National: There’s work to be done to make US elections secure — and it has nothing to do with voter ID | Public Radio International

Recently, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said the government was considering classifying voting systems part of the nation’s “critical infrastructure,” a designation currently held by systems such as the electric grid and banking networks. The announcement comes on the heels of reports of a vast infiltration of Democratic Party servers. “Everything we know about voting machines — electronic ones, computerized ones, is they’re not very secure,” says tech security expert Bruce Schneier. “They are not tested, they are not designed rigorously and in many cases there’s no way to detect or recover from fraud. So there really is a disaster waiting to happen.” Aviel Rubin, a professor of computer science at the Johns Hopkins University, agrees. “Unfortunately, I think the thing that’s improved the most in the last 10 years is the sophistication of the hackers and the number of incidents that we see that are occurring daily. If you look at the news you see that ransomware is becoming pretty common,” Rubin says. “The big change that I’ve seen has been just how sophisticated the hackers are today. And they’re sponsored by countries like Russia and China, which is a much more formidable adversary than we had in the past.”

National: In-person voting fraud is rare, doesn’t affect elections | PBS NewsHour

Donald Trump’s newest campaign ad begins with a warning: “In Hillary Clinton’s America, the system stays rigged against Americans.” The commercial, which aired Friday as part of his $5 million swing state ad buy, harkens back to a claim Trump has been hammering for weeks — that the general election is rigged against him. The questionable claim looks to mobilize Republicans, with the all-important start of early voting in some states just weeks away. The presidential nominee has voiced strong support for North Carolina’s stringent voter ID law — struck down as discriminatory, but to be appealed — saying without it, voters will cast ballots “15 times” for Democrat Hillary Clinton. He also launched a new effort on his website last week seeking volunteers to root out fraud at the polls. That ID law Trump referred to had involved a broader package of restrictions — among them, reducing early in-person voting, which is popular among blacks in particular. At the same time, it exempted tough photo ID requirements for early mail-in voters, who were more likely to be white and Republican.

National: After DNC Hack, Cybersecurity Experts Worry About Old Machines, Vote Tampering | NPR

Security experts say that Russian hackers have broken into the computers of not only the Democratic National Committee but other targets as well. This has raised a new wave of concerns that on Election Day, the votes themselves could be compromised by hackers, potentially tipping the results. Most states have returned to paper-backed voting systems in recent years, but that still leaves vulnerable a number of states that rely solely on machines. Zeynep Tufekci, a professor at the University of North Carolina’s School of Information and Library Science, tells NPR’s Scott Simon that without these paper-backed systems, up to 15 states could be putting their election results at risk. That’s a possible reach of 60 million voters — “enough to swing an election,” Tufekci says. In my old workplace — at Princeton University at the Center for Information Technology Policy — we had this lounging area with comfy couches, and researchers had decorated the place with a voting machine that had been hacked to play Pac-Man instead of counting votes. … And when they hacked this, the machine had been in use in jurisdictions around the country with more than 9 million voters.

National: Report: Online Voting Carries Security Risks | The Daily Dot

In 2016, people are increasingly doing everything online. Dating has moved to Tinder, your bank is now a smartphone app, and schoolyard bullies are basically giving virtual wedgies. In that respect, it may seem odd online voting hasn’t become ubiquitous; however, a new report shows that electronic voting is fraught with problems. According to the report, released this week by a trio of nonprofit organizations—the Verified Voting Foundation, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, and Common Cause—online voting systems necessarily create a link between a voter and his or ballot. That link runs counter to the system of secret ballots the United States has almost universally employed for well over a century. Entitled Secret Ballot At Risk: Recommendations for Protecting Democracy, the report notes that 32 states, along with the District of Columbia, employ some form of online voting. Only Alaska allows all of its citizens to vote online; most other states restrict the privilege to active U.S. service members stationed overseas.

National: America scrubs millions from the voter rolls. Is it fair? | News21

The cleansing of America’s voter registration rolls occurs every two years and has become a legal battleground between politicians who say the purges are fair and necessary, and voting rights advocates who contend that they discriminate. Voting rights groups repeatedly have challenged states’ registration purges, including those in Ohio, Georgia, Kansas and Iowa, contending that black, Latino, poor, young and homeless voters have been disproportionately purged. In Florida, Kansas, Iowa and Harris County, Texas, courts have ordered elections officials to restore thousands of voters to the registration rolls or to halt purges they found discriminatory. The 1993 National Voter Registration Act mandates that state and local elections officers keep voter registration lists accurate by removing the names of people who die, move or fail in successive elections to vote. Voters who’ve been convicted of a felony, ruled mentally incompetent or found to be noncitizens also can be removed. The U.S. Election Assistance Commission reported that 15 million names were scrubbed from the lists nationally in 2014.

