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Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger

Georgia's new GOP voting chief says numbers prove 2018 election was legit

Georgia's top elections official is asserting vindication from Washington for the state's conduct of last year's highly contentious election.

Brad Raffensperger said ample evidence from an exhaustive assessment of midterm contests nationwide by the Election Assistance Commission proves the 2018 contest was conducted on the up-and-up. Raffensberger was elected secretary of state in November to succeed fellow Republican Brian Kemp, who supervised the election that narrowly made him governor.

Democrats characterize Georgia's contest as soiled by a multifaceted effort at voter suppression by the GOP that they maintain was decisive in preventing Stacey Abrams from becoming the first black woman ever elected to a governorship.

"Liberal activists have been desperately trying to advance a false narrative of pervasive voter suppression which, as the EAVS report confirms, has no basis in reality," Raffensperger said. "While these activists peddle falsehoods — apparently as a springboard for higher office or to dupe donors into supporting their nonprofit — my office will continue to aggressively pursue initiatives like automated voter registration, which make Georgia a top state in the nation for voter registration and voter turnout."

The main evidence he cited from the EAC report was Georgia's status as the state with the biggest increase, in the previous two years, of people eligible to vote thanks to its adoption of automatic voter registration, in which people are added to the rolls (unless they ask not to be) any time they do business with the state's drivers license agency. According to the EAC, 3.6 million voters registered or updated their information this way in the two years ending last October, and one in five of them were new registrants.

The secretary of state also pointed to the federal report's conclusion that Georgia had rejected a significantly smaller percentage of absentee ballots for lacking the proper signature on an oath of authenticity. Last year just 7,500 were tossed out, or 3 percent of all absentee ballots, down from 18,000 two years earlier and almost 14,000 two years before that.

Finally, Raffensperger pointed to the federal agency's conclusion that 55 percent of all 21,600 provisional ballots cast in Georgia ended up getting included in the final tally, an increase from 45 percent of 17,000 provisional ballots two years earlier. The EAC said only 67 provisional ballots were counted last fall because of litigation.

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Open Government
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FEC Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub

The struggle is real: FEC stalled on regulations for online political ads

The Federal Election Commission has once again punted on establishing rules for identifying who is sponsoring online political advertisements. Thursday marked the fourth consecutive meeting in which the topic fell to the wayside without a clear path forward.

FEC Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub revived debate on the topic in June when she introduced a proposal on how to regulate online political ads. In her proposal, she said the growing threat of misinformation meant that requiring transparency for political ads was "a small but necessary step."

Vice Chairman Matthew Petersen and Commissioner Caroline Hunter put forth their own proposal soon after Weintraub, but the commissioners have failed to find any middle ground. At Thursday's meeting, a decision on the agenda item was pushed off to a later date.

Weintraub's proposal says the funding source should be clearly visible on the face of the ad, with some allowance for abbreviations. But Petersen and Hunter want to allow more flexibility for tiny ads that cannot accommodate these disclaimers due to space.

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Open Government
Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

California's Supreme Court is expediting President Trump's challenge to a new state law that would require him to release five years of tax returns in order to get on the state ballot for the 2020 election.

California court expedites Trump challenge to new tax returns requirement

The California Supreme Court is fast-tracking its review of a challenge to a new law that would require President Trump to make public his tax returns in order to get on the state's ballot for the 2020 election.

A lawsuit seeking to block implementation of the law was filed August 6 by the California Republican Party against Secretary of State Alex Padilla. It claims the law violates California's constitution.

Two other challenges, one filed by Trump's personal lawyers, are pending in federal court.

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