For faithful Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians in Indiana, voting on Election Day is simple. Walk into the booth and check one box to select every candidate from their party. But beginning this election the straight-ticket option will not include all partisan races. In an effort to clear up confusion, the legislature passed a law earlier this year that requires voters to select each candidate they wish for at-large county council and town council seats. The law does not change how the straight-party ticket functions in any other ballot race. Previously, some voters did not follow ballot instructions when straight ticket voting. Some counties reported ballots where voters selected straight-ticket and then also marked additional at-large candidates. “Voter intent was very ambiguous,” said Secretary of State Connie Lawson, who is Indiana’s chief election official. Now, at-large races are treated similarly to the nonpartisan school board races, retention questions for judges and public questions, where voters have always had to individually fill in their ballot after straight-ticket voting.
A data analysis firm hired by a voter registration group said on Tuesday that its analysis of Indiana’s voter database found thousands of people over the age of 110 who would likely be deceased and are still registered to vote. TargetSmart conducted a review of the state voter file maintained by Republican Secretary of State Connie Lawson’s office on behalf of Patriot Majority, a voter registration group with deep ties to the Democratic Party, which has been the focal point of a state police probe of possible voter fraud. But Patriot Majority said the data firm’s findings show that the statewide voter database is riddled with errors and this does not mean there was fraud. The review found 837,000 voters with out-of-date addresses when compared to the United States Postal Service address database, as well as 4,556 duplicate registrations, 3,000 records without dates of birth and 31 records of registered voters who are too young to cast a ballot. “There is clearly bad, missing and incomplete data,” said Tom Bonier, the CEO of TargetSmart, which is affiliated with the Democratic Party. “So if you’re seeing a lot of names changing or dates of birth changing, that’s likely because the information she had on the file is incorrect.”
We’re exactly two weeks away from Election Day and one issue on the ballot is the voter ID law which is expected to pass, and also to be challenged. Tuesday, the League of Women Voters of Southwest Missouri held a forum about the issue, which according to them, is a bad idea. Several states have challenged the voter ID law, and it’s expected to be no different here in Missouri. “We are going in and changing the Missouri Constitution,” said Dr. Elizabeth Paddock, a professor of political science at Drury University. Missouri has tried to implement voter ID laws for years and the state’s Supreme Court has deemed it unconstitutional before. “That’s why this time around the legislature passed the law, but they said the voter had to confirm it,” said Dr. Paddock.
While voters in North Carolina and Georgia have already started early voting, those in South Carolina can vote now only if they meet one of 15 reasons to vote absentee. But South Carolina lawmakers say they’ll file bills next year to allow early voting in the state. 35 states and the District of Columbia allow no-excuse early voting. Three more states–Colorado, Oregon, and Washington–do all their voting by mail, which eliminates the need for early voting. South Carolina is one of six states with in-person absentee voting, but voters have to meet one of the requirements to vote absentee, like being 65 or older, physically disabled, or unable to vote on Election Day because of work obligations. Mary Mosley voted in-person absentee Tuesday in Columbia because she’s over 65. She hopes lawmakers will pass early voting. “I believe you could get more people to vote if they could come in just any time and vote, instead of having to stand in line for a long time,” she says.
Early voters in several Texas counties have taken to social media to complain touch screen voting machines switched their straight party Republican votes to ballots for Hillary Clinton, though election monitors said no instances of faulty machines have been verified. The problem, officials said, was probably user error by voters who are unfamiliar with touch screen technology. The Dallas Morning News reports voters from at least four counties complained on social media the electronic machine that produces their ballot switched their vote from a straight line Republican ticket to a vote for Hillary Clinton. Other down-ballot races were not affected, voters said. Elections officials in all but one of the affected counties said no voters had registered official complaints. In a handful of instances, voters took the ballot to poll workers, saying their ballot reflected something other than what they had intended. In those instances, officials said the poll workers voided the ballot and moved the voter to a different machine where they were able to correct the problem.
