National: Just how secure are electronic voting machines? | CNN

It’s no secret, given the hacks that have plagued the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. But security researchers warn that it’s just the beginning. “There’s not even a doubt in my mind that there are other actors out there that have yet to be found,” Crowdstrike CEO George Kurtz told CNNMoney. “I’m sure there will be other hacks that come out over the course of this election and certainly beyond that.” Kurtz, whose firm was brought in by the DNC to investigate the hack, called the hack a watershed moment. He said Crowdstrike has been fielding calls from Washington as political parties wrap their heads around a new type of threat: Hackers trying to manipulate the U.S. election. Far from Washington, hackers descended on Las Vegas to show off their party tricks at Black Hat, the annual conference that puts security on the frontlines. They hacked cars, ATMs and mobile devices. This year, there was a new addition: a simulated version of a hackable electronic voting machine, assembled by security firm Symantec. Brian Varner, a security researcher at Symantec, said the electronic voting machine is another frontier for hackers.

National: Trump Says the Election Will Be Rigged. In These States, It May Be Impossible to Prove Him Wrong. | Mother Jones

With growing evidence that Russia is meddling in the US presidential election—allegedly by hacking the Democratic National Committee and releasing embarrassing emails—the concern that somebody might try to hack voting machines no longer seems outlandish. And as many as one-fifth of all votes cast in the November election could be particularly vulnerable to interference. … Concerns about the vulnerability of the country’s voting infrastructure are mounting just as Republican nominee Donald Trump has begun talking about howthe election might be rigged against him. The absence of a paper trail on millions of ballots in swing states could give Trump plenty of ammunition for his conspiratorial allegations—and make them virtually impossible to disprove. “You really want to have a baseline of evidence that you can use to demonstrate that the outcome [of an election] was correct,” says Pamela Smith, president of Verified Voting, which pushes for accurate, transparent, and verifiable elections. “The DNC hack takes this idea out of the realm of the theoretical and into the ‘Oh, this could actually happen.'”

National: The United States is getting better at running elections | The Washington Post

Today marks the release of the latest edition of the Pew Charitable Trust’s Elections Performance Index (EPI), a measure of how effectively U.S. states administer elections. The news is surprisingly good: there has been a slow but steady improvement in election administration in this country. This good news flies in the face of the typical stories about election problems — hanging chads, long lines at the polls, voter purges in Brooklyn, precinct consolidation in Maricopa County, Ariz. — to say nothing of claims that election outcomes are “rigged.” Stories of electoral malfeasance are real and important, of course. But the EPI goes beyond anecdotes to gauge performance across several dimensions of election administration, including the quality of voter registration, ballot casting, and vote counting. To do so, the EPI relies on 17 indicators, including the average wait time at polling places, voter turnout and registration rates, return and rejection rates of absentee and military/overseas ballots, and the availability of online voter registration and voting information. These indicators are combined into a composite index that captures the degree to which voting is convenient and secure.

National: Despite recent rulings, voter ID laws could still scramble calculus in November | CBS

Last week, Texas agreed to substantially soften its new voter ID law ahead of November’s election, allowing voters there to cast ballots this fall even if they do not have one of the required photo IDs. The Texas agreement was the latest in a string of victories for voting rights groups–but there are still more than a dozen states with new voting restrictions in place since 2012. And what’s more, the high level of legal churn with mere months to go until Election Day creates the possibility for confusion at the polls, including in a handful of key battleground states. “There is a lot that’s in flux right now,” said Jennifer Clark, counsel for the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice. “This is really sort of the high season for litigating these restrictions … if the election were held today, there would be 15 states where voters will find a more difficult time at the polls than the last time they went to vote for president in 2012.” Among those 15 states cited by the Brennan Center’s research are traditional swing states like New Hampshire, Ohio and Virginia–as well as some states that could be on the verge of competitive, like Arizona and Georgia. New Hampshire and Virginia both have new, stricter voter ID laws in place, for example; Ohio has changed its rules for absentee and provisional ballots.

