National: James Clapper: Russia Is ‘Emboldened’ to Interfere in Elections After 2016 | Associated Press

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says Russia is now “emboldened” to interfere in elections in the U.S. and around the world. Clapper testified Monday before a Senate judiciary subcommittee about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. He says Russia’s meddling in last year’s U.S. presidential election amounted to a “high-water mark” in its decades-long efforts to interfere in political contests. Clapper says he hopes Americans recognize the severity of the threat posed by Russia and that the U.S. moves to counter Moscow before it “further erodes the fabric of our democracy.”

National: Sally Yates Tells Senators She Warned Trump About Michael Flynn | The New York Times

Less than a week into the Trump administration, Sally Q. Yates, the acting attorney general, hurried to the White House with an urgent concern. The president’s national security adviser, she said, had lied to the vice president about his Russian contacts and was vulnerable to blackmail by Moscow. “We wanted to tell the White House as quickly as possible,” Ms. Yates told a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