National: What does voter turnout tell us about the 2016 election? | PBS

The vast majority of ballots have been counted nearly two weeks after one of the biggest political upsets in modern U.S. history catapulted Donald Trump to the presidency. Estimates show more than 58 percent of eligible voters went to the polls during the 2016 election, nearly breaking even with the turnout rate set during the last presidential election in 2012, even as the final tallies in states like California continue to be calculated, according to statistics collected by the U.S. Elections Project. But among those figures were stark contrasts in key states that helped swing the election to Trump — in Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan and elsewhere — indicating the President-elect’s leap from long-shot candidate to the most powerful political position in the world may have happened in part because of apathy toward Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, especially among the Democratic base, several political scientists and organizations monitoring voter turnout told the PBS NewsHour.

Editorials: Voting Rights in the Age of Trump | Ari Berman/The New York Times

In June 2013, the Supreme Court ruled in Shelby County v. Holder that states with a long history of racial discrimination no longer needed to approve any proposed changes to their voting procedures with the federal government, as had long been required under the Voting Rights Act. That meant this year’s presidential election was the first in 50 years without the full protections of the act. What was the result? Fourteen states had new voting restrictions in effect in 2016, including strict voter ID laws, fewer opportunities for early voting and reductions in the number of polling places. These restrictions depressed turnout in key states like Wisconsin, particularly among black voters. Among advocates for voting rights, there was hope that a Hillary Clinton presidency and Democratic control of Congress would help reverse this situation. But with Republicans now in control of the presidency, Congress and two-thirds of state legislative chambers, the attack on voting rights is almost certainly going to get much worse.

Editorials: Why our entire election system is in jeopardy | Steve Weisman/USA Today

The presidential election is over, but the multiple threats to the trustworthiness of our election system and thus our entire democracy exposed during the recent, contentious presidential campaign must be addressed for democracy to survive. The threat is real and it is multifaceted. Disinformation was rampant throughout social media and even, in some instances, through more conventional media sources, such as the false reporting by Fox News Channel of the likelihood of an indictment of Hillary Clinton by the FBI on charges related to misconduct tied to the Clinton Foundation. Social media was a sewer of misinformation during the campaign. According to the Pew Research Center and Knight Foundation, more than 40% of people turn to social media for their news. Twitter was particularly active on Election Day. It is a simple thing for someone or some country trying to influence an election to set up phony Twitter accounts to sow deliberate misinformation. Fake stories, such as Pope Francis’ endorsement of Donald Trump and reports that Clinton adviser John Podesta was a Satanist, spread through phony news links on Facebook and other social media.

Media Release: Voting Experts Call for Nationwide Audit to Verify Election Results

Days after an unexpected outcome in the presidential election, a leading voting security group is reinforcing its call for a national post-election manual audit to validate computer-generated election results. In the months leading up to the election federal authorities issued unprecedented warnings regarding the computer security of the U.S. election system following revelations that over 20 states’ voter registration systems and a Florida voting system vendor were targeted by foreign cyber attacks. Federal officials acknowledged that the system vendor and four states’ voter registration databases were compromised by hackers including Illinois and Arizona.

“This national election was held under an unfortunate cloud of uncertainty due to documented attacks on U.S. election systems and claims of rigging before votes were even cast,” said Verified Voting President Pamela Smith. “In order for democracy to work, we all need to believe in the system that elects our leaders. Voters must have assurance their ballots will be counted the way they intended to cast them—especially in a time when so much doubt has been cast on the electoral process. Luckily, there’s an easy way to do this: a post-election audit that manually examines a random sample of the ballots.”

Almost all ballots cast in the U.S. are tabulated by computers; software is vulnerable to errors, bugs, malware and attacks. The security breaches identified in the months before the election led national security experts in both the federal government and private sector to issue unprecedented warnings about the cyber security of U.S. voting systems. In an extraordinary move, the Department of Homeland Security partnered with state and federal election officials in an effort to shore up voting system security following the disclosed attacks.

A nationwide audit of about 1.4 million ballots–just over 1% of the votes cast– could give 95% confidence that each state’s result is right. About 25% of Americans voted on equipment that does not produce an auditable paper record, mostly in Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, and New Jersey. But votes cast by the other 75% are on paper ballots or paper records voters have the chance to check, and those can and should be checked in every election.

Verified Voting Blog: Still time for an election audit | Ron Rivest and Philip Stark

A Washington Post–ABC News poll found that 18% of voters — 33% of Clinton supporters and 1% of Trump supporters — think Trump was not the legitimate winner of the election. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has called on Congress to investigate the Russian cyberattack on the Democratic National Committee and the election. There are reasons for concern. According to the director of national intelligence, the leaked emails from the DNC were “intended to interfere with the U.S. election process.” The director of national intelligence, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Security Agency concluded that the Russian government is behind the DNC email hack and that Russian hackers attacked U.S. voter registration databases.

