National: Election security threats in the US are growing. Federal funding to address them isn’t | Christina A. Cassidy/Associated Press

State election officials are voicing frustration over the lack of federal funding to support election security measures, equipment updates, and staff training ahead of the 2024 elections. With mounting challenges such as cyberattacks, misinformation, and threats to election officials, the absence of federal investment raises concerns about the integrity of the electoral process. While past funding efforts have been beneficial, the exhaustion of previous allocations leaves officials scrambling to address evolving threats without adequate resources. Despite bipartisan calls for additional funding, partisan disputes in Congress have stalled progress, leaving election officials to make tough decisions and scale back security efforts. Read Article

National: America’s election chiefs are desperate to stick together in 2024 | Zach Montellaro/Politico

The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) is striving for unity and bipartisanship as they navigate the complexities surrounding the 2024 elections. Despite external challenges like misinformation and threats, the organization aims to maintain a calm and collaborative atmosphere, emphasizing areas of agreement rather than unnecessary disputes. Leaders Scott Schwab and Steve Simon are working to keep NASS cohesive, recognizing the importance of presenting a united front to bolster public confidence in the electoral process. While concerns about disinformation, declining confidence, and physical security persist, efforts are underway to address these challenges and ensure a smooth electoral process. Read Article

National: Election officials contend with AI, bomb threats, and suspicious mail | Carrie Levine/Votebeat

Election officials, often overlooked in emergency preparedness discussions, are emerging as crucial figures in crisis management due to their comprehensive contingency planning. Facing a spectrum of threats from natural disasters to man-made emergencies like bomb threats or drug exposure, they are implementing innovative measures such as distributing emergency kits containing medical supplies and conducting tabletop exercises to simulate responses to various scenarios. While past experiences inform their preparedness efforts, they recognize the evolving nature of threats, exemplified by the shift from cybersecurity concerns to artificial intelligence risks, Read Article

National: AI deepfakes come of age as billions prepare to vote in a bumper year of elections | Jonathan Yerushalmy/The Guardian

AI-generated deepfake calls, including a fake one purportedly from Joe Biden urging voters to delay their vote, have sparked concerns about the potential for AI to disrupt elections. Governments, tech companies, and civil society groups are grappling with how to regulate AI-created content, especially as trust in politicians and institutions is already low.  While measures like the U.S. executive order requiring AI developers to share safety test results are in place, some argue that more proactive regulation is needed, particularly given the vulnerability of digital media to exploitation.  Read Article

National: Election Deniers Seek to Rewrite the Law | Nick Corasaniti/The New York Times

Despite the debunking of conspiracy theories surrounding the 2020 election, falsehoods persist and influence legislation across the United States. In Georgia, a bill mandates the online posting of high-resolution digital images of scanned paper ballots for 24 months, catering to conspiracy theorists’ demands. Over 70 bills in 25 states draw from election disinformation, addressing issues like ballot security, voting by undocumented citizens, and fraudulent absentee ballots. Despite lack of evidence, bills targeting voting machines and requiring proof of citizenship for voting are gaining traction, reflecting a broader acceptance of baseless claims among Republicans. Read Article

National: Mike Lindell must pay man $5M in ‘Prove Mike Wrong’ challenge, judge says | Praveena Somasundaram/The Washington Post

Mike Lindell, the CEO of MyPillow and a vocal supporter of Donald Trump, offered a $5 million reward to disprove his claim of voter fraud in the 2020 election. A federal judge has ruled that Lindell must pay the award to Robert Zeidman, a computer forensics expert who demonstrated that the data Lindell provided was unrelated to the election. Zeidman, who participated in Lindell’s challenge out of curiosity, found that the data did not prove election interference and subsequently filed for arbitration when Lindell’s company refused to pay the reward. Despite Lindell’s potential appeal, Zeidman hopes the ruling will clarify that the data was not evidence of election fraud. Read Article

Verified Voting: Know Your Source: 2024 Election Information in the Generative AI Era

