National: Conservative groups are pushing to clean voter rolls. Others see an effort to sow election distrust | Julie Carr Smyth/Associated Press

Conservative groups are systematically attempting to challenge the legitimacy of large numbers of voter registrations across the country before the presidential election. The strategy is part of a wider effort raising questions about the integrity of this year’s election as former President Donald Trump repeatedly claims without evidence that his opponents are trying to cheat. The voter roll tactics include mass door-knocking campaigns, using special software designed to identify voters whose eligibility could be challenged and a crush of lawsuits. Read Article

National: How mapping tech is revolutionizing election administration | Chris Teale/Route Fifty

When St. Louis County, Missouri, kicked off its redistricting process after the 2010 Census, local officials used colored pencils on transparent paper to redraw their legislative boundaries and reflect population shifts. Ten years later, following the 2020 Census, officials in Missouri’s most populous county had traded in their pencils and paper for geographic information system mapping. St. Louis County, despite delays wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, had automated the process and used GIS to redraw the lines with the updated residency data. The result was more accurate and transparent maps. The story was similar in Orange County, California, which used to use “reams of paper” in its redistricting process, according to Matt Eimers, GIS supervisor at the Orange County Registrar of Voters. Officials there would have to compare their hand-drawn maps against paper records, which was a laborious process. Read Article

National: CISA bolsters security of US election infrastructure with new OpSec guide | Liam Garman/Cyber Daily

The six-page guide highlights the potential security risks menacing the upcoming US elections and provides actionable insights into how election officials can effectively manage them, from securing online infrastructure to protecting voter information. The document also includes insight into how the US’ adversaries collect private information and officials can find themselves on the radar of overseas threat actors, before laying out actionable steps for the creation of OpSec policies. “CISA provides various training programs for election workers, including secure practices, incident response planning, and de-escalation techniques,” Cait Conley, CISA special adviser to the director for election security, said. “This guide is another excellent resource CISA provides the public with to keep our elections safe and secure.” Read Article

National: Deployable voting machines for overseas troops move closer to reality | Jonathan Snyder/Stars and Stripes

Deployable electronic voting machines are now fully functional and could be used in a pilot election as soon as next year, the president of a nonprofit technology firm said this week.“We now have a fully functional prototype and are a few weeks away from wrapping up our report to [the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency],” Ben Adida, executive director of VotingWorks and the technical lead on the project, told Stars and Stripes by email Monday.VotingWorks unveiled an early-stage version of its deployable voting machine in February at the National Association of State Election Directors conference in Washington, D.C. The machine aims to allow service members around the world, even at remote locations, to transmit a signed, encrypted digital ballot to their home precinct for tallying on Election Day. Read Article

National: Conservative activists find errors in software they hoped would root out voter fraud | Jane C. Timm/NBC

After months of testing, some conservative activists are finding that the vigilante computer programs they’d hoped would give them the ability to root out redundancies and fraud in the country’s voter rolls aren’t very reliable. Last year, those activists excitedly embraced EagleAI and similar programs that promised to help them look through voter rolls across the country in search of outdated or fraudulent voter registrations, even as experts warned about the programs’ limitations. The country’s voter rolls are designed for registration, not removal. Few people think to cancel old voter registrations when they move, which can lead to messy voter rolls as election officials must wait years to remove outdated registrations under federal law. Read Article

National: US intel reveals Russia plans to meddle in 2024 election | Ariana Baio/The Independent

Russia will attempt to influence the 2024 US presidential election using familiar tactics like spreading misinformation online to subvert the public’s faith in the democratic election process, according to intelligence officials. On Tuesday, officials in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence told reporters that Russia is using covert social media tactics like targeting voter groups in swing states with bot farms. The goal, they said, is to drive a larger rift in domestic political ideology, promote mistrust in the electoral system and sway public opinion in favor of a certain candidate. “We haven’t observed a shift in Russia’s preferences for the presidential race from past elections,” a senior official in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said. Though officials did not name a particular candidate, investigations into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election found that their strategies were aimed at helping Donald Trump. Read Article

Arizona: How GOP lawmakers pressured counties on hand-counting ballots | Jen Fifield/Votebeat

Republican lawmakers in Arizona privately pressured county leaders across the state to count ballots by hand instead of using machines, according to previously unreported text messages. The messages, obtained by Votebeat through public record requests, are a window into how state lawmakers are trying to leverage relationships with Republican county supervisors — who decide how to count ballots in their counties — to promote a practice that state officials have repeatedly said would be illegal. And it highlights how lawmakers have turned to counties to try to change how ballots are counted, after failing to change state laws. Read Article

Colorado: Federal judge rejects voter intimidation lawsuit midway through trial | Seth Klamann/The Denver Post