We know that the national results could be tipped by manipulating the vote count in a relatively small number of jurisdictions — a few dozen spread across a few key states. We know that the vast majority of local elections officials have limited resources to detect or defend against cyberattacks. And while pre-election polls have large uncertainties, they were consistently off. And various aspects of the preliminary results, such as a high rate of undervotes for president, have aroused suspicion.

Computers counted the vast majority of the 130 million votes cast in this year’s election. Even without hacking, mistakes are inevitable. Computers can’t divine voter intent perfectly; computers can be misconfigured; and software can have bugs. Did human error, computer glitches, hacking, or other problems change the outcome? While there is, as yet, no compelling evidence, the news about hacking and deliberate interference makes it worth finding out.

California: This is why it takes so long to count votes in California | Los Angeles Times

In an era when there’s almost nothing that can’t be found out quickly, the long wait for final results from an election in California feels interminable. And yet, there’s a pretty simple reason why it takes so long to count all the votes. California is not just home to more voters than any other state in the U.S. But it also has more election laws designed to maximize a voter’s chances of casting a ballot. “We don’t put up any of the barriers that you see in other states,” said Kim Alexander, president of the nonpartisan California Voter Foundation. Lawmakers through the years have taken a decidedly pro-voter approach when enacting new election laws, none more consequential than the expanded use of absentee voting. In some states, you still need a good reason to not show up in person on election day.

Colorado: State crushes national voter turnout figures, but mail ballots aren’t a huge factor | The Denver Post

Even as voter turnout declined across the U.S. for the second presidential contest in a row, Coloradans cast ballots in huge numbers, bucking the national trend and reinforcing the state’s position as a leader in voter participation. But for all the talk of a dramatic shift in Colorado’s elections under the state’s expanded mail-in balloting system, the final numbers in 2016 are going to look a lot like that of presidential elections past. More people voted by mail in Colorado than ever in 2016 — upward of 2.6 million of the 2.8 million ballots cast, according to the latest unofficial tallies from the Secretary of State’s Office. But overall turnout is expected to be slightly above that of 2012, and slightly below 2008. “I think, frankly, there’s no evidence to suggest that the change made any difference in turnout,” said Judd Choate, the state director of elections.

Nevada: DMV could automatically register voters if initiative petition passes muster | Las Vegas Review-Journal

An initiative petition that would make it easier to register to vote could reach the Legislature next year after more than 125,000 signatures were turned in last week to county clerks for verification. The Automatic Voter Registration Initiative would amend state law to require the Department of Motor Vehicles to transmit information to the secretary of state’s office to register people to vote or update their information. People could opt out of the program. Right now, people can register to vote at the DMV, but they have to “opt in.”

North Carolina: Voting complications expected to delay outcome of races | News & Observer

Uncertainty over how many as-yet uncounted votes will be added to the results of last week’s election is not likely to be resolved by Friday’s deadline, delaying the outcome of close races for governor and other offices. Counties are dealing with several complications, including election protests and accommodating a late court order to count the votes of those who say they registered at motor-vehicle offices but did not show up on voter rolls. County elections boards are permitted to extend their vote canvassing, which was to occur Friday, and many if not all are expected to do that, state elections board spokesman Patrick Gannon said. The state board can delay its final certification of the votes by up to 10 days past its own due date of Nov. 29 if some counties don’t report to the state by then, which would postpone the final outcome until Dec. 9.

North Carolina: Republicans Battle to Save Governor, Trailing by Whisker | The New York Times

Democrats and Republicans in this fiercely contested political battleground have regularly resorted to creative legal maneuvers and election-law changes in their efforts to wring every last vote from the state’s nearly seven million voters. But even by that standard, the disputed, hairbreadth race for governor is plowing litigious and acrimonious ground. Scrambling to save the incumbent governor, Pat McCrory, Republicans said they were pursuing protests in about half of North Carolina’s 100 counties, alleging that fraud and technical troubles had pushed the Democratic nominee, Attorney General Roy Cooper, to a statewide lead of more than 6,500 votes. But Republican-controlled county elections boards, including one here in vote-rich Durham County, turned back some of the challenges on Friday. The legal and political jockeying raised the specter of a recount, and it could ultimately climax in a political wild card: Mr. McCrory using a state law to contest the election in the state’s Republican-dominated General Assembly. “We’re supposed to have an inauguration on Jan. 7,” Theresa Kostrzewa, a Republican lobbyist, said Friday. “Are we going to have a governor? That, I think, is what most people are going to start wondering pretty soon.”

North Carolina: Roy Cooper team claims insurmountable gap over incumbent Pat McCrory | News & Observer

Roy Cooper’s election law specialist told reporters on Friday that internal calculations tell the campaign that the attorney general has an insurmountable lead over Gov. Pat McCrory. Cooper, the Democrat, has held a lead of about 5,000 votes since Election Day. That lead has increased to 7,448 votes, according to Marc Elias who spoke to reporters in a phone-in conference. He said he expects that lead to grow slightly, based on the mix of counties that have yet to report outstanding ballots. “This race has simply gotten away from Pat McCrory,” Elias said. “More North Carolinians voted for Roy Cooper than Pat McCrory, and did so by a close but significant margin. There is nothing Gov. McCrory or his legal team are going to be able to do to undo what is just basic math.” McCrory and state Republican officials have filed protests questioning voter integrity in 52 of the state’s 100 counties. The first of those counties that began deliberating those protests on Friday overwhelmingly rejected them.

North Carolina: Appeal planned after Durham County dismisses demand for hand recount | News & Observer

A series of decisions Friday by local elections boards dealt a setback to Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s hopes of challenging results that have left him trailing in his bid for re-election. Now his campaign is putting its hopes in the N.C. State Board of Elections. Protests have been filed questioning alleged irregularities in 52 of the state’s 100 counties. The first county elections boards that began deliberating those protests on Friday overwhelmingly rejected them. McCrory’s campaign on Friday evening asked the state board to take the protests out of the hands of county boards and decide the issues itself, in order to ensure consistent decisions and a quicker resolution. The state board has not yet responded. Both state and county elections boards are controlled by Republicans.

Texas: In latest voter ID filing, feds argue Texas discriminated on purpose | The Texas Tribune

Months after a federal appeals court ruled that Texas lawmakers discriminated against African-American and Latino voters in passing a strict voter identification law, the Obama administration and civil rights groups are asking a judge to go a step further — by finding that the lawmakers did it on purpose. “The discriminatory impact was not merely an unintended consequence” of the 2011 law, known as Senate Bill 14, Justice Department lawyers wrote in a brief filed late Friday. “It was, in part, SB 14’s purpose.” The 45-page brief was part of the latest back-and-forth in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas — one of two legal fronts in a convoluted battle over identification requirements that were temporarily softened during November’s presidential election.

Canada: Liberals To Expand Voting Rights For Canadian Expats | Huffington Post Canada

The Liberal government is preparing to expand the voting rights of non-resident Canadians, The Huffington Post Canada has learned. Canadians who have lived abroad for more than five years are essentially banned from casting a ballot right now. They cannot receive a special mail-in ballot, and although they can technically come to Canada vote in person, they have a near impossible task of proving residency here. Two sources told HuffPost that Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef is looking at tabling legislation that would give expatriate Canadians the right to vote by special ballot no matter how long they have been away. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a case in February involving two Canadians who live in the United States and want to vote. Jamie Duong and Gillian Frank first challenged the law in an Ontario court and won in 2014, placing an estimated 1.4 million Canadians back on the voter rolls, but the Conservative government successfully appealed the ruling before last year’s election.

China: ‘We Have a Fake Election’: China Disrupts Local Campaigns | The New York Times

He presented himself as a candidate of the people, a folksy problem-solver who would rid garbage-strewn streets of dog waste and put an end to illegal parking. But in the eyes of the authorities, Zhang Shangen, 73, a candidate in local elections in Beijing on Tuesday, was a menace seeking to undermine the Communist Party. The Chinese government blocked Mr. Zhang’s campaign at every turn, sending police officers to intimidate him and his supporters. On the eve of a major rally last month, Mr. Zhang said, the authorities whisked him to a city more than 800 miles away. “The government manipulates everything,” he said in an interview at his home in Beijing on Tuesday. “They are scared people will wake up to reality.” Tuesday was Election Day in Beijing, with thousands of seats for party-run local congresses up for grabs. Outside community centers and police stations, officials urged people to “treasure democratic rights” and “cast your sacred and solemn ballot.” But before the elections, there were no debates, town hall-style forums, social media wars or other hallmarks of participatory democracy.

France: Sarkozy defeated in primary for French right’s presidential candidate | The Guardian

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s political career has been effectively ended, after he was dealt a humiliating defeat on Sunday by his former prime minister François Fillon in the first round of the race to choose the rightwing Republican party’s candidate for the presidency next spring. Fillon, a socially conservative, free-market reformer who admires Margaret Thatcher and voted against same-sex marriage, came close to winning the nomination straight out, with around 43% of the poll. He now faces a second-round runoff against more moderate Alain Juppé, the mayor of Bordeaux who was prime minister under Jacques Chirac. The divisive former president Sarkozy suffered a humiliating defeat, knocked out of the race after he ran a hard-right campaign on French national identity, targeting Muslims and minorities.

Haiti: A long-awaited presidential election finally happens – with a few minor hitches | Miami Herald

Haiti’s high-stakes, on-again, off-again rerun of the presidential election finally happened Sunday. Who will emerge the victor? With 27 presidential candidates and 179 others running for 16 Senate seats and 25 in the Lower Chamber of Deputies, the results won’t be known for days. But this Election Day, like the new fraud-deterrent purple indelible ink, was much improved over the last year’s — when the results were so marred by allegations of fraud that Haiti chose to rerun the contests — even with problems that included rising rivers that delayed voting at two centers in the Northeast and prevented it at two others in the Grand’Anse regions, plus ongoing rain and problems with voter registration lists. “It was a successful day,” said Leopold Berlanger, the president of the nine-member Provisional Electoral Council (CEP). “A day that unfolded in calm, serenity… and, in general, this day unfolded without violence.”