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Election Deniers Are Outraged by Arizona’s Voting Machine Issues, Even Though People Can Still Vote

There are issues with some tabulators in Arizona's Maricopa County, but in reality, people can still cast their vote.

 Kari Lake speaks at a campaign rally. She holds a mic in her left hand and is pointing the index finger on her right.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Conspiracy theories of election rigging are already swirling Tuesday after some Arizona polling stations reported issues with their vote-counting machines.

About 20 percent of polling stations in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous county, were experiencing problems with their tabulator machines, according to election officials. The ballot would not run through the tabulator, but officials were prepared for such a scenario.

The Maricopa County Elections Board explained on its official Twitter account that people could still vote by dropping their ballots in a lockbox attached to the machines or by going to another one of the 223 voting stations.

But right-wing figures seized on the report anyway, accusing the state government of trying to rig the election in favor of Democrats.

“Reports are coming in from Arizona that the Voting Machines are not properly working in predominately Republican/Conservative areas,” former President Donald Trump said on TruthSocial. “Here we go again? The people will not stand for it!!”

Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, both extreme-right figures and former advisors to Trump, accused Democrats of trying to steal the election, with Miller complaining about a “third world voting system.”

Arizona Republican Party chairwoman Kelli Ward, who is being investigated for her role in the attempted January 6 coup to steal the election, tried to cast doubt on all of the tabulators’ accuracy. “How did all of the machines in Maricopa miraculously work over the last few days when they were ‘tested & certified’ with test votes & test ballots…but now they won’t work for real voters & real ballots?” she tweeted.

Others have accused Katie Hobbs, the Democratic secretary of state who is also running for governor, of being behind the issue.

“The problems you are witnessing in Maricopa County are thanks to two people who are on the ballot today: KATIE HOBBS & ADRIAN FONTES,” tweeted Tyler Bowyer, a member of conservative group Turning Point USA, also referring to the Democratic candidate for Arizona secretary of state.

Hobbs’ opponent MAGA Republican opponent Kari Lake, who continues to refuse to accept the results of the 2020 election, has retweeted multiple posts blaming Hobbs for the problems.

Hobbs, of course, does not oversee the technical maintenance of voting machines, and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is made up primarily of Republicans.

Arizona is a crucial swing state that, in a major twist, went for President Joe Biden in the 2020 election. The state has struggled particularly hard with election fraud conspiracies as Trump continues to falsely claim for years that the election was stolen from him.

After the 2020 election, the state’s Republican Party supported a massive recount of the votes that ultimately found no evidence of voter fraud. Ironically, the recount was demanded in part because Trump and other Republicans claimed the electronic voting machines had been hacked.

Right-Wing Media Is Preparing People for a Civil War After Election Day

Outlet after outlet is questioning the possibility of a Democratic victory this midterm election.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson laughing
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Right-wing media is painting a picture of insurgency on Election Day…from the left.

Conservative news outlets and media figures have been priming voters to reject tight Democratic victories—or any outcomes they don’t like—on Tuesday.

“Bottom line: Democrats absolutely cannot lose tomorrow’s elections,” Fox News host Tucker Carlson told his viewers Monday night. “So with that in mind, they’re already preparing the rest of us for election theft, which if you don’t want a civil war, you shouldn’t complain about.”

Fox News also slammed White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre for saying that it could take a few days to count all the votes cast Tuesday, quoting a conservative think tank fellow as saying, “This is not…how it’s supposed to work.”

In fact, that’s exactly how it’s supposed to work. A record-high number of people, at least 44 million, voted early. States have different laws on when poll workers can start counting early votes, let alone ones cast on Election Day, meaning results will be released at varying times.

But far-right news outlets are trying to argue that delays will mean Democrats are rigging the outcome.

The Federalist praised so-called “election observers” who have been turning up to ballot boxes and voting stations, ostensibly to make sure there is no voter fraud. The outlet also accused the Department of Justice of deploying federal officials to stop the poll watchers in the government’s “latest election-rigging scheme.”

In reality, the self-appointed watchers, some of whom show up armed, have been accused of voter intimidation. Arizona has filed 18 counts of voter intimidation with the DOJ, and North Carolina has also reported both voter intimidation and interference.

Steve Bannon, a former advisor to Donald Trump, also accused Democrats of trying to steal the election, via mail-in ballots. “We’re going to contest all of this. Only legitimate, certifiable chain-of-custody votes count, OK?” he said.

