Twitter temporarily suspended the account of the Trump campaign’s national press secretary on Thursday after he shared a post saying he received a ballot in the mail that was intended for someone else. Before his account was suspended by the social media giant, national press secretary Hogan Gidley said on Twitter that he had received an a ballot in the mail that was addressed to an individual named “Daniel.” “Got ‘my’…uh wait…no… ‘Daniel’s’ ballot in the mail?!? Who is that? Apparently it’s a former tenant who hasn’t lived in the unit for 8 YEARS!!! But yeah, sure…the mainstream media is correct…unsolicited vote-by-mail is ‘totally safe,’” he wrote. He shared an image of the ballot he’d received, highlighting the name “Daniel.” Gidley later shared that he had been temporarily blocked from Twitter for violating its rules “against posting misleading information about voting,” reported Fox News. “You may not post content providing false information about voting or registering to vote,” the message from the company said. “I, like many other Americans, received a ballot in the mail that was not meant for me, and that proves what the president has been saying is one hundred percent correct—that there are serious issues with the Democrats’ plan for universal, unsolicited mail in voting,” Gidley told Fox News. “Irrationally, inexplicably suspending my Twitter account simply for tweeting about the incorrect ballot is completely insane, and it won’t cover up the fact that Democrats changing the way we vote just weeks before an election is dangerous and fraught with the potential for massive fraud,” he said. He later deleted the offending tweet and has had his account reinstated. I, like many other Americans, received a ballot in the mail that was not meant for me. Twitter suspended my account for simply posting about it. This censorship is insanity. We must continue to expose and fight Big Tech’s clear bias against conservatives who speak the truth. — J. Hogan Gidley (@JHoganGidley) October 23, 2020 “Twitter suspended my account for simply posting about it,” he wrote after he had his access restored. “This censorship is insanity. We must continue to expose and fight Big Tech’s clear bias against conservatives who speak the truth.” Twitter didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times. Gidley’s temporary suspension came as the platform faces intense scrutiny following accusations of censorship from White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who was locked out of her personal Twitter account on Wednesday after she shared a New York Post article related to a negative news story on Hunter Biden, former Vice President Joe Biden’s son. McEnany’s account was locked because the tech giant determined that her post violated Twitter’s rules against “distribution of hacked material.” The Post has argued that no materials in its report were hacked. Her account has since been reinstated. McEnany accused Twitter’s administrators of essentially holding her “at gunpoint” by denying her access to her own account unless she deleted the tweet in question. President Donald Trump has often highlighted errors in the vote-by-mail system amid the CCP virus pandemic, while adding that mailed ballots could lead to election chaos or even rigging as he urged people to go to the polls to vote. A German journalist living in Washington who isn’t eligible to vote in the United States recently received three ballots for the Nov. 3 election in his mail. Stefan Niemann, who is a U.S. correspondent for ARD, the German state-funded broadcaster, posted on Twitter a picture of a mail-in ballot for the upcoming election. “The chaos that [President Donald] Trump lamented with the delivery of mail voting papers is here,” a translation of Niemann’s Oct. 10 post says. “I am not allowed to vote here. But three ballots came to my Washington address: for the previous tenant who moved five years ago, the landlady living in Puerto Rico, and her deceased husband.” The tweet gained traction as Richard Grenell, former acting director of national intelligence and a former ambassador to Germany, shared it on his Twitter feed the next day. “German journalist living in the US (with no US voting rights) received multiple ballots in the mail,” he said. “This is outrageous.” In another incident, Beatrice Cardenas, who unsuccessfully ran for the Republican nomination in California’s 27th Congressional District, said in an Oct. 9 tweet that she received two ballots in the mail, each listing her name slightly differently. “Ok, I was afraid of this. I got TWO ballots. One just has ‘Ms’ in the name. I’m obviously going to be honest & vote once but who’s to say this discrepancy isn’t going to be abused?” she said, posting pictures of the ballots. “I don’t want to fan the flames & accuse the LA RR/CC of fraud. They can’t handle the volume.” She was referring to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, the agency that manages birth, death, marriage, real estate, and business name records. Democrats have been promoting mail voting as a convenience and safety precaution, while Republicans have cautioned against it, raising concerns of fraud and mismanagement. While Democrat and Republican groups both have filed lawsuits this year over vote-by-mail rules across the country, most of the more than 100 lawsuits are backed by Democrats. Petr Svab contributed to this report.
