National: Voter fraud and dead people: How tech sets things right | CNET

Four years ago, David Becker and John Lindback helped lead a study about voter registration in the US. The results were alarming. More than 1.8 million dead people were still registered to vote. That’s because systems designed to remove them were flawed, according to their study, conducted by the Pew Center on the States. A total of 24 million voter records — one out of every eight — were “significantly inaccurate or no longer valid.” After the study, the Pew Charitable Trusts worked with several states to form the Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC, to clean up voter registration rolls, which get out of whack when we move, change names or die. Today, 21 states and the District of Columbia work with ERIC to compare and analyze data across each other’s voter and motor vehicle registrations, US Postal Service addresses and Social Security death records. States also apply sophisticated cybersecurity tools to fend off hackers. But the fixes take time.

Editorials: Trump thinks non-citizens are deciding elections. We debunked the research he’s citing. | Stephen Ansolabehere, Samantha Luks and Brian Schaffner/The Washington Post

Donald Trump has increasingly sought to cast doubt on the validity of the upcoming 2016 election outcome, claiming that the results will be “rigged.” He recently cited a study by political scientists Jesse Richman, Gulshan Chattha, and David Earnest that purports to use data from a large national survey — the Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES) — to show that some non-citizens have voted in previous elections. This study was summarized at The Monkey Cage and provoked three rebuttals (here, here, and here) as well as a response from the authors. After this exchange, we published a peer-reviewed piece arguing that this study is wrong and that there is absolutely no evidence from the data that non-citizens voted in recent presidential elections. We argue that the findings in the Richman et al. article can be entirely explained by measurement error. Specifically, survey respondents occasionally select the incorrect response to a question merely by accident.

Indiana: Thousands of Indiana voters can’t find registration records | WRTV

Some Indiana voters have discovered their date of birth or first name is incorrect on their registration, leading the Indiana Secretary of State to believe it’s a case of voter fraud. Secretary of State Connie Lawson said thousands of first names and dates of birth have been changed on paper forms, at the BMV and online. In a release, Lawson said her office isn’t sure why the records were changed, but doesn’t believe the Statewide Voter Registration System was compromised.

Michigan: GOP on guard against ‘massive’ voter fraud | The Detroit News

The Michigan Republican Party is planning to dispatch more than 100 attorneys to polling locations across the state on Election Day to “catch and discourage instances of voter fraud” as GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has warned the voting process is “rigged.” Michigan Republican Party Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel said in a recent fundraising letter that she has instructed party attorneys “to prepare a massive statewide anti-voter fraud effort to go along with our last-minute get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts. I won’t let Hillary Clinton steal this election from Donald Trump,” McDaniel wrote in the Oct. 10 fundraising plea. McDaniel said she was trying to raise $48,000 to pay for canvassing, phone calls to voters and “placing over 100 Michigan Republican Party attorneys in the field to catch and discourage instances of voter fraud.”

North Carolina: Federal courts reject challenge brought by Clinton campaign counsel to early voting plans in 5 North Carolina counties | The Charlotte Observer

A federal appeals court panel has rejected a request by a group of North Carolina voters for modifications to early-voting plans in Mecklenburg, Guilford, Forsyth, Nash and New Hanover counties. Early voting starts Thursday in North Carolina. Marc Elias — a Washington, D.C.-based attorney involved in several high-profile voting rights cases and counsel to Hillary Clinton’s campaign — represented a group of voters who filed their request in early October, less than three weeks before early voting was to start.

North Carolina: Drawing the line on the most gerrymandered district in America | The Guardian

On the outskirts of Charlotte, it’s the last day of early voting for the congressional race in North Carolina’s 12th district at the Mountain Island library, and there are no lines for the polling stations. Instead, volunteers outnumbered the voters. It was early voting time, but not for a race nearly as high-profile as the presidential election. Only 266 people turned out in June to the polls to pick the district’s next member of Congress. After the election, once all the votes were tallied, only 7% of more than 500,000 registered voters cast ballots. “Turnout was very, very low,” said Carol Johnson, a poll worker and an employee for the city of Charlotte. “Maybe people didn’t know. Maybe they weren’t interested.” Or maybe people have grown disenfranchised after living in what has long been considered the most gerrymandered district in the United States. Twenty-five years ago, North Carolina lawmakers drew the 12th district, creating the second majority-minority district in a state with a dark history of denying black residents their voting rights. That line-drawing is what is known as gerrymandering, or manipulating the boundaries of electoral districts to favor a particular result.

