National: Officials Fight Donald Trump’s Claims of a Rigged Vote | The New York Times

Republican leaders and election officials from both parties on Sunday sought to combat claims by Donald J. Trump that the election is rigged against him, amid signs that Mr. Trump’s contention is eroding confidence in the vote and setting off talk of rebellion among his supporters. In a vivid illustration of how Mr. Trump is shattering American political norms, the Republican nominee is alleging that a conspiracy is underway between the news media and the Democratic Party to commit vast election fraud. He has offered no evidence to support his claim. “The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary — but also at many polling places — SAD,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter on Sunday. Mr. Trump made the incendiary assertion hours after his running mate, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, tried to play down Mr. Trump’s questioning of the fairness of the election. Mr. Pence said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he and Mr. Trump “will absolutely accept the result of the election.”

National: Hacking Threats, Voting Restrictions, and Trump’s Call for Poll Monitors Generate Election Day Concerns | Associated Press

New ID requirements. Unfamiliar or distant polling places. Names missing from the voter rolls. Those are just some of the challenges that could disrupt voting across the country through Election Day. While most elections have their share of glitches, experts worry conditions are ripe this year for trouble at the nation’s polling places. This is the first presidential election year without a key enforcement provision of the federal Voting Rights Act, and 14 states have enacted new registration or voting restrictions. Adding to the uncertainty is a call by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for supporters to monitor the polls for voter fraud and concerns by the federal government that hackers could try to disrupt the voting process. All this has civil rights advocates on guard. “There is going to be a lot going on in this election that we are going to have to watch out for,” said Penda Hair, a civil rights lawyer who represented the North Carolina NAACP in its bid to overturn that state’s voter ID law.

National: Elections at Risk in Cyberspace, Part IV: Securing the Vote | Signal Magazine

Standardizing voter registration processes, voting machines and vote tabulation is the key to eliminating most vulnerabilities plaguing U.S. elections, according to several cybersecurity experts. These standardizations would embed security, enable backups and eliminate many backdoors through which hackers and vote fraudsters currently can warp the results of an election. While voting is administered at the state and local levels, these remedies would need to be applied nationwide. The current web of diverse processes may increase the difficulty for wide-scale election tampering, but they also ensure that achieving security is too broad a challenge for any single remedy to be applied. This diversity also virtually ensures that some location will have a vulnerability that, if exploited effectively, could cast doubt on a nationwide election result. … Auditing capabilities are important, says Ron Bandes, network security analyst in the CERT division of the Software Engineering Institute of Carnegie Mellon University. He also is president of VoteAllegheny, a nonpartisan election integrity organization.

National: Analysis: Rigged Election Claims May Leave Lasting Damage | Associated Press

Donald Trump keeps peddling the notion the vote may be rigged. It’s not clear if he does not understand the potential damage of his words — or he simply does not care. Trump’s claim — made without evidence — undercuts the essence of American democracy, the idea that U.S. elections are both free and fair, with the vanquished peacefully stepping aside for the victor. His repeated assertions are sowing suspicion among his most ardent supporters, raising the possibility that millions of people may not accept the results on Nov. 8 if Trump does not win. The responsibilities for the New York billionaire in such a scenario are minimal. Trump holds no public office and has said he’ll simply go back to his “very good way of life” if he loses. Instead, it would be Democrat Hillary Clinton and congressional Republicans, should they win, who would be left trying to govern in a country divided not just by ideology, but also the legitimacy of the presidency. … The majority of Trump’s supporters are Republicans. If he loses, party leaders will have to reckon with how much credence they give to claims the election was rigged and how closely they can work with a president who at least some of their backers will likely view as illegitimate.

National: Meet Fancy Bear, The Russian Group Hacking The US Election | BuzzFeed

On the morning of March 10, nine days after Hillary Clinton had won big on Super Tuesday and all but clinched the Democratic nomination, a series of emails were sent to the most senior members of her campaign. At a glance, they looked like a standard message from Google, asking that users click a link to review recent suspicious activity on their Gmail accounts. Clicking on them would lead to a page that looked nearly identical to Gmail’s password reset page with a prompt to sign in. Unless they were looking closely at the URL in their address bar, there was very little to set off alarm bells. From the moment those emails were opened, senior members in Clinton’s campaign were falling into a trap set by one of the most aggressive and notorious groups of hackers working on behalf of the Russian state. The same group would shortly target the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). It was an orchestrated attack that — in the midst of one of the most surreal US presidential races in recent memory — sought to influence and sow chaos on Election Day.

Editorials: Enough already: US elections are fair | Doug Chapin and Lawrence R. Jacobs/The Hill

We’re hearing lots of talk lately about how “hacking” threatens our elections or that results are “rigged” and how, consequently, Americans can’t trust the outcome of votes held under the current system. There are lots of reasons why this is an irresponsible and dangerous claim, but the worst might be the cruel slander it perpetrates on our election system’s greatest resource: its people. More specifically, allegations of “hacking” and “rigging” fly in the face of the heroic efforts by our nation’s election administrators to prepare the system for voters on Election Day. In communities across America, election officials work countless hours to build and maintain voter rolls, test voting machines and staff polling locations in advance of the big day.
Attacks on the election system disrespect the thousands of election officials across the country and devalues their diligent — and yes, patriotic — work to ensure that American voters everywhere can cast a ballot. Yes, sometimes things go wrong. In this election cycle alone, we have seen criticism about long lines at the polls or concerns about the security of voting technology. There is also growing nervousness about persistent online efforts to attack and steal voter information from state websites. But every time problems arise, the election community responds.

Florida: Federal judge assails Florida election official’s action as an ‘undeclared war’ on right to vote | Los Angeles Times

A federal judge on Saturday issued a scathing rebuke to Florida’s top election official in an order canceling a hearing on a lawsuit over vote-by-mail ballots. U.S. District Judge Mark Walker accused Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner of delaying a hearing on the lawsuit “so that he could use every second available to run out the clock” so there wouldn’t be enough time to address problems raised in the lawsuit. The judge also said Detzner’s actions amounted to an “undeclared war” on the right to vote in Florida, the largest swing state in the presidential election. The judge in Tallahassee, Fla., said he would make a decision on the lawsuit without a hearing that had been set for Monday.

Michigan: Experts: State should audit election results | The Detroit News

Since hackers have targeted the election systems of more than 20 states, cyber-security experts say Michigan should change its policy and routinely audit a sample of its paper ballots to protect against election fraud. Voter registration lists were hacked recently in Arizona and Illinois. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security would not acknowledge whether those particular systems were breached, but Secretary Jeh Johnson said hackers “in a few cases … gained access to state voting-related systems.” The department would not disclose whether Michigan was one of “a large number of state systems” scanned by hackers in preparation for possible attacks, but the Michigan Secretary of State’s office said the state’s voter registration lists have not been targeted or affected. … Audits in Michigan are only triggered in certain circumstances, according to the Secretary of State’s office. Automatic recounts for presidential ballot results happen when the leading candidates are 2,000 or fewer votes apart, while a losing candidate can request a recount for a district or certain precincts, according to the Secretary of State’s office. “It should be done routinely in order to provide a strong degree of confidence,” said University of Michigan cyber-security expert Alex Halderman. “That’s an opportunity for Michigan to improve its election procedures. You should audit every election.”

North Carolina: Democrats win extension of voter registration deadline | Reuters

A state judge in North Carolina gave residents in counties hit hard by Hurricane Matthew five extra days to register to vote after Democrats sued to get an extension to Friday’s deadline, while a federal judge ordered an extension in one Georgia county. The Democratic Party in North Carolina challenged the state election board’s refusal to extend the cutoff date, saying in its suit that thousands of people would have been deprived of their fundamental right to vote in the Nov. 8 election if Friday’s deadline was not extended by at least five days. The judge ordered an extension to next Wednesday in 36 counties, a lawyer for the state Democratic Party said on Twitter. “This ruling will ensure that those communities who have suffered from the devastating flooding brought on by Hurricane Matthew have the grace period that they need in order to exercise their right to vote and make their voices heard in this critical election,” party officials said.

South Dakota: State elections office struggling to find records for federal audit | Capital Journal

The audit is looking at how South Dakota had used hundreds of thousands of dollars received through the federal Help America Vote Act program established after the 2000 presidential election. Documents from the past needed for the audit aren’t available in some instances and some past spending is under question whether it was allowable, according to Krebs. Kristin Gabriel now is the HAVA coordinator on Krebs’ staff. Gabriel told state Board of Elections members during their meeting Thursday that HAVA is undergoing an audit that reaches back 13 years to the initial funding period. “We did our best and provided them what we had and what we could find,” Gabriel said.

South Dakota: By state law, voters allowed only 10 minutes to vote on lengthy ballot measures | Rapid City Journal

I could end up in jail on Election Day. Ever since graduating from college as a liberal arts major several decades ago, I’ve always asserted I’m equally ignorant in every academic area. But, after writing a few dozen books and several thousand newspaper and magazine articles, I always thought I could read. That is, until I tried to digest a sample ballot for next month’s general election in South Dakota. It took me nearly 20 minutes, and that was only to decipher the scaled-down version of the numerous and complicated measures on the Nov. 8 ballot. The problem is, according to South Dakota state statute 12-18-15, which carries the ominous heading, “Voting without delay — Maximum time in booth or machine — Re-entry prohibited,” by law I’ll only have 10 minutes to cast my ballot that Tuesday. Forget the contentious presidential election. Discount the congressional races. Disregard who is running for the state Legislature or the PUC. Those are easy decisions.