Primaries, caucuses, conventions, and oh so many campaign ads—the big election year is finally here. This year, though, voters are encountering something that sets this election cycle apart from years past: the rise of generative artificial intelligence. The field of AI broadly as an academic discipline is decades old, and today many people interact with forms of AI on a daily basis. Non-generative AI is already used in limited ways with heavy human oversight for election administration, such as helping officials answer voter questions, and it’s possible that AI—if deployed responsibly—could continue to help resource-strapped election offices in the future. However, the release of online tools like ChatGPT and DALL-E, which fall into a narrower category known as generative AI, is sparking debate among developers and lawmakers about how to regulate a rapidly evolving branch of AI technology. Read Article

Arizona: Legal battle looms as Democrats seek to intervene in lawsuits challenging Arizona’s election guidelines | Mary Jo Pitzl/Arizona Republic

Democratic groups at both state and national levels are fighting back against Republican-led challenges to Arizona’s Election Procedures Manual, labeling these attempts as election interference. The lawsuits aim to either void the entire manual or challenge specific provisions, including those regarding ballot drop boxes. Democrats argue that these legal actions could significantly impact election administration and potentially lead to voter intimidation and harassment. With the presidential preference election looming in March, they stress the urgency of intervening to safeguard election integrity and protect voters’ rights. Read Article

Georgia election officials withheld evidence in voting machine breach, group alleges | Derek B. Johnson/CyberScoop

A Georgia-based nonprofit is seeking sanctions against Coffee County election officials for allegedly withholding crucial evidence related to a breach of voting software. The group claims that officials concealed emails, communications with “Stop the Steal” legal efforts, and security camera footage of forensic experts visiting the office where the software was copied. This breach, part of a broader effort by Trump campaign affiliates to challenge the 2020 election results, is considered serious by cybersecurity experts, raising concerns about future election security. The nonprofit, seeking sanctions and reimbursement of legal costs, argues that the officials’ actions hindered their investigation and impacted depositions. Read Article

Michigan: US Supreme Court allows sanctions against Trump-allied lawyers over 2020 election lawsuit | Lawrence Hurley/NBC

The Supreme Court declined to hear appeals from Trump-aligned lawyers who faced legal sanctions for baseless claims of election fraud in Michigan, upholding a previous ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Among the lawyers sanctioned were Sidney Powell and Lin Wood, who had filed a lawsuit alleging election irregularities including an international conspiracy to sway votes to Biden. The sanctions included payment of legal fees, additional legal training, and referral to state bar associations for potential disciplinary action. Powell has pleaded guilty in a separate Georgia investigation into election interference, while Wood has retired amidst ongoing probes into his conduct related to the 2020 election. Read Article

Nevada Secretary of State says coding issues to blame for errors in online voter history records | Tabitha Mueller/The Nevada Independent

The Nevada Secretary of State’s office addressed coding errors in files used for nightly updates on voter registration history, clarifying that the mistakes did not affect the presidential primary election results. The errors stemmed from missed steps in uploading voter registration data, particularly related to voters who did not return mail ballots, but did not impact vote tabulation. Read Article

Pennsylvania election officials are bracing for another round of lawsuits, recount requests, and claims of fraud in 2024 | Gillian McGoldrick/Philadelphia Inquirer

Pennsylvania is gearing up for the anticipated turbulence of the upcoming presidential election, poised to play a pivotal role as a battleground state. With heightened scrutiny and potential legal battles looming, Governor Josh Shapiro and Secretary of State Al Schmidt are leading efforts to ensure a smooth electoral process. A bipartisan election task force, spearheaded by Schmidt, aims to address any threats to voter access or election integrity. While certain legal issues surrounding mail voting laws remain unresolved, officials are striving to provide clear guidance to voters and counties to mitigate confusion. Read Article

Pennsylvania: Turnover among election officials has cost nearly 300 years of experience | Carter Walker/Votebeat

