Kenya: Al shabaab can interefere with electronic voting system, CS Mucheru says | The Star

ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru on Thursday based the state’s push for alternative manual voting system on fears of al Shabaab interference with the 2017 poll. Muc heru, while appearing before the senate committee on legal affairs chaired by Amos Wako (Busia), defended the government’s plan to amend election laws. “We are at war with al Shabaab who are known to interfere with communication systems . The Ministry fully recommends manual back up system,” he said.He said that the option of manual system was viable not only because of terrorism but also for reasons related to challenge in the country’s telecommunication infrastructure. Mucheru said technology has failed even in the best of countries, adding that network failure and hacking can actually happen.

Full Article: Al shabaab can interefere with electronic voting system, CS Mucheru says | The Star, Kenya.

Editorials: Voter ID – The Smokescreen Of The Pickles Report | Michael Abberton/The Huffington Post UK

The Pickles report entitled Securing the Vote has very little to do with electoral fraud, and everything to do with vote suppression – the disenfranchisement of minorities and the poor. It also has hidden within it another insidious motive – local ‘voluntary’ registers of resident foreign nationals. The report was sneaked out right in the middle of the Xmas holidays, when parliament is not in session, obviously as the government hoped it might not get the scrutiny it warrants. The report is quite short and is based on Pickles’ involvement in the Tower Hamlets case, after the mayor was accused of electoral fraud (though no evidence of criminality was found). There are measures in the report that are based specifically on the allegations from that case; for example, electors being influenced to vote a certain way by religious leaders, something that the report recommends there should be legislation to stop (but how that would apply to bishops equally as it would to imams or other community leaders isn’t discussed).

Full Article: Voter ID - The Smokescreen Of The Pickles Report | The Huffington Post.

National: The 2016 Election Wasn’t Hacked, But the 2020 Election Could Be | Motherboard

After partial vote recounts in certain states, US election officials found no evidence that votes had been manipulated by a cyberattack on voting machines, security researchers told an audience at the Chaos Communication Congress hacking festival on Wednesday. But, the researchers called for a vast overhaul in voting machine security and related legislation, warning that an attack is still possible in a future election. “We need this because even if the 2016 election wasn’t hacked, the 2020 election might well be,” said J. Alex Halderman, a professor of computer science at the University of Michigan, during a presentation with Matt Bernhard, a computer science PhD student. Halderman’s and other security experts’ concerns made headlines in November when he participated in a call with the Clinton campaign about a potential recount in some states. Green Party candidate Jill Stein subsequently held a crowdfunding campaign to finance the recounts. “Developing an attack for one of these machines is not terribly difficult; I and others have done it again and again in the laboratory. All you need to do is buy one government surplus on eBay to test it out,” Halderman, who has extensively researched voting machine security, said during the talk.

Full Article: The 2016 Election Wasn’t Hacked, But the 2020 Election Could Be | Motherboard.

National: U.S. Poised to Act Over Alleged Election Hacking | Wall Street Journal

The Obama administration could announce as early as Thursday moves to retaliate against Russia for its alleged use of cyberattacks to meddle in last month’s presidential election, a senior U.S. official said. The White House has been considering a variety of measures to respond to the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the email account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, including sanctions and retaliatory cyber actions. U.S. officials have said the “proportional response” could involve both steps that would be publicly disclosed afterward and covert moves that would remain classified.

Full Article: U.S. Poised to Act Over Alleged Election Hacking - WSJ.

National: Northeastern states weigh move to early voting | The Hill

Legislators in several Northeastern and New England states are considering whether to join the growing move toward opening polling places days, and even weeks, before Election Day. Connecticut legislators will weigh a measure to allow up to two weeks of early voting before the next election. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) included an early voting proposal in a package of election reforms he unveiled this month. And Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea (D) will ask legislators to consider allowing early voting, as well. “We just need to expand voting infrastructure to include early voting so people can exercise their franchise, their right,” said Connecticut state Rep. William Tong (D), who plans to introduce a bill once the legislature returns to session next year. Tong said he decided to act after seeing lines out the door at 6 a.m. on Election Day in his suburban Stamford district. Some people left the long lines before they had a chance to vote to get to work on time.

Full Article: Northeastern states weigh move to early voting | TheHill.

Colorado: Voters dump presidential caucuses for primaries | The Hill

Colorado voters will pick their presidential nominees via primaries in 2020 after Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) signed two voter-passed propositions into law on Tuesday. Voters approved Proposition 107, which eliminates presidential preference caucuses, by a nearly 2-to-1 margin in November. Voters passed Proposition 108, which allows all voters to participate in partisan primary elections, by a similar margin. The new rules mean all Colorado voters will be allowed to participate in any presidential primary they choose four years from now. Delegates allocated by the primaries will be bound to the winners at national party conventions, under the new state law.

Full Article: Colorado dumps presidential caucuses for primaries | TheHill.

Minnesota: State to ditch caucuses in favor of presidential primary | MPR

On Jan. 1, Minnesota joins the majority of U.S. states in choosing its presidential candidates in primary elections. Minnesota has used caucuses to choose presidential candidates throughout its voting history, save for three elections. While the first presidential primary under the new law won’t be held until March 2020, the system officially goes on the books Jan. 1, 2017. The shift from a caucus system to primaries is the most notable of the new laws taking effect in Minnesota at the change of the year. The others deal with minor changes to workers’ compensation and life insurance laws that won’t much affect the general public.

Full Article: State to ditch caucuses in favor of presidential primary | Politics |

Missouri: Lawmakers move to make ballot selfies legal in Missouri | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Missouri could soon join at least 20 other states where it is legal to take a selfie in the voting booth. Two state lawmakers have introduced legislation that would alter Missouri voting rules, paving the way for people to publicly post pictures of themselves and their ballots without fear of prosecution. “Everybody takes selfies of everything,” said Rep. Charlie Davis, R-Webb City. “Why should someone not be able to exercise their First Amendment rights?” Davis has introduced House Bill 315, which eliminates 27 words in the election code that could be used to prosecute people taking selfies after they vote. Rep. Travis Fitzwater, R-Holts Summit, has introduced an identical version of the measure in House Bill 249. The proposals come after an election cycle in which questions were raised about the legality of taking ballot selfies across the nation.

Full Article: Lawmakers move to make ballot selfies legal in Missouri | Political Fix |

North Carolina: Gov. Pat McCrory sought SBI probe in Bladen County, but agency isn’t investigating | News & Observer

The State Bureau of Investigation hasn’t launched the criminal probe that Gov. Pat McCrory requested recently into allegations of voter fraud in Bladen County. Republicans had filed a complaint claiming that a handful of people there may have improperly submitted hundreds of absentee ballots, while also getting paid for get-out-the-vote efforts by a community group funded by the N.C. Democratic Party. The State Board of Elections held a hearing on the complaint earlier this month and rejected it, arguing that attorneys for Republicans had not presented substantial evidence sufficient to change the outcome of the election. But they unanimously agreed to refer the matter to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The issue stems from absentee ballots submitted with help from the Bladen County Improvement Association PAC, which received $2,500 from the N.C. Democratic Party for get-out-the-vote efforts. The ballots featured similar handwriting and the same choice for a write-in candidate for soil and water commissioner.

Full Article: Voter fraud claims: Gov. Pat McCrory sought SBI probe in Bladen County, but agency isn’t investigating | News & Observer.

Kenya: Senate Moves Cautiously on Contentious Election Bill | VoA News

In Kenya, a controversial amendment to the electoral law is now before the Senate. The bill would give the electoral commission a workaround if biometric voting equipment fails, but the opposition has rejected the change for fear of voter fraud. But as political temperatures rise ahead of next year’s polls, Senate members are advising caution and careful consideration. The Senate did not vote on the amendment to the electoral law Wednesday. Instead, Senate Speaker Ekwe Ethuro sent the bill to committee. “The standing committee on legal affairs and human rights must, therefore, proceed with dispatch and be ready to table its report on 4 January 2017 when the Senate is expected to assemble for the special sitting,” Ethuro said.

Full Article: Kenya’s Senate Moves Cautiously on Contentious Election Bill.

South Korea: Ruling party splits over impeached president | Associated Press

While lawyers desperately tried to restore the impeached South Korean president’s powers, politics advanced without her Tuesday as parties and potential candidates postured for elections that could take place in just months. Dozens of lawmakers split from the conservative ruling party and likely will try to create a party fielding outgoing U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as its presidential candidate. Ban’s potential rivals reacted by questioning his presidential credentials and touting their own ideas, including significant policy changes in regard with relations with nuclear-armed North Korea and allies United States and Japan.

Full Article: South Korean ruling party splits over impeached president - The Washington Post.

United Kingdom: Voter ID proposal could disenfranchise millions, Labour warns | The Guardian

Millions of people may be disenfranchised by the government’s plans to trial asking for ID in order to vote, Labour has said. Cat Smith, Labour’s shadow minister for voter engagement, raised concerns that 7.5% of the electorate may not have the right kind of identification in order to exercise their right to vote. “Labour supports measures to tackle electoral fraud and will be backing a number of the reasonable proposals planned by the government,” she said on Tuesday. “However, requiring voters to produce specific forms of photo ID risks denying millions of electors a vote. “A year ago the Electoral Commission reported that 3.5 million electors – 7.5% of the electorate – would have no acceptable piece of photo ID. Under the government’s proposals, these voters would either be denied a vote entirely, or in other trial areas, required to produce multiple pieces of ID, ‘one from group A, one from group B’.

Full Article: Voter ID proposal could disenfranchise millions, Labour warns | Politics | The Guardian.

The Gambia: Electoral Commission Headquarters Still Under Siege | allAfrica

The headquarters of the Independent Electoral Commission is still occupied by personnel of the Police Intervention Unit. No one has been seen entering or leaving the premises. The reason why the IEC headquarters is being close is still not known to both the staff and the public as a whole but the fact remains that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is still on the same storyline as the previous days, that is it is under tight security and the watchful eyes of the PIU personnel. When this Foroyaa reporter got there on Tuesday 27th December, she observed that the premises was as quiet as a grave yard, with no one seen in the premises except some PIU personnel who seized the entire place, allowing no one to enter.

Full Article: Gambia: IEC Headquarters Still Under Siege -

National: Obama administration is close to announcing measures to punish Russia for election interference | The Washington Post

The Obama administration is close to announcing a series of measures to punish Russia for its interference in the 2016 presidential election, including economic sanctions and diplomatic censure, according to U.S. officials. The administration is finalizing the details, which also are expected to include covert action that will probably involve cyber-operations, the officials said. An announcement on the public elements of the response could come as early as this week. The sanctions portion of the package culminates weeks of debate in the White House on how to revise a 2015 executive order that was meant to give the president authority to respond to cyberattacks from overseas but that did not cover efforts to influence the electoral system.

Full Article: Obama administration is close to announcing measures to punish Russia for election interference - The Washington Post.

National: Intelligence agencies sued for records on Russian election interference | The Hill

A lawsuit has been filed against the CIA, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence seeking records pertaining to Russia’s interference in the presidential election. Journalist Jason Leopold and Ryan Shapiro, a Ph.D. candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Monday asserting that the agencies have failed to comply with their request for documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). 

Full Article: Intelligence agencies sued for records on Russian election interference | TheHill.

Editorials: When ‘fraud’ is just another word for disenfranchisement | Kevin J. Hamilton and Jonathan S. Berkon/The Washington Post

For years, “voter fraud” has been a conservative rallying cry, used to justify ever more demanding voter identification and registration requirements. During the post-election face-off between Republican incumbent Gov. Pat McCrory and Roy Cooper, the Democratic governor-elect, Republican claims of voter fraud were put to the test. With few exceptions, they rather dramatically failed. On election night, Cooper led by more than 4,900 votes out of more than 4.5 million cast. Thousands of absentee and provisional ballots remained to be counted. Yet rather than let the counting process naturally play out, McCrory launched a series of baseless fraud allegations against voters. The North Carolina Republican Party churned out daily warnings of “dead voters,” “double voting,” “absentee ballot mills” and “absentee ballot harvesting.” Sounded awful. The only problem: For the most part, it wasn’t true. Let’s start with “dead voters.” Sounds bad and conjures images of ballots fraudulently cast in the name of the deceased. Except that’s not what this was about. This allegation was actually about voters who were alive at the time they voted but had died before Nov. 8. But because they were not alive on Election Day, these votes could be challenged and disallowed. We can debate that approach, but it hardly constitutes fraud.

Full Article: When ‘fraud’ is just another word for disenfranchisement - The Washington Post.

Colorado: After Bernie Sanders Delegate Issue, State Creates Open Primaries For Independent Voters | IBT

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed two ballot measures — Proposition 107 and Proposition 108 — into law Tuesday. The measures call for presidential primaries to be held every four years in the state and allow unaffiliated voters to cast their ballots in the primary elections. Proposition 107 was approved by 64 percent of voters during the Nov. 8 election. The measure is expected to increase spending in the secretary of state’s office by nearly $210,000 during 2018-2019 and by $2.7 million during 2019-2020, when the next presidential elections will be held at which time the presidential primaries will be conducted. Spending is expected to increase every four years. “I think that a caucus doesn’t allow all the people who want to have a voice to have one,” Jessie Koerner, spokeswoman of Let Colorado Vote, reportedly said. “Only five percent of eligible voters voted in the caucus. So that really shows you how few people are able to take part.”

Full Article: Colorado Voting Rights: After Bernie Sanders Delegate Issue, State Creates Open Primaries For Independent Voters.

Florida: Vote registration fraud investigation could be underway | Florida Record

The Miami-Dade Office of the State’s Attorney would neither confirm nor deny whether there is an open investigation into alleged voter fraud in Doral during the November general election. NBC 6 reported about 20 people are under investigation for allegedly using an office building in Doral as their voter registration address. County election officials say voters must live at the addresses they list on their registrations. Those who provide addresses for places where they don’t live are in violation of state law. County election officials referred all questions related to the alleged investigation to the state attorney’s office. “We can never confirm or deny the existence of any investigation,” Lissette Valdes-Valle, a spokeswoman for the state’s attorney office, told the Florida Record.

Full Article: Vote registration fraud investigation could be underway | Florida Record.

Ohio: Online voter registration to start in January | Journal-News

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has a New Year’s resolution he wants to see Ohioans make: register online to vote. And that can goal can be completed as soon as the Times Square Ball completes its New Year’s Eve descent. “It’s another positive step in trying to improve elections in America,” said Husted. “So when it strikes midnight, raise your glass in champagne, give a toast and register to vote.” Lawmakers approved Senate Bill 63 this past summer, which authorizes the state to implement online voter registration, and it will be live at midnight on Jan. 1 on the Ohio Secretary of State’s website. “It eliminates another excuse for not voting,” he said. “Nobody can say it’s too hard. You don’t have to leave home to participate in Ohio democracy now.”

Full Article: Ohio to start online voter registration in January.

Pennsylvania: After Lebanon County problems, Pennsylvania reexamines voting machines | Lebanon Daily News

In Lebanon County, several voters reported attempting to vote for the Republican Party straight ticket, only to have their review screen show that they were voting for the Democratic Party straight ticket. There were no confirmed cases of someone actually casting an incorrect ballot. Both Anderson and election experts blamed the problem on calibration issues with the voting machines – like an iPhone or other electronic device, the touchscreen machines have to be programmed to properly register human touch. … Calibration is not the only concern with the machines, however, said Daniel Lopresti, a professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Lehigh University.

Full Article: PA reexamines voting machines after Lebanon Co problems.