12/18: Looking Ahead & Threats in Georgia

Published: 12.18.20

We hope you have enjoyed these Daily Updates as much as we have enjoyed writing them. For the next two weeks, we will send one update per week, on Mondays, unless there is breaking news. Thanks for sticking with us, and happy holidays!

National Update

Not Your Average Legal Brief: Amid ongoing conversations about Texas v. Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Citizen highlighted Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s brief in the case, writing that it “offers the type of plain-spoken moral clarity that is often lacking in the fog of war that passes for public discourse in Trump’s America.”  The Citizen went on to quote from the brief with a poetic intro: “Shapiro closes out the Brief’s Preliminary Report with a mic-drop accusation that the rest of the Brief bears out: ‘the Court should not abide this seditious abuse of the judicial process, and should send a clear and unmistakable signal that such abuse must never be replicated.’” About writing the brief, Shapiro said: “First off, you’ve heard me say it before, I’m privileged to work with an outstanding group of colleagues, and we hold multiple conversations every day about defending democracy. For the Brief, the plan was to speak in plain terms for the Justices and also for the people of Pennsylvania and the United States of America, because it was their voices that were at risk of being tossed out.” Read more here.

A Doomed Affair: A Washington Post headline put it bluntly: “No, Jan. 6 isn’t another chance for Trump to reverse the election.” But it is looking increasingly likely that our country could nonetheless be headed for uncharted territory: a few fringe members of Congress have pledged to attempt to object to the will of the voters and overturn a presidential election result. (Nevermind that these members won their seats in the very same election they plan to contest.) But the effort is doomed. Such challenges will be resolved by votes in both chambers of Congress. Democrats control the House, and even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said this week that Joe Biden won the election — joining numerous other Senate Republicans who agree it’s time to move on. Read more here.

State Updates

Georgia: Before early voting began in Georgia’s Senate runoffs this week, civil and voting rights advocates warned that changes and reductions to polling locations in certain counties could dampen turnout, particularly harming Black and Latino voters. Now, several days in, those advocates say their fears are being realized. More than a dozen groups publicly appealed to elections officials in Cobb and Hall counties this week, while The New Georgia Project, a nonpartisan organization focused on voter registration efforts and promoting civic engagement, took legal action over early voting issues in four other counties. Read more here. Also in Georgia, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution covered Governor Brian Kemp’s outrage over continued threats and harassment targeted toward him, his family, and Georgia election officials. “It has gotten ridiculous — from death threats, (claims of) bribes from China, the social media posts that my children are getting,” Kemp said. “We have the ‘no crying in politics rule’ in the Kemp house. But this is stuff that, if I said it, I would be taken to the woodshed and would never see the light of day.”

Minnesota: A Minnesota state court dismissed four Republican election contests seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Read more here.

Message Guidance: Harassment, Threats & Intimidation 

  • The Electoral College cemented President-elect Joe Biden’s win this week, but threats and intimidation tactics have continued in swing states like Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
  • An emboldened group of Trump supporters and alt-right extremists are refusing to accept the certified election results. They are threatening and harrassing election officials. This has to stop.
  • We strongly support the right to peacefully protest and the First Amendment, but nobody has the right to threaten public officials with violence for carrying out their oath of office.
  • As state leaders and law enforcement officers, we want to be really clear: We’re going to keep our election officials safe. We’re going to protect them. We’re going to prosecute anyone who illegally threatens them.
  • Our democracy relies on the state and local officials who administer our elections. They are the keepers of our democracy. We owe them an enormous debt of gratitude. And everyone – from both parties – should have their backs.
  • Threats against election officials are threats to our democracy. They are threats to every citizen’s right to vote. We will not tolerate it.
  • This isn’t a partisan issue, and we can’t echo strongly enough what other leaders have said on both sides of the aisle: This has to stop.

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