State says it will accept ballots for 8 days after election, even without postmark
Republicans are challenging a move by Minnesota election officials to allow ballots to be counted past Election Day even if they are not postmarked.
State representative Eric Lucero (R.) and Republican elector James Carson filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging secretary of state Steve Simon’s consent decree that allows mail-in ballots to be counted as late as eight days after Election Day with or without a postmark. The lawsuit argues the decree violates the U.S. Constitution by moving the ballot deadline without the authority of the state legislature and violates federal law by permitting “ballots with no post mark and no evidence of having been cast on November 3” to be counted.
“This means that persons in Minnesota may vote for days after Election Day and have their votes counted,” the lawsuit states. It also warns that the decree will likely lead to disputed results, disenfranchised voters, and may even cause the results of the vote in Minnesota to be rejected entirely.
The consent decree states that if a ballot is not postmarked, “the election official reviewing the ballot should presume that it was mailed on or before Election Day unless the preponderance demonstrates it was mailed after Election Day.” Simon described the seven-day window as “an automatic seven-day cushion” for Minnesota voters.
Simon’s office did not respond to a request for comment about the assumption that unmarked ballots were sent on or before Election Day.
The lawsuit was filed with the support of the Honest Elections Project, a nonpartisan election integrity group whose executive director Jason Snead told the Washington Free Beacon that the decree could incentivize illegal voting.
“You wind up with these ballots that arrive potentially many days after the election, they could be the decisive ballots. But there’s absolutely no proof that they were cast validly on Election Day,” Snead said. “And when you consider what’s at stake here, not only does that amplify the need for us to have clear outcomes, it also amplifies the incentive to try to gin up a few extra ballots after the fact if you see that your candidate is losing.”
“Even if that’s not going to happen, the mere fact that it is possible risks casting doubt on the result,” he said.
Minnesota is among 16 other states this year that permit mail-in ballots that arrive after Election Day to be counted, including the battleground states of North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Texas. With the exception of West Virginia, which allows ballots without postmarks to be counted up to one day after the election, it is the only state to allow ballots without postmarks to be counted.
As the election nears, Republicans and Democrats have stepped up efforts to litigate state voting regulations. Lawsuits filed in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Jersey, and Nevada have pitted the parties against one another in protracted fights over the use of ballot drop boxes, and ballot deadlines, as well as rules for collecting, processing, and counting ballots. Republicans have largely favored maintaining existing voting regulations within states, while Democrats have advocated expanding voting access and loosening regulations.
So, naturally, Democrats are pushing to have them sent to every voter — or ‘voter.’
Enormous pressure is being mounted to use our current crisis as an excuse to transform how we vote in elections.
“Coronavirus gives us an opportunity to revamp our electoral system,” Obama’s former attorney general, Eric Holder, recently told Time magazine. “These are changes that we should make permanent because it will enhance our democracy.”
The ideas Holder and others are proposing include requiring that a mail-in ballot be automatically sent to every voter, which would allow people to both register and vote on Election Day. It would also permit “ballot harvesting,” whereby political operatives go door-to-door collecting ballots that they then deliver to election officials. All of these would dramatically reduce safeguards protecting election integrity.
But liberals see a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sweep away the current system. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted that a mandatory national vote-by-mail option be forced on states in the first Coronavirus aid bill. She retreated only when she was ridiculed for shamelessly using the bill to push a political agenda. But Pelosi has promised her Democratic caucus that she will press again to overhaul election laws in the next aid bill.
If liberals can’t mandate vote-by-mail nationally, they will demand that states take the lead. Last Friday, California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, signed an executive order requiring that every registered voter — including those listed as “inactive” — be mailed a ballot this November.
This could be a disaster waiting to happen. Los Angeles County (population 10 million) has a registration rate of 112 percent of its adult citizen population. More than one out of every five L.A. County registrations probably belongs to a voter who has moved, or who is deceased or otherwise ineligible.
Just last January, the public-interest law firm Judicial Watch reached a settlement agreement with the State of California and L.A. County officials to begin removing as many as 1.5 million inactive voters whose registrations may be invalid. Neither state nor county officials in California have been removing inactive voters from the rolls for 20 years, even though the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed last year, in Husted v. Randolph Institute, a case about Ohio’s voter-registration laws, that federal law “makes this removal mandatory.”
Experts have long cautioned against wholesale use of mail ballots, which are cast outside the scrutiny of election officials. “Absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud,” was the conclusion of the bipartisan 2005 Commission on Federal Election Reform, chaired by former president Jimmy Carter and former secretary of state James Baker.
