National: ES&S Class Action Says Voting Machines Can Be Manipulated | Top Class Actions

A company that sells vote counting machines is facing a class action lawsuit that alleges its voting systems are subject to unnecessary monitoring and vulnerable to manipulation. Plaintiff Anthony I. Provitola filed the election class action lawsuit on Monday, claiming that this vulnerability in the voting system sold by Election Systems & Software LLC may put the outcome of the 2016 election at risk. According to the vote counting machine class action lawsuit, Election Systems has sold certain vote counting machines and election management systems to many jurisdictions since 2014. In addition to providing the mechanism by which to count and tabulate votes, Election Systems also provided software for the voting systems along with any software updates. “The principle/premise upon which this action is based is that no person or organization, directly or through software or device, should have or be allowed to have any opportunity to either monitor, observe, or have any other contact with the data representing votes in an election, other than persons and/or organizations specifically authorized by law to conduct the election,” the voting system class action lawsuit claims. Provitola states that Election Systems has made assurances online and through advertisements about its responsibility to safeguard democracy through the manner in which its software counts votes.

National: How Hackers Could Send Your Polling Station into Chaos | MIT Technology Review

Hackers looking to disrupt the election on November 8 could have better luck stealing your voter registration information than your ballot. Indeed, election security experts say Internet-connected voter registration databases could prove to be the biggest vulnerability this Election Day. They say election officials should develop contingency plans to safeguard their precincts from cyberattacks, like ensuring that there is a paper record or other kind of reliable backup of the voter database on hand at the polling station. During this election season we’ve seen cyberattacks on the e-mail servers of the Democratic National Committee and state voter registration databases, which have heightened concerns that a nation-state adversary like Russia could use the Internet to disrupt the U.S. elections in November.

National: Voter ID Laws May Keep Transgender Voters From the Polls | VoA News

Up to 34,000 transgender people in the United States could face problems voting in next month’s election because their ID cards do not match their gender, advocacy groups said, urging them to vote by mail to avoid being turned away at the polls. Transgender rights have come under increasing scrutiny in the United States with access to public bathrooms and health care dominating media coverage and political discourse in recent months. Thousands of transgender people, however, might be unable to vote in the November 8 presidential election in states with stringent voter ID laws, according to a report by the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. “A transgender voter may show up at the poll with a valid ID, however if they have not been able to update the gender marker or photo on that ID, a poll worker may be confused and refuse them a ballot,” said Arli Christian, spokeswoman for the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE).

Voting Blogs: Trump and Election Protection in 2016 | More Soft Money Hard Law

Donald Trump has urged his supporters to check closely for fraud and irregularities at the polling places. He wants them to make sure the voting is on the “up and up,” and he implies that there is a reason it might not be: he believes that there is a “big, big problem” which apparently “nobody has the guts to talk about.” Rick Hasen, among others, has criticized Trump for claiming the widespread existence of a problem—impersonation voting fraud—which in fact occurs with extreme infrequency, and he worries that Trump supporters’ response to the demand that they somehow solve this “big, big problem” may intimidate voters, deterring some from exercising their right to vote. Hasen’s concern is fully justified. This is not to suggest Trump or any other candidate should not expect, or should not do what he or she can, to help bring about an orderly election in which the rules, including the eligibility rules, are followed. There are any number of defensible “protect the vote” programs that his or any campaign, or political party, might put in place. But normally, the campaign or party defines the problem with precision, trains observers, and deploys lawyers to go about the task capably and responsibly. Instead Trump seems intent on issuing a alarm that any supporter can interpret as he or she wishes.

Arkansas: Garland County absentee ballots go out late | Hot Springs Sentinel Record

After a week of vetting absentee ballots for correct precinct assignment, the Garland County clerk’s office began mailing them out Monday to around 400 voters who applied to vote absentee in the Nov. 8 general election, County Clerk Sarah Smith said. Smith said the Garland County Election Commission initially sent her office 19 ballot styles. After a week of cross-checking precincts with the list of races assigned to each precinct, it was determined 23 were needed. One of the additional versions came after the discovery of a precinct in Justice of the Peace District 5 that didn’t include the District 6 city director’s race. The election commission had initially assigned that location a generic ballot that doesn’t include contested local races. Smith said her office didn’t double-check the precinct assignments for absentee ballots mailed for the March 1 preferential primaries and nonpartisan judicial elections, causing about 70 voters to receive incorrect ballots. On Monday, the labels with bar codes identifying voters’ names, addresses, precincts and ballot styles were ready to be placed on the envelopes the clerk’s office uses to mail absentee ballots.

