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Voting Machines

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There's no dispute that Louisiana needs to replace its voting machines. They're outdated, having been deployed in 2006, the year after Hurricane Katrina struck. And they don’t produce paper ballots that are critical to ensuring election results are accurate. What to do about them is another story. The long-running drama includes allegations of bid-rigging, voting machine companies claiming favoritism and a secretary of state who's noncommittal about having a new system in place for the 2024 presidential election. Local election clerks also worry about the influence of conspiracy theorists who've peddled unfounded claims about voting equipment and who've been welcomed into the debate over replacing the machines.

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Officials in some parts of rural Nevada are vowing to bypass voting machines in favor of hand counting ballots this November and the Nevada secretary of state’s office is proposing statewide guidelines on how to do it. The communities pushing for hand-counting are in conservative rural parts of the state where election misinformation has grown. But four voting rights groups came out against the proposed rules Friday before the secretary of state holds a hearing seeking feedback. The groups, including the Brennan Center and ACLU Nevada, called on Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske to ban the practice outright.

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Matthew DePerno made his political reputation on loudly and repeatedly questioning the 2020 presidential election results. But now the political novice is accused of helping obtain improper access to voting machines and intending to use them to further the false claims, just three months before voters head to the polls in key statewide races in battleground Michigan. The reliability of election systems and equipment was already at stake in the attorney general's race given DePerno’s history. Michigan political experts said the new accusations are likely to influence voters, the majority of whom don't buy former President Donald Trump's lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

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Published reports say the Michigan Attorney General’s office is asking that a special prosecutor investigate whether the Republican candidate for state attorney general and others should be charged in connection with an effort to gain access to voting machines after the 2020 election. The Detroit News reported Sunday that Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office has petitioned the Michigan Prosecuting Attorneys Coordinating Council to appoint a special prosecutor to consider charges against nine people. They include Republican attorney general candidate Matt DePerno, who has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump. He supports Trump’s false claims about his 2020 loss in the swing state to President Joe Biden. DePerno's campaign says Nessel's actions are "unethical."

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Social media users shared a range of false claims this week. Here are the facts: All ballots at a Detroit ballot counting site went through the necessary signature review process, and bags pictured on the floor of the facility contained election workers' belongings. A U.S. congressional bill would not turn current semi-automatic weapon owners into felons. Health experts and officials say monkeypox can be transmitted to anyone, not just gay and bisexual men, and immigrants are not receiving Social Security numbers at the U.S. border.

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A federal grand jury investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol has subpoenaed the White House counsel under then-President Donald Trump and his top deputy. That's according to a person familiar with the matter. The subpoenas went to ex-White House chief lawyer Pat Cipollone and Patrick Philbin. Cipollone was the White House’s chief lawyer in the final days of the Trump administration and pushed back against efforts by the Republican president and his allies to undo the results of the 2020 election he lost to Democrat Joe Biden. The subpoenas suggest the Justice Department investigation is intensifying and prosecutors regard close advisers to Trump as potentially vital witnesses.

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County commissioners in rural Nevada have appointed a new top election official who has denied that President Joe Biden won the 2020 election and promises to implement plans to count every single vote by hand, in place of electronic vote tabulating machines. Mark Kampf’s first day as interim Nye County clerk is Friday. He has vowed to lead a shift away from electronic voting machines and to hand-counting all paper ballots in the rural county. Longtime Nye County Clerk Sam Merlino resigned after conspiracies about her office and election processes became too much for her. In brief remarks on Tuesday, Kampf also alluded to a “parallel tabulation process” that will run alongside the hand count.

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The Trump-endorsed Arizona lawmaker who won the GOP nomination for secretary of state is the latest candidate to advance to the November ballot for a post overseeing state elections while denying the results of the last one. The early success of such candidates is raising concerns about what happens if those who lack faith in elections are put in charge of running them. Election experts say candidates who dispute the results of a valid election pose a danger of interfering in future elections. They warn it could trigger chaos if they refuse to accept results they don’t like.

