big political issues for at least the next year,” said Jason Snead, the executive director of the Honest Elections Project, a conservative group that has helped craft voting legislation. He said the group wanted lawmakers to “stop thinking of election-related policies as something that only comes up once in a blue moon,” adding that “it should instead be something that comes up in every legislative session — that you take what you just learned from the last election.”G.O.P. lawmakers in at least five states have put forward legislation to review the 2020 election and institute new procedures for investigating the results of future elections.Many of the other bills are similar to those passed this year, which aim to limit access to mail-in voting; reduce the use of drop boxes; enact harsher penalties for election officials who are found to have broken rules; expand the authority of partisan poll watchers; and shift oversight of elections from independent officials and commissions to state legislatures.It remains unclear how new voting bills might affect turnout, and some election experts say that any measures designed to suppress voting carry the potential to backfire by energizing voters of the opposing party.Gov. Ron DeSantis is pushing for Florida to create an election law enforcement unit that would “have the ability to investigate any crimes involving the election.”Eve Edelheit for The New York TimesIn Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, is pushing for changes to election laws that build on the major bill his party passed this year, including a special force to investigate voting crimes. In New Hampshire, Republicans are proposing to require that all ballots be counted by hand and may try to tighten residency requirements. In Georgia, G.O.P. lawmakers are trying to restructure the Democratic-led government of the state’s most diverse county.The biggest potential changes to voting could come in Florida, which had just one prosecuted case of voter fraud in the 2020 election.Mr. DeSantis, who had been facing pressure from conservatives to greenlight a review of the 2020 election results in the state, has urged state lawmakers to send new election measures to his desk. One proposal would increase the penalty for the collection of more than two ballots by a third party from a misdemeanor to a third-degree felony. Another calls for more routine maintenance of voter rolls, which voting rights advocates say would lead to more “purges” of eligible voters.The governor said last month that the prospective election law enforcement unit would “have the ability to investigate any crimes involving the election” and would include sworn law enforcement officers, investigators and a statewide prosecutor. Critics argued that such a unit could intimidate voters and be prone to abuse by politicians.In New Hampshire, where Senator Maggie Hassan, a Democrat, faces a potentially challenging re-election bid, Republicans have proposed to scrap the ballot-scanning machines that the state has used for decades in favor of hand-counting.That bill — introduced by Mark Alliegro, a Republican state representative who declined to comment about it — has drawn opposition from Democrats, who say that a lengthy delay between Election Day and the results would create an opening for those who want to challenge the election’s legitimacy.“Republicans are trying to sow distrust and discord in the process,” said Matt Wilhelm, a Democratic state representative. “If they’ve got an additional window of time of hours, days, weeks when Granite Staters don’t know the results of the election that they just participated in, that’s going to cast doubt on our democratic institutions.”A separate G.O.P. bill in New Hampshire introduced in the legislature’s prefiling portal contained a brief description: “Provide that only residents of the state may vote in elections.”Republicans have long tried to tighten residency requirements in New Hampshire, whose small population means that the elimination of even relatively small numbers of college students from the voter rolls could help give the G.O.P. an edge in close elections. This year, the state’s Supreme Court unanimously rejected a 2017 state law requiring proof