California: California Now Allows Some Incarcerated People the Right to Vote | The Atlantic

Californians in county jails for felony offenses will be able to vote next year, thanks to a new bill passed by the state legislature and signed by Governor Jerry Brown on Wednesday. The bill—introduced by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, a Democrat—is part of a growing nationwide liberal push against felony disenfranchisement for those in and out of prison. Among supporters, the bill has been presented as a way to reintroduce thousands of people in county jails in California back to civic life, while critics, mostly Republicans have framed renfranchisement efforts as a cynical partisan exercise designed to help Democrats win elections. During a floor debate over the bill, Weber argued that “civic participation can be a critical component of re-entry and has been linked to reduced recidivism.” Her argument draws on a body of evidence showing that restoration of civil rights to people with felonies can reduce recidivism, including a study by the Florida Parole Commission.

Voting Blogs: If Donald Trump Carries California, He Won’t Get California’s Electoral Votes | Ballot Access News

Due to a combination of eccentric behavior on the part of the California Secretary of State, and the California Republican Party, if Donald Trump carries California in the popular vote on November 8, he still won’t get California’s electoral votes. See the post immediately underneath for an explanation. Due to the ballot format, California voters who wish to vote for Donald Trump will be forced to cast an overvote. The ballot design forces Trump voters to vote for 108 different individuals for presidential elector, yet California is only entitled to 55 electoral votes. Therefore, the votes for Trump will be overvotes and all will be invalid. The California Republican Party was free to have nominated the same presidential elector candidates as the American Independent Party. The AIP turned in its list first, so the Republican Party was aware of the AIP names. But the Republican Party, which filed its slate at the last hour before the deadline for electors, chose to ignore the AIP list and submit different candidates. The AIP had been suggesting a joint list to the Republican Party ever since August, and had even offered to let the Republicans choose 50 members, but the Republicans ignored the AIP request.

Florida: How A Bank Error Led to the Throwing Out of an Election | Brennan Center for Justice

Not to make you nervous, but on September 15 the Florida Supreme Court threw out an election and ordered a new one. The ruling raises a set of interesting questions, such as under what circumstances courts can throw out election results, especially in light of the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court is currently split 4-4 and the pending presidential race. The Florida Supreme Court case was called Wright v. City of Miami Gardens. James Barry Wright had a compelling case. He was a candidate for Mayor of Miami Gardens when he was told that the check he used to pay his candidate filing fee was returned by the bank. Although Wright had ample funds to cover the fee, the bank didn’t cash the check because they could not find the account number listed. Yet other checks written on the same account had cleared. It was a bank error. But that didn’t matter. Wright was struck from the ballot because of the check. And so he sued to get his name back on the ballot. Meanwhile, the election happened without him.

Illinois: Judge clears way for Election Day registration in polling places | Chicago Sun-Times

Chicagoans may be able to register to vote on Election Day in their polling places, after all. A federal appellate judge on Tuesday halted a lower court judge’s decision to bar Election Day voter registration in polling places, after the Illinois Attorney General’s office argued last week that the statute doesn’t inhibit, but enhances the right to vote. The attorney general’s office on Sept. 30 filed a motion for a stay of the lower court ruling, pending appeal. A judge on Tuesday granted that motion, while also giving the defendants until Thursday to provide a statement about why they believe the appeals should be expedited, according to court records. The decision means same day registration in polling places will continue this Election Day, on Nov. 8. A federal judge on Sept. 27 ruled that the Illinois State Board of Elections must stop enacting Election Day voter registration in polling places because the practice doesn’t treat big cities and rural areas equally. The preliminary injunction by U.S. District Court Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan came on National Voter Registration Day, a day aimed at ensuring voters are registered for the November election.

Indiana: Voter registration fraud probe to expands to Lake County | Chicago Tribune

Lake County has been drawn into an investigation concerning potential voter registration fraud after receiving more than 6,000 new registrations from Project Voter Registration Indiana. The Indiana State Police announced Tuesday it is expanding its investigation that began in late August in Marion and Hendricks counties alleging the filing of fraudulent voter application information by Project Voter Registration Indiana to include an additional seven counties: Lake, Allen, Delaware, Hamilton, Hancock, Johnson and Madison. A search warrant was served Tuesday at the Indianapolis business offices of the Indiana Voter Registration Project. Michelle Fajman, elections board director, confirmed Tuesday the office has been working with the Indiana State Police in its investigation. She said a notification from the Indiana Secretary of State was received around Sept. 15 letting the office know that a group was possibly being investigated after a large dump of registrations in Marion County.

Nevada: Ruling expected in tribal voter disenfranchisement lawsuit by Friday | Reno Gazette-Journal

A federal judge said she will rule on an emergency injunction regarding a federal lawsuit by two Native American tribes alleging voter disenfranchisement by two Nevada counties and the secretary of state’s office. U.S. District Judge Miranda Du heard a full day of arguments and testimony on Tuesday from the Pyramid Lake and Walker River Paiute tribes requesting satellite voter registration, early polling places and Election Day voter sites from Washoe and Mineral counties. The tribes made the requests in August, which the counties denied. They filed suit in early September, alleging violations of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Native Americans are considered a protected group under the act. The counties denied any discrimination is taking place and state the reason for denial is logistics and cost.

North Carolina: Voter suppression’s last stand: North Carolina’s new Jim Crow counties | InsightUS

In the wake of a federal court decision overturning North Carolina’s “monster voter suppression law,” the NC-GOP’s executive director issued a call for “party-line changes to early voting” by the state’s Republican-controlled county boards of elections. Our review of the state’s early voting plan for this year finds that many boards did just the opposite. Still, a defiant band of renegades – the state’s New Jim Crow counties – did answer that call with cuts disproportionately falling on minority voters and promising election day chaos. But voting rights advocates are fighting back. The Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision overturned a key protection of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA), instantly transforming North Carolina into the epicenter of the nationwide battle over minority voting rights. Within weeks of that decision (which freed the state from VRA’s requirement for federal oversight of changes to its election practices) North Carolina’s Republican-controlled General Assembly passed, and Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law, the state’s “monster voter suppression bill,” HB589. The law slashed early voting days, imposed a cumbersome voter ID requirement, and ended voter registration during the early voting period, among many other restrictions.

Ohio: Secretary of State Jon Husted slams voter fraud conspiracy article | Cleveland Plain Dealer

Move over, Snopes, there’s a new conspiracy theory debunker on the case. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted issued a press release Tuesday refuting an online article claiming “tens of thousands” of Hillary Clinton ballots were found in a Franklin County warehouse. The article, published Sept. 30 by Christian Times Newspaper, featured a photo of boxes allegedly full of Clinton ballots. Actually,the photo was taken in 2015 during the U.K. election. The article stated the “likely goal was to slip the fake ballot boxes in with the real ballot boxes when they went to official election judges on November 8th.”

Texas: The Texas Voter ID Fight Keeps Getting Weirder | Bloomberg

Texas officials have spent years in court fighting to keep their state’s controversial 2011 voter-ID law alive. The law, one of the toughest in the U.S., requires Texans to show some form of government-issued identification at their polling place. Under a court-approved August compromise with the Department of Justice, Texas must allow voters who show up without a driver’s license or other photo ID to sign a sworn affidavit stating that they’d encountered an impediment to obtaining the required documents before Election Day. On Sept. 20, the federal district judge who oversaw the August agreement denied a plea from the NAACP, the League of United Latin American Citizens, and Dallas and Hidalgo counties claiming Harris County clerk Stan Stanart and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton were effectively intimidating voters by publicly suggesting that people who filed affidavits could be criminally prosecuted if it turned out they’d been issued driver’s licenses or other IDs in the past. “If you sign that affidavit and you lie about not being able to get a photo ID, you can be prosecuted for perjury,” Paxton told Fox News on Aug. 18. The judge’s ruling was a victory for Stanart, an active member of the state Republican Party whose campaign website touts him as “the proven conservative leader.” Harris County, which covers Houston, is the biggest in Texas and third-largest in the U.S., with a population the size of Kentucky. Early voting in Texas starts on Oct. 24.

Wisconsin: DMV retraining workers on voter ID | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Division of Motor Vehicles began retraining hundreds of workers Tuesday as more instances came to light of state officials providing incomplete or inaccurate information about the ability of people to get IDs for voting. “We still have plenty of time to right any wrongs that may have occurred,” DMV Administrator Kristina Boardman told reporters. She made her comments just hours before groups suing the state asked a federal judge to suspend or soften the voter ID law for the Nov. 8 election. In court filings, the groups cited instances of voters not receiving IDs or being told wrong information about whether they could get them. “Taken together, this evidence makes clear that the state does not have — and is incapable of implementing — a functioning safety net for its strict voter ID law,” attorney Joshua Kaul wrote.

