National: Hack of Democrats’ Accounts Was Wider Than Believed, Officials Say | The New York Times

A Russian cyberattack that targeted Democratic politicians was bigger than it first appeared and breached the private email accounts of more than 100 party officials and groups, officials with knowledge of the case said Wednesday. The widening scope of the attack has prompted the F.B.I. to broaden its investigation, and agents have begun notifying a long list of Democratic officials that the Russians may have breached their personal accounts. The main targets appear to have been the personal email accounts of Hillary Clinton’s campaign officials and party operatives, along with a number of party organizations. Officials have acknowledged that the Russian hackers gained access to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is the fund-raising arm for House Democrats, and to the Democratic National Committee, including a D.N.C. voter analytics program used by Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign. But the hack now appears to have extended well beyond those groups, and organizations like the Democratic Governors’ Association may also have been affected, according to Democrats involved in the investigation.

National: Americans have become much less confident that we count votes accurately | The Washington Post

Donald Trump’s warning that the 2016 election is likely to be “rigged” has rightfully alarmed many observers, both here and abroad. Although the GOP nominee has provided no evidence of potential fraud, our research suggests that many voters may be receptive to his far-fetched claim, which could erode faith in the electoral system. Disputes over election results aren’t new, of course. In the wake of the 2000 presidential contest, ballot irregularities and the Supreme Court’s decision in Bush v. Gore — which ended a recount in Florida and effectively handed the election to George W. Bush — led some Democrats to question the legitimacy of the outcome. Following Bush’s reelection in 2004, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. wrote a 2006 article in Rolling Stone claiming that Bush’s campaign had stolen the election. The culprit for many Democrats was electronic voting machines that could be hacked to flip Democratic votes to the Republican column. Trailing in the polls to Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign, John McCain warned in a debate that the advocacy organization ACORN was engaging in voter registration fraud and was “on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.” When Obama defeated McCain and Mitt Romney in 2012, Republicans became more likely to express doubts about the legitimacy of those elections.

Editorials: Facebook may soon have more power over elections than the FEC. Are we ready? | Nathaniel Persily /The Washington Post

For political advertising, like so much else, the digital revolution inspires both utopian and apocalyptic predictions. And as in many other arenas where Internet-based “disruption” looms, the optimists and pessimists both have a point. For those of us who study campaign and election regulation, however, new technology poses a serious challenge to the existing ways of thinking about and addressing the campaign finance problem. Government regulation becomes increasingly difficult once communication moves online, thus, large Internet platforms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter will become the primary regulators of political campaigns. They need to recognize their new role and use their power responsibly. One error that observers often make in thinking about the evolution of campaign communication is to view the technological shift as one from television to the Internet. To be sure, what we are seeing is a shift in the “devices” used to connect with audiences — adding computers, tablets, gaming consoles and (in particular) smartphones to televisions as the pathways for communication. But television itself is changing and becoming less distinct from those other devices, as younger viewers in particular move from linear watching to on-demand programming of various types. (That said, Americans continue to watch, on average, more than four hours of live TV per day!)

Connecticut: ‘Motor voter’ off to fast start at Connecticut DMV | The CT Mirror

Connecticut registered nearly 700 new voters Monday and Tuesday, the first two days of a “motor voter” system established at the Department of Motor Vehicles under last week’s settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice. And the DMV wasn’t even open Monday, just AAA. Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said any customer doing business at the DMV or at AAA offices that serve as DMV branches is now automatically prompted to register to vote or update their voting address, a long-overdue step complying with a U.S. civil rights law.

Georgia: District mapping is diluting minority votes in this Georgia county, civil rights groups allege in lawsuit | Los Angeles Times

More than half a century after the passage of the federal Voting Rights Act, the most racially diverse county in the southeastern United States is depriving minority voters of the ability to elect local candidates of their choice, a coalition of civil rights groups has alleged in a federal lawsuit. Although minorities make up more than half the residents of Gwinnett County, Ga., northeast of Atlanta, no black, Latino or Asian American candidate has ever won a seat on the Board of Commissioners or Board of Education or in any other county office, the lawsuit says. The voting strength of minorities has been diluted by county district maps that have been drawn in violation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, said Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee, which represents the plaintiffs, including the Georgia National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People and the Georgia Assn. of Latino Elected Officials.

North Carolina: Uncertainty still clouds North Carolina elections | The Charlotte Observer

Uncertainty continues to cloud this fall’s elections, with the state planning to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate North Carolina’s voter ID law, and counties deciding whether to extend or shorten early voting. One group warned Wednesday that the state could be headed for a “train wreck” if counties don’t extend the hours to vote early. 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. Gov. Pat McCrory said Tuesday that he’ll ask the Supreme Court to reverse a lower court ruling that threw out the ID law and with it provisions that barred same-day registration and shortened the early voting period from 17 to 10 days. (The number of actual hours remained the same as during previous elections.)

