Democrats file lawsuit in Pennsylvania mail-in ballot litigation
Democrats, including Senate candidate John Fetterman’s campaign, filed a lawsuit Monday demanding that undated or incorrectly dated mail-in ballots be counted in Pennsylvania’s election.
The lawsuit, which follows a similar complaint filed on Friday by various civil rights groups, argues that a provision in state law requiring mail-in ballots to include the date on the outside of mail-in ballot envelopes is in violation of federal law. The suit names the state’s 67 county boards of election as defendants.
The latest wave of litigation comes after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court last week ordered that such ballots should not be counted, with the justices divided 3-3 on the legal question.
The plaintiffs in Monday’s suit, including the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, say the date requirement is immaterial and that enforcing it would violate a federal civil rights law that protects the right to vote.
Cobb County agrees to extend absentee deadline for affected Georgia voters
Cobb County has agreed to extend the deadline for Georgia voters who did not receive requested absentee ballots, according to American Civil Liberties Union attorney Vasu Abhiraman.
The extension to Nov. 14 applies to nearly 700 voters who did not receive an absentee ballot and have not voted in person.
The move comes after the ACLU of Georgia filed a lawsuit against the County Board of Elections & Registration alleging that it “failed to timely send absentee ballots” to approximately 1,036 voters whose absentee ballot applications had been marked as issued last month but apparently were never sent.
The group had asked that all those affected be permitted an extension to return the ballots until Nov. 14 — the same deadline as military ballots.
Cobb County is one of the most crucial counties in Georgia. The increasingly diverse Atlanta suburb is home to swing voters in both parties and is seen as a key to any statewide office.
Nancy Pelosi describes Capitol Police informing her of husband’s assault
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she was asleep in Washington when Capitol Police appeared at her door at roughly 5 a.m. to inform her that her husband, Paul Pelosi, had been attacked in their San Francisco home.
In a clip of a CNN interview released Monday, Pelosi publicly recalled for the first time details of how she learned about her husband’s brutal attack.
“I had just gotten in the night before from San Francisco, and — I hear the doorbell ring,” Pelosi said. When an officer said they needed to speak with her, she said she hadn’t imagined that it was concerning her husband.
“I’m thinking my children, my grandchildren. I never thought it would be Paul because, you know, I knew he wouldn’t be out and about, shall we say. And so they came in,” Pelosi said. “At that time, we didn’t even know where he was or what his condition was — we just knew that there was an assault on him in our home.”
Paul Pelosi was discharged from Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital last week after undergoing surgery to repair a skull fracture and injuries to his right arm and hands after the attack on Oct. 28.
Nikki Haley campaigns in Wisconsin for GOP with focus on crime and the economy
JANESVILLE, Wis. — Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley campaigned Monday with Sen. Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, where Republicans focused their closing message to voters on issues around crime and inflation. She also raised transgender rights and critical race theory.
“They want to talk about critical race theory, where if you have a 5-year-old girl, if she goes into kindergarten, if she’s white, you’re telling her she’s bad,” Haley said.
Johnson, who’s competing against Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandala Barnes, accused Barnes of being soft on crime and blamed President Joe Biden for higher inflation and dividing the country.
“This fundamental transformation of America, unfortunately, now we’re seeing what it looks like, it’s 40-year high inflation, record gas prices, skyrocketing crime and open borders flooding with deadly drugs, the embarrassing and dangerous defeat in Afghanistan,” Johnson told the crowd. “All of these things have weakened this nation, but I would argue nothing has weakened America more than the division the Democrats, and now President Biden, are exacerbating.”
Record number of Black Republicans running for office in 2022
Wisconsin Democrats emphasize abortion, threats to democracy in closing pitch
Wisconsin Democratic candidates are making abortion access and threats to democracy a central theme of their closing pitch to voters, more so than concerns over inflation and the economy.