Texas: Voter fraud being investigated by state in Tarrant County | The Star-Telegram

Less than a month before the Nov. 8 election, allegations of voter fraud in Tarrant County are under investigation by the state, prompting concern that the timing may intimidate some voters — and possibly lay groundwork for the Legislature to enact more restrictions on voting next year. The complaints focus on mail-in ballots, which allow people to vote from their homes without any ID or verification of identity. Supporters have long said mail-in balloting is crucial for overseas residents, the military and senior citizens. Critics maintain that such voting is ripe for abuse and raises concerns about “vote harvesting,” in which people could fill out and return other people’s ballots. Some say the investigation is politically motivated; others say it’s addressing a practice that has been a problem for years. “The Republicans have been looking for a blockbuster case to demonstrate that voter fraud isn’t just a series of small mistakes,” said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston. “If some of these allegations turn out to be true, they may finally have their white whale.

Utah: Federal judge will not mandate San Juan County to make adjustments for Navajo voters in Utah | The Salt Lake Tribune

A federal judge denied a motion Friday that would have ordered San Juan County to take additional steps to ensure that Navajo voters have equal access to election polling sites. The Navajo Human Rights Commission and residents of the Navajo Nation in San Juan County filed a lawsuit in February, alleging the county had violated the federal Voting Rights Act by closing polling places and moving toward a mail-only voting system, hindering access to the ballot box. But for primary voting in June, the county opened three polling places on the reservation, saying it was bringing the sites closer to Navajos than they are to most white voters.

Editorials: The electronic vote, a political suicide for Argentina | Mempo Giardinelli/

It is widely known, proverbial even, that the Argentine political class commits suicide every now and then. Yet again — as part of the relentless crusade of the Macri administration against society’s rights and conquests, exemplified by the chain of shuttered factories, unemployment and one in three Argentines sunk into shocking poverty — everything suggests that we’re witnessing yet another suicide. A couple of weeks ago, the Lower House passed an electoral reform bill endorsed by the PRO, which is capable of subduing the people’s will to ensure their perpetuity in power after winning it legitimately, all the while betraying the citizens who voted for them in good faith and in the hopes of a change that is clearly not what this republic is experiencing today. That is why the government is now seeking to hastily apply the single electronic ballot system throughout the country starting with next year’s elections.

Congo: Elections Postponed As Opposition Calls For General Strike | Reuters

Democratic Republic of Congo’s ruling coalition and other smaller parties have agreed to delay next month’s elections to April 2018 – a move that will anger opposition groups who have accused the president of trying to cling onto power. Congo’s main opposition bloc was not immediately available for comment but has already called a general strike for Wednesday to press President Joseph Kabila to leave at the end of his mandate in December. Last month dozens died in two days of protests in the capital Kinshasa against planned delays to the vote due to what authorities said were logistical problems registering millions of voters in the massive and impoverished country.

Ghana: Electoral Body Denies Candidates’ Disqualifications Politically Motivated | VoA News

The Electoral Commission of Ghana sharply rejected accusations that its decision to disqualify presidential candidates from participating in the December 7 general election was politically motivated. The Electoral Commission disqualified 12 presidential candidates, including the former first lady, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, presidential candidate for the opposition National Democratic Party (NDP) – for failing to meet requirements it stipulated ahead of the September 30 deadline to file nomination documents. The electoral body says the presidential candidates who are qualified to participate in the elections include incumbent President John Dramani Mahama, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo from the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Ivor Kobina Greenstreet of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and Jacob Osei Yeboah, an independent candidate.

Montenegro: Ruling party ‘leads’ in crucial elections | Al Jazeera

Montenegro’s ruling party has won the most votes in a crucial parliamentary election, according to projections, but without enough votes to govern alone. Unofficial results after 80 percent of the ballots had been counted showed that Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic’s Democratic Party of Socialists got a little more than 40 percent of the vote – more than double than that of the main opposition Democratic Front. Polls closed at 18:00 GMT, and according to Al Jazeera’s Milica Marinovic, who is reporting from the capital Podgorica, the voter turnout was over 70 percent, slightly higher than the previous parliamentary election in 2012. Sunday’s tense election was marked by the arrest of 20 Serbs accused of planning to carry out armed attacks after the closing of the polls.