of residence to vote.A spokeswoman for Regina Birdsell, the Republican state senator who introduced the bill, said that it was “currently in draft form” and that Ms. Birdsell would not comment until the language had been finalized.Ballot-counting machines used in New Hampshire’s 2020 election were transported in May for a review of the results. A Republican proposal would scrap the machines in favor of hand-counting.Josh Reynolds/Associated PressIn Georgia, a plan by Republicans in the state legislature to restructure the government of Gwinnett County would effectively undercut the voting power of people of color in an increasingly Democratic area.Gwinnett, which includes northeastern suburbs of Atlanta, has swung from full Republican control to full Democratic control over four years, culminating last year with the selection of the first Black woman to oversee the county commission. President Biden carried the county by 18 percentage points last year.But last month, Clint Dixon, a Republican state senator, filed two bills that would allow the G.O.P.-led legislature to roughly double the size of the county’s Democratic-led board of commissioners and redraw new districts for the school board — moves that Democrats and civil rights leaders said would essentially go over the heads of voters who elected those officials.The changes would keep the county in Democratic control, but would most likely guarantee multiple safe Republican districts, including some that would be predominantly white despite the county’s diversity.After an outcry on the left, Republicans pushed the bills to the January session.Nicole Hendrickson, the Democratic chairwoman of the county’s board of commissioners, said the proposal “removes our voice as a board of commissioners and disenfranchises our citizens who did not have a say in any of this.”Mr. Dixon defended the bills, asserting that with more commissioners, voters would have more representation and elected leaders would be more accountable.“I don’t see any kind of swing back to a Republican majority; it has nothing to do with a power grab,” he said in an interview. “I think at that local level, local governance is intended at lower populations.”Investigating the 2020 election also remains a focus of many Republican state lawmakers.At least five states are pursuing partisan reviews of the 2020 election, and Republicans in states including Oklahoma, Tennessee and Florida have introduced bills to begin new ones next year.“There was suspiciously high voter turnout that broke all projections,” said Nathan Dahm, a Republican state senator in Oklahoma who sponsored a bill to review the results. “That alone is not enough to say that there absolutely was fraud, but it was suspicious enough to say that maybe there are some questions there.”Lawmakers will be aided in writing new voting bills by conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation, which helped craft some of the 2020 legislation. A spokeswoman for the group said it would continue to push for measures including more maintenance of voting rolls; increased authority for poll watchers; reductions in the use of absentee ballots; more power for state legislatures in the election process; and additional voter identification regulations.Republicans around the country have highlighted polling that shows broad bipartisan support for some voter identification requirements.Jay Ashcroft, the Republican secretary of state of Missouri, has called for the state’s legislature to pass a bill that would require a state or federal photo ID to vote.“The idea that the voters of my state are too stupid to follow a simple photo ID requirement like this is ridiculous and ludicrous,” he said in an interview.Mr. Ashcroft noted that the Missouri bill would not ban people without IDs from voting; they would be allowed to vote provisionally and their ballots would be validated through signature matching.Voting rights leaders like Ms. Abrams, meanwhile, have sought to frame the issue as one that should transcend politics.“This isn’t simply about who wins or loses an election,” she said. “It is about what type of nation we intend to be. And are there consequences for undermining and breaking our system of government?”

