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The 2018 midterm election schedule, primaries, and key dates



With the House projected to go to Democratic control, first order of business is -

Democrats on the House Ways and Means committee plan to formally request Trump’s tax returns, per @AriMelber

Breaking: Dems now intend to request Trump’s tax returns – which they can do unilaterally under federal law:



The Georgia Governor’s race is hotly contested between Kemp and Stacy Abrams (D). The way Kemp was able to purge to voter roles, controlling who would vote, is something that the Democratic led House Judiary Subcommittee hope change immediately.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), the ranking member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, said in a statement to HuffPost. “I expect the Judiciary Committee will want to hold early hearings. Voting rights are a cornerstone of our democracy and we can’t permit them to be eroded.”

Cohen is the likely next chairman of his subcommittee, which is the first layer of oversight in the House for federal voting and civil rights issues. If he takes that gavel, he will replace current chairman Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), an outspoken white supremacist who used the committee to support voter suppression laws.

There are a number of potential lines of investigation into alleged voter suppression for Democrats when they take control of the House in January.

The election in Georgia will be at the top of the list, as Kemp used his official position to help his campaign by purging voter rolls and reducing voting access in African-American communities. There is no shortage of problems that emerged from this election. In a highly aggressive attempt to clean up the voter rolls, Kemp’s office removed 1.5 million registered voters’ names from those rolls. He also instituted an exact match system that canceled voter registrations that did not have the exact same spelling for names as they appear in other government databases. That system kept 53,000 voters, 70 percent of them African-American, from being able to register, according to the Associated Press. Kemp’s office closed over 200 polling places since 2012 and wanted to close more, especially ones in heavily African-American neighborhoods, but was prevented by a court order. Newly combined polling locations did not receive extra voting machines for Election Day, leading to waits of more than four hours at some sites.


Florida’s election recount is chugging along as more irregularities are uncovered and a judge asked the warring sides to “ramp down the rhetoric,” saying it erodes public confidence in the election for Senate and governor.

One county revealed Monday that it had allowed some hurricane-displaced voters to cast their ballots by email — a violation of state law. Another had to restart its recount after getting about a quarter finished because someone forgot to push a button.



It’s heartbreaking that Palm Beach County is not being allowed enough time to do a proper recount. There was a glimmer of hope today when a judge extended the Thursday deadline. However, the Republican Secretary of State almost immediately invalidated that ruling with a legal maneuver obviously designed to stall action for a couple days – just long enough so the Thursday deadline will kick in and any attempt to extend it becomes moot. If that happens, the first count will stand, favoring Republicans. There’s so much at stake.

A Palm Beach County legislative candidate on Tuesday won and then quickly lost the first round of his legal battle to extend the deadline for election recounts to be completed as growing political heat generated lawsuits in federal and state courts in Tallahassee.

Ruling on a lawsuit filed by Democratic Florida House District 89 candidate Jim Bonfiglio, who is trailing by 37 votes in his race against Republican Mike Caruso, a Leon County judge ordered that Palm Beach County elections officials be given until Nov. 27 to complete their recounts.

However, Judge Karen Gievers’ decision to lift Thursday’s 3 p.m. deadline in Palm Beach County was trumped when Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner petitioned to move the case to federal court.

“We’re now in federal court territory, said Marisol Samayoa, a spokeswoman for the campaign arm of the Florida Democratic Party. A federal judge in Tallahassee, who is hearing other challenges associated with the statewide recount, gave all sides until 5 p.m. Wednesday to explain why the county’s deadline should or shouldn’t be extended.

In addition to Detzner’s legal maneuvering, incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, the Democrat who is trailing by 12,100 votes in his battle against Republican Gov. Rick Scott, also entered the legal fray.

Nelson filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Tallahassee asking that all elections supervisors in the state be given more time to recount ballots. The vote-counting will decide not only the U.S. Senate contest but the governor’s race between Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum


Great news on the state government front. Democrats made big gains – this is critical because the states that flipped to Blue will have the power to undo the grossly unfair gerrymandering that Republicans put in place while they were in power. To me, the best news is in the last line of the chart below: Before the elections, Democrats had a “trifecta”* in only 8 states – that number has now jumped to 14! At the same time, Republican trifectas dropped from 25 to 21. Go Blue!

