National: Voter ID Laws May Have Actually Increased The Likelihood Of Voter Fraud—By Hackers | Fast Company

Over the past 16 years, only 10 cases of voter impersonation—out of 146 million registered voters—have ever been identified. And yet each election, a vocal political contingent made up primarily of Republicans complains about an alleged epidemic of voter fraud and impersonation. To combat it, they propose—and in many cases successfully pass—laws requiring voters to provide verification of their identity with an ID card, along with verbal confirmation of various pieces of personal data, before they are permitted to vote. As election officials become more reliant on electronic databases, the potential for hackers to commit voter manipulation and election fraud has gone way up. But it’s these very voter ID laws that are partly to blame, despite legislators’ claims that they would make elections safer, according to Joseph Kiniry, CEO of Free and Fair, a provider of secure election services and systems. “The best thing [hackers] could do is to screw up that data prior to the election,” says Kiniry.

National: 15 States Wielding New or Stricter Voter ID Laws in Run-Up to Presidential Election | AllGov

In a state where everything is big, the 23rd Congressional District that hugs the border with Mexico is a monster: 8 1/2 hours by car across a stretch of land bigger than any state east of the Mississippi. In 2014, Rep. Pete Gallego logged more than 70,000 miles there in his white Chevy Tahoe, campaigning for re-election to the House — and lost by a bare 2,422 votes. So in his bid this year to retake the seat, Gallego, a Democrat, has made a crucial adjustment to his strategy. “We’re asking people if they have a driver’s license,” he said. “We’re having those basic conversations about IDs at the front end, right at our first meeting with voters.” Since their inception a decade ago, voter identification laws have been the focus of fierce political and social debate. Proponents, largely Republican, argue that the regulations are essential tools to combat election fraud, while critics contend that they are mainly intended to suppress turnout of Democratic-leaning constituencies like minorities and students.

National: Should Selfies Be Allowed in US Voting Booths? | VoA News

The state of New Hampshire is appealing a decision that allows voters to take pictures inside voting booths. It would like to join other U.S. states that have banned any voting booth documentation in the form of digital images or photography being shared on social media or otherwise. In other words: No selfies with your ballot. “It’s natural that people — particularly young people who are participating in the democratic process —want to make a record of their specific act of casting a ballot,” John Hardin Young, Chair of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Election Law, told VOA. “That can include taking a photograph with their phone of the actual ballot face as it’s marked. In a way, we are really at loggerheads. On the one hand, we want everyone to participate. On the other, we do want to make sure that the ballot box remains secret.”

Voting Blogs: President Obama Nominates Nevada’s Kate Marshall to EAC | Election Academy

Last week, President Obama sent the Senate a new nominee for the vacant fourth seat on the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, replacing Matthew Butler, his choice in November 2014. His choice, Kate Marshall, is a Democrat and former Nevada State Treasurer who was the party’s unsuccessful candidate for Secretary of State in 2014. … The Republican National Lawyers’ Association called the nomination President Obama’s “third strike,” noting Marshall’s lack of elections background and criticizing Democrats for “view[ing] the EAC [as] a place to reward partisans for their service to the liberal movement” and saying “[i]t is sad that the left has so little regard for election administration.” If and when Marshall’s nomination progresses in the Senate, don’t be surprised to hear similar views in committee or on the floor.

Illinois: House backs Democratic redistricting amendment | Reuters

A Democratic bid to transfer the highly coveted political power of drawing legislative boundaries from state lawmakers to the Democratically controlled Illinois Supreme Court overwhelmingly passed the state House of Representatives on Tuesday. The proposed amendment to Illinois’ constitution sailed through the House on a 105-7 vote and now must be approved by a three-fifths majority in the state Senate by Friday in order to be placed on the Nov. 8 general election ballot. Since Democrats controlled the state legislature and the governor’s office after the 2010 census, they won the once-a-decade right to draw new legislative district boundaries. The process enabled the party to build super-majorities in both the Senate and House.

Indiana: Software woes mean long waits for some Indiana | Associated Press

An election official in Hancock County said software problems that created long waits at some polling places led some people to leave without ever voting in Tuesday’s primary. Hancock County’s Clerk of the Courts, Marcia Moore, said the software vendor for the county just east of Indianapolis “really let us down” Tuesday morning with computer glitches. Moore said as long lines formed at some of the largely rural county’s 12 voting centers some people left “because they were frustrated that the line was slow.” No voters were turned away from polling places, but Moore said some left because they worried about being late for work. She said one of the software problems affected computer servers, while another caused some election ballots to exclude county commissioner’s races.

