National: AI chatbots got questions about the 2024 election wrong 27% of the time, study finds | Aaron Franco and Morgan Radford/NBC

If you ask some of the most popular artificial intelligence-powered chatbots how many days are left until the November election, you might want to double check the answer. A study published by data analytics startup GroundTruthAI found that large language models including Google’s Gemini 1.0 Pro and OpenAI’s ChatGPT gave incorrect information 27% of the time when asked about voting and the 2024 election. Researchers sent 216 unique questions to Google’s Gemini 1.0 Pro and OpenAI’s GPT-3.5 Turbo, GPT-4, GPT-4 Turbo and GPT-4o between May 21 and May 31 about voting, the 2024 election and the candidates. Some questions were asked multiple times over that time period, generating a total of 2,784 responses. According to their analysis, Google’s Gemini 1.0 Pro initially responded with correct answers just 57% of the time. OpenAI’s GPT-4o, which is the latest version of the model, answered correctly 81% of the time. Read Article

National: Calls for hand-counted votes underline mistrust in election process | UPI

Ballot measures in three South Dakota counties failed on Tuesday that would move to counting votes on election night by hand. But the broader calls for such a change demonstrate the enduring effects of conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. The validity of election results, and more so the transparency around the process, remain in question for some, to the point that big changes have been proposed. Election night hand counts are one proposal that has gained some traction. There is a place for hand counting, even in larger jurisdictions, according to Pam Smith, president and CEO of Verified Voting — a nonpartisan organization that researches the impact technology has on the administration of elections. That role is often limited to taking a sample of ballots and checking them for accuracy with the tablature machines. These post-election audits were not as common in 2020 but they have been adopted by most states since. South Dakota is implementing post-election audits for the first time this year, starting with auditing Tuesday’s results in the coming week. “We’ve worked from the premise all along that there could be problems with the technology but you don’t just rely on it,” Smith said. “You perform checks. If you had a physical ballot that a person can check, that physical ballot can be used to confirm whether the equipment got the count right.” Read Article

National: Election workers worry that federal threats task force isn’t enough to keep them safe / Zachary Roth/NC Newsline

Aiming to send a message, the Biden administration recently spotlighted its indictments and convictions in cases involving threats to election officials or workers. But with no letup in reports of attacks, some elections professionals say federal law enforcement still isn’t doing enough to deter bad actors and ensure that those on the front lines of democracy are protected this fall. “Election officials by and large have no confidence that if something were to happen to them, there would be any consequences,” said Amy Cohen, the executive director of the National Association of State Election Directors. “It is very clear that we are not seeing a deterrent effect.” Read Article

National: Early controversies over election certification in battleground states raise concerns about presidential race | Nicholas Riccardi and Joey Cappelletti/Associated Press

In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, two Republican members of a county canvassing board last month refused to sign off on the results of an election that led to the recall of three GOP members of the county commission. They did so only after state officials warned them it was their legal duty to record the final vote tally. In Georgia’s Fulton County, which includes the Democratic-voting city of Atlanta, a group run by members of former President Donald Trump’s administration last week sued so a Republican member of the local elections board could refuse to certify the results of the primary election. And in Arizona, GOP lawmakers sued to reverse the state’s top Democratic officials’ requirement that local boards automatically validate their election results. The past four years have been filled with battles over all sorts of election arcana, including one that had long been regarded as an administrative afterthought — little-known state and local boards certifying the results. With the presidential election looming in November, attorneys are gearing up for yet more fights over election certification, especially in the swing states where the victory margins are expected to be tight. Even if those efforts ultimately fail, election officials worry they’ll become a vehicle for promoting bogus election claims. Read Article

National: Spy agencies are ready to warn voters about foreign election interference — if it’s severe enough | Dan De Luce/NBC

U.S. intelligence agencies are closely tracking attempts by foreign adversaries to influence the 2024 election through “deepfakes” or other false information and are ready to alert the public if necessary, officials said Wednesday. A decision to notify the public about attempted election interference by foreign actors would be up to the leaders of the country’s intelligence agencies, including intelligence chief Avril Haines, officials from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, or ODNI, told reporters. The decision to issue a public warning would follow a review by digital forensic experts and intelligence analysts, the ODNI officials said. It would be based on an assessment of whether the disinformation was serious enough that it “could affect the election outcome,” an official said. Read Article

National: Use AI to fight AI-generated election threats, report recommends | |Edward Graham/Nextgov/FCW

Although hostile nation states and other nefarious actors are likely to use artificial intelligence to spread misinformation ahead of November’s elections, U.S. voting officials, companies and other groups can combat these lies by elevating factual information and even employing AI capabilities of their own, according to a series of mitigation strategies released Tuesday by the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Digital program. The organization identified three specific AI-powered threats that it said bad actors are likely to use this election season: hyperlocal voter suppression, language-based influence operations and deepfakes. To combat this possibility, Aspen Digital released three checklists that public and private groups can use to help voters better understand these threats and turn to trusted sources of information. Read Article

Arizona: Pinal County prepares for primary election after 2022 errors | Jen Fifield/Votebeat

When Pinal County Recorder Dana Lewis walked into the new elections building in mid-May, tiles were still missing from the ceilings. The building was full of the sound of drilling, and of workers chatting while painting walls. The reception area walls needed fixing, equipment needed ordering — the list went on. There was a lot of construction work to do before this week’s planned ribbon-cutting — and in the quickly passing weeks left before 100,000 ballots cast by county voters in the high-stakes primary election would be delivered here. To add to the complexity, Lewis’ staff, too, was undergoing a revamp of its own, shoring up procedures to prevent the mistakes that have led to embarrassing headlines under previous leaders. Read Article

California: Shasta County election lawsuit goes to court, with an unusual twist | Damon Arthur/Redding Record Searchlight

It appears the Shasta County Board of Supervisors and a woman who is suing the county after she lost in the March primary election for District 2 supervisor are making the same argument about why she lost the election. The lawyer for Laura Hobbs, who lost in the election, said in Shasta County Superior Court on Tuesday that one of the primary arguments for contesting the outcome of the election was how candidates’ names were placed on the ballot. Haberbush’s claim was similar to this statement issued last week by a majority of the county supervisors: “The registrar of voters made an error by not using the California secretary of state’s randomized alphabet; as a result, the order names were listed on the ballot was not correct. California law specifies this requirement to randomly place names on the ballot to not afford any advantage to a specific candidate; instead, the name placement is essentially a lottery process. The Board majority believes this may have affected the election outcome and may have harmed those placed on the ballot. Nonetheless, the court is the trier of fact and will ultimately make the determination in this case.” Read Artixcle

Georgia lawsuit asks if official’s duty to certify election results is ‘discretionary’ | Melissa Cruz/USA Today

A think tank created by former Trump administration officials is suing on behalf of a Republican elections official in Fulton County so she can refuse to certify election results. Lawyers from the pro-Trump “America First Policy Institute” filed the lawsuit on May 22 for Julie Adams, a member of the Fulton County elections board since February. The lawsuit asks a court to “clarify” that Adams’ duties to certify the election “are, in fact, discretionary” and not required by law. Adams’ lawsuit argues a portion of Georgia law leaves room for interpretation. The law says that after verifying the accuracy of election results, county officials “shall” certify those results. The day before filing the lawsuit against the county’s board and elections director, Adams refused to certify the May 21 primary election results, according to Fox 5 Atlanta. She abstained, saying she won’t certify any results until she gains access to detailed voting data. Her lawsuit also seeks access to these voting records, which include information on poll tapes, drop-box ballots, and “cast vote” records. Read Article

Louisiana: Election deniers stop repeal of Louisiana’s burdensome voting machines law | Wesley Muller/Louisiana Illuminator

Under renewed pressure from far-right election deniers, the Louisiana Legislature abandoned its attempt to repeal a 2021 law that has made the task of buying voting machines overly burdensome. House Bill 856, sponsored by Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Pineville, died just one step shy of final passage during the closing days of the 2024 legislative session after Johnson ended conference committee negotiations. The proposal would have repealed parts of a 2021 law that added multiple layers of bureaucracy to the Louisiana Department of State’s process to purchase new voting systems. The most significant parts of the bill were created through a late-stage amendment adopted on the Senate floor last week. In an interview Sunday, Johnson said he decided to sideline the bill after some constituents and other lawmakers expressed concerns with the “process” used to amend the bill into its final version. Read Article

Michigan Judge Largely Denies RNC’s Challenge To Absentee Ballot Signature Matching Rules | Rachel Selzer/Democracy Docket

A Michigan judge today largely rejected the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) bid to tighten the state’s instructions for verifying signatures on absentee ballot applications and return envelopes ahead of the 2024 election. As a result of today’s ruling, election officials in the consequential battleground state may continue to apply most of the current signature matching rules promulgated by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D). Election officials cannot, however, utilize a slightly more lenient standard contained in the state’s guidance — known as a “presumption of validity” — when verifying signatures, the judge concluded. Read Article

Nevada’s Plan To Expand Internet Voting Concerns Election Security Experts | Christina A. Cassidy/Associated Press

Election security experts have expressed concerns about the risks associated with electronic balloting, which is being expanded in Nevada to increase voting access for Native American tribes, including the Walker River Paiute Tribe. These experts warn that electronic ballot returns can be intercepted or manipulated, posing a significant security threat. Despite these risks, the new system allows tribal members to receive and return ballots electronically, aiming to address historical voting barriers faced by tribal communities. Verified Voting, a nonpartisan group, notes that while electronic ballot return is limited, its expansion could undermine public confidence in elections due to the potential for digital interference. Read Article

New Jersey: ES&S coding glitch gives wrong ballots to some Cape May County voters | David Wildstein/New Jersey Globe

A programming glitch caused by controversial voting machine manufacturer ES&S led to voters in Wildwood Crest being served ballots from Wildwood during the early voting process, preventing at least 26 votes from casting their votes in a race for Democratic county committee. In a bad break for ES&S, one of the voters affected was Marie Blistan, the Cape May County Democratic Chair and the former president of the New Jersey Education Association. Blistan went to vote on Wednesday and couldn’t find her own name for a county committee seat in Wildwood Crest on the ballot.  She wrote herself and her running mate in and then notified the county clerk that ballot issues existed. “There was an issue with the voting machines as far as what came up on the screen,” said Deputy Attorney General Karen Catanese.  “There was a coding issue, and so instead of Wildwood Crest coming up, Wildwood came up.  As soon as that was realized, the board took action and called ES&S.  They worked it out, figured out what the issue was, and it was resolved within the next day.” Read Article

North Carolina: Rapid loss of elections directors tied to low pay, investigation finds | Mehr Sher/Carolina Public Press

The rapid loss of North Carolina county elections directors has raised concerns about the inability of some counties to hire and retain qualified and experienced directors, which could interfere with their conduct of smooth and orderly elections. Carolina Public Press obtained data from North Carolina counties showing how much they paid elections directors and how long the current director has been on the job. Counties with highest pay tended to keep directors longer while those with lowest pay tended to have more recent turnover. The state statute governing elections director pay hasn’t been changed in 25 years. While some counties have increased pay, others are starved for resources. Read Article

Ohio Republican bill would require replacement of voting machines, allow hand-counting of ballots | Andrew J. Tobias/Cleveland Plain Dealer

>Republican state lawmakers are considering a sweeping overhaul of Ohio’s voting system that is pitting the state’s bipartisan elections officials against a right-wing citizen’s group that echoes arguments made by advocates of the widely rejected theory that the 2020 presidential election was marred by widespread fraud. House Bill 472 would require the state to replace all its voting machines while allowing citizens to propose requiring hand-counting of elections ballots on a county-by-county basis, something elections officials say would result in delayed and less accurate election results. It also would newly require Ohioans to show a photo ID to register to vote – not just to cast a ballot like under current law – and expand a recently passed voter ID requirement to also apply to mail-in voting – a carve out that was retained in the last elections overhaul lawmakers passed in late 2022. Read Article

Pennsylvania: What you need to know about election recounts in Pennsylvania | Carter Walker/Votebeat

In 2020, former President Donald Trump’s campaign paid $3 million so Wisconsin would recount votes in two counties. The result: Joe Biden’s lead grew by 87 votes. Such a recount would not be possible in Pennsylvania. Here, a recount is automatically ordered if a statewide race falls within a certain margin. Voters can also initiate recounts in their own precincts. With another highly contentious rematch between the two on the table for this November, an automatic recount cannot be ruled out. In recent years, supporters of losing candidates have also initiated precinct-level recounts that have little chance of changing a race’s outcome but can be used to disrupt the election process. Read Article

Puerto Rico: Voting machine contract under scrutiny following discrepancies in primaries | Coral Murphy Marcos/Associated Press

Puerto Rico’s elections commission said Tuesday that it’s reviewing its contract with a U.S. electronic voting company after hundreds of discrepancies were discovered following the island’s heated primaries. The problem stemmed from a software issue that caused machines supplied by Dominion Voting Systems to incorrectly calculate vote totals, said Jessika Padilla Rivera, the commission’s interim president. While no one is contesting the results from the June 2 primary that correctly identify the winners, machine-reported vote counts were lower than the paper ones in some cases, and some machines reversed certain totals or reported zero votes for some candidates. Read Article

South Dakota voters reject machine-counting ban in all three counties where it was on the ballot | Makenzie Huber/South Dakota Searchlight

A majority of voters in three South Dakota counties showed their trust in the state’s current election system Tuesday as they rejected proposed bans on tabulator machines. The votes were in Gregory, Haakon and Tripp counties. Citizen groups petitioned the measures onto the ballots in an effort to ban vote-counting machines and force a switch to hand counting. Nearly 40% of registered voters turned out for the Gregory County primary election. Auditor Julie Bartling is confident the results reflect how all voters across the county would have voted. “They listened to the pros and cons, and I believe this vote shows they still have confidence in the tabulators and the work we do here in the auditor’s office,” Bartling said Tuesday night. “We’re a small county and we know each other. You just want people to have a sense they can have trust and confidence in me not only as an elected official, but as a neighbor and friend.” Read Article

Texas voters could be impacted if countywide voting ends | Natalie Contreras/The Texas Tribune

A long-running conservative push to get rid of countywide polling places is winning growing interest from state lawmakers, as well as a spot on the state Republican party’s list of legislative priorities for next year. But election officials are warning that if legislators scrap the state’s countywide voting program, they will struggle to pull off the changes that would be required — beginning with increasing their numbers of polling places. That means paying for hard-to-find additional locations, recruiting and paying workers to staff them, and obtaining more voting equipment. Election officials also worry that confused voters could be disenfranchised by the shift. Currently, 96 counties allow voters to cast ballots anywhere in their county on election day, according to the Texas Secretary of State’s Office. The list includes counties in every part of the state, collectively encompassing roughly 14.9 million, or 83%, of the state’s registered voters. Read Article

Wisconsin: Milwaukee council confirms election chief after staff said she struggles with basic procedures | Alexander Shur/Votebeat

The Milwaukee Common Council confirmed city election chief Paulina Gutiérrez on Tuesday after election staff had repeatedly voiced concerns about her appointment and one sent the mayor a letter a month ago saying she struggled to handle her job. Gutiérrez, who joined the Milwaukee Election Commission in 2023 after holding jobs unrelated to election administration, is now slated to lead it through four elections in the next five months, including the contentious 2024 presidential election. She was confirmed unanimously without debate. Through a public records request, Votebeat obtained two letters from staff members outlining concerns about Gutiérrez, which they sent after they learned of her coming appointment, in a surprise move that included the ousting of longtime director Claire Woodall. Read Article