Ohio: Judge restores voting rights for thousands of Ohioans | The Columbus Dispatch

Thousands of Ohioans got their voting rights restored for the 2016 election Wednesday night through a federal judge’s ruling. But Judge George C. Smith of U.S. District Court in Columbus acknowledged that his attempt to remedy what he said was Secretary of State Jon Husted’s illegal purging of many Ohioans from the state’s roll of eligible voters still will leave some eligible voters on the sidelines. “There is no dispute that the remedy ordered by this court will not involve the reinstatement of all voters who have been removed from the voter registration rolls,” Smith wrote in a 22-page decision on a lawsuit brought by the A. Phillip Randolph Institute, ACLU and Ohio Democratic Party against Husted. The two sides differed on how many Ohioans would be impacted by the ruling. A spokeswoman for the Democratic Party said potentially tens of thousands could be affected. A Husted spokesman said he doubted it would be that high.

Ohio: Kasich: Fear of election rigging ‘a big fat joke’ | The Columbus Dispatch

The state’s governor and top election official both took to morning TV today to sharply dispute GOP nominee Donald Trump’s claim that the 2016 presidential election is “rigged,” with both saying that the system of collecting and counting ballots is better than it’s ever been. “To say that the elections are rigged and all these votes are stolen — that’s like saying we never landed on the moon,” Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, said on CBS “This Morning.” He added that such accusations are “silly,” and “I don’t think it’s good for our democracy.” Speaking on “Morning Joe” on MSNBC, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, also a Republican, said the system in America and in Ohio “is more secure than it’s ever been.” He said he was worried that people will lose faith in democracy because of these accusations.

Pennsylvania: Murrysville councilman claims online voting post was joke; officials not laughing | WPXI

A Republican councilman said he deleted an online posting about casting presidential votes via Facebook and Twitter because people didn’t realize he intended it as a joke, but state officials are taking the matter seriously. No state allows voters to cast ballots via social media, and Pennsylvania’s election oversight agency warned voters not to be misled by posts claiming otherwise. The governor’s office also issued a statement that said efforts to disrupt the election would be prosecuted. Joshua Lorenz, a Pittsburgh attorney and councilman in Murrysville, told The Associated Press the meme — which said, “Vote Hillary November 8th” and “You can vote at home comfortably online” — was meant as a joke for his friends. He said he took down the post within a couple hours Saturday because “the person who had questioned it, who I thought was a friend, had apparently misconstrued it.” In sharing the image, Lorenz wrote that it was “more proof that the election process is rigged.” GOP nominee Donald Trump has made similar claims.

Washington: How election officials guard against a rigged vote | GeekWire

It’s finally come to this: Ballots for the general election are in the mail, and within days, Washington state voters can register their choice for president. But how do you know the vote won’t be rigged, or ruined by Russian hackers? It’s prudent to be concerned, but the state official in charge of the election process says it’s “irresponsible” to make baseless accusations about the integrity of the voting process. “I have full and complete confidence in our system,” Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman, a Republican who’s up for re-election this year, said in a blog posting this week. “Every eligible ballot will be handled securely and will be tabulated carefully and accurately.”

Bosnia: Srebrenica Victims Challenge Mayoral Election ‘Violations’ | Balkan Insight

A coalition of four Srebrenica victims’ associations, including the Mothers of Srebrenica, has filed a criminal complaint against all seven members of Bosnia’s Central Election Commission, alleging violations of electoral law during the recent municipal polls. They accuse the commission of failing to tackle what they claim was hate speech by the Serb candidate for mayor of Srebrenica, of breaking rules on updating voter lists, and of violating election law by excluding 2,000 absentee ballots from election results. They filed the complaint after Serb candidate Mladen Grujicic was officially named victor on Monday, making him Srebrenica’s first Serb mayor since the 1995 massacres of more than 7,000 Bosniak men and boys by Bosnian Serb forces. Grujicic received 4,678 votes, while Bosniak mayoral candidate Camil Durakovic got 3,910. The victims’ associations – the Mothers of Srebrenica, Women of Srebrenica, Women of Podrinje, and the Mothers of Srebrenica and Zepa – believe that the alleged violations could have affected the result in the Serb candidate’s favour.

Bulgaria: Cap on Number of Polling Stations Abroad to Be Abolished for EU | Novinite

The restriction for the opening of up to 35 electoral sections will be abolished for EU member-states but it will remain valid for the rest of the world, decided deputies in the legal commission who discussed at first reading the 12 draft bills for amendments to the Electoral Code. 17 days remain until the presidential elections. GERB’s proposal for the Central Election Commission (CEC) to allow, when necessary, voting, including on election day itself, in electoral sections abroad with more than one ballot box was also adopted.

Moldova: Pro-Western Moldovan Presidential Hopeful Warns Of ‘Massive Fraud’ In Looming Vote | RFERL

One of the leading pro-Western candidates in this month’s presidential election in Moldova has warned of “risks of massive fraud” in the vote, which has further divided the tiny post-Soviet state’s already fractious political scene. Speaking to RFE/RL on October 19 during a visit to Brussels for meetings with officials from the European Union, Action and Solidarity candidate and former Education Minister Maia Sandu said she was “here to warn the international partners of Moldova about the risks of massive fraud of the election and to ask them to help.” The presidential vote is Moldova’s first by direct election since 1996, a change whose legitimacy is being challenged by the Communist Party and other opposition elements.

National: Why Worries About Paperless Voting Loom Larger This Year | KUNC

On Election Day this November, about 1 in 4 Americans will vote using a device that never lets the voter see a copy of his or her vote on paper. The idea of relying on such machines has troubled some security experts for years. And this year the stakes may be even higher, because one candidate is charging that the election is rigged, and government officials have warned that state election systems have been targeted by foreign hackers with ties to Russia. Five states exclusively use voting machines that lack the kind of independent paper trail needed to do a convincing recount, according to a nonprofit, nonpartisan group called Verified Voting. Those states are New Jersey, Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana and South Carolina. “And then there are another nine states that have paperless voting machines in some jurisdictions,” says Pamela Smith, president of Verified Voting. In Pennsylvania, considered a battleground state, those machines are used in a majority of counties. “On a scale of all of the states, I would say that Pennsylvania would be my biggest concern,” says Smith.

National: Can you rig a U.S. presidential election? Experts say it’s basically impossible. | The Washington Post

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, behind in the polls, has started claiming that the election will be stolen from him because it is “rigged.” When Trump talks about the election being stolen from him, he seems to be referring to a range of issues, from voter fraud to the media being allied against him. He also said this week that he expects more than a million “deceased individuals” to vote against him. These claims have the potential to resonate with many Americans who already question the integrity of this country’s elections. A September Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 46 percent of registered voters believe that electoral fraud happens at least somewhat often. But stealing an election in this country isn’t easy. In fact, experts say it’s nearly impossible given how voting works. And documented instances of voter fraud are actually very rare. Wendy R. Weiser, director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, said the rate of fraud is smaller than the rate of Americans being struck by lightning.

National: Small-Donor Contributions Can’t Compete With Those Allowed by Citizens United | The Atlantic

Small-dollar donors have been celebrated in this election. Senator Bernie Sanders mounted a surprisingly competitive primary campaign fueled by their contributions and promoted his reliance on their dollars as a signature campaign issue. Donald Trump, too, has attracted legions of small-dollar contributors: Although major Republican donors appear divided over Trump, he has had more success with small donors than any prior Republican nominee, raising as much as $100 million from individuals giving less than $200 each. But with Sanders’ campaign having ended in defeat, and Trump’s nearing its conclusion, does 2016 really herald a new age of small-donor influence in politics? Pundits have argued that the possibility of using the internet to rely on millions of small donors means that campaign donation limits are irrelevant—that candidates’ ability to depend on readily available small-donor money means we don’t need to cap the biggest donations to restore balance to our political system. But a historical review of data describing all the money individuals have put into the campaign-finance system—whether to candidates, parties, or other political committees like super PACs—suggests this analysis is wrong. Despite growth in the number of small donors over time, the money they give has made up a smaller and smaller share of total individual contributions over the last two decades. The power of the internet is no match for the unlimited giving allowed by today’s lax campaign-finance rules.

National: Democrats use loophole to pump millions into fight for the House | Politico

The Democratic Party is directing millions of extra dollars to its House candidates this fall by way of a legal loophole that has helped them bypass the typical limits on coordinated spending between parties and candidates — all while linking some vulnerable Republicans to Donald Trump. Typically, Federal Election Commission regulations limit parties to just $48,100 of spending in direct coordination with most House candidates. But under a decade-old FEC precedent, candidates who word their TV ads a certain way — including references to generic “Democrats” and “Republicans” as well as specific candidates — can split the cost of those ads with their party, even if that means blowing past the normal coordinated spending caps. To date, more than a dozen Democratic challengers are benefiting from such “hybrid” advertising, getting extra hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The technique has been a small but consistent part of Democratic strategy in recent years, but new legal guidance has also allowed Democrats to share costs on ads linking their opponents to Trump on policy.

National: Controversial Republican Mike Roman to run Donald Trump’s ‘election protection’ | The Guardian

Donald Trump’s “election protection” effort will be run by Mike Roman, a Republican operative best known for promoting a video of apparent voter intimidation by the New Black Panthers outside a polling place in 2008. Roman is to oversee poll-watching efforts as Trump undertakes an unprecedented effort by a major party nominee by calling into question the legitimacy of the popular vote weeks before election day. The Republican nominee has insisted, without evidence, that dead people and undocumented immigrants are voting in the United States. Trump has long claimed that the 2016 election is rigged but has amplified his claims of voter fraud in recent days. On Monday he tweeted: “Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day. Why do Republican leaders deny what is going on? So naive!” In particular Trump claimed in an interview with Fox News that voter fraud was rampant in cities including Philadelphia, St Louis and Chicago after long warning vaguely about fraud in “certain communities”.

Editorials: Shameful Silence on Donald Trump’s Lies About Vote-Rigging | The New York Times

It may be too late for the Republican Party to save itself from the rolling disaster of Donald Trump, but the party’s top leaders still have the duty to speak out and help save the country from his reckless rhetoric. The most frightening example is Mr. Trump’s frenzied claim that the presidential election is being “rigged” against him — a claim he has ramped up as his chances of winning the presidency have gone down. Instead of disavowing this absurdity outright, Republican leaders sit by in spineless silence. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, and Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, are the two most powerful Republicans in the country and should be willing to put the national interest above their own. Both know full well that there is no “rigging,” and yet between them they have managed one tepid response to Mr. Trump’s outrageous accusations: “Our democracy relies on confidence in election results,” Mr. Ryan’s spokeswoman said, “and the speaker is fully confident the states will carry out this election with integrity.” This is like standing back while an arsonist pours gasoline all over your house, then expressing confidence that the fire department will get there in time.

Editorials: Trump didn’t invent the ‘rigged election’ myth. Republicans did. | Elizabeth Warren/The Washington Post

Cratering in the polls, besieged by sexual assault allegations and drowning in his own disgusting rhetoric, Donald Trump has been reduced to hollering that November’s election is “rigged” against him. His proof? It looks like he’s going to lose. Senior Republican leaders are scrambling to distance themselves from this dangerous claim. But Trump’s argument didn’t spring from nowhere. It’s just one more symptom of a long-running effort by Republicans to delegitimize Democratic voters, appointees and leaders. For years, this disease has infected our politics. It cannot be cured until Republican leaders rethink their approach to modern politics. Anyone with children knows that whining about imaginary cheating is the last refuge of the sore loser. But GOP leaders have served up such a steady diet of stories about imaginary cheating that an Economist-YouGov poll shows that 45 percent of Republican voters believe voter fraud is a “very serious problem,” and 46 percent have little or no confidence that ballots will be counted accurately. They hold these views even though there is literally no evidence — none, zero, zip — that widespread voter fraud is a factor in modern American elections. A recent study looked at around a billion ballots cast in the United States from 2000 through 2014 and found only 31 instances of impersonation fraud at the polls. Republican leaders — and even Trump’s running mate — have tried to tiptoe out of the room when Trump makes ever-wilder claims of a rigged election. But as much as these Republicans would like everyone to believe that this is a Trump-only problem, it’s not.