Missouri: Voter ID law wins Missouri Senate approval | The Kansas City Star

Missouri Republicans have been trying to enact a voter ID law for more than a decade. Tuesday they overcame a major hurdle, striking a deal with Senate Democrats that ended a filibuster and paved the way for voters to decide whether to amend Missouri’s constitution to allow the state to require a photo ID before casting a ballot. The Missouri Senate voted 24-8 to approve voter ID legislation. A second voter ID bill amending the state’s constitution is expected to be approved later this week. “For 10 years we’ve gotten nothing,” said Sen. Will Kraus, a Lee’s Summit Republican who has sponsored the voter ID bills for several years. “This is an historic step forward.” The voter ID issue has threatened to derail the legislative session for months. Democrats had vowed to block the measure, which they argued could disenfranchise thousands of Missouri voters. Until this week, they had made good on that promise.

Missouri: Despite deal, lawmakers predict voter ID fight to keep going | Associated Press

Missouri lawmakers from both parties see the voter ID issue as far from settled, even as the Republican-controlled Legislature is poised to tighten the state’s requirements after Democrats managed to stall a pair of proposals for about a month. Senate Republicans passed a bill on a 24-8 party-line vote Tuesday that would require voters to show photo identification at the polls. A constitutional amendment that would allow that measure to be enacted is still awaiting a vote. Both proposals would go into effect only with voter approval. Missouri Republicans have sought to establish a photo ID requirement to vote for a decade. The state Supreme Court struck down one measure in 2006, saying the cost to obtain the identification was an unconstitutional burden on voters. So this year, Republicans proposed that the state would pay for voters’ IDs. They also proposed changing the state constitution to allow lawmakers to set photo ID requirements for voting.

Montana: Judge tosses closed primary lawsuit, but fight is not over | Associated Press

A federal judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit that sought to allow only Republican-registered voters to participate in its primary elections. But the legal fight to throw out Montana’s century-old open primary system isn’t over yet. U.S. District Judge Brian Morris dismissed the lawsuit by the Montana Republican Party and 10 GOP county central committees that claimed open primaries allow Democrats and independent voters to influence the outcome of their elections. The system violates Republicans’ freedom of association and forces candidates to change their message to appeal to “crossover voters,” the lawsuit said. The dismissal comes at the Republicans’ request after after a series of rulings by Morris, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court that ensured the June 7 primary elections will remain open to all registered voters.

Montana: State attorneys defend campaign finance law ahead of elections | Associated Press

Montana attorneys on Tuesday defended the state’s new campaign finance disclosure law against a gun-rights organization that wants parts of it struck down before next month’s primary elections. The Virginia-based National Association for Gun Rights claims the law passed by state legislators last year would force it to register as a political committee for making issue-advocacy statements that are protected by the First Amendment. The law imposes burdens — filing reports, disclosing contributors and opening a bank account among them — on groups that “simply desire to talk about matters of public concern,” the association’s attorney, Matthew Monforton, said in court filings. State attorneys argued the law does not prevent so-called social welfare groups such as the National Association for Gun Rights from speaking freely, but it requires disclosure from those who do.

New York: Judge rejects challenge to New York’s ‘closed primary’ system | New York Daily News

New York State’s presidential primary results can be certified by the city and state Boards of Elections without any interference from the courts, a Manhattan judge ruled Monday. State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron rejected a plea by a Manhattan attorney to rule that the state’s “closed primary” system violates the state constitution because independents can’t vote at all and those who do participate must be enrolled in their respective political parties six months before the election. Mark Warren Moody asked the judge to issue a temporary restraining order to block the certification of the April 19 primary results, but Engoron refused, saying it’s not likely that Moody would win on the merits of his argument.

Ohio: Final arguments being made in dispute over ballots in Ohio | Akron Beacon Journal

Ohio’s elections chief and advocates for the homeless are making their final arguments in a federal lawsuit that could affect how thousands of ballots are cast and counted in the swing state. The advocates, along with the Ohio Democratic Party, are suing Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted over changes made in 2014 to requirements for absentee or provisional ballots. The two sides reiterated their arguments and findings in court briefs last week and are expected to submit their final filings with the court on Thursday. The case would then be left to the judge to decide. … At issue are the laws and procedures for absentee and provisional ballots. Provisional ballots are those cast when a voter’s identity or registration is in question, among other reasons. The voter’s eligibility is verified later.

