More than 250 Madison County voter registration forms have been secured by the Indiana State Police as part of a statewide investigation that some registrations may be fraudulent. ISP detectives visited the Madison County Voter Registration Office on Wednesday after being contacted by Joe Spencer, the Democratic Party representative of the office. The ISP investigation was initiated when the Hendricks County Clerk’s Office raised concerns about 10 voter registration forms received through the Indiana Voter Registration Project through Patriot Majority. Spencer said the Madison County office received 13 voter registration forms that were questioned. Some of them had Indianapolis ZIP codes and at least one with a Pendleton address on a numbered street. “There are no numbered streets in Pendleton,” he said. As directed by Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, the Madison County office contacted the state police about the registrations.Full Article: ISP investigating local voter registration forms | Local News | heraldbulletin.com.
Slight changes in election rules are causing consternation among party leaders who fear loyal voters will be confused when casting ballots this fall. A new law says straight-party ballots – cast by 1.5 million Hoosiers in the last two elections – will no longer count in partisan races in which more than one candidate can be chosen. That affects at-large races common at the local level. Though seemingly minor, the change is a huge deal for local party leaders, who say it will confound voters. They also fear the erosion of a practice, dating to the 19th century, of voting for a slate of one party’s candidates with a single punch. Indiana is one of only eight states that still offer the option of straight-party voting. Alabama, Iowa, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas are the others.Full Article: Change to voting law worries major parties | Local News | tribstar.com.
Thousands of Kansas voters will be allowed to cast regular ballots in local, state and federal elections in November without providing proof of citizenship under an agreement forged by the American Civil Liberties Union and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. The agreement was announced Thursday, a day before Kobach was to appear in court for a contempt hearing. The hearing was canceled shortly after the agreement was filed in court. Federal Judge Julie Robinson had ordered Kobach in May to ensure that people who registered to vote at the DMV could vote in November’s election under the federal Motor Voter Act regardless of whether they had provided proof of citizenship. There were more than 18,600 such voters earlier this month. Kobach and the ACLU, representing the plaintiffs, disagree about what that order entails, but they have resolved the most pressing issues. Voters can cast their ballots unimpeded on Nov. 8 while the case continues to be litigated. Under the agreement, Kobach will instruct local election officials to send out a new notice “that unequivocally advises covered voters that they are ‘deemed registered and qualified to vote for the appropriate local, state and federal elections’ ” in the Nov. 8 general election.Full Article: Kobach, ACLU reach agreement over DMV voters | The Wichita Eagle.
Ohio: Secretary of State Jon Husted wants feds to butt out on running state elections | Cleveland Plain Dealer
Secretary of State Jon Husted said cyber attackers would have a hard time disrupting Ohio’s elections but expressed concern about what the federal government could do if it took over the state’s election computer systems. Husted, the state’s chief elections officer, wrote to congressional leaders Thursday asking that the House and Senate make clear that federal agencies cannot involve themselves in the election process. The letter was prompted by comments from Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson that his department would review whether state election systems should be considered as “critical infrastructure” under the Homeland Security Act of 2002. Such a designation would give the federal government ability to step in to protect those systems.Full Article: Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted wants feds to butt out on running state elections | cleveland.com.
The battleground state of Pennsylvania might as well have a target on its back as Election Day nears, the cybersecurity company Carbon Black warned in a new report released Thursday. “If I was a 400-pound hacker, I would target Pennsylvania,” Carbon Black chief security strategist Ben Johnson told CBS News, a reference to Donald Trump’s comment in Monday’s debate that the hacker behind the Democratic National Committee email leak could be someone “sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.” U.S. intelligence officials actually believe Russia was behind that breach and a number of recent intrusions into state voter databases. Across the state, most Pennsylvania counties use particularly high-risk electronic voting machines that leave behind zero paper trails, which could be useful to audit the integrity of votes cast. In addition, many of these machines — called “direct-recording electronic” machines — are running on severely outdated operating systems like Windows XP, which has not been patched by Microsoft since 2014, Carbon Black said in its report. In general, these complex machines are a headache compared to so-called fixed-function devices that perform just one task and are thus harder to hack.Full Article: Cybersecurity expert: Pennsylvania most vulnerable to voting system hacks - CBS News.
Virginia: He fought in World War II. He died in 2014. And he just registered to vote in Virginia | The Washington Post
The FBI and local police are investigating how at least 19 dead Virginians were recently re-registered to vote in this critical swing state. One case came to light after relatives of a deceased man received a note congratulating him for registering, Rockingham County Commonwealth’s Attorney Marsha Garst said Thursday. “His family members were very distraught,” said Garst, who confirmed the existence of the FBI and police investigation but said she could provide few details because the case is ongoing. All 19 were initially registered as voters in the Shenandoah Valley city of Harrisonburg, although a clerk double-checking the entries later raised questions about one. She recognized the name of Richard Allen Claybrook Sr., who died in 2014 at age 87, because his son is a well-known local judge. She happened to recall that the judge’s father had died.
… House Minority Leader David J. Toscano (D-Charlottesville) said the case was not proof of voter fraud because no one had actually managed to cast a vote in the names of the dead.
“First of all, there was no voter fraud — they caught him,” Toscano said. “Nobody cast a vote. . . . There’s still no evidence of that going on in the state. But there is evidence every time you turn around that the Republicans are trying to make it more difficult for citizens to vote in elections.”He fought in World War II. He died in 2014. And he just registered to vote in Va. - The Washington Post.
State officials told a judge they had trained workers to make sure people could easily get IDs for voting, but an audio recording was released Thursday of Division of Motor Vehicles employees telling a man he couldn’t get one quickly because he didn’t have a birth certificate with him. “You don’t get anything right away,” one DMV employee said on the recording. How IDs are handled is “up in the air right now,” said another. The recordings were made Sept. 22, the same day Attorney General Brad Schimel filed court documents claiming DMV “field staff are now trained to ensure that anyone who fills out these forms will receive a photo ID, mailed to them within six days of their application,” even if they don’t have a birth certificate. The Nation first reported on the recording, which was made by Molly McGrath, the national campaign coordinator with VoteRiders, a group opposed to voter ID laws that also helps people get IDs.Full Article: DMV gives wrong information on voter ID.
Colombia: With Colombians set to vote on peace deal, a former president campaigns to kill it | Los Angeles Times
When they go to the polls Sunday, Colombian voters are expected to endorse the landmark peace agreement signed this week by the government and the country’s most important rebel group. If that happens, it will be despite the formidable efforts of former President Alvaro Uribe. He has waged an aggressive campaign to kill the deal, rallying opponents ranging from victims rights groups to wealthy ranchers. Their main complaint is that the deal’s “transitional justice” treats the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia — the guerrilla group known as FARC — too leniently for horrific crimes committed over decades of war. Those who confess to murders, kidnappings, terror attacks and other atrocities would face maximum sentences of eight years of “restricted liberty,” a form of house arrest, in the 23 “relocation zones,” the rural reserves where rebels will move once they give up their weapons.Full Article: With Colombians set to vote on peace deal, a former president campaigns to kill it - LA Times.
An enormous spike in the number of Haitian migrants crossing into the United States from Mexico over the past year prompted the Obama administration this month to order a sudden policy reversal and served as a reminder of the dysfunction and despair driving people from the hemisphere’s poorest nation. Better prospects in Haiti depend on political stability, which is at a make-or-break juncture. With a redo, scheduled Oct. 9, of last year’s failed, allegedly fraud-ridden presidential vote, Haiti has a chance to regain a measure of prosperity following years of mismanagement and suffering. It must seize that chance. A devastating earthquake in 2010 led U.S. officials to adopt a lenient stance toward Haitian migrants without visas, who have been granted admission and temporary work permits on the grounds that conditions in Haiti were so dire. The administration abruptly reversed course this month after more than 5,000 Haitians, many of whom had undertaken an odyssey through South and Central America, were processed through the San Ysidro Port of Entry near San Diego since last October. Just 339 Haitians crossed there in all of fiscal 2015.Full Article: In Haiti’s upcoming election, the stakes are higher than ever - The Washington Post.
Hungary: National Election Office: 18 percent of mail-in ballots spoiled in Hungarian referendum | Hungarian Free Press
Hungary’s National Election Office has processed 32,254 mail-in ballots for the Sunday referendum against EU-wide “migrant quotas” and has deemed that 18% of them (5,708) were spoiled by voters. Hungarians living abroad and holding dual citizenship are eligible to vote by mail-in ballot, but thus far only 28% of the 274,573 registered voters have chosen to participate in the October 2nd referendum. The National Election Office will continue to both receive and process mail-in ballots on Thursday and Friday, but participation among those who live abroad and hold dual citizenship is far below the 50% +1 threshold. It’s hard to tell if the large number of spoiled ballots are deliberate, or merely an indication that Hungarians living abroad are not completing their voting packages as per the National Election Office’s instructions. It takes several steps to cast a valid mail-in vote. Voters must complete a declaration form with their name, date of birth and other personal information, and must include this form alongside their completed mail-in ballot, but must not place it together with their ballot into the small white envelope (which goes into the larger self-addressed and stamped envelope) that voters have been provided.Full Article: National Election Office: 18 percent of mail-in ballots spoiled in Hungarian referendum.
The leaders of the U.S. government, including the President and his top national-security advisers, face an unprecedented dilemma. Since the spring, U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement agencies have seen mounting evidence of an active Russian influence operation targeting the 2016 presidential election. It is very unlikely the Russians could sway the actual vote count, because our election infrastructure is decentralized and voting machines are not accessible from the Internet. But they can sow disruption and instability up to, and on, Election Day, more than a dozen senior U.S. officials tell TIME, undermining faith in the result and in democracy itself. The question, debated at multiple meetings at the White House, is how aggressively to respond to the Russian operation. Publicly naming and shaming the Russians and describing what the intelligence community knows about their activities would help Americans understand and respond prudently to any disruptions that might take place between now and the close of the polls. Senior Justice Department officials have argued in favor of calling out the Russians, and that position has been echoed forcefully outside of government by lawmakers and former top national-security officials from both political parties.Full Article: How Russia Wants to Undermine the U.S. Election | TIME.
Hackers could influence the outcomes of November’s elections, a computer science professor who has demonstrated security weaknesses in voting machines told lawmakers on Wednesday. “It’s possible,” said Andrew Appel, a professor at Princeton University, at a House Oversight IT subcommittee hearing focused on election cybersecurity. But Appel, who has hacked voting machines used in many states, was the only one to reply affirmatively when subpanel Chairman Will Hurd (R-Texas) asked for a “yes” or “no” answer to the question, “Can a cyberattack change the outcome of our national elections?” The four other people testifying — including a secretary of state, the chairman of the federal agency that assists with elections, a top Department of Homeland Security cyber official and the head of a public policy firm’s division focused on voting rights — all essentially answered “no.”Full Article: Computer researcher to Congress: 'It's possible' for hackers to alter election - POLITICO.
A congressional subcommittee on information technology gathered on Wednesday, inviting high-ranking officials from the Department of Homeland Security and the US Election Assistance Commission, as well as cybersecurity experts to testify on how hackers could hijack the 2016 presidential elections. All five witnesses agreed that a cyberattack would not affect the outcome of the presidential election this November. The electronic voting system’s best line of defense against cyberattacks is that the machines aren’t connected to the internet, meaning hackers would have to show up in person to hijack the election.Full Article: How to thwart Election Day hackers: Vote the old-fashioned way - CNET.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told a Senate hearing Tuesday that 18 states have taken up his agency’s offer to help improve cyber security for their election systems, in the wake of suspected breaches blamed on Russian hackers. “We are seeing a limited number of instances where there have been efforts through cyber intrusions to get into the online presence of various state election agencies. And, one or two of them have been successful, others have not,” Johnson said at a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing. The issue of the integrity of US elections has been a prominent one on the presidential campaign trail, with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic Sen. Harry Reid each raising concerns about possible rigging of the results. Both Trump and his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, said at Monday’s debate that they would respect the election results. Asked by Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana, whether hackers are seeking to change votes, Johnson said: “What we are seeing are efforts to get into voter registration rolls, the identity of registered voters, things of that nature, not to change a ballot count.”Full Article: DHS: 18 states seeking help securing elections - CNNPolitics.com.
A new study has found that over 34,000 transgender people may be prevented from voting in the upcoming election due to strict voter ID laws. The study, “The Potential Impact of Voter Identification Laws on Transgender Voters in the 2016 General Election,” was released by UCLA School of Law’s The Williams Institute — a think tank focused on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy. Its author, Williams Institute Scholar Jody L. Herman, Ph.D., used data from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality to look at voter ID laws in eight states: Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin. In those states, around 112,000 transgender are estimated to have transitioned and be eligible to vote, but about 30% may be prevented from doing so. The reason? A lack of identification that accurately reflects their correct gender, according to the study. Currently, thirty-four states have voter ID laws that require someone to produce an “acceptable” form of identification to poll workers in order to vote. The strictest forms of those laws require government-issued ID, which is where transgender people face a potential barrier.Full Article: Voter ID laws could prevent 34,000 trans people from voting - Metro Weekly.
U.S. officials are increasingly confident that the hacker Guccifer 2.0 is part of a network of individuals and groups kept at arm’s length by Russia to mask its involvement in cyberintrusions such as the theft of thousands of Democratic Party documents, according to people familiar with the matter. While the hacker denies working on behalf of the Russian government, U.S. officials and independent security experts say the syndicate is one of the most striking elements of what looks like an intensifying Russian campaign to target prominent American athletes, party officials and military leaders. A fuller picture of the operation has come into focus in the past several weeks. U.S. officials believe that at least two hacking groups with ties to the Russian government, known as Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear, are involved in the escalating data-theft efforts, according to people briefed on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s probe of the cyberattacks.Full Article: U.S. Believes Russia Steered Hacked Documents to Websites - WSJ.
One of the last questions asked of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump at Monday night’s debate at Hofstra University deserves to be revisited. Moderator Lester Holt asked both candidates whether, if they lost the election, they accept the results as the “will of the voters.” Both indicated that yes, they would (although Mr. Trump agreed to support Ms. Clinton so reluctantly — it required a follow-up question from Mr. Holt — that reporters felt compelled to confirm his position afterward). In any other presidential race, a question about recognizing the will of the voters would be regarded as a softball — the answer so obvious that surely no debate prep was needed. After all, what kind of presidential nominee seeks to delegitimize the essential process that sustains the greatest democracy on earth? But these are not ordinary times. The nation’s voting system faces a very real threat from computer hackers. That much was made clear with the breach of a voter information database in Illinois this summer. Election boards across the country — including Maryland’s — were put on alert by federal authorities out of concern for potential vulnerabilities.Full Article: Integrity at the ballot box - Baltimore Sun.
California: Felons in county jails to be allowed to vote in California elections | Los Angeles Times
Despite widespread opposition from law enforcement, Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday signed a bill that will allow thousands of felons in county jails to vote in California elections as part of an effort to speed their transition back into society. Through a representative, Brown declined to comment on the bill by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), who said it would reduce the likelihood of convicts committing new crimes. “Civic participation can be a critical component of re-entry and has been linked to reduced recidivism,” Weber said when the bill was introduced.Full Article: Felons in county jails to be allowed to vote in California elections - LA Times.
An investigation into Georgia’s Election Administration claims that state officials at the highest levels have engaged in a “long-term assault on voting rights.” The report by Allied Progress – a national non-profit group – found that officials were systematically making it more difficult for minorities, the elderly, disabled, and low-income voters to cast ballots.The scathing report accuses Georgia’s Secretary of State and Governor of pushing suppression efforts, which include: Strict voter ID requirements, Proof of citizenship, Reduced early voting, and Felon voting right restrictions. Karl Frisch, Executive Director of Allied Progress, joined Roland Martin on NewsOne Now and said, “You’ve got an election administration process from the top on down to the bottom where people have admitted to their partisan motivation and when they thought no one was looking, they sometimes say in public or on social media absolutely racially abhorrent things.” By Frisch’s account, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp said, “If minorities get registered to vote, they could beat Republicans.” He continued, “As if it would be a bad thing for minorities to get registered to vote.”Full Article: Georgia Elections Probe Exposes ‘Assault On Voting Rights’ | News One.
A Shawnee County judge has issued an order that should ensure that thousands of people are able to vote in state and local elections this November. Judge Larry Hendricks previously issued a preliminary order that people who registered to vote at the DMV could vote in the August primary regardless of whether they had provided proof of citizenship. He has now extended that order through the Nov. 8 general election. He has also amended his order to require that Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the defendant in the case, ensure that these 18,000 voters are given timely notice by local election offices that they qualify to vote in federal, state and local races in the general election. Kobach will face a contempt hearing this week in a separate federal case over allegations that he has failed to ensure these voters are registered and informed of their status.Full Article: Kansas judge extends order to ensure thousands can vote in November | The Wichita Eagle.