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Election Day Is Tomorrow. Here’s What You Need To Know

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  • Election Day is tomorrow, but it is highly unlikely that we will know the results that same day.
  • Here’s what you need to know about what we can expect to see tomorrow and in the days and weeks that follow.

Don’t Bank on a Winner

Election Day is finally near and while the results are still up in the air, there are some things that we should expect going into Tuesday.

First and foremost, the election will not end tomorrow. Do not expect a clear winner on election night. More people than ever before are voting by mail this year, and those mail-in ballots take longer for election officials to count than ballots cast at polling places.

The delay from counting absentee ballots combined with the fact that each state has different rules for how votes are counted and reported means that votes will be reported unevenly. Some states may report totals very early, perhaps even on election night. Others will take days to tally up all their results, including some of the key swing states that will ultimately decide the election.

This means that even if the election looks like it’s headed in a certain direction tomorrow, there is really no way to know who has won until those swing states are fully counted. 

That point is extremely important to note because it is very likely that the election may look like it is headed towards Republicans and President Donald Trump early on. This is what’s known as a red mirage. Numerous models show that Republicans are more likely to vote in person and Democrats are more likely to vote by mail. As a result, early tallies might show a GOP-heavy lead on Election day, but the final result could shift when absentee votes are counted.

For example, in Pennsylvania, which is arguably one of the most important swing states, election officials have said that ballots will likely not fully be counted until Friday. In that time, the results will almost certainly shift significantly.

In fact, according to calculations by FiveThirtyEight, we could see a situation where Trump is ahead by upwards of 16 points on election night in the state, only for him to eventually lose thes state by five points or more once all ballots are counted— a potential 21-plus point swing.

What Trump Might Do

To that point, something else we could very possibly see is President Trump capitalizing on this red mirage to sow discord, create uncertainty, and undermine the validity of millions of ballots that arrived on or even before Election Day but simply take longer to count.

Trump advisers who have spoken to the media have even allegedly outright said this is part of his strategy. 

Over the weekend, The New York Times reported that Trump advisers told the outlet “their best hope was if the president wins Ohio and Florida is too close to call early in the night, depriving Mr. Biden a swift victory and giving Mr. Trump the room to undermine the validity of uncounted mail-in ballots in the days after.”

On Sunday, Axios appeared to back that up, reporting that three sources familiar with the president’s private comments said Trump “has told confidants he’ll declare victory on Tuesday night if it looks like he’s ‘ahead’ […] even if the Electoral College outcome still hinges on large numbers of uncounted votes in key states like Pennsylvania.”

Trump denied that he would prematurely declare victory while speaking to reporters later in the day, but he also added, “We’re going to go in the night of, as soon as that election’s over, we’re going in with our lawyers.”

However, it is unclear exactly what Trump’s lawyers would do. As Slate points out, while there have been many disputes over ballots that arrive after Election Day, “there has never been any basis to claim that a ballot arriving on time cannot be counted if officials cannot finish their count on election night.”

Here’s the thing: no single state fully counts their ballots on election night. Some places will not even start counting until polls close.

That is what normally happens during the general election, even without a historic amount of ballots being sent by mail, which is why these efforts by Trump and his campaign to undermine the very counting of ballots is so unprecedented.

As Slate notes: “Counting legitimate ballots is not stealing or flipping the election, and no amount of spin can make it otherwise.”

Disinformation Campaigns

Trump, however, will likely not be the only one trying to capitalize on and spin these delays in final results. Weeks ago, the FBI warned that foriegn actors and cybercriminals will use the delays to spread disinformation about the election.

To prepare, numerous media outlets and social media platforms have emphasized their efforts to crack down on misinformation. Last month, Reuters reported that executives of major TV networks will emphasize credibility and thorough vetting of results over speed.

On Monday morning, Twitter also laid out its new policies for sharing election results, with the platform also specifically naming seven outlets it will use as credible sources to call the election.

Those outlets being ABC News, AP, CNN, CBS News, Decision Desk HQ, Fox News, and NBC News.

Any tweet posted about election results that does not cite those sources risks being labeled as misinformation, the company said.

With that in mind, remember that there are many people who would benefit in many different ways from the spread of false information. In the coming days and weeks, it is absolutely essential that you pay attention to authoritative sources, fact check any claims you see, and think carefully before sharing anything on social media.

