Networks line up election law experts for vote coverage
Image via AP.

Journalists at White House
They're preparing to discuss challenges of elections.

Television networks are adding experts in election law to their election night coverage teams so they’re prepared to explain legal challenges or irregularities that may come up during the vote.

Veteran attorney Ben Ginsberg, who represented George W. Bush when the 2000 presidential race was decided in the Supreme Court, has joined CNN for this purpose. CBS News hired David Becker, founder of the Center for Election Innovation & Research.

ABC and NBC have made similar arrangements, although some of those experts will have more offscreen roles.

“If the country is going to war, you want an admiral or general to help you figure out what is going on,” said David Bohrman, executive producer of CBS’ coverage.

Becker, former director of the elections program at Pew Charitable Trusts who also worked in the Justice Department, said he sees the CBS role as an extension of his efforts to educate the public about voting issues.

Becker said it’s inevitable there will be Election Day incidents such as polling sites where technology breaks down or people who try to intimidate voters, but he expects these will be isolated and it will be his job to explain that.

“This is going to be the most secure election that we’ve ever had,” he said.

A flurry of court decisions during the week before Tuesday’s election on challenges to rules in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and North Carolina on how long votes can be counted, with the expectation of more to come, illustrates the need for expertise.

Besides Ginsberg, New York University constitutional law professor Richard Pildes is also doing work for CNN. He appeared on the network last week to discuss the ruling barring Wisconsin from counting ballots that arrive after Election Day.

Pildes, who said he has been encouraging people to vote in person wherever possible, said he worried about an “explosive situation” if days drag on without a winner being declared in the presidential race.

“It will be better if we can get a result sooner rather than later,” he said. “I think everyone recognizes that.”

NBC News has hired a firm that specializes in election law for advice and to provide lawyers who can appear on the air if they need to, said division president Noah Oppenheim. Like many news organizations, NBC assembled a team that has been specifically covering election integrity issues, with investigative reporter Cynthia McFadden playing a big role.

“It’s not an expertise that we have had to build from scratch, but we certainly are focused on it this cycle,” Oppenheim said.

The ABC News experts will work offscreen to brief network correspondents and anchors on the issue. Marc Burstein, the network’s top elections producer, said ABC believes it’s best for viewers to see faces they’re familiar with.

Fox News is relying on its in-house team of legal analysts, said Alan Komissaroff, senior vice president of news and politics.

“We would be negligent if we didn’t have someone with the expertise available to us if we need it,” Bohrman said.

To a certain extent, CBS’ Becker see bolstering public confidence in the nation’s elections system as part of his job. He said he knows many elections officials across the country and that “by and large, these are people that want as many people to vote with confidence and security as possible.”

He said he doubts Russia or any other nation has the ability to disrupt the nation’s voting systems to any large degree because there will be a paper trail for nearly 95 percent of the votes that are cast.

He’s more concerned about the spread of disinformation sowing doubt about the election.

“No matter what happens, a portion of the public will not believe in the result,” Becker said. “Part of our job is to make sure that this portion of the population is as small as possible.”


Republished with permission from The Associated Press.

Associated Press

One comment


    November 1, 2020 at 3:11 pm

    Texas AG has arrested and charged over 200 people for ballot fraud. Turns out all of them involved with the Dems.

    The Heritage Foundation’s election fraud database has been around for four years. With the addition of our latest batch of cases, we are up to 1,285 proven instances of voter fraud. Examples include impersonation fraud at the polls; false voter registrations; duplicate voting; fraudulent absentee ballots; vote buying; illegal assistance and intimidation of voters; ineligible voting, such as by aliens; altering of vote counts; and ballot petition fraud. Millions of mailed ballots have been misdirected or gone missing in prior elections. Electronic signatures are too imprecise and easily duplicated, and should not be accepted. Automatically mailing a ballot to all registered voters is an open invitation to fraud and abuse. Not every new resident at an address throws out the ballot that is still being automatically mailed to a former resident, and third parties may canvass neighborhoods looking for those “extra” ballots—with some being tempted to cast those extra votes. States should ban “vote harvesting” and not allow candidates, party activists, or political consultants who have a stake in the outcome, to collect absentee ballots from voters

    Following accusations of widespread fraud, voter intimidation, and ballot theft in the May 12 municipal elections in Paterson, N.J., four men were charged with voter fraud – including the vice president of the City Council and a candidate for that body. In the City Council election, 16,747 vote-by-mail ballots were received, but only 13,557 votes were counted. More than 3,190 votes, 19% of the total ballots cast, were disqualified by the board of elections. Due to the pandemic, Paterson’s election was done through vote-by-mail. Over 800 ballots in Paterson were invalidated for appearing in mailboxes improperly bundled together – including one mailbox where hundreds of ballots were in a single packet. The bundles were turned over to law enforcement to investigate potential criminal activity related to the collection of the ballots. The board of elections disqualified another 2,300 ballots after concluding that the signatures on them did not match the signatures on voter records.

