Voters Increasingly Returning to In-Person Ballots over Mail

In many states across the country, voters appear to be returning to in-person voting for their top preference, after vote-by-mail was greatly increased and heavily promoted during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the Associated Press, many states, including key swing states, have seen massive drops in the number of requests for mail-in ballots. In Georgia, where nearly one million ballots were cast by mail in the primary elections in 2020, only about 85,000 voters have requested mail-in ballots for this year’s primary. Other states that saw similar declines include Ohio, West Virginia, and Indiana.

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U.S. Election Assistance Commission Identifies Pierce County, Washington, for Best Practices in Chain of Custody for Vote-by-Mail Ballots Deposited in Drop Boxes

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) recognized Pierce County, Washington for its practices related to the chain of custody that helps track pick-up and chain of custody of vote-by-mail election ballots deposited in drop boxes.

Pierce County was an EAC “Clearie” Award winner in 2021 for outstanding innovations in elections for large jurisdictions. Having over 550,000 registered voters, Pierce County is Washington state’s second largest jurisdiction.

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Connecticut House Expands Absentee Voting Access

While other states have passed legislation to protect voter integrity in during the 2022 elections, Connecticut has taken steps to advance the controversial practice of absentee voting on a large scale.

HB 5262 passed the State House of Representatives, expanding access to vote away from polling places.

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Florida Election Officials Prepare for Impact of New Law

Florida election officials are preparing for the impact of a new law that will require, among other things, additional information for voters currently registered. These requirements are in addition to any new requirements that may pass in the closing days of the current legislative session.

The bill under current consideration, HB 7061, sponsored by State Representative Daniel Perez (R-Miami), is headed to the House floor after passing the House Appropriations Committee in a party line vote. An amendment to the bill during the meeting made it almost identical to SB 524, which passed last Thursday.

The amendment requires supervisors of elections to maintain voter roll lists annually instead of every two years, one of DeSantis’ requests. It also removed a section requiring the last four digits of a voter’s Social Security number, driver’s license or photo ID on vote-by-mail ballots. The amendment also adds a fine to organizations if a person collecting voter applications on its behalf changes someone’s party affiliation without consent. The fine is $1,000 per altered application.

A previous amendment removed additional requirements related to vote-by-mail procedures. Instead, the revised bill would direct the secretary of state to work on a plan to “prescribe the use of a Florida driver license number, Florida identification card number, Social Security number, or any part thereof to confirm the identity of each elector returning a vote-by-mail ballot.” The secretary of state would have to submit the plan by Jan. 1.

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Arizona GOP Sues Arizona Secretary of State Hobbs to Stop Unmonitored Ballot Drop Boxes, Include Signature Verification Procedures, and Even Challenges Mail-In Voting

The Arizona Republican Party, along with its secretary Yvonne Cahill, has filed a lawsuit against Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs over more actions she has taken that appear to be making it easier to commit voter fraud. The AZGOP’s Application for Issuance of Writ Under Exercise of Original Jurisdiction asks the court to compel Hobbs to include signature verification procedures in the election procedures manual and remove the language she added authorizing the set up of unmonitored ballot drop boxes, and challenges “no-excuse” early ballots as violating the Arizona Constitution. 

AZGOP Chair Kelli Ward, who has been out on the forefront combating election fraud since the 2020 presidential election, told The Arizona Sun Times, “We want to make sure that our elections are secure so we can restore voter confidence and strengthen our representative republic.”

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Florida Representative Allison Tant Discusses Budget, Voting Bill, and Parental Rights in Education

On Thursday, Florida House Representative Allison Tant (District-9, Tallahassee) appeared on The Steve Stewart Show on RealTalk93.3 to discuss the 2022 Florida legislative session.

Tant’s district covers most of downtown Tallahassee and the northern Tallahassee metropolitan area. The district includes Florida State University and the Florida State Capitol.  A large college and urban population coupled with a significant number of state employees makes the district an easy win for Democrats. In 2020 Tant beat her Republican opponent by 15%.

As an elected official, Tant, who is a former chair of the Florida Democratic Party, must work with Republicans who control the Florida House. Tant noted that there are “more things that we agree on than we disagree on. It’s just that the splashy issues get all the attention.”

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Pennsylvania Court Halts Mail-In Voting

A five-judge panel on Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court stopped a provision that allows mail-in voting throughout the state, ruling the measure unconstitutional.

Proponents of the lawsuit argued that any permanent change to the election code of the state must be performed through constitutional amendment. In order for a constitutional amendment to be enacted, the measure must pass the legislature during two consecutive sessions.

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Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf Appoints Vote-by-Mail Advocate to State’s Top Elections Post

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf appointed Leigh Chapman to serve as Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth, replacing Veronica Degraffenreid who accepted a different position in the Wolf administration.

In her position, Chapman will serve as the state’s top elections official.

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Neil McCabe on Virginia Race Between McAuliffe and Youngkin and Potential Fraud

Wednesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Washington Correspondent for The Star News Network, Neil McCabe to the newsmakers line to weigh in on the Virginia governor’s race.

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Gavin Newsom Signs Bill Making California a Permanent ‘Vote-by-Mail’ State

On Monday, California Governor Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) signed a bill into law that permanently enacts “vote-by-mail” procedures in every state election, including automatically mailing out ballots to every single registered voter in the state, the Daily Caller reports.

The drastic mail-in voting measures, which are highly susceptible to fraud and manipulation, were originally enacted as an emergency response to the coronavirus pandemic, and ostensibly aimed to make it safer to carry out elections. However, State Assembly Bill 37 sought to permanently extend this procedure for all California elections, after the original coronavirus-based procedures were set to expire on June 1st, 2022.

In addition to automatically mailing out ballots to all voters in every election from now on, the new law extends the post-election day window in which late ballots can still be received. Prior to the pandemic, voters had up to three days after election day to submit their ballots and still have their votes counted; now, voters have up to seven days to do so.

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Karen Fann: Audit Numbers Don’t Match Maricopa County’s Numbers

Karen Fann Election Portrait

The audit of Maricopa County ballots cast in the 2020 election ordered by the Arizona Legislature finished last month, and State Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott) said Tuesday the ballot totals don’t match the county’s official results. She told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show, “They haven’t released a number yet, if you will, however we do know that those numbers do not match with Maricopa County at this point.”

When asked about the degree of the discrepancy in the audit versus the official county tallies, Fann said, “I do not know. They have not told me the number;” adding that the auditors are “finishing up.”

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Florida Legislature Passes Voter ID Law

People voting

On the second-to-last day of the legislative session, the Republican-controlled Florida state Senate Thursday passed a new law aimed at election integrity. 

After SB 90 passed the Florida House Wednesday with a vote of 77-40, it did the same in the Senate Thursday by a vote of 23-17. It was passed mostly along partisan lines, with one Republican state Senator, Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg, breaking with his party and voting against the measure. 

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JUDGE: Tennesseans Who Live with a Virus-Susceptible Person May Mail Their Ballot

A judge has ruled that Tennessee officials have to change the absentee ballot application again to reflect their promise to let voters cast mail ballots if someone in their household has an underlying health condition that makes them more susceptible to COVID-19.

In her decision Friday, Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle sided with arguments from the plaintiffs in a months-long absentee voting lawsuit. They pointed out that a deputy attorney general made the eligibility commitment for co-habitants in response to multiple questions in front of the state Supreme Court last month.

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Ohio Secretary of State LaRose Backs Get-Out-the-Vote Initiative After 21,000 Votes are Lost

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose has partnered with barbershops and beauty parlors across Ohio as part of a get out to vote initiative.

The “Styling for Democracy” initiative comes after over 21,000 absentee votes for the state’s primary, about 1% of all absentee votes were lost. In an event in front of Columbus’ A Cut Above The Rest Barbershop, LaRose and local leaders called on the community to volunteer as election workers and vote in the upcoming election.

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New Polling Finds Nearly Half of Americans Believe Mail-In Voting Is Vulnerable to Significant Levels of Fraud

Nearly 50% of American voters believe mail-in voting is likely to result in significant fraud as officials search for ways to secure the electoral system amid a]the coronavirus pandemic, a Washington Post/ABC poll published Sunday found.

Only 43% of people surveyed in the poll think there are adequate protections against potential instances of fraud. The WaPo/ABC poll also showed that 38% of Americans say they prefer to vote through mail, while another 59% want to vote in person.

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Tennessee Judge: Virus By-Mail Voting Guidelines Ambiguous

A Tennessee judge on Wednesday said the state’s guidance about who can vote by mail due to the coronavirus is “very ambiguous,” and she cited “weighty proof” that other states have expanded to let all voters cast absentee ballots this year — something Tennessee officials say is not feasible.

In a hearing via video conference due to the pandemic, Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle cast doubts on some of the state’s key arguments against two lawsuits that seek a by-mail voting option for all voters this year to curb the virus’ spread at the polls. Lyle also cautioned that whatever she orders needs to be “a practical, workable solution, or it will throw the election into chaos.” She raised particular concerns about costs for local governments.

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Database Swells to 1,285 Proven Cases of Voter Fraud in America

All-mail elections have received heightened attention in the media these past few weeks. Prominent liberals highly endorse the idea, claiming it allows people to do their patriotic duty without risking being infected by the coronavirus.

In reality, without rigid safeguards to prevent fraud, misuse, and voter intimidation, absentee ballot fraud—while it may occur sporadically—already has affected the outcome of elections in states and counties across the country.

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Groups Sue to Expand Absentee Voting in Tennessee

Two legal organizations have filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State Tre Hargett in an effort to overturn Tennessee’s “unconstitutional” restrictions on absentee voting.

The lawsuit was filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the Campaign Legal Center. The two groups filed the complaint on behalf of several Tennessee organizations “whose many members are not eligible for vote by mail under current law.”

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Minnesota Secretary of State Says Statewide Vote by Mail Possible for 2020 Election 

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said his office is exploring a number of “pandemic election options,” including conducting the entire presidential election by mail-in ballots.

“The current public health crisis has been a serious test for all Minnesotans. It has also been a test for our democracy. I’ve heard from many Minnesotans who wonder how, or even if, we will vote in this high-stakes election year,” Simon said in a statement released last week.

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