Democratic U.S. lawmakers from Wisconsin sent a letter to the Department of Justice Wednesday requesting that it deploy federal poll monitors to the state after reports that local officials were providing potential voters with inaccurate information about the state’s voter ID law. The letter also raised concerns about “potential voter intimidation at polling places, particularly in light of recent, high-profile rhetoric that alleges ‘election rigging.’National figures have suggested that there is widespread voter fraud in our country and have encouraged private citizens to monitor voting behaviors of certain communities for potential misconduct,” said the Democrats’ letter, which was signed by Sen. Tammy Baldwin, and Reps. Gwen Moore, Ron Kind, and Mark Pocan. The letter cited reports that voters who do not have the IDs required by the state’s voter ID law were having trouble obtaining the free IDs the state was supposed to provide for them to vote. It specifically cited the misinformation being given to them by local officials that was at odds with a court ruling over the summer.
When the official vote count begins for the P.E.I. plebiscite, it will be a computer that tallies up the votes and declares the winner. This is P.E.I.’s first foray into electronic voting and the first time those votes will be counted and processed by a computer, instead of by people. “If we had to count all those ballots manually I think we’d be there for months,” said Harry Neufeld, who’s co-ordinating the audit team for the plebiscite. He’s the former chief electoral officer of British Columbia and has been involved in several electoral reviews in other provinces. When voting ends on Saturday, Nov. 5 at 8 pm, the ballot boxes will be collected from across the Island and taken to Elections P.E.I. office where they’ll be secured overnight.
France’s cyber-security watchdog is briefing the country’s presidential candidates on hacking threats, drawing lessons from attacks that have disrupted the U.S. election campaign. As France prepares for elections less than six months after the U.S. chooses its own head of state, the National Defense and Security Secretariat will host some 30 campaign representatives Wednesday from parties including the anti-immigration National Front, the center-right Republicans and the governing Socialists. With hacking emerging as an issue in the U.S. presidential race, French security chiefs want their own politicians to know they’re also potential targets of electronic warfare. “We’ll give them technical pointers to identify attacks like those that took place in the U.S., as well as an overview of threats and how to fend them off,” Guillaume Poupard, who heads the national security agency’s cyber-defense unit, said in an interview Tuesday in Paris. He’ll host the campaign teams at the unit’s headquarters in a military compound just behind Napoleon’s tomb.
The government-backed candidate in Moldova’s presidential race withdrew on Wednesday, saying it was a tactical move to ensure the presidency remained in pro-European hands. The frontrunner ahead of Sunday’s election is pro-Russian candidate Igor Dodon, who wants to hold a referendum on the ex-Soviet nation’s Association Agreement with the EU. On Wednesday government choice Marian Lupu said he would step aside to boost the chances of fellow pro-Western candidate Maia Sandu. Sandu last week told Reuters that a split among pro-European politicians could harm Moldova. “This is a tactical decision. Moldova needs a pro-European president. Polls show she (Sandu) is more favored,” Lupu told journalists.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday began returning more than 1,000 vote-counting machines (VCM) to its supplier despite opposition from former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. whose poll protest was based partly on allegations that the election results had been manipulated with the use of VCMs. In an urgent manifestation and motion on Oct. 21, Marcos asked the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to “prohibit the poll body from releasing the subject VCMs” after the Comelec informed Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno it plans to return the machines to Smartmatic-TIM. The Marcos camp also asked the PET to determine whether these VCMs were used in the vice presidential race, which the former senator lost by about 260,000 votes to Leni Robredo, the Liberal Party candidate. On June 29, Marcos filed his electoral protest and asked the PET to stop Robredo’s inauguration. He said votes that were counted for Robredo were fraudulent, contesting the results in 39,221 clustered precincts in 25 provinces and five cities.
Another day, another hacking. At least, that’s what it seemed at first. In August, two election databases in Arizona and Illinois were hacked. Arizona responded by shutting down voter registration for nearly a week, and in Illinois, the breach resulted in the compromise of more than 200,000 voter records. Hackers breaching databases has become so commonplace that the loss of personal information barely raises an eyebrow for most Americans. This hack, like so many others, received little attention at first. … To understand Russia’s recent attacks on American democracy, one simply needs to look back to the country’s Cold War tactics. Outpaced by American military spending and military innovation—and challenged by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)—the Soviet Union sought an alternative approach to counter the U.S. Rather than match America on the battlefield, the U.S.S.R. sought to erode the U.S. from the inside out—using the “force of politics” rather than the “politics of force” to break democracy, fracturing the unity of the American populace and degrading trust in U.S. institutions. In a program known as “Active Measures,” the Soviet Union would deploy agents and provocateurs to spread propaganda amongst American dissident groups and communist causes throughout the Western world.
Throughout the campaign, Donald Trump has issued dire warnings of foul play on Election Day. “I’m afraid the election’s going to be rigged,” he told supporters in Ohio. “I’m telling you, November 8, we’d better be careful,” he cautioned Fox News. “I hope the Republicans are watching closely, or it’s going to be taken away from us.” Trump’s remarks might seem like a cynical ploy to mobilize his base, or to set the stage for an aggrieved backlash should he lose to Hillary Clinton. In fact, however, the U.S. election system really is vulnerable—though not in the way Trump claims. In July and August, Russian intelligence services hacked voter registration systems in Illinois and Arizona. But as menacing as foreign agents meddling with U.S. databases may seem, the biggest threat to the sanctity of the vote is the voting machines themselves. Like so much of America’s crumbling infrastructure, the systems we rely on to tabulate our votes fairly and accurately are in dire need of an overhaul. In thousands of precincts, the outcome of the election rides on equipment that’s outdated, prone to errors, and difficult or impossible to repair.
Republican candidate Donald Trump has made the insistent claim that the US presidential elections are being “rigged,” but experts say massive voter fraud is highly unlikely in a system as decentralized as the United States. “There are a lot of safeguards in place that would preclude that from happening, from federal laws to local and state laws as well,” said Jo-Renee Formicola, a political scientist at Seton Hall University. … Pamela Smith, president of Verified Voting, a civic group that advocates for clean elections, says safeguards against fraud are greater now than they were in 2012 and 2014. Still, electronic voting machines could be a weak link. “That’s perhaps one area where we might be concerned about leaving these questions to little towns and cities that may not have the technical sophistications of the federal government, but it would then require hacking multiple places if you are trying to build up,” said Clopton.
National: No, there is no evidence that thousands of noncitizens are illegally voting and swinging elections | Los Angeles Times
As Donald Trump maintains his incendiary attacks on the legitimacy of the election, one of his favorite themes has been the claim that the results will be tainted by the votes of millions of people in the U.S. illegally. “They are letting people pour into the country so they can go ahead and vote,” he said this month, in a meeting with the head of the union representing border patrol agents. “And believe me, there’s a lot going on,” Trump said at a rally. “People that have died 10 years ago are still voting. Illegal immigrants are voting.” Part of the Republican-led crackdown on supposed voter fraud, battles over measures to guard against noncitizen voters have percolated for years in election offices, state legislatures and federal courtrooms. Records in these fights show that small numbers of noncitizens do end up registered, and a few have cast votes. However, no one has uncovered evidence of thousands of noncitizen voters — and no evidence has emerged to support Trump’s theory of a coordinated effort to throw an election by stuffing the voting rolls with ineligible immigrants. “What we have seen are errors,” said Dale Ho, director of the voting rights project of the American Civil Liberties Union. “There’s not a horde of people trying to break into this country so they can vote.”
The prospect of election night drama seems to dwindle with each new round of polling. But Donald Trump, perhaps trying to author a campaign cliffhanger, is determined to provide Americans with at least a measure of “suspense” on November 8. Barring a remarkable turnaround — “Brexit times five” as Trump put it last week — Americans will begin their post-election Wednesday with a President-elect Clinton on the horizon. But whether her opponent sees fit to embrace defeat and publicly concede is mostly immaterial. “It doesn’t have any independent legal effect,” said Rick Hasen, a University of California-Irvine professor who runs the popular Election Law Blog. “If he concedes or he doesn’t concede, the votes totals will be what they will be.” Recounts are triggered automatically in 20 states and the District of Columbia when the margin of victory is sufficiently narrow, according to different laws in each of those states. The parameters vary — in Florida and Pennsylvania, it’s a margin of 0.5% or less of the total vote, while Michigan requires a deficit of 2,000 votes or less.
Republican and Democratic camps are gearing up for the possibility of heated legal battles on Election Day, preparations that have taken on additional urgency following GOP nominee Donald Trump’s charges that the election will be rigged against him. Mr. Trump’s campaign is leaning on the Republican National Committee and state parties for recruiting lawyers and other legal preparations. Democratic officials and Hillary Clinton’s campaign, meanwhile, are preparing to address any potential voter intimidation and to help people navigate tighter voting rules in several GOP-led states. Building an extensive legal network has become more of a priority for political campaigns since Bush v. Gore. Lawyers are needed to respond to unexpected complications as voters go to the polls and to stay on top of any potential recounts in the event of razor-thin victories. However, since the disputed 2000 presidential election, there have been few major issues with election administration, and there is no evidence that significant election fraud has taken place.
It seemed a clear victory for voting rights advocates in July when a federal court invalidated much of Wisconsin’s restrictive elections law, concluding that it discriminated against minorities by requiring voters to produce photo identification cards that blacks and Latinos too often lack. The remedy was straightforward: Henceforth, the state was to “promptly issue a credential valid as a voting ID to any person” who applied for one. But this month when Treasure Collins visited one of the Wisconsin motor vehicle offices that issue IDs, she found something entirely different. “I brought everything my mom told me I would need: my school ID, a copy of my birth certificate, my Social Security number,” said Ms. Collins, 18. “But they told me I needed an original copy of my birth certificate. An original copy, all the way from Illinois.” While Donald J. Trump repeatedly claims that the election is “rigged” against him, voting rights groups are increasingly battling something more concrete in this year’s ferocious wars over access to the ballot box: Despite a string of court victories against restrictive voting laws passed by Republican legislatures, even when voting rights groups win in court, they are at risk of losing on the ground. In an election year when turnout could be crucial, a host of factors — foot-dragging by states, confusion among voters, the inability of judges to completely roll back bias — are blunting the effect of court rulings against the laws.
As the country gears up for Election Day, concerns over Donald Trump’s “rigged election” rhetoric have created concerns about polling locations across the United States on November 8, with Mr. Trump encouraging his supporters to “watch the polls” to prevent voter fraud. Critics claim that voter fraud is not a statistically significant problem and that Trump’s “poll watchers” could be a potentially hazardous intimidation tactic. To combat the possibility of voter intimidation, especially during the first presidential election following the 2013 Supreme Court curtailment of the Voting Rights Act, many voting rights groups are stepping up to make sure the election goes smoothly and fairly. Most recently, advocates in California announced that they will monitor more polling places than usual in that state, joining a nationwide movement to combat potential voter suppression.
For weeks, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has been telling supporters that voter fraud could undermine the November 8 election and cause him to lose to Democrat Hillary Clinton. “They even want to try to rig the election at polling booths where so many cities are corrupt and voter fraud is all too common,” Trump has said. His campaign cites a 2012 study by the Pew Charitable Trusts that looked at national voter rolls. The study found that nearly 2 million deceased people were still registered. Pew blamed outdated voter rolls, however, and the report found that no ballots had been cast illegally. There are more than 8,000 voting precincts spread across the United States, and each one has local elected officials who are required to regularly update their communities’ rolls. Trump recently told supporters in Green Bay, Wisconsin, that “people who have died 10 years ago are still voting.” Researchers say voter fraud involving ballots cast on behalf of deceased voters is rare, according to FactCheck.org. “This issue of dead people voting is just not substantiated,” Lorraine Minnite, a professor at Rutgers University and author of The Myth of Voter Fraud, said in the FactCheck report.