Prepare for the Possibility of a Long Wait

As noted earlier, the election will not end tomorrow, and even once a majority of ballots are tallied, it is highly possible the election will not be decided for weeks due to court challenges.

Trump himself has said he will fight voting rules and results all the way to the Supreme Court, and according to The Times, Trump’s campaign is raising money to continue these ballot fights well into mid-December, citing the belief that “multiple states” could “require recounts.” 

Experts say we can indeed expect to see many court cases, which will in turn further delay key results and possibly even the declaration of a winner. While we don’t know what will come of those legal challenges, we do know that we need to buckle down and prepare for a lot of unknowns and turmoil from now until the inauguration.

As Axios writes in its guide to safely and sanely navigating the election, “Even if you get the result you want, anticipate months of wild maneuvering and protests […] The nation is headed into a firestorm. There’s no way it’s orderly or normal, or even necessarily over when it seems over. All we can do is be smart about what’s to come, and wise in our responses.”

See what others are saying: (Slate) (Axios) (The New York Times)

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Supreme Court Allows Release of Jan. 6 Documents in Major Loss for Trump

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The high court’s decision initiates the release of White House documents that the former president had attempted to block the Jan. 6 investigation committee from viewing.


SCOTUS Ruling

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected former President Donald Trump’s efforts to block the White House from handing over records to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Trump filed a lawsuit against the panel and the National Archives to prevent the committee from seeing key documents, testimonies, and other evidence lawmakers had requested.

In the suit, he argued that the records were protected by executive privilege, which he said still applied to him even though he’s not president anymore, and despite the fact that President Joe Biden decided not to exercise his executive privilege over the documents.

Trump also claimed that the information has “no reasonable connection to the events of that day” or “any conceivable legislative purpose.”

In an 8-1 decision with Justice Clarence Thomas dissenting, the Supreme Court rejected the effort to block the records from the committee until the issue is resolved by the courts — a process that could take months if not years.

In their ruling, the justices wrote that there are “serious and substantial concerns” regarding whether a former president can obtain a court order to prevent the disclosure of records, especially when the incumbent president waived their right to exercise executive privilege over said documents.

However, they still agreed with the determination by an appeals court that Trump’s claim of privilege over the documents would fail “even if he were the incumbent.”

Records Handed Over to Committee

According to reports, within just hours of the ruling, the National Archives began sending the roughly 800 pages of documents to the Jan. 6 committee.

The documents have not been made public, and it remains unclear if and when they will be.

What is known is the nature of the content that the committee has requested, including records detailing all of Trump’s movements and meetings on Jan. 6. 

Notably, the lawmakers also requested information about plans by the administration to undermine Congress’s confirmation of the electoral college vote and Trump’s pressure campaign to overturn the results of the elections.

Also unknown is what the panel will do with the documents if it finds damning evidence. While the committee’s powers are limited in scope, it could make a criminal referral to the Justice Department, which has its own ongoing probe into the insurrection and the events that preceded it.

See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (The Associated Press) (The Washington Post

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NY Attorney General Says Investigation of Trump Business Found “Significant Evidence” of Fraud

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The state attorney general’s office accused the former president and his family business of falsely inflating the value of assets and personal worth to lenders, the IRS, and insurance brokers.


New York Attorney General’s Filing

New York Attorney General Letitia James announced late Tuesday she had “significant evidence” that former President Donald Trump and the Trump Organization “falsely and fraudulently” misrepresented the value of assets “to financial institutions for economic benefit.”

The allegations mark the first time James has made specific accusations against Trump and his business. They come as part of a nearly 160-page filing asking a judge to order the former president — along with Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. — to comply with subpoenas for the investigation after the family sued James to block her from questioning them.

The filing claims that Trump and the company inflated the value of six properties, including several golf courses and Trump’s own penthouse in Trump Tower, on financial statements to obtain favorable loans, tax deductions, and insurance coverage. 

The document adds that many of the financial statements were “generally inflated as part of a pattern to suggest that Mr. Trump’s net worth was higher than it otherwise would have appeared.”

James outlined several specific examples, such as a financial statement where the value of Trump’s Seven Springs estate in Westchester was boosted because it listed seven mansions on the property worth $61 million that did not actually exist.

That resulted in Trump receiving millions of dollars in tax deductions on that property, as well as another in Los Angeles.

In another notable instance, the attorney general’s office said that the $327 million value of Trump’s penthouse in Trump Tower was calculated off a financial statement that falsely reported his home was nearly triple its actual size.