The Memo: Media obsess over Trump's past as he eyes comeback | TheHill

December 4th, 2021|

The media have focused on former President TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — State Dept. employees targets of spyware Ohio Republican Party meeting ends abruptly over anti-DeWine protesters Jan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth MORE’s past this week. But it’s his future that fixates opponents and supporters alike.There has been a media furor in recent days about whether Trump had COVID-19 during his first debate with President BidenJoe BidenPfizer CEO says vaccine data for those under 5 could be available by end of year Omicron coronavirus variant found in at least 10 states Photos of the Week: Schumer, ASU protest and sea turtles MORE before the 2020 election.The Jan. 6 insurrection has also come back into the spotlight, with the House select committee investigating the attack sparring with various Trump-era officials.ADVERTISEMENTAnd there have been new stories about Trump’s business interests, especially centered on his hotel near the White House in Washington.To be sure, these are important stories. But the biggest story of all is what comes next. The former president has displayed zero willingness to abandon the political stage. And, to the horror of his many detractors, some of the stars are aligning for a Trump comeback.Trump’s effort to marginalize Republicans who have refused to do his bidding is picking up steam all the time. On Wednesday, after Democrat Stacey Abrams announced she would try for a second time to become governor of Georgia, Trump fired off a statement blasting Abrams but also taking aim at the sitting Republican governor, Brian KempBrian KempGeorgia becomes ground zero for 2022 elections The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks up bright side beneath omicron's cloud Stacey Abrams launches campaign for Georgia governor MORE.Kemp’s sin, in Trump’s eyes, was his refusal to back Trump’s fictions that the presidential election in Georgia was fraudulent. If Trump gets his wish for Kemp to be vanquished in a primary, there could be a more MAGA-friendly GOP governor intimately involved in any future close election.ADVERTISEMENTThe Jan. 6 committee has also tussled with key Trump aides recently, the most high-profile example being Stephen Bannon, who has been indicted for criminal contempt of Congress.But no sanction Bannon faces appears likely to stop his efforts to install Trump supporters on school boards, boards of elections and other low-level positions across the country that help democracy function.As Rolling Stone magazine noted, just hours before it was announced that Bannon had been indicted, he told listeners of his podcast, “We’re taking action. We’re taking over school boards. We’re taking over the Republican Party with the precinct committee strategy. We’re taking over all the elections.” Bannon’s push is part of a broader effort that worries not just Democrats but pro-democracy advocates generally. They see a dangerous erosion given that 19 states have passed laws making it harder for people to vote just this year. Several of those states are also meddling with the way elections are administered.Earlier this year, Stanford academic Larry Diamond, an expert on democratic norms, told this column that even with Trump out of office “much of one of the two political parties ... is basically pursuing an agenda that is hostile to democracy.”Even setting such ominous predictions aside, the simple fact is that the Republican presidential nomination for 2024 looks to be Trump’s if he wants it.Numerous polls have shown the former president to be the runaway favorite of Republican voters. In a Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey last month, Trump drew 47 percent support when Republicans were offered multiple options as their potential standard-bearer. The second-place finisher, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisDeSantis proposes civilian Florida State Guard military force he would control Haley hits the stump in South Carolina Democratic frustration growing over stagnating voting rights bills MORE, polled at just 10 percent. No one else made it into double figures.Lucy Caldwell, an anti-Trump Republican strategist, said that even if his influence had diminished to some degree, Trump "still holds the core of the party and can really shape the direction of the party."Others agree. Ford O'Connell, a more Trump-sympathetic GOP strategist, said, "There is no stronger force than Donald Trump" among the Republican grassroots."If he wants to be the nominee, he has the best chance," O'Connell said.If the GOP went down that route, it would be taking a huge gamble. ADVERTISEMENTTrump’s popularity with the GOP base is countered by his broad unpopularity with the electorate at large.  In this week’s Economist-YouGov poll, Trump was viewed favorably by 80 percent of Republicans but by just 38 percent of the general population. Among all adults, nearly half — 48 percent — said that they had a “very unfavorable” view of the former president.But to his supporters’ delight — and his opponents’ horror — none of that means Trump can be counted out from becoming the first president since Grover Cleveland to serve, lose and then win again.Trump has amassed a massive campaign bank account. Financial disclosures covering the first half of this year showed he and his affiliated committees had $102 million cash on hand.He has remained central to the national political conversation despite being suspended from Twitter and Facebook. And he still has vocal advocates in the media, particularly talk radio and cable news.ADVERTISEMENTThen there’s the other huge and salient fact: Biden is, for now, mired in difficulties, with a job approval rating that has drifted downward. Of course, much will happen in the three years before the 2024 election. But Biden, who by then will be 81, will also have labored beneath the burdens of the presidency for four years. For their part, Republicans fancy their chances with whoever is eventually their nominee.The focus on Trump’s past is, of course, partly due to his position within the GOP and prospects as a possible future candidate. And his apparent obsession with the 2020 election and near-daily airing of grievances on that score keep his supporters fired up and help keep him on stage.Trump might vent about the past. But he too has his eye on the future.The Memo is a reported column by Niall Stanage.

