National: Voters With Disabilities Fight For More Accessible Polling Places | NPR

More than 35 million eligible voters in the U.S. — about one in six — have a disability. And in the last presidential election, almost a third of voters with disabilities reported having trouble casting their ballots — whether it was getting into the polling place, reading the ballot, or struggling with a machine. Despite some improvements, many of these voters are expected to face similar problems again this year. Ian Watlington, of the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN), demonstrates why. He has cerebral palsy and needs to use a wheelchair to get up a long concrete ramp outside a church in Washington, D.C. “It is one of those ramps that everybody thinks is absolutely perfect,” he says. But as he struggles to get up it, it’s clear that it’s not perfect. Watlington says the slope is fairly steep, which means some people in wheelchairs could tip backward. At the top, he finds another problem.

National: Many Americans unaware of their states’ voter ID laws | Pew Research Center

With less than a month to go before Election Day, not all American voters are aware of their states’ voter ID requirements. A new national survey finds that the confusion runs two ways: Some voters live in states that do not require identification to vote but think it is needed, while others living in states that do require IDs mistakenly believe they do not need one to vote. About four-in-ten voters (37%) living in states with no identification requirement incorrectly believe that they will be required to show identification prior to voting, according to a survey conducted Sept. 27 to Oct. 10 among 3,616 registered voters on Pew Research Center’s nationally representative American Trends Panel. About six-in-ten (62%) in these states know they do not have to produce a photo ID to vote. In the states that do require or request identification, more than three-quarters (77%) of voters know it is needed. However, about one-in-five voters (22%) in these states do not know a photo ID is needed, which may result in inconvenience or could prevent them from voting at all.

National: Postage Required For Absentee Ballots Varies By State | International Business Times

In a presidential election as competitive as this one, you don’t want to risk any complications with your precious vote. Be careful: If you’re voting by mail, something as simple as postage could impact your ability to do your civic duty. “The number of ballots mailed back to election officials with insufficient postage is on the rise,” the Unites States Postal Office writes on its website. “Each election cycle presents a different set of parameters for ballot creation and for the size and weight of the return mailpiece. As a result, many voters do not know the correct amount of postage required to return their ballot by mail.” 2016 is no exception. People are already flooding social media with questions about how many stamps they need, why they have to pay to vote and what happens if they don’t use the right postage, according to Snopes. Here’s what you need to know. Depending on where you are, you may need two stamps. If your absentee ballot says “extra postage required” or “apply first-class mail postage,” a single regular $0.47 stamp might not cut it. Whereas usually you can mail about four pages with one stamp in a standard envelope, absentee ballots often weigh more, according to NPR. The more pages there are, the more you need to spend to vote.

National: Why the Justice Dept. Will Have Far Fewer Watchdogs in Polling Places | The New York Times

For the first time since the days of poll taxes and literacy tests a half-century ago, the Justice Department will be sharply restricted in how it can deploy some of its most powerful weapons to deter voter intimidation in the presidential election. Because of a Supreme Court ruling three years ago, the department will send special election observers inside polling places in parts of only four states on Election Day, a significant drop from 2012, when it sent observers to jurisdictions in 13 states. And in a departure from a decades-old practice, observers will be sent to only one state in the South, where a history of discriminatory voting practices once made six states subject to special federal scrutiny. The pullback worries civil rights advocates, who say that Donald J. Trump’s call for his supporters to monitor a “rigged” electoral system could lead to intimidation of minority voters at polling places.

