11/10 Daily Update: Defending Our Election Results

The Voter Protection Program is working to protect the results of the presidential election and ensure that the voice of the people is respected.  

Today, national outlets continued to report on the memorandum issued yesterday by U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, authorizing federal prosecutors to publicly open election fraud investigations before results are certified. The new memo breaks with a 40-year-old DOJ policy designed to keep federal law enforcement from interfering with elections. Members of our Bipartisan Advisory Board who served in the Department of Justice pushed back with a strong statement, which was covered by a number of media outlets, including the Washington Post,  Talking Points Memo, Cyberscoop, and WTSP Florida.

Social Media

Make sure you’ve followed and set alerts for the Voter Protection Program on Twitter to stay updated on the latest voter protection news. There, you can share our most recent video, a short montage of past candidates for president conceding defeat. Please retweet, quote tweet, and share with people in your networks. 

Additionally, here you’ll find our most recent social media toolkit that reflects our latest messaging and guidance.

National News

  • Peaceful Transition of Power: Today, our partners at Citizens for a Strong Democracy released a statement on the importance of a peaceful transition, from CSD founders and former Secretaries of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, Michael Chertoff, Janet Napolitano, and Jeh C. Johnson. The statement is linked here.
  • DOJ: Current and former U.S. Department of Justice officials have reacted with anger and dismay to Attorney General Barr’s authorization of federal investigations into voter fraud, despite no evidence of wrongdoing and 40 years of policy prohibiting such investigations until after election results are certified. Vanita Gupta, a former head of the Civil Rights Division of DOJ under Barack Obama, denounced Barr’s tactics as “scaremongering.” The top DOJ official in charge of election crimes, Richard Pilger, resigned from his post to work elsewhere in DOJ, telling colleagues in an email that he felt a professional obligation to step aside in light of Barr’s policy change. Read more from Mic here.
  • USPS: U.S. Postal Service facilities reported receiving thousands of mail-in ballots nearly a week after Election Day. The late ballots were reported at facilities across the country Monday, including some meant for closely contested races in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Arizona, according to newly filed court documents obtained by Politico. Though many late-arriving ballots will not be counted because they arrived  past state deadlines, it does not appear that they are numerous enough to have changed election results had they been received on time.
  • Bush v. Gore: USA Today explained the difference between the 2000 presidential election and 2020, noting that what happened two decades ago hinged on just one state and fewer than 2,000 votes. In 2020, by contrast, President-elect Joe Biden is ahead by at least 12,000 votes in each of five battleground states where President Donald Trump’s team is trying to challenge the results. The closest state, Georgia, which will hold a recount, has Biden ahead by more than 12,000 votes as of Nov. 10.  Read the full article here.  Additionally,  Andy Card and John Podesta, famed Bush v. Gore opponents, wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post stressing the perils of a delayed transition. The pair writes: “we fought bitterly over the recount in 2000. This election is not like 2000. And, given the realities of the pandemic, delaying the launch of the transition could have real costs.”
  • Trump’s Legal Challenges: VPP Advisory Board member and former New Jersey Attorney General John Farmer penned an op-ed questioning the merit of the flurry of litigation filed by the Trump campaign, contesting different aspects of the election. He closes by encouraging  “The Court [to] walk away from this fight.” Read the full piece here.

State Updates

Georgia: On Tuesday, U.S. Representative Doug Collins, who is  leading Trump’s effort to recount Georgia’s race, called for a hand count of every ballot cast in each county due to “widespread allegations of voter irregularities” but offered no evidence to support his claim. Read more from the Atlanta Journal Constitution here.

Michigan: Today, Attorney General Dana Nessel issued a statement in response to Attorney General Barr’s recent memo. “Given the timing of this memo and the current atmosphere surrounding the recent election, the intention is clear. This change in policy is not intended to better serve the people of the United States by ensuring that justice is done, but rather to signal to the President that his irresponsible and unsupported insistence that he won his race for reelection is taken seriously.”  Read the press release here.

Nevada: A letter sent November 5th on behalf of President Trump’s reelection campaign to Attorney General Barr alleges that 3,062 voters who do not live in the state of Nevada “improperly cast” absentee ballots in the 2020 election.

However, the list that accompanies the letter of those accused of “criminal voter fraud” contains hundreds of overseas military post office boxes and more than 1,000 locations where military personnel are stationed. Read more from Military News here.

Pennsylvania:  Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar announced tonight that about 10,000 late-arriving ballots were received in Pennsylvania’s three-day grace period after the polls closed. These ballots have been the focus of a number of lawsuits and, based on the count, will not impact the results of the election in Pennsylvania.