That remains true today. In 2012, a Miami–Dade County Grand Jury issued a public report recommending that Florida change its law to prohibit “ballot harvesting” unless the ballots are “those of the voter and members of the voter’s immediate family.” “Once that ballot is out of the hands of the elector, we have no idea what happens to it,” they pointed out. “The possibilities are numerous and scary.”
Indeed. In 2018, a political consultant named Leslie McCrae Dowless and seven others were indicted on charges of “scheming to illegally collect, fill in, forge and submit mail-in ballots” to benefit Republican congressional candidate Mark Harris, the Washington Post reported. The fraud was extensive enough that Harris’s 900-vote victory was invalidated by the courts and the race was rerun.
Texas has a long history of intimidation and coercion involving absentee ballots. The abuse of elderly voters is so pervasive that Omar Escobar, the Democratic district attorney of Starr County, Texas, says, “The time has come to consider an alternative to mail-in voting.” Escobar says it needs to be replaced with “something that can’t be hijacked.”
Even assuming that the coronavirus remains a serious health issue in November, there is no reason to abandon in-person voting. A new Heritage Foundation report by Hans von Spakovsky and Christian Adams notes that in 2014, the African nation of Liberia successfully held an election in the middle of the Ebola epidemic. International observers worked with local officials to identify 40 points in the election process that constituted an Ebola transmission risk. Turnout was high, and the United Nations congratulated Liberia on organizing a successful election “under challenging circumstances, particularly in the midst of difficulties posed by the Ebola crisis.”
In Wisconsin recently, officials held that state’s April primary election in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis. Voters who did not want to vote in-person, including the elderly, could vote by absentee ballot. But hundreds of thousands of people cast ballots at in-person locations, and overall turnout was high. Officials speculated that a few virus cases “may” have been related to Election Day, but, as AP reported, they couldn’t confirm that the patients “definitely got [COVID-19] at the polls.”
In California, the previous loosening of absentee ballot laws have sent disturbing signals. In 2016, a San Pedro couple found more than 80 unused ballots on top of their apartment-building mailbox. All had different names but were addressed to an 89-year-old neighbor who lives alone in their building. The couple suspected that someone was planning to pick up the ballots, but the couple had intercepted them first. In the same election, a Gardena woman told the Torrance Daily Breeze that her husband, an illegal alien, had gotten a mail-in ballot even though he had never registered.
“I think it’s a huge deal,” she said. “Something is definitely wrong with the system.”
The Los Angeles Times agrees. In a 2018 editorial it blasted the state’s “overly-permissive ballot collection law” as being “written without sufficient safeguards.” The Times concluded that “the law passed in 2106 does open the door to coercion and fraud and should be fixed or repealed.” It hasn’t been.
John Lieberman, a Democrat living in East Los Angeles, wrote in the Los Angeles Daily News that he was troubled by how much pressure a door-to-door canvasser put on him to fill out a ballot for candidate Wendy Carrillo. “What I experienced from her campaign sends chills down my spine,” he said.
What should also spook voters who want an honest election is a report from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. It found that, in 2016, more mail ballots were misdirected to wrong addresses or unaccounted for than the number of votes separating Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. She led by 2.9 million votes, yet 6.5 million ballots were misdirected or unaccounted for by the states.147
It would be the height of folly for other states to follow California’s lead. In the Golden State, it already takes over a month to resolve close elections as mail-in ballots trickle in days and weeks after Election Day. Putting what may be a supremely close presidential election into the hands of a U.S. Postal Service known for making mistakes sounds like a recipe for endless litigation and greatly increased distrust in our democracy.
By Angela Morabito • The Federalist
Study Finds Voter ID Requirements Don’t Repress Minority Votes
Voter ID requirements do not affect voter turnout, according to a new working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The researchers looked at 1.3 billion data points on U.S. voters from 2008 to 2013, and they found that “the laws have no negative effect on registration or turnout, overall or for any group defined by race, gender, age, or party affiliation.”
For years, opponents of voter ID laws have equated them with disenfranchisement. The American Civil Liberties Union says “voter ID laws deprive many voters of their right to vote” and that they “reduce participation.” Writing for CNN Politics, reporter Eric Bradner addressed voter ID requirements as “discriminatory voting laws.” The Democratic Party’s official website addresses voter ID laws as if they are anathema to democracy. Continue reading
By Peter Roff • Newsweek
Most Americans are at least “somewhat confident” the recent national election was well administered, and that their vote was counted properly. According to the Pew Center, more than 80 percent of U.S. adults surveyed had a high degree of confidence this had occurred. Yet the post-election coverage and blogging gave the impression that people in different parts of the country felt there was a lot of cheating.