National: Despite changes in voter ID laws, students still see pain points in processes | USA Today

In the build-up to the presidential election this November, federal appeals courts struck down voter ID laws in several states — including Wisconsin, Texas and North Carolina — on the grounds that they were in direct violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and especially targeted minority and traditionally Democratic voters, preventing some from voting or even going to the polls. North Carolina’s former voter ID law, which went into effect in 2013, mandated that voters present state-issued photo identification at the polls, shortened the period to cast early ballots by a week and eliminated pre-registration and same-day registration for students who turned 18 on Election Day. Three years later, that’s no longer true. College students who believed that the former law disenfranchised young people welcomed the change. “My first thought after hearing the news was ‘thank God,’ but that relief came too soon,” says Jackson Dellinger, a North Carolina native and sophomore at Duke University.

Editorials: Discrimination Will Continue, But Who Will Notice? | Julie Fernandes/Democracy Journal

Last month, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced that, for the first time in 50 years, the U.S. Department of Justice will not be able to send federal observers to the polls on Election Day this November to protect voters against racial intimidation and harassment when they attempt to vote. And this in a year where the possibility of racial intimidation at polling places across the country is particularly acute, given the racially charged rhetoric animating the presidential campaign. The federal observer program, created in 1965 by the Voting Rights Act (VRA), was designed to ensure that newly enfranchised African-American citizens would be able to vote free from discrimination, intimidation, or harassment. Over the years, the program has been used by both Republican and Democratic Administrations to protect the integrity of the electoral process by ensuring basic access to polling places for all voters. There are countless examples of the federal observer program being used to protect voters from racial discrimination at the polls. In 2012, federal observers monitoring an election in Shelby County, Alabama, documented the closing of doors on African-American voters before the voting hours were over, as well as voting officials using racial epithets to describe voters. That same year, observers were sent to Alameda and Riverside Counties in California to gather information regarding reports of serious failures to provide language assistance to voters who needed it. In 2011, a federal court relied on observer reports to conclude that Sandoval County, New Mexico, had effectively disenfranchised members of the Keres tribe. In 2010, during the early voting period in Harris County, Texas, federal observers documented intimidation and harassment targeting Latino and African-American voters by an organized, well-funded Texas-based organization with clear partisan electoral goals. And during a primary election in Grenada, Mississippi in 1999, white poll watchers showed up at polling sites with cameras that were used to take pictures of black voters who needed assistance casting their ballots, in an effort to intimidate them. Thankfully, as soon as these individuals found out that there were federal observers monitoring the election, they exited the polling site.

Florida: Attorney Wants Supreme Court To Reconsider The Case of the Phantom Write Ins | WFSU

Duval County State Attorney Angela Corey’s reelection bid would have been decided in the August 30 primary because she faced only Republican opposition. When that happens, Florida’s constitution says anyone can vote in the primary. But when local divorce attorney Daniel Leigh qualified as a write in, the primary was closed. It doesn’t matter that Leigh has no intention of running, that he is a Corey contributor, or that Corey’s campaign manager filed his qualifying papers.

North Carolina: State will try to block voter ID ruling Wednesday | The Charlotte Observer

Uncertainty continues to cloud this fall’s elections, with the state expected to ask the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday to reinstate North Carolina’s voter ID law, while counties decide whether to extend or shorten early voting. Mecklenburg County’s elections board Chair Mary Potter Summa said it’s unclear whether the board will reduce the number of planned early voting hours. The board is scheduled to vote on a plan Monday. Meanwhile, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump Tuesday addressed the voter ID law at a rally in Wilmington. Without an ID, he said, people might vote multiple times. “Voter ID. What’s with that?” he said. “Why aren’t we having voter ID? In other words, ‘I want to vote, here’s my identification. I want to vote.’ As opposed to somebody coming up and voting 15 times for Hillary.… You won’t vote 15 times, but people will.”

Virginia: ‘Don’t give up hope,’ McAuliffe official says at forum on nullified felon voting order | Richmond Times-Dispatch: City Of Richmond News

Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s administration had few answers Tuesday for a room full of Richmonders frustrated by a court ruling that threw out the governor’s order that restored voting rights for more than 200,000 felons. At a town hall event held in a church on Richmond’s North Side, McAuliffe appointees and Del. Jennifer L. McClellan, D-Richmond, told attendees to stay involved in the issue, but offered little concrete information about when and how felons affected by the order will have their rights restored again. “Don’t give up hope. The governor’s committed to doing this,” said Secretary of the Commonwealth Kelly Thomasson. “The No. 1 marching order for tonight is to stay tuned,” McClellan said.