West Virginia: High court rejects suit over online voter registration | The Herald Dispatch

A lawsuit filed Tuesday against clerks in Cabell and Kanawha counties questioning whether or not they had the right to deny online voter registration was rejected by the West Virginia Supreme Court later Tuesday afternoon. Cabell County Clerk Karen Cole said she received an official statement Tuesday afternoon from the West Virginia Supreme Court saying the petition filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia had been rejected. … The online registration was rolled out at the end of September after the Legislature passed a bill in 2013 allowing it. To register online, including changing an address or party affiliation, residents must have a driver’s license and the last four digits of their Social Security number. A person’s signature is then pulled from the Division of Motor Vehicles website to authorize the changes. Majestro said these steps provide more than enough security measures to ensure voter fraud does not take place.

Australia: High Court hears Bob Day’s constitutional challenge to senate voting reforms | Sydney Morning Herald

Senator Bob Day says he remains confident in his high-stakes challenge to new Senate voting laws, as the High Court begins deliberations on a case that could disrupt the Turnbull government’s plans for a July election. The Family First senator is arguing the new laws, passed after a marathon sitting of parliament in March, are unconstitutional, and will effectively disenfranchise millions of voters who don’t want to support major parties. The new voting system threatens to wipe out micro-parties, like Senator Day’s, which have traditionally relied on preferences to get them into the upper house, despite attracting only a fraction of the primary vote. The High Court challenge wrapped up just before midday on Tuesday, and the judges are expected to hand down a decision in coming weeks. The case comes at a critical time. If Senator Day manages to successfully argue new system is unconstitutional, it could jeopardise Malcolm Turnbull’s plans for a July 2 election.

Indonesia: West Papua: UN must supervise vote on independence, says coalition | The Guardian

The United Nations must pass a resolution for an internationally supervised vote for independence in West Papua, global parliamentarians and independence advocates have said. In a meeting in London on Tuesday, the West Papuan independence leader, Benny Wenda, will join parliamentarians, lawyers and humanitarians from the UK and the Pacific region to demand the United Nations pass a resolution for an independence referendum, in order to make up for its “mistake” in allowing Indonesia to take control almost 50 years ago. Indonesia warns other countries to respect its sovereignty over Papua. West Papuans are the indigenous people of a region on the Western half of an island shared with Papua New Guinea. Formerly under Dutch colonisation, Indonesia took temporary control of West Papua under a UN–backed treaty in 1963. It later gained complete rule through a UN-sanctioned but discredited ballot in 1969, in which just a little over 1000 Indonesian-picked West Papuan leaders representatives cast votes under threat of violence.

Philippines: National Bureau of Investigation says it’s nearly Impossible for hackers to alter poll results–NBI | Inquirer

NEARLY impossible. This was how the head of the National Bureau of Investigation cybercrime division replied to the question of whether or not it was possible for hackers to alter the results of the May 9 national elections. “It’s really difficult and nearly impossible to influence the results of the elections through hacking,” NBI head agent Ronald Aguto told the Inquirer in an interview on Tuesday. Several sectors have expressed concerns about the integrity of the election results after hackers successfully broke into the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) voters database. The hackers then uploaded at least 55 million voter’s personal details on the Internet. Personal details such as voters’ full names, birth dates, addresses, registration details such as precinct numbers and voter identification numbers were made public on the net. Also, individual information such as height, weight and passport number, fingerprint and topography were also included.

Serbia: Partial repeat polls held after irregularities in April vote | Europe Online

Some Serbians are voting Wednesday in repeat elections after irregularities in the April 24 parliamentary polls. Only 20,000 of the 6.7 million registered voters may take part in the repeat vote being held in 15 polling stations because of problems reported by both the opposition and the government. However, the handful of voters will decide on 10 per cent of the 250 seats in parliament. The April elections were called by conservative Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic two years ahead of schedule. The victory of the coalition grouped around Vucic‘s Progressive Party (SNS), which won 48.2 per cent of the votes, is not in question – but the number of the seats it will control is. Vucic and the SNS go into Wednesday‘s vote with 138 of the 250 seats.

Spain: King disolves parliament calls for repeat election on June 26 | Reuters

Spain’s King Felipe dissolved parliament on Tuesday and called a new national election for June 26 after a vote in December left such a fractured political landscape that no government could be formed. The new vote follows four months of fruitless coalition talks between Spain’s four main parties after the inconclusive ballot stripped the conservative People’s Party (PP) of acting prime minister Mariano Rajoy of its majority. The re-run is not expected to herald a major shift in voting patterns, opinion polls show, likely forcing bickering leaders to once again try to forge a coalition.