Editorials: Trumped-Up Fears of ‘Rigged’ Elections – and How Responses Could Disenfranchise Voters | Richard Hasen/Wall Street Journal

Thanks to comments and tweets by Donald Trump and the apparent work of Russia, the news is full of allegations that next month’s vote will be stolen, “rigged,” or hacked. Most of this talk isunsubstantiated or greatly exaggerated. Here are four ways that the 2016 election won’t be stolen and one way that responses to exaggerated fears of electoral fraud could disenfranchise voters.

Flawed findings on non-citizen voting: Mr. Trump has pointed to a study arguing that non-citizen voting is a big problem and could have cost John McCain the state of North Carolina in the 2008 presidential election. Politifact rated Mr. Trump’s allegation of massive voter fraud a “pants on fire” claim, noting that this study “has been criticized by election experts for using an unreliable database of Internet respondents.” Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has been given prosecutorial powers to go after this fraud, has found virtually none. The United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit concluded last month than only a “tiny fraction” of voters are non-citizens and that there is no evidence it is a serious problem.

Editorials: Don’t believe the hype. Foreign hackers will not choose the next president. | Thomas Hicks, Matthew Masterson and Christy McCormick/The Washington Post

Recent reports regarding the ability of foreign hackers to change the outcome of the U.S. presidential election are overstated. Foreign hackers will not pick our next president — Americans will. To be sure, malicious actors may be looking at the U.S. election system as a possible target. While headlines on this conversation may be new, election officials have been working to secure our voting systems for years. As threats emerge and evolve, those of us who work in elections are responding, adapting and constantly improving. Recently, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson commended this work and expressed confidence in the election process, saying: “It is diverse, subject to local control, and has many checks and balances built in.” At the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), we use research, voting system testing information, and reports from state and local officials about the performance of their systems to improve our certification of voting systems. We work with state and local officials across the country to identify and share best practices regarding cybersecurity, including information on testing systems, auditing the results and creating contingency plans. Election officials use this information to better prepare and secure their systems.

Alabama: 25 counties will test iPad-based voter list in November |

Voters at selected polling places in 25 Alabama counties will check in via an iPad-based system this November. The system is part of a pilot program backed by Alabama Secretary of state John Merrill, in which an electronic system replaces the paper printouts of voter rolls that poll workers use to check off qualified voters as they prepare to cast their ballots. It applies only to that part of the process, not the creation of the voter rolls or the actual voting. Voters still will cast their votes on the same machines they’ve been using. … John Bennett, deputy chief of staff for Merrill, said that each participating county will have enough of KNOWiNK’s Poll Pad setups to deploy them at a few polling places, meaning that even in those counties most voters may not see them. But for those who do use the affected polling places, things will work a little differently. Instead of going to a specific line based on the first letter of his or her last name, a voter will simply go to whichever line is shortest. If the voter presents a driver license, the system will be able to scan it; if they’re using a different form of approved ID, the poll worker will look up the voter by name.

Georgia: ACLU sues Georgia to re-open voter registration in coastal counties | Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Yet another group has filed suit against the state of Georgia demanding that voter registration be re-opened in counties where Hurricane Matthew forced evacuations and government closures. The American Civil Liberties Union filed the suit in federal court Monday. “The state’s failure to extend the voter registration deadline, despite the massive disruptions caused by Hurricane Matthew, means that thousands of Georgians will be prevented from participating in the November election. This is unethical and illegal,” Kathleen Burch, interim counsel for the ACLU of Georgia, said in a statement.

Indiana: Officials investigating possible voter registration tampering | CNN

Indiana State Police are investigating irregularities in voter registration Tuesday after the secretary of state’s office reported suspicious changes in thousands of voter registration records and suggested the possibility of voter fraud. The investigation was prompted after Indiana voters contacted the Indiana secretary of state’s office to report that their date of birth or first name was incorrect on their voter registration forms. Officials do not believe the database was hacked. “These records were changed on paper forms, at the (Bureau of Motor Vehicles) and online. At this time, my office is not sure why these records were changed, but we have evaluated the Statewide Voter Registration System and have found no indication it has been compromised. We believe this may be a case of voter fraud and have turned our findings over to the state police, who are currently conducting an investigation into alleged voter fraud,” Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson said in a statement. Lawson’s office turned their findings over to the Indiana State Police late Monday.

Kansas: Kobach asks court to set aside default judgment | Lawrence Journal World

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has asked a federal court to set aside a default judgment against him for failing to file a timely response to a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a state law requiring prospective voters to prove they are U.S. citizens. A federal court clerk earlier this week entered Kobach as being in default in a case concerning the state’s proof-of-citizenship requirement because Kobach had failed to file documents with the court on time. In a motion filed Friday in U.S. District Court, Kobach asked the court to set aside the default judgment, saying he believed the court had suspended certain deadlines in the case. He also criticized his opponents for “trying to play a game of ‘gotcha’ litigation,” The Wichita Eagle reported. “They keep changing their complaint and forcing us to write a new answer,” he said.

Maine: Election Officials Deny Trump ‘Rigged Election’ Allegations | Maine Public Radio

Election officials across the country are pushing back against Donald Trump’s assertions that the presidential election may be rigged. Maine’s top election official says elections in Maine have too many safeguards to make that possible. Over the past few weeks, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has repeatedly said he’s concerned about the possibility of voter fraud in the presidential election. He repeated the assertion over the weekend in Bangor. “The election is being rigged,” said Trump on Saturday. But Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, a Democrat, agrees with his Republican counterparts in other states like Iowa and Georgia who say that it would be incredibly difficult to rig an election. That’s because most states, including Maine, use paper ballots that are cast by individuals who have to identify themselves at their polling place and have their names checked off on the registration list.

New Hampshire: In a connected world, New Hampshire voting machines are isolated – by choice | Concord Monitor

With concerns being raised across the country about the possibility that hackers could interfere with electronic voting machines, it’s timely to note that in a world of smart devices, New Hampshire’s ballot-counting machines are deliberately dumb. Say what you will about rigged elections and the chance of election officials missing cases of voter fraud: When it comes to the mechanical end of the state’s voting system, it’s a tight process. Security cameras, thermostats and even some automobiles might interact online these days, but not the hundreds of ballot-counting machines stored in town halls across New Hampshire. “They cut the pins off, so you can’t put the modems back in, even if you wanted to,” said Ben Bynum, town clerk in Canterbury, as he showed the town’s single AccuVote machine, locked away in a vault until pre-election testing begins. The only way to change these machines is to insert a memory card programmed by LHS Associates in Salem, and you can’t do that unless you first cut off a metal tamper-proof seal. And if you don’t record the proper identification numbers in the proper place in the proper book with a the signature of a witness, that will raise suspicions from people like Bynum and Deputy Town Clerk Lisa Carlson.

New Jersey: Election officials say no evidence vote will be ‘rigged’ |

State election officials said Tuesday they have seen no evidence of voter fraud and are not concerned the system is compromised despite unsubstantiated claims by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump that balloting in the U.S. is rigged. “I am a Republican, and I have 1,000 percent faith in the New Jersey election system,” Hunterdon County Clerk Mary Melfi said. Phyllis Pearl, the Camden County superintendent of elections for nearly 15 years, said she has “never had problems with voter fraud. As an election official, I take it personally. I’m here to maintain integrity of elections for voters and for all candidates regardless of party,” said Pearl, who was appointed by former Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine. The Associated Press reached out to officials in all 21 New Jersey counties. Ten officials responded and said they had seen no evidence of fraud.