Maryland: Investigation into Baltimore elections irregularities nearing an end, state says | Baltimore Sun

State officials said Wednesday their review of Baltimore’s primary election was nearing an end, as they continued to investigate why votes outnumbered check-ins at the polls. Nikki Baines Charlson, deputy administrator at the State Board of Elections, said she expected workers to finish the review Thursday. Officials have focused on 60 precincts — about a fifth of the city’s 296 — where irregularities were “significantly” greater than in other Maryland jurisdictions. “There are probably only 20 precincts left that haven’t been reviewed at all,” Charlson said Wednesday. “We will have looked at 100 percent of the precincts by tomorrow.” Charlson said officials planned to present their preliminary findings at a meeting Thursday of the State Board of Elections.

National: Online Voting and Democracy in the Digital Age | Consumer Reports

Considering the importance of elections in the U.S., the country sure does make voting a challenge. National elections are held on a Tuesday in November, a workday for most people. In 11 states and Washington, D.C., you can register to vote on Election Day. (Maryland allows same-day voter registration only for early voting.) Other states have registration deadlines of eight to 30 days before an election. Some states have expanded voting by mail, online registration, absentee voting, and similar practices. But others have become more restrictive: 33 states request or require voters to show identification at the polls, and 17 of those states request or require a photo ID. And voters in places like Maricopa County in Arizona, where budget cutbacks have significantly reduced the number of polling spots, can find crowded conditions more reminiscent of a Depression-era breadline than a polling site in the Internet Age. Why, then, when everything from buying airline tickets to filing federal income taxes is routinely done online, is voting for most Americans still such a manual, show-up-in-person, paper-ballot-based process? … Whatever the political system, efforts to introduce Internet voting face the same overriding issue: how to make sure ballots aren’t subject to manipulation or fraud by hackers or compromised by a system failure.

Arizona: Threat of hackers keeps Arizona’s online voting program small | KPHO

Thousands of Arizona service members were offered the chance to cast a ballot over the internet in Tuesday’s special election, but state and county officials say the threat of hackers makes widespread online voting unlikely anytime soon. Election officials sent ballots to more than 4,000 Arizonans stationed out-of-state or overseas ahead of the election, either by mail or through the state’s relatively new online process. The number of ballots cast online wasn’t immediately available, but five counties distributed at least 2,172 electronic ballots, according to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office. “I mean these people are overseas serving our country, serving us, so we want to make sure they’re able to vote,” said Maricopa County Recorder’s Office spokesperson Elizabeth Bartholomew. Maricopa County sent 1,205 electronic ballots to Arizonans in several countries, according to state data.

Editorials: Californians from both parties are working to expand voting rights | Alex Padilla/Los Angeles Times

If there’s one thing that every American should agree with, it’s this: Voting is the fundamental right in our democracy, the one that makes all others possible. The right to choose our representatives is why patriots dumped tea into Boston Harbor, why women marched for the 19th Amendment and why, 51 years ago, people of all races joined together to win the passage of the Voting Rights Act. But one of the most insidious ideas in the 2016 election is that voting rights are negotiable. More than 20 states have enacted voting restrictions that could prevent many Americans from exercising their fundamental right to vote this November. We saw the logical outcome of these laws last month in Arizona, when local election officials closed 70% of polling locations in Maricopa County. We will never know how many people didn’t vote that day, frustrated by five-hour lines and overwhelmed poll workers.

Idaho: Ada County absentee ballots duplicated after programming error | KBOI

Ada County elections officials have stopped short of calling it the first “glitch” in the county’s new $1.6 million voting tabulation system, but it’s definitely on the books as a programming error. Routine testing leading up to the Tuesday’s primary election identified that the first mailing of absentee ballots did not have the correct identifying marks needed to be read by the tabulation software. This first mailing took place on March 30th and included 2,660 mailed ballots. All subsequent ballots mailed have the correct markings and they will tabulate accurately, said Chief Deputy Phil McGrane with the Ada County Clerk’s Office.

Illinois: Group submits signatures for Illinois redistricting amendment | The Daily Northwestern

A nonpartisan Illinois citizens group submitted 65,000 pages of signatures to the Illinois State Board of Elections earlier this month for a petition calling for a constitutional amendment to change redistricting procedures in light of the coming November elections. Independent Maps — a statewide coalition composed of volunteers and state business, philanthropic, religious and political groups — collected and delivered more than 570,000 signatures to the election board’s Springfield office on May 6. The petitions call for an amendment to be placed on state ballots for a vote this November. The amendment would take the power of redrawing state legislative districts away from legislators and give it to an independent commission.

Editorials: Baltimore elections: ‘stuff happens’ isn’t good enough | E.R. Shipp/Baltimore Sun

Back in 2000, the state of Florida became an international laughingstock over its difficulties tallying ballots. Baltimore has escaped that ignominy so far this year only because the fate of a presidential election is not in the balance. But the difficulty of its elections specialists in tallying ballots from April 26 is just as unforgiveable as was Florida’s. Baltimore, we’ve got a problem here — and it did not begin with this election cycle. As The Sun recently reported, what we have experienced is in many ways déjà vu all over again. Still, a history of persistent problems does not mean the future has to be fraught with them, too — especially the predictable ones like too few and poorly trained election judges who are ultimately responsible for the smooth operation of more than 200 polling places and the delivery of voting results after the polls close.