National: OSCE rights group requests 500 international observers to monitor US presidential vote | Reuters

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe aims to send 500 international observers to observe November’s US presidential election, a tenfold increase from the number the group deployed in 2012. A coalition of more than 200 US civil rights groups urged the OSCE in a letter released on Tuesday to provide even more than the 500 observers the OSCE requested based on an assessment it conducted in May. The actual observers will be dispatched by the international security and rights organization’s 57 participating states. The letter from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights said the OSCE’s role was “even more critical” in light of the US Justice Department’s July announcement, first reported by Reuters, that it would deploy election observers to far fewer polling sites this year than in previous elections. Civil rights advocates say voters are more likely to face racial bias at the polls in November than they have in 50 years, because of voting laws that several states passed after the US Supreme Court struck down part of the landmark anti-discrimination 1965 Voting Rights Act three years ago. Supporters of the laws say they are necessary to combat voter fraud.

Editorials: Voting machines should be seen as critical democracy infrastructure | Gregory Miller/The Hill

At the Open Source Election Technology Foundation (OSET), a 10-year old Silicon Valley based nonprofit election technology research institute, we are encouraged by valuable dialog underway about how to protect America’s aging and vulnerable voting machinery and evolve our systems with technology for ease and confidence. Setting aside some misunderstanding about the challenges elections officials face in administering a nationwide patchwork quilt of election technology, there is a critical mass on the left and the right discussing how to protect our “critical democracy infrastructure.” Part of the problem is that by design, our nation’s voting infrastructure is a balkanized system comprised of a small number of vendors’ machinery, combined with a variety of ways of casting and counting ballots. While a large-scale national attack is highly unlikely, such would be unnecessary to derail a general election. In fact, it only requires a targeted attack of a few machines in a key county of a swing State.

California: Restored voting rights sought for California disabled people | Associated Press

As the November presidential election neared, it looked like David Rector would once again be unable to vote. Five years ago, a judge ruled that a traumatic brain injury disqualified him. Then the 66-year-old former NPR producer learned about a California law that makes it easier for people with developmental disabilities to keep and regain the right to vote. The law, which took effect Jan. 1, protects that right if they can express a desire to vote. On Tuesday, Rector will seek to have his voting rights restored, and advocates representing him and others who have been disqualified will file a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department asking that California be required to notify them of the new law in time for the Nov. 8 ballot.

California: Ballot selfies are illegal, but this Bay Area legislator says they shouldn’t be | Los Angeles Times

Beyonce’s done it, Sean Hannity’s done it, and we all know Kim Kardashian has done it too. Now a Bay Area lawmaker wants all California voters to be able to do it too, without the threat of arrest. That is, take selfies in the voting booth. A new bill sponsored by Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) would legalize so-called “ballot selfies” and allow citizens to share photos of themselves voting on social media. “People are taking pictures of their dogs, they’re taking pictures of their dinner, so let’s take pictures of voting,” Levine said in an interview. “It’s time to make voting cool and ubiquitous, and ballot selfies are a powerful way to do that.”

Kansas: Kobach asks court to exclude voters over citizenship proof | Associated Press

Kansas is asking a federal appeals court to keep thousands of people who haven’t yet provided the documents to prove they are U.S. citizens from voting in November’s election. Judges from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver are set to hear arguments Tuesday in the legal fight over how the state enforces its proof-of-citizenship requirement for voters who register at motor vehicle offices. Since 1993, states must allow people to register to vote when they apply for or renew their driver’s licenses. The so-called motor-voter law says that people can only be asked for “minimal information” when registering to vote, allowing them to simply affirm they are citizens.

Mississippi: Voter ID laws: Why black Democrats’ fight for the ballot in Mississippi still matters | The Conversation

This fall, we are faced with the question of who will become president. And equally important – who can vote? Over the past decade, Republican lawmakers in more than 20 states have enacted laws making it harder to vote. In the most extreme cases, they require citizens to present government-issued ID to cast their ballots. Recently, these laws have been successfully challenged in the courts. This summer, federal courts overturned voting laws in North Carolina and North Dakota. In North Carolina, the court ruled against a state law requiring voters to present government-issued ID. The law also restricted, among other things, early voting and had a disproportionate effect on African-American voters. A federal judge ruled that the North Dakota voter ID law had a harmful impact on the ability of Native Americans to cast their vote. Looming over the controversy about voter ID laws is the history of voter suppression and the movement to open the ballot box to African-Americans. As a scholar in African-American history, I believe that today’s debate can be understood only by considering struggles of African-Americans for the vote in the past and in particular by looking at the story of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.

Texas: State Prosecuted 15 Illegal Voting Cases But None Involved Impersonation | News21

Until the day she was arrested, 53-year-old Vicenta Verino spent years canvassing poor, elderly and mostly Latino neighborhoods, harvesting mail-in ballots for candidates who paid her to bring in votes. Her crime: unlawful assistance of a voter, an offense that would not have been prevented by the state’s voter ID law. Texas officials claim that the law is needed to prevent fraud, but only 15 cases have been prosecuted by the office of the attorney general of Texas between the 2012 primary election and July of this year, according to a News21 review of more than 360 allegations the office received in that time. Eleven of those 15 are cases are similar to Verino’s, in which “politiqueras” – people hired by local candidates in predominantly Latino communities – collect and mail ballots for mostly elderly local voters. Texas election laws restrict who can have assistance while voting by mail and require a signature on the ballot from the person who assisted the voter. “We used to work street by street seeing people, talking about the candidates, and those times, it kind of used to help the people,” Verino said, now two years after her arrest for voter fraud.