Editorials: The Real Voting Problem in the 2016 Election | Zachary Roth/Politico

Donald Trump’s claims that the election will be “rigged” through voter fraud have become a centerpiece of his faltering campaign. There’s no evidence to support this incendiary charge, but the GOP candidate has been energetically spreading the notion that if Hillary Clinton wins, it will only be because thousands of illegal votes will be cast on Nov. 8. Polls now suggest that most Trump supporters fear the election could be stolen from their man. Trump is right that fairness is going to be a problem this year. He’s wrong about where the problem really lies. In fact, the real voting problem we face in 2016 is almost exactly the opposite of what Trump is complaining about: Officials in at least five states, including several key presidential battlegrounds, have been dragging their feet on obeying court orders to open up access to the polls. As a result, rather than an epidemic of illegal, fraudulent votes, the election is likely to see tens or even hundreds of thousands of people across the country deprived of their constitutional right to cast a ballot. The election wasn’t supposed to unfold this way. Over the summer and early fall, 2016 was shaping up as a landmark year for voting rights, as a string of federal court rulings struck down, blocked or loosened restrictive voting laws in key states across the country. In the three most significant decisions, North Carolina’s sweeping voting law was struck down, Texas’ voter ID law was significantly loosened, and a court required that Wisconsin promise to make voter IDs available on demand, seemingly blunting the impact of that state’s ID law. Voting rights supporters, who had fought for years against restrictions on who can register and when, breathed a cautious sigh of relief. But as Election Day approaches, what’s actually happening on the ground in those states reveals a troubling reality: Important as they are, court rulings can’t adequately protect voting rights if election officials simply don’t want to make things easy for voters.

Editorials: The good news on voting and democracy | Joshua A. Douglas/USA Today

All politics is local, as the saying goes, and the same is true of election law. Although the U.S. Constitution protects the right to vote, local laws can expand its scope and influence democratic representation. Voters across the country are making choices this fall that will not only affect state and local elections, they will also serve as the catalysts for nationwide reforms. Maine voters, for instance, will decide whether to adopt ranked choice voting, a system in which people select their first, second, and third choices for each office. This reform would make it easier for third parties to gain support and would provide a better sense of the electorate’s overall preferences. In Missouri, voters are considering whether to amend the state constitution to allow a photo ID requirement for voting. In 2006, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that the prior voter ID law violated the state constitution, so to enact voter ID law in Missouri the voters must change the state constitution.

Editorials: It’s time to automate voter registration | The Washington Post

Judges in Virginia and Florida ordered officials to extend the time for people to register to vote because of unforeseen events. In Florida, it was a major hurricane that for days upended people’s lives; in Virginia, it was a crash of the state elections website. The decisions were eminently sensible and must be commended. But they also should raise the question of why in this day and age, this country largely remains wedded to an archaic system of voter registration that discourages — even prevents — people from voting. “No right is more precious than having a voice in our democracy,” wrote Judge Mark E. Walker of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida in ordering a six-day extension of voter registration in the wake of the massive disruption caused by Hurricane Matthew. “Hopefully, it is not lost on anyone that the right to have a voice is why this great country exists in the first place,” he said in a ruling that should shame Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R).

Voting Blogs: DDOS Attacks and Election Day: What to Do? [HINT: Don’t Wait.] | Election Academy

Last Friday, Internet users across America were affected by an apparent worldwide distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack using an army of household appliances to barrage the network with data requests. … In the wake of the attack, many observers speculated on what would happen if a DDOS attack were to happen in the United States on Election Day. … If this did happen, this would be an incredibly challenging day for election officials and voters alike. And while there’s no guarantee it won’t, I think the good news is that – thanks to the routinized nature of the election process – most if not all of the information voters need to get and cast their ballots is already available.

Florida: Despite Trump’s plea, little sign of interest in poll watching | Tallahassee Democrat

Few local voters have answered Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s call to sign up as poll watchers to prevent a rigged election. On the campaign trail this week, he warned of the media and partisans conspiring to steal the election. “The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary – but also at many polling places –SAD.” Trump tweeted Sunday. Trump’s vision of nefarious forces working to thwart the will of the people has failed to mobilize Leon County supporters to guard against Election Day fraud. “No effect, nothing. None at all,” said Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho.