The acting chairman and vice chairman of the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence told Americans to be discerning when looking for credible sources for election and voter information in light of the intelligence community confirming attempts by Iran and Russia to spread disinformation ahead of the Nov. 3 election. Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) issued a joint statement Wednesday regarding recent threats from Iran and Russia to the upcoming election. “Our adversaries abroad seek to sow chaos and undermine voters’ belief in our democratic institutions, including the election systems and infrastructure that we rely on to record and properly report expressions of the voters’ will,” they wrote. “They may seek to target those systems, or simply leave the impression that they have altered or manipulated those systems, in order to undermine their credibility and our confidence in them.” The lawmakers cautioned the public and the media to avoid “spreading unverified, sensational claims related to votes and voting.” “State and local election officials are in regular contact with federal law enforcement and cybersecurity professionals, and they are all working around the clock to ensure that Election 2020 is safe, secure, and free from outside interference,” they wrote. Rubio and Warren’s plea comes after Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe told reporters Wednesday night that voter registration information was obtained by Iran and Russia in an attempt to sow confusion and distrust among voters and undermine confidence in the 2020 election. Ratcliffe said Iran sought to sow unrest in the United States in an attempt to damage the election outcome for President Donald Trump. Ratcliffe, who appeared with FBI Director Christopher Wray, said that Iran sent false information to voters, including spoof emails. “We have already seen Iran sending spoof emails designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest, and damage President Trump,” he added. “You may have seen some reporting on this in the last 24 hours, or you may have even been one of the recipients of those emails.” “This data can be used by foreign actors to attempt to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, sow chaos and undermine your confidence in American democracy,” Ratcliffe continued. Wray encouraged voters to have confidence in law enforcement officials at all levels, saying, “We are not going to tolerate foreign interference in our elections or any criminal activity that threatens the sanctity of your vote or undermine public confidence in the outcome of the election.”
The Iowa Supreme Court on Oct. 21 upheld a Republican-backed law that prevents county election auditors from amending errors or filling in missing information in absentee ballot applications on behalf of voters ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election. In a 4-3 ruling just days before Iowa’s Oct. 24 deadline for absentee ballot applications, county election auditors will now be blocked from using the state’s voter registration database to fill in the blanks on voters’ applications, as they have done in prior elections. They will instead be required to send them back for applicants to fill in, or contact voters directly to obtain the required identification information. “We are not persuaded the statute imposes a significant burden on absentee voters. It is not a direct burden on voting itself,” the four justices wrote in the ruling Wednesday, noting that roughly 13,000 out of over 842,000 absentee ballot requests had not been fulfilled as of Oct. 16. The figure is “extremely low,” they argued, and “far lower than the rate predicted by the plaintiffs.” The justices, which included Edward Mansfield, Thomas Waterman, Christopher McDonald and Matthew McDermott, agreed with Republicans that the law was a way to “protect the integrity and security of the absentee ballot system” by ensuring that voters verify their identities by providing the relevant information. Dissenting justices said the ruling will “likely cause thousands of voters to not receive their ballot in time to use it” and that in-person voting will increase health risks during the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic. Those affected would still be able to vote early at the auditor’s office and satellite locations or on Election Day. The ruling marks another legal victory for Republicans and President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign in Iowa, where his race against Democrat Joe Biden and a key Senate contest are expected to be close. Iowa is one of 16 swing states in the 2020 election, according to a tally maintained by Real Clear Politics. Early voting began Oct. 5 in the state. One of the dissenting justices, Dana Oxley, joined by Chief Justice Susan Christensen and Justice Brent Appel, wrote that thousands more absentee ballot requests could be submitted by the Oct. 24 deadline, and that those with incomplete information could go unfulfilled. “To read the majority opinion, one might forget we’re even in the midst of a historic global pandemic,” Oxley wrote. “The burden on voters is this delay, which will likely cause thousands of voters to not receive their ballot in time to use it.” “The majority’s position rests on the calm before the storm,” Oxley added. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Iran and Russia have gained access and obtained U.S. voting registration information, the Trump administration’s national intelligence director said at a major election security briefing to the nation on Wednesday night. John Ratcliffe, the Trump-appointed Director or National Intelligence and Chris Wray, the Trump-appointed Director of the FBI, said together during the rare press conference that the United States will impose costs on any foreign countries interfering in the 2020 U.S. election. “We have confirmed that some voter registration information has been obtained by Iran, and separately, by Russia,” Ratcliffe said. “We have already seen Iran sending spoofed emails designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest and damage president Trump.” Ratcliffe said that President Donald Trump had instructed him to keep the public informed of known attempts at spreading disinformation by foreign adversaries. “The president has instructed me to keep the public informed as appropriate and you have my commitment that I will continue to do exactly that, with transparency and with candor,” he said. “We will not tolerate foreign interference in our elections and we will continue to work with our many partner’s to disrupt and to impose costs in consequences and any adversary that attempts to interfere in our democratic processes.” Shortly before the announcement, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Acting Chairman Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Vice Chairman Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) released a statement on the threat: “Our adversaries abroad seek to sow chaos and undermine voters’ belief in our democratic institutions, including the election systems and infrastructure that we rely on to record and properly report expressions of the voters’ will. Don’t fall into the traps set by our enemies. View any sensational claims related to votes & voting systems with great suspicion. https://t.co/r1wfmaY4Ir — Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) October 21, 2020 “They may seek to target those systems, or simply leave the impression that they have altered or manipulated those systems, in order to undermine their credibility and our confidence in them. “As we enter the last weeks before the election, we urge every American—including members of the media—to be cautious about believing or spreading unverified, sensational claims related to votes and voting. State and local election officials are in regular contact with federal law enforcement and cyber security professionals, and they are all working around the clock to ensure that Election 2020 is safe, secure, and free from outside interference,” they said.
A federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday to uphold a deadline extension in North Carolina for the receipt and counting of absentee ballots—which still must be postmarked on Election Day at the latest—from three to nine days. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals denied injunctive relief, pending appeal, in a lawsuit that was brought by Republican legislative leaders seeking to reimpose a three-day window after Election Day for receiving and counting mail-in ballots, which the State Board of Elections last month agreed to expand to nine days. “The deadline extension only changes two things: more votes cast by mail will be counted rather than discarded because of mail delays, and fewer voters will have to risk contracting the novel coronavirus by voting in person,” wrote Judge James Wynn, in a 45-page opinion (pdf). Ballots cast by mail must still be postmarked on or before Election Day to be counted, with the North Carolina Board of Elections saying in an earlier statement that “this ensures that no ballots cast after Election Day may be counted. It maintains the postmark requirement in statute and ensures that lawful votes cast by Election Day are counted, even if there are postal delays, which the U.S. Postal Service alerted the State about by a letter in August.” The elections board was presumably referring to a letter circulated to numerous states by the Postal Service warning about possible incompatibilities between standard mail delivery schedules and state laws about absentee voting. State Senate leader Phil Berger and North Carolina House of Representatives Speaker Tim Moore, both Republicans, were among those to file a suit against the State Board of Elections (pdf) over the extension. In a dissenting opinion to the 12–3 majority ruling that denied Berger and Moore injunctive relief, two judges wrote that the decision “allowing the Board’s changes to go into effect now, two weeks before the election and after half a million people have voted in North Carolina, would cause yet further intolerable chaos.” Dissenting Judges J. Harvie Wilkinson and Steven Agee, who were joined in their opinion by Judge Paul Niemeyer, wrote: “We urge plaintiffs to take this case up to the Supreme Court immediately. Not tomorrow. Not the next day. Now.” Two judges in the majority accused the dissenting judges of exaggeration. “Regarding the dissenting opinion of our colleagues Judge Wilkinson and Judge Agee, one might think the sky is falling. Missing from their lengthy opinion is a recognition of the narrowness of the issue before us,” wrote Judges James Wynn and Diana Motz. “Importantly, the only issue we must now decide is Plaintiffs’ request for an emergency injunction pending appeal regarding a single aspect of the procedures that the district court below refused to enjoin: an extension of the deadline for the receipt of mail-in ballots. All ballots must still be mailed on or before Election Day. The change is simply an extension from three to nine days after Election Day for a timely ballot to be received and counted. That is all,” they wrote. Appeals courts have blocked mail-in ballot deadline extensions in Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
