As of early Friday morning, with still-ongoing vote counts pushing Joe Biden ahead of President Donald Trump in Georgia and Pennsylvania, various outlets have been projecting the former vice president to win the election.
Multiple days of vote-counting has been an exercise in patience for many. But while Americans have waited days for the results to become clear, certain truths about the threats to Americans’ voting rights were put into stark relief.
For months, President Donald Trump has been the most prominent voice pushing to make voting harder. His false claims of widespread voter fraud were used again and again to undermine the voting process, and it is likely — as evidenced by the despotic speech, riddled with lies, that he gave Thursday night — that those same claims will be used to undermine the results of the election as well.
Instead of promoting safer ways for people to vote amid the deadly (and still raging) coronavirus pandemic, Trump used the false specter of voter fraud to undermine mail-in voting and hinder U.S. Postal Service operations. He cast doubt on the legitimacy of Americans’ votes in the weeks leading up to the election, and has continued to do so through this week.
His supporters have echoed his baseless accusations with cries of “cheating” and “fake” votes. In recent days and weeks, his re-election campaign and the Republican Party have unleashed a desperate flurry of lawsuits across the country to prevent votes from being counted and to undermine faith in the election’s outcome.
Multiple state governments have also amplified false claims of widespread voter fraud — setting up fraud “task forces” that do little to actually promote voting — and in recent years have enacted a number of restrictions, from onerous ID laws to large voter-roll purges. In the runup to Tuesday’s election, long lines in Georgia and troublingly few ballot drop boxes in populous parts of Texas compounded fears. In Florida, thousands of people with prior felonies, whose voting rights were restored by a voter-approved constitutional amendment in 2018, often remain in the dark about the outstanding fines they must pay to exercise the franchise. These are not the only examples.
Government officials aren’t acting alone. Voting-restriction activists and groups are in frequent contact with state and local officials, attempting to convince those officials to enact suppressive measures or carry out unreasonable voter-roll purges. American Oversight has been investigating the extent of these groups’ influence, and on Thursday compiled an extensive list of instances we uncovered through public records requests in which voting restrictionists contacted, held meetings, or asked for information from various state and county officials.
We’ve filed lawsuits in Kentucky and Georgia, with our litigation having recently forced the Georgia secretary of state’s office to finally comply with its legal obligations and release thousands of pages of documents. Through our State Accountability Project, we are investigating threats to voting rights across the country, operating under the principle that we should not only count every vote, but make it possible for people to vote in the first place.
Coming second to the wall-to-wall election coverage was the news that on Thursday alone, the United States reported more than 120,000 new coronavirus infections. Multiple states continue to break previous records. The pandemic has not gone away, and with an administration that was more focused maintaining its grip on power than in controlling the spread of Covid-19, it has and will only get worse.
Last weekend, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released hundreds of pages of records in our lawsuit for the pandemic-related communications of top officials. The documents are heavily redacted, making it difficult to ascertain the full scope of many of the email discussions, but include a number of early communications regarding mitigation plans and testing shortages. Read more here.
We also combed through more documents from Washington state that reveal confusion and poor coordination between the federal government and local officials during the early months of the pandemic. And other records we obtained from the Department of Health and Human Services add to the picture of a White House-centric communications operation when it comes to handling the coronavirus.
Management company owned by Jared Kushner files to evict hundreds of families as moratoriums expire (Washington Post)
Purdue law firm hires Justice Department lawyer who investigated the opioid maker (STAT)
Trump’s Energy And Environment Chiefs Have Been Keeping Busy In States That Just Happen To Be Key To Trump’s Reelection (Buzzfeed)
Health agencies resist Trump civil service executive order (Politico)
Wilbur Ross remained on Chinese joint venture board while running U.S.-China trade war (Foreign Policy)
How a CIA cover-up targeted a whistleblower (New Yorker)
Newly Released FBI Documents Show Troubling Double Standard on Political Speech (Lawfare)
Part of Investigation: