With Donald Trump already talking about the presidential election being rigged, Symantec has set up a simulated voting station that shows how electronic systems might be hacked to alter actual vote tallies for just a few hundred dollars. They found that while it’s possible to change the number of votes cast for each candidate, it would be very difficult to do so on a large enough scale to swing the election one way or the other. However, enough machines in random precincts could be provably compromised so that general public confidence in the official outcome would be undermined, says Samir Kapuria, Symantec’s senior vice president for cyber security. Using a voting-machine simulator that contains an aggregate of known vulnerabilities from real-world voting machines and some that Symantec found itself, Kapuria demonstrated several ways attackers could taint voting results.
Alabama: Counties to take up cost of voting machines designed aid visual and hearing impaired voters | WAAY
Voting machines designed to help visual and hearing impaired have been in place for years, but the cost of maintaining them will soon fall back from the state to the counties. According to the Alabama Secretary of State’s office, the state received about $45 million in 2002 from the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) fund. That money was put toward updating old voting machines and creating an online voter registration system. During this summer’s meeting of the Alabama Probate Judge’s Association, Secretary John Merrill talked about the fact that the funds are all but gone at this point and that counties will need to take up the cost of running and maintaining these machines.
Legislation that would have allowed all cities in California to use ranked-choice voting, the system in San Francisco and three other Bay Area communities that lets voters rank candidates by preference and decide an election in a single round of ballots, has been vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown. Ranked-choice, also known as instant-runoff voting, gives voters the option of choosing multiple candidates in order of preference. After the ballots are first counted, the candidate with the fewest top-rank votes is eliminated and the next choices of that candidate’s supporters are apportioned among the remaining candidates. The process continues until one candidate gets a majority.
On the eve of the first huge wave of mail ballots being sent to Florida voters, Democrats filed a federal lawsuit Monday against Gov. Rick Scott’s chief elections official, challenging a law that results in thousands of ballots being discarded each election. The Florida Democratic Party (FDP) and the Democratic National Committee sought an injunction in U.S. District Court in Tallahassee to prevent county canvassing boards from rejecting ballots in cases where the signature of a voter on the mail ballot envelope does not match the same voter’s signature on file. The lawsuit noted that state law has a “cure” mechanism for voters who forget to put a signature on a mail ballot. They can return a signed affidavit to their county elections office confirming their identity. But no such cure exists for cases known as mismatched signatures. Hundreds of them were invalidated across the state in the Aug. 30 primary for that reason, and the number likely will be much larger in November because millions more people will be voting.
Illinois: Legal interpretation expands same-day voting registration opportunities | Northwest Herald
Legal interpretation of a federal ruling curtailing expanded same-day registration will allow the practice at early voting stations. The state’s county clerks, after a conference call last week, agreed that early voting stations still would be allowed to register people to vote, McHenry County Clerk Mary McClellan said. Legal counsel for the Illinois State Board of Elections concurred with the interpretation, she said. U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan slapped a preliminary injunction on a state law that requires counties with more than 100,000 residents to implement a system by which voters can register at the same time they cast ballots at any polling place through Election Day.
Missouri: Federal judge orders St. Louis Election Board to allow disabled to vote on electronic machines | St. Louis Post-Dispatch
A federal judge on Friday ordered the St. Louis Election Board to make electronic machines available to the disabled for absentee voting in the Nov. 8 general election after two blind men sued the board. The lawsuit alleged that not making the technology available was a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. U.S. District Judge Audrey G. Fleissig said the temporary restraining order against the Election Board is in effect until a decision is made on the men’s request for a preliminary injunction. A hearing is set for Oct. 13. However, the attorney for the men, John J. Ammann, said he is working with the Election Board to extend the order for electronic voting “throughout the election period.” The order applies to all people who could not otherwise vote without access to a touch-screen machine, which allows a blind person to vote with the help of audio equipment.
The Justice Department is siding with two Nevada tribes’ interpretation of a key part of the U.S. Voting Rights Act at issue in a legal battle with state and county officials over minority access to the polls. Lawyers for the two Paiute tribes are scheduled to go before a federal judge in Reno Tuesday with their emergency request for a court order establishing satellite voting sites on their reservations before the November election. They accuse Nevada’s Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, Washoe and Mineral counties of illegally denying tribe members voting access afforded to people in wealthier, mostly white neighborhoods. The counties say the sudden change would cost too much, and the state argues it has no authority to intervene. But the Justice Department said in a new filing Monday all three appear to be confusing voting rights with “voting convenience.”
The Gentleman Rests is a concert performance of a new opera depicting the special session of congress in 2001 in which the Congressional Black Caucus attempted to halt the certification of Florida’s votes for the contested presidential election due to alleged disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of Floridians. Composer Dave Ruder (thingNY) sets transcripts of the congressional session to music for five vocalists, viola, trombone, Rhodes piano and bassoon, including the ironic drama of Al Gore (as President of the Senate) following congressional protocol by gaveling over each objecting Black Caucus member, hastening the end of his presidential ambitions. … After two months of post-election chaos in Florida in late 2000, the congressional session depicted in Ruder’s opera was the final step declaring Bush the winner. The Congressional Black Caucus repeatedly tried to raise objections about the results from Florida, citing widespread disenfranchisement and irregularities (that, as usual in the history of US voting, impacted African-Americans hardest), and each objection was turned away because no senator would second them.
After a federal judge struck down much of North Carolina’s controversial voter ID law back in July, one provision remained, and it might have the most powerful effect on this November’s election–especially in local races all over the state. The 2013 law eliminated straight-ticket voting, meaning that in the November election, for the first time, you’ll no longer be able to fill out one bubble to vote all-Democrat, or all-Republican. Technically, you’ve always had to fill out two bubbles in North Carolina, since the vote for president has required a separate vote since the 1960s. This provision might lower vote totals, and make for tighter local races on November 8.
Legislation that would have created early voting in South Carolina died in the Statehouse this past year, but several Republicans and Democrats say one such proposal could gain traction next year. A House bill that would let voters head to the polls 15 days before primaries and general elections was supported by eight Republicans and seven Democrats as well as state party leaders. Passing such a bill would put the state in line with neighboring Georgia and North Carolina, both of which have early voting. Currently, if South Carolina voters wish to vote before Election Day they need to cite one of 16 reasons, such as work or vacation, in order to vote by absentee ballot, either through the mail or in person at their county election commission office.
Ever since Pennsylvania began using computerized voting machines a decade ago, critics have worried that hackers could throw an election by shifting votes from one column to another. But that’s far from the only fear in 2016, a year when Illinois’ voter registration database has been hacked and Democratic Party emails were purportedly raided by Russian hackers. “People have talked about Russia supporting Donald Trump,” said University of Iowa computer science professor Douglas Jones, who co-authored a 2012 book about election security. “But I think it would be to their advantage just to have a chaotic election, one that would weaken whoever won. … And if you wanted to cook an election, you don’t have to do anything massive.”
Workers at seven Division of Motor Vehicles stations across Wisconsin provided inaccurate or incomplete information about the availability of IDs for voting, newly released recordings show. “You’re not guaranteed to get an ID card. Nothing’s guaranteed,” a worker at the DMV station in Hudson told a woman on Wednesday. That conflicts with what Attorney General Brad Schimel’s office has claimed in court documents. His assistants have claimed all DMV workers have been trained to tell people they will get credentials for voting within six days, even if they don’t have birth certificates. The recordings could further roil litigation over Wisconsin’s voter ID law. On Friday, a federal judge ordered the state DMV to investigate an incident in which three DMV workers gave incorrect information about whether a Madison man could get an ID without a birth certificate. The recordings were made by the group VoteRiders, which assists voters in getting IDs and describes voter ID laws on its website as “challenging and confusing.”
It was not about “the economy, stupid.” It was not about jobs. It was not about general impoverishment. It was about identity. The three nationalist parties — Bosnian Muslim, Serb, and Croat — are the clear winners of the Bosnian local elections. Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik’s (Serbian) Alliance of Independent Social Democrats posted its best results in a decade. At a press conference after preliminary results were announced on October 3, Dodik told journalists that his policy of defending the existence of Republika Srpska (an entity of Bosnia-Herzegovina) had been his winning card, and that people recognized who would betray them and who would protect them. Just before the press conference, a journalist spotted Dodik on the phone and asked whom he was speaking with. Dodik thought for a moment and then, through a half-smile, said, “I was talking to Moscow!” It appeared to have been intended as a reminder of his preelection meeting with the Russian president, which made some people nervous.
Colombia: After voters’ rejection president scrambles to save peace accord with FARC rebels | The Washington Post
Colombia’s president tried Monday to keep alive an agreement to end Latin America’s longest-running war after a shocking rejection by voters, but his opponents made clear their price for joining the effort will be steep. President Juan Manuel Santos invited Colombia’s political parties to an emergency meeting Monday and asked them to form a big-tent coalition to rework the deal and make it more appealing to the voters who spurned it in Sunday’s referendum by a narrow margin. Santos told Colombians that a month-old bilateral cease-fire with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) would remain in effect. He ordered his negotiating team to return to Cuba, where the peace talks were held, to resume contacts with FARC leaders.
The president of Democratic Republic of Congo’s electoral commission said on Saturday that he expects the presidential election, originally scheduled for this November, to be delayed until December 2018, lawmakers present at his speech said. The announcement is likely to stoke political tensions after at least 50 people died last week in the capital Kinshasa in clashes between protesters and security forces over accusations that President Joseph Kabila is deliberately delaying the poll to cling to power. Kabila denies he is behind the delays, which he says are due to logistical and budgetary constraints in the impoverished, infrastructure-starved country.