Texas: Court ordered 671 mail-in ballots in race for Dallas City Council under lock and key. Here’s what happens now | Dallas Morning News

As far as Dallas County Elections Administrator Toni Pippins-Poole is concerned, two Dallas City Council races will be “in limbo” well after polls close Saturday night. At this very moment, 671 ballots cast in the race for the Dallas City Council sit under lock and key at the Dallas County Elections Department — 426 of which were cast in the race for District 6 and 245 cast in the District 2 campaign. Those are mail-in ballots, and their legitimacy is very much in dispute. In recent weeks, elderly voters in West Dallas, where sitting council member Monica Alonzo faces a handful of challengers, alleged that someone forged their signatures on mail-in ballot applications. As a result, those ballots will not be tallied in early voting. Instead, “affected voters” — in the words of Dallas’ city secretary, Rosa Rios — were allowed to cast their vote using a provisional ballot.

National: Sally Yates to testify about her discussions with the White House on Russia | The Washington Post

Sally Yates was the attorney general for only 10 days — an Obama administration holdover whose role was to quietly manage the Justice Department until the Trump administration could quickly replace her. Instead, her brief time in the job has fueled months of fierce political debate on the White House and Russia. On Monday, Yates is to testify before a Senate subcommittee about her discussions with the White House, testimony that was delayed for more than a month after a previously scheduled appearance before a House committee was canceled amid a legal dispute over whether she would even be allowed to discuss the subject.

National: After promising to cooperate, ex-Trump adviser Carter Page turns inquiry back on Senate panel | The Washington Post

Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser whose interactions with Russia are under FBI investigation, has repeatedly said he wants to cooperate with Congress’s Russia probes to clear his name. But in a letter this week to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Page appeared to initially duck specific questions regarding his interactions with Russian officials, suggesting that the panel seek that information from inside the U.S. government instead. In an email to The Post, Page characterized the letter as a “preliminary response” to a Senate request that he begin providing detailed information no later than May 9, leaving open the possibility he will release more information to the committee in coming days. But he titled the letter a response to “request for even more irrelevant data” and asked that the committee first release to him information the government has collected through surveillance “as a starting point.”

National: Senate Asks Trump Associates for Records of Communication With Russians | The New York Times

The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked a number of high-profile Trump campaign associates to hand over emails and other records of dealings with Russians as part of its investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election and is prepared to subpoena those who refuse to cooperate, officials said. The requests for the materials were made in letters sent by the committee in the past 10 days, said two officials with knowledge of the contents of the letters. The move is designed to accelerate the committee’s investigation, and represents a new bipartisan challenge to the Trump administration, which has sought to use Republican allies in Congress to blunt the inquiries.

National: U.S. Far-Right Activists Promote Hacking Attack Against Macron | The New York Times

After months of trying to move the political needle in favor of Marine Le Pen in the French presidential election, American far-right activists on Saturday threw their weight behind a hacking attack against her rival, Emmanuel Macron, hoping to cast doubt on an election that is pivotal to France and the wider world. The efforts were the culmination of an extended campaign against Mr. Macron after his candidacy began to gain steam this year, with digital activists in the United States and elsewhere sharing tactics, tips and tricks across the English- and French-speaking parts of the internet. It is unclear whether the leaked documents, which some experts say may be connected to hackers linked to Russia, will affect the outcome of the election on Sunday between Ms. Le Pen, the far-right candidate from the National Front, and Mr. Macron, an independent centrist. But the role of American far-right groups in promoting the breach online highlights their growing resolve to spread extremist messages beyond the United States.

Editorials: Can math stop partisan gerrymandering? | Sam Wang and Brian Remlinger/LA Times

Of all the problems in our democracy, near the top of the list is partisan gerrymandering. Because legislators reserve for themselves the power to draw district boundaries, dozens of seats across America are uncompetitive and tens of millions of citizens are left with little influence over who represents them. This fall, the Supreme Court has an opportunity to remedy the offense — with the help of a little math. Polarization is what makes partisan gerrymandering possible. As citizens sort themselves into neighborhoods of like-minded people, self-serving legislators can draw boundaries to artfully lasso them. Such jiggery-pokery creates districts where both parties have near-guaranteed wins. But there’s an asymmetry: the party in control — which in most states is the GOP — distributes its supporters to win as many districts as possible by small but safe margins, while packing the rival party’s voters tightly into far fewer districts.