National Conference of State Legislatures - Maps of 2018 Election Results

*“State Control” refers to the states where all three political power bases—both chambers of the legislature and the governorship—are held by the same party. This is sometimes called a “trifecta.”


The midterms aren’t over yet!

Evidence is mounting that the Republican candidate’s campaign in the U.S. House race in the 9th District of North Carolina may have committed an egregious act of voter fraud. See the bolded text below.

What would make this an especially atrocious crime, if substantiated, is that the alleged fraud involved modifying the ballots of trusting, elderly voters.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in light of the fact that, at the same time the voter fraud investigation is being conducted, a power struggle for control of the Election Board is also playing out – the current board is being dissolved next week! - See the last paragraph.

North Carolina officials voted Friday to continue investigating fraud in the 9th Congressional District election, potentially delaying certification of the results for weeks and leaving open the possibility that a new election could be called.

The decision cast new uncertainty on the race between Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready, who are separated by only 905 votes out of 283,317 ballots cast, according to unofficial returns. The Associated Press on Friday announced it was revoking its projection that Harris won the southeastern North Carolina seat. The inquiry further roiled a state already divided over issues of voting rights, voter suppression and fraud…

The State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement has collected at least six sworn statements from voters in rural Bladen County, near the South Carolina border, who described people coming to their doors and urging them to hand over their absentee ballots, sometimes without filling them out. Others described receiving absentee ballots by mail that they had not requested.

Among the allegations is that an individual who worked for the Harris [Republican] campaign coordinated an effort to collect and fill in, or discard, the ballots of Democratic voters who might have otherwise voted for McCready [Democrat]. Several of the affidavits come from elderly African American voters. It is illegal to take someone else’s ballot, whether to turn it in or discard it…

The nine-person state board, which includes four Democrats, four Republicans and one unaffiliated member, voted 7 to 2 in favor of holding a hearing by Dec. 21 “to assure that the election is determined without taint of fraud or corruption and without irregularities that may have changed the result.”…

Adding to the uncertainty is a political battle over control of the board itself. State judges have thrown out two laws enacted by the GOP-controlled General Assembly intended to wrest control of the board from Gov. Roy Cooper (D). As a result, the current board is scheduled to dissolve early next week. That throws into doubt not only the fate of the fraud investigation in the 9th District but the timing of certification of the Harris-McCready results.


Republicans Brazenly Gut Voting Rights in Lame Duck Before They Lose Power – Mother Jones


Further developments in the voter fraud scandal that is unfolding in North Carolina (see above post).

Authorities have had suspicions about the handling of ballots in one N.C. county for some time. Their criminal investigation actually began early this year following the primaries – the existence of this investigation was just been made public. Allegations of additional voter fraud from the midterms are now being added to the case.

At stake is a U.S. House seat. The Republican candidate won by a very narrow margin. It is the Republican campaign that has been accused of voter fraud. If the charges are substantiated and it is shown that the number of votes involved in the fraud could have affected the outcome, then a re-do election may be held. The Republicans are fighting the investigation tooth and nail and want the results that show their candidate is the winner to be certified immediately. However, the state elections board has dug in and has twice refused to certify the current results.


More on the N.C. voter fraud scandal (see above posts).

Wow. You’ve got to admire this dogged reporting by a Charlotte, N.C., TV station. These guys are out knocking on doors trying to track down the people who allegedly illegally collected absentee ballots. Kind of fun to watch, actually. They do find one woman who readily admits she was paid by the person at the center of the scandal, Leslie McCrae Dowless, Jr., to collect ballots and then, instead of mailing them in, turned them over to Dowless. He is hiding out and won’t come to the door. I wish these reporters the best of luck! :clap:


Republicans Finally Have an Election Fraud Scandal. And None of Them Want to Talk About It.
There’s evidence of fraud to benefit a Republican congressional candidate.

