A man who President Donald Trump has promoted as an authority on voter fraud was registered to vote in multiple states during the 2016 presidential election, the Associated Press has learned. Gregg Phillips, whose unsubstantiated claim that the election was marred by 3 million illegal votes was tweeted by the president, was listed on the rolls in Alabama, Texas and Mississippi, according to voting records and election officials in those states. He voted only in Alabama in November, records show. In a post earlier this month, Phillips described “an amazing effort” by volunteers tied to True the Vote, an organization whose board he sits on, who he said found “thousands of duplicate records and registrations of dead people.” Trump has made an issue of people who are registered to vote in more than one state, using it as one of the bedrocks of his overall contention that voter fraud is rampant in the U.S. and that voting by 3 to 5 million immigrants illegally in the country cost him the popular vote in November. The AP found that Phillips was registered in Alabama and Texas under the name Gregg Allen Phillips, with the identical Social Security number. Mississippi records list him under the name Gregg A. Phillips, and that record includes the final four digits of Phillips’ Social Security number, his correct date of birth and a prior address matching one once attached to Gregg Allen Phillips. He has lived in all three states.
Editorials: Here’s How Trump’s Voter Fraud Investigation Could Produce Fake ‘Evidence’ | F. Perry Wilson/The Huffington Post
Somewhere, in a cubicle in Washington, a data analyst is panicking. She has just been asked by the Trump administration to show how 3 million people (or, preferably, more) voted illegally. Deep down, she knows that this is a ridiculous request. But she’s a team player. She will first try to identify specific cases of clear voter fraud. The goal will be to collate these clear cases into a list of names and addresses. A list with 3 million entries. She’ll start with the low-hanging fruit. She’ll cross-reference voting lists (not registration lists) to the National Death Index. She needs to look at real voting lists since dead people may still be on the registration lists without actually voting. She’ll find a few matches but, unfortunately, they will all prove to be false positives. People with the same name, people who didn’t really die, people who didn’t actually vote. She’ll then try to figure out if undocumented immigrants voted by cross-referencing voter lists with e-verify, the government’s electronic employment verification tool. She’ll get a few hits, but, again, they will all prove to be false positives. People with the same name, people who actually are citizens but aren’t in the system, and so on.
A top staffer at the Arizona Secretary of State denied accusations made by county recorders earlier this week that the office ordered voter registrations to be cancelled without proper documentation. In a letter delivered Jan. 23, the county recorders described their relationship with the Secretary of State’s office as “dire,” singling out “verbal abuse,” neglected duties and demands to cancel voters came without proper documentation. Secretary of State Michele Reagan asked for an internal accounting of the accusation that her office improperly sought to have some voters removed from the rolls.
The Guam Election Commission will begin removing inactive voters next month in line with public law, reducing current voter registration numbers of more than 51,000 down to about 46,000. Local law requires the cancellation of inactive voters’ registration after voters fail to participate in the two most recent general elections, in this case the 2014 and 2016 general elections. Guam Election Commission Executive Director Maria Pangelinan said there are approximately 5,318 names of voters on the current list that will be purged by Feb. 24.
A judge has set a joint hearing on the fate of two federal lawsuits in Kansas challenging the state’s proof-of-citizenship requirement for voter registration. U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson on Monday granted the unopposed request to consolidate oral arguments on motions seeking partial summary judgment. She set March 3 as the hearing date.
A conservative economic analysis firm on Monday released a report saying a comprehensive review of Michigan’s voting data shows no widespread voter fraud in the state, a point echoed last week by Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. The report by East Lansing-based Anderson Economic Group was prompted by claims of election tampering by Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein as well as President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated assertion that 3 million to 5 million people voted illegally in the 2016 election. Trump argued that millions of illegal votes came from “those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and even those registered to vote who are dead,” a point that White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said could refer to states like New York and California where the Republican businessman did not campaign.
