USPS Says Timely Vote Delivery Isn’t a Constitutional Right

Delivery delays during an election can’t be unlawful, because the Constitution doesn’t guarantee states any particular level of service when it comes to mail-in ballots, the U.S. Postal Service told a federal judge.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and President Donald Trump are seeking dismissal of a lawsuit brought by New York and other states that claim disruptive changes at the USPS over the summer are violating the Elections Clause of the Constitution by putting election mail at risk.

The Justice Department argued in a court filing Tuesday in Washington that the clause can’t restrict government agencies from carrying out operational changes or other activity that “may have an incidental impact” on voting.

The states’ theory “assumes that because the plaintiff states crafted their election laws with the expectation that USPS will provide a certain level of service, they now have a constitutional right to expect that level of service,” the U.S. said. The clause “does not shield states from any and all external circumstances that may impact state elections.”

Court Clash

The USPS was responding to an Oct. 19 letter to the court from New York Attorney General Letitia James, who argued the delays threaten the timely delivery of about 7 million ballots out of an estimated 80 million.

The changes, including the dismantling of hundreds of high-speed mail-sorting machines and cuts to overtime and late delivery trips, triggered several lawsuits and nationwide injunctions against the USPS.

Read More: Vote-by-Mail Window May Be Closed With Postal Service Still Slow

But the court orders haven’t reversed the service delays, and Republicans and Democrats have been left to clash in courts across the country over rules for accepting ballots that arrive late even if they’re postmarked by Nov. 3.

James said in her letter that it’s a violation of the Elections Clause “for the Postal Service to take actions that are intended to, and do, have the effect of hampering state election administration.”

As I was trying to read and clip quotes from the article at the link above I got cut off from the site claiming I had reached my limit of free articles and needed to subscribe.   So there is more at the Bloomberg link, if they let you read it.  Hugs

USPS Says You Have No Right To Timely Ballot Delivery


Ron and I just got home from trying to vote.   I say trying because when we got there the line to vote was out the door of this large building, to the sidewalk, and down the entire left side of the building and more people were lining up.   Ron says it had to be well over 300 feet.    This is the third day of early voting.   I had never had to wait before at this place.   It is stunning.    Ron wants to try again in the middle of the afternoon, around 3 PM.   I have not had any sleep since about 11 PM last night, but I will try.    Early voting run through the 31st.   So we will keep trying.   It maybe I will have to stand in a long line.    Hugs

Trump campaign ready to unleash thousands of poll watchers on Election Day

Poll watchers monitor everything from voting machines to the processing of ballots to checking voter identification. They are not permitted to interact directly with voters but, depending on local regulations, they can relay problems to local election officials or campaign higher-ups.

The Trump deployment is the culmination of months of detailed planning, aggressive volunteer recruitment, and reconnaissance trips to key states. President Donald Trump has been personally briefed on the program, which is overseen by nearly two dozen full time staffers.

It underscores how — to the alarm of voting rights advocates and Democrats — Trump and his reelection effort have turned the idea of voter fraud and irregularities into a centerpiece of the campaign. The prospect of a prolonged vote-counting fight that will extend far beyond Nov. 3 appears very real.

While poll watchers have long been used by both parties, the crush of monitors has led to concerns about endless challenges to voter eligibility that would inject further chaos into the contest — and potentially set off a counteroffensive by Democrats.

Veteran Republican election attorney Ben Ginsberg warned in a Washington Post op-ed Monday, “Should Trump seek to delegitimatize the presidential election … His most obvious tactic would be having the RNC instruct its poll watchers to abandon their traditional role and, instead, lodge mass challenges both as voters cast their ballots and then as mail ballots are tabulated.”

“Everybody’s so worried about Trump stealing this election, I can’t even tell you,” said Shanti Fry, a Massachusetts-based fundraiser who also has done voter protection work in previous presidential elections.

The Trump effort launched in late 2018, when Clark and Stepien created a budget and began designing a program. Campaign officials say they have spent in the mid-to-high seven figures on the project.

The Trump team received a boost earlier that year when a judge lifted a consent decree that had been imposed on the RNC in 1982 after it was accused of suppressing minority voters. The order had barred the committee from challenging voters’ eligibility at election sites, severely hampering its ability to engage in poll watching.

With the decree lifted, the Trump campaign has been working with the RNC to recruit a national network of volunteer observers. While the 2016 Trump campaign developed a ballot security hotline and war room toward the end of the race, the reelection effort was able to begin setting up its program nearly two years in advance.

Roman, a veteran of the Koch political network who has spent decades working on Election Day operations, is a central figure in the effort. Early this year he traveled to every major battleground state to scope out the terrain.

Roman, whose personal website is devoted to voter fraud, has also been working with local candidates and parties to recruit volunteers.

But the biggest recruitment tool has been the president and his Twitter account. At last week’s debate, he called on “my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully.”

“Every time he throws that out there, it’s a sure bet that thousands will sign up,” Roman said.

When North Carolina processed early ballots and absentee ballots last month, Trump volunteers were present in 92 of the state’s 100 counties. They watched as election officials opened ballot envelopes, checked the authenticity of voter signatures, and crossed off names in poll books.

The aggressive posture was also on display in Philadelphia last week, when Trump volunteers unsuccessfully tried to get access to a Board of Elections satellite office. City officials said observers are only allowed at polling sites and not at satellite offices, which provide services like registration but where voting doesn’t take place.

Still, Trump lashed out at the city for the decision, saying in the debate that volunteers “weren’t allowed to watch. … Because bad things happen in Philadelphia, bad things.”

Republicans have since sued the city to gain access to the locations.

Trump aides are slotting volunteers into tens of thousands of shifts at voting locations across the country. The deployment plans are tied to a ranking system for which areas they think are most susceptible to irregularities that could harm the president.