Illinois: Election Hack Hit 80,000 Illinois Voters | NPR

The State Board of Elections says hackers gained access to the information of 80,000 Illinois voters — including their social security numbers and driver’s licenses. Elections officials say hackers had access to Illinois’ system for nearly three weeks before they were detected. They did get access to personal information, but officials say that’s about it. “I don’t know why they selected Illinois. Perhaps they tried other states and weren’t able to get in, they just happened to find the hole in our dike, so to speak,” said State Board of Elections IT Director Kevin Turner. Turner says they’ve added security measures to prevent a similar data breach.

Iowa: Branstad signs controversial voter ID bill into law | The Des Moines Register

Iowa voters soon will need to show identification at the polls under a new law signed Friday by Gov. Terry Branstad. The measure overhauls Iowa’s election laws through a series of changes that Republicans say are needed to ensure the integrity of the process and to prevent fraud, but which Democrats and others argue will suppress votes by creating barriers for the poor, elderly, people with disabilities and minorities. “Protecting the integrity of our election system is very important,” Branstad said at a public bill signing Friday. “And we’re very proud that Iowa has a tradition and history of doing so, and this is going to strengthen our ability and make it more effective and efficient.”

Michigan: House Democrat wants ‘voter bill of rights’ added to the Michigan Constitution | MLive.com

A Democratic state lawmaker is reintroducing legislation he says would make voting easier and more accessible to Michigan citizens by changing the state Constitution to include a “voter bill of rights.” The bills, first introduced last session and brought to light again by Rep. Jon Hoadley, D-Kalamazoo, proposes adding several provisions to the existing Constitutional right to vote, including allowing no-reason absentee ballots, allowing people to vote in-person absentee up to 15 days prior to an election, automatic voter registration and automatically sending military and overseas voters a ballot at least 45 days prior to an election.

Missouri: Federal judge: Parts of Missouri’s campaign finance law unconstitutional; $2,600 donor limit stays | St. Louis Public Radio

Parts of Missouri’s new campaign finance law is unconstitutional, but the $2,600 individual donor limit will stick, according to a ruling issued Friday by Senior District Judge Ortrie Smith of the Western District of Missouri. But in striking down a provision in the law that banned certain committee-to-committee transfers, it’s opened up the ability to raise an unlimited amount of money through a local political action committee and transfer that cash to a different PAC. In effect, that will make campaign money harder to track and makes it easier for candidates to get around the individual donor limit. The Missouri Ethics Commission referred calls to Attorney General Josh Hawley, who didn’t immediately return a request for comment on whether he’d appeal the ruling.

Nevada: Bid to restore felons’ voting rights draws broad support | Las Vegas Sun

A bill that seeks to restore voting rights for certain felons is drawing diverse support from groups including the Washoe County Public Defender’s Office. Sen. Aaron Ford, D-Las Vegas, presented the bill Thursday in the Assembly Corrections, Parole, and Probation Committee. He said data from 2010, the most recent available, shows that about 4 percent of Nevada’s voting-age population is ineligible to do so.

Voting Blogs: What To Look for When the Supreme Court Decides the North Carolina Redistricting Case | Richard Pildes/Election Law Blog

The Court has already decided one major racial redistricting case this Term, Bethune-Hill, from Virginia. The other major racial redistricting case, Cooper v. Harris, from North Carolina, is now one of three cases outstanding the longest since argument. Cooper involves two congressional districts, CD 1 and CD 12 (by now, CD 12 must have been litigated before the Supreme Court more times than any congressional district in history). I want to untangle the various issues at stake and provide perspective on which legal issues are the key ones to focus on when this opinion finally comes down. To begin, the issues concerning CD 1 and CD 12 are quite different – and the ones involving CD 1 have the broadest legal significance (that makes it a bit unfortunate that most of the oral argument focused on CD 12).

Texas: House approves eliminating straight-ticket voting | Associated Press

The Texas House has approved a bill eliminating straight-ticket voting statewide. Sponsored by Carrollton Republican Rep. Ron Simmons, the measure passed Saturday despite objections from outnumbered Democrats. It now heads to the state Senate. The idea has been endorsed by House Speaker Joe Straus, who, before he was elected to his current post once filed legislation prohibiting voters from choosing a party’s full slate of candidates with just a single ballot marking.

Utah: Legislative leader looks at limiting governor’s power to call special session | KSL

The conflict between state lawmakers and Gov. Gary Herbert over how to handle a potential special election to fill a congressional vacancy has sparked a proposal to limit the governor’s power to call special sessions of the Legislature. “In certain circumstances, it looks like we need to be able to call ourselves in special session,” House Majority Leader Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, told the Deseret News on Friday. “The time has come for us to debate this issue.” Wilson said he plans to propose an amendment to the Utah Constitution that would take away at least some of the governor’s control over special sessions. If passed by at least two-thirds of the Legislature, it would go before voters in November 2018.

