With 5 days to Election Day 2020, here’s the news that you’ll want to know:
(2) hackers steal more than $2 million from Wisconsin GOP; chairman says party is “now at a disadvantage” heading into final days of the election
Supreme Court doesn’t intervene, so North Carolina will accept mail-in ballots up to nine days after the election.
“In North Carolina, the court declined to block an extension of the state’s ballot return deadline. Normally, ballots postmarked by Election Day there can be counted if they are received within three days of the election, but a pandemic-related change pushed that to nine days.” (POLITICO)
- What’s happening: Previously, North Carolina would accept mail-in ballots postmarked on Election Day up to three days after the election. But due to COVID, the rules were changed this year to a delay of nine days.
That decision was challenged in court — and ended up before the Supreme Court. But the Court has now declined to intervene, so it will remain nine days.
- What’s at stake: First, any rule or procedure changes — especially this close to Election Day — could potentially affect the outcome. North Carolina is particularly important for the presidential race. But also at stake is potentially Republican control of the U.S. Senate.
The North Carolina Senate race is currently one of the most competitive (and expensive) in the country as incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis (R) fights to keep his seat — and help the GOP keep control of the Senate.
Second, lengthier timelines for ballot return may delay the final call on who won 2020 elections. Americans have been told to accept a lengthier timeline this year, and it’s worth waiting to make the call until it can be made properly — and all eligible voters have had a chance to cast their ballot.
But given that North Carolina will receive ballots for more than a week past next Tuesday, we presume that may delay the final results of the election. (Though in 2020, we won’t rule any scenario out!)
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— Hillary Clinton will be an elector for New York for the Electoral College alongside Bill Clinton, Andrew Cuomo, and others
Hackers steal more than $2M from Wisconsin GOP. State party is “now at a disadvantage” in critical battleground state.
“The party noticed the suspicious activity on Oct. 22 and contacted the FBI on Friday, said Republican Party Chairman Andrew Hitt. […] ‘There’s no doubt RPW is now at a disadvantage with that money being gone,’ Hitt said. The party and campaign needs money late in the race to make quick decisions, he said.” (POLITICO)
- What’s happening: Hackers reportedly stole $2.3 million from the Wisconsin Republican Party by manipulating invoices that were owed to four vendors, the state party chair told POLITICO. As the chair explained: “Invoices were altered so when the party paid them, the money went to the hackers instead of the vendors, Hitt said.”
The state GOP alerted the FBI, and the FBI is now working on the investigation.
- What’s at stake: First, this is bad news for President Trump and Republicans heading into the final days before November 3rd. Wisconsin is an important battleground state, and given that Republicans are more likely to vote on Election Day than vote early by mail, final get-out-the-vote efforts will likely be critical.
Second, this news sadly underscores that every part of American life now faces new challenges with the rise in cybersecurity concerns and the potential for cybercrime. Just this week, American hospitals are facing “imminent and increased cybercrime threat,” mostly through ransomware.
As of yesterday, nearly 2M mail-in ballots haven’t yet been returned to be counted. Concerns now increasing.
“Just days before the presidential election, millions of mail ballots have yet to be returned in key battleground states, and election officials warn that time is running out for voters who want to avoid a polling place on Election Day.” (Fox News)
- What’s happening: Nearly 2 million ballots haven’t yet been returned to be counted in battleground states, including (based on Fox’s reporting):
— 962,000 in Nevada
— 850,000 in Michigan
— 1 million in Pennsylvania
— 1.9 million in Florida
- What’s at stake: First, officials and political parties in some states (check for certain for yours) are now encouraging voters to physically return their ballots — rather than rely on the US Postal Service to deliver them on time.
— In Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf said: “Hand-delivering your own ballot now will give you the peace of mind that your vote will be counted, and your voice will be heard in this historic election.”
— In Michigan, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said: “We are too close to Election Day, and the right to vote is too important, to rely on the Postal Service to deliver absentee ballots on time.”
Second — and on a related note — Pennsylvania is still facing a legal challenge for when the final due date for postmarked ballots will be.
As POLITICO explained: “[Supreme Court Justice] Alito noted in the Pennsylvania case that the secretary of the commonwealth issued guidance to local election officials earlier on Wednesday to segregate ballots received after the close of polls but before the Nov. 6 deadline, cracking the door for a potential post-election decision. […] Alito’s statement suggested that he believes those ballots could still be tossed, even if a ruling comes after Election Day.”