“The conservative activists who have most vocally pushed a narrative of rampant voter fraud in recent years are ignoring the unfolding drama in North Carolina.”


It gets worse…this stealing of absentee ballots was run by the lowest of the low.

BLADENBORO, North Carolina — The allegations that Republicans tampered with absentee ballots in a close North Carolina election represent the most serious federal election tampering case in years, one that allegedly stole votes from elderly black voters in the state’s rural south.

Now two women intimately involved with McCrae Dowless’s absentee ballot machine have revealed to BuzzFeed News its grim and chaotic workings, in which Dowless tracked votes on yellow paper and paid his workers, including family members, from stacks of cash, and that some were on opioids while they worked.

The accounts of the women, Jessica Karen Dowless and Lisa Britt, add significant new details to those that have come out from investigators and other news reports, as the state election board considers whether it should order a new election between Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready. The women, both related to McCrae Dowless, paint a picture of American political chicanery at its lowest levels — though with sweeping consequences both for voters allegedly denied the franchise, and for the outcome of a pivotal national election, which Harris won by 905 votes.

Jessica Dowless described the scene in the small office at the intersection of two highways, where she worked on Harris’s behalf for the last two months as chaotic. One worker, she said, “was so fucking high the other day she passed out at the fucking computer.” One of the workers who collected absentee ballots from residents was a “pill head,” she said.


You’ve got to watch this Rachel Maddow segment on the voter fraud scandal unfolding in North Carolina. It’s both informative and entertaining. Maddow is at the top of her form here.

And then you really should catch the BuzzFeed exposé on this debacle posted above by @dragonfly9. It’s a truly amazing read. What a sordid mess! You know you’ve stumbled upon a troop of bumbling lowlifes when one marshals this argument to fend off allegations of partisanship: "I don’t know Democrat from Republican from a hole in my ass.”


So Harris is singing a different tune this week.

Mark Harris, the Republican candidate in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District election, issued a video Friday saying he would “wholeheartedly support” a new election if evidence emerges that criminal activity swayed the outcome of the Nov. 6 race.

“If this investigation finds proof of illegal activity on either side to such a level that it could have changed the outcome of the election, then I would wholeheartedly support a new election to ensure all voters have confidence in the results” Harris said in the video.

But get out of town! Harris’ statement about “illegal activity on either side” is such BS. The only side that has demonstrated illegal activity is his side.

His qualification that a redo election will only be needed if the level of illegal activity may have affected the outcome is also BS. There is now little doubt that this was an organized criminal effort to tamper with ballots. The group had its own office and a staff of at least several people. The evidence so far shows that it involved tampering with hundreds of ballots – and we don’t even know yet how many votes for Harris’ opponent may simply have been thrown in the trash. Harris’ lead was only 904 votes so there is already ample cause to believe a redo election is the only possible redress. Yes, it’s true that we do need to see the completion of an official investigation, but in the meantime, Harris’ current position statement is way out of line with what’s already been reported.

In fact, there’s some reason to believe that in a redo election, Harris might be campaigning from jail.

Harris’s chief consultant, Andy Yates of the Red Dome Group, said in a statement Monday that Harris, a pastor from the suburbs of Charlotte, “was aware of Red Dome’s relationship with Mr. Dowless and believes like I do that Mr. Dowless operated within the bounds of the law.” Yates said Dowless assured him he was not illegally collecting ballots.

Dowless, who is at the center of the scandal, has been suspected of ballot tampering in the past (see the Daily Beast and Rachel Maddow reports above). And Dowless’ boss says Harris knew that Dowless was working on his campaign – so the real question becomes “What did Harris know and when did he know it?”

And now there’s this:

The campaign of North Carolina Republican Mark Harris still owed more than $53,000 after last month’s election to a consulting firm at the center of an absentee ballot effort that has sparked allegations of fraud and could trigger a new House election, new filings show.

More than $34,000 of Harris’ debt to Red Dome Group centered on a “reimbursement payment for Bladen absentee” work and other election efforts, according to a post-election report Harris’ campaign filed late Thursday with the Federal Election Commission.