Wisconsin: ‘Ballot selfie’ by Paul Ryan primary challenger a (technical) violation of state law | Wisconsin State Journal

With voting underway in Wisconsin’s partisan primary election Tuesday, the Republican primary challenger to U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, Paul Nehlen, may have broken state law by tweeting a photo of what appeared to be a marked ballot. State law bars any voter from showing “his or her marked ballot to any person or places a mark upon the ballot so it is identifiable as his or her ballot.” The campaign of Nehlen, a Delavan businessman who is challenging Ryan, may have done just that Tuesday. At 3:18 p.m. Tuesday, Nehlen’s campaign Twitter account posted a photo of what appeared to be a completed ballot with the message: “#HireNehlen Save America #WI01.” Because of the law, a spokesman for the state elections commission, Reid Magney, said it discourages voters from posting these so-called “ballot selfies.”

Australia: Census debacle should bring pause in electronic voting moves: expert | Sydney Morning Herald

A leading expert in electronic voting says proposals for an overhaul of Australian elections could be slowed by Tuesday’s census debacle, calling for a parliamentary committee to carefully consider security, verification and capacity as part of any new consideration. Former NSW Electoral Commission director of information and technology Ian Brightwell said the Australian Electoral Commission would have to be prepared to allow significantly increased external scrutiny of its processes and systems if it follows calls by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten for further moves towards electronic voting at federal elections. Responsible for the implementation of the NSW iVote electronic system, used in the 2011 and 2015 state elections, Mr Brightwell has worked for two decades in management of technology in election processes. He said the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ mishandling of the census would be a lesson for the election authorities and politicians, but that public education was needed to build confidence in electronic systems before more people could vote using computers.

Iraq: Electoral Commission Excludes Kirkuk From Provincial Elections | AINA

The Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) of Iraq has excluded the Kirkuk Governorate from Iraqi provincial elections, which will be held next year. This is the third time Kirkuk has been barred from provincial elections in Iraq. According to the IHEC, the decision is related to political issues in the city. Following the decision, Kirkuk Governor Najmadin Karim said during a press conference on Tuesday (August 9) that authorities would not allow election centers to be open for displaced people in the governorate. “The IHEC says electoral cards and election centers will be open for displaced people to vote for their representatives in Anbar, Nineveh, Diyala and Tikrit,” Karim said. “I want to inform residents of Kirkuk that no one will vote in Kirkuk in [the elections of] any other governorates if the people of Kirkuk are not allowed to participate in the elections.

Thailand: Vote recount may delay official referendum results | Bangkok Post

An election commissioner will propose a recount at a polling unit, a move which might delay the announcement of the official results on the charter referendum scheduled for Wednesday. Somchai Srisutthiyakorn said on Tuesday he would propose the Election Commission (EC) recount the votes from a poll unit in Phitsanulok’s Muang district. He based the decision on a public video clip showing poll officials turning their back on observers while counting marked ballots without showing each of them publicly. Mr Somchai believes the recording was from one of 15 poll units at Naresuan University.

Zambia: Zambia voting for president amid unprecedented violence | Associated Press

Zambia, often praised for its healthy democracy and economy, now faces a presidential election with high tensions on both fronts. This southern African country votes Thursday amid concerns about political violence after years of peaceful power transitions that the U.S. last year praised as a “model for Africa.” President Edgar Lungu, who has been in office for just a year and a half, faces businessman Hakainde Hichilema of the opposition United Party for National Development. Lungu took office in January 2015 after the death of President Michael Sata. For the first time, a candidate must win more than 50 percent of the vote or face a runoff election. Lungu and the ruling Patriotic Front party won last year’s election with 48 percent of votes. Hichilema, who got 46 percent in his fourth showing as a presidential candidate, called the vote a sham.