Georgia: A growing conflict over voting rights is playing out in Georgia, where the presidential race is tightening | The Washington Post

A growing conflict over voting rights and ballot access is playing out in Georgia, where civil rights activists are trading accusations with Republican elected officials and where the stakes have risen considerably with the state’s new status as a closely watched battleground. Activists said this month that as many as 100,000 Georgia ­voter-registration applications have not been processed. One of the state’s largest counties offered only one early-voting site, prompting hours-long waits for many people at the polls last week. And the state’s top election official has refused to extend ­voter-registration deadlines in counties hardest hit by Hurricane Matthew. These developments have prompted harsh criticism from voting rights activists. Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit to extend registration for six counties affected by the hurricane. Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who oversees elections, responded by taking to Twitter to rail against “left-wing activists,” whom he accused of trying to disrupt the election.

Indiana: The truth behind voter fraud in Indiana | Indianapolis Star

If ever there was a time to reveal how Indiana elections could be rigged, it was in April 2008. That’s when the U.S. Supreme Court was weighing whether Indiana lawmakers could require voters to show government-issued identification at the polls. The state’s Republican-controlled legislature had passed a stringent voter ID law in 2005 based on the argument that it was necessary to prevent voter fraud. The law was challenged in court. Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the Supreme Court’s majority in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, said the state’s “interest in counting only the votes of eligible voters” justified voter ID. Thus, the law was ruled constitutional. But in doing so, Stevens also included in his opinion a statement that continues even today to strike at the core of ongoing — and often partisan — debates over the prevalence of voter fraud. He said there was scant evidence that anyone in Indiana had ever illegally voted in person.

Michigan: Court halts enforcement of law banning ballot ‘selfies’ | Reuters

A federal court on Monday sided with a Michigan man who said a law that bans voters from taking pictures of their marked ballots and sharing them on social media was unconstitutional, temporarily halting enforcement of the ban on ballot ‘selfies.’ Joel Crookston last month argued that the Michigan law, which predates the social media age and was intended to prevent voter intimidation and slowing the voting process, violated his First Amendment right to free speech. The ruling was praised by Michigan state Representative Sam Singh, who introduced legislation earlier this year to allow voters to take pictures of their ballots. “Social media is a powerful tool and individuals who wish to proudly display their ballots, and hopefully encourage friends to vote as well, should be able to do so,” he said. A similar battle arose in Colorado on Monday when two voters filed a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn a state law that criminalized the showing of a completed ballot to others, arguing that the ban, which could include social media postings, was unconstitutional.

Editorials: Five reasons why you can count on Minnesota’s voting system | Mark Halvorson/Minneapolis Star Tribune

Rigged? Fraudulent? Excuse me, but as Donald Trump might interject: “Wrong!” In Minnesota, we can have confidence in our election outcomes. For the past 12 years, Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota (CEIMN), a nonpartisan, nonprofit group, has worked to ensure accurate, transparent and verifiable elections in Minnesota. As the founder of CEIMN, I helped organize seven statewide observations of Minnesota’s postelection audits and recounts. Here are five reasons you can be confident that the results of next month’s election will be accurate and verifiable.

1) Routine audits of voting machines: After each general election, audits are conducted in about 200 randomly selected precincts statewide. Ballots are counted by hand to check the accuracy of voting machines. These audits are public events, and anyone can attend. Malicious attempts to influence the election through voting equipment would be difficult because we use paper ballots and we audit them.

North Carolina: Complaint spurs voter machine recalibration | Times News

The Alamance County Board of Elections will recalibrate the voting machines at the Graham early voting site after a second-hand, anonymous complaint. A man claiming to be a concerned citizen called the Times-News and said that when a friend of his attempted to vote for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, it selected Republican candidate Donald Trump. The information was left in a voicemail with no return phone number or name of the individuals involved. Alamance County Board of Elections Director Kathy Holland said she received a similar phone call from one of the local political parties about a man claiming the machine had selected a different presidential candidate from the one he was attempting to select. No one, she stressed, has complained while voting. She said they would recalibrate the machines after voting ended Monday evening at the Youth Services Building.

