5/21 Enough is Enough

While the so-called “audit” of the Maricopa County 2020 Presidential Election results is on pause this week for graduation ceremonies, the chaos it has created continues. Over the past week, the Maricopa County Recorder and the Board of Supervisors both came out aggressively against the “fraudit” and called on the Arizona Senate to put an end to it. “Now it is time to say, ‘enough is enough.’ It is time to push back on the big lie,” said Supervisor and vice-chair Bill Gates, a Republican.

In effort to update the public and amplify the growing chorus of bipartisan voices in opposition to the “audit,” the States United Democracy Center convened a press briefing with Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and the three election experts—Elizabeth HowardJennifer Morrell, and Ryan Macias—who were granted access to observe the “audit.” The briefing stressed that while this “audit” is nothing more than a stunt, it poses a serious threat of duplication in other states. In fact, we’ve already seen similar attempts across the country—some that have been derailed, as in Michigan and California,and others that are gaining momentum, as in Georgia and Pennsylvania.

KNAU, the local NPR affiliate, ran a piece that quoted Secretary Hobbs. “What we’re seeing happen is not an audit. It is a fundraising stunt,” she said. The Arizona Star quoted the briefing extensively, including Morrell’s blunt assessment: “They’re making things up as they go along.”

The developments in Arizona only underscore how important it is for the country to have a nonpartisan assessment of the facts—both as they relate to the presidential election and to the January 6 insurrection. The legislation for an independent commission to investigate that horrific attack moved from the House to the Senate on Wednesday in a bipartisan vote, including 35 Republicans. It was a welcome step, but the commission seems to still need ten more Republican supporters, after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell came out against the fact-finding effort.

Meanwhile, the steady simmer of voter suppression efforts continues state by state. This week, Iowa passed new restrictions on absentee voting. We are continuing to monitor the situation in Arizona, and we have our eyes on Texas as the state legislative session is slated to end this month.

National Updates

MSNBC: Michael Steele to congressional Republicans: If you won’t investigate the insurrection, who will?” (May 19, 2021)
“States United Advisory Board member, ‘Michael Steele reacts to Republicans in Congress opposing the creation of an independent commission to investigate January 6th, after a bipartisan deal was reached in the House.’”
 
Washington Post: “Lawmakers are targeting the courts that could shoot down voter suppression laws.” By Patrick Berry and Alicia Bannon. (May 19, 2021)
“But not only are states trying to restrict access to the ballot box, in many instances, they’re also trying to make it harder for voters to protect their rights in court. A new Brennan Center analysis identified at least 93 bills in 26 states introduced this year that threaten judicial independence by limiting courts’ power or injecting more politics into state judiciaries. According to the analysis, in at least eight of these states, bills have specifically targeted election-related cases.”
 
The Hill: “Watchdog group launches campaign pressuring companies to leave Chamber of Commerce over voting rights.” By Alex Gangitano. (May 20, 2021)
“A watchdog group launched an advertising campaign on Wednesday to urge major corporations to end their membership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over lobbying against voting rights legislation. The group, Accountable.US, noted that the Chamber lobbied against the For the People Act, which is the Democrats’ sweeping voting rights legislation that has passed the House and is stalled in the Senate. The ‘Drop the Chamber’ six-figure campaign starts this week with digital ads on Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and other sites, targeting employees of Microsoft, Target and Salesforce.”
 
Washington Post: “Inspired by Arizona recount, Trump loyalists push to revisit election results in communities around the country.” By Amy Gardner and Rosalind S. Helderman. (May 19, 2021)
“The ramifications of Trump’s ceaseless attacks on the 2020 election are increasingly visible throughout the country: In emails, phone calls and public meetings, his supporters are questioning how their elections are administered and pressing public officials to revisit the vote count—wrongly insisting that Trump won the presidential race. The most prominent example is playing out in Arizona’s Maricopa County, where Republican state lawmakers have forced a widely pilloried audit of the 2020 vote. That recount is being touted as an inspiration by small but vocal cohorts of angry residents in communities in multiple states.”