The campaign has been training volunteers on poll watching rules. While they are not allowed to interact with voters, poll watchers in some states are able to communicate directly with election officials.

There is more at the link above.   It is clear that the attempt is voter intimidation and tRump wants disruptions.  The areas they are sending people too are areas they do not want people to vote, so yet they will be obnoxious and unreasonable.   They wont follow the rules nor the law because they would rather break the law and win than follow the laws letting people vote and lose.  Hugs

AGs Huddle Over Potential For Armed “Poll Watchers”

AGs Huddle Over Potential For Armed “Poll Watchers”

Michigan Live reports:

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said her office is reviewing how open carry laws intersect with the right to vote without fear of harassment as President Donald Trump urges supporters to watch the polls on Nov. 3.

Nessel joined the Democratic attorneys general of Wisconsin and Nevada on a press call Tuesday focused on threats to the upcoming election. Attorneys general expressed concern that the president’s call for his supporters to guard against “a rigged election” could cause voters to be intimidated at polling places on Election Day.

A series of armed protests at the Michigan Capitol this summer raised questions about whether gun-toting poll watchers could create a dangerous situation on Election Day. Nessel said she will be providing guidance to local law enforcement officers before the election.

Read the full article.

At the debate, Trump made it clear he’s already decided the election doesn’t count

At the debate, Trump made it clear he’s already decided the election doesn’t count

Replying to Wallace, Trump gave no hint of either accepting the outcome of the election, or telling his supporters to remain calm. “I’m urging my supporters to go in to the polls and watch very carefully,” said Trump. “Because that’s what has to happen. I am urging them to do it. As you know, today there was a big problem. In Philadelphia, they went in to watch. They’re called poll watchers, a very safe, very nice thing. They were thrown out. They weren’t allowed to watch. You know why? Because bad things happen in Philadelphia. Bad things.”

The reason Trump’s people were thrown out of polling places in Philadelphia is because they were not poll watchers. As The Philadelphia Inquirer reports, Trump supporters tried to squeeze into a number of small offices that aren’t regular polling stations, but just locations where people can request or submit mail-in ballots. As the Republican city commissioner in charge of local elections said after Trump’s group had to be extracted from the tiny offices: “We don’t give someone a poll watcher certificate to … watch somebody fill out their ballot at their kitchen table.” The even bigger reason that extra people weren’t allowed to clog the entrance of these small offices was that they were repeatedly violating social distancing rules that were already limiting the number of people who could enter the locations. They weren’t poll watchers, they were poll blockers.

The process of appointing and locating poll watchers is just that—a process. Campaigns make requests, elections official provide credentials, inform the poll watchers of where they are allowed to go, and tell them what they are allowed to do within the polling space. What Trump’s campaign has been pushing is nothing like that—he’s encouraging intimidation and a breakdown in normal order.

But Trump didn’t end with just encouraging his supporters to descend on polling places. He made it clear he was ready to lead them in opposing any outcome that did not lead to his victory. As Wallace tried to get Trump to simply agree that he would follow the will of American voters, he utterly refused.

But Trump had already stated: “It’s a rigged election.” He’s not waiting to see how badly he loses on Nov. 3. He knows that’s no longer in doubt. Trump is no longer even concerned about winning. He is focused on holding on to power, which is something completely different. Trump repeatedly claimed that it could be “months” before there was an outcome, and agreed readily to the idea that he was trying to seat Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court because he expects that court to protect his power. “Yeah,” said Trump. “I think I’m counting on them to look at the ballots, definitely.”

Trump has already declared the election “fraudulent” and “rigged.” He’s already instructed his followers not to accept the outcome of the vote. And, of course, he’s told white supremacist militias to “stand by.”

There is more at the link above.   I think it is clear what the game plan for tyrant tRump to remain in power.  He and his cult do not believe in democracy, using weapons and intimidation about voting and election results is not supporting democracy.   tRump and his cult worship power, and he doesn’t intend to give it up.   Hugs

Florida AG Orders Probe After Bloomberg Helps Felons

These people really hate to have people vote.   The cult of tRump / Republican party know they are a minority.   The know their ideas are unpopular.   They know most people, the majority doesn’t agree with them.   So they are trying hard to enforce minority rule as much and as long as possible.   When did these people start to hate democracy?   Was it when the religious took over?   Was it when they realized how much free money they could grift?   Hugs

Florida AG Orders Probe After Bloomberg Helps Felons

Florida AG calls for investigation into Bloomberg-backed felon voting rights effort

Florida voters passed a measure in 2018 to restore voting rights to felons who have not been convicted of murder or sexual offenses and who had completed their sentences. Republicans in the state legislature responded by passing a law in 2019 requiring those felons to pay any outstanding fines and fees to consider their sentence complete. Voting rights groups sued over the law, comparing it to a poll tax, but an appeals court earlier this month ruled the law was constitutional.

“The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy and no American should be denied that right. Working together with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, we are determined to end disenfranchisement and the discrimination that has always driven it,” Bloomberg said in a statement on Tuesday after the initiative was announced.

Bloomberg spokesman Jason Schechter responded to the pushback by saying, “This transparent political ploy is just the latest example of Republicans attempting to keep Floridians disenfranchised.”

Virginia Sees Massive Lines On First Day Of Early Voting

Virginia Sees Massive Lines On First Day Of Early Voting

Reuters reports:

In Fairfax County, election workers were scrambling to open an additional voting room at the county government center where a line of hundreds of voters, spaced six feet apart, stretched down the block.

Long lines were also evident in other northern Virginia locations, where Democrats outnumber Republicans. Equally long lines, though, were reported in Virginia Beach — where voters stood in the rain — and other parts of the state as well.