Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Conspiracy Firm Behind AZ Audit Defies Order To Release Behind-the-Scenes Texts

Days before the long-delayed Conclusion of an Arizona Vote “audit” of the 2020 Election, One that Conspiracy Blogs trumpeted as the “MOST TRANSPARENT AUDIT EVER”, the Conspiratorial Group behind the Effort is Fighting a Court Order to Turn Over Internal Documents.

Cyber Ninjas, the Obscure Florida Tech Company, with No Prior Elections Experience, has been leading a Chaotic Review of Maricopa County, Arizona’s 2020 Presidential Election since April.

The Months-long Effort has been a Fiasco both Technically, Auditors caused nearly $3 Million in Damage to Voting Machines, and caught COVID, and Politically as Cyber Ninjas CEO, Doug Logan, was revealed to be an Election Truther who Collaborated with Trump Attorney, Sidney Powell, on Voter Fraud Theories. In August, a Judge Ruled that Cyber Ninjas must Turn Over, Audit-related Documents by Mid-September, following a Pair of Public Records Lawsuits from the Arizona Republic and the Transparency Group American Oversight.

But despite the Judge upholding that Ruling last week, Cyber Ninjas has Not Complied, stating that it might Release some Documents after its Audit Report, this week, and in some Cases, maybe Never at all.

In a Letter to the Court, on Friday, the Group’s Lawyer, Jack Wilenchik, suggested Cyber Ninjas would turn over some Documents, if it felt like it. “I also emphasize that, while CNI [Cyber Ninjas, Inc.] intends to produce documents out of goodwill and its commitment to transparency, by sending this communication CNI does not concede the existence or scope of any involuntary legal obligation to do so,” Wilenchik’s Letter read.

Wilenchick objected to the Court Order on Two Grounds: that Cyber Ninjas should Not be subject to Public Records Laws, and that Cyber Ninjas is too Busy to Release Court-Ordered Records, which a Judge Ordered Cyber Ninjas to Preserve in August.

A Judge has repeatedly Dismissed the First Argument, stating that Cyber Ninjas has been Hired by Arizona’s Republican-led Senate, and is a “custodian” of Public Records, making it Subject to Public Records Laws.

As for Cyber Ninjas’ alleged Time crunch, the Group is No stranger to Delays. The Group was initially supposed to Release its “audit” Findings in Mid-May. That Deadline was Delayed until later in the Month, then again to August, when it was Delayed again because Three of the Cyber Ninjas had caught COVID-19. The Group now says it will Release its Findings on Sept. 24.

Cyber Ninjas might have good reason for Withholding Internal Documents, which include Texts and Emails, about the Audit.

From its outset, the Group has displayed Hard Partisan Leanings, with Members of the “audit” Team promoting Voter Fraud Conspiracy Theories, and Claiming to check Ballots for Bamboo Fibers, which they claimed would indicate that a Ballot had been Fraudulently shipped from China. Backers of the Audit, like former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne, have appeared to Preview the Audit’s Findings even before the Report’s Release, with Byrne stating on Telegram, last week, that he thought the Report would reveal that Trump actually Won Maricopa County. Republican Officials in Arizona and Maricopa County, have Verified Biden’s Victory there.

Logan, meanwhile, has Appeared in a Voter Fraud Conspiracy Movie, which was based on a Book Byrne wrote and included Interviews filmed at the Audit Site. And those were Cyber Ninjas’ Public Statements. Behind the Scenes, Logan was an even more Active participant in Pro-Trump Conspiracy Theories, Promoting them on Twitter in late 2020.

A New Report by the Arizona Republic revealed, that Logan Collaborated on Voter Fraud Theories in late 2020, with Trump Lawyer Sidney Powell and former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Logan helped Powell write Subpoenas in a Bid to gain Access to Voting Machines, the Republic Reported.

In his Letter, Wilenchick indicated that Cyber Ninjas would Not Release its Internal Communications, which might yield some of the Clearest Insights into the Group’s approach to the Controversial Review. “As with CNI’s internal communications ... CNI’s private records concerning its own staff are not public records,” he wrote.

Even since Wilenchick’s Letter, Cyber Ninjas’ Antics have driven a rift in Maricopa County’s Politics.

This week, a Conspiracy Site released Audio of a Maricopa County Commissioner Speaking to a Pro-Audit Group before the Review Began, and subsequently Fell Apart. In the Recording, the Commissioner blasted his Colleagues for their Skepticism about the Audit. The Commissioner announced his Resignation, this week, after the Recordings went Public. In his Resignation Statement, he said he had Subsequently become a Target for Conspiracy Theories. “The picture some individuals are trying to paint about a cover-up, scam and other nonsense about my colleagues and myself is simply false,” he wrote. “There was no cover-up, the election was not stolen. Biden won.”

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

NYC Files Brief In Gun Rights Case Before Supreme Court

New York City, filed a Brief in Court Wednesday, concerning a Second Amendment Case, the Supreme Court is set to take up.

The Case brought by the NRA, centers on whether the Constitution Guarantees the Right to Carry Guns outside the Home.

The City’s Brief says this could Threaten the Ability to Regulate Concealed Handguns, in the City.

Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said. “We’re going to do everything we can to ensure the NRA does not get its way and guns are not more present on the streets of New York City.”

The Supreme Court will hear Oral Arguments on Nov. 3rd.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Tech Groups Take Aim At TX

Tech Industry Groups, are Channeling the Playbook they used to Block a Florida Social Media Bill in Texas, Suing the Lone Star State, over its recently Passed Bill, that aims to Prohibit Platforms from Banning Users over Political Views.

Meanwhile, a Coalition of Key Security Agencies, told Businesses to be On-Guard, against a Prolific Ransomware variant that has already created Chaos around the World, and Two Republican Lawmakers expressed concerns over the use of Huawei’s Cloud Services.

Tech Industry Groups, are Suing Texas over the State’s recently Passed Law that aims to Block Social Media Companies from Banning Users based on Political views.

Their Complaint: The Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and NetChoice, Co-filed the Suit Wednesday, arguing the Law signed by Gov. Greg Abbott (R), earlier this month, is Unconstitutional and would Undermine Platforms’ ability to Ban Language such as Pro-Nazi Speech, Terrorist Propaganda, and Medical Misinformation.

“These restrictions — by striking at the heart of protected expression and editorial judgment — will prohibit platforms from taking action to protect themselves, their users, advertisers, and the public more generally from harmful and objectionable matter,” the Complaint states.

The Law, Forbids Social Media Companies with more than 50 Million Monthly Users from Banning Users based on their Political Views.

Republicans have widely Accused Social Media Giants of Censoring Content with an Anti-Conservative Bias, but there is a Lack of Evidence to back up their Claims.

Florida Passed a similar Law targeting Social Media Giants, but a Federal Judge Blocked it, in June, after CCIA and NetChoice Challenged it in Court.

The Decision is now on Appeal.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

NYC Councilwoman Slated To Become HUD Director For NY/NJ Region

Following Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) Recommendation last month, Brooklyn City Councilwoman, Alicka Ampry-Samuel (D-41st District), is slated to be Appointed by President Biden, as the New Regional Director of the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Replacing a Controversial Appointee of Trump.

“New York would be lucky to have such a dedicated public servant,” Schumer wrote.

A former New York City Housing Authority Official, Ampry-Samuel represents a swath of Central Brooklyn that includes 27 Housing Developments, making it the Single Largest concentration of Public Housing in the entire Nation.

Ampry-Samuel holds a Law Degree from CUNY and has worked in Public Service her entire Professional Life, and Replaces Lynne Patton, who became a Poster Child for Cronyism when she scored the plum Gig from Trump.

Patton had No Previous Experience in Public Management, and her main Qualification for the Job, was apparently being the Wedding Planner for Eric Trump’s Nuptials.

During her Stint in the Post, Overseeing Public Housing in New York and New Jersey, Patton was Twice found in Violation of the Hatch Act, which Bars Federal Officials from Partisan Politics.

She left the Post when Trump left the White House, in January, and has since been Fined and Barred from Public Service for Four years.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Professor Tells Senator Cruz Texas's Voter ID Law Is Racist

A Law Professor, who Testified during a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing, Wednesday, told Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) that his Home State's Voter ID Laws were among those that could be considered Racist.

The Subcommittee on the Constitution, titled, "Restoring the Voting Rights Act: Combating Discriminatory Abuses," Cruz, the Subpanel's Ranking Member, asked each of the Five Witnesses to say whether they believed "voter ID laws" were "racist."

Franita Tolson, Vice Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs, and Professor at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, was the First to respond, saying that "it depends" and that "one thing we have to stop doing is treating all voter ID laws as the same."

Cruz asked her to Clarify, adding, "What voter ID laws are racist?" Tolson then replied, "Apologies Mr. Cruz, your state of Texas, perhaps."

Cruz responded, "OK, so you think the entire state of Texas is racist. What about requiring an ID to vote is racist?" Tolson responded by saying, that his Conclusion on her Statement was "pretty reductive," adding, "I'm not saying the entire state of Texas is racist." The Professor, went on to say that the State's Voter ID Law "was put into place to diminish the political power of Latinos with racist intent..."