An Omaha lawmaker is taking another stab at creating an independent advisory commission of citizens to redraw the state’s political maps. Introduced by State Sen. Burke Harr, Legislative Bill 216 is similar to a proposal brought last year by Sen. John Murante of Gretna and then-Sen. Heath Mello of Omaha. Gov. Pete Ricketts vetoed the bill, citing constitutional objections. Murante did not seek a legislative override and has introduced LB 653, his own redistricting proposal, this year. Harr told members of the Legislature’s Executive Board on Monday that he’s willing to work with Murante toward a compromise and has looked at Ricketts’ concerns. “I reintroduced the bill taking into account the governor’s concerns,” he said.
The state Motor Vehicle Division would pull info on drivers and register them to vote—if they are eligible—according to a bill that is being considered by lawmakers in Santa Fe during this year’s legislative session. Representative Patricia Roybal Caballero (D-Bernalillo) proposed the legislation. She says it would get more folks voting. “It’s an attempt to modernize our system, make it more accessible, coordinate so it is not so cumbersome, so it is more secure. It gives us a chance to invigorate the voters,” she said.
A bill to create runoff elections in Utah started down a possible fast track Monday toward passing through both houses of the Legislature by the end of this week. The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously endorsed SB144 and sent it to the full Senate. Its chairman, Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, said leaders hope to pass it through the Legislature this week to possibly stop long-running legal challenges by the Utah Republican Party to recent election law changes that could allow primary candidates to win with small pluralities. The party sued over that issue, among others, so far unsuccessfully. But the party’s executive committee meets Saturday, and Chairman James Evans said it could act to drop its lawsuits if the bill passes. However, some concerns arose at the hearing that could slow its consideration.
Legislators’ attempts to reform the process by which felons regain the right to vote hit a dead-end Monday. A General Assembly subcommittee killed a block of constitutional amendments, including House Joint Resolution 542 by Del. Greg Habeeb, R-Salem, that would explore new avenues for felons to regain their voting rights after serving prison time. In a 4-3 vote, a House privileges and elections subcommittee tabled five constitutional amendments that would alter the way felons regain their voting rights. The subcommittee also tabled rights restoration bills proposed by Democratic legislators from Fairfax and Richmond and by Del. Danny Marshall, R-Danville. In addition, the subcommittee sidelined another 20 proposed amendments covering a range of issues.
In November, a federal three-judge panel ruled that Wisconsin’s political boundaries are unconstitutionally gerrymandered to give an unfair advantage to incumbent politicians. (Judges last Friday reaffirmed the ruling.) Reform legislation will be introduced in the current legislative session to take the job of drawing political boundaries out of the hands of partisan politicians, and give it to a nonpartisan panel. Jay Heck, executive director of Common Cause in Wisconsin, says Wisconsin elections are no longer competitive, and points to the state’s congressional seats in Washington as an example.
Since the House of Commons Special Committee on Electoral Reform (ERRE) tabled its report in December, the national conversation has largely focused on potential changes to the electoral system. One of the committee’s more significant recommendations related to the future of online voting in Canada, however, has flown under the radar. The committee recommended that Elections Canada not adopt online voting at this time, but work with stakeholders to determine how election technologies can maintain electoral integrity and voter access, notably for persons with disabilities. This should not be dismissed as an insignificant recommendation as it has the potential to influence the modernization of voting in federal elections in Canada. While Elections Canada could certainly start work on this, development of online voting approaches in other jurisdictions has shown that working with experts – social and computer scientists – is a best practice. In Geneva, Switzerland, for example, the decision to leverage expert knowledge substantially improved the design of the online voting system.
Haitians turned out in low numbers for local elections on Sunday, exhibiting little enthusiasm for the final step in an agonizing electoral marathon that is finally coming to a close. The country’s political crisis began in October 2015, when results from Haiti’s presidential election were annulled because of massive fraud. It took until November 2016 to hold another presidential election, with turnout at a dismal 21 percent.
