A Republican campaign flyer in South Carolina simultaneously blasts vote-by-mail efforts while explaining how voters can get an absentee ballot.
Tweeted Trump: “This was done illegally and without authorization by a rogue Secretary of State. I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!”
“A Texas federal judge on Tuesday ruled that all voters afraid of catching the novel coronavirus can request absentee mail-in ballots due to the pandemic,” CNN reports.
“The ruling is the latest in a legal battle in both federal and state courts between the Texas Democratic Party — which argues that amid the pandemic people shouldn’t have to choose between their right to vote and their health — and the state, which argues that election officials are ‘misapplying’ Texas’ ‘disability’ requirement for absentee mail-in voting.”
“The Senate confirmed Trey Trainor, a Texas election attorney, to fill one of the empty seats on the Federal Elections Commission, restoring a quorum for the nation’s chief campaign finance watchdog that has not had one for nearly a year,” Politico reports.
“Nearly 2,700 absentee ballots in Milwaukee were not sent and about 1,600 in the Fox Valley were not processed because of computer glitches and mailing problems, according to the most comprehensive account yet of what went wrong in the April 7 election,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) will mail all of Michigan’s 7.7 million voters an absentee voter application for the August and November elections, the Detroit News reports.
The Detroit Free Press says the move is likely to anger some Republicans and potentially lead to a court battle.
New York Times: “Six months before a presidential election in which turnout could matter more than persuasion, the Republican Party, the Trump campaign and conservative activists are mounting an aggressive national effort to shape who gets to vote in November — and whose ballots are counted.”
“The Republican program, which has gained steam in recent weeks, envisions recruiting up to 50,000 volunteers in 15 key states to monitor polling places and challenge ballots and voters deemed suspicious. That is part of a $20 million plan that also allots millions to challenge lawsuits by Democrats and voting-rights advocates seeking to loosen state restrictions on balloting. The party and its allies also intend to use advertising, the internet and President Trump’s command of the airwaves to cast Democrats as agents of election theft.”
Reuters: “With less than three weeks to go before the primary, 1,178,475 Pennsylvania voters have applied for absentee ballots, a 14-fold increase from 2016. Nearly 70% of those requests have come from registered Democrats, state data as of May 13 show. That margin is far wider than the 55% to 45% registration advantage held by Democrats in the state.”
“That’s a worrisome harbinger for Republicans looking ahead to the general election, if coronavirus remains a health threat and Democrats continue their mail-in advantage.”
PBS: GOP official says fraud warnings hamper vote-by-mail push.
Franklin Foer: “Having probed state voting systems far more extensively than that is generally understood by the public, they are now surely more capable of mayhem on Election Day – and possibly without leaving a detectable trace of their handiwork. Having hacked into the inboxes of political operatives in the U.S. and abroad, they’ve pioneered new techniques for infiltrating campaigns and disseminating their stolen goods.”
“Even as to disinformation, the best-known and perhaps more overrated of their tactics, they have innovated, finding new ways to manipulate Americans and to poison the nation’s politics. Russia’s interference in 2016 might be remembered as the experimental prelude that foreshadowed the attack of 2020.”
“It was a shocking margin of victory in what was expected to be a close race: an 11-point blowout by a liberal judge over a conservative incumbent for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court,” the New York Times reports.
“Now Wisconsin Democrats are working to export their template for success — intense digital outreach and a well-coordinated vote-by-mail operation — to other states in the hope that it will improve the party’s chances in local and statewide elections and in the quest to unseat President Trump in November.”
“President Trump has been increasingly engaged in the legal battles unfolding across the country over the issue of vote-by-mail, urging his political advisers to take an aggressive posture to counter Democratic lawsuits on the issue,” CNN reports.
“Trump met with his political aides on Thursday at the White House about the legal efforts… The source said Trump has been particularly interested in combating ballot harvesting, which allows party officials and outside organizations to collect signed and sealed mail-in ballots, a practice legal in some states.”
“Citing public health concerns over millions of Californians showing up at voting locations this fall, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Friday ordered ballots to be mailed to the state’s 20.6 million voters for the November election while imposing strict new rules for anyone who participates in person,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), the Colorado Republican Party Chair, “pressured a local party official to submit incorrect election results to set the primary ballot for a state Senate seat,” according to audio obtained by the Denver Post.
Buck is heard insisting that this is an “order of the central committee.”
The local official resisted committing a misdemeanor.
“A group of voters backed by Democratic legal groups sued North Carolina on Monday seeking to loosen rules around absentee mail-in ballots amid predictions that the coronavirus pandemic will make voting by mail a widespread practice,” the Raleigh News & Observer reports.
“They want the state to provide prepaid postage on all absentee ballots, change a requirement for two witnesses to sign a ballot, extend the deadline for receipt of ballots until nine days after Election Day and give voters a chance to fix signature discrepancies before election officials reject those ballots.”
A new USA Today-Suffolk University poll found that 65% of Americans support mail-in voting as an alternative to in-person voting during a pandemic, while just 32% said they oppose it.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) wrote that fear of contracting the coronavirus was an “emotional condition” and not a sufficient reason to request an absentee ballot.
Said Paxton: “A person ill with COVID-19 would certainly qualify as having a sickness. However, a reasonable fear of contracting the virus is a normal emotional reaction to the current pandemic and does not, by itself, amount to a ‘sickness,’ much less the type of sickness that qualifies a voter to receive a ballot by mail.”
The city government in Milwaukee passed a law to mail absentee ballot applications with prepaid return postage to roughly 300,000 registered voters.
Milwaukee is the largest Democratic stronghold in Wisconsin, a key battleground in the 2020 presidential election.