The Pew inquiry presumes all the votes that were counted legitimate. This may be a specious assumption. “Count every ballot because every ballot counts” is a nice slogan that hits at core democratic sentiments, but ignores the reality that election fraud exists.
There’s little use denying it. Journalist John Fund, whose book on the subject, Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy, may be the most accessible available on the subject, has documented how it’s done. Continue reading
By Tammy Bruce • Washington Times
As President Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity met on Tuesday in New Hampshire to discuss voter fraud, the usual liberal suspects cried wolf.
During last year’s election, the president voiced what we know — that voter fraud exists. The only question is to what degree, and that’s the mission of the commission.
For anyone who dismisses concerns about voter fraud, the unhinged reaction by the left at investigating it should, at the very least, make a logical person wonder what they’re so concerned about.
After all, if you believe the issue is false, or at the most an irrelevant factor in end results, you should welcome confirmation of that fact. Unless, of course, one fears the actual outcome may prove how voter fraud impacts local and state races to the point of shifting the balance of power in Washington, D.C. Continue reading
By Kerry Picket • Daily Caller
A study conducted by the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) showed that in the key swing state of Virginia voter registration rolls have been tainted with the presence of at least 1000 non-citizens.
The PILF study, which former DOJ Attorney J. Christian Adams assisted on, used an eight county sample from the Commonwealth, which did not include the large population centers of Arlington and Fairfax Counties. There is a total of 133 counties in Virginia.
The study surfaced in the wake of Andrew Spieles, a young Democrat admitting he registered 19 dead people in Harrisonburg, Virginia to vote. Continue reading
The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals on July 29 struck down North Carolina’s 2013 voting law, which included a voter identification requirement and reduced the the number of days before Election Day on which people could vote.
It is perfectly reasonable for a state to demand that voters show ID at the polls, but the court decision and others recently handed down in other states suggest a systematic campaign is underway to discredit this basic truth. The principal weapon used in this campaign is the Left’s favorite: racial discrimination.
As long as an ID is easy to obtain and those without one may prove their identity later, voting regulations should be left to the states. Heavy-footed interventions of the type we are seeing is a constitutional usurpation against states rights. Continue reading
by Jonathan S. Tobin • Commentary
Hillary Clinton was in Texas on Thursday doing what she usually does: not taking questions from the press while seeking ways to energize the Democratic base. In this case, her focus on highlighting a key issue for Democrats: voting rights. But contrary to the overheated rhetoric she and other members of her party are employing, this has little to do with fighting actual efforts to stop minorities from voting and everything to do with creating a sense of crisis, particularly among African-Americans, that Republicans are seeking to put them “back in chains.” The main focus of this effort is to invalidate laws requiring voters to have photo IDs while seeking to institute weeks-long periods of early voting. Neither of those measures has much to do with ensuring that Jim Crow never returns. To the contrary, the effort to hype this into a fight for racial equality is about Clinton’s fear that the African-Americans that turned out in record numbers to elect and then re-elect Barack Obama won’t show up for her next year. And if takes a cynical waving of the bloody shirt of the Civil Rights era to convince them that Republicans are out to get them, Clinton is demonstrating that she will stoop as low as it takes to get blacks sufficiently alarmed about a possible GOP victory in 2016. Continue reading
by Thomas Sowell • Townhall.com
One of the biggest voter frauds may be the idea promoted by Attorney General Eric Holder and others that there is no voter fraud, that laws requiring voters to have a photo identification are just attempts to suppress black voting.
Reporter John Fund has written three books on voter fraud and a recent survey by Old Dominion University indicates that there are more than a million registered voters who are not citizens, and who therefore are not legally entitled to vote. Continue reading
by Kate Bachelder • Wall Street Journal
A hallmark of progressive politics is the ability to hold fervent beliefs, in defiance of evidence, that explain how the world works—and why liberal solutions must be adopted. Such political superstitions take on a new prominence during campaign seasons as Democratic candidates trot out applause lines to rally their progressive base and as the electorate considers their voting records. Here’s a Top 10 list of liberal superstitions on prominent display during the midterm election campaign:
1. Spending more money improves education. The U.S. spent $12,608 per student in 2010—more than double the figure, in inflation-adjusted dollars, spent in 1970—and spending on public elementary and secondary schools has surpassed $600 billion. How’s that working out? Adjusted state SAT scores have declined on average 3% since the 1970s, as the Cato Institute’s Andrew Coulson found in a March report.