Voters with disabilities will no longer, in the words of Secretary of State Denise Merrill, be forced to use “the clunky old system” when voting on Nov. 8. On Monday, Merrill and advocates for the disabled showed off the state’s new $1.5 million, state-of-the-art computerized system that will allow Connecticut’s disabled voters to first vote, and then print their ballots. “I am very excited about this,’’ Merrill said. “It is a real improvement over our old system. The beauty of it is people with disabilities will be able to vote just like everyone else.’’ The new stand-alone, tablet-based system requires no telephone or internet service and is intended to be adaptable to a variety of assistive technologies. The tablet system is a ballot-marking device that replaces the previous phone-fax technology. The previous system required poll workers to use a designated telephone with a secure, pre-registered number. Voters were then given a telephone handset after the calls were answered by a computer system that provided an audio ballot. Once the call ended, the ballot was faxed to the polling place.
Leonard “Roscoe” Newton has been in and out of Florida’s prisons since before he could vote, starting with a youthful conviction for burglary. He’s been a free man for six years now with an important exception: he still can’t vote. Newton, who is African American, is among nearly 1.5 million former felons who have been stripped of their right to vote in a state with a history of deciding U.S. presidential elections, sometimes by razor-thin margins of just a few hundred votes. Felons have been disenfranchised in Florida since 1868, although they can seek clemency to restore their voting rights. Since 2011, however, when Republican state leaders toughened the restrictions on felon voting rights, just 2,339 ex-felons have had that right restored, the lowest annual numbers in nearly two decades, according to state data reviewed by Reuters. That compares with more than 155,000 in the prior four years under reforms introduced by Governor Rick Scott’s predecessor, moderate Republican governor Charlie Crist, the data shows. Crist, who was governor from 2007 to 2011, made it much easier to restore ex-felons’ voting rights.
Civil liberties advocates and a host of faith groups announced a new coalition Tuesday that will fight to ensure Iowans convicted of nonviolent felonies are not stripped of their right to vote. The coalition of 17 organizations will advocate for legislation and an eventual amendment to the Iowa Constitution to end a voting rights “crisis” in the state, said Rita Bettis, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, at a press conference. Iowa’s system of disenfranchising felons even after they complete their sentences is among the harshest in the nation, she said. Disenfranchisement hits African-American communities particularly hard, fueled by disparities in the arrests of black Iowans compared with white residents, Bettis said. She cited an ACLU/Human Rights Watch report released earlier in October that found black Iowans are seven times more likely to be arrested for drug possession than white Iowans — the second worst rate of disparity in the U.S. “This system is unjust,” Bettis said. “It leads to the systemic, disproportionate disenfranchisement of black Iowans, leaving them without a voice in our political process.”
Maryland: Is it rigged? Local officials assure Maryland’s voting system is secure | Frederick News Post
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has called the election process “rigged,” but Frederick County and Maryland officials assure voters the state’s new balloting system is secure. “Simply put, Maryland’s election systems are secure, have built-in redundancies, and have been subject to security testing,” the state board posted in the “Rumor Control” portion of its website. Across Maryland, voters who choose to vote on Election Day will mark their paper ballots by hand. Those paper ballots are fed into an optical scan machine that counts the votes and collects the paper ballots. A switch to paper ballots in Maryland has been underway since 2007, when legislation was passed requiring a verifiable paper record for every voter. The new ballots were unveiled this year after the state was able to fully fund the transition from touch screens of the past. Pamela Smith, president of the non-partisan, nonprofit organization Verified Voting, said Maryland’s decision to switch to paper ballots was a beneficial one.
Joan Cunningham grew up in Canada and remembers watching people vote the old fashioned way: Fill out a paper ballot, drop it in a box. She understands electronic voting machines can be more efficient. “But my professional life was spent as an epidemiologist. I used, and still do, computers a lot for everything I do. And I have some practical insights into the things that can go wrong, data that can get corrupted or changed or lost,” Cunningham says. She wonders how vote recording errors and even fraud, can be prevented when such machines generate no paper records for backup. Pamela Smith says Cunningham’s concerns are legitimate. Smith is president of Verified Voting, a nonprofit, non-partisan group that examines the role of technology in elections. “People sometimes think software is infallible,” Smith says, “but in fact it’s programmed by humans, and humans are not infallible. So you can have errors in programming. There have been actual errors in programming in past elections that have been uncovered by doing audits and recounts.”