Pennsylvania is facing a significant shortage of experienced election directors ahead of the presidential election, with 58 officials who served during the November 2019 election having left their positions. This departure represents a loss of 293 years of combined experience among the state’s top county election officials. The turnover has prompted concerns about potential mistakes, disenfranchisement of voters, and disputes over election results. Read Article

Texas: “A hornet’s nest”: How the Gillespie County elections chief is doing his job amid ongoing conspiracy theories | Natalia Contreras/The Texas Tribune

Jim Riley, the elections administrator for Gillespie County, Texas, faced disappointment as a forum he organized to reassure the public about the integrity of local elections drew fewer attendees than expected, with some leaving prematurely. Riley, 76, has encountered resistance from local right-wing activists who want significant changes to the election process. Despite pressure to conform to their demands, Riley remains steadfast, asserting that hand-counting ballots won’t improve election integrity in Gillespie. His commitment is tested as he navigates the challenges of rebuilding trust and managing the demands of the job, while also contending with misinformation and a lack of support from some local officials. Read Article

Washington lawmakers advance bill making it a felony to threaten election workers | Hallie Golden/Associated Press

The Washington state Senate has overwhelmingly passed a bill making harassing election workers a felony, prompted by recent incidents, including envelopes containing suspicious powder, some testing positive for fentanyl, which forced the evacuation of four county election offices. The legislation aims to protect election workers amid rising threats, attributed to false claims about the 2020 election. The bill increases penalties for harassment and provides targeted workers with address confidentiality. Read Article

West Virginia election chief Mac Warner backs conspiracy theories | Kevin Collier/NBC

West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner, running for the Republican nomination for governor, has drawn attention for espousing conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, including claims that the CIA and FBI lied to the American people, allegations debunked by both agencies. Despite previously working to combat election disinformation, Warner now embraces baseless theories that undermine confidence in the electoral process, a shift some colleagues see as politically motivated. While Warner insists on principle over politics, his assertions have strained relationships within the National Association of Secretaries of State, with fellow officials expressing disappointment and concern over his actions. Read Article

Wisconsin: ‘Monday processing’ bill appears unlikely to become law | Baylor Spears/Wisconsin Examiner

Wisconsin Assembly leaders are urging the Senate to pass a bill allowing for “Monday processing” of absentee ballots, arguing that it would enhance transparency and public confidence in the electoral system. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos criticized Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu for suggesting the bill’s unlikelihood of passage, emphasizing concerns over late-night ballot processing. Despite bipartisan support in the Assembly, the bill faces opposition in the Senate committee, with opponents citing unfounded election conspiracy theories. Read Article

National: Threats To U.S. Elections Are Creating A New Kind Of National Security Challenge | Loren Thompson/Forbes

The Cold War era primarily focused on military challenges for national security, but today, threats extend to non-military domains like pandemics and climate change. Yet, the gravest emergent peril to American democracy lies in foreign and domestic attempts to undermine the election process. Efforts to compromise elections, whether through direct interference or disinformation campaigns, imperil the foundation of democracy. Recent elections have seen a surge in such activities, from Russian interference in 2016 to domestic challenges in 2020, eroding public trust in the electoral system. Foreign actors continue to attempt to influence U.S. elections through various means, necessitating improved cybersecurity and resource allocation to bolster the electoral infrastructure at federal, state, and local levels, Read Article

Arizona: 10 tons of ballot security paper may be for sale after failed Cochise County trial | Jen Fifield/Votebeat

A warehouse in Phoenix houses stacks of paper rolls weighing 10 tons each, initially intended for a Republican-led state grant project to test security features like watermarks on ballots. However, Cochise County’s failure to meet grant deadlines led to the project’s cancellation, leaving the county with surplus uncut paper and a watermarking machine. The dilemma of ownership and disposal arises, with potential solutions including a public auction to recoup state expenses, but concerns linger about the security risks posed by selling the paper, highlighting broader challenges in election security efforts amidst ongoing political controversies. Read Article