Donald Trump’s Schadenfreude in the DNC’s embarrassing email leak is standard practice in America’s messy electoral politics. Today, though, his casual request that Russian hackers dig up Hillary Clinton’s emails—sent while she was U.S. Secretary of State—for his own political gain has sparked a new level of outrage among cybersecurity experts. As the controversy continues to swirl around a likely-Russian hack of the Democratic National Committee, Trump responded to a reporter’s question at a press conference Wednesday by inviting Russia to do him another favor: collect and leak the emails that Clinton deleted from the private server she ran during her time as Secretary of State. “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you’ll be rewarded mightily by our press,” he said. He later circled back to the same theme, telling reporters that “If Russia or China or any other country has those emails, to be honest with you, I’d love to see them.” Some have dismissed the comment as a joke, though his repetition of the request seemed sincere. Either way, Trump’s comments represent a dangerous first, according to amazed members of the cybersecurity community: A politician actively soliciting political help from foreign government hackers.
There is a scene in the most recent series of Veep – an American spin off from The Thick of It – where the Republicans and Democrats are haggling in court over whether to carry on counting presidential election votes in Nevada. Of course this is pretty much what happened in 2000 when the world waited for the United States to decide who actually won the election after the hanging chads fiasco. Even ahead of a vote being cast in November, there are signs that the election will not just be fought in the court of pubic opinion, but ordinary law courts as well. If 2000 was messy, it was but an amuse bouche for what is happening at the moment. The seeds were sown by the Supreme Court in 2013 when it effectively gutted the Voting Rights Act, regarded by many as the crowning achievement of LBJ. Prior to the ruling, states deemed to have a history of voter discrimination – a polite way of saying stopping blacks from voting in the deep South up to the 1960s – had to get federal clearance before changing electoral laws. This was swept away by the Supreme Court and a number of states are tightening up their legislation.
County clerks around Arkansas are working to determine exactly how many registered voters may have been incorrectly flagged as felons after the state Secretary of State’s office updated a computerized record-keeping system. Pulaski County Clerk Larry Crane says about half of nearly 2,000 registered voters in the county who were recently flagged under the new system either should be allowed to vote or have an indeterminate status. The number will vary by county, he says, and each county may have to take a different approach to correct the problem. “Some [county clerks] will be more effective than others. Some will have better records than others on what has been done with the people in their county before. Some will choose simply to send a letter to everyone on their list and say you’ve been identified as a felon and if you’re not, you’ve got to find the information to prove that you’re not,” he says.
California: San Francisco counters Trump rhetoric with move for non-citizen local voting | The Guardian
Politicians in San Francisco are hoping that a backlash to Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric will motivate local voters to move in the opposite direction and grant non-citizens the right to vote. An amendment to the city charter will be placed on the ballot in November to allow the parents and guardians of schoolchildren – citizen or non, documented or undocumented – to vote in school board elections, following a 10-1 vote by the board of supervisors on Tuesday. “San Francisco always goes against the grain when there are assaults on people’s liberties,” said supervisor Eric Mar, who sponsored the proposal. “This is about fairness and equity, providing an opportunity for all parents to have a voice.” This will be San Francisco voters’ third chance to approve such a measure, after unsuccessful efforts in 2004 and 2010.
District of Columbia: D.C. mayor pushes statehood issue at Democratic National Convention | The Washington Post
D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, speaking Tuesday at the Democratic National Convention, confidently predicted victory — and soon — in the District’s four-decade fight for statehood. Bowser used the few moments she was allotted to address the convention to publicly demand greater support for the cause from fellow Democrats. The mayor also made clear that she expects Hillary Clinton to fulfill her pledge to be a vocal advocate for D.C. statehood if she wins the presidency in November. Taking the microphone to announce D.C. Democrats’ overwhelming vote for Clinton to be the party’s nominee, Bowser introduced herself as mayor of “the best city in the world, and soon to be the 51st state of our great union.”
A candidate for the Kansas House wants to convene a grand jury to investigate Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Steven X. Davis, a Democratic candidate for the Kansas House from Lawrence, filed a petition with the Douglas Country District Court to summon a grand jury to investigate whether the secretary of state’s office committed election fraud in 2014. Davis, who is challenging incumbent Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, in House District 44, said the secretary of state’s office may have intentionally failed to register voters who had tried to register through the state’s online system during the last election, even if they provided proof of citizenship documents as required by Kansas law.
The groups trying to undo the state’s purge of tens of thousands of Ohioans from voter rolls because of failing to vote or confirm home addresses have a powerful new ally in their court fight — the U.S. Justice Department. The legal battle erupted in April when the Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute and the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless filed suit in federal court in Columbus. It challenged Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s move to revoke the registrations of an unspecified number of residents because they didn’t respond to address verification requests or hadn’t voted in four years. U.S. District Judge George Smith upheld Husted’s actions on June 29. The plaintiffs, who are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio and the public policy group Demos, appealed to the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.
Though the special committee on electoral reform will make recommendations on a number of subjects — online and mandatory voting among them — it’s the decision on whether to switch to a proportional voting system that’s paramount, Université de Montréal political science professor André Blais told the committee Wednesday. “I will argue that the most important decision you have to make is whether to adopt some form of PR or not,” Blais told members. Reluctant to state his personal preference, Blais instead used his committee appearance to present the results of his extensive empirical research comparing outcomes under proportional and majoritarian systems, such as single member plurality or first-past-the-post system currently used in Canada. More specifically, he described the results of four studies he did with other researchers and gave the committee five conclusions they could apply in their deliberations. The studies controlled for a number of factors, but Blais stressed there’s no causal certainty and that that they didn’t look at specific systems.
The failed July 15 military coup in Turkey was a long time in the making. Its aftermath is the final act in what may be viewed as the devolution of Turkish democracy into an authoritarian state. Turkey is a country where citizens’ demand for democracy has steadily grown over the last 15 years. A long period…
The Electoral Commission of Zambia says printed ballots to be used in the August 11 elections will arrive in Lusaka on Thursday. ECZ officials said political party representatives would be at the airport in the capital to receive and inspect the ballots before they are transported to polling stations across the country. The ECZ awarded a contract to the Dubai-based al-Ghurair Printing Company to prepare all ballots to be used for the presidential, legislative and local elections and a referendum. Opposition parties, including the United Party for National Development, said the printing of ballots by a company outside the continent was too expensive and could be used by the government to rig the elections. Until this year, ballots for Zambian elections were printed in South Africa.