Stimulus Package Unlikely to Clear Congress Before Election: Goldman Sachs Brazil’s Bolsonaro Says His Government Will Not Buy China’s Sinovac Vaccine Federal Court Upholds North Carolina Mail-In Ballot Receipt Deadline Extension Twitter Temporarily Changes How Users Retweet Ahead of US Presidential Elections White House, Pelosi ‘Optimistic’ in Developing Deal With Democrats on Stimulus Bill Schumer Says He Had ‘Serious Talk’ With Feinstein Following Progressive Backlash Around Barrett Confirmation Hearings
The U.S Supreme Court on Monday allowed Pennsylvania to keep in place an extended deadline for mail-in ballots. The justices were divided 4-4 over a bid by state Republicans to overturn a ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that had allowed mail-in ballots to be received and counted until Nov. 6—three days after the Nov. 3 election even if they don’t have a postmark. The 4-4 outcome on the Supreme Court, which has one vacancy after the passing of Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, means the lower court ruling in favor of state Democrats stays in place. Top leaders in Pennsylvania’s Republican Senate and the Republican Party in Pennsylvania had filed separate petitions to the Supreme Court on Sept. 28 arguing for an overturn of the ruling. Five votes were needed for the Republicans to overturn the ruling. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the three liberal-leaning justices in denying the request. The court currently has a 5-3 conservative-leaning majority. Pennsylvania is regarded as an important battleground state where President Donald Trump won by a narrow margin in 2016 by about 44,000 votes. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which has a 5-2 Democratic majority, ruled on Sept. 17 that election officials can accept all mail-in ballots, including absentee ballots, up to three days after the Nov. 3 election, granting a request from the state’s Democratic Party. In particular, the deadline was moved from 8 p.m. on Nov. 3 to 5 p.m. on Nov. 6, provided that the ballots are postmarked, or believed to be postmarked by 8 p.m. on election night. The court also let voters cast their ballots via drop boxes. Democrat Kathy Boockvar, the Pennsylvania secretary of state, backed the three-day extension. The court also ruled that ballots received on or before 5:00 p.m. on Nov. 6 that lack a postmark, a legible postmark, or other proof of mailing, can still be counted and “will be presumed to have been mailed by Election Day unless a preponderance of the evidence demonstrates that it was mailed after Election Day.” Republicans, including President Donald Trump’s campaign, have opposed such an extension, arguing that it violates federal law that sets Election Day as the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November and that such a decision constitutionally belongs to lawmakers, not the courts. Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Charlie Kirk, an outspoken conservative activist and founder of Turning Point USA, found himself locked out of his Twitter account because of a post questioning potential voter fraud in Pennsylvania. “Pennsylvania just rejected 372,000 mail-in ballots,” Kirk wrote on Saturday, referring to a report by ProPublica. “One voter was said to have submitted 11 duplicate ballots. Pennsylvania might be key to winning the White House. What’s going on?” Kirk was locked out of Twitter the following day. A screenshot posted by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) shows that Kirk was found in violation of the platform’s rules, which prohibit “content providing false information about voting or registering to vote.” While Kirk’s post indicated there were already 372,000 rejected ballots in Pennsylvania, an amended version of ProPublica’s story said the state has in fact rejected 372,000 ballot applications. According to ProPublica, more than 90 percent of those duplicate requests were made by voters who had already asked for a mail-in ballot in the November election during the June primaries. The ambiguous or inaccurate information on the state’s ballot-tracking website only added to the voters’ confusion. “Most rejected applications were deemed duplicates because voters had unwittingly checked a request box during the primary. The administrative nightmare highlights the difficulty of ramping up mail-in voting on the fly,” reported ProPublica, citing state data released to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Kirk protested the lock, accusing Twitter of censoring observers of election fraud on behalf of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. “We are seeing right now that Big Tech has become the enforcement and the communication arm of the Biden campaign and the Democrat Party,” Kirk told Fox News host Steve Hilton. “If you are a socialist or a Democrat watching this right now, or an independent, it should bother you that a multi-trillion-dollar conglomeration of companies have the power to be able to silence opinions they do not like.” “I’m kind of in a hostage situation right now with Twitter,” Kirk said. “I do not have access to my Twitter account because I tweeted a widely reported story 19 hours ago that changed a couple hours later.” Last week, Twitter blocked the New York Post’s account because of its reporting on alleged Hunter Biden emails extracted from a MacBook Pro laptop. In the latest statement to New York Post, Twitter said that the newspaper won’t regain access to its account until six posts that contain links to Hunter Biden stories are deleted. The Post’s Twitter account remained frozen at the time of this publication.