Democratic Senate candidate Mandela Barnes told volunteers in Milwaukee Sunday that “our democracy is quite literally on the line” and Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who is running for re-election, told a group of mostly college students at the University of Wisconsin in Madison that Republicans would make women “second-class citizens” by taking away access to abortion.
“Women have the right to determine their health care, their reproductive health care and they don’t have to ask Tim Michels or any Republican legislature for permission,” Evers said, referring to his Republican opponent.
The heads of two prominent abortion-rights groups, NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood Federation of American, were traveling with Evers and Barnes around the state Sunday to help elevate the message around abortion access — a message they are hoping will work particularly well at driving college students to the polls.
“We’ve seen all these spikes in voter registration for young voters in all these critical states after Dobbs, so we’re counting on it,” NARAL President Mini Timmaraju said during an interview at the University of Wisconsin event. “Both of our organizations have made significant investments in youth voter outreach, especially on college campuses.”
Former President Clinton campaigns for Rep. Cuellar in Texas
Campaigning in Laredo, Texas, on Monday, former President Bill Clinton said, “I am campaigning for my grandchildren’s future,” before adding, “I’m largely here to urge the re-election of Henry Cuellar.”
Cuellar is one of three South Texas Democrats locked in highly competitive congressional races with Republicans who are Latina. The districts have been solidly Democratic for more than a century, although legislative redistricting has shifted their boundaries over the years.
Fighting Americans’ sentiment that the nation is on the wrong track, Cuellar urged voters to remember past Democratic successes: “If you want to live like a Republican, vote for a Democrat,” the nine-term congressman said, before reminding voters it was Democrats who brought them Social Security and Obamacare among other things.
Cuellar’s challenger, Republican Cassy Garcia, has been waging an aggressive, multimillion-dollar campaign to try to show that the higher GOP voting among Latino voters in the area was not a one-time fluke but a sign of a changing political landscape within the 34.5 million Latino voter pool.
New TV ad bashing Texas Gov. Abbott includes 911 call from child during Uvalde shooting
A new 30-second television ad criticizing Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s easing of gun restrictions in the state features disturbing footage and calls from inside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde during the deadly shooting.
The ad, by a group called No It Couldn’t, starts with video footage of the Republican governor signing the new gun law and dismissing the notion that there will be harmful consequences from it. The clip then cuts to surveillance video of the Robb Elementary gunman walking the hallways and audio of a 911 call from a child inside a classroom.
“I’m in classroom 112, please hurry, there’s a lot of dead bodies,” the child is heard saying in the 911 call.
The ad ends with a dial tone.
DOJ to monitor polls in 24 states to ensure compliance with federal voting rights laws
The Department of Justice announced Monday that it plans to monitor 64 jurisdictions in 24 states to ensure compliance with federal voting rights laws, following a decades-long practice.
“Since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Civil Rights Division has regularly monitored elections in the field in jurisdictions around the country to protect the rights of voters,” said the DOJ, which releases a list of places that it monitors every general election.
The department also said its civil rights division “will also take complaints from the public nationwide regarding possible violations of the federal voting rights laws through its call center.”
Those monitoring each jurisdiction will include people from the DOJ’s civil rights division and from U.S. attorney’s offices.
Supreme Court turns away GOP challenge to Michigan maps
The Supreme Court on Monday turned away a Republican challenge to congressional district maps in Michigan that are being used for this year’s election.
A brief order noted that the case is moot because the election is already underway with early voters having cast their ballots. A three-judge panel had upheld the maps in an April ruling, allowing them to be used this year.
The challenge brought by a group of Republican voters argued that the maps drawn by the state’s independent redistricting commission were unlawful because the population deviation between districts was too large.
The redistricting commission’s lawyers told the court that the case was moot because the plaintiffs had been seeking to block use of the maps in the 2022 election.
Georgia Sec. of State investigating county’s alleged failure to send absentee ballots
A spokesperson for Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said an investigation has been opened into Cobb County’s alleged failure to mail out absentee ballots.
“It is unacceptable, period. We have opened an investigation and will refer to the State elections board to determine appropriate consequences,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
The investigation comes a day after several voters and the Cobb County Democracy Center, an advocacy group, sued the county. The lawsuit seeks to move the deadline for ballots to be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day, per Georgia law, to Nov. 14 — the same deadline for absentee voters in the military and overseas.
Cobb County elections officials allegedly failed to send requested absentee ballots to more than a thousand voters who requested them weeks ago. Board of Election officials are required under state law to send out absentee ballots within three business days of processing an application.
New Warnock ad features top Georgia Republicans criticizing Walker
ATLANTA — A new TV ad released by Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., is an appeal to conflicted Republicans in the state, featuring two top state GOP leaders criticizing his opponent.
“Republicans are speaking out about Herschel Walker’s history of violence,” a narrator says in the ad, which began airing in Georgia on Saturday, according to a spokesperson with the Warnock campaign.
The ad then shows Georgia’s Republican Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan saying in a TV interview: “Herschel Walker hasn’t earned my respect or my vote.”
GOP Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, who ran against Walker in the primary, discusses an allegation from Walker’s ex-wife. “If you held a gun to your wife’s head and threatened to blow it off. You’re a bad man,” adding “that Georgians deserve better.”
Walker spokesman Will Kiley responded: “Raphael Warnock is desperate to save his failing campaign. Warnock has wasted millions of dollars smearing Herschel and it isn’t working. Every poll shows that Warnock has failed. If he can’t use his campaign’s money responsibly, how can we trust him with ours?”
Obama, Biden urge people to go vote in brief video clip
Former President Barack Obama tweeted a short video clip Monday of himself with Biden urging people to go vote on Tuesday.
“A quick reminder: Vote!” the two Democrats said in what looked like a selfie-style video recorded on a cellphone. “Go to IWillVote.com to find out where and how,” Biden added.
Obama and Biden campaigned together at a rally in Philadelphia Saturday for Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman and other Democrats running in the battleground state.
Putin ally on U.S. elections: ‘We have interfered, we are interfering and we will continue to interfere.’
LONDON — Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin suggested on Monday that he had interfered in U.S. elections and would continue doing so, an apparent admission from a figure who has been formally implicated by Washington in efforts to influence American politics.
In comments posted by the press service of his Concord catering firm on Russia’s Facebook equivalent VKontakte, Prigozhin said: “We have interfered, we are interfering and we will continue to interfere. Carefully, accurately, surgically and in our own way, as we know how to do.”
The remark was posted on the eve of the U.S. midterm elections in response to a request for comment from a Russian news site.
Prigozhin, who is often referred to as “Putin’s chef” because his catering company operates Kremlin contracts, has been formally accused of sponsoring Russia-based “troll farms” that seek to influence U.S. politics.
In July, the U.S. State Department offered a reward of up to $10 million for information on Prigozhin in connection with “engagement in U.S. election interference.” He has been hit by U.S., British and European Union sanctions.
The good news and bad news for Democrats in NBC News poll
The good news for Democrats is that their base isn’t napping through the 2022 election: 73% of Democrats are registering high interest in voting this year, according to a new NBC News poll.
By contrast, the figure was 49% in 2010 and 48% in 2014 — when low Democratic turnout fueled a red wave and huge Republican gains.
The bad news for Democrats is that President Joe Biden’s approval rating is low — 44% — and even lower among independents: 28%. Those are strong headwinds for Democrats to overcome.
Notably, the survey shows that disapproving of Biden doesn’t cleanly correlate to wanting GOP control of Congress: 38% of independents said they prefer a Republican Congress, while 36% said they prefer a Democratic Congress.
Elon Musk says he recommends ‘voting for a Republican Congress’
Elon Musk, whose purchase of Twitter was finalized last week, tweeted Monday that he recommends that voters cast ballots in support of GOP candidates because Democrats control the White House.
“To independent-minded voters: Shared power curbs the worst excesses of both parties, therefore I recommend voting for a Republican Congress, given that the Presidency is Democratic,” Musk tweeted.
