11/4 Daily Update: Ensuring an Accurate Ballot Count

Published: 11.4.20

As expected, we do not know the outcome of the presidential election — and that’s okay.  Democracy takes time. A fair election is what’s important.  In response to videos of poll challengers disrupting the processing of absentee ballots,  the VPP is circulating guidance for law enforcement to protect the count. Here’s your update:

Social Media

Follow the Voter Protection Program on Twitter to stay updated on the latest voter protection news!

National News

Smooth Election Day: The attorneys general of Michigan, Nevada, and Minnesota told reporters on Tuesday afternoon in a briefing held by the VPP that they were seeing no significant disruptions or voter intimidation at the polls. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said Election Day was “blissfully uneventful.” Read more from POLITICO here.

Election Litigation: As election legal battles continue to drive news coverage, the VPP held an on-background briefing today to provide insight on the current status of pending lawsuits. Don’t miss the VPP’s electionlitigation tracker, which has updates on all the 2020 election related cases.

Counting All Votes: The Washington Post editorial board published a piece emphasizing that final results may hinge on the count of mail-in ballots in several states that could take days to complete. Americans should remain calm and patient. State attorneys general are amplifying this message. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison tweeted, “Here’s the bottom line: the people will decide the outcome of this election. No matter how long it takes, our democracy requires we respect the will of the people.”

State News

PennsylvaniaAttorney General Josh Shapiro appeared on Good Morning America and assured voters that “we’re going to get an accurate count, it’s the law.” On CNNwith Jake Tapper, AG Shapiro said: “As the Attorney General, I’m going to continue making sure all these voters are counted, no matter who they chose.”

Wisconsin: Attorney General Josh Kaul appeared on MSNBC with Katy Tur and discussed President Trump’s call for a recount in Wisconsin. AG Kaul later joined Fox News’ Bill Hemmer with a message for viewers: “We’re used to close elections in Wisconsin and we do a pretty good job of making sure the results are accurate.”

Legal Corner

Today, the Trump campaign kicked up an intensifying swirl of litigation in key battleground states seeking to stop the count and disqualify ballots. A rundown of most of today’s big cases can be found here. Highlights included:

Observing the Count: In Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, the Trump Campaign has tried to stop the count unless their observers are granted greater access. The Nevada Supreme Court refused to step in yesterday. Kraus v. Cegavske, No. 82018 (Nev.), and neither the Michigan nor Pennsylvania courts have taken any action as counting concludes. The cases are Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. v. Benson, No. 20-225-MZ (Mich. Ct. Cls.) and In re Canvassing Observation, No. 1094 CD 2020 (Commonwealth Ct. of Pa.).

Consistent Procedures: Another line of attacks on voting rights includes attempts to discount votes because of alleged differences in ballot processing methods among counties. In Barnette v. Lawrence, No. 20-cv-5477 (E.D. Pa.), plaintiffs are trying to stop officials in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, from contacting voters with deficient ballots and permitting them to cure deficiencies. The plaintiffs argue that Montgomery County officials are violating the Equal Protection Clause by arbitrarily allowing some voters a cure opportunity while denying that same opportunity to other voters in different states. A hearing was held on 11/4, but no decision is expected until Friday at the earliest.

11/04 Messaging Guidance: Protecting the Count

  • Millions of people voted. With record turnout during early voting, vote-by-mail, and on Election Day, there are millions of votes to count.
  • We won’t let any candidate steal the election. The people will decide the winner through their votes.
  • Voting by mail is safe and secure. Mail ballots are closely monitored by election officials and representatives of both parties.
  • Our soldiers overseas vote by mail. Our president has in previous years. And this year, due to COVID and pre-COVID state expansions in vote-by-mail, millions more people all cast their votes safely and securely by mail.
  • State leaders and election officials know how to administer elections, they know how to count legal votes, and they know how to resolve election disputes.
  • Voters decide the winners and the states run elections, not the federal government, not politicians, not the president.
  • Here’s the bottom line: the people will decide the outcome of this election.
  • No matter how long it takes, if our democracy is going to work, we need to respect the will of the people.