The Voting News Weekly: The Voting News Weekly for September 5-11 2016

cybersecurity_260In a victory for voting rights groups, federal appeals court blocked Kansas, Georgia and Alabama from requiring residents to prove they are U.S. citizens when registering to vote using a national form. This November, voters in four contested swing states – Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Virginia – will cast ballots on equipment that does not provide a software-independent record for use in an audit or recount. Eugene Robinson wrote in the Washington Post about systematic attempts to disenfranchise African-Americans and other minorities with voter ID laws and other restrictions at the polls. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to allow Michigan to ban voters from casting straight-ticket ballots in the coming election after lower courts found the prohibition was likely to discriminate against African Americans and result in long lines at the polls. North Carolina’s state elections board settled a deeply partisan battle over this fall’s election rules, largely rejecting a Republican-led effort to write local voting guidelines that would limit Democratic turnout in a political battleground state. Ohio faces pending court challenges to laws cut to early voting, its ballot procedures, and its process for removing voters from its registration rolls. The U.S. Department of Justice accused Texas officials of waging a misleading voter education campaign and squandering money the state was ordered to spend on clarifying the voting process for those without certain forms of government-issued ID. Thanks to the candidate challenging incumbent Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman, a back-end pathway into the state’s voter registration database, through which private information could have been accessed, has been closed. Gabon’s opposition leader took his bid to have a narrow presidential election loss overturned to the country’s top court and Vladimir Putin’s Ministry of Justice classified the independent polling agency Levada Center a “foreign agent,” citing its foreign ties with Columbia, George Washington, and Columbia Universities and with polling organizations such as Gallup, MORI, and Ipsos.