12/1 Daily Update: Back At It in the Battleground States

Bill Barr has spoken, and so have the American people. President Trump’s loyal attorney general today said there was no evidence of widespread fraud in this election.

In case you missed it, the Tribune Review reported yesterday on Pennsylvania GOP state lawmakers’ continued efforts to undermine the results of the election. Norm Eisen, outside counsel to the VPP, pointed out that there is no history of election certifications being withdrawn in the United States.

Here’s your update:

National Update

Barr None!: In a notable interview, U.S. Attorney General William Barr rejected President Trump’s voter fraud lies, stating: “To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election.” Barr’s comments come despite President Donald Trump’s repeated baseless claims that the election was stolen. The comments are especially meaningful coming from Barr, who has been one of the president’s most ardent allies and defenders, and who had himself alleged prior to the election that mail voting would be “playing with fire.”

Dominion CEO in WSJ: The CEO and creator of Dominion Voting Systems penned an op-ed dispelling myths and lies about the software, arguing that false claims about voting systems damage the integrity of democracy. “Accurate, transparent and accessible elections—this is the objective that motivated me to create Dominion Voting Systems 18 years ago in Canada,” John Poulos writes. “From the start, the company was focused on improving paper-based voting, and it continues to pursue vote-tabulation solutions that enhance accuracy and transparency through audits and reviews, as well as by allowing voters to create, verify and privately cast a marked paper ballot.”

Meanwhile, Trump advocate Sidney Powell’s attack on Dominion voting systems continued to sink to new lows of dishonesty. Today, Powell sought to bolster her Georgia “Kraken” lawsuit with an affidavit from Ron Watkins, the son of QAnon ringmaster Jim Watkins. Powell contends that Georgia’s election was corrupted by Dominion machines in a conspiracy that purportedly involves deceased Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez, China, and Iran.

State Updates

Arizona: Governor Doug Ducey defended himself against attacks by President Trump for certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s win in the state. In a Tweet-stream, the Governor boasted: Arizona has “some of the strongest election laws in the country, laws that prioritize accountability and clearly lay out procedures for conducting, canvassing, and even contesting the results of an election.”

Georgia: In fiery remarks at a news conference at the state Capitol, Georgia voting system manager Gabriel Sterling — an ardent, self-proclaimed conservative — decried the threats of violence levied against election workers and top officials by Trump supporters who cling to the president’s claims that the Nov. 3 election was marred by widespread fraud and malfeasance. Read more here.

Michigan: Rudy Giuliani is expected to head to Michigan on Wednesday to testify at a state House Oversight Committee meeting. Partisans and election deniers hope to use the hearing, and Giuliani’s delusional and dishonest testimony, to spread conspiracy theories about the presidential election. Michigan certified its election results last week, with President-elect Biden carrying the state by more than 154,000 votes.

Wisconsin: Republican members of the Wisconsin Elections Commission called for the resignation of the commission chair over her official sign-off yesterday on President-elect Biden’s victory in the state. Former Commissioner Mark Thomsen noted he followed the same process when he was the chair of the commission in November 2016, following President Trump’s victory in Wisconsin. Thomsen said there were no objections to the process then.

Legal Corner

Wisconsin Rocket Docket: This morning,Donald Trump filed suit in an attempt to force Wisconsin to rescind its election certification and recount the state’s votes. But, this time, he seeks to exclude 221,323 absentee ballots that he contends were illegally cast.

The suit was filed directly in the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Yesterday, Wisconsin completed its canvass, certified its results, and sent a Certificate of Ascertainment to the National Archivist naming 11 electors for President-elect Joe Biden. Biden won the state by 20,695 votes after a Trump-requested recount of the Democratic strongholds of Dane and Milwaukee counties.

Trump’s lawsuit alleges that election officials issued absentee ballots without receiving written applications; inappropriately filled in missing information on ballot envelopes; inappropriately held a mass “Democracy in the Park” voting event; and allowed voters who were not “indefinitely confined” to cast absentee ballots without showing ID. The state Supreme Court ordered the Governor to respond by 8:30 central time tonight. The case is Trump v. Evers, No. 2020AP001971 (WI Supreme Court).

Kraken Grows a Third Tentacle: Today, disowned conspiracy theorist Sidney Powell filed the third installment in her increasingly-unpopular “Kraken” lawsuit series. This is the Wisconsin iteration, and early reviews are not positive: One of the plaintiffs maintains that he did not consent to the suit, which demands video camera footage from Detroit, a city that is not in Wisconsin.

To recap: After repeatedly threatening to “release the kraken,” Powell on 11/25 filed her first post-Election Day lawsuit in Georgia. The suit (“Kraken I”) dreamed up a fraudulent phantasmagoria ranging from Hugo Chavez to Iran. Absent, however, were any specific allegations of fact showing that actual votes were illegally counted or discounted. Ditto for Kraken II, also filed 11/25, in Michigan. And now double-ditto for Wisconsin’s Kraken III.

The three misbegotten suits are Pearson v. Kemp, 20-4809 (N.D. Ga.); King v. Whitmer, 20-13134 (E.D. Mich.); and Feehan v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, 20-1771 (E.D. Wis.).

Messaging Guidance: Wisconsin

  • We are proud of the state and local officials and poll workers across Wisconsin who made sure this year’s election was free, fair, and accurate, and the voters who turned out in record numbers.
  • The outcome of the election is crystal clear: Wisconsin voters chose Joe Biden as their next president.
  • Yesterday’s certification gets us closer to the peaceful transition our country needs at this challenging time.
  • With all of the counties having certified their results, and the recounts complete in Dane and Milwaukee counties, the Governor carried out his duty yesterday to certify the election.
  • This is always the way presidential elections proceed.
  • In 2016, the Wisconsin Elections Commission and then-Governor Walker certified the results in the same way.
  • In our view, this latest case is just like the others the President has filed: it doesn’t have any merit.
  • Wisconsin is joining every other state in doing its nonpartisan job of counting votes and certifying results, as required by law.
  • The will of the American people, including voters in Wisconsin, has been heard and respected.

Key Events and Deadlines

For ongoing tracking of progress in battleground states, check our resource here. For a calendar of key upcoming events, check out our timeline here.

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