More than 3,400 people were detained when demonstrators took to the streets across Russia to demand the release of jailed dissident Alexei Navalny, civil rights activists said on Sunday. Of those, at least 1,360 were detained at the largest of Saturday's protests in the capital Moscow, activist portal OVD-Info said. Another 523 detentions were made in St Petersburg. Russia's children's rights commissioner said around 300 minors were among those taken into custody. Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in 100 cities across the length and breadth of Russia on Saturday, from the far eastern ci...
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Republicans ‘botched the job’ of forging signatures — and it may cost them a major election: analysis
Half of the Republicans running for governor were caught in election fraud scheme that could cost the GOP their best shots of winning one of the biggest races in the 2022 midterm elections.
"The GOP’s efforts to unseat Michigan’s Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, ran into some trouble on Tuesday when the state’s elections bureau determined that five of the ten Republican candidates had faked the signatures necessary for them to appear on the ballot. Because of the bogus ink, half of the field could now be ineligible for the August 2 primary," Matt Stieb reported for New York magazine on Tuesday.
The state Bureau of Elections released a 17-page staff report documenting the attempted fraud.
"There was quite a bit of fraud, according to the Michigan Bureau of Elections. Some compromised petition sheets 'consisted entirely of invalid signatures.' Others showed evidence of being 'round-tabled,' the process in which a group of people takes turns signing names so the same handwriting isn’t repeated line after line. A few showed 'no evidence of normal wear' and misspellings of voters’ names, suggesting that whoever botched the job didn’t really put their full effort into trying to defraud the Wolverine State," Stieb explained.
Michigan estimated 68,000 phony signatures were submitted.
"The affected Republicans included former Detroit police chief James Craig and businessman Perry Johnson, who are considered front-runners in the crowded primary," Stieb noted. "While the elections bureau did not find evidence that the candidates were aware of the schemes conducted on their behalf, the widespread fraud comes amid a yearslong effort in which Donald Trump has alleged without evidence that Democrats 'rigged' the 2020 election in Michigan and other states that flipped blue last cycle. Craig has said he is in favor of a 'thorough audit' of the 2020 race, while Johnson has said he shares Trump’s concerns 'about election security.'”
Donna Brandenburg, Michael Brown and Michael Markey also reportedly failed to submit enough valid signatures.
The Michigan Board of State Canvassers is scheduled to meet on Thursday to review the staff report and will decide on the eligibility of the five candidates who failed to turn 15,000 valid signatures.
In March, Whitmer bragged about turning in 30,000 signatures.
On Tuesday, the Houston Chronicle reported that the Harris County Republican Party is suing to block the current plan to count votes in Houston — just hours before polls close in the Texas primary runoff.
"In the 18-page filing to the Texas Supreme Court around 2 p.m. on Tuesday, lawyers for the GOP argue the county is ignoring state election laws and breaking the mandatory chain of custody for ballots," reported Dug Begley. "'An essential component of the central counting station is the physical delivery of sealed ballot boxes and access to the central counting station is necessary that process to take place,' the filing states."
"County Election Administrator Isabel Longoria, who will resign July 1 after complications during the March primary, approved a system that allows election judges at polling sites to hand off ballots to law enforcement officers and deputized county staffers, who will drive the equipment to the central counting station at NRG Arena on the judges’ behalf," said the report. "Republican party officials have said this process is illegal, and advised their judges not to comply."
According to the report, Democrats are firing back over the lawsuit, with Harris County Attorney Christian Menafee saying, “Their leadership has known about the County’s election day plans for some time, yet they waited until 6 hours before the polls close to now ask a court to throw the plans out the window and put residents’ votes at risk.”
Texas has been a hotbed of GOP efforts to restrict voting access, with Republican lawmakers there passing a package of laws rolling back mail-in and drive-through voting over the high-profile protest of Democratic counterparts. Ironically, many Republican voters in Texas are reportedly being inconvenienced by these laws as well.
The state's attorney general, Ken Paxton, even filed a lawsuit to try to force several states that voted for President Joe Biden to stop counting millions of mail-in ballots in the 2020 presidential election, which the right-wing Supreme Court ultimately shot down.
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