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The attorney for Arizona’s most populous county has sent a letter warning a local candidate to stop encouraging voters to take the pens given to them at polling places to mark their ballots. Tuesday is the final day of voting in Arizona’s primary election, and the conspiracy theories surrounding the ballot-marking pens echo the infamous #SharpieGate controversy that erupted after the 2020 election. Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell sent the letter to Gail Golec, a candidate for county supervisor. Golec made various social media posts on Tuesday urging supporters not to use the pens provided by election workers at polling places and to take them with them when they leave.

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An Arizona lawmaker endorsed by former President Donald Trump and another lawmaker who also believes the 2020 election should be overturned are among four Republicans vying to be the top election officer in Arizona. Voters in Kansas also go to the polls Tuesday. They have a choice between a candidate who questions the results and the incumbent Republican who believes the 2020 election in his state was secure. Washington state’s open primary also has a candidate who backs Trump’s unsupported claims. Republicans who question election results have sought top spots overseeing voting in several GOP states this year.

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The resignation of a county elections clerk in a rural county in Nevada has opened a window into the long-term consequences of election conspiracy theories. Officials in Nye County have recommended scrapping voting machines in favor of hand-counting all ballots — which would be more than 20,000 in a typical general election. The leading candidate to replace the veteran clerk is someone who denies the outcome of the 2020 presidential election and says he is willing to hand-count all ballots instead of using electronic tabulators. Experts warn that could increase the likelihood of human error, delay results and create chaos in future elections.

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The resignation of a county elections clerk in a rural county in Nevada has opened a window into the long-term consequences of election conspiracy theories. Officials in Nye County have recommended scrapping voting machines in favor of hand-counting all ballots — which would be more than 20,000 in a typical general election. The leading candidate to replace the veteran clerk is someone who denies the outcome of the 2020 presidential election and says he is willing to hand-count all ballots instead of using electronic tabulators. Experts warn that could increase the likelihood of human error, delay results and create chaos in future elections.

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There's been no evidence of any widespread fraud or manipulation of voting machines in 2020. Yet the sheriff in the most populous county in Kansas says he's investigating election fraud. Johnson County Sheriff Calvin Hayden is not the only county sheriff in the U.S. claiming a role in elections. Promoters of baseless conspiracy theories that the 2020 president election was stolen from former President Donald Trump are now looking to sheriffs to pursue fraud allegations. They're pushing a dubious theory that sheriffs have virtually unchecked power locally. Hayden's actions prompted the county's top lawyer to warn that he could be seen as trying to interfere with elections.

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Colorado's secretary of state has informed two candidates who lost their Republican primary races last month that it will not conduct a recount of their races because they have not paid for them. The office told secretary of state candidate Tina Peters and U.S. Senate candidate Ron Hanks that it will move ahead with certifying their losses in the June 28 primary election. The two candidates deny that former President Donald Trump lost the 2020 election. They had requested recounts, claiming signs of fraud in Colorado, but refused to pay the $236,000 the office said it would cost because they objected to the way the recount would be done.

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A conservative podcaster who has embraced former President Donald Trump’s discredited claims that the 2020 election was stolen is now on the November ballot for Ohio secretary of state. Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced Monday that Terpsehore Tore Maras gathered more than the required 5,000 signatures to get on the ballot as an independent. She will face LaRose and Democratic nominee Chelsea Clark this fall for the job of overseeing Ohio’s elections. Maras initially sought to challenge LaRose in the May Republican primary, but failed to make that ballot. Her policy positions include returning to paper ballots and replacing all voting machines.

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The House Jan. 6 committee's investigation of the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election and the events leading up to the U.S. Capitol insurrection is raising questions about former President Donald Trump’s role and whether he committed crimes. The various schemes and talking points that witnesses have revealed also highlight what a president has the authority to do. Government and legal experts say the bigger question is whether further limits can be put on presidential authority to make sure there are no repeats of 2020.

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