And despite being the only party with members that continue to lie about the 2020 election results, many right-wingers are also saying the Democrats will not only reject any midterm losses but will also get violent over them.

In addition to Carlson’s cry of civil war, The Federalist warned Democrats will not cede power “peacefully,” and Bannon said the left will get “‘nasty.”

But chillingly, it is not the left that appears to be preparing for violence. Reporter Ben Collins, who covers disinformation and extremism, tweeted that “on extremist pro-Trump forums, they are not talking about voting.”

People in those forums have been discussing preparing firearms for when results come out.

Trump Lawyer Christina Bobb Is Priming Voters to Reject the Election Results

According to Bobb, if we don't get the election results immediately, it's "suspicious."

A laptop computer shows Christian Bobb and the words "Weekly Briefing with Christina Bobb" on OANN.
Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Right-wing media has started Election Day spreading false claims that Democrats will try and steal midterm outcomes.

The 2022 midterms are highly contentious, as Democrats fight to maintain control of Congress. At least 44 million people voted early, according to a report by the United States Elections Project, a record high.

Christina Bobb, a lawyer for former President Donald Trump (who started the terrifying new trend of rejecting valid election results), said Monday night she expects results no later than Wednesday morning.

There should absolutely be a result no later than the middle of the night, early Wednesday morning,” she told Right Side Broadcasting Network. “I think those areas that don’t have a result, it’s gonna look very suspicious.”

She accused Democrats of creating fraudulent ballots in the 2020 election and of using the Covid-19 pandemic as a cover.

In reality, the pandemic forced states to dramatically expand mail-in voting, creating delays because the paper ballots had to be checked and counted by hand.

Every state has different laws on when poll workers can start counting votes, meaning results will be released at varying times.

Republicans are already trying to seize on those differences to sow doubt about any outcomes they don’t like.

Republican lawmakers have spent the entire run-up to the midterms priming voters to reject tight Democratic victories. Many tried to sow suspicion around the Pennsylvania result, after the state’s acting secretary of the commonwealth said it could take days to count all the votes.

But the thing is, under Pennsylvania state law, poll workers can’t even start counting votes until the morning of Election Day. And as writer James Surowiecki pointed out, the “Republican state legislature will not allow early votes to be counted or even pre-canvassed” before then.

Then right wingers use that legislature-required delay as evidence of something nefarious. It’s ridiculous.”

Foreign Tourists Are Paying Money to Watch the Collapse of Our Democracy This Election

The tourists were reportedly spotted at a GOTV event in Philadelphia.

William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

In a fun dystopian twist, a company is offering to give foreign tourists an up-close look at the U.S. election system—during some of the most crucial elections in recent history.

The midterm elections are already highly contentious, with President Joe Biden warning repeatedly that “democracy is on the ballot.” Democrats are fighting to hold their razor-thin control of Congress, while Republicans are priming voters to reject tight liberal victories. Billions of dollars have been poured into the races in an effort to influence the outcome.

Folks, US ‘democracy’ has become such a clown show that English and Australian tourists are booking specialized election experience tours & disrupting canvasses,” writer Gwen Snyder warned on Twitter Monday.

Citing a friend of hers who works with Get Out The Vote in Philadelphia, a typically blue haven in an otherwise red state, Snyder said that “far right disruptors” were showing up to GOTV events and pelting organizers with an endless stream of strange, highly detailed questions. All of them seemed to be British or Australian.

“Turns out, these were tourists that had PAID A COMPANY to deliver them a front seat at the US election zoo,” Snyder explained in her Twitter thread. Anyway, it’s election eve and everyone on the ground is now scrambling to figure out how to protect their canvasses from weird intrusive election tourists in this, one of the most critical turn out areas in the country.”

The group, Political Tours, seems to turn a profit by taking tourists to some of the most contentious elections around the world. The company website says most clients come from New Zealand, Australia, and the U.S., as well as England and Europe.

The six-day U.S. tour costs £3,950, about $4,500, and includes a visit to polling stations on Election Day. The website mentions visiting Virginia and Pennsylvania, both of which will witness toss-up races for Congress.

Many voters and organizers across the country are already on edge, with reports of armed watchers turning up to ballot boxes and intimidating would-be voters. Any disruptions at the voting booth could cause delays, which could be seized upon by Republicans as a reason to blame Democrats for rigging the election.

The last thing the country needs is tourists at the voting booth.

Let Elon Musk’s Twitter Be a Lesson to Tech Workers Everywhere: It’s Time to Unionize

Even if you survive a layoff, without a union, you’re still “Am I next?”

Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis/Getty Images
Supporters of Amazon workers join a rally in support of the union in Staten Island, New York, on April 24.

Elon Musk’s Twitter has thus far been historic. Thousands of workers have lost their jobs. Users are being banned with no warning. And a platform used by over 400 million people has already seen a rise in hate and misinformation. Legacies being made.

It’s hard to do much about Musk’s whims right now—and that should be the key takeaway for all tech workers. If Twitter employees were unionized, things would have looked much different.

Last week, Musk fired half of Twitter staff, with little notice and in violation of federal and California state law.

Some workers filed a lawsuit against Twitter, but Thomas Kochan, professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, says that’s not enough. Musk, the world’s richest man, can always find a legal team to give him just enough cover to avoid actual consequence.

Instead, Kochan says, workers—those laid off and those who remain at the company—need to act in concert.

“They’re all asking themselves, ‘Am I next? Or am I at risk’? So they have a common cause,” Kochan said. “It would be good for the workforce and a good signal to arrogant CEOs that you just can’t do that.”

Unionizing isn’t the only way workers can act on this cause, of course. Petition-filing, going public with concerns, staging walk-outs and protests—these are all protected acts. And they can serve to lobby the public in workers’ favor, which consequently pressures investors and advertisers, notes Kochan. A strategy like that is certainly relevant to Twitter, a company reeling from advertiser retreat.

Still, a union would have done the basics and prevented such mass layoffs to begin with.

This should be a lesson as tech companies are entering a sudden slowdown. Lyft, Netflix, Spotify, Peloton, and Coinbase have all laid off thousands of employees this year. Apple and Amazon have enacted hiring freezes. Meta is preparing for large-scale layoffs. And this is just a sampling of the chaos across the industry.

The formula of Musk’s acquisition is a familiar one. Billionaire owner acquires a new company, then haphazardly fires people in the name of cutting costs. Challenging this predictable, ruinous cycle requires worker solidarity.

It requires nothing less than a union.

Right Before the Election, Stephen Crowder Says “Peaceful Transfer of Power” Is Overrated

The right-wing media figure is tacitly endorsing violence

Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Protesters storm the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Steven Crowder thinks that a peaceful transfer of power is overrated.

The right-wing media figure made the remark on the eve of the first national elections to follow the January 6 riots attempting to overturn the 2020 election.

“The idea that the peaceful transfer of power is inherently our most valued tradition—it’s not. Our original tradition is rebellion, violent rebellion,” Crowder said on his show.

“I’m not suggesting any kind of violent upheaval over the election, that’s not what I’m suggesting,” Crowder hedged, before proceeding to describe rebellion as uniquely America’s “original tradition.” Canada and other countries  had a “slavery basis” that America apparently didn’t have after its valiant freedom-bringing revolution, according to Crowder.

Historical revisionism aside, Crowder’s remarks are part of a continual effort by the right to not only excuse the January 6 rioters, but justify and glorify them. On the eve of the midterm elections, it can also be seen as priming voters to reject Democratic victories by violent means if necessary.

“We actually, as a nation, became a nation because we pulled off the completely unpeaceful transfer of power,” Crowder glowed about the American Revolution.

While Crowder may throw in a line saying that he’s not calling for violence, his larger dialogue connects violent rebellion to nation-creation—at a time when the right-wing perennially focuses on “making America great again” or “bringing America back.”

Crowder’s project is certainly no secret. His show has faced numerous suspensions from YouTube, the latest involving a two-week suspension that prevents Crowder from posting more content until after the midterm elections. Crowder’s channel had been suspended and demonetized in the past for pushing forth false claims about the 2020 presidential election and for using racist and homophobic slurs.

Elon Musk Posted a Nazi Picture, and Then Called for People To Vote for Republicans

The world's richest man and new Twitter CEO made his views clear.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

As if Mondays weren’t bad enough, Elon Musk shared a photo of a Nazi soldier and then encouraged “independent-minded voters” to follow his lead and vote Republican in the midterm elections.

The Tesla founder posted a photo of a Nazi soldier with a crate of carrier pigeons on his back, with an unread notifications badge photoshopped onto the cage.

If Musk was looking for a photo of carrier pigeons to make a point about his new role as CEO as Twitter, he didn’t have to pick one of a Nazi soldier.

Less than an hour later, he tweeted a message to “independent-minded voters”:

Despite promising that Twitter would not become a “free-for-all hellscape” under his rule, the platform is already devolving into chaos, with Musk seemingly leading the charge.

Musk is entering his third week of ownership, and already, Twitter has been awash with hate speech. The social media research group National Contagion Research Institute said that in the 12 hours since Musk bought Twitter, use of the n-word increased almost 500 percent.

The self-described “free speech absolutist”—except, apparently, when it comes to jokes at his expense—has promised to roll back content moderation on Twitter. He has shared conspiracy theories about the attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband and allowed election deniers back on the platform.

His decisions have led advertisers to leave Twitter in droves. Musk complained they were being pressured by activists, but his claim was community fact-checked as Twitter users said it lacked context.

“I will say that if you’re trying to assuage the fears of the advertisers fleeing the platform you just [spent] billions on, you might want to have someone on your payroll spend five seconds looking at whether a meme you’re about to post has any link to the Nazis,” tweeted writer and QAnon expert Mike Rothschild. “But that’s just me.”

Nikki Haley Says Raphael Warnock Should Be Deported. But... to Where?

The Indian American, who has registered as white and said America is “not racist,” says we should deport a Black American citizen.

Nikkie Haley speaks at a podium that reads "Herschel for Senate." She is pointing her right finger to emphasize a point.
Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley thinks that America should deport Senator Raphael Warnock. It’s not clear where exactly she wants to deport him to, given that he was born in Savannah, Georgia.

Haley called for the deportation of Georgia’s first Black senator at a rally in Hiram, Georgia on Sunday, as she stumped for Warnock’s Republican challenger, Herschel Walker.

“Legal immigrants are more patriotic than the leftists these days,” she said. “They worked to come into America and they love America. They want the laws followed in America. So the only person we need to make sure we deport is Warnock.”

Haley and Republicans have used Walker’s candidacy against Warnock as proof that the GOP is not marred by racism. They’ve argued that suggestions of American racism are actually what is hurting America, rather than the racism itself.

“The biggest threat we have is happening inside our country: all of these people who are saying America is bad, and America is racist, and America is oppressed,” Haley said at the rally. “If America was racist, I wouldn’t have been elected the first female minority governor in the country.”

Figures like Haley and Walker serve as tokens to both excuse America’s racism and further reinforce it. A race between two Black men is still absolutely a race about race when one candidate is openly concerned about racial inequality, and the other is deployed by a party apparatus to fictionalize that it doesn’t exist.

Last month, Lindsey Graham described perfectly what Walker does for Republicans. “He changes the entire narrative of the left: we’re a party of racists,” Graham said. “Well, what happens when the Republican party elects and nominates Herschel Walker, an African American, Black Heisman trophy winner? …It destroys the whole narrative.”

Haley herself is no stranger to oscillating between the purveyor and object of the Republicans’ race-blind strategy.

Haley, born Nimrata Randhawa, is the daughter of Indian immigrants, but she registered herself as “white” on her 2001 voter registration card.  She invoked her Indian roots to back Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential bid, claiming “America is not a racist country,” in the same breath that she recounted discrimination her family has faced upon immigrating to America.

It’s a shame how long Haley has played the game—and how long she’s allowed herself to be played too.

Elon Musk Has No Idea How To Manage Twitter and the Kathy Griffin Ban Is Proof

Musk keeps changing Twitter policies, with little notice to its users or its staff.

Elon Musk appears on a video screen wearing a gray suit (slightly pixelated)
Christopher Pike/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Don’t worry everyone, Elon Musk totally knows what he’s doing at the helm of Twitter.

In the past few days, the Tesla founder has implemented a new policy, delayed another, and even reversed some of the mass layoffs that he previously touted as necessary.

Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying ‘parody’ will be permanently suspended,” Musk tweeted Sunday evening. “Previously, we issued a warning before suspension, but now that we are rolling out widespread verification, there will be no warning.”

The hasty policy change follows a slew of prominent accounts getting unceremoniously suspended over the weekend, after all of them changed their Twitter names (but not their handles) and profile pictures to mock Musk—proving if nothing else, America truly runs on dunkin’.

Comedian Kathy Griffin was one of the first to be suspended after she changed her name and profile to match Musk’s and tweeted, “After much spirited discussion with the females in my life. I’ve decided that voting blue for their choice is only right (They’re also sexy females, btw.) #VoteBlueToProtectWomen.”

Actor Rich Sommer was also on the chopping block after he tweeted, “okay, time to employ plan b, since they’re MAKING me keep twitter. Does anyone know any advertisers who are, like, kind of ‘into racism.’ NOT ACTUAL RACISTS!! Just ad ppl who are, y’know, curious about what it’s all about (racism).”

Musk explained that the new suspension-without-warnings system “will be clearly identified as a condition for signing up to Twitter Blue,” his $8-a-month subscription plan for verified users.

The plan was supposed to get rolled out Monday—which experts warn would have unleashed utter disinformation chaos on the midterm elections—but has now been postponed until Wednesday. Twitter has not given an official explanation for the delay.

The plan would allow anyone who pays the subscription fee to get a blue verification check mark on their account, making it impossible to actually verify who anyone is on Twitter anymore.

Musk—a self-described “free speech absolutist,” except, apparently, when it comes to jokes at his expense—has promised to roll back content moderation on the platform and fired half of Twitter’s staff, including its misinformation-fighting team.

Except…maybe not. After firing nearly 3,700 employees last week, Twitter has now asked dozens of them to come back, claiming they were fired “by mistake,” Bloomberg reported Monday.

Musk said the layoffs and subscription plan were necessary to produce revenue, complaining Friday that the platform had seen “massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers.”

Over the weekend, Twitter added a disclaimer to his tweet saying “readers added context” to his claims. The disclaimer linked to several articles reporting that companies were pulling ads from Twitter over concerns about the platform’s direction, particularly regarding content management.

Democrats Historically Suffer Down-Ballot Losses. That’s Really Dangerous This Year.

Abortion access, the climate, and basic democratic integrity are on the ballot this election.

Voters cast their ballots at Desert Vista Community Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the foreground to the right, an older white man wearing blue shorts, a white tshirt, and a black cap points at a paper on the table in front of him. In the background to the left, a woman with strawberry blonde hair wearing jeans and a black hoodie looks at a ballot. The booth panel has a sticker that reads "Clark County, Nevada."
David Becker/Getty Images
Voters cast their ballots at Desert Vista Community Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

New research shows just how bad Democrats can be at voting down-ballot.

Analysis from the Sister District Project on ten battleground state legislatures reveals that Democrats are much more likely than Republicans to vote for their candidates at the top of the ticket, and then neglect to vote for down-ballot races. In contested races, Democrats failed to vote down-ballot 79.41 percent of the time, while Republicans only failed to vote 37.25 percent of the time.

Amid a midterm election where election denialists are running across the country, and as the future of abortion access and climate change will be decided in state legislatures and gubernatorial offices, Democrats’ failure to vote down-ballot is especially troubling.

Researcher Gaby Goldstein is especially worried about what this could mean in swing states like Nevada, where Democrats might be too comfortable.

“Nevada could be this year’s Virginia if Democrats don’t pay attention,” Goldstein said, referring to the Republican gubernatorial victory last year.

Nevada’s state Senate is divided with 12 Democrats and nine Republicans; its Assembly divided 26 Democrats to 16 Republicans. Democratic incumbent Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto is in a dead heat with Republican challenger Adam Laxalt, while incumbent Governor Steve Sisolak is similarly neck-and-neck with Republican Joe Lombardo.

Goldstein fears that Republicans’ strong performances at the top of the ticket, like the Senate race, will carry all the way down to the state legislature.

Wisconsin is another state to keep a close eye on, as state legislators have already blocked the Democratic governor’s efforts to expand early voting, adjust public benefit programs, and guarantee the right to an abortion.

“We are in a moment of ascendancy, where states are growing in power,” Goldstein said, describing it as a consequence of strategic power-building on the right. “We desperately need a compelling and intellectually-consistent project around the idea of progressive federalism—and the need to build state power, not just as a reaction to the terrible activities of Republicans in our states, but as an important project in and of itself.”

Read more at Sister District Project.