New Mexico: Auditor: Elections are chronically under-budgeted by secretary of state | Albuquerque Journal

State Auditor Tim Keller, in a report released today, says the Secretary of State’s office has been chronically under-budgeting for elections over the past decade. Keller says that has led to the need for $25 million in emergency loans, grants and special appropriations from the state to pay for elections. “Repeatedly using emergency funding mechanisms for routine, regularly scheduled elections runs against commonsense budgeting principles,” Keller said in a statement. Secretary of State Brad Winter, however, told the Journal the problem is not that the office has underestimated how much elections will cost, but that it has been under-funded.

Oregon: Portland tech firm Galois spins out new company to make elections more secure | Portland Business Journal

Portland computer science research and development firm Galois is taking aim at election security with its latest spin-off, Free & Fair. The new wholly-owned subsidiary is run by elections security researcher Joseph Kiniry, who two years ago illustrated how easy it is to hack vote-by-email systems, and is based on technology developed by Galois. To start, Free & Fair has three products:

A tabulator, which is a secure and verifiable ballot scanning system.
The ePollbook, which is a scalable and secure electronic poll book for precincts and county voting centers.
A supervised voting system, which is a complete polling place system based on the STAR-Vote project. That project is a collaboration between academia and Travis County (Austin), Texas to create a secure, reliable and auditable voting system.

West Virginia: ACLU requests information from county clerks on online voter registration | Charleston Gazette-Mail

The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia filed requests this week with the clerks of Cabell and Kanawha counties for information about their handling of the online voter registration system. On May 3, the same day it was filed, the state Supreme Court rejected an emergency petition from the ACLU, which was filed over the refusal by Kanawha Clerk Vera McCormick and Cabell Clerk Karen Cole to accept online voter registration in advance of the May 10 primary election. Attorneys with the ACLU argue that the clerks can’t reject the online voter registrations without violating the equal protection clause in the state and U.S. constitutions, and that denying online registration threatens the integrity of a statewide election. “Right now, we’re evaluating our options and deciding how best to go forward,” said Jamie Lynn Crofts, lead attorney for the ACLU. “We don’t currently have any lawsuit pending but we want to keep track of what’s going on and perhaps file another lawsuit in the future.”

Dominican Republic: People Openly Sell Votes for $20 in the Dominican Republic | Bloomberg

Jayson was a first-time voter in the Dominican Republic, or would have been, if he’d had any intention of voting. Instead he was figuring out how to turn his ballot card into cash. In the end, the 19-year-old said he got 1,000 pesos ($22) in return for surrendering the ID during Sunday’s presidential election. Jayson had a Plan B to solicit bids — “I’ll go around with my card on my forehead” — but didn’t need to use it. His friend, Luis, 21, did even better. He said he was paid about $28 to vote for the ruling Dominican Liberation Party: “I took the money but then I just voted for who I wanted anyway.’’ As President Danilo Medina cruised toward re-election, with 62 percent of the vote according to early counts, opposition parties were crying fraud — in fact, almost everyone was. Across the country and the political spectrum, candidates said buying of ID cards and votes was rife. Local TV stations showed transactions under way right in front of polling stations.

Kenya: Police launch inquiry over attack on man during election protest | The Guardian

Kenyan police have launched an internal investigation after graphic video footage of riot police beating and kicking an apparently unconscious man on the sidelines of an election protest caused outrage. In the latest of several protests by opposition activists who say their leader will be denied a fair chance at next year’s election, police fired teargas and beat demonstrators with truncheons on Monday to stop them storming the offices of the electoral commission in Nairobi. The footage appeared to show officers chasing a man in a green T-shirt as he fled a building near the commission’s headquarters. After he stumbled to the ground, they laid into him with truncheons and boots. One officer, apparently oblivious to journalists recording the violence, attacked with such force that part of his body armour fell off. After a few seconds, the police were shown sprinting away, leaving the young man limp and motionless on the ground.

Macedonia: Court to Mull Election Postponement | Balkan Insight

The Constitutional Court on Tuesday scheduled a session for the following morning to discuss whether the dissolution of parliament ahead of the June 5 polls was unconstitutional because it was carried out incorrectly. The junior party in the ruling coalition, the Democratic Union for Integration, DUI, which like Macedonia’s opposition parties wants the polls to be postponed, submitted the issue to the court last Friday. The DUI insists that the dissolution should be annulled because the MPs voted for a carte-blanche motion allowing parliament to be dissolved two months before the election, without setting the actual date. The party argues that a new dissolution vote should have been taken once the June 5 date was set.

Philippines: Comelec, PPCRV, Smartmatic officials face election sabotage charges | Manila Bulletin

Top officials of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) and the Comelec service provider Smartmatic are facing election sabotage charges before the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) for allegedly changing the computer script (hash code) or program which may have altered the counting of the votes. Most of the respondents were not named in the 27-page complaint except for Henrieta de Villa of PPCRV and Marlon Garcia Smartmatic, the Venezuelan IT expert who allegedly changed the script together with unnamed Comelec technicians to accommodate the letter “ñ.” The complaint was filed jointly by the Mata sa Balota Movement (MBM)) and the Coalition of Clean Air Act of the Philippines which asked Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales to look into the hash code switch which they claimed seriously affected the integrity of the counting of the votes in the May 9 national and local elections.