LAS VEGAS — The Trump campaign filed a new federal lawsuit late Thursday in Nevada, alleging that ineligible votes were cast in the Las Vegas area, the biggest Democratic stronghold in an otherwise predominantly Republican state.

An election worker in Las Vegas scans mail-in ballots in a tabulating area at the Clark County Election Department on Thursday. Associated Press/John Locher

A complaint filed after-hours in U.S. District Court resurrected an effort the campaign abandoned just hours earlier in Nevada state court — a court order to stop the Clark County Registrar of Voters from using an optical scanning machine to process ballots and validate voter signatures.

The federal filing cites experiences of a woman who said Thursday she was turned away from voting in person because a mailed ballot had been cast with her signature and a political strategist TV commentator who said he was denied an opportunity to observe ballot counting late on election night.

Trump Nevada campaign co-chairman Adam Laxalt said the new filing “highlights ongoing voter fraud and voter disenfranchisement in Clark County.”

State Attorney General Aaron Ford called it “a Hail Mary” and “another opportunity to undermine the confidence in this election” while ballots are still being counted.

Ford noted a federal judge dismissed in September an effort to block the state law that let mailed ballots go out to each of Nevada’s more than 1.7 million active registered voters.

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“When they can’t stop you from voting, they try to stop your vote from counting,” he said.

Earlier Thursday, the Trump campaign and state Republican party quit a state court bid to stop the count of mail ballots in Clark County, which includes Las Vegas.

Georgia presidential count tightens in scan of last ballots

ATLANTA — Vote counting continued in several Georgia counties on Thursday as Americans watched to see whether the state gives Democrat Joe Biden the electoral votes he needs to become president.

An election worker examines ballots as vote counting continues at State Farm Arena in Atlanta on Thursday. Associated Press/Brynn Anderson

The Associated Press has not declared a winner in Georgia because the race between President Donald Trump and Biden is still too early to call. Trump had a narrow lead, but with thousands of ballots still being tallied in counties that tend to vote blue, Democrats had reason for optimism.

The secretary of state’s office announced that as of 8:40 p.m. about 16,105 absentee votes remained to be counted. Gabriel Sterling, who has overseen the implementation of Georgia’s new electronic voting system, said the secretary of state’s office has long said counting could take several days.

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During a news conference in the state Capitol, Sterling did not offer an estimate for when he expected counties to finish tabulating their results. He said officials are working diligently and he emphasized his confidence in the legitimacy of the process.

“I think if anybody was going to try to rig a system they might have seen something a little less close than this,” Sterling said. “In this state in particular we take security very seriously. … We’re going to have a recount for president more than likely and the people will see that the outcome will stay essentially the same.”

The roughly 16,000 outstanding absentee ballots don’t include provisional ballots and ballots that need to be “cured” before being scanned. Sterling also noted that ballots cast before Election Day by military voters and citizens living overseas and received by 5 p.m. Friday will be tallied.

Counties with worst virus surges overwhelmingly voted Trump

U.S. voters went to the polls starkly divided on how they see President Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. But in places where the virus is most rampant now, Trump enjoyed enormous support.

An Associated Press analysis reveals that in 376 counties with the highest number of new cases per capita, the overwhelming majority — 93% of those counties — went for Trump, a rate above other less severely hit areas.

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Most were rural counties in Montana, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Wisconsin — the kinds of areas that often have lower rates of adherence to social distancing, mask-wearing and other public health measures, and have been a focal point for much of the latest surge in cases.

Taking note of the contrast, state health officials are pausing for a moment of introspection. Even as they worry about rising numbers of hospitalizations and deaths, they hope to reframe their messages and aim for a reset on public sentiment now that the election is over.

“Public health officials need to step back, listen to and understand the people who aren’t taking the same stance” on mask-wearing and other control measures, said Dr. Marcus Plescia of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.

“I think there’s the potential for things to get less charged and divisive,” he said, adding that there’s a chance a retooled public health message might unify Americans around lowering case counts so hospitals won’t get swamped during the winter months.

Read the full story here.

Over 150,000 ballots caught in postal facilities missed Election Day deadline

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More than 150,000 ballots were caught in U.S. Postal Service processing facilities and not delivered by Election Day, agency data shows, including more than 12,000 in five of the states that have yet to be called for either President Trump or his Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

Despite assurances from Postal Service leaders that agency officials were conducting daily sweeps for misplaced ballots, the mail service acknowledged in a court filing Thursday that thousands of ballots had not been processed in time, and that more ballots were processed Wednesday than on Election Day.

The number of mailed ballots the Postal Service did not deliver by Election Day is expected to grow as more data is released in the coming days. Some election experts worry such delays could run up against even more generous ballot acceptance windows that some states have granted.

In several swing states, late ballots will still be counted as long as they were postmarked by Election Day and received by Friday, according to state law. They include Nevada, where 4,518 ballots arrived after Election Day, as well as North Carolina (2,958) and Pennsylvania, (3,439). But in other states – such as Arizona, where 864 ballots were delayed, and Georgia, where 853 were delayed – votes that did not reach election officials by Nov. 3 will be disqualified

Because the counts are not done in those states, it is unclear whether undelivered ballots would have made a difference in deciding the presidential election. But the delivery failures highlight the risks in relying on the mail service to deliver ballots close to Election Day.

The Postal Service had warned voters not to mail ballots within one week of the election. The Biden campaign changed its messaging to encourage voters to use drop boxes or vote in person and avoid mailing their ballots within 10 days of the election. The Trump campaign’s messaging on the topic was mixed: The president baselessly claimed mail-in voting was susceptible to fraud, though he and first lady Melania Trump voted by mail themselves in Florida, and the campaign later courted supporters to vote by mail after seeing growing Democratic advantages.

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Facebook bans group that Trump allies use to organize protests against vote counting

President Trump’s allies have turned to Facebook and other social-media sites in an effort to spark nationwide protests against the 2020 election, thrusting some of Silicon Valley’s most powerful organizing tools into a contest over the legitimacy of American democracy.

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An election official, right, talks with a person who wanted to enter the central counting board to challenge votes, center, on Wednesday in Detroit. Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

The campaign and its aides have relied on a network of new and existing Facebook pages, groups and events – some of which have garnered hundreds of thousands of members – to rally people in public this week around a baseless conspiracy theory that Democratic candidate Joe Biden is attempting to “steal” the election. Some of the efforts promoted in places like Pennsylvania and Arizona specifically target vote-counting centers, threatening disruptions while ballot tallying is still underway.

The online efforts have unfolded not on the Republican Party’s fringes but well within its mainstream. Among the most vocal leaders is Amy Kremer, a former congressional candidate in Georgia and a co-founder and co-chair of Women for Trump. She used a Facebook page called Women for America First, which boasts more than 100,000 followers, to drive users to a newly launched Facebook group called “STOP THE STEAL,” which garnered more than 360,000 members before Facebook removed it midday Thursday for violating the platform’s rules.

“We need boots on the ground to protect the integrity of the vote,” the Facebook page said before it disappeared from view, encouraging people to donate to help pay for “flights and hotels to send people” to battleground states including Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. The “STOP THE STEAL” group also had been listed as a co-host on 12 different Facebook protest events, including a new car “caravan” planned in California, though some of the events say the goal is to be peaceful.

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Some of the commentary that spilled forth in the “STOP THE STEAL” group veered into planning for armed conflict. “We are on the verge of civil war due to those types of people,” one user wrote. “You cannot reason with them or convince them to stop and reunite as they are dead set on total destruction of our nation. So I ask you, what are you prepared to do?” Another asked, “how do we go about overthrowing the government?” Hundreds of users replied, with one proclaiming, “Civil war!”

The anti-democratic resentment ultimately resulted in disciplinary action from Facebook, where spokesman Andy Stone pointed to the “exceptional measures that we are taking during this period of heightened tension.” Anticipating a crackdown, some of the group’s members preemptively shifted their discussions to MeWe, a messaging app favored by militia groups who previously had been banned by Facebook.

Chris Barron, a spokesman for Kremer, denounced Facebook, saying the group’s swelling membership “spoke volumes about how concerned people are.” Other administrators of the group included a conservative activist who identifies herself on Facebook as the communications director for We Build the Wall, the nonprofit that raised more than $25 million for the purported aim of erecting a barrier along the Mexican border.

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Police make arrests nationwide as protesters demand a full vote count

Police arrested dozens of people in Seattle, Minneapolis and Portland, Oregon overnight during protests demanding a tally of all votes in the U.S. election, and smaller groups backing President Trump returned to tabulation sites in closely contested states to insist counting be halted.

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People wanting to be election challengers yell as they look through the windows of the central counting board as police were helping to keep additional challengers from entering due to overcrowding on Wednesday in Detroit. Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

In Seattle, seven people were arrested. One person arrested for allegedly damaging property was taken to a hospital after “experiencing a medical episode,” police said in a statement early Thursday.

The protests came as the president insisted, without evidence, that there were major problems with voting and counting of ballots. Republicans filed suit in multiple states, preparing to contest election results.

In Minneapolis, police arrested more than 600 demonstrators who marched onto an interstate in Minneapolis on Wednesday night protesting Trump’s threats to challenge the election results, as well as a variety of social injustices.

No force or chemicals were used to make the arrests for walking on a freeway and being a public nuisance, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety said Thursday.

The protests came as smaller groups of Trump supporters gathered at vote tabulation sites in Phoenix, Detroit and Philadelphia, decrying counts that showed Democrat Joe Biden leading or gaining ground.

In Phoenix, at least two dozen Trump supporters gathered outside city hall Thursday morning, chanting “Protect Our Vote.” The group said they planned to return to the tabulation center, where a Wednesday night rally decried a declaration by Fox News that Biden was the winner in Arizona.

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“We’re not going to let this election be stolen. Period,” said Rep. Paul Gosar, an Arizona Republican and staunch Trump supporter, told the crowd Wednesday.

Observers from both major political parties were inside the election center as ballots were processed and counted, and the procedure was live-streamed online at all times.

Several sheriff’s deputies blocked the entrance to the building. The vote-counting went on into the night, Maricopa County Elections Department spokeswoman Megan Gilbertson said.

“Everyone should want all the votes to be counted, whether they were mailed or cast in person,” said the statement issued by two top county officials — one a Democrat and the other a Republican. “An accurate vote takes time. … This is evidence of democracy, not fraud.”

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