Four months after Election Day, Republican and Democratic administrators have uncovered only a handful of instances of improper or illegal voting despite President Trump’s unfounded allegations of millions of fraudulent ballots. Trump has claimed that 3 million to 5 million people voted illegally on Election Day, costing him the popular vote. But numbers from around the country suggest that a few hundred people at most broke voting rules. In some cases, legitimately registered voters cast multiple ballots, either by voting absentee and in person, or by voting more than once in different jurisdictions. In other cases, voters in states that require identification refused to show those documents. Fewer than a hundred noncitizens have been referred to law enforcement officials for alleged voting infractions.
National: Data Firm Cambridge Analytica Says ‘Secret Sauce’ Aided Trump; Many Scoff | The New York Times
Standing before political and business leaders in New York last fall, Alexander Nix promised a revolution. Many companies compete in the market for political microtargeting, using huge data sets and sophisticated software to identify and persuade voters. But Mr. Nix’s little-known firm, Cambridge Analytica, claimed to have developed something unique: “psychographic” profiles that could predict the personality and hidden political leanings of every American adult. “Of the two candidates left in the election, one of them is using these technologies,” Mr. Nix said, referring to Donald J. Trump. Capitalizing on its work for the man who is now president, Cambridge has pitched potential clients in the United States ranging from MasterCard and the New York Yankees to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Ahead of this year’s elections in Europe, Mr. Nix is promoting the four-year-old United States-based company abroad, too. Cambridge Analytica’s rise has rattled some of President Trump’s critics and privacy advocates, who warn of a blizzard of high-tech, Facebook-optimized propaganda aimed at the American public, controlled by the people behind the alt-right hub Breitbart News. Cambridge is principally owned by the billionaire Robert Mercer, a Trump backer and investor in Breitbart. Stephen K. Bannon, the former Breitbart chairman who is Mr. Trump’s senior White House counselor, served until last summer as vice president of Cambridge’s board.
With everything going on in Washington, you may have missed the recent news that the 2020 Census has been deemed a “high risk” federal program by the Government Accountability Office, which is concerned about the Census Bureau’s “ability to conduct a cost-effective enumeration” in 2020. Should you be concerned? Yes, absolutely. While 2020 seems far away, decisions being made this year by Congress and the Trump administration will determine whether the Census Bureau has the resources it needs to do the job well. And getting the census right is important to everyone.
Alabama: State Auditor files lawsuit seeking election ASAP for Jeff Sessions’ old senate seat | AL.com
Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler on Sunday filed a lawsuit seeking an election to replace former U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions as soon as possible, rather than in November 2018, the date Gov. Robert Bentley has set. Sessions resigned Feb. 14 when he was confirmed as U.S. Attorney General in the Trump Administration. Bentley appointed former Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange to take Sessions’ former senate seat. “Rather than being able to vote for a replacement U.S. Senator in a timely manner, they (plaintiffs) must suffer a Bentley appointee to hold the seat for nearly two more years,” according to the lawsuit filed Sunday in the state online court system.
Legislation that would require voters to show photo identification in order to cast ballots failed to clear the Arkansas Senate on Monday. The Senate’s 20-8 vote on House Bill 1047 by Rep. Mark Lowery, R-Maumelle, fell four votes short of the 24 votes required for approval in the 35-member Senate. Six senators didn’t vote on the measure. The bill requires a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate because Amendment 51 to the Arkansas Constitution authorizes lawmakers to amend voter-registration measures if at least two-thirds of both houses of the General Assembly approve the changes. The 100-member House earlier voted to approve the bill 74-21. Afterward, Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Bigelow, said he would ask the Senate to approve the bill “once they get the votes in here. The support is there.” He said some members were out in meetings.
Legislators debated Monday whether Connecticut should ease restrictions on absentee ballots and also join 37 other states by allowing early voting. Early voting is common around the country but has never become law in the Land of Steady Habits. To ease the restrictions, lawmakers are proposing two separate constitutional amendments for “no excuse” absentee ballots and early voting. In November 2014, Connecticut voters rejected a constitutional amendment on absentee ballots that asked them in a one-sentence question if the Constitution should be changed.
Desmond Meade of Orlando did everything he could to support his wife, Sheena, in her unsuccessful run for the Florida House last year. But the one thing he couldn’t do was vote for her. “Basically, I was told I wasn’t a citizen anymore,” said Meade, one of about 1.7 million people in Florida permanently barred from voting because of a past felony conviction, despite having completed their sentences. Now, a group led by Meade, a former addict convicted on drug and firearm charges in 2001 who went on to earn a law degree, appeared before the state Supreme Court on Monday in an important step in getting a constitutional amendment on the ballot. If it makes the ballot and wins approval by voters, the amendment would restore voting rights to felons who have completed sentences for nonviolent felonies.
Georgia: FBI still looking into alleged breach of voting records at KSU | Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Federal officials are continuing their investigation into an alleged data breach that could affect millions of Georgia voter records. The Federal Bureau of Investigation launched the inquiry Friday at the request of state officials, who hours earlier received notice that records kept by the Center for Election Systems at Kennesaw State University may have been compromised. “We’ll let the law enforcement do their job and get a report back I’m sure, hopefully very soon,” Gov. Nathan Deal said. He was asked if the state was considering new measures to secure confidential voter data. “I don’t know of anything else we can do. All that we can normally expect to do has been done,” he said. “We just need to find out how this happened and who it was.”
Idaho students will continue going to school on election day. Legislation to declare a school holiday on every election day in Idaho was killed in the House Education Committee on Monday after it drew strong opposition from school boards and school districts across the state. The measure was designed to allow schools to serve as polling places without creating any danger to kids from all the strangers coming to campus. Chief Deputy Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane said the bill envisioned moving teacher professional development days to election days, so teachers still could be on campus, but not students.
Some of the Iowans who attended a public hearing on proposed voter ID changes Monday night worried the proposal would disenfranchise voters, while others worried that failing to enact the changes could open the door for fraud. “Why would anyone resist a law to prove that they are eligible to vote in that precinct unless they are not eligible to vote in that precinct?” asked Kim Hiscox, a Polk County resident who spoke in favor of the bill. Others argued the legislation would make it harder for minorities, the elderly, the disabled, non-native English speakers and transgender Iowans to vote, despite Secretary of State Paul Pate’s claim that “no eligible voter will be denied their right to vote by this legislation.”
While many Americans are still digesting the ramifications of our most recent election, Charles Stewart III, professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is already looking towards 2020. Stewart is the founding Director of MIT’s Election Data and Science Lab: an initiative that strives to bring together data from American elections into one place so that researchers, academics, the press and policymakers can use the information as a resource to inform improvements of elections. It’s a non-partisan gathering ground for that beautifully objective jewel of a thing—raw data—to be stored, aggregated and then transformed into meaningful, accessible content. It’s a “one-stop shop,” as Stewart said, of the truth, the whole truth and nothing but that.
New Hampshire: Bill Would Bar Voting By People in New Hampshire For ‘Temporary Purposes’ | New Hampshire Public Radio
Republican lawmakers have proposed dozens of individual bills to tighten up New Hampshire election laws this year, but one new proposal coming forward this week would on its own enact a number of changes in what’s required for voters to register and how officials are expected to verify those credentials. The bill would specifically bar anyone who comes to New Hampshire only for “temporary purposes” from voting in the state – in this case, that includes anyone who’s here less than 30 days for vacation, anyone here for short-term work, volunteering or “working to influence voters in an upcoming election.” If someone already voted somewhere else and planned to return to vote there again in the future, that person “does not gain a domicile in New Hampshire regardless of the duration of his or her presence in New Hampshire.”
Utah: Bill For Automatic Voter Registration With Driver’s License Renewal Heads To Full Senate | KUER
Members of a state senate committee approved a bill today Monday that would automatically update a person’s voter registration when they renew a driver license. Tens of thousands of voters move every year and don’t update their new address with elections officials, says Brian McKenzie, who works in the Davis County Clerk’s office. “A lot of people think that if they update their information with the post office or with the driver’s license (division), then it’s automatically transferred over to voter registration, which it’s not,” he says.
In the 2017 Western Australian state election, voters with disabilities can register and vote over the Internet for the first time, using a system called iVote. Voters with disabilities deserve to have just as much confidence in the privacy and security of their votes as able-bodied voters using a polling booth. Unfortunately, a breach of voter privacy, or overt tampering of ballots, may not be noticed if it happens online – and reading or altering someone’s iVote might be easier than it seems. Security vulnerabilities are successfully exploited every day to steal money, commit financial fraud and extract government secrets. US intelligence agencies blamed Russian government hackers for interfering in the US election. The iVote registration and voting servers are protected by Transport Layer Security (TLS), the Internet’s most common security protocol. If you visit your bank and click on the padlock in your browser’s address bar, you can see a TLS certificate that proves you are communicating with the true owner of that domain. However, if you visit the WA Electoral Commission’s online registration page or the iVote log-in page and click on that padlock, you see something surprising: the TLS certificate is owned not by the WA Electoral Commission (WAEC) but by a US company called Incapsula.
Ecuador: Presidential election could have big consequences for the fate of Wikileaks’ Julian Assange | Business Insider
There is less than a month to go before the second round of Ecuador’s presidential election, the outcome of which could end Julian Assange’s nearly five-year stay in the country’s London embassy. The April 2 runoff election pits Lenin Moreno, successor to current left-wing President Rafael Correa, against Guillermo Lasso, the right-wing opposition candidate. The Correa government has hosted Assange in a converted-office apartment in the embassy since June 19, 2012, when he fled bail and requested asylum in Ecuador to avoid extradition to Sweden, which has called for his return in relation to sexual-misconduct allegations.
France’s government has dropped plans to let its citizens abroad vote electronically in legislative elections in June because of concern about the risk of cyber attacks, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday. The National Cybersecurity Agency believed there was an “extremely high risk” of cyber attacks. “In that light, it was decided that it would be better to take no risk that might jeopardize the legislative vote for French citizens residing abroad,” the ministry said in a statement. Concern about foreign interference in western elections has surged amid allegations of Russian hacking – which Moscow denies – in the U.S. presidential ballot.
Authorities in the Netherlands are to abandon electronic vote counting in favor of old fashioned methods following reports of foreign interference in other countries’ elections. The country’s general election on March 15 will instead be all-paper and all-manual, Politico reported. Electronic voting was banned in the country in 2007, but software has since been used to count votes electronically. “I don’t want a shadow of doubt over the result in a political climate like the one we know today,” Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk said. “I can imagine some party or professor somewhere will say there is a remaining risk that it was hacked… and that would keep haunting the election outcome.”