Thursday, January 20, 2022

GA Fulton County DA Requests Special Grand Jury To Investigate Trump’s Efforts To Overturn Election

Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis, has Requested a Special Grand Jury, to Subpoena Evidence and Witness Testimony, related to her Investigation into “possible criminal disruptions” into the State of Georgia’s Administration of the 2020 Election, including Trump’s efforts to Overturn the Results of the Presidential Race in the State, which was Won by President Biden.

The Letter that Willis sent to, Fulton County Superior Court Chief Judge Christopher Brasher, Requests the Special Grand Jury to begin in May, for no longer than 12 months.

Willis had announced she was opening her Investigation after a Recording of “the infamous phone call that Donald Trump had with Brad Raffensperger,” the Georgia Secretary of State, where Trump pleaded and threatened Raffensperger in an attempt to get him to “find” 11,870 Votes, enough for Trump to win the State by One Vote, along with a laundry list of Unproven and Baseless Claims of Election Fraud.

“We have made effort to interview multiple witnesses and gather evidence,” Willis wrote in her Letter, “and a significant number of witnesses and prospective witnesses have refused to cooperate with the investigation absent a subpoena requiring their testimony.” She specifically cited Raffensperger as an example, calling him “an essential witness to the investigation,” and wrote that he “has indicated that he will not participate in an interview or otherwise offer evidence until he is presented with a subpoena by my office.”

Raffensperger is in a difficult Political position, being on the Ballot for Re-Election and facing a Trump-supporting Primary Challenger. He’s spoken openly about his Concerns about Trump’s efforts to Overturn the 2020 Election and the Threats he and his Family received from Trump Supporters, but has still Refused to Rule-Out Voting for Trump if he Runs again in 2024.

Essentially what this Letter tells you, is that Willis is, Serious about pursuing a Potential Criminal Indictment, either against Trump or Allies who were helping him with this Campaign in Georgia. It’s not a done Deal that she will get the Special Grand Jury. There are Judges who have to sign off on this Request, but it tells you how Serious she is in this pursuit.

Willis said, I need to Speak with Witnesses and several of them, she says in her Letter, have Not agreed to speak with me Voluntarily. That’s why you need a Grand Jury. Grand Juries issue Subpoenas. A Subpoena is a Formal Command that you must Testify. That’s Enforceable by the Courts, and ultimately potentially by Law Enforcement, and that’s how you get People who may be Reluctant to Testify.

The Second reason was that a Special Grand Jury was able to Focus on just the One Case, for a Longer time.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

U.S. House Speaker Pelosi Says Banning Member Stock Trades Possible

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA, 12th District), on Thursday, signaled her Willingness to advance Legislation that could Ban Lawmaker Stock Trades, if her Rank-and-File Democrats support such a move.

At her weekly News Conference, Pelosi was asked about tightening Controls on Stock Transactions. She responded: “If members (of the House) want to do that, I’m OK with that.”

Currently, Representatives are Required to disclose Stock Sale Transactions, from themself and Family Members, within a prescribed number of Days or face Penalties.

The Requirement is aimed at tackling any Appearances of, a Conflict of Interest, by House Members who could be working on Legislation affecting Companies or certain Investors.

News Organizations in 2021, identified 54 Members of Congress who've Failed to properly Report their Financial Trades, as Mandated by the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012, also known as the STOCK Act.

While Lawmakers who Violate the STOCK Act face a Fine, the Penalty is usually Small, $200 is the standard amount, or Waived by House or Senate Ethics Officials

Pelosi added that any Suspicions of, Insider Trading by Members of Congress, would be subject to Investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

Her remarks were a Departure from a month ago, when she Defended Lawmakers engaging in Stock Market Trading.

On Thursday, Pelosi prefaced her Remarks by saying she had “great confidence in the integrity of my members.”

“To give a blanket attitude of we can’t do this and we can’t do that because we can’t be trusted, I just don’t buy into that,” she said.

The House Administration Committee, which would have Primary Jurisdiction over such Legislation, is reviewing Bills that are being Drafted, Pelosi said.

Meantime, Pelosi Criticized the U.S. Supreme Court for having Lax Rules. “When we go forward with anything let’s take the Supreme Court with us to have disclosure,” she said.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Scotland's Offshore Wind Sector Gets Millions Boost Parts Of Seabed Leased Out

According to Crown Estate Scotland, a Public Corporation which Manages the Country's Coastline and Seabed, 74 Lease Applications were made, and 17 were Successful.

The Program, dubbed ScotWind, raised £699.2 Million, around $952 million. The Fees will be "passed to the Scottish Government for public spending," Crown Estate Scotland says.

The Capacity of the proposed Facilities amounts to 24,826 megawatts. To put that figure into some sort of context, Trade Association, RenewableUK, says the U.K.'s Operational Capacity for Offshore Wind, stands at just over 10,463 MW. Capacity refers to "the amount of electricity a generator can produce when it's running at full blast," according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Successful Applicants include: BP Alternative Energy Investments, SSE Renewables, Vattenfall, ScottishPower Renewables, and Shell.

"The variety and scale of the projects that will progress onto the next stages shows both the remarkable progress of the offshore wind sector, and a clear sign that Scotland is set to be a major hub for the further development of this technology in the years to come," Simon Hodge, Crown Estate Scotland's Chief Executive, said in a Statement Monday.

Among those commenting on the Lleasing round were Doug Parr, Policy Director at Greenpeace UK. "It's vital for the economy and for the climate that these projects progress smoothly to delivery, and the revenue generated must be channelled into accelerating the UK's transition to clean energy," he said.

Parr added that while New Renewable Power was "vital," it is Not enough on its own. "We need home insulation, upgrades to the energy system, with retraining and support for people working in high carbon industries as they decline."

Other responses to the News highlight some of the Difficulties Governments around the World face, when trying to Strike a Balance between developing Large-Scale Renewable Energy Projects and Safeguarding other parts of the Economy.

"While it is clear that substantial additional offshore renewables will be required for Scotland to meet its net zero target, we are understandably anxious and concerned about the potential impact of these and future offshore renewables projects on the Scottish fishing industry," Elspeth Macdonald, Chief Executive of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation, said on Monday.

She added that a "vast area" of the Seabed would be Impacted, and "the majority of the successful projects are for floating offshore wind, which creates even greater spatial and co-existence problems for fishing than fixed turbines do."

Elsewhere, Aedan Smith, who is Head of Policy and Advocacy for RSPB Scotland, said Offshore Wind had "an important role to play in helping halt climate change." "However, the offshore wind projects already consented in Scotland are predicted to kill hundreds of seabirds like kittiwakes, gannets and puffins every year," Smith said.

"The potential projects announced today would be many times bigger than those existing projects and would greatly increase those impacts."

Looking ahead, Crown Estate Scotland acknowledged a Significant amount of Work lay ahead following Monday's Leasing Round.

"This is just the first stage of the long process these projects will have to go through before we see turbines going into the water, as the projects evolve through consenting, financing, and planning stages," it said.

Projects would "only progress to a full seabed lease once all these various planning stages have been completed," it added.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Student Loan Forgiveness Update

The Overhaul of a Controversial Lloan Forgiveness Program was projected to erase the Debt of 22,000 Student Loan Borrowers in the effort's First weeks. Three months in, more than Triple that figure have had their Debts erased.

The U.S. Department of Education released the Public Service Forgiveness Loan figures Thursday, a year into President Biden's term as President.

The Loan Forgiveness Initiative, which was rolled out in 2007, was designed to entice People to work as: Teachers, Police Officers, Firefighters, or in other Public Jobs. After 10 years working in those Jobs and making Payments, their College Debt would be Rased. In practice, the Federal Government forgave almost No one's Debt.

When the Biden Administration loosened Standards in October, the Agency estimated more than 22,000 Borrowers would Benefit immediately, and 27,000 would qualify as soon as they proved they worked in an Eligible Job.

Data from the Department shows roughly 70,000 Borrowers have Qualified for nearly $5 billion in Relief. The Biden Administration estimates as many as 550,000 Borrowers could Benefit from the Changes to the Program.

Biden faces calls to use his Executive Authority to Forgive Student Loan Debt for the 43 million Federal Borrowers. The President campaigned on Forgiving up to $10,000 per Borrower, but said he believes it’s Congress’ Job to issue Student Loan Forgiveness.

The Biden Administration Extended the Pandemic pause on Federal Student Loan Payments through May 1, to give struggling Borrowers more time to prepare for the Restart.

Tisa Silver Canady, has seen Borrowers obtain Loan Forgiveness through her work, as the Director of the Maryland Center for Collegiate Financial Wellness, an Organization that helps Students and Families Pay for College.

When she First heard about the Changes to the PrBgram in October, she dug up her Old Clients who had encountered an Issue navigating it. Some were excited, but others were Wary after having been burned by the Education Department before. But Interest has grown steadily since then, she said, especially as Borrowers see others Obtain Forgiveness.

"My basic advice to anyone who thinks they might qualify even for one month is: Do not cancel yourself," she said. "If you cancel yourself, you'll never know how close you are or if you're already there."

Though Forgiveness hasn’t been widespread, the Department of Education has Forgiven the Debt of 675,000 Borrowers to the tune of $15 billion since Biden came into Office. That Forgiveness has come through Expansions of Existing Debt Forgiveness Programs, like those for Borrowers who are permanently Disabled or Defrauded by their Schools. The Changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program are part of that trend.

The Debt Forgiveness Program is simple in Concept, but Complicated in Practice. The idea was to offer an Incentive to College Graduates to forgo Lucrative Private-Sector Wages, to Work for the Public instead. In Exchange, the Federal Government would Forgive these Graduates’ Debts after 10 years of Payments.

But the Program came with Rigorous Requirements that Prevented most Borrowers from Qualifying for Forgiveness. Many had the Wrong type of Loan, or they weren’t Enrolled in the correct Income-based Repayment Program. Borrowers often didn’t realize they had made an Error until after Applying for Forgiveness after 10 years of Repayment. Many had No choice but to Restart their Payment Clock.

When the Government announced the Revamp, only 16,000 had Received Debt Forgiveness, out of the 1.3 million trying to Wipe Out their Loans through the Program.

In October 2021, the Government said it would offer a One-year Waiver that allowed Borrowers to get Credit for Past Payments, provided they Worked in a Qualifying Job.

The Waiver is only Applicable to Borrowers with Direct Loans, or those Directly issued by the Government. Those with Federal Family Education Loans or Federal Perkins Loans, must Consolidate via a Direct Loan before Oct. 31, 2022, to take Advantage of the Program.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Electionline Weekly January-20-2022

Arizona: Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez spoke to a joint session of the state Legislature last week opposing a bill by Sen. Wendy Rogers (R) that would, if passed, ban use of mail-in ballots in elections. Additionally, the bill would ban ballot drop boxes and most types of drive-through voting. Nez said if voting by mail is outlawed, the result would be hardship for tribal members with no easy access to polls. “Many of our elders and those living in remote communities (would) have to drive hundreds of miles and several hours to cast their ballots,” he said.

Republican state senators and representatives in Arizona — including election conspiracy theorists and newly sworn-in members — have introduced more than two dozen bills that aim to make significant changes in the state’s voting system. Here are some:

Senate Bill 1027 would establish a Bureau of Elections under the Governor’s Office that would investigate election fraud.

Senate Bill 1055 criminalizes the failure of companies or people to perform their duties when they contract with elections departments.

Senate Bill 1056, a person who “misplaces” a ballot subject to possible misdemeanor charges. The bill defines “misplaced” ballots as those “not included in the initial tally at a polling place or counting center.” The misplaced ballots also could not be counted, and the bill authorizes affected voters to file an action for damages.

Senate Bill 1058 would ban drive-through voting and any placement of ballot drop boxes except in official election facilities

House Bill 1023 would make ballot images available and searchable by voting precinct to the public online after an election. The images wouldn’t show information that would identify specific voters.

House Bill 2041 would require a set of new fraud countermeasures built into the paper used for ballots, including “watermarking, secure holographic foil, security links, invisible ultraviolet microtext” and other features.

House Bill 2059 would raise penalties for certain kinds of election violations, such as electioneering within the 75 foot limit or voting in a county where you don’t reside, from a misdemeanor to a low-level felony.

House Bill 2080, which would mandate hand counts of ballots in all primary and general elections. Arizona voters cast 3.4 million ballots in the November 2020 election.

House Bill 2270, which would prohibit an election official from leading or belonging to a political action committee.

Florida: Proposed legislation could make it harder for some outside groups to obtain certain voter application information. St. Johns County Republican State Representative Cyndi Stevenson’s legislation would shield voters’ day of birth, email address, phone number, and party affiliation from public view. Groups like political parties, canvassing boards, and political candidates would still have access to the information. But others would have to seek approval from the Secretary of State to get the information. Stevenson said her bill is intended to prevent bad actors from getting and misusing voters’ personal information. She said she’s been collaborating with the First Amendment Foundation and is working on amendments that may keep political affiliation public and exclude the Secretary of State requirement. Stevenson added that victims of domestic violence or Floridians who have been restraining orders because they’re concerned about their safety can also request that their information be shielded from the public.

Idaho: New emergency legislation introduced by two GOP lawmakers, one of whom is running for Idaho secretary of state, would require unaffiliated voters to affiliate with a party by March 11 to vote in that party’s closed primary in May. Currently, unaffiliated voters have until Election Day to make that change, and only affiliated party members are subject to the March 11 deadline if they decide to switch parties. Sen. Mary Souza, R-Coeur d’Alene, is co-sponsoring the bill with Rep. Caroline Nilsson Troy, R-Genesee. Under current Idaho law, members of a political party must switch affiliations by the end of the candidate filing period before a primary election, or they can’t do it for that election, but unaffiliated voters can switch right up to Election Day. In Idaho’s closed Republican primary, only affiliated party members may cast ballots. Idaho’s Democratic primary election is open. Souza and Troy’s new bill includes an emergency clause, which would make it apply in this year’s primary election. The new bill’s fiscal note says, “There is minimal to no cost associated with this effort, and it will save poll worker time on Election Day by not having to record any change of affiliation at the polls.”

Indiana: Lawmakers want to move up the deadline for counties to add a critical election security measure to their voting machines. Right now, there are about 8,000 DRE machines that can use those backups in Indiana, across dozens of counties. More than 60 percent of them still need the paper trails. Current law says counties have until 2030 to get the paper backups. Now, lawmakers want to move that deadline up to July 2024. HB 1116’s author, Rep. Tim Wesco (R-Osceola), said he’s been assured the state will provide money to counties to get that done. The expected cost is around $12 million.

A bill that will strengthen security around digital absentee ballot requests passed through the Indiana House elections committee. Under the proposal, the bill requires Indiana voters to submit either their driver’s license number or the last four digits of their social security number when requesting an absentee ballot digitally. This comes after Indiana saw a huge jump in digital absentee ballot applications in 2020, with nearly 250,000 submitted electronically.

Mississippi: State Rep. Orlando Paden (D-Bolivar), and Rep. Zakiya Summers (D-Hinds), have introduced the Early Voting Act, House Bill 22, which would establish early voting measures and enforcements in the state for all elections. The bill has been referred to the House Apportionment and Elections Committee. Passage requires a majority vote and would go into effect July 1, 2024. “Democracy cannot work unless everyone has the power to use their voice at the ballot box,” Summers said. “Our government must be transparent and accountable to the people it represents. I will fight for measures that make it easier, not harder for people to vote, including online voter registration, no-excuse early voting, and voter registration.” According to the bill, if passed, it would establish early voting six days before the date of the election and would continue through the last regular business day preceding the election.

Nebraska: A proposed constitutional amendment requiring Nebraska voters to show photo identification before they cast a vote won’t be debated by the Legislature this year.The measure (LR3CA) from Sen. Julie Slama of Sterling failed to obtain the five votes necessary from the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee to advance to the floor. LR3CA had the support of Secretary of State Bob Evnen, who campaigned on enacting a voter ID law, and other conservative lawmakers in the officially nonpartisan Legislature, who said it would bring Nebraska in line with 35 other states that have similar provisions in their law. But opponents labeled it as a solution in search of a problem, saying there was no evidence of voter impersonation in Nebraska. They also said requiring voters to obtain a photo ID card would create additional barriers for Nebraskans who are low income, older, non-white or live with disabilities before they could exercise a constitutional right to vote. The committee took no action on LR3CA last year after its Feb. 17, 2021, hearing.

New Hampshire: A bill unveiled last week would require voters who register to vote on Election Day without sufficient documents to mail copies of those documents to the Secretary of State’s Office within 10 days of Election Day – or have their votes invalidated by the state. Sponsored by Sen. Bob Giuda and supported by Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, Senate Bill 418 has a clearly stated purpose, Giuda says: to prevent a ballot cast by a voter who doesn’t live in the town from counting in the election. “Every vote that’s unqualified that counts X’s out a legitimately qualified voter’s vote,” the Warren Republican said in an interview Friday. “And with the close margin we see in so many of our elections, that’s potentially changing the outcome of the election.” Giuda said he had been working with former secretary of state Bill Gardner and the current secretary, Dave Scanlan, since March 2021 to craft the legislation.

North Carolina: Primary elections would move from May to June under a bill advanced by state Republicans in a pair of party-line votes. Gov. Roy Cooper has expressed concern with the bill and may veto it. And with Democrats already voting against the measure en masse, he’d likely be able to sustain that veto, rendering the planned changes moot. But for now House Bill 605 lays out this proposed schedule for the primaries: Candidate filing would run from March 24 to April 1. The primaries would be June 7. If Cooper vetoes the bill, and if the veto is sustained, the primaries would go back to May 17. The idea behind the delay is to leave more time for an ongoing court fight over North Carolina’s congressional, state House and state Senate election districts.

South Dakota: South Dakota voters can use the internet to check the accuracy of their voter registration information, but they have to go through county auditor offices to actually register or change it. The state Board of Elections wants the Legislature to update the law, so that people could also adjust their data online. The Senate State Affairs Committee gave its unanimous recommendation for the online approach this week. SB 69 would let a registered voter, with a valid South Dakota driver license or ID card, electronically submit changes to the South Dakota Secretary of State office. The changes would then go to the voter’s county auditor. Secretary of State Steve Barnett supports the legislation. “This legislation was drafted with security as the main focus,” Barnett said.

Utah: House Bill 178, which was introduced by Rep. Mike Winder (R-West Valley City), and sponsored in the Senate by Curt Bramble, R-Provo, is entitled “Ranked Choice Voting Amendments.” This bill would require ranked-choice voting to be used in multi-candidate primary and general election races statewide. Along with multiple cities in Salt Lake County, the Utah County cities of Elk Ridge, Genola, Lehi, Springville, Vineyard, and Woodland Hills utilized ranked-choice voting during the 2021 election. While the bill has only been introduced thus far, if enacted, it would be a significant change for much of the state’s voters. It would eliminate the Municipal Alternate Voting Methods Pilot Project, which the Utah County cities are operating under. The bill also defines the various thresholds that would need to be met for a recount, depending on the number of total votes in a race. Under the proposed legislation, ranked choice voting would be used for both general and primary elections.

Virginia: A handful of Republican bills aimed at tightening voting restrictions died on this week in a meeting of a state Senate committee controlled by Democrats. The panel voted down bills that sought to require voters to present photo ID at the polls, require local registrars to verify Social Security numbers and other information before registering applicants as voters, and do away with same-day voter registration, which allows a voter to both register and cast a ballot on Election Day. Democrats expanded access to voting in 2020, when they enjoyed control of the House, Senate and Executive Mansion for the first time in a generation. Republicans have been hoping to repeal some of those measures since taking control of the Executive Mansion and House of Delegates in November’s elections. Dozens of similar Republican-sponsored bills have been filed in the House. Among them are multiple measures to require a photo ID to vote and limiting in-person absentee voting to no more than two weeks before an election. Current law allows 45 days.

Legal Update

Arkansas: The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas filed a federal lawsuit against members of the Pulaski County Board of Election Commissioners for what they say was a violation against an election official’s first amendment rights. According to court filings, Kristi Stahr in her capacity as Chairwoman of the Pulaski County Board of Election Commissioners, and Commissioners David Scott and Susan Inman are specifically cited in the lawsuit. The lawsuit claims that Barry Haas’ free-speech rights were disregarded when he was denied an appointed position for the September 2021 special Little Rock tax election due to his political and ideological views. The lawsuit alleges that he was denied the appointment after a meeting where Chairwoman Stahr claimed he was refusing in-person and on social media to follow Arkansas photo I.S. requirement as an elected official. “I previously challenged Arkansas’s voter-identification laws requiring photo I.D. in court, because I believed the laws were unconstitutional and bad policy,” Haas said. The case was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

Colorado: A Mesa County grand jury will investigate the allegations of official misconduct and tampering with county election equipment amid an ongoing investigation into accusations that an elections clerk was involved in a security breach of the equipment in 2021. The 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office made the announcement last week. In the announcement Thursday morning, Mesa County District Attorney Dan Rubinstein and Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said the grand jury investigation will be “thorough and guided by the facts and the law.” Their statement did not name anybody in particular. In a brief news conference, Peters said she would not renege on her unsubstantiated election claims and said the grand jury would find she had not committed any crimes.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold has filed a lawsuit to bar Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters from overseeing the 2022 elections, after Peters refused to agree to close state monitoring of her work. Peters is under a federal and state investigation for a security breach of the county’s election equipment last year during an annual upgrade to its voting machines. Last year, a Mesa county district court judge banned Peters from having any role in administering the 2021 election, but that order will soon expire. Griswold had asked Peters to sign an agreement allowing significant state supervision in order for her to manage the upcoming midterm election. It would have required Peters to submit all of her written communication related to elections to the state, as well as providing logs of everyone who entered secured areas in the elections division. Peters would also only have been allowed near the voting machines with supervision, among other stipulations. Peters declared there was no way she’d sign the order or agree to any of Griswold’s terms. Griswold is requesting the court name Mesa’s current director of elections, Brandi Bantz, to take on the clerk’s election duties. “I am taking action to ensure that Mesa County voters have the elections they deserve,” Griswold said in a written statement announcing the lawsuit. “I will continue to provide the support and oversight needed to ensure the integrity of Colorado’s elections.”

New Jersey: A do-over election in Old Bridge, where a Superior Court Judge invalidated the results of a 2021 council race because some voters received the wrong ballot, is on hold for now. Appellate Court Judge Carmen Messano issued a stay of Judge Thomas Daniel McCloskey’s order that voters return to the polls on March 22 to determine the outcome of the Ward 4 council race as it considers an appeal filed by Democrat Jill DeCaro. Messano ordered DeCaro’s attorney, Daniel Antonelli, to file an emergent motion by 4 PM tomorrow. Tim Howes, an attorney for Razzoli, must file his opposition motion by noon on Friday. It’s not clear how long it will take Messano and another appellate judge, Lisa Rose, to rule on the appeal. Anything more than a week could delay the date of the new election. Vote-by-mail ballots are due to go out on February 5.

Pennsylvania: An inspection of voting machines in Fulton County had been poised to go forward on January 14 until an 11th-hour appeal to the state Supreme Court by lawyers for Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf put it on hold. The high court decision came hours after a state judge rejected attempts by the Wolf administration to block the inspection — inspired by former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims about fraud in the 2020 election — without certain agreements in place. The justices overruled the lower court by granting an emergency request by the governor’s lawyers to stop it for now. The machines in question were about to be wheeled in and a special meeting of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners and Elections had just gotten underway at 1 p.m. Friday when a lawyer for the county, Tom Breth, announced that the Supreme Court’s filing office had just notified him the stay was granted. “Stay tuned. That’s the court,” Breth said to reporters after he learned the filing. The Supreme Court said that the request was granted on a temporary basis until the full court can consider it, and that no inspection can take place until the justices issue an order.

In more Fulton County litigation news, American Oversight—a Washington, D.C.-based government watchdog is the latest organization to sue the county over information related to an off-the-books 2020 election review and has asked a court to order the release of all information requested as part of an open records request. In the suit, American Oversight says Fulton County has released some information requested as part of a Right-to-Know Law request, but not records of government-related communication conducted by county officials on their personal email accounts. American Oversight also claims the county has not turned over communications between local officials and Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, an ally of former President Donald Trump who spread false claims of a stolen election.

Wisconsin: Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Michael Bohren ordered the state elections board to withdraw guidance greenlighting absentee ballot drop boxes and the return of absentee ballots by someone other than the voter, siding with conservatives who questioned the legality of both practices weeks before local spring elections and months ahead of hugely consequential elections for Wisconsin’s governorship and a U.S. Senate seat. The underlying lawsuit contested guidance memos from the Wisconsin Elections Commission, or WEC, in March and August of 2020 allowing third parties to return someone else’s absentee ballot and absentee ballots to be returned to unstaffed drop boxes in a voter’s municipality instead of being mailed or returned in person to a municipal clerk. Concluding a three-and-a-half-hour proceeding, Bohren said Wisconsin election laws are very specific and felt both the disputed practices, which he said were “major policy decisions that alter how our absentee ballot process operates,” were contrary to the law. Bohren compared them to in-person voting on Election Day and said statutes are unambiguous that an elector must be personally involved in casting their ballot, regardless of informal rules issued to clerks by the WEC. In an order from the bench, he granted summary judgment to the plaintiffs, entered an injunction giving the WEC two weeks to issue a memo withdrawing its promotion of both absentee voting options and said such future guidance must go through statutory rulemaking procedures.

A Democrat running for U.S. Senate filed a pair of lawsuits alleging Wisconsin election officials aren’t keeping ballots secret in some cases and are not properly vetting voting machines. In one case, Peter Peckarsky asked a Milwaukee County judge to order the state Elections Commission to bar Milwaukee and other cities from marking absentee ballots with numbers that could reveal how individual voters cast their ballots. Peckarsky is seeking to invalidate the law requiring election officials to write poll list numbers on absentee ballots. That would ensure no one’s votes are publicly disclosed, he argued in one of his lawsuits. In the other case, Peckarsky is seeking to force the commission to more thoroughly scrutinize voting machine software.The lawsuit argues the commission is not following a state law that requires the commission to keep copies of voting machine software. The lawsuit says the state keeps the software with an escrow company instead of retaining it itself.

Immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera Action filed a legal challenge to Assembly Republicans’ review of the 2020 election after disclosing it had received a subpoena. The Milwaukee-based group is seeking to intervene in a lawsuit Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul brought in October to try to knock down subpoenas that were issued to the state Elections Commission. “Gableman’s subpoena is modern-day McCarthyite political theater designed to perpetuate lies about the 2020 election and silence and intimidate voters of color from exercising their right to free speech and their right to vote,” said a statement from the group’s executive director, Christine Neumann-Ortiz.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Fact-Checking Manchin's Claim Senate Filibuster Has Not Changed In 232 Years

President Biden's efforts to Remove the Senate Filibuster, in order to address the combined, Two Voting Rights Bills, Failed by Two Votes, when Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) Votes NO.

Currently, 60 Votes are needed to prevent a Filibuster. The change, which is often referred to as the "nuclear option," would essentially do away with the Filibuster and allow the Senate to pass Legislation with just a simple Majority of 51 Votes, 50 Demctatic Votes and VP Harris' Vote.

When asked to explain his stance, Manchin implied the Rules shouldn't be Changed because the 60-Vote Threshold is "what we've always had for 232 years." Manchin is Wrong.

The 60-Vote threshold required to invoke Cloture, which effectively ends Debate or a Filibuster, and signals a move to Vote, was established in 1975, not 232 years ago.

The current Threshold is itself a Reduction from the Original set in 1917, which required a Two-Thirds Majority to invoke Cloture. And it's worth noting that the "nuclear option" has also been triggered before.

The Senate already uses a simple Majority to End Debate in a few Specific Cases.

In 2013, after Republicans blocked Votes for several of President Obama's Nominees, Senate Democrats, led by then-Majority Leader Harry Reid, set a Precedent to require only a Simple Majority of those Voting to invoke Cloture on All Presidential Nominations, except those for the Supreme Court.