Twitter announced mass layoffs last week, including people whose primary job is combating misinformation on the platform, current and former employees told NBC News. Two former Twitter employees and one current employee warned the layoffs could bring chaos around the elections.
Last month, he tweeted and deleted an unfounded anti-LGBTQ conspiracy theory Sunday morning about the attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband from a website that has a history of publishing false information.
Republicans sue to disqualify absentee ballots in battleground states
Republican officials and candidates have filed lawsuits to disqualify thousands of absentee ballots in three key battleground states amid baseless allegations of voter fraud ahead of Election Day:
In Pennsylvania, the state Supreme Court sided with the Republican National Committee, which urged election officials not to count ballots “contained in undated or incorrectly dated outer envelopes” even if the ballots arrive before Election Day.
In Michigan, Kristina Karamo, the GOP nominee for secretary of state, sued Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey in an effort to toss absentee ballots unless voters present identification.
And in Wisconsin, Republicans won a court ruling that prevents some mail-in ballots from being counted if there is a “missing or insufficient witness address” on absentee ballot envelopes.
Georgia county sued for not sending absentee ballots
Cobb County, Georgia, is facing a lawsuit to have it send absentee ballots overnight to hundreds of voters from the county after civil rights groups and voters alleged election officials failed to mail them out.
The lawsuit, filed Sunday by several voters and the Cobb County Democracy Center, an advocacy group, seeks to move the deadline for ballots to be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day, per Georgia law, to Nov. 14 — the same deadline for absentee voters in the military and overseas.
Under Georgia law, Board of Election officials are required to send out absentee ballots within three business days of processing an application. But Cobb County elections officials allegedly failed to send requested absentee ballots to more than a thousand voters who requested them weeks ago.
McCarthy previews GOP’s plans if they take the House
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in an interview with CNN on Sunday offered a glimpse into the Republicans’ plans if they win the House and he becomes speaker in the midterm elections.
McCarthy said those plans include tackling inflation, rising crime and border security — three talking points Republicans have hammered leading up to midterms. McCarthy spoke to CNN the same day he rallied for a trio of Hispanic GOP women who are running to represent key districts along the southern border.
McCarthy also said oversight and investigations would be a key priority for a GOP-majority House, which potentially includes probes into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. He also left open the possibility of launching potential impeachment proceedings that some of his members have pushed for.
Additionally, McCarthy reiterated his vow to reinstate Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., to her committee assignments after Democrats last year voted to revoke them following incendiary remarks that mused over the execution of Democratic lawmakers. Greene previously indicated that she wants a seat on the House Oversight Committee.
“She’s going to have committees to serve on, just like every other member,” McCarthy told CNN. He added, “Members request different committees, and as we go through the Steering Committee, we’ll look at it.”
Biden and Trump to deliver closing pitches at rallies Monday night
On the eve of the midterm elections, President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump are scheduled to deliver their closing pitches to voters at rallies Monday night.
Biden plans to attend virtual receptions for the Democratic National Committee this afternoon in Washington. The president then heads to Bowie State University in reliably blue Maryland to deliver remarks at a rally for gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore and the Democratic Party.
Meanwhile, Trump heads to red-leaning Ohio to stump for Senate GOP candidate J.D. Vance as he makes a final push in the competitive race against Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan.
PA Gov. Wolf: ‘I urge counties to ensure that every vote counts’
Ahead of what could be days of vote counting, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf put out a statement Sunday urging counties to communicate with voters who “have submitted ballots with minor but potentially disqualifying errors as soon as possible and allow them to address those errors so their voices can be heard.”
Undated mail ballots have been the subject of years of legal confusion in Pennsylvania stemming from the 2020 election. The state’s Supreme Court earlier this month ordered that county elections boards refrain from counting any absentee and mail-in ballots received that contained undated or incorrectly dated outer envelopes. The NAACP and other groups have since sued to try and reverse the order.
Weekend news roundup
Just catching up? Here’s what you may have missed this weekend:
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