Red Dome hired Leslie McCrae Dowless, a veteran political operative, to work on the get-out-the-vote operation on Harris’ behalf. Dowless, who pleaded guilty to federal insurance fraud in 1992, is now at the center of state and local investigations probing whether absentee ballots were used to alter the results in Bladen County, where Harris won 96% of the absentee vote.

Red Dome’s owner says Harris knew that he had hired Dowless to work on Harris’ campaign (see article at start of this post). So Harris’ involvement in this scandal is looking shadier and shadier.

And, considering that we know Red Dome’s owner hired an operative who was a convicted felon and who had allegedly tampered with ballots in the past (again, see the previous posts), then what other dubious ballot manipulation might Red Dome be capable of? They performed over half a million dollars’ worth of work for Harris.

Red Dome officials did not immediately respond to inquiries Friday. In all, Harris spent more than $500,000 with Red Dome over the course of the election cycle.


Now the ballot tampering scandal in Bladen county, N.C., has spread to neighboring Robeson county. Channel 9, in Charlotte continues its relentless investigation of the alleged criminal scheme. We are so fortunate to live in a country with a free press that roots out corruption. Go Channel 9!

Here’s their hard-hitting, 3-minute report with the latest developments:


Looks like Republican House candidate Mark Harris was very aware of Leslie McCrae Dowless’ shady reputation in handling absentee ballots – yet Harris actively sought him out to help with his campaign. (For background on this voter fraud scandal, see the above posts.) If there is a “redo” election, and this is now a real possibility, Harris is going to have to explain to voters why he hired a political consultant who had been accused of ballot tampering in the past.

North Carolina congressional candidate Mark Harris (R.) directed the hiring of a campaign aide now at the center of an election-fraud investigation, according to three individuals familiar with the campaign, despite warnings that the operative may have used questionable tactics to deliver votes.

Harris sought out the operative, Leslie McCrae Dowless, after losing a 2016 election in which Dowless had helped one of Harris’s opponents win an overwhelming share of the mail-in vote in a key county.

State and local investigators say that whether Harris knew that his campaign may have engaged in improper tactics has become a focus of the expanding probes into whether election irregularities affected the 9th District election, in which Harris leads Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes…

The North Carolina elections board has issued subpoenas to the Harris campaign and its general consultant, Red Dome Group. In addition, the Wake County district attorney’s office in Raleigh, the State Bureau of Investigation, the FBI and federal prosecutors are examining voting irregularities in the 9th District

Harris was warned about possible fraud on primary day in June 2016, during his first bid for the 9th District congressional seat, according to people familiar with the conversation.

The incumbent congressman and winner of the primary had received just one mail-in vote in rural Bladen County. Harris, who came in second place, had won four. Johnson, the last-place contender, meanwhile, had received nearly all of them — 221.

The only explanation, advisers told Harris that night in Charlotte, was that something shady had occurred on that third-place campaign, according to the people.

A year later, they said, when Harris resolved to run for Congress again, the candidate personally directed the hiring of Dowless


The audacity of the N.C. GOP is just mind blowing. Their Republican candidate was caught cheating in the race for a U.S. House seat. The scandal has made him so toxic that he will not be a viable contender in the resulting redo election. Undeterred (and unabashed), the Republicans are now looking for a way to fix the new election as well. They’ve rushed through a law that allows them to replace their radioactive candidate with a more acceptable one. In other words, they couldn’t rig this election by cheating at the polls, so now they’re trying to game it in the state legislature.

(Kira) #39

In fairness the article does say that there was also evidence of potential fraud in the primary which would have changed that result as well.

From a average everyday voter perspective this actually makes sense. Republican voters only wound up with him as their candidate due to the fraud in the first place.

However the GOP leaders who noticed the signs of suspicious activity in the primary, chose to ignore it, and only now care; they’re scheming dirtbags. I want to see them have to tell their own base that they scammed them.

(Matt Kiser) closed #40

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