Cruz interrupted by saying, "You're asserting that. What's your evidence?" Tolson responded by citing the Ruling by a Federal Judge in 2017, that said the 2011-passed Texas Voter ID Law was designed with the intent to Discriminate against Black and Hispanic Voters, who are less likely to have Photo IDs or the Resources, such as owning a Vehicle, that make it easier to get them.

Texas has been known to have some of the most Strict Voting Laws across the Country, and the State has spent the year in the National Spotlight, as GOP Lawmakers pushed to Pass a Sweeping Election Overhaul Bill that prompted a weeks-long Protest by State House Democrats.

Opponents of the Bill, which was Passed by the House late last month, argue that, its Measures which include New Voter ID Requirements for Mail-In Voting and Limits on Early Voting Hours, would Disproportionately make it more Difficult for People of Color and those with Disabilities to Vote.

In Wednesday's Hearing, he went on to ask the other Legal Experts brought forth to Testify whether they thought Voter ID Laws were Racist.

Each Person gave similar responses, including Thomas Saenz, President and General Counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, who said that "there are some voter ID laws that are racially discriminatory in intent."

When asked about their Effects, Saenz Confirmed that "there are discriminatory effects from a number of voter ID laws."

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Federal Judge Blocks FL From Enforcing Ban On Sanctuary Cities

A Federal Judge, in Miami on Tuesday, Blocked Florida from Enforcing a Ban on Sanctuary Cities, declaring Portions of a Law Unconstitutional and tinged with “discriminatory motives.”

Governor Ron DeSantis (R) Vowed to Ban Sanctuary Cities, in Florida when Running for Governor in 2018, even though there were None in the State.

The Judge’s Ruling, struck down a Key Portion of the 2019 Law, that Prohibits Local and State Officials from Adopting Sanctuary Policies for Undocumented Migrants, a main focus for DeSantis.

The Judge also Blocked the State, from Enforcing a Provision in the Law, that Requires Law Enforcement Officers and Agencies to “use best efforts to support the enforcement of federal immigration law” when they are Acting within their Official Duties.

But the Court Allowed other Provisions to Stand, including One that required State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies to Comply with Immigration Detainers, Federal Requests to Hold Undocumented Immigrants Past their Release Dates so that Immigration Agents can Pick them up. In New York City, those Requests need a Judge's Signature.

However, the Judge Blocked a Provision that said Local and State Agencies could Transport Detainees who are Subject to an Immigration Detainer to Federal Custody outside of their Jurisdiction, because it is “preempted by federal immigration law and is therefore unconstitutional.”

The Ruling, was in Response to a Lawsuit filed by the City of South Miami and other Organizations, including the Florida Immigration Coalition, against DeSantis, in an effort to Strike Down the Law.

“The verdict validates what we said three years ago, Governor DeSantis pushed for a law that is not just racist, but unconstitutional,” said Antonio Tovar, a Board Member of both the Florida Immigrant Coalition and the Farmworkers Association of Florida, another Group that joined the Case.

The Ruling calls out ‘racial animus’ of Third-Party Groups. In her Ruling issued Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom, weighed Evidence and Testimony that focused on how the Law, also known as SB 168, was Drafted and Advanced by the Florida Legislature.

The Court concluded, State Sen. Joe Gruters (R-23rd District) and Chairman of the Florida Republican Party, the Sponsor of the Bill and his Senate Staff, ignored the “racial animus and discriminatory intent” espoused by Third-Party Groups, that helped Draft and Promote the Bill during the Legislative Session.

Bloom said the Ban on so-called Sanctuary Policies “was enacted based on biased and unreliable data generated by anti-immigrant hate groups FAIR [Federation For American Immigration Reform] and CIS [Center for Immigration Studies], despite the chilling effect and disparate impact that this provision would have on immigrant communities.”

“Moreover, the Best Practices Provision anticipated and intended to grant enforcement officers expansive discretion on when and how to use their ‘best efforts,’ despite the knowledge that such proactive policing measures were likely to increase the amount of racial profiling that occurs during law enforcement interactions,” Bloom wrote.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Biden Ordered Federal Agencies To Boost Voter Participation

Federal Agencies, this week, will Submit Plans to the White House, on Ways to Increase Voter Registration and Participation, as the Deadline approaches for One of President Biden’s key Voting Rights Initiatives.