While the statement claimed the apartment was 30,000 square feet, Trump had signed documents stating it was actually 10,996 square feet.

Alleged Direct Involvement

The allegation regarding the apartment is especially significant because it directly ties Trump himself to the accusations of financial wrongdoing. It is also not the only instance where Trump was implicated.

The filing additionally asserts that Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg — who was indicted last summer on multiple criminal charges relating to the business’ tax dealings — implied the former president was involved in finalizing the false valuations. 

According to the documents, Weisselberg “testified that it was ‘certainly possible’ Mr. Trump discussed valuations with him and that it was ‘certainly possible’ Mr. Trump reviewed the Statement of Financial Condition for a particular year before it was finalized.” 

Another top Trump Organization executive also testified that he was under the impression Trump reviewed the statements before they were finalized.

While the filing provides less direct links to Trump’s children, it does detail their involvement. Specifically, it alleges that Ivanka Trump rented an apartment at Trump Park Avenue and was given an option to buy it for $8.5 million, despite the fact that the property was valued at $25 million.

It also connected Donald Trump Jr. to some of the properties flagged by claiming investigators found evidence he “was consulted” on the Statements of Financial Condition.

Response

Citing these connections, James argued in a series of tweets Tuesday that it is necessary for her inquiry to question Trump and his two children on their alleged involvement.

“We are taking legal action to force Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., and Ivanka Trump to comply with our investigation into the Trump Organization’s financial dealings,” she wrote. “No one in this country can pick and choose if and how the law applies to them.”

The former president has not yet addressed the matter, but a Trump Organization attorney representing Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump responded by arguing the subpoenas violate the constitutional rights of the family and that the filing “never addresses the fundamental contentions of our motion to quash or stay the subpoenas.”

In a statement Wednesday, the Trump Organization denied James’ allegations as “baseless” and accused her of trying to “mislead the public yet again.”

As far as what happens next, James’ office has said it “has not yet reached a final decision regarding whether this evidence merits legal action.”

Because James’s investigation is civil, she can sue Trump, his company, and his children, but she cannot file criminal charges. However, her probe is running parallel to a criminal investigation into the same conduct led by the Manhattan district attorney, who does have that power.

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (The Wall Street Journal)

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Judges Uphold North Carolina’s Congressional Map in Major GOP Win

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The judges agreed that the congressional map was “a result of intentional, pro-Republican partisan redistricting” but said they did not have the power to intervene in legislative matters.


New Maps Upheld

A three-judge panel in North Carolina upheld the state’s new congressional and legislative maps on Tuesday, deciding it did not have the power to respond to arguments that Republicans had illegally gerrymandered it to benefit them.

Voting rights groups and Democrats sued over the new maps, which were drawn by the state’s Republican legislature following the 2020 census.

The maps left Democrats with just three of North Carolina’s 14 congressional seats in a battleground state that is more evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. Previously, Democrats held five of the 13 districts the state had before the last census, during which North Carolina was allocated an additional seat.

The challengers argued that the blatantly partisan maps had been drawn in a way that went against longstanding rules, violated the state’s Constitution, and intentionally disenfranchised Black voters.

In their unanimous ruling, the panel — composed of one Democrat and two Republicans — agreed that both the legislative and congressional maps were “a result of intentional, pro-Republican partisan redistricting.”

The judges added that they had “disdain for having to deal with issues that potentially lead to results incompatible with democratic principles and subject our state to ridicule.”

Despite their beliefs, the panel said they did not have a legal basis for intervening in political matters and constraining the legislature. They additionally ruled that the challengers did not prove their claims that the maps were discriminatory based on race.

Notably, the judges also stated that partisan gerrymandering does not actually violate the state’s Constitution. 

The Path Ahead

While the decision marks a setback to the plaintiffs, the groups have already said they will appeal the decision to the North Carolina Supreme Court.

The state’s highest court has a slim Democratic majority and has already signaled they may be open to tossing the map.

There are also past precedents for voting maps to be thrown out in North Carolina. The state has an extensive history of legal battles over gerrymandering, and Republican leaders have been forced to redraw maps twice in recent years.

A forthcoming decision is highly anticipated, as North Carolina’s congressional map could play a major role in the control of the House in the 2022 midterm elections if they are as close as expected. 

See what others are saying: (Politico) (The New York Times) (The Wall Street Journal)

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