Election security in some states is so lax that people can spy on other people’s mail-in ballot process and possibly even cancel their ballots with only basic personal information easily obtained online. The online voter portal for Washington State only requires the name and date of birth of a voter for a login. Dates of birth are a matter of public record for many people, either through social media, government and court documents, or Wikipedia pages, not to mention millions of hacked personal records available for sale on the darkweb. Upon login, a person can view the voter’s registration information and other details, including the registered address and ballot status. The portal also allows voters to request a new ballot, which the person can fill out online, print out, and mail to the election authorities to vote. The ballot package needs to be signed and the signature would be matched by the authorities to the one they have on record. However, the page warns that “if you continue, a ballot previously mailed to you will be cancelled,” suggesting that somebody can log in and cancel another person’s ballot by requesting a new one. Washington State voter portal page allowing a voter to request a new ballot online on a computer in Washington State on Oct. 18, 2020. (The Epoch Times) The Epoch Times contacted a Washington voter who then went through the process for his own ballot, which he recently received in the mail. He verified that the name and date of birth is all it takes to request a new ballot and thus invalidate the current one. The office of the Washington secretary of state didn’t respond to a request for comment. A similar issue appears to apply to Oregon, where the voter portal also only requires a name and date of birth for a login. The portal allows the voter to fill out the ballot online, print it, and submit it to election authorities, an Oregon voter contacted by The Epoch Times confirmed. The page says the option is only available to military, overseas, or disabled voters, but there doesn’t seem to be any verification that would prevent other voters from using it and thus potentially invalidate any other ballot they were previously issued. Screenshot of the Multnomah County, Ore., ballot filled out online in Oregon on Oct. 18, 2020. (The Epoch Times) The office of the Oregon secretary of state didn’t respond to a request for comment. The Oregon voter portal appeared to be shut down for maintenance on Oct. 18 for several hours. Underscoring the potency of the vulnerability, in November 2019, a laptop belonging to a medical contractor that had the personal information of more than 650,000 Oregon residents was stolen. The data included names, social security numbers, as well as “phone numbers, dates of birth and Medicaid ID numbers,” The Oregonian reported. Both Washington and Oregon hold all-mail elections, meaning ballots are automatically mailed to all registered voters before every election. The problem with the online voter portals was first spotted by users of anonymous discussion board “Politically Incorrect” on 4chan.org. The board is known for robust open-source research as well as online pranks and offensive posts. Screenshots posted to the board around Oct. 18 indicated some users took advantage of the vulnerability to log in as Oregon Gov. Ted Wheeler, Oregon Secretary of State Bev Clarno, and others. It’s not clear whether the users went through the whole process of printing new ballots for the officials. The main posts on the board on the subject urged users not to commit voter fraud, but only showcase the vulnerability to publicly expose it. It’s not clear if other states suffer from the same vulnerability. The Offices of secretaries of state from several other states, including California, Ohio, Texas, Alaska, Florida, and Pennsylvania, didn’t respond to requests for comment. Mail Voting Concerns While Oregon and Washington have conducted all-mail elections for years, some states, such as Nevada and California, are sending ballots to all voters this year for the first time with only several months of preparation. This has sparked concerns over whether the infrastructure in such states is prepared to handle the deluge of mail-in ballots. On top of that, voter rolls are notoriously messy and often include the names of people who’ve moved to different addresses, out of the state, or have passed away. That means the ballots can end up with people not eligible to vote.
