On Monday, the Washington Post reported that some election officials and intelligence officials have doubts about the ability of systems in the USA’s states and provinces to defend themselves against a sustained attack by a state-level actor. “America doesn’t have its act together,” Ion Sancho, a Florida election supervisor, fretted to the paper. “We need a plan.” Despite the warnings, it would be incredibly difficult for a foreign power to directly tamper with a U.S. state’s election results. Still, voter rolls themselves could be vulnerable in a number of states. Under the Help America Vote Act of 2002, each state must have one centralized, digital database of voters. One way that a malicious actor could impact an election (presidential or otherwise) would be to tamper with the registrations of a demographic group associated with the opponent of a candidate favored by the adversary.
National: Clinton Campaign Says There Is a “Direct Link” Between Trump and Russian Hackers | Mother Jones
A Hillary Clinton campaign spokesman says a new article in the New York Observer establishes a “direct link” between the Donald Trump campaign and the hacker or hackers who have recently penetrated the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and other high-profile Democratic officials. On Tuesday, the Observer published a piece maintaining that the DCCC had coordinated—presumably improperly—with the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2015. The story, written by a freelance contributor named Michael Sainato, cited “an internal DCCC memo” leaked to the Observer from Guccifer 2.0—the handle of the hacker or hackers who have successfully targeted these Democratic committees. The Observer is owned by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who has been a top adviser to the Republican presidential nominee. … In an email to Mother Jones, Fallon elaborated on his tweet: “Guccifer 2.0 is known to be the Russians. And now that they are leaking materials obtained from their hacking to Trump adviser Jared Kushner’s newspaper, that’s a pretty direct link between Trump and the Russians behind this hack.”
U.S. lawmakers of both political parties told VOA they have no reason to doubt that Russian hackers are targeting America’s voting infrastructure with the possible intent of disrupting or undermining confidence in the November elections. “I don’t think it’s a stretch because Russia’s been engaged in cyberattacks against the United States,” said Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas. “These are well known to our national security experts. So no, it does not surprise me.” “We know Russia has been very active in cyberattacks in the United States, and we know that they mine for information all the time,” said Senator Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat. “Nothing surprises me about Russia.”
Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter lashed out at Russia on Wednesday, accusing the government of President Vladimir V. Putin of demonstrating a “clear ambition to erode” international order and warning Russia to stay out of the American elections. Speaking on Wednesday at Oxford University in England, Mr. Carter used language that evoked a time before the fall of the Berlin War, when leaders in Washington and Moscow were entrenched global adversaries. “The United States does not seek a cold, let alone a hot, war with Russia,” Mr. Carter said. “But make no mistake, we will defend our allies, the principled international order, and the positive future it affords all of us.” He also warned Moscow that Washington “will not ignore attempts to interfere with our democratic processes.” The F.B.I. is investigating whether Russia hacked into computer systems of the Democratic National Committee. Mr. Carter accused Russia of “undercutting the work and contributions of others rather than creating or making any positive contributions on its own,” and said that Moscow was sowing “instability rather than cultivating stability.”
Russian hackers are constantly targeting U.S. computer networks, the nation’s top intelligence official said Wednesday, in an apparent tip of his hand toward blaming Moscow for recent attacks on Democratic Party institutions. “The Russians hack our systems all the time,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said at the Intelligence and National Security Summit in Washington. “Not just government but also corporate and personal systems.” “So do the Chinese and others, including non-state actors,” he added. Clapper declined to specifically address the hacks of Democratic groups, which have been traced to hackers with suspected Russian ties. But he referred to comments previously made by President Obama that “experts have attributed this to the Russians.”
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed a lawsuit today on behalf of the Alabama State Conference of the NAACP and four individual black voters alleging that the method of electing Alabama’s most powerful judges violates the Voting Rights Act. The suit claims Alabama’s statewide method of electing members of the Alabama Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals and Court of Civil Appeals deprives the African-American community of the ability to elect any judges of their choice. The suit alleges, since only one fourth of the state’s population is black, a statewide election for these judges prevents the black voters from having any judicial representation. Currently, all 19 of Alabama’s appellate judges are white.