Legal Corner

A full rundown of post-Election Day litigation is here. Legal developments today included:

Buck’s County Smokescreen: The Trump campaign filed suit asking a Pennsylvania court to discount 2,251 allegedly defective mail-in ballots. The campaign alleges that the ballots should not have been accepted for a range of technical reasons – including that some of them had incomplete dates. President-elect Biden leads by almost 50,000 votes in Pennsylvania. The case is Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. v. Bucks County Board of Elections, No. 2020-0578 (Bucks County Court of Common Pleas).

Sharpiegate III – Invisible Ink: Sharpiegate II, the Trump campaign’s attempt to cast doubt on Maricopa County’s entire election system, entered a new low of insinuation and unsupported allegation today as Trump’s lawyers sought to hide the basis of their claims from public view. In Donald J. Trump for President Inc. v. Hobbs, No. CV2020-014248 (Maricopa County Superior Court), the Trump campaign claims that the ballot scanners in Maricopa County systematically misread ballots marked with Sharpies as “overvotes” – spoiled ballots with more than the maximum number of selections filled in. With Trump down more than 14,000 votes to President-elect Biden, the fewer than 200 alleged overvotes can’t make a difference to the outcome.

Trump’s lawyers today asked the court to allow  them to file their purported evidence “under seal,” hiding it from public view. Maricopa’s lawyers pushed back hard, arguing in a filing that the public needs to see Trump’s evidence, or lack thereof. The hearing is set for Thursday, 11/12.

Message Guidance

Scenario: A Candidate Adopts a Litigation & Disinformation Strategy to Contest the Outcome

  • Our election was safe, free, and fair. There’s no evidence of any wrongdoing and the PR stunts from the Trump campaign won’t change that fact. 
  • When all votes are counted [or recounted] the outcome will remain unchanged: Joe Biden will be our next president.
  • The PR stunts from Trump and his allies reflect an utter disrespect for the American people and our democratic process. We condemn this un-American attempt to cast doubt on our process and undermine the will of the people. 
  • These attempts to spread disinformation and baseless theories are a waste of time and taxpayer dollars, and frankly pretty embarrassing. We need our leaders rebuilding our economy, beating this virus, and bringing our country back together
  • Here’s the bottom line: the voters decided the outcome of this election, not the courts, not any candidate or a party.
  • We will not be distracted. We voted. We counted, and Donald Trump lost. We need to focus on a peaceful transition of power. 
  • I’m ready to investigate and prosecute any credible claims of election crimes. So far, all we have seen are false allegations for the media. 
  • We take any allegations of misconduct seriously, but if you are going to bring allegations, you also need to bring the facts. Thus far, we have only seen baseless claims.

Scenario: Recounts

  • Our election was safe, free, and fair. There’s no evidence of any wrongdoing and the PR stunts from the Trump campaign won’t change that fact. 
  • The bottom line is this: We will not let anyone steal this election.
  • We said we were going to count every legal vote. And we’re ready to recount every legal vote.
  • We’ll follow the law. If a recount is in order, we will do it according to the law.
  • We are confident that when all legally cast ballots are counted and certified, the outcome will not change and Joe Biden will be our next president. 

Scenario: A Candidate Tries to Throw Election to State Legislatures

  • State legislatures have not intervened to overturn the will of the people since the 1800s. We don’t do that in this country.
  • This is cheating the American people of their votes.
  • The voters decide the outcome of the election, any attempt to mess with that is an attempt to steal the election. 
  • This is an attack on our democracy and flies in the face of the principles our nation was founded on.
  • We will do everything in our power to ensure that voters decide the election, not the president or politicians grasping at power.
  • We’re calling on all leaders to uphold the will of the American people. 
  • We are counting on our leaders to protect our democracy.
  • Let’s be clear: this is an attempt by Donald Trump and his enablers in state government to steal this election away from voters. 

Scenario: DOJ Interference

  • The recent DOJ memo isn’t law enforcement policy, it’s a partisan PR stunt.
  • The Department of Justice has nothing to do with counting and certifying our elections. That’s the job of state and local officials.
  • The voters decided the winner of this election – not the President, not Attorney General Barr.
  • Our election was safe, free, and fair. There’s no evidence of any wrongdoing here—and not even Bill Barr on a Trump-sponsored fishing expedition will find any.
  • Under presidents of both parties, the DOJ has maintained independence and a policy of noninterference until the results of elections are certified.
  • Our state and local leaders are doing an extraordinary job of accurately and fairly counting every legal vote. They must be free to certify the results without partisan federal interference.
  • America voted, in record numbers. Every legal vote is being counted, fairly and accurately. The results are clear. State officials are not going to let anyone interfere with the will of the people.