The Democrats, along with media, are trying to frame the explosive Hunter Biden story published by The New York Post as “Russia disinformation” and a “false narrative.” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the House Intelligence Committee chairman and a top Democrat claimed that the Post story is part of a smear campaign and comes from the Kremlin. He made the remarks during an interview with CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.” “We know that this whole smear on Joe Biden comes from the Kremlin,” he said when asked by Blitzer if the Hunter Biden story is “Russian Disinformation.” “That’s been clear for a well over a year now that they’ve been pushing this false narrative about the vice president and his son.” However, Schiff said he didn’t get any new information from the intelligence community when asked by Blitzer to corroborate his statement. Here is a segment of the exchange: Blitzer: As a member of the Gang of Eight, the top leadership in the Congress, the Senate, and the House, and members of the Intelligence Committee, have you been formally briefed on what the Russians are up to right now and trying to peddle this kind of information? Schiff: Well, I was in the intelligence committee today to see what the latest was. And frankly, we haven’t gotten much from the intelligence community very recently, which concerns me. They have, at times, some of the leadership like the director [of National Intelligence John] Ratcliffe, not been very forthcoming, in terms of the intelligence on the Russian threat been promoting this false equivalence with other countries. So, you know, I wish I could tell you more. He’s referring to an Oct. 14 report by NY Post which alleged Hunter Biden’s email shows he introduced Ukrainian businessman Vadym Pozharskyi to his father, the former vice president. Pozharskyi is an adviser to the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company at the storm eye of the controversial Biden-Ukraine relations. “Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to D.C. and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent some time together. It’s realty an honor and pleasure,” Pozharskyi allegedly said in an email to Hunter Biden back on April 17, 2015. The email was reportedly found in a hard drive—which was handled to NY Post by President Donald Trump’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani—allegedly belongs to Hunter Biden. Then-Vice President Joe Biden arrives for a meeting with Then Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kyiv on Jan. 16, 2017. (Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images) Schiff’s remarks came in alignment with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, father of Hunter Biden. “I know you’d ask it. I have no response, it’s another smear campaign, right up your alley, those are the questions you always ask,” the former vice president answered when pressed by CBS reporter Bo Erickson for a response to the Hunter Biden story. Christianne Allen, communication director for Giuliani, didn’t respond to a request for comment. The Trump campaign referred The Epoch Times to an Oct. 16 statement about a Fox News report published earlier the day. “Joe Biden can no longer ignore this massive and growing scandal and the news media can no longer avoid asking him about it. This is verification that Hunter Biden’s emails are authentic and that Hunter was cashing in by selling Chinese businessmen access to his father,” reads the statement. The Epoch Times can not verify the NY Post report independently. Giuliani told The Epoch Times that his team took three weeks to authenticate the alleged Hunter Biden materials in the hard drive. However, despite being convinced about the authenticity of the contents of the drive, Giuliani would not rule out the possibility, in case “the shop owner was lying,” that the laptop may have been brought in by and belonged to someone other than Hunter Biden. According to an audio clip published by The Daily Beast, the shop owner John Paul Mac Isaac said a medical problem prevented him from recognizing the person who brought in the laptop. He also offered conflicting accounts about what happened with the laptop and sidestepped questions about the timeline of events. There was a five-month gap between Mac Isaac taking possession of the laptop and turning it over to the FBI; and an eight-month gap between the handoff to the FBI and the first contact with Giuliani’s lawyer. Then-Vice President Joe Biden waves as he walks out of Air Force Two with his granddaughter, Finnegan Biden (C) and son Hunter Biden (R) upon their arrival in Beijing on Dec. 4, 2013. (Ng Han Guan/AFP via Getty Images) Right after the publication of the NY Post story, some media floated the idea that the release of the emails is the work of Russian misinformation. CNN reported that the authorities are investigating if the emails are tied to Russian disinformation while The Washington Post said that the White House was warned Giuliani was the target of a Russian intelligence operation to feed misinformation to Trump. Both reports—which The Epoch Times can not verify independently—cited anonymous sources. Several articles about Hunter Biden’s engagement with foreign businesses came out recently as the election is less than 20 days away. The NY Post published a separate report on Thursday with further emails allegedly showing Biden sought to pocket millions from deals involving a Chinese oil giant with ties to the Chinese military. An unidentified recipient in one of those emails later confirmed that message’s authenticity to Fox News. Breitbart reported on Friday that separate emails show Hunter Biden facilitated a meeting between a group of communist-aligned Chinese business elites and Joe Biden back in 2011. The Epoch Times could not verify the Breitbart and Fox News reports independently. Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to the report.