State Updates

Arizona

Arizona
 
AZ Mirror: “
Arizona’s election auditors are ‘making it up as they go,’ expert observers say.” By Jerod MacDonald-Evoy. (May 19, 2021)
“Observers sent by the Arizona Secretary of State’s office to the Senate’s audit of the Maricopa County election shared concerns with reporters Wednesday saying that auditors are making up procedures as they go and that security issues continue to be a concern. ‘It’s bad for election security, it’s bad for voters, it’s bad for our democracy,’ Joanna Lydgate, CEO of States United Democracy Center, said about the audit. ‘This is about casting doubt on our election process because you didn’t like the outcome.’”
 
ABC 15: “
Views differ on Maricopa County election audit process.” By Mark Phillips. (May 19, 2021)
“On Tuesday, the team leading the audit of Maricopa County’s 2020 election results was praised by Senate Republican leaders. ‘I just want to commend the contractors,’ Senate Judiciary Chairman Warren Petersen said. ‘In spite of intense opposition and the intense efforts to shut this down.’ The Secretary of State’s observers said what they are witnessing on the floor of Veterans Memorial Coliseum is at times bizarre, incompetent, and always changing.”
 
Michigan
 
Detroit Free Press: 
Judge dismisses Antrim County election fraud lawsuit.” By Clara Hendrickson. (May 18, 2021)
“An Antrim County judge dismissed an election fraud lawsuit Tuesday that has served as a vehicle to advance the unfounded conspiracy theory that tabulators manufactured by Dominion Voting Systems switched votes last fall from Donald Trump to Joe Biden.”
 
Michigan Advance: 
“SOS says bill would halt absentee ballot counting, Republican says changes coming.” By Ken Coleman. (May 20, 2021)
“A Senate committee on Wednesday continued discussions on bills in a sweeping GOP voting restriction package that’s been widely criticized by voting rights activists and Democratic officials. During a two-hour meeting, the Elections Committee discussed several bills, including measures that would cut back the hours that ballots can be dropped off on Election Day and video surveillance of the vote-counting process. Four of the five members on the panel are Republican, with Sen. Paul Wojno (D-Warren) as the lone Democrat. Formal action on the bills was not taken.”
 
Bridge Michigan: 
“GOP targets no-ID ballots to cut fraud. Only 0.2% voted that way in Michigan.” By Jonathan Oosting. (May 19, 2021)
“Roughly 11,400 Michiganders voted in person without photo identification in 2020 after signing an affidavit to confirm their identity, a convenient but rarely used option that would end under a controversial Senate Republican election reform plan. Roughly 1 in 4 of those affidavits were signed in Detroit, but the practice was hardly limited to large cities or Democratic strongholds: Voters in 82 out of 83 Michigan counties used the option to vote without identification last year, according to state data released this week and analyzed by Bridge Michigan.” 
 
Georgia
 
CNN: 
“Trump allies seek to import Arizona’s election audit to Georgia.” By Eric Bradner. (May 19, 2021)
“In a bid to bolster former President Donald Trump’s lies about widespread fraud in the 2020 election, Trump’s Republican allies are now seeking Arizona-style audits in other swing states—including Georgia, where the former President’s false claims have set off an intraparty war. A day after Trump said in a statement that Georgia should follow Arizona’s lead, former Georgia state Rep. Vernon Jones, a Trump supporter who is challenging incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in next year’s GOP primary, proposed an audit Wednesday.”
 
Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
 “Georgia lawmakers under investigation for handing out snacks to voters.” By Mark Niesse. (May 19, 2021)
“Even before Georgia explicitly made it illegal to hand out pizza and chips to voters waiting in line, two state legislators were accused of breaking the law for doing so. State Reps. Roger Bruce and Matthew Wilson, both Democrats, are under investigation, facing allegations they gave gifts to voters in the form of snacks. The State Election Board recently voted to refer their cases to the attorney general’s office, and they’re facing potential fines.
 
Pennsylvania
 
Forbes: 
“Pennsylvania Becomes Latest Battleground State to Go After Giuliani And Election Lawyers Who Peddled The ‘Big Lie’.” By Alison Durkee. (May 19, 2021)
“Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and other state leaders are calling for lawyers who led post-election lawsuits trying to overturn the election results to be sanctioned—including attorney Rudy Giuliani—becoming the latest battleground state to go after GOP lawyers and plaintiffs who unsuccessfully challenged the vote count.”e to go after GOP lawyers and plaintiffs who unsuccessfully challenged the vote count.”

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