The Rules were Changed again during the Trump Administration to apply to Supreme Court Nominees, as well after, Democrats attempted a Filibuster to Prevent a Vote on Trump's First Supreme Court Nominee, Neil Gorsuch.

It's worth noting that Manchin's 232 years is Not an arbitrary number, as the U.S. Constitution went into effect roughly that long ago, in 1789.

However, the Filibuster is Not mentioned in the Constitution, nor are the Rules for it enshrined therein.

The Constitution does Outline a few situations, such as an Impeachment Trial, that require more than a Simple Majority Vote, but otherwise gives the Senate the Right to set its own Rules.

Under Senate Rules of the late 1700s, immediately after the Constitution went into effect, a Debate could be Ended with the Vote of a simple Majority.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

MO Redistricting Plan Could Upend Primary Election

The Missouri House gave lukewarm approval Wednesday, to a Plan for Redrawing the State's Eight Congressional Districts, that left both Democrats and some Conservative Republicans unhappy and could upend the State's Calendar for holding its Primary Election.

The Plan, which received barely enough Votes to pass, is projected to keep the State's current Political split of Six Republicans and Two Democrats in the U.S. House. But it Failed to receive enough Votes to take effect before the State's Aug. 2 Primary, raising the potential that the Election could be Delayed or that District Boundaries could change in the Middle of the Campaign season.

The Redistricting Legislation now goes to the Senate, where some Conservative Republicans are already vowing to push for a Map that would give the GOP a chance at winning Seven Districts.

“We all know there is going to be a war on the other side of the building — there are going to be compromises made,” said State Rep. Jim Murphy (R-94th District, St. Louis) who urged Colleagues to pass a Plan to at least keep the process going.

The action in the Missouri Legislature on Congressional Redistricting came on the same day that a separate Bipartisan Citizens Commission gave Final approval to a Plan for Redrawing Missouri's 163 State House Districts. It marked the First time since 1991, that the Commission agreed on a State House Redistricting Plan.

Commissioner Harvey Ferdman (D) said the Panel "brought honor to our flag today, showing that we can cooperate, we can get things done, we can negotiate, we can compromise.”

Republicans won 114 of the 163 State House Seats in the last General Election.

The Missouri Democratic Party, said Wednesday, that the New Districts approved by the Commission create the potential for Democratic gains.

The new Map boosts the Number of Districts carried by President Biden in the 2020 Election, Increases the number of Politically Competitive Districts and also adds Majority Black and Latino Districts, Democrats said.

A separate Bipartisan Citizens Commission, charged with Redistricting the State's 34 Senate Seats, Failed to agree on a Plan after devolving into Partisan camps last month. That Map likely will have to be drawn by a Panel of Judges.

Some Conservative Republicans in Missouri, want to take Split-Up a Kansas City area District held by U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-5h District) and pairing the Urban Residents with Republican-leaning Rural Residents.

Though the proposed Map passed by the House is projected to Retain a 6-2 Republican edge, the Republican Margins in the Second District in Suburban St. Louis, are Not as high as some Republicans prefer. Some Conservatives argue the Second District could potentially flip to Democrats over the course of a Decade.

The Map approved by the State House is “completely out of step with the values and perspectives of the people of this state,” said State Sen. Bill Eigel (R-23rd District, St. Charles County) who is part of that Chamber's Conservative Caucus.

Democrats also contend the Map doesn't reflect Missouri, but for the Opposite reason. They were upset that House Republicans Rejected their Amendments to shore up a heavily Democratic District in St. Louis, with even more Minority Voters and to Exclude some Republican-leaning Suburbs from the Kansas City-based District.

The House passed the Redistricting Legislation by an 86-67 vote, just Four more than needed for Passage.

A subsequent Vote to ensure the Bill would take effect Immediately upon the Governor's Signature Failed on a 95-55 vote, falling 14 Votes short of the necessary Two-Thirds Majority.

Without an Emergency Provision, the Redistricting Legislation would take effect Aug. 28, almost Four weeks after the Primary Election.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker