National: Comey stands by U.S. intelligence assessment that Putin wanted Trump to win election | Los Angeles Times

Two of the nation’s top counter-intelligence officials stood by the U.S. intelligence assessment in January that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government sought to help Donald Trump win the 2016 election. Under questioning from Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), FBI Director James Comey and Adm. Mike Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, said nothing has changed since they issued their Jan. 6 report on Russian interference in the election. The report found that senior Russian officials, including Putin, wanted to undermine the U.S. democratic process, hurt Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and help Trump’s campaign. Comey and Rogers declined to provide details on how the intelligence community reached that assessment.

Alabama: Governor to defend his special election decision next month | Alabama Today

Gov. Robert Bentley will have to defend his decision to set the special election to fill Jeff Sessions’ vacated U.S. Senate seat for 2018 in a hearing next month. Bentley’s decision is being challenged in court by Republican State Auditor Jim Zeigler and retired District Attorney Tommy Chapman, a Democrat, who contend the governor set the election so far in the future in order to give sitting Senator and former Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange two years of incumbency as payment to halt an investigation. A state House committee investigating Bentley but was told to stop Nov. 3 after Strange said his office was doing “related work.”

Arizona: US Supreme Court denies bid to change Tucson election method | Arizona Daily Sun

Tucson’s unusual method of electing council members will remain. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday morning rebuffed a bid by a group representing some Republicans to void the system of nominating council members by ward but having them elected at large. The justices gave no reason for their ruling. Monday’s action is the last word in the multi-year bid by the Public Integrity Alliance to have state and federal courts declare that the practice was an unconstitutional violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Attorney Kory Langhofer who represented challengers argued that the system gave some voters more power than others and, in some cases, effectively nullified their votes. But that contention was most recently rejected by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Colorado: Former State GOP leader said only Democrats committed voter fraud. Now he’s charged with voter fraud. | The Washington Post

The 2016 election was just a month away when Steve Curtis, a conservative radio host and former Colorado Republican Party chairman, devoted an entire episode of his morning talk show to the heated topic of voter fraud. “It seems to me,” Curtis said in the 42-minute segment, “that virtually every case of voter fraud I can remember in my lifetime was committed by Democrats.” On Tuesday, Colorado prosecutors threw a wrench into that already dubious theory, accusing Curtis of voter fraud for allegedly filling out and mailing in his ex-wife’s 2016 ballot for president, Denver’s Fox affiliate reported. Curtis, 57, was charged in Weld County District Court with one count of misdemeanor voter fraud and one count of forgery, a Class 5 felony, according to local media. The case is the only voter fraud investigation stemming from the 2016 election that has resulted in criminal charges, the Colorado secretary of state’s office told Denver’s ABC affiliate.

Georgia: Critics warn Republican redistricting plan in Georgia is ‘likely illegal’ | Atlanta Journal Constitution

A coalition of left-leaning organizations urged Gov. Nathan Deal and lawmakers to scuttle a House Republican plan to redraw the district boundaries of eight Republicans and one Democrat, warning it could be ruled unconstitutional because it shifts thousands of minority voters out of the areas. In a letter sent Tuesday to state leaders, the groups said the redistricting plan outlined in House Bill 515 is “likely illegal” and urged legislators to wait until after the 2020 U.S. Census to make major revisions to the maps. (You can read the letter here.) “If HB 515 is signed into law, Georgia will likely be in violation of the Voting Rights Act and subject to litigation that has cost states like Virginia and Texas millions of dollars,” the groups wrote. “This would cast a dark shadow over our state.”

Montana: Mail-in ballot for special election now in the House Judiciary Committee | Mineral Independent

With the special election to fill Ryan Zinke’s congressional seat just around the corner, the decision on how the election will be held is slated for March 23. Senate bill 305, which would make the election mail-ballot only, was passed Feb. 24. Now the bill is up for hearing in the House Judiciary Committee. The special election could cost the state around $3 million according to recent reports. That price would decrease significantly if counties didn’t have to open and staff physical polling places. However, Montana GOP chairman, Jeff Essman, reported that a mail-ballot election “give the Democrats an inherent advantage in close elections.” Last Thursday, Mineral County Commissioners held a Special Session-Resolution requesting a mail ballot election upon passage of SB 305.

Nevada: Sandoval’s first veto of 2017 session rejects voter registration initiative | Las Vegas Review-Journal

Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval vetoed his first bill of the 2017 legislative session Tuesday, rejecting a citizen initiative to automatically sign up people to vote when they get a driver’s license. It now goes to voters on the 2018 general election ballot. In his veto message, Sandoval said the measure “extinguishes a fundamental, individual choice — the right of eligible voters to decide for themselves whether they desire to apply to register to vote — forfeiting this basic decision to state government.”

New Hampshire: Senate committee approves bill tightening voting requirements | WMUR

A push to tighten the rules over who can vote in New Hampshire is moving forward, but opponents said it’s not needed and is only a controversy because of remarks made by the president. The bill calls for new standards for proving residency. Sponsor Sen. Regina Birdsell, R-Hampstead, said that new requirements are needed because every election, some of the letters sent by the Secretary of State’s Office to verify addresses of voters who take part in same-day registration don’t reach anyone.

New Hampshire: Lawmakers dig through legal consequences of snowy town voting mess | Concord Monitor

The unprecedented delay of last week’s elections in one-third of New Hampshire towns due to a blizzard has put millions of dollars in town spending in limbo, called the integrity of local elections into question, and left some town officials worrying about possible prosecution. All of this was too much for the Senate Election Law Committee to untangle Tuesday. On a 3-2 party line vote, the group declined to send the full Senate a bill that ratified elections scrambled by the weather and instead established a study committee. Facing a legal deadline to make a decision by the end of the day Tuesday, the majority cited an inability to balance the needs of those who voted, those who didn’t vote and those who may want to protest votes until lawmakers can get more information – particularly since at least two towns (Derry and Hampstead) hadn’t even voted at the time. “This is asking us to ratify things that haven’t even happened yet,” said Sen. Regina Birdsell, R-Hampstead, chairwoman of the committee.

Pennsylvania: Voters in 197th District special election go with write-in candidates

Voting in a special election to fill a vacant state House of Representatives seat ended Tuesday night with no clear winner: The only candidate on the ballot tallied less than 8 percent of the votes, with the rest going to write-in candidates. With all precincts counted in North Philadelphia’s largely Democratic 197th District, Republican Lucinda Little had 198 votes, the rest — 2,483 — going to a number of write-in candidates, including Democrat Emilio Vazquez and the Green Party’s Cheri Honkala. Deputy City Commissioner Tim Dowling said a winner won’t be declared until at least Friday.

Virginia: Richmond’s mayoral dropouts inspire change to Virginia election law | Richmond Times-Dispatch

The hectic final days of Richmond’s 2016 mayoral race, complicated by multiple last-minute candidate dropouts, have inspired Virginia lawmakers to inject a small dose of order into the electoral process. Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed legislation this month that lays out a formal procedure for how local election officials handle candidates withdrawing from an election after it’s too late to have their names removed from the ballot. Three of the eight candidates who qualified for the mayoral ballot pulled out of the race after the ballots had been printed. “That was unprecedented,” said Richmond Registrar J. Kirk Showalter. “But then we’ve never had quite as many candidates for mayor either.”

France: Google Launches ‘Protect Your Election’ Tool Before French Vote | Fortune

As worries mount about cyberthreats to democracy, Google on Tuesday announced the launch of a free set of tools to help election websites, human rights groups, and other parties defend their computer systems from attacks. The arrival of the toolkit, known as “Protect Your Election,” comes as France prepares to go to the polls next month, and a week after hackers took down one of the Netherlands’ leading election information sites during that country’s vote last week, according to Google, citing local media. “Unfortunately, these types of attacks are becoming easier, cheaper, more better organized. With national elections approaching in France, we want to do our part to help,” said a blog post signed by staffers from Google France and from Jigsaw, the policy arm of Google’s (GOOGL, -2.05%) parent company, Alphabet.

The Gambia: EU Deploys Election Observation Mission to the Gambia |

In response to an invitation by the Gambian authorities, the European Union has deployed an Election Observation Mission (EOM) to The Gambia to observe the Parliamentary elections scheduled for 6 April 2017. This would be the first time the EU would be deploying a fully-fledged EOM in The Gambia, reflecting the EU’s commitment to supporting credible, transparent and inclusive elections in the country in a framework of broader democratic reforms. Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, has appointed Mr Miroslav Poche, Member of the European Parliament, as Chief Observer.

Serbia: In Serbian election, the comedy candidate is no joke | Reuters

It started as a joke, a way to poke fun at a discredited political class in elections last year for the local assembly in this rundown town in central Serbia. Communications student Luka Maksimovic, 25, donned a white suit and loafers, an over-sized gold watch and gaudy ring, and rode a horse-drawn carriage through the streets of Mladenovac, promising jobs and cash to anyone who would give him their vote. He assumed the guise of the worst kind of politician – a sleazy fraudster he duly christened Ljubisa ‘Beli’ Preletacevic. Beli means white in Serbian, while Preletacevic denotes somebody who switches political party for personal gain. Spreading the word on Youtube and Facebook, his party won 20 percent of the vote. “We were just fooling around,” Maksimovic said. But Serbia’s political establishment isn’t laughing anymore.