The software used at Dutch polling stations to send election results, is outdated and very vulnerable to hackers and there are not enough rules around where and where the software can be installed, according to security expert Sijmen Ruwhof, who investigated the software on behalf of RTL Nieuws. According to Ruwhof, “the average iPad is more secure than the Dutch voting system”. Dutch voters fill in their election ballot with a pencil. The vote count is also done by hand, but the results are forwarded to a central point with the program Ondersteunende Software Verkiezingen (OSV). The Electoral Council installes that program with a CD-ROM. According to Ruwhof, the biggest problem with this is that the program can be installed on any computer, including on old computers that are not properly protected. For example, if the program is installed on a old computer using Windows XP, for which Windows stopped security updates in 2014, and that computer is connected to the internet – the Dutch voting system is open to malicious software that can be used to change the results.
Peter Plasman showed up at the Netherlands’ national electoral commission’s offices Monday to register one of the more unusual parties bidding to take part in the upcoming Dutch election — a party for people who don’t vote. Plasman was hardly an exception when it came to flouting convention. A record 81 parties have expressed interest in taking part in the March 15 parliamentary election. Monday was the day they all had to hand in their paperwork. Among the eclectic roster of potential players, there also is the Colorful Cow Party, which casts itself in part as an antidote to the fierce anti-Islam rhetoric of the Party for Freedom. Its website includes a recipe for a traditional Dutch mashed potato dish, prepared with Turkish sausages and Moroccan spices. The party wound up not filing paperwork Monday because it could not find enough funds, its founder, Daan van Reenen, said in an email.
Nigeria: Solar-Powered Electronic Voting Machine Developed for 2019 Elections | The Guardian Nigeria
Nigeria has recorded a scientific breakthrough with the local manufacture of an electronic voting machine designed to eliminate all problems associated with existing ones. Presenting the innovation to the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu in Abuja yesterday, the Executive Vice Chairman of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), Professor Mohammed Haruna said the device is a solar-powered EMV with cloud-based collation of election results. According to Haruna, the device does not store data, thus making it useless to anyone who snatches it. He explained: once the device receives data in form of voting, it sends it to the central electronic system of the electoral body from where it can be viewed online.
Russia: Three cyber arrests, one suspicious death, and a new chapter in the US election hack | Quartz
In the eerie world of international espionage, nothing of late has topped the official US accusation that Russian president Vladimir Putin plotted to put US president Donald Trump in power. Now, the tale has become even more salacious with the reported arrest of three Russian cyber experts, one of whom was perp-walked out of a meeting with a bag over his head, and the suspicious death of a former KGB general. Russia experts say the episode suggests a possible purge related to the US election hack. In a twist of Kremlinology, others say Putin may only be pretending to have arrested and killed cyber operatives. Or, say still others, neither observation may be true. “Can we really trust Russian news?” asks Dave Aitel, a former analyst with the US National Security Agency, and now CEO of Immunity, a cyber intrusion protection firm. The story of the arrests appears to have broken at the Russian newspaper Kommersant on Jan. 25. The paper reported (link in Russian) the arrests of Sergei Mikhailov, who heads the Center for Information Security, an arm of the Russian intelligence agency known by the acronym FSB; and Ruslan Stoyanov, a senior researcher with Kaspersky Lab, the computer security company.
To support his call for a sweeping federal inquiry into his claims of vast voting fraud, President Trump turned on Friday to a little-known conservative activist whose work on the issue has been widely discredited and who has trafficked in conspiracy theories. “Gregg Phillips and crew say at least 3,000,000 votes were illegal,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter, a reference to a claim by Mr. Phillips, who helped create an app to report voter fraud, that he had “verified” such irregularities. With those words, Mr. Trump bestowed the imprimatur of the presidency on new ground: the feverish online fringes of American politics. In elevating Mr. Phillips, who last month on Twitter cited “spook friends” to claim that “the Israelis impersonated the Russians” and interfered in the American election, Mr. Trump returned to a familiar pattern. After a campaign in which he gave voice to outlandish falsehoods, including claims that Justice Antonin Scalia was suffocated by a pillow and Senator Ted Cruz’s father had a connection to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Mr. Trump has not left his penchant for conspiracy-mongering at the White House door.