A California judge restored the voting rights of a man with a traumatic brain injury after expressing doubts about his ability to communicate but saying she was bound by a new state law that makes it easier for people with developmental disabilities to cast a ballot. San Diego Superior Court Judge Julia C. Kelety raised concern that David Rector’s conservator and fiancee, Rosalind Alexander-Kasparik, might attribute a level of cognition to Rector that he lacks and that Rector’s votes may reflect her preferences, not his. But the judge said in her order dated Tuesday that she didn’t have evidence to support her doubts and lacked resources to investigate.
Georgia: Kennesaw State University warns of ‘unauthorized’ voter drives | Atlanta Journal Constitution
A sudden increase of clipboard-wielding operatives roaming Kennesaw State University’s campus could be intended to tamp down African-American balloting in November. Michael Sanseviro, Kennesaw State’s dean of students, sent a memo to students Tuesday morning, warning that “unauthorized individuals are walking around with clipboards claiming they are registering students to vote” in recent weeks. “Some of these unauthorized individuals,” the dean added, “are targeting particular student populations.” A student tipster tells us that the talk on campus is that shenanigans are afoot: The clipboard corps is targeting black students, pretending to register them so they can’t actually vote in November. A campus spokeswoman said she could only confirm that the would-be registrars were not permitted to be on campus, but the dean’s memo suggests this is a familiar problem.
Opponents of Michigan’s new straight ticket-voting ban asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday to reject Attorney General Bill Schuette’s emergency appeal, predicting “massive confusion and even longer lines at polling places” if the state’s ban is enforced. The prohibition on letting voters fill in one bubble for all Democratic or all Republican candidates on the Nov. 8 ballot would deter African-American voters in particular, attorneys for the plaintiffs argued. “Millions of voters of all parties use it, have come to depend on it, and expect to be able to use it again this November,” the lawyers wrote in a brief filed Wednesday, noting the state has made no effort to educate voters that straight-party voting would not be available this fall. The lawyers include Mark Brewer, a Southfield attorney who is the former Michigan Democratic Party chairman.
Tribal leaders in Nevada asked a U.S. judge Wednesday to order the state and two counties to establish satellite polling places on reservations where they say Native Americans are being denied an equal opportunity to vote in the November elections. Two Paiute tribes filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Reno accusing Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske and Washoe and Mineral counties of discriminating by illegally refusing tribe members voting access afforded to people in wealthier, mostly white neighborhoods. Members of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe living in Washoe County say they must travel 96 miles roundtrip to register to vote or to cast ballots in person in Sparks.
For Dustin Jones, hailing a taxi is more than just flagging down a cab on the street corner or punching in his coordinates on his phone. So Jones, a wheelchair user and founder of the disability advocacy group United for Equal Access New York, has made ride-hailing expansion his issue. Specifically, the Bronx man sought to have legislation that would have provided for ride-hailing outside of New York City amended earlier this year to include provisions for 100 percent wheelchair-accessible service requirements. Ultimately, that bill failed, though for reasons beyond accessibility. “I think we’re being heard, but we’re not being heard at the levels where we should be heard,” Jones said. “That’s going to take a lot more convincing. That’s where myself and other advocates and aspiring advocates need to really come out and let the Legislature know that we’re not going to really stand for this.” The good news for Jones and others with disabilities who are civically engaged is in politics there is strength in numbers. And their ranks are growing.
In the swing state of North Carolina, a fight for early voting rights that seemed to end with a strongly worded federal court ruling last month, may be just getting started. That fight began in 2013, when the state made cuts to early voting, created a photo ID requirement and eliminated same-day registration, out-of-precinct voting, and pre-registration of high school students. More than half of all voters there use early voting, and African-Americans do so at higher rates than whites. African-Americans also tend to overwhelmingly vote for Democrats. In July of this year, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down major parts of the overhaul. The three-judge panel ruled those changes targeted African-Americans “with almost surgical precision.”