No better news in the international rankings: The Program for International Student Assessment reports that in 2012 American 15-year-olds placed in the middle of the pack, alongside peers from Slovakia—which shells out half as much money as the U.S. per student.
Someone might mention this to North Carolina Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, who is knocking State House Speaker Thom Tillis for cutting $500 million from schools. Per-pupil K-12 spending has increased every year since Mr. Tillis became speaker in 2011, and most of what Ms. Hagan is selling as “cuts” came from community colleges and universities, not the local middle school. Mr. Coulson’s Cato study notes that North Carolina has about doubled per-pupil education spending since 1972, which has done precisely nothing for the state’s adjusted SAT scores. Continue reading
As early voting begins in the Land of Lincoln, President Obama casts his ballot and a Republican state senator voting for himself finds that his ballot was counted for his opponent. Eric Holder, call your office.
The day after resigning as attorney General, Eric Holder told the Congressional Black Caucus that the voter ID laws he and his Justice Department opposed were answers to a problem that “doesn’t exist.” Yet when President Obama left the golf course Monday to vote early in his home state of Illinois, he was asked to present his ID before casting his ballot. Continue reading
Progressives and the Justice Department are doing all they can to stop improvements in election integrity.
by Hans Von Spakovsky • Wall Street Journal
In the past few months, a former police chief in Pennsylvania pleaded guilty to voter fraud in a town-council election. That fraud had flipped the outcome of a primary election. Former Connecticut legislator Christina Ayala has been indicted on 19 charges of voter fraud, including voting in districts where she didn’t reside. (She hasn’t entered a plea.) A Mississippi grand jury indicted seven individuals for voter fraud in the 2013 Hattiesburg mayoral contest, which featured voting by ineligible felons and impersonation fraud. A woman in Polk County, Tenn., was indicted on a charge of vote-buying—a practice that the local district attorney said had too long “been accepted as part of life” there.
Now come the midterm elections on Nov. 4. What is the likelihood that your vote won’t count? That your vote will, in effect, be canceled or stolen as a consequence of mistakes by election officials or fraudulent votes cast by campaign workers or ineligible voters like felons and noncitizens? Continue reading
by John Fund • National Review
But what Obama and his fellow Illinois Democrats love most is voting “the Chicago Way.” That involves bending every rule in the book, appointing compliant election judges, and looking the other way when some of Chicago s notorious voter fraud occurs behind the curtain.
This Chicago Tribune news story told the story in droll terms:
Obama’s visit to Chicago shined a spotlight on the early voting process. . . . State lawmakers enacted a series of one-time changes to make early voting easier for this election only, leading some critics to contend the move was made for political reasons tied to the hotly contested governor race between Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican challenger Bruce Rauner. Among the changes, the two-week early voting period, which traditionally ends the Saturday before the Tuesday election, will this year continue through Sunday, Nov. 2, at some voting locations.
There are other changes. Two years ago, when he early voted in Chicago for his reelection, President Obama was happy to show the required photo ID. But people voting early this year will no longer have to show an ID. Voters will also be able to register to vote and cast a ballot on Election Day — what is known as same-day registration. That lax system has led to frequent reports of fraud and abuse in neighboring Wisconsin, richly detailed in a 68-page 2008 Milwaukee Police report. Continue reading
The attorney general battled against state voter-ID laws, despite all evidence of their fairness and popularity. What will his successor do?
by Edwin Meese III and J. Kenneth Blackwell • Wall Street Journal
Attorney General Eric Holder, who announced his resignation on Thursday, leaves a dismal legacy at the Justice Department, but one of his legal innovations was especially pernicious: the demonizing of state attempts to ensure honest elections.
As a former U.S. attorney general under President Reagan, and a former Ohio secretary of state, we would like to say something that might strike some as obvious: Those who oppose photo voter-ID laws and other election-integrity reforms are intent on making it easier to commit vote fraud.
That conclusion is inescapable, given the well-established evidence that voter-ID laws don’t disenfranchise minorities or reduce minority voting, and in many instances enhance it, despite claims to the contrary by Mr. Holder and his allies. As more states adopt such laws, the left has railed against them with increasing fury, even invoking the specter of the Jim Crow era to describe electoral safeguards common to most nations, including in the Third World. Continue reading