Ohio: Trump backers walking shaky legal line in monitoring voters | The Columbus Dispatch

Leon Neisius is ready to follow Donald Trump’s call to sign up as a polling place monitor. But not in his home, mostly rural Fairfield County. He wants to watch over voting in urban Franklin County. “Fraud’s more likely up there,” said the 73-year-old retired Air Force technician who lives near Pickerington. Josh Parks, 20, also wants to get trained as a poll-watcher so he can ferret out suspicious behavior. The construction worker from Westfield in Delaware County is looking forward to casting his first presidential vote — for Trump — but suspects it may not count because of fraud. “I wouldn’t doubt it,” said Parks, who, like Neisius, was attending a Trump rally last week in Delaware. While presidential elections are always high-stakes endeavors in Ohio, Trump’s insistence that this year’s vote might be rigged, and his call for supporters to keep watch at polling places, has raised the prospect of possible voter intimidation. “It’s disheartening. At some point you say, ‘When will this end?’” said Alicia Reece, head of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus.

Pennsylvania: In battleground Pennsylvania, claims of a ‘rigged’ election may be impossible to disprove | ZDNet

In Wednesday’s third and final presidential debate, Donald Trump made history by becoming the first major party candidate to refuse to say whether he would honor the election’s outcome if he loses. A day later at a rally in Ohio, he told supporters he would accept “a clear election result” but would reserve his right “to contest or file a legal challenge in the case of a questionable result.” Trump didn’t say what might qualify as a “questionable result.” But he’s made it clear that he already thinks the election is rigged against him. It’s almost universally agreed that is a virtual impossibility. Unfortunately, the electronic voting machine millions of Americans will use to cast their ballots can be rigged, and thanks to outdated technology it will be difficult to prove they weren’t if Trump or his supporter put forth such a claim. Verified Voting, a nonprofit group dedicated to providing information on elections, said eight out of ten Americans will cast their ballot this year on an electronic voting machine that produces some form of hard copy record of their vote. But that leaves over a dozen states in this election cycle using a direct recording electronic (DRE) machine — often a button-based or touchscreen device used for recording vote counts — which don’t support paper audit technology. In several key battleground states, electronic voting machines with paper audit trails are virtually non-existent.

Utah: McMullin’s running mate on Utah ballot is not his ‘actual running mate’ | KUTV

When independent candidate for president Evan McMullin filed to run in Utah, he gave a name for his running mate, whom he said was only a “stand-in” until he could choose the person he really wanted for the job. “I designate Nathan Johnson as my Vice Presidential candidate,” said a ‘certificate of nomination’ signed by McMullin, and delivered to the Utah Lt. Governor’s Office in August. The Lt. governor — in charge of elections — certified the Utah ballot weeks ago, and listed Johnson right beneath McMullin; the two are also paired on ballots in ten other states. Sunday, on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, McMullin repeatedly mentioned his actual running mate, Mindy Finn, a woman who began a political career “as a communications and legislative aide on Capitol Hill,” and is said to have worked “with both President George W. Bush and Mitt Romney.”

Virginia: How reliable are Virginia’s voting machines? | State of Elections

It may be tempting to think that the United States, the land of smartphones and supercomputers, would have commensurate levels of technology when it came to voting. Dispelling this, sadly, does not require us to look very far. Meet the WINVote touchscreen voting machine. Created and implemented in the early-2000s (and without any form of update since 2004), the WINVote machine is essentially a glorified laptop running Windows XP that also features a touch display. Its USB ports are physically unprotected, the wireless encryption key is set to “a-b-c-d-e,” the administrator password to access the machine (which is unchangeable) is “admin,” and there exists no auditable paper trail after an individual has voted. Oh, and it’s prone to crash. A lot. All of these, among other concerns, combined to lead security experts to term it “the worst voting machine in the U.S.” Despite these documented flaws, when Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe cast a ballot in 2014 at a Richmond-area precinct, he — like many voters in the city and in other parts of the Commonwealth — encountered the problematic WINVote machine. Multiple complaints over crashes and slow voting led the Governor to call for an investigation by the Virginia Information Technology Agency (VITA).