New Evidence Suggests Trump DOJ Official Conspired With White House to Overturn 2020 …

December 4th, 2021|

Depart of Justice official Jeffrey Clark speaks during a news conference on September 14, 2020.Susan Walsh/AP Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.Jeffrey Clark, an assistant attorney general in the Justice Department under Donald Trump, played a key role in Trump’s conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election. And new evidence obtained by the House committee investigating the January 6th insurrection suggests he was working more closely with the White House than was previously known. In late December 2020, Clark drafted a letter that he wanted the Justice Department leadership to send to election officials in Georgia falsely stating that “the Department of Justice is investigating various irregularities in the 2020 election for President of the United States” and recommending that Georgia’s legislature convene to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the state. When DOJ leadership refused to send the letter, Trump considered replacing Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen with Clark. He backed down at the last-minute, but Clark’s maneuvering at the Justice Department amounted to an unprecedented attempt at interference in the 2020 election. The House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection voted on Wednesday to hold Clark in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer the committee’s questions. Among the key questions the committee wants answered: to what extent did Clark coordinate his election subversion letter with the White House? “I also wanted to ask him about metadata in that draft letter that indicates some involvement with the White House Communications Agency [in] the drafting or preparation of that letter,” the January 6 committee’s chief counsel said at a November 5 deposition for Clark, which was first reported by Rachel Maddow on Friday night. BREAKING: January 6th Committee finds White House metadata on Jeffrey Clark letter pushing Georgia to overturn Trump's election loss. pic.twitter.com/134Cg9NYZW — Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) December 4, 2021 This suggests that the White House may have played a role in crafting Clark’s letter, which was drafted shortly before Trump called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on January 2, 2021, and told him to “find 11,780 votes” to overturn Biden’s victory in the state—a call that is now under criminal investigation by the district attorney in Fulton County, Georgia. Clark was expected to plead the Fifth Amendment—a possible acknowledgment of having knowledge of criminal activity—in response to the January 6th committee’s subpoena during a scheduled deposition on Saturday, but due to a “medical condition” the meeting has been postponed until December 16.   

Jeffrey Clark May Have Worked With White House to Overturn Election – Rolling Stone

December 4th, 2021|

The Trump Justice Department and White House may have collaborated in their attempts to overturn the 2020 election. According to new evidence from the Jan. 6 committee first reported by Rachel Maddow, White House communications staff may have worked on a draft letter written by Trump DOJ official Jeffrey Clark encouraging Georgia to appoint new electors who would overturn its election results. The revelation comes from a transcript of a Nov. 5 deposition of Clark released by the committee on Wednesday as it referred a recommendation to the DOJ that Clark be charged with contempt of Congress for his refusal to cooperate with its Jan. 6 investigation. According to the transcript Clark’s attorney, Harry MacDougald, told the committee during the deposition, “We do not intend to answer any questions or produce any documents today,” due to executive privilege. After a lengthy back-and-forth about whether Clark actually can claim executive privilege, Clark and MacDougald left. But the committee’s discussion continued as the panel’s chief investigative counsel rattled off a list of questions he’d hoped to ask Clark. Within those questions was a revelation about a letter Clark drafted to the Georgia governor and legislative leadership asking them to convene a special session of the legislature to investigate voter fraud claims. Related Stories

Local veteran receives donated car thanks to Veteran's Club | News | wdrb.com

December 4th, 2021|

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Veteran Tom Fisher lost his restaurant during the COVID-19 pandemic and went into debt.On top of that, he couldn't search for jobs beyond a short distance because his old car couldn't be trusted. That's when the Veteran's Club in Shelbyville stepped in to give him a reliable ride."It's overwhelming, you know as veterans we're taught not to show our emotions because that's a sign of weakness," Fisher said. "But I showed my emotions the other day when they gifted it to me."Fisher went from his 300,000-mile Saturn leaking radiator fluid into the cabin, to a Kia Soul with 22,000 miles on it. The vehicle was donated by a woman in Shelbyville who volunteers at the Veteran's Club."We just want to keep pushing forward and helping folks who need help," Veteran's Club CEO Jeremy Harrell said. "That's anything from housing, to mental health, to vehicles, any of those things. We'll do whatever it takes so we take care of veterans and their families."It's the second vehicle donated to the Veteran's Club. Harrell said they will always find a veteran in need if other people would like to donate a car.Copyright 2021 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.

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