10/28 Daily Update: NC and PA SCOTUS Wins

Key Dates & Deadlines

Early Voting Begins

Early Voting Ends

  • Thursday, October 29th in TN and AL
  • Friday, October 30th in ME, AZ, GA, TX, MA, NV, ID, and UT
  • Saturday, October 31th in VA, NC, NM, WV, FL, and OK
  • Sunday, November 1st in WI and NY
  • Monday, November 2nd in MN, SD, WY, VT, IL, MI, MT, CA, IA, NE, DE, SC, IN, OH, KY, KS, RI, WA, AK, AR, CO, ND, HI, MD, NJ, and DC

Social Media

  • Follow the Voter Protection Program on Twitter to stay updated on the latest voter protection news! We will use @Protect_Votes for alerts, topline messages, and key resources through the election and its aftermath.

For detailed information on voting-related deadlines, visit vote.org.

National Updates

Mail-In Voting:  On Tuesday night,  a federal judge ordered the U.S. Postal Service to improve mail service with extra trips and later deliveries “particularly for Election Mail.” Meanwhile, elections experts told NBC News that they estimate between one and two percent of all mail-in ballots cast in this election–potentially over 1 million ballots–may be rejected. In key states, the number of mail-in ballots rejected may exceed the margin of victory.

Election Misinformation: The Washington Post reported today that election-related disinformation is coming to voters in waves of text messages and emails, which are more intimate forms of communication and less heavily scrutinized than social networking services. In Pennsylvania, for example, some voters received text messages with inaccurate information about candidates. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said the texts should serve as a warning sign that the state, which both campaigns see as pivotal, is a “target for disinformation campaigns.” Read more here.

State News

Delaware:  Attorney General Kathy Jennings issued guidance reminding voters of their rights, affirming the state’s commitment to prosecuting voter intimidation,  and assuring Delawareans that they should feel safe voting now and on Election Day. Read the guidance here.

Michigan:  Attorney General Dana Nessel appeared on CNN with Anderson Cooper last night to discuss the President casting doubt on the violent paramilitary plot to kidnap Governor Whitmer. View the clip here. Today, AG Nessel announced that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has ordered Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl to make “curative” robocalls correcting intimidating disinformation in earlier robocalls the two allegedly orchestrated to deter voters from casting mail-in ballots.

New Mexico: The New Mexico Supreme Court denied a GOP petition that challenged Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver’s protocols for handling absentee ballots. Attorney General Hector Balderas, defending the Secretary, successfully argued that the protocols were within the Secretary’s authority and based on correct interpretations of the election code. Read more here.

Pennsylvania:  Attorney General Josh Shapiro appeared on Cuomo Prime Time, decrying a wave of litigation aimed at “undermin[ing] the voting process” by restricting voting rights. View the segment here.

Legal Corner

North Carolina:  This evening, in two related cases, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-3 to deny requests by Republican legislators and others to block the state Board of Elections’ nine day extension of the absentee ballot receipt deadline. The applicants argued that the Board  exceeded its authority under the Elections and Electors Clauses. Justices Thomas, Gorsuch, and Alito dissented from the denial of application for injunctive relief, with Gorsuch filing a written opinion that Alito joined. The cases are Wise v. North Carolina State Board of Elections, No. 20A71 (U.S.) and Moore v. Circosta, No. 20A72 (U.S.). Justice Barrett did not participate in the decision.

Pennsylvania: The Court refused to expedite consideration of a certiorari petition by the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, which seeks to overturn a state supreme court decision extending the absentee ballot receipt deadline by three days. Justices Thomas and Gorsuch joined Justice Alito’s written statement, which suggested that the Court could take up the question soon after the election. Justice Barrett did not participate in the decision, which came down after the Pennsylvania Secretary of State advised the Court that she would segregate ballots received after 8 pm on November 3. The case is Pennsylvania  Republican Party v. Boockvar, 20-542 (U.S.).

Texas:  Two Republican legislative candidates and a state legislator petitioned the Texas Supreme Court to invalidate more than 100,000 votes cast at Harris County’s drive-through voting locations. The petition is considered unlikely to succeed because the same court rejected the same plaintiffs’ attempt to stop drive-through voting just last week. The case is In re Steven Hotze, no. 20-0863 (Tex.).

Messaging Guidance: Supreme Court Decisions

  • We are pleased the Supreme Court decided not to interfere with voting already underway in North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
  • Let’s remember: the people will decide this election, not the courts.
  • We’re fighting to make sure every vote is counted. That includes all the votes cast under commonsense rules that North Carolina and Pennsylvania put in place to ensure safe and fair voting.
  • Voters: Make sure your ballot gets counted. Don’t delay. Bring your ballot to a drop box. Vote early in person, if you have that option. Go to the polls on Election Day, if you can. Make sure that your voice will be heard.
  • This will be a safe, fair, and secure election.

Messaging Guidance: Patience Around the Ballot Count 

  • Voters have been coming out in unprecedented numbers to be heard, and they’ll keep coming out to vote early, drop off ballots, or vote on Election Day. That’s a good thing.
  • Americans believe in fairness. What’s fair is to count every vote. We don’t believe in cheating—that’s why we don’t believe in throwing out votes. We’re going to play by the rules and count every vote, even if that takes some time.
  • It is going to take longer to count the votes and certify a winner in this year’s election—and that’s okay.
  • We need to be patient so election officials can take the time to make sure every eligible vote is counted accurately.
  • We are working with every legal tool we have to ensure that all eligible votes are  counted.
  • Voters need to make their voices heard by voting now – as early as they can.

Messaging Guidance: Responding to Mail-In Voting Attacks 

  • Mail-in voting is safe, secure, and legal.
  • Voting by mail is not a partisan issue. Both parties have encouraged mail-in voting for everyone who needs it.
  • States have a long history of voting by mail. That’s how our armed forces overseas vote in every election. It’s critically important to vote, whether in person or by mail.
  • During the pandemic, many states are strengthening vote-by-mail and early voting options to make sure voters can vote safely and securely.
  • We will make sure your vote is counted.

Messaging Guidance: Election Misinformation 

  • Every voter has the right to vote securely, without fear or intimidation.
  • Bad actors are using texts and emails to target voters in battleground states with misinformation and threats.
  • This is a desperate 11th hour tactic to scare Americans out of exercising their right to vote.
  • We encourage you to be vigilant and scrutinize any information you receive from unknown sources in the coming days.
  • State leaders must have zero tolerance for illegal text and email campaigns.
  • We will not let these text and email campaigns go unchecked. We will make sure every eligible voter can vote safely and securely.
  • If you believe you have been the victim of a misleading or threatening election related text or email, contact [insert AG resource] or [insert other state resource].