A federal judge in Denver ruled against the plaintiffs in a voter intimidation lawsuit Thursday, ending a trial early after finding the organizations behind the suit hadn’t presented sufficient evidence against a group of Donald Trump supporters. U.S. District Judge Charlotte N. Sweeney issued her ruling Thursday morning. The trial had started Monday, more than two years after the lawsuit was filed by a trio of voting and civil rights organizations, including the local chapters of the NAACP and the League of Women Voters, against the U.S. Election Integrity Plan. That group, made up of supporters of the Republican former president and tied to prominent and discredited election conspiracy theorists, had been accused of questioning residents of high-density areas and places where ethnic and racial minorities live about their votes. Read Article

Georgia: Critics charge GOP election board members violated state laws in rushed meeting | Stanley Dunlap/Georgia Recorder

The three GOP members of the Georgia State Election Board convened an emergency meeting Friday to press forward with several new election rules in a rush to have new procedures in place for the November election, sparking accusations of state open meetings law violations. A couple hundred people packed inside a state Capitol room for the impromptu hearing where Democratic party members and progressive voting rights advocates shouted “shame” and waved signs reading “this meeting is illegal” as GOP board members Janice Johnston, Rick Jeffares, and Janelle King conducted an “emergency meeting” scheduled about 24 hours prior. Jeffares and King, the two newest members of the election board, threatened to remove disruptive individuals from a meeting, which would culminate in the adoption of two new election rules and the threat of legal action for violating open meetings rules. Read Article

Michigan: Trump campaign sues Gretchen Whitmer to block veteran voter registration sites | Griffin Eckstein/Salon

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has filed a lawsuit against Michigan officials, including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, to block a directive to designate Veterans Affairs offices and other public facilities as voter registration sites. Per the lawsuit, filed Monday, the Trump campaign seeks a “permanent injunction barring the state … from designating any VRAs [voter registration agencies] without express authorization from the Michigan Legislature.” The directive — which would have instituted registration offices in Michigan Veterans Affairs, Worker’s Disability Compensation Agency and U.S. Small Business Administration offices — would have enabled Michiganders to check, update, and join the voter rolls more easily. Read Article

Nevada: Federal judge dismisses Republican challenge over counting of post-Election Day mail ballots | Gabe Stern/Associated Press

A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit filed by national and state Republicans that sought to bar Nevada from counting mail ballots received after Election Day. A state law passed by Democrats in 2021 allows election officials to tally ballots received by 5 p.m. on the fourth day after Election Day, as long as the envelopes are postmarked before the end of Election Day. The judge rejected Republicans’ assertions that this was unconstitutional and violated federal law, as well as their claim that the rule gave Democrats an unfair electoral advantage and diluted the power of Republicans votes. Read Article

Nevada: Washoe County Commission reverses course, acknowledges election certification mandatory | April Corbin Girnus /Nevada Current

Two of the three Washoe County commissioners who refused to certify the results of two primary election recounts reversed course Tuesday, acknowledging that certification is mandatory and that delaying the process could potentially subject them to criminal prosecution. The Washoe County Commission, in a 4-1 vote, certified the results of the two primary election recounts, which resulted in only minor changes to total vote counts. Commissioners had rejected certification 3-2 on July 9, though they had approved the original canvas of the election 3-2 earlier in June. Commissioner Clara Andriola — who voted to certify the original results, then voted against certifying the recount, then asked that the board reconsider that vote — said in prepared remarks that the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office had provided “clarifying direction on the nature of our duties to canvas the election returns.” She also acknowledged that the secretary of state and attorney general had quickly petitioned the Nevada Supreme Court to intervene and force certification. Read Article

Ohio voter advocates warn group is making troubling challenges, ask Secretary of State to guide counties | Susan Tebben/Ohio Capital Journal

Voting rights advocacy organizations are calling on the Ohio Secretary of State to create consistency within the county boards of elections when it comes to voter registration challenges. The urgency comes in particular because of one group, the Ohio Election Integrity Network, which advocates say has been approaching multiple Ohio counties with lists of hundreds of voters they say are ineligible to vote in Ohio and should be removed from rolls. The way in which they are approaching county boards goes against the existing process of maintaining voting rolls, elections advocates say. “Really all of it is centered around poking holes in the election systems and the processes we’ve been using,” said Kelly Dufour, voting and elections manager for Common Cause Ohio. Read Article

Pennsylvania directs counties to print full year on mail ballot envelopes | Carter Walker/Votebeat

The Pennsylvania Department of State is hoping another change to mail ballot return envelopes will eliminate the chance of ballots being rejected this November because of voters failing to write in the year completely. In a directive earlier this month, the Department of State told counties that they should now preprint ballot return envelopes with the full, four-digit year in the date field, leaving voters to fill in just the month and day alongside their signature. “We conducted an analysis after this election of why ballots were rejected,” said Al Schmidt, secretary of the commonwealth. “We didn’t see a significant number of ballots missing the full year, but there were some, and every vote is precious in every election.” It’s the second modification to the envelopes since the 2023 municipal elections, as state officials try to cut down on the number of ballots rejected for lacking a properly filled out date and resolve differing interpretations among counties on whether to count these ballots. The move will also eliminate a risk of lawsuits in November over whether incomplete-year ballots should be accepted or rejected. Read Article