Virginia: McAuliffe vetoes bill on voter registration requirements | Richmond Times Dispatch

Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Wednesday vetoed a bill that would require registrars to deny applications by people who leave out certain details, such as whether they are 18 years old. McAuliffe also vetoed the House version of legislation to extend coal tax credits, terming the credits ineffective. House Bill 298, sponsored by Del. Terry G. Kilgore, R-Scott, was identical to Senate Bill 44, which McAuliffe vetoed March 11, the last day of the General Assembly session. Del. Mark L. Cole, R-Spotsylvania, sponsored House Bill 9, which sought to specify in greater detail information applicants are required to provide on the voter registration form.

International: Around the World in Election Interference | The Atlantic

All politics may be local, but foreigners still like to have their say in their friends’ and adversaries’ elections. Russia’s interference in the U.S. presidential election is the most famous case, but it’s long been popular for countries to put their thumbs on the scale of others’ votes—and for politicians to make strawmen out of the specters of foreign meddling. In several major elections coming up in the next two months, the power of outside parties is playing a big role. Here are four stories of the foreign mixing with the domestic.

Europe: Britain, Germany brace for pre-election cyber attacks | AFP

Britain and Germany were already beefing up cyber security ahead of key elections even before the hacking attack on France’s Emmanuel Macron, months after Hillary Clinton was caught in the online crosshairs.Clinton recently reiterated her view that Russian hacking of her campaign’s emails was partly to blame for her defeat in last year’s US presidential election to Donald Trump. “If the election had been on October 27, I’d be your president,” the defeated Democratic candidate told a charity luncheon last Tuesday. In France, going to the polls today in a presidential run-off election between Macron and far-right Marine Le Pen, hacking reared its ugly head at the 11th hour. Shortly before midnight Friday, front-runner Macron was the victim of a “massive and coordinated hacking attack”.

France: As France becomes latest target, are election hacks the new normal? | The Guardian

The mass document dump looks likely to become an inevitable part of modern elections. After the hacking of the Democratic party in the 2016 US election and the dumping of embarrassing emails through WikiLeaks, French and German governments have been braced for similar attacks during their own elections. And the onslaught has duly arrived. On Friday night, tens of thousands of internal emails and other documents from the campaign of the French presidential frontrunner, Emmanuel Macron, were released online. Gerard Araud, the French ambassador to Washington who witnessed the assault on the Hillary Clinton campaign during the 2016 US presidential election, responded to the Macron attack with weary resignation.

France: Macron claims massive hack as emails leaked | Reuters

Leading French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron’s campaign said on Friday it had been the target of a “massive” computer hack that dumped its campaign emails online 1-1/2 days before voters choose between the centrist and his far-right rival, Marine Le Pen. Macron, who is seen as the frontrunner in an election billed as the most important in France in decades, extended his lead over Le Pen in polls on Friday. As much as 9 gigabytes of data were posted on a profile called EMLEAKS to Pastebin, a site that allows anonymous document sharing. It was not immediately clear who was responsible for posting the data or if any of it was genuine.

France: U.S. far-right activists, WikiLeaks and bots help amplify Macron leaks: researchers | Reuters

U.S. far-right activists helped amplify a leak of hacked emails belonging to leading French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron’s campaign, some researchers said on Saturday, with automated bots and the Twitter account of WikiLeaks also propelling a leak that came two days before France’s presidential vote. The rapid spread on Twitter (TWTR.N), Facebook (FB.O) and the messaging forum 4chan of emails and other campaign documents that Macron’s campaign said on Friday had been stolen recalled the effort by right-wing activists and Russian state media to promote hacked documents embarrassing to Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton last year. It also renewed questions whether social media companies have done enough to limit fake accounts or spammed content on their platforms and how media organizations should report on hacked information.

France: France starts probing ‘massive’ hack of emails and documents reported by Macron campaign | The Washington Post

The French campaign watchdog on Saturday began investigating the “massive and coordinated piracy action” that presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron reported just minutes before the official end of campaigning in the most heated election for the presidency that France has seen in decades. Late Friday, the Macron campaign said in a statement that it had been the victim of a major hacking operation that saw thousands of emails and other internal communications dumped into the public domain. At the end of a high-stakes race, the news quickly stoked fears of a targeted operation meant to destabilize the electoral process, especially after reports of Russian hacking in the U.S. presidential election.