Iceland: Investors Who Poured Into Iceland Now Face ‘Messy’ Election | Bloomberg

Investors drawn to Iceland’s high yields following the partial dismantling of capital controls are facing parliamentary elections that could produce a toxic mix of political turmoil and radicalism. Klaus Spoeri, a fund manager at Frankfurt-Trust, says that while he recently bought more Icelandic bonds because of their attractive yields of more than 5 percent, he’s now holding off. “We’re quite confident about Iceland and the turnaround,” Spoeri said. But if Saturday’s elections should “go wrong, we’ll liquidate the position.” Despite an impressive turnaround in the economy, latest surveys suggest the ruling conservative coalition of the Independence and Progressive parties stands little chance of surviving the election. An untested alliance of opposition parties has set its sights on the leverages of power. The alliance is spearheaded by the Pirate Party, a direct-democracy movement that’s been leading the polls by riding a global wave of resentment toward the establishment.

Montenegro: Serbia unmasks plot to sway election in neighboring Montenegro: PM | Reuters

Serbia has detained a number of people over a suspected plot to sway the outcome of Montenegro’s Oct. 16 election, the Serbian prime minister said on Monday, citing “undeniable and material” evidence found by his country’s security services.Aleksandar Vucic’s remarks were the first detailed Serbian reaction to the arrests on election day in Montenegro of 20 Serbian citizens, including a retired police general, accused of planning attacks on government institutions and officials. The vote, in which veteran Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic’s party came out ahead but without a parliamentary majority, was billed as an opportunity for voters to endorse his pro-NATO and pro-EU stance instead of pursuing closer relationships with traditional allies like Serbia and Russia. Vucic told a news conference that the evidence found included 125,000 euros ($135,975) in cash and stashed uniforms that were to be used in attacks on Montenegrin state institutions and individuals. Supportive evidence had been given by detained suspects under questioning, he said.

United Kingdom: Labour fined £20,000 for undeclared election spending including for Ed Stone | The Guardian

Labour has been fined £20,000 by the Electoral Commission, the largest imposed by the body in its history, for undeclared election spending during the 2015 campaign, including more than £7,000 on the so-called “Ed Stone”. The commission launched an investigation into two payments totalling £7,614 missing from the party’s election return that were spent on the stone tablet on which then Labour leader, Ed Miliband, had carved his six key election pledges, promising to display it in the Downing Street rose garden if he won the election. The problems with the party’s spending came to light when the commission published the return in January, and journalists immediately contacted the commission because they could not find any reference to the 8ft 6in, two-tonne slab of limestone. The commission then found the item was indeed missing from the return, and began a full inquiry.

National: Hackers Used New Weapons to Disrupt Major Websites Across U.S. | The New York Times

Major websites were inaccessible to people across wide swaths of the United States on Friday after a company that manages crucial parts of the internet’s infrastructure said it was under attack. Users reported sporadic problems reaching several websites, including Twitter, Netflix, Spotify, Airbnb, Reddit, Etsy, SoundCloud and The New York Times. The company, Dyn, whose servers monitor and reroute internet traffic, said it began experiencing what security experts called a distributed denial-of-service attack just after 7 a.m. Reports that many sites were inaccessible started on the East Coast, but spread westward in three waves as the day wore on and into the evening. And in a troubling development, the attack appears to have relied on hundreds of thousands of internet-connected devices like cameras, baby monitors and home routers that have been infected — without their owners’ knowledge — with software that allows hackers to command them to flood a target with overwhelming traffic. … The attacks were not only more frequent, they were bigger and more sophisticated. The typical attack more than doubled in size. What is more, the attackers were simultaneously using different methods to attack the company’s servers, making them harder to stop. The most frequent targets were businesses that provide internet infrastructure services like Dyn. “DNS has often been neglected in terms of its security and availability,” Richard Meeus, vice president for technology at Nsfocus, a network security firm, wrote in an email. “It is treated as if it will always be there in the same way that water comes out of the tap.”