National: Republicans in Congress don’t want anything to do with Trump’s voter-fraud probe | The Washington Post
If President Trump is waiting for the Republican Congress to join him in his quixotic quest to launch the first investigation in American history that will uncover systematic voter fraud — well, he may be waiting a while. ABC reported Wednesday that Trump would like Congress’s help as he launches a “major” investigation to find the 3 million to 5 million votes he claims were cast illegally. For a variety of political and logistical reasons — but mostly political — Congress will almost definitely not have Trump’s back. “We haven’t been discussing that,” House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said in an interview Wednesday with MSNBC’s Greta Van Susteren when asked whether Congress would join in. “The president has 100,000 people at the Department of Justice, and if he wants to have an investigation, have at it,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of one of the top House investigative committees, told CNN.
National: Russian Charged With Treason Worked in Office Linked to Election Hacking | The New York Times
The authorities in Moscow are prosecuting at least one cybersecurity expert for treason, a prominent Russian criminal defense lawyer confirmed on Friday, while a Russian newspaper reported that the case is linked to hacking during the United States presidential election. While surely touching a nerve in American politics, the developments in Moscow left a still muddled picture of what, exactly, a series of arrests by the security services here signifies. But the virtually simultaneous appearance of at least four prominent news reports on the hacking and several related arrests, citing numerous anonymous sources, suggests that the normally opaque Russian government intends to reveal more information about the matter, though it is unclear why.
National: Have Russians arrested a source in U.S. probe of election meddling? | The Charlotte Observer
With mystery surrounding the recent arrests in Moscow of several high-level Russian cybersecurity figures, speculation mounted Friday that one of the men may have been an informant who provided crucial information to the United States about Russian meddling in the U.S. election campaign. The speculation came from two former employees of the National Security Agency, which intercepts, deciphers and analyzes the world’s electronic communications. News of the arrests filtered out in reports beginning Wednesday and it has shaken the insular world of cybersecurity, espionage and cybercrime. Among those arrested for suspected treason was Sergei Mikhailov, deputy chief of the cyber intelligence department of the FSB, Russia’s main security agency. The Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta said Mikhailov had been detained in December, and led away with a sack over his head from FSB headquarters in Moscow.
National: Republican redistricting is taking a beating in the courts, right now | The Washington Post
Recent court decisions in three states are putting carefully carved Republican-drawn state legislative districts at risk — and could even threaten the entire process of partisan map drawing. On Friday, a federal court ordered Wisconsin legislatures to redraw their state House legislative districts after finding in November that the districts were unconstitutionally partisan. The order will essentially require lawmakers to redraw state Senate maps as well. The November decision was the first time this decade that a court has thrown out legislative maps because they favored voters of one party over another. Subsequently, this will be the first time in a decade that lawmakers will have to redraw maps specifically to make them more fair for both parties. Thirty-seven states allow their legislatures to draw their electoral maps, and what these lawmakers have come up with has had a profound effect on U.S. politics. After capturing 21 chambers in the 2010 elections, Republicans redrew nearly half of all congressional districts — four times as many as Democrats.
Editorials: Voter fraud investigations have already happened. They don’t support Trump’s assertions. | Bangor Daily News
President Donald Trump, who has big and expensive plans to build a wall with Mexico and to make huge federal investments in the nation’s roads, bridges and airports, could save a little taxpayer money by forgoing a federal investigation into voter fraud. Trump tweeted Wednesday that he would launch a federal investigation of voter fraud, “including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and … even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time). Depending on results, we will strengthen up voting procedures!” Instead, he could review the reports already produced by and for people looking for voter fraud. Their conclusions: voter fraud is “extraordinarily rare.”
No doubt realizing that he was losing the cable-news message war, President Trump has called for a witch hunt in an attempt to prove the voter fraud lie he has been telling himself about why he lost the popular vote in November. On both sides of the aisle, conventional wisdom chalks this up to the president being a very insecure person struggling with the reality that 54 percent of American voters chose someone else, but that doesn’t give the president his due. Trump’s staggering inferiority complex clearly is just one of two reasons he’s telling the biggest version yet of a lie that his party has been telling about voter fraud for years. The other reason is that he’d like his party to win the 2018 midterm elections and he’d like to be reelected in 2020, and to do those things he needs to suppress voter turnout. By deliberately undermining confidence in the integrity of our democracy, the president can make it quite a bit easier for his party to push legislation making it harder for certain eligible voters to vote. Curtailing voting rights by dishonestly inventing widespread fraud has been a major part of the Republican Party’s political strategy for a while. Now that plan is getting a major boost from a president who has no problem just making stuff up.