Pennsylvania: Lawmakers examine election codes, voting machine legislation | WITF

State lawmakers Tuesday held a rare summer meeting to discuss updating guidelines on voting machine technology. Meanwhile, some elections officials took the opportunity to try and convince the legislators to make broader changes to the commonwealth’s election codes. Wes Perry, assistant director of Elections in Washington County, spoke at Tuesday’s meeting. He said most of the state’s voting machines were bought with a federal grant about a decade ago, and are due to be replaced soon.

Texas: State must accept wide range of voter ID, judge orders | Austin American-Statesman

Softening a strict Texas voter ID law that had been found to be discriminatory, a federal judge Wednesday ordered the state to accept a wide range of identification for the November general election. Texans without a photo ID will be able to cast ballots by showing bank statements, utility bills and other forms of identification, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos said, accepting without change an agreement over how to handle the Nov. 8 election that had been reached last week by state officials, the U.S. Justice Department and civil rights groups. The change in rules was required after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month that the Republican-favored voter ID law, enacted in 2011, discriminated against minority voters.

Wisconsin: In Wisconsin, a controversial voter-ID law could help choose the president | The Washington Post

An appeals court on Wednesday put on hold an earlier ruling that residents without a photo ID could still vote if they attested to their identity in an affidavit, striking a blow to activists concerned that many in Wisconsin will be blocked from voting. Advocates for voting rights have had recent legal ­victories with rulings against ­voting-restriction legislation in North Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin. A federal ruling last month said Wisconsin residents who had trouble obtaining the necessary identification would still be able to vote with an affidavit. But the appeals court on Wednesday said that state lawyers challenging that ruling were likely to be successful. Wisconsin has battled for years over its voter-ID law, and the latest bout of legal wrangling has left the situation decidedly unclear for voters in November. In a separate case, a district court judge declared unconstitutional several of Wisconsin’s voting rules and ordered reforms to the process by which voters can obtain IDs from the Division of Motor Vehicles. That decision also is being appealed.

Sao Tome and Principe: Ex-prime minister elected president in one-man race | Reuters

Former prime minister Evaristo Carvalho has been elected president of Sao Tome and Principe, the election commission said on Monday, after incumbent Manuel Pinto da Costa dropped out of the race citing voting irregularities in the first round. Carvalho won 42,058 votes in Sunday’s poll, the National Electoral Commission (CEN) said, announcing provisional results. Only 46 percent of voters voted and of those 18 percent turned in blank or invalid ballots, said CEN chairman Alberto Pereira.

Thailand: Junta chief says elections to be held in 2017 | Al Jazeera

Thailand will hold a general election in 2017, the country’s junta chief said on Tuesday, his first comments since voters backed a new military-crafted constitution in a referendum. Sunday’s vote in support of the charter was the first test of public opinion since the 2014 coup. Campaigning and open debate were curbed in the run-up to the poll, however. Thailand’s last general election was in 2011. “The election will be held late 2017 as planned,” Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha, who as army chief seized power two years ago, told reporters. Since the vote, the European Union and the United States – both key allies – have called on Prayut to hold elections swiftly and lift restrictions on civil liberties imposed since his takeover. Previous election dates promised by Prayut have slipped.

United Kingdom: Labour leadership voting rights dispute goes to appeal court | The Guardian

Labour’s ruling body is challenging a high court decision allowing new party members to vote in the forthcoming leadership election. The decision was an apparent boost to Jeremy Corbyn in his battle to remain as Labour leader, because most new members are expected to support him in the contest against his rival, Owen Smith. Party officials are going to the court of appeal on Thursday in an attempt to reinstate a block imposed by Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) on 130,000 recruits getting the vote. The NEC decided that full members would not be able to vote if they had not had at least six months’ continuous membership up to 12 July.

Zambia: Campaign unrest tests stability as Zambia votes | AFP

At least three people have been killed during the campaign, with regular clashes erupting between supporters of Lungu’s Patriotic Front (PF) and Hichilema’s United Party for National Development (UPND). Ahead of the vote, the election commission issued an emergency statement describing the unrest as “unprecedented” and warning it had “marred Zambia’s historic record of peaceful elections”. Last month, campaigning was halted in Lusaka for 10 days to reduce the violence. But skirmishes continued until polling day, including fighting in the streets and vehicles overturned close to Hichilema’s final rally on Wednesday in Lusaka.