A federal judge in Huntington on Tuesday sided with lawyers from West Virginia’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and ordered the Cabell County clerk to permit online voter registration within the county. Chief U.S. District Judge Robert Chambers found that by not honoring the state’s electronic voter registration system, Cabell Clerk Karen Cole is violating the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. Residents in every other West Virginia county but Cabell have been able to successfully use the electronic system, ACLU lawyers wrote in the lawsuit they filed last week. Following the ruling, Cole said she would immediately begin registering voters who used the online system. Cole will mail those people voter registration cards and letters stating they don’t have to take any additional steps to be able to vote Nov. 8.
Wisconsin: A City Clerk Opposed an Early-Voting Site at UW–Green Bay Because ‘Students Lean More Toward the Democrats’ | The Nation
Carly Stumpner, a junior biology major at the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay, had an hour between classes to vote during Wisconsin’s April 5 presidential primary. But when she arrived at her polling place on campus, the line stretched for two hours across the student union. She returned to the polls a second time after her classes, but the line had only grown, and Stumpner had to get to a meeting for work. She wasn’t able to vote because of the long wait times, a frustrating experience for her and many students at UWGB that day. When polls closed at 8 pm, there were still 150 students waiting to vote. “Some people described it as chaos,” reported Ellery McCardle of the local ABC affiliate. “People were standing shoulder to shoulder, there was absolutely no room to move around in here.” After the primary, leaders of eight different student groups—including the Republican, Democratic, and Libertarian parties and the Black Student Union—asked the city to put an early-voting location on campus to alleviate long lines. But city officials ignored the request and opened only one early-voting site on September 26 for the entire city—the third-largest in Wisconsin—at the clerk’s office, a 15-minute drive from campus, which is open only during business hours. City Clerk Kris Teske, an appointee of Republican Mayor Jim Schmitt, a close ally of Governor Scott Walker, said the city didn’t have the money, time, or security to open an early-voting location on campus or anywhere else.
Upcoming assembly elections might see armed forces service voters receiving their ballots through the internet from the Election Commission (EC). A notification announcing the amendment to the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 enabling service voters, including armed forces personnel, to cast their vote in elections through e-postal ballot was issued on Friday.
Montenegro’s long-serving prime minister is to step down, the governing Democratic Socialist party has said, and will be replaced by his deputy, Duško Marković. Tuesday’s announcement came hours after Milo Đukanović, who has governed as Montenegro’s prime minister or president for a total of 21 years since 1991, announced his government was investigating a possible Russian role in an alleged 16 October coup plot aimed at derailing the country’s elections. It is unclear whether there is any connection between Đukanović’s claims of a coup and his abrupt departure. Party officials were quoted as saying that he would be replaced by Marković as its candidate for prime minister if it was able to secure a majority coalition in post-election negotiations. Đukanović, whose time in office has been dogged by allegations of authoritarianism and corruption, has retired from leadership on two previous occasions, in 2006 and 2010, before returning to the helm.
Seven out of 10 Members of Parliament are opposed to the lifting of the Presidential age limit from the Constitution, according to a new study. This is entailed in a new survey released by the Citizen’s Coalition for Electoral Democracy on Uganda (CCEDU) on Parliamentary Attitudes to lifting Presidential age limit conducted between September 16 and October 7, where 185 were interviewed. The MPs in the report also supported the restructuring of the Independent Electoral Commission (EC), arguing that this will guarantee the public free and fair elections in future.
Donald Trump’s repeated calls for supporters to gather friends and family to monitor polling places for cases of voter fraud raises a thorny question: When, exactly, do “ballot security” measures cross the line into illegal acts of voter intimidation? “You’ve got to go out. You’ve got to go out. And you’ve got to get your friends. And you’ve got to get everyone you know. And you got to watch your polling booths,” the Republican presidential nominee said last Saturday at a campaign rally in Manheim, Pennsylvania. He went on, “I hear too many bad stories, and we can’t lose an election because of you know what I’m talking about.” From a legal perspective, this kind of talk occupies an uncomfortable gray area. “There is a lot activity that is not clearly illegal, but could still be perceived as intimidation,” Rick Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California-Irvine School of Law, told TIME. “The question is where you draw that line.”