Florida: Joint House resolution would restore felon voting rights after three years | Florida Politics
A new joint resolution in the House would allow felons the right to vote in Florida three years after their sentence is up. The resolution by Rep. Al Jacquet of West Palm Beach would, if passed on the next general election (or a special election specifically for this) ballot, amend the statutes on voting to extend the right to felons. A previous resolution failed to even make it on the ballot in 2016 due to not getting the required number of signatures in time by Florida Rights Coalition President Desmond Meade, who spearheaded the movement to do so.
Georgia Democrats are facing an uphill climb as they try to expand voters’ rights by allowing same day registration and removing ID requirements. The minority lawmakers control less than one third of the state Legislature, but are putting forth a set of proposed laws to expand voter access. President Donald Trump falsely maintains there was massive voter fraud in the 2016 election. Georgia’s Secretary of State Brian Kemp has been adamant that no illegal votes were cast in the state. … Georgia already offers voters the option of registering online, but three Democratic lawmakers are pushing for registration to be even easier. They introduced bills to allow automatic voter registration when obtaining or renewing a drivers’ license, or during any other interactions with a state agency.
The special election for the congressional seat formerly held by new CIA Director Mike Pompeo has added urgency to pending court decisions in multiple federal lawsuits challenging restrictive voter registration requirements in Kansas. Gov. Sam Brownback has called an April 11 special election to fill the 4th District seat, which represents southern Kansas. Preliminary court orders allowed Kansans who registered using a federal form or at motor vehicle offices to vote in the November election even if they didn’t conform to a disputed Kansas requirement to provide documentary proof of citizenship to vote, such as a birth certificate, naturalization papers or a passport.
Michigan: Detroit clerk addresses troubled election; state audit shows no proof of voter fraud | Michigan Radio
Detroit city clerk Janice Winfrey has broken her public silence about irregularities in the city’s November’s election results. Michigan’s presidential recount was halted mid-process. But the partial recount revealed that more than half of Detroit precincts were legally ineligible to be recounted, because reported vote counts didn’t match the actual number of ballots. That prompted the state to launch an audit, which is still wrapping up. Winfrey has said very little during that time. But state elections officials have now said there is no evidence of fraud, a finding Winfrey reiterated that at a press conference Friday. Instead, she said it mostly revealed a lot of “human error” at the “precinct level.”
North Dakota lawmakers are again considering changes to the state’s voter identification requirements, an issue that has landed the state in federal court over previous laws passed by the Legislature. House Bill 1369 would help preserve the integrity of the state’s elections, House Majority Leader Al Carlson, R-Fargo, said in testimony to the House Government and Veterans Affairs Committee Friday, Jan. 27. “By no means does this bill attempt to disenfranchise voters,” he said. “This bill only attempts to verify and make that those voters are, in fact, true North Dakota residents and are allowed to vote.” The bill would require qualified electors to provide a driver’s license, non-driver’s identification card or tribal ID. If the ID doesn’t include the required information or is out of date, the voter could present supplemental documents such as a current utility bill, bank statement or a government-issued check.
Virginia: After bitter fight with McAuliffe over felon voting, General Assembly finds little consensus on reform | Richmond Times-Dispatch
It was the biggest policy fight in Virginia last year, but nearly halfway through the General Assembly session, nobody’s really talking about it.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s push for a sweeping expansion of voting rights for more than 200,000 felons, which drew blasts of criticism from then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and a successful Republican legal challenge in the Supreme Court of Virginia, seemed to tee up a big issue for lawmakers in the 2017 legislative session. McAuliffe and other Democrats railed against the disenfranchisement policy in the state constitution as a relic from Virginia’s racist past that should be eliminated.