GOP officials refuse to substantiate primaries: “This is how Republicans are planning to steal the election”

Republican election officials in at least three states have refused to certify primary votes, in a sign of things to come amid the party’s baseless electoral fraud crusade.

Several aides to former President Donald Trump have repeated his lies about voter fraud in the campaign. Trump-backed Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and Nevada US Senate nominee Adam Laxalt both claimed evidence of “electoral evasion” prior to casting the vote. Colorado Secretary of State nominee Tina Peters has called for a recalculation of her Republican primary race after she lost twice by double digits. Nevada gubernatorial candidate Joy Gilbert filed a lawsuit alleging that her GOP primary loss was a “mathematical impossibility,” even after a recount requested her to confirm the results.

While candidates are free to challenge the results of their election under various state guidelines, Trump-affiliated election officials pose a more deadly threat. Echoing similar false narratives from Trump and his supported candidates, county officials in New Mexico, Nevada and Pennsylvania tried to circumvent state laws and refused to sign off on the primary results.

Republican commissioners in Otero County, New Mexico, last month refused to certify primary results in their GOP-dominated jurisdiction, citing unspecified concerns about Dominion voting machines. These apparently stemmed from Trumpworld’s crusade to baseless allegations that the machines “flipped” the vote from Trump to Joe Biden. Otero County commissioners eventually relied on the vote amid concerns that they could be jailed after state officials took them to court.

Republican commissioners in rural Esmeralda County, Nevada, also refused to certify the 317 votes cast in the county last month, citing unspecified concerns about the election from residents. County officials eventually relented after spending more than seven hours counting 317 ballots by hand.

Three Republican-led counties in Pennsylvania — Burkes, Fayette and Lancaster — protested state rules regarding no-date mail-in with all valid votes from the May 17 primary election for the Senate, Congress, governor, and state legislature. refused to count. ballot paper

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According to the Associated Press, officials in all three counties informed the state last month that they would not be counting mail-in votes that were not properly dated.

Pennsylvania mail ballots instruct voters to write a date next to their signature on the outside of the mail-in return envelope, although these dates do not determine whether voters are eligible or if votes were cast on time. A federal appeals court ruled in May that mail-in ballots with no dates should be counted, ruling that the dates are “unfair.” The US Supreme Court, even with three justices appointed by Trump, allowed the ruling last month. A state court similarly ruled in the Republican Senate primary that un-dated ballots must be counted.

Earlier this month the Pennsylvania Department of State sued three counties, asking a state court to order them to include all valid ballots “even if voters fail to write a date on the declaration printed on the return envelope of the ballot.” failed.”

The department said in the lawsuit that the handwritten date “is not necessary for any purpose, does not precipitate any mischief and does not advance any other purpose,” and that “only the three county boards were allowed to exclude votes.” which includes all other county boards. Their returns create unacceptable discrepancies in the administration of Pennsylvania’s 2022 primary election.”

“Interpreted Pennsylvania law to allow a county board of elections to exclude a ballot from its final certified results because of a minor and meaningless irregularity, such as a voter skipping a date from the declaration on a ballot received on time.” would fail to serve the purpose, would risk conflict with both the Pennsylvania Election Code and the Pennsylvania Constitution and federal law,” the lawsuit states.

“It is imperative that every legal vote cast by an eligible voter counts,” Molly Steber, spokeswoman for State Attorney General Josh Shapiro, told the New York Times. “64 other counties in Pennsylvania have certified their election results as compliant and accurate. Counties cannot abuse their responsibility to conduct elections on the pretext of illegally denying voters the right to vote.”

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Berks County Commissioner Christian Leinbach said during a court appearance Thursday that he “does not have the discretion to determine whether a date is material or immaterial.”

“I am only obliged to see the clear language of the law that says undated and/or unsigned ballots will not be counted,” he said during a hearing, claiming that the decision on ballots was “anything but clear”. Huh.

Leinbach said he could not “vote in good conscience to certify undated ballots,” adding that “this is the type of issue that is creating a lack of confidence in the system.”

Lancaster County officials told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the county had “properly substantiated” its results in accordance with state law and court orders.

“Commonwealth’s demand is contrary to law or any existing court order,” the county said. “The County will vigorously defend its position to comply with the law to ensure the integrity of elections in Lancaster County.”

According to the AP, Fayette County officials argued in a court filing that the state did not have the authority to force un-dated ballots to be counted, adding that the state had time to appeal the county board’s decision. Missed the limit. The county also cited an ongoing trial before the Supreme Court, which has yet to rule on the merits of the appellate court’s decision.

It is not clear how the Supreme Court can rule. Only Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch disagreed with the earlier emergency order, saying the lower court’s decision was “very wrong.”

The American Civil Liberties Union defended the appellate court’s decision after Alito disagreed.

“Every vote counts, and every valid vote must count. Voters cannot be denied the right to vote for such a small amount of paperwork,” ACLU attorney Ari Savitsky said in a statement. “The Third Circuit was right in reaching that conclusion unanimously. We are thrilled for these voters that their ballots can now be counted in line with the requirements of federal law.”

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The dates on absentee ballot envelopes help determine neither whether a voter is eligible nor the deadline by which the ballot was cast, Matthew Weil, director of the election project at the Bipartisan Policy Center, said in a statement.

“Invalidating eligible ballots received by the deadline to invalidate inconsistent errors or omissions is bad policy and bad for democracy,” he said. “The fact that the state already accepts ballots with incorrect or invalid dates only shows how irrelevant this requirement is for determining voter and ballot eligibility.”

Democratic election attorney Mark Elias warned that the situation in Pennsylvania is “far more troubling than those we have seen elsewhere.”

The three counties have a combined population of more than 1 million people, he noted, and the counties’ fighting results “have been thoroughly prosecuted in both federal and state courts.”

“Most importantly, these counties did not refuse to present any election results. Worse, they presented results that deliberately exclude valid votes,” he said, “that way Republican elections will be held in the future.” planning to steal.”

Nonpartisan election law experts agreed that the trend could lead to mass chaos.

Robert Yablon, a law professor at the University of Wisconsin, said, “If it had come out on a timeline like this in 2020, it could really cause problems, as there would be questions about whether states can actually name voters.” could.” The law school told the Times. “You can imagine that there were conflicting slates of voters sent to Congress, and that could have been a huge mess.”

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