The White House has been tight-lipped on the Specific Plans that Federal Agencies are Developing, but Voting Rights Advocates say, the most Meaningful Policy Change would be, enabling People to Register-to-Vote when they use Federal Websites to Apply for Student Financial Aid or Health Insurance.

Biden’s sweeping Executive Order, in March, instructed, the Head of every Federal Agency, to submit within 200 days “a strategic plan outlining the ways identified under this review that the agency can promote voter registration and voter participation.” That Deadline will be Reached, on Thursday, Sept. 23rd.

Sarah Brannon, a Managing Attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) Voting Rights Project, One of the Organizations that Consulted with the Administration on the Executive Order, said any time a Federal Agency Interacts directly with a Member of the Public provides a Voter Registration Opportunity. “State DMVs have been registering people to vote in the tens of millions since the late 90s,” she said, referring to Departments of Motor Vehicles and the Motoer Voter Law. “There’s no reason the federal government can’t contribute to that process.”

Brannon said that she has Not heard Specific Details about what will be included in the Plans Submitted by the Agencies this week, but based on her Conversations with Administration Officials, she expects Proposals that are a combination of Concrete Actions and Aspirational Goals. “The agencies have to think about the best way to incorporate this into their existing programs,” she said.

White House Deputy Press Secretary, Andrew Bates, said the Recommendations that Agencies will send to the White House this week, are a Step in a Longer Process aimed at using the Tools of the federal Government to Increase Voter Access and Participation. “The deadline this week is an important step in implementing the President’s historic executive order, but we don’t expect the reports to represent the final word on each agency’s commitments,” he said in an email. “In the months to come, we will work with agencies to further build out their capacity to get relevant information out to the public, help eligible voters better understand their opportunities for engagement, and facilitate participation in the electoral process,” Bates said.

Brannon pointed to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which roughly 18 Million People filled out in the 2019-2020 School Year, as an Opportunity for the Department of Education to Provide an easy way to Register Millions of Young Voters. “It’s an opportunity for people to register to vote when they turn 18 and then an opportunity to register to vote again when they interact with the program the second or third time,” she said. “People are more inclined to take a few minutes to go through the process to register to vote when they’re already filling out paperwork,” Brannon said.

Voting Rights Advocates said similar Action could be taken for, the Federal Health Exchange that Millions of People use to Purchase Insurance under the Affordable Care Act. “If voter registration was integrated there that could reach so many people. That would be the biggest impact,” said Lisa Danetz, an Advisor on Voting Rights at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice.

Danetz noted that many States offer to Register People to Vote as part of the Application Process for Medicaid, a System the Federal Government could Imitate with the Federal Health Exchange. Danetz also pointed to the Indian Health Service as the Agency which Interacts with the most Native Americans, a Population which Lags in Voter Registration. The Agency could provide Voter Registration Services, she said, noting that Biden’s Order explicitly States increasing Native American Participation in Elections as a Goal.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) should offer to Register New Citizens at Naturalization Ceremonies, both Advocates said. The Agency’s current Policies allow Organizations such as the League of Women Voters (LWV) to provide that Service at Ceremonies, but that does Not happen at every Event and USCIS faces No Obligation to ensure it happens, the Advocates said.

The White House in March linked Biden’s Order to the Historical Struggle for Voting Rights, issuing it on the 56th Aniversary of “Bloody Sunday” and invoking the Civil Rights Marchers who fought for Voting Rights in Alabama.

The Plans being submitted by Federal Agencies, come at a time when the Senate has Stalled on Voting Rights Legislation and Republican-led States have moved Forward with New Voting Restrictions.

Voting Rights Advocates said Biden’s Order would Not be a Substitute for Congressional Action on the Issue. Federal Agencies can Expand Opportunities to Register, but that won’t help Voters overcome other State-Level Hurdles, Advocates said.

But Voting Rights Legislation, which has been Endorsed by the Biden, faces a Difficult path in the evenly divided Senate because of Opposition from Republicans.

Corey Goldstone, a Spokesman for the Washington-based Campaign Legal Center, said the Impact from Biden’s Order could be Significant if Agencies use All of the Tools at their Disposal. “The White House should not put the onus one hundred percent on Congress. There are things they can do absent congressional action to streamline access,” he said. Goldstone said the Department of Housing and Urban Development has Untapped potential to Increase Voter Registration because of the Number of Americans it serves. “With the Department of Housing and Urban Development, they can encourage state and local housing authorities to make available voter registration forms and vote-by-mail applications,” Goldstone said. “These are agencies that are uniquely positioned to interact with historically marginalized communities in many different categories,” Goldstone said.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker