National: The fear of noncitizen voting is as baseless as it has been for 200 years | essica Huseman/Votebeat

President Trump and House Speaker Mike Johnson recently advocated for a bill banning noncitizen voting, despite it being illegal and not a significant problem. The move, widely seen as an attempt to garner political support, echoes historical tactics of fear-mongering over noncitizen voting, dating back to the 1800s. Various instances throughout history illustrate how such rhetoric has been used to influence public policy and disenfranchise certain groups. Trump’s persistent focus on this issue, despite lack of evidence, reflects a longstanding pattern of baseless claims. Ultimately, the fear of noncitizen voting lacks substance and is merely a rehash of historical tactics aimed at manipulating public opinion. Read Article

Arizona: US Supreme Court rejects Kari Lake, Mark Finchem in machine voting lawsuit, ending legal challenge | Stacey Barchenger/Arizona Republic

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal brought by Arizona Republicans Kari Lake and Mark Finchem, bringing finality to the duo’s legal effort challenging the use of electronic voting machines two years to the day after it began. Lake, a candidate for U.S. Senate, and Finchem, a candidate for state Senate, asked the nation’s top court to hear their case in mid-March. The court declined to consider it, making that official with an order on Monday that does not include details of the court’s decision. Legal experts had predicted the court would not exercise its discretion to add the case to its docket, citing well-established legal precedent and the court’s low acceptance rate. Read Article

National: Election Data Is Vital to Voting Rights. So Why Is It So Hard to Track Down? | Dara Gold/Bolts

Voting rights lawyers like Michael Pernick from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund face significant hurdles due to the lack of a centralized database of precinct-level election returns in New York, making it difficult to analyze potential racial discrimination in local election rules. This absence forces practitioners to painstakingly collect data town by town, often facing resistance from local offices, hindering investigations and potentially impeding the enforcement of voting rights laws. While some states like Minnesota provide comprehensive precinct-level data, others present significant challenges, prompting initiatives like OpenElections and the MIT Election Lab to compile and standardize such information. Read Article

National: Push to hand-count ballots ramps up as election nears, fueled by outside aid | Rachel Leingang/Votebeat

Amidst claims of stolen elections and allegations of voting machine rigging, grassroots activists like Mark Cook are advocating for hand-counting ballots across the country, echoing sentiments from figures like Mike Lindell. Despite challenges and resistance from election experts, this push has gained traction in some rural and conservative-leaning areas, with counties in Missouri, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin opting for hand counts in either midterm or presidential primary elections. However, the process has proven to be time-consuming, costly, and prone to errors, with concerns raised about its impact on election accuracy and trust. Read Article

National: Noncitizen voting isn’t an issue in federal elections, regardless of conspiracy theories. Here’s why | Nicholas Riccardsi/Associated Press

Former President Donald Trump and House Speaker Mike Johnson are reigniting claims about noncitizen voting in federal elections, with Johnson introducing a bill aimed at preventing noncitizens from voting. However, these claims have been debunked in the past, with no evidence of widespread noncitizen voting. Trump’s previous commission on the matter disbanded without identifying any cases of noncitizen voting, and various states’ examinations of their voter rolls have found very few instances. Despite this, Johnson plans to introduce legislation requiring proof of citizenship for voter registration, a move criticized for potentially disenfranchising eligible voters and risking erroneous exclusions. Read Article

National: Smartmatic settles lawsuit against One America News Network | Stephen Battaglio/Los Angeles Times

Smartmatic has settled its lawsuit against One America News Network (OAN), a right-wing cable channel based in San Diego, over false allegations of voter fraud during the 2020 presidential election, although details of the settlement remain undisclosed. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, accused OAN of damaging Smartmatic’s business with misleading statements following the election. Smartmatic has also pursued legal action against other conservative outlets, including Fox News and Newsmax, over similar claims, with a $2.7-billion defamation suit against Fox News still pending. Read Article

National: AI-created election disinformation is deceiving the world | Ali Swenson and Kelvin Chan/Associated Press

Artificial intelligence is supercharging the threat of election disinformation worldwide, making it easy for anyone with a smartphone and a devious imagination to create fake – but convincing – content aimed at fooling voters. It marks a quantum leap from a few years ago, when creating phony photos, videos or audio clips required teams of people with time, technical skill and money. Now, using free and low-cost generative artificial intelligence services from companies like Google and OpenAI, anyone can create high-quality “deepfakes” with just a simple text prompt. Resad Article

National: After a sleepy primary season, Russia enters 2024 U.S. election fray | Derek B. Johnson/CyberScoop

Russian influence operations targeting the 2024 U.S. elections have surged in the past 45 days, primarily using Telegram to distribute propaganda aimed at influencing debate over Ukraine policy, as per Microsoft’s Threat Analysis Center. This late uptick, compared to previous election cycles, is attributed to a lack of competitive presidential primaries. Microsoft has identified multiple Russian-associated groups spreading content across languages to degrade support for Ukraine, portraying President Zelenskyy negatively and diminishing Western governments’ willingness to fund the war cause. These groups utilize Telegram channels as a distribution hub, posting content later picked up by seemingly unrelated news outlets. Read Article

Arizona: A Cochise County official’s vote for hand-counting ballots came at a cost. Will anyone help her pay it? | Jen Fifield/Votebeat

Arizona state Sen. Sonny Borrelli’s offer to cover legal expenses for counties conducting hand-counted elections ahead of 2024 prompts Cochise County Supervisor Peggy Judd to question if she’d receive similar support amid her legal battle following indictments for expanding hand-count audits in 2022. Despite promises of aid, Judd feels abandoned, reflecting a broader issue of officials facing legal battles without sufficient support. While Judd denies wrongdoing, she’s frustrated by perceived lack of assistance from proponents of hand counts, highlighting a broader trend of officials grappling with legal challenges and insufficient backing. Read Article

Colorado officials warn of new frontier in election denial as more Republicans refuse to certify vote totals | Nick Coltrainb/The Denver Post

Colorado election officials from both major parties say a typically innocuous step in the certification of vote totals has increasingly been seized upon by activists to cast doubt over state elections. Since 2020, a small but growing number of county canvass boards have had Republican members refuse to sign off on vote tallies, according to state records. Those objections haven’t jeopardized the actual certification of elections, and Colorado’s system has additional processes in place to stop rogue canvass boards from preventing the finalizing of results. But it serves as an ill omen of potential efforts to sow distrust in voting heading into this year’s primary and general elections, several state and county election officials said in interviews with The Denver Post. Read Article

Florida: Some elections observers just can’t be convinced | Mark Schneider/Palm Beach Post

Public testing of ballot counting machines in Palm Beach and Pinellas Counties, Florida, led to disruptions by observers, resulting in the canvassing boards deciding to only accept questions after testing rather than during. This change is unfortunate, as it limits transparency in the electoral process. Observers, fueled by suspicions of election rigging, have become increasingly hostile towards election procedures and equipment. Despite efforts to ensure security and transparency, including through training poll workers, doubts persist, suggesting that anger towards voting machines may continue until desired outcomes are achieved, highlighting challenges in maintaining trust in democracy. Read Article

Georgia election officials probe claims of Bibb County voting machine security breach | Stanley Dunlap/Georgia Recorder

The Georgia Secretary of State’s office is investigating Benjamin Cotton, an election security analyst linked to an alleged breach of the Coffee County voting system, following his claim of examining voting equipment in Macon-Bibb County. Cotton’s statement, made in sworn testimony, raised concerns about the security of Dominion Voting System components used in statewide elections in Georgia since 2020. Advocacy groups have urged an independent investigation into Bibb County’s voting system, highlighting similarities with a breach in Coffee County allegedly involving allies of Donald Trump. Macon-Bibb County election officials deny any illegal access to their voting machines, stating that only authorized personnel have been allowed access. Cotton’s attorney clarified that he examined a backup election database obtained through a public records request. Read Article

Michigan: Pushing election fraud theories, nonprofit spent $1.2 million in 2022 | Craig Mauger/The Detroit News

The America Project, a national nonprofit led by former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne, disclosed in a recently filed tax document that it allocated $1.2 million in funding to lawyers and groups in Michigan during the 2022 election year. Among the beneficiaries were the law office of Stefanie Lambert, who faces felony charges related to the 2020 election, and a Waterford Township organization linked to Lambert. The filing, which didn’t provide detailed information on expenditures, raised concerns about efforts to perpetuate conspiracy theories regarding voter fraud, particularly in battleground states like Michigan. Despite bipartisan agreement within the State Board of Elections that the claims were baseless, the disclosure highlighted significant financial backing for initiatives challenging the integrity of the electoral process, even as claims of fraud remain unsubstantiated. Read Article

New Jersey: Federal appeals court upholds order barring county-line ballots | Nikita Biryukov/New Jersey Monitor

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a preliminary injunction preventing the use of county-line ballots in June’s Democratic primaries in New Jersey, rejecting a request from the Camden County Democratic Committee to overturn the ruling. The decision, stemming from a lawsuit initiated by U.S. Rep. Andy Kim and others, reinforces a lower court’s finding that the county-line ballot design is likely unconstitutional. Advocates for the injunction argue that the county-line system unfairly advantages party-backed candidates and discourages potential challengers. The ruling is seen as a significant win for progressives in New Jersey, signaling a shift away from what they view as an antidemocratic practice. Read Article

New York Court Dismisses ExpressVote XLChallenge | Madeleine Greenberg/Democracy Docket

A New York court has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the approval of the ExpressVote XL touch screen voting machine by the New York State Board of Elections. The lawsuit, filed by Common Cause New York, the Black Institute, and five New York voters in November 2023, alleged that the approval violated state law. The plaintiffs argued that the machine’s barcode system prevented voters from verifying their selections, potentially fueling election fraud conspiracy theories. However, the court ruled that the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate how they would be harmed by the approval of the machines, leading to the dismissal of the case. Read Article

North Carolina elections board, in bipartisan vote, shoots down ‘audit force’ allegations of election violations | Will Doran/WRAL

The North Carolina State Board of Elections unanimously dismissed claims made by Carol Snow, an election integrity activist affiliated with the NC Audit Force group, alleging violations of federal election law and voter fraud going unchecked in the state. Snow’s complaint, which cited discrepancies in voter lists and instances of duplicate voting, was refuted by state elections board staff who attributed the errors to mistakes or Snow’s lack of access to certain data. Despite the growing popularity of grassroots election integrity efforts among conservatives, particularly fueled by former President Trump’s allegations of voter fraud, the bipartisan agreement on the board deemed Snow’s claims baseless. Read Article

Pennsylvania: Missing voting machine documents raise concern about Northampton County’s testing processes | Carter Walker/Votebeat

bDuring a November election in Northampton County, voters encountered a concerning issue: votes intended for one judge appeared under another’s name on printed records, highlighting a programming error in the voting machines. Although this error didn’t affect the vote tabulation, it underscored the importance of rigorous pre-election testing. However, an investigation revealed that Northampton County’s testing documentation was incomplete, inconsistent, and sometimes missing altogether, making it challenging to verify proper testing. While the errors didn’t indicate machine malfunction or malfeasance, they risked undermining voter confidence and fueling conspiracy theories. In response, Read Article

Pennsylvania: What could trigger costly, time-consuming election recounts? 3 signatures and $50. | Bruce Siwy/Erie Times-News

Some organizations, like Better PA, advocate for changes to Pennsylvania’s recount system, citing concerns about potential post-election chaos and bad-faith efforts. John Jones III and others argue for more stringent rules to initiate recounts, emphasizing the need to avoid disruptions in the electoral certification process. While the current law allows for recounts under certain conditions, including a narrow margin between candidates, critics argue that the system lacks clarity and could lead to delays in certification. Better PA proposes several changes, such as increasing filing fees and requiring detailed allegations of fraud or error in the election. Despite these calls for reform, there’s currently no legislative action on the matter in Harrisburg, and the outlook for changes before the November general election appears unlikely. Read Article

Texas: Voting company makes ‘coercive’ demand of counties: Pay up or lose service before election | Nicholas Riccardi/Associated Press

The owner of a voting company, VOTEC, admitted to issuing a “coercive” demand to 32 Texas counties, urging them to pay an additional 35% surcharge for their voting registration system software or risk losing it just ahead of the November elections. John Medcalf, the owner, cited past payment delays and financial struggles, characterizing the demand as a plea for financial stability to retain key employees. While the surcharges have prompted urgency among Texas counties to approve payments or seek alternatives, VOTEC assured that existing contracts would be honored until their expiration, with Texas’ Secretary of State’s office providing consultation on available options. Read Article

Wisconsinites with disabilities demand a better way to vote at home, but security concerns may be a hurdle | Alexander Shur/Votebeat

Stacy Ellingen, an Oshkosh resident with athetoid cerebral palsy, faces formidable barriers when attempting to vote due to Wisconsin’s insistence on paper ballots, a format she struggles to complete due to her disability. Although assistance is available, Ellingen hesitates to share her political preferences with caregivers and fears future elections when her parents may not be around to help. Alongside three other voters with disabilities and advocacy groups, Ellingen has filed a lawsuit against the Wisconsin Elections Commission, challenging the state’s absentee ballot system for failing to accommodate individuals with disabilities, contending that it violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. The lawsuit aims to enable electronic absentee voting for people with disabilities, similar to what is available to military and overseas voters in many states. However, concerns over the security risks associated with internet voting persist, with experts cautioning against potential threats such as client-side malware, hacking of voters’ computers, denial-of-service attacks, identity verification issues, and the absence of a physical ballot for voters to verify. Read Article