    In a USPS memo, it says mail carriers may have to leave mail behind at distribution centers in order to make it on time to their delivery routes. One aspect of these changes that may be difficult for employees is that – temporarily – we may see mail left behind or mail on the workroom floor or docks…….

    Judicial Watch Finds Millions of ‘Extra’ Registrants on Voting Rolls – Warns California, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Colorado, Virginia to Clean Up Voting Rolls or Face a Federal Lawsuit

    A voter registration group is sending hundreds of thousands of mail-in and absentee ballots to voters in states that do not automatically mail the ballot applications themselves. The mailings contain legitimate ballot applications, but at first glance appear to be from a government source, which is “potentially misleading” for recipients, according to election officials. The organizations have repeatedly sent voters incorrect information. This week, hundreds of thousands of voters in Virginia had incorrect election office addresses on their prepaid return envelopes. Earlier this summer, the Center for Voter Information sent thousands of North Carolina voters forms that were invalid because the group had partially filled them out, a practice made illegal by a new state law.

    Puerto Rico forced to partially suspend primary voting because of lack of ballots. Hundreds of frustrated voters who wore the required face masks were turned away from centers across Puerto Rico.

    Philly Fraud Case Expands

    The U.S. Justice Department this past week charged former Democratic congressman Michael Myers with stuffing ballot boxes, bribing an elected official, falsifying records, obstructing justice and voting multiple times in federal elections in Philadelphia. Myers was the second official charged in the scheme. Domenick DeMuro, a Democratic ward chairman in that city, admitted in a plea deal that he had “fraudulently stuffed the ballot box by literally standing in a voting booth and voting over and over, as fast as he could, while he thought the coast was clear,” prosecutors said. DeMuro allegedly had a network of clients who paid him significant sums of money to rig elections over several years.

    California voter fraud conviction exposes Skid Row scheme. In February, 62-year-old Norman Hall pled guilty in a scheme to pay money and cigarettes to homeless people on Los Angeles’ Skid Row in exchange for false and forged signatures on ballot petitions and voter registration forms. Hall got a year in jail.

    Illinois let non-citizens register to vote in blunder. In January, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White disclosed in a letter to the Legislature that a “programming error” in a signature pad at driver services facilities led to 574 non-U.S. citizens accidentally being registered as voters. At least one, and perhaps as many as 15, non-citizens may have voted in the 2018 election. White’s office says the problem has been fixed.

    Double voting in Arizona. Last month, Randy Allen Jumper pleaded guilty in Arizona to attempting to vote in two states during the 2016 general election: Arizona and Nevada. He was also charged with falsely signing a statement vowing not to vote in the general election anywhere but Arizona.

    After NPR report that more than 550,000 primary absentee ballots were rejected in 2020, experts urge Americans to make plans to vote early and track ballots.

    7000 residents in the township of Teaneck, #NewJersey have received mail-in #ballots with the wrong Congressional Representatives’ names printed on them. The mistake affected one-quarter of all ballots for Teaneck, elections officials said.

    Texas mayoral candidate arrested for mail-in ballot fraud. Zul Mohamed is running to become the mayor of Carrollton, Texas.

    More than 100 undelivered absentee ballots found in Kentucky dumpster

    10/28/20 Another employee for the U.S. Postal Service is facing federal charges in the latest instance where mail-in ballots were discovered dumped in the trash in Kentucky.

    Postal and law enforcement officials are investigating after four dozen mail-in ballots were found undelivered at a post office in Florida. U.S. Postal Service Office investigators said Saturday they found six completed ballots and 42 blank ballots among piles of undelivered mail in a post office near Homestead on the Florida peninsula’s southern tip. Video taken by a postal worker shows they had been sitting there for more than a week.

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