The Michigan Court of Appeals on Friday overturned a lower court ruling that allowed absentee ballots to arrive up to 14 days after Election Day, meaning that all absentee ballots in the state must now arrive by 8 p.m. on Nov. 3. Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens last month ordered the extension “for the avoidance of doubt.” “The evidence in this case stands uncontroverted and establishes that the mail system is currently fraught with delays and uncertainty in light of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she wrote in a ruling (pdf). Appeals court judges overturning the order said in a 3-0 opinion on Friday that the pandemic and issues with mail delivery “are not attributable to the state.” The judges also said that absentee voters have other ballot delivery options, including hundreds of special boxes that have been set up across Michigan. The lawsuit was filed by a group called Michigan Alliance for Retired Americans and the case was heard by appeals court judges Mark Boonstra, Michael Gadola, and Thomas Cameron. All were appointed by Rick Snyder, a Republican, when he was governor and then subsequently elected. The court also reversed another part of Stephens’s decision that allowed a non-family member to deliver a completed ballot in the final days before the election if a voter consented. “The constitution is not suspended or transformed even in times of a pandemic, and judges do not somehow become authorized in a pandemic to rewrite statutes or to displace the decisions made by the policymaking branches of government,” Boonstra said in a separate 10-page concurring opinion. Absentee ballot extensions in Wisconsin and Indiana have also previously been overturned. “This is a great day for the rule of law,” Michigan Republican Party chair Laura Cox said in a statement on Friday. “It’s important that the rules aren’t changed during an election to advantage one party over another. I applaud the Michigan Court of Appeals for standing up for the rule of law and the laws passed by the people’s representatives.” “Happy to see this unanimous ruling to uphold the integrity of our elections process and reject judicial overreach,” Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey said in a statement. Republican National Committee (RNC) chair Ronna McDaniel called the move “great news for election integrity,” adding that she believed the absentee ballot extension order had “favored Democrats and allowed ballot harvesting in the state.” This reverses an earlier ruling that allowed for ballots to be returned as late as *two weeks* after the election. We are fighting back against Democrats – and winning! Learn more at https://t.co/tidEkbV9KS. (2/2) — Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) October 17, 2020 Michigan Democratic Party chair Lavora Barnes said in a statement that the party was “disappointed” in the decision. “Voters should not be punished for delays in the U.S. Postal Service or for unexpected emergencies that could make it a challenge for them to get to the polls on election day,” she said. “Our courts should be following the example set by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, and reinforcing efforts that remove barriers to voting.” She added that the Michigan Democratic Party encourages voters to actively obtain an absentee ballot and cast their vote as soon as possible. “This is the most important election of our lifetime and it is essential that every vote cast is counted.” Benson and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, both Democrats, declined to appeal Stephens’s rulings, reported The Associated Press. Michigan is a crucial swing state with about 7.7 million registered voters, 1.3 million of whom are on the permanent absentee ballot list. Earlier this year, Benson announced that all state residents would receive absentee ballot applications. She said last week that 2.7 million people had requested absentee ballots. President Donald Trump won Michigan in 2016 by a thin margin of just 10,704 votes—0.3 percent—over his then-rival Hillary Clinton. Zachary Stieber and The Associated Press contributed to this report.