Virginia: McAuliffe Restores Right to Vote to Thousands of Ex-Felons | NBC News

Nearly 13,000 former felons in Virginia had their right to vote restored Monday—and more could be re-enfranchised in time for the November election. Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced the rights restoration at a civil-rights memorial in Richmond. “Restoring the rights of Virginians who have served their time and live, work and pay taxes in our communities is one of the pressing civil rights issues of our day,” McAuliffe said in a statement. “I have met these men and women and know how sincerely they want to contribute to our society as full citizens again.” Monday’s announcement was the latest salvo in an ongoing battle between McAuliffe, a Democrat, and Republican lawmakers over felon voting rights in the Old Dominion.

Virginia: McAuliffe says he has restored voting rights to 13,000 felons | Daily Progress

Gov. Terry McAuliffe will announce today that he has restored the rights of more than 13,000 felons on a case-by-case basis, two sources said. During a noon ceremony at the Virginia Civil Rights Memorial on Capitol Square, the governor also is expected to detail his rights-restoration process for other felons who have completed their terms. In a 4-3 ruling on July 22, the Supreme Court of Virginia struck down as unconstitutional McAuliffe’s April 22 executive order that restored voting and other civil rights to about 206,000 felons who had completed their terms. The court ordered the Virginia Department of Elections to cancel the registration of all felons who had been “invalidly registered” under McAuliffe’s actions.

Wisconsin: Court’s Ruling in Wisconsin Seen as Victory for Voting Rights | The New York Times

A federal appeals court panel refused on Monday to delay a lower court ruling that outlawed a sheaf of restrictions on voting in Wisconsin, enacted by the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature. The decision, by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, was seen as a significant victory for voting rights advocates. The ruling makes it likely that November’s state and federal balloting will follow earlier rules that allowed expanded early and weekend voting, among other changes. Judge James D. Peterson of Federal District Court had struck down parts of Wisconsin’s 2011 voter ID law and other election laws in July, ruling that the Legislature had crafted them to suppress voting by minorities and other traditionally Democratic constituencies.

Wisconsin: Appeals court allows new early voting hours to remain in place for now | Wisconsin State Journal

Extended early voting scheduled to begin next month in Madison is on for now under a ruling by an appeals court panel issued Monday. A three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request by the Wisconsin Department of Justice to put on hold during appeal a ruling by U.S. District Judge James Peterson that overturned several Republican changes to Wisconsin voting law, including one that limited early voting to the weekdays two weeks before an election between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Peterson’s ruling also limited early voting to one location per municipality, upped residency requirements from 10 to 28 days and prohibited the use of expired student IDs for purposes of proving one’s identity. Peterson stayed a different part of his ruling dealing with how the state issues free voter IDs.

Australia: Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into online voting to begin public hearings |

Just weeks after the trouble-plagued first online Census, Victoria is pressing forward with public hearings to examine the effectiveness of electronic voting as part of a Parliamentary Inquiry into the matter. Beginning today, the Electoral Matters Committee will hear from electoral commissions, technology specialists and community advocacy groups. The inquiry will hear from experts and stakeholders during sessions on Monday and Wednesday this week as they examine what has become an increasingly contentious issue. In the fallout from the bungled online Census, many commentators lamented the damage it had done on the movement towards online voting. … Plenty of advocates remain undeterred and would like to see the government explore ways to deliver comprehensive electronic voting in the future. But according to those who have provided submission to the inquiry, there are plenty of pitfalls to consider.

Congo: DRC Opposition Calls for Nationwide Strike Tuesday | VoA

Opposition groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo have called for a nationwide strike Tuesday, hoping to force President Joseph Kabila to hold elections and step down when his second term expires at the end of this year. This came after the opposition coalition over the weekend refused to attend a dialogue with President Kabila, sponsored by the African Union and facilitated by former Togolese Prime Minister Edem Kodjo. Martin Fayulu, leader of the Commitment for Citizenship and Development party and a member of the opposition coalition, said Kodjo is biased in favor of President Kabila.

Zambia: Opposition wants court to take custody of election materials | AfricaNews

Zambia’s main opposition party, the United Party for National Development (UPND) has requested the Constitutional Court to take custody of election materials from the electoral body ahead of a petition they filed challenging the election of president Edgar Lungu. According to the UPND’s application filed on Monday, ballot papers and election materials currently held by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) should be in the custody of the court. The party also sought an injunction to restrain the Electoral Commission from tampering, altering and destroying any election material.