2020 election fraud has officials nervous about problems at the polls and lawsuits on Tuesday



CNN

Americans head to the polls on Tuesday for an election that has state and local officials across the country readying themselves to deal with potential problems at the polls, contentious legal battles surrounding voting and disinformation about voting.

More than 41 million pre-election votes were cast in 47 states, and officials expect a strong turnout even on Election Day for congressional, state and gubernatorial contests that will determine control of Congress and state houses.

Most of the tens of millions who will vote on Tuesday will do so without difficulty, in an election where early voting has been ahead of 2018 levels.

At the same time, election officials are facing new pressures amid a hyper-polarized political climate, where the vote itself has come under constant attack and disinformation for two years amid repeated false claims by former President Donald Trump. That Trump stole the 2020 election.

State and local officials and voting rights advocates have raised alarm that political attacks have led to an exodus of local election officials in charge of voting amid a sharp increase in threats of violence against election workers.

Early voting has provided a glimpse of the big and small problems that could arise on Election Day, from armed ballot-box watchers in Arizona accused of conspiring to intimidate voters to legal battles over technical glitches invalidating mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania.

A total of 120 lawsuits have been filed as of Nov. 3, 68 before Election Day 2020. More than half of the cases sought to limit access to the ballot, according to the Democracy Docket. -The media platform that monitors voting rights and electoral issues.

In Pennsylvania, some counties are asking voters to set aside absentee ballots with missing or improper dates ordered by the state Supreme Court pending a federal lawsuit. Meanwhile, in Michigan, a judge on Monday threw out a lawsuit by the GOP secretary of state who wanted to throw out absentee ballots in Detroit.

Georgia’s Cobb County on Monday extended the deadline to cast approximately 1,000 absentee ballots until Nov. 14 after procedural errors at the election office prevented ballots from being mailed days before Election Day.

Beyond the legal battles, election officials are anticipating a possible conflict with election deniers who have harassed and threatened officials in the 2020 election and have prepared for an aggressive pursuit of the midterm race.

In Arizona, the Secretary of State has sent 18 citations to law enforcement related to ballot box intimidation, including a threatening message to a government employee and several voters who reported being taped at locations in Maricopa County last week. A federal judge earlier this month imposed new restrictions on a state right-wing group amid complaints about the state’s aggressive polling station patrols, including barring members from carrying guns or body armor.

Federal officials warn that domestic violent extremism poses a greater threat in mid-2022.

Weather is also an unpredictable variable: In Florida, Subtropical Storm Nicole is barreling toward the state and will bring rain and strong winds to the state on Election Day before strengthening into a hurricane and making landfall on Wednesday.

As the ballots come in and begin processing and counting on Tuesday, election officials are waiting for conspiracy theories that often spread wildly but are completely false.

Because laws in states such as Pennsylvania and Michigan prevent early processing of mail-in ballots, those states may take several days before all ballots are counted. In Pennsylvania, where the Senate race could decide which party controls the chamber, the “red herring” Election Day votes, expected to be more Republican, are likely to be tabulated ahead of mail-in voting, which is expected to be more Democratic. to use

The reverse could be true in Arizona, where mail-in ballots are processed as soon as they are received, meaning those ballots will be the first to be counted after the polls close.