Wisconsin: Appeals court makes it harder to disqualify absentee ballots | Todd Richmond/Associated Press

Absentee ballots still count in Wisconsin even if voters’ witnesses fail to give election clerks their full address, a state appeals court has ruled. The decision Thursday by the 4th District Court of Appeals is expected to expand the number of absentee ballots that will be counted in the battleground state with yet another tight presidential race looming in November. Each of the last two presidential elections in Wisconsin was decided by fewer than 23,000 votes. Polls show another close race this year between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. Biden campaign officials have said winning the so-called blue wall of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin offers the president the clearest path to victory. Read Article

Wisconsin rules on ballot drop boxes create opening for election challenges | Alexander Shur/Votebeat

Voters using Wisconsin’s newly legalized drop boxes may return only their own ballots, except in special cases, according to new guidance from the Wisconsin Elections Commission. That means even a voter dropping off a spouse’s ballot along with their own could be considered as having cast a ballot improperly. The rule could be difficult for municipal clerks to enforce. But it leaves an opening for potential challenges from conservative election activists, who are already preparing to act on suspicions that Democratic voters will abuse the boxes to commit fraud. Allegations of drop box misuse could also spur legal challenges to election results, experts say. In the run-up to this year’s elections, local officials are dealing with heavy scrutiny from election observers seeking to challenge absentee ballots, and Republicans have sought to increase the number of people monitoring drop boxes. Read Article

Wyoming county clerks rebuff Secretary of State, keep ballot drop boxes | Maggie Mullen/Wyoming Tribune Eagle

Wyoming counties that used ballot drop boxes in 2022 will employ them again this year, despite Secretary of State Chuck Gray urging local election officials to ditch them ahead of early voting. Voters in the seven counties that provided drop boxes two years ago — Albany, Carbon, Converse, Fremont, Laramie, Sweetwater and Teton — will have the option to use them again this year to return absentee ballots. Drop boxes represent a legal, secure and convenient way for voters to deliver their ballots, several county clerks told WyoFile, adding that they made the decision to keep drop boxes in consultation with their local county attorneys. The boxes allow for rural ranchers and shift workers in the energy industry to safely drop off their ballots outside the operating hours of the clerk’s office, some clerks also said. Read Article

Nevada: Refusal to certify Washoe County election results meant to sow distrust, advocates warn | April Corbin Girnus/Nevada Current

Washoe County’s rejection of the official results of two primary election recounts that yielded few changes from the original count should be seen as an attempt to spread misinformation and sow distrust in the democratic process, say voting advocates. Washoe County Commissioners on Tuesday voted 3-2 against certifying the results of an official recount of two races from Nevada’s June 9 primary. The board’s three Republicans, Commissioners Michael Clark, Jeanne Herman and Clara Andriola voted against certification while Democratic Commissioners Alexis Hill and Mariluz Garcia voted in favor of certification. Clark and Herman have now twice voted against certifying the results of Washoe County’s primary election. The duo also voted against certifying the county’s original canvas two weeks ago. Andriola voted for certification of the original canvas but joined her Republican peers in opposition on Tuesday. Read Article

‘I felt ready to throw in the towel.’ Election officials are being chased from jobs | Tonya Wichman/Columbus Dispatch

Across the nation, election administrators are calling it quits. In addition to the everyday demands of overseeing elections, these officials are experiencing unprecedented harassment, intimidation, abuse and, sometimes, even death threats for doing their jobs. Their jurisdictions often lack sufficient staffing and resources to carry out their responsibilities amidst a hostile work environment. As a result of all this, an estimated one in four election administrators will conduct their first presidential election this year. Since 2015, I have been the board of elections director for Defiance County, leading my team in conducting local elections. Within my community and beyond, I advocate for our nation’s democracy, which is being shaken by a deepening distrust in the electoral process and the rampant spread of disinformation and misinformation. Read Article

National: Election officials push back against draft federal rule for reporting potential cyberattacks | Christina A. Cassidy/Associated Press

A group of state election officials is urging the nation’s cybersecurity agency to revise a draft rule that would require election offices to disclose suspected cyberattacks to the federal government, casting the mandate as too burdensome on overworked local officials. The new rule is the result of a 2022 federal law that directed the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to develop regulations that require certain entities to report potential cybersecurity breaches or ransomware attacks to the agency. Election offices fall under the requirement because their systems are considered critical infrastructure, along with the nation’s banks, nuclear power plants and dams. In a letter, the executive board of the National Association of Secretaries of State asked CISA to consider making the rule voluntary, limit the types of information requested and more clearly define what types of cyber incidents would trigger a report. The proposed rule says state and local election offices must report suspected breaches within 72 hours. Read Article