Wisconsin: Group asks federal court to block Wisconsin voter ID law | Associated Press

Wisconsin’s voter ID law should be suspended for next month’s election in light of new audio recordings revealing state Division of Motor Vehicles workers giving inaccurate information about what’s required to vote, a liberal advocacy group argued in a motion filed Tuesday in federal court. The motion from One Wisconsin Institute argued that the state is “nowhere close” to being in compliance with a federal court order detailing how the law should be administered. It was filed just hours after the head of the state Department of Transportation tried to reassure lawmakers that front-line workers would receive additional training with the election just five weeks away. “Clearly, we take seriously some of the recent news reports about allegations we didn’t provide accurate information or provided wrong information,” DOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb said in a public hearing.

Bulgaria: Controversy over election commission decision on ‘media packages’ | The Sofia Globe

Bulgaria’s Central Election Commission (CEC) is expected to face a challenge in the Supreme Administrative Court over its controversial decision to allow state-subidised advertising in the November referendum and presidential elections only to television and radio stations and newspapers with “national coverage” but not to regional media or online news websites. The decision has been slammed by the Union of Publishers in Bulgaria and the association of regional publishers has signalled that it will ask the Supreme Administrative Court to overturn the decision by the CEC. Bulgaria’s Electoral Code says that a newly-registered entity, such as an initiative committee, or one that does not already get a state subsidy, is entitled to a subsidy of 40 000 leva (about 20 480 euro) to place advertising to put their position in a referendum or promote their presidential candidate. Parties, coalitions or committees conclude contracts with a media outlet, and the payment for the advertising is made directly by the CEC.

Congo: Kabila: election day delayed to allow more preparation | Reuters

Democratic Republic of Congo authorities have delayed elections to make sure the country is better prepared for them, President Joseph Kabila said on Tuesday, answering accusations that the government is dragging its feet to help him to cling onto power. Congo’s electoral commission said on Saturday it expected polls to be delayed until December 2018. “We have decided to delay the elections to avoid locking out a huge number of people – most of them young voters,” Kabila told reporters in Tanzania’s commercial capital Dar Es Salaam. “As many as 10 million unregistered voters could miss out on the chance to vote if we proceed with the elections.” Congo has not had a peaceful transition of power since independence from Belgium in 1960. Protests over Kabila’s perceived attempts to extend his 15 years in power have led to clashes with security forces several times in the past year. Scores of people have been killed in the violence.

Haiti: Crucial election still on despite Hurricane Matthew | USA Today

Crucial, controversial and long-delayed elections in Haiti are scheduled to take place Sunday despite the devastating storm now smashing through the tiny Caribbean nation. “There is a contingency plan that … takes into account any situation that may arise from the 6th (of October) to 12th,” Interior Minister François Anick Joseph said Tuesday. However, Léopold Berlanger, president of Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council, told electoral advisers deployed across the fledgling democracy to “suspend temporarily” election activities and concentrate on protecting themselves and Haiti’s assets. He said the council will inform the public “in a timely manner of the evolution of the situation.”

Moldova: Official says Russia meddling in presidential race | Associated Press

The speaker of Moldova’s parliament accused Russia Tuesday of meddling in the country’s politics ahead of a presidential election that could cement the former Soviet republic as a contender for European Union membership or further Russan control. Parliament Speaker Andrian Candu said the government thinks “the Russians are financing political parties and leaders” and backing anti-government protests. Candu told The Associated Press that Moldova’s leaders also suspect Russia of “manipulating media outlets and doing propaganda.” “I try to be positive and optimistic, but there are external factors that are of concern for us,” he said in a telephone interview.

Morocco: Authorities say they foiled suicide attack plan for election day | Reuters

Moroccan authorities said on Tuesday they had foiled a planned suicide attack on Oct. 7 parliamentary elections after the arrest of a suspected Islamic State militant cell of 10 women earlier this week. The Interior Ministry said on Monday that for the first time a group of female suspects had been arrested, the latest in series of militant cells the North African kingdom says it has broken up. Morocco is holding a parliamentary election on Friday in which the Islamist PJD party is favored to win after five years leading the ruling coalition in a constitutional monarchy where the king remains the ultimate authority. “One of the women was seeking more visibility and was planning an operation on the election day,” Abdelhak Khayyam, head of Morocco’s Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ), the judicial arm of the domestic intelligence service, told reporters in Rabat. “It was a suicide attack and we found bomb-making materials,” he said, without giving further details.