Enough is enough. First, North Carolina citizens are gerrymandered so extensively that the politicians picked their voters. Then, there’s an election law bill that slashes voting opportunities for African-Americans and young people. So, some politicians make it more difficult for those who might oppose them to get to the polls. Playing these cynical games with voting shows a lack of respect for our most important right and makes a mockery of our elections. The state’s Republican leadership, party officials and power players in the General Assembly who are responsible, say it’s just politics as usual and an appropriate part of the process. Meanwhile the courts have said that the legislature has crafted discriminatory and unconstitutional voting laws.
Last week, voting rights advocates accused North Carolina Republicans of mounting a procedural end run around a panel of federal appeals court judges, which had ruled that a 2013 election law targeted African-American voters “with almost surgical precision” and struck it down. On Wednesday, they leveled virtually the same charge against Republicans in Texas, where a 2011 election law was invalidated this summer by another federal appeals court. This time, the advocates had the support of the Justice Department. In one of the nation’s most closely watched voting rights cases, the appeals court ruled in July that the Texas law, which required voters to show one of seven government photo IDs before casting a ballot, discriminated against minorities who lacked the IDs and could not easily get them. A lower court later ordered state officials to let people without IDs vote by signing a statement that they “cannot reasonably obtain” one — and told the state to spend $2.5 million to educate voters and local election officials on the relaxed requirement.
China: Two localists barred from running in election to challenge disqualifications | Hong Kong Free Press
Edward Leung Tin-kei, one of the five candidates who was barred from running in the LegCo election for their political stances, has said he will lodge an election petition to challenge the decision to reject his nomination after election results are gazetted. A media liaison assistant for Andy Chan Ho-tin, the Hong Kong National Party convenor who was barred from the election for advocating Hong Kong independence, told HKFP that Chan may also lodge an election petition after the results are printed in the gazette, the Hong Kong government’s official record. Their petitions, if successful, may overturn the results and trigger re-elections for Legislative Council seats, at least in the constituencies they were originally nominated in.
Croatia goes to the polls in snap parliamentary elections on Sunday – just 10 months after the last vote produced a parliament unable to forge a sustainable governing coalition – with little hope that the outcome will be any different this time. Pollsters predict that neither of the two main parties which have governed Croatia since it emerged from the former Yugoslavia 25 years ago – the conservative Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) – will score a decisive win. “It is certain that the election result will be tight and it is totally certain that neither of the big blocs will have enough to form a government alone,” political analyst Davor Gjenero told dpa.
The European Union observation mission in Gabon said Tuesday it noted an anomaly in voting results from President Ali Bongo Ondimba’s stronghold province that pushed him over the edge to win re-election by a slim margin. Election commission results showed Mr. Bongo beat opposition contender Jean Ping in Gabon’s Aug. 27 presidential vote by 1.57 percentage points. Clashes quickly broke out in the Central African country after the results were announced last week, with opposition supporters claiming fraud and burning buildings and looting stores. Mr. Ping on Friday declared himself the rightful winner of the vote.
Millions of people could lose their voting rights in the upcoming regional elections in February as the government and the House of Representatives insist that they have electronic identification cards (e-KTPs) to be eligible to vote. As of Wednesday, the Home Ministry reported that 163 million people nationwide had already registered for e-KTPs. However, the remaining 19 million people have yet to obtain the cards. Many across the country are complaining about the shortage of blangko — blank cards used to create e-KTPs consisting of seven layers and chips. Some of them also said that many registration machines in the districts are broken.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, is calling on President Obama to retaliate against Russia for interference in the presidential election — meddling the California congressman says is designed both to “sow discord” in American politics and to help elect Donald Trump. “What makes this new and troubling is not just the intelligence-gathering of hacking into a political party,” Schiff told Capital Download on Wednesday, “but the attempt to interfere with the election process by dumping information in an effort, I think, to be disruptive, to sow discord in the United States, to cause people to question both the fairness of elections and maybe even the election results, as well as to potentially tip things in the direction of a favored candidate by the Kremlin.”