National: Dyn DDoS Attack Proves Internet Voting Is Still a Terrible Idea | The Daily Dot

Adding to the already mile-long list of reasons why the United States should never adopt a centralized online voting system, widespread internet outages on Friday serve as yet another example of how the U.S. election system benefits from keeping it old school. High-profile security breaches targeting politicians and alarms raised by the U.S. intelligence community over the possibility of an election day disruption by a malicious foreign actor have already led some states to engage in war-game-like exercises against their own election systems. But denial-of-service attacks, like the one experienced by millions in the U.S. on Friday, is a very different animal from the type of infiltration keeping lawmakers up at night. … “This is a reminder of how effective an attack on one can be an effective attack on many,” said Steve Grobman, chief technology officer for Intel Security. “An attacker seeking to disrupt services to multiple websites may be successful simply by hitting one service provider such as this, a DNS provider, or providers of multiple other Internet infrastructure systems.” The idea of creating a centralized online voting system to enable Americans to vote electronically has been roundly dismissed as bad by government and private industry experts alike. It is also very enticing, perhaps because at first blush it feels only natural to evolve in that direction.

National: Most states have no laws about guns in polling places. Some election officials think that could be a problem. | The Washington Post

Most states have no laws regarding guns in polling places, because for the most part, they haven’t really needed to make them. The confluence of firearms and polling places isn’t something America has been concerned about on a national scale — until now. As we stumble into the home stretch of one of the most divisive presidential elections in recent history — complete with eyebrow-raising rhetoric on guns and voter fraud — many election officials across the country are, for the very first time, bracing for intimidation or even violence on Election Day. And there’s not much they can really do about it. “We’ve never seen this level of concern, this far out from Election Day — poll workers in states across the country being trained to deal with guns,” said Erika Soto Lamb, a spokeswoman with the Michael Bloomberg-aligned gun control group, Everytown for Gun Safety. But other than training for how to respond in a mass shooting or studying up on what actions define voter intimidation, state laws about guns and voter intimidation are a patchwork of wildly varying regulations. Most election officials sort through a hodgepodge of laws about concealed weapons and open carry, and take into account whether the polling place is on private or public property, to figure out whether a gun-toting voter is allowed in.

National: Donald Trump jokes that it’s okay for his supporters to commit voter fraud | The Washington Post

As Donald Trump once again warned his supporters on Saturday that voter fraud is rampant and could cost him the election, he wondered aloud if he is receiving any of the fraudulent votes. “Maybe they’ll vote for Trump, I don’t know, maybe I shouldn’t be saying that,” the GOP presidential nominee said at a Saturday night rally in a convention center near the airport here. “I may be hurting myself, you’re right. You’re right. Maybe they’re going to vote for Trump. All right, let’s forget that. It’s okay for them to do it.” His tone was joking — but Trump’s comments follow several days of serious allegations that the system is “rigged” against him and that rampant voter fraud could cost him the election.

National: Donald Trump’s Threat to Reject Election Results Alarms Scholars | The New York Times

Donald J. Trump’s suggestions that he might reject the results of the American election as illegitimate have unnerved scholars on democratic decline, who say his language echoes that of dictators who seize power by force and firebrand populists who weaken democracy for personal gain. “To a political scientist who studies authoritarianism, it’s a shock,” said Steven Levitsky, a professor at Harvard. “This is the stuff that we see in Russia and Venezuela and Azerbaijan and Malawi and Bangladesh, and that we don’t see in stable democracies anywhere.” Throughout October, Mr. Trump has claimed, without evidence, that the vote will be “rigged” and “taken away from us.” At the final presidential debate, he refused to say he would accept the election’s outcome, and later joked at a rally that he would accept the results “if I win.” In weak democracies around the world, scholars warned Friday, political leaders have used the same language to erode popular faith in democracy — often intending to incite violence that will serve their political aims, and sometimes to undo democracy entirely. The United States is not at risk of such worst-case scenarios. American democratic norms and institutions are too strong for any one politician to destabilize. But Mr. Trump’s language, the scholars say, follows a similar playbook and could pose real, if less extreme, risks.

National: U.S. presidential election uses hodge-podge of voting technology | CBC

When Americans go the polls on Nov. 8, they’ll be casting votes using a wide array of technology, from touchscreens to pen and paper. In light of Donald Trump’s claims of election fraud — and with the memory of the disputed presidential election of 2000 still looming — that technology could be under more scrutiny than ever in this year’s presidential election. Here’s a look at the different ways Americans will make their choices:

Ballot scanning: Familiar to anyone who’s taken a standardized test, the scanning method requires voters to mark a specific area, such as filling in a bubble. The ballots are then tabulated by a scanner, using either optical equipment or digital scanning technology. Counting ballots with scanners is the most widely-used method of voting in the U.S., “and has been for a very long time,” says Pamela Smith, president of Verified Voting, a U.S. non-profit that advocates for accurate, transparent and verifiable elections. “Any electronic system can be tampered with,” says Smith. “But the benefit of having a scanner is that you maintain the ballot” for auditing later, if necessary.

Electronic systems: These ATM-like devices, known in election-industry parlance as “direct recording electronic” systems, enable voting by touchscreen, button or dial. The machines tabulate votes automatically, helping to speed up the voting process — unless technical difficulties strike. “If more than one [machine] breaks down, then you’re stuck with emergency paper ballots,” explains Smith. “Then you start running out.” The flexibility of electronic systems can be useful in areas where voters speak multiple languages, and can also help disabled voters through the process. Still, not all direct recording electronic systems print paper receipts of the votes cast, creating a potential lack of accountability.

Editorials: We should all be voting on paper | Avi Green/Daily Record

Here is a frightening prospect: with four weeks to go before Election Day, some of America’s voting machines are not as secure as they could be. For years, the idea that hackers might mess with a U.S. election seemed more like the plot of a novel than a real possibility. As a result, election administrators have tried to save taxpayer money by using the same machines year after year, even after vulnerabilities with some voting machines were exposed. This year is different. Cyber attackers in Russia have targeted U.S. election systems, taking aim at the Democratic National Committee and voter registration databases of more than 20 states. The risk is small, but real. Let’s start with good news: you can trust the national outcome. Most Americans vote on paper ballots. Those ballots are mainly counted by efficient, accurate optical scan voting machines, and, in most states, they are also audited — hand-counted in public in a small number of randomly selected precincts — to make sure that the optical scan machines are working right. If the election is close enough to merit a recount, or if a random audit shows an anomaly, more precincts can be counted by hand.

Editorials: Why ‘rigging’ resonates | Nathaniel Persily/New York Daily News

Choosing to release us from the three weeks of “suspense” he promoted in the previous night’s debate, Donald Trump on Thursday promised, with characteristic graciousness, to accept the results of the election… if he wins. Rarely has an ellipsis been more consequential. Even at a time when all the constraining norms of American politics appear to be disintegrating before us, the assumption of a peaceful transfer of power — in which the election’s loser concedes to the winner — would have seemed a foregone conclusion. No longer. Of course, if Trump were merely suggesting that he reserves the right to litigate if the election results are uncertain or too close to call, then he was merely stating the obvious. But never before has a candidate sought to keep the nation in “suspense” as to whether he would concede. To do so, by its very nature, casts doubt on the democracy. The reality TV show that this campaign has become could do without yet another dangerous cliffhanger.

Indiana: Voter Registration Effort Spurs an Inquiry in Indiana | The New York Times

With accusations of rigging and voter fraud hanging over this year’s elections, alarms are set off by the mere suggestion of irregularities in the registration and voting process. So when questions were raised in Indiana this year about suspicious registration forms, the matter quickly snowballed, leading to a sweeping investigation, supported by the Republican secretary of state and led by the State Police. The contention was that some voter registration forms submitted by the Indiana Voter Registration Project, which set out this year to sign up thousands of African-Americans to vote in the state, were missing key information or appeared fraudulent. The State Police descended on the group’s headquarters this month, and conservatives have pointed to the case as a possible example of ineligible voters being recruited to sway elections. The Indiana Voter Registration Project insists there was no wrongdoing, pointed out that the state’s governor, Mike Pence, is the Republican vice-presidential candidate and asserted that the investigation was politically motivated. They invited federal authorities to come in and look for themselves. The state investigation is ongoing, with no resolution assured before the Nov. 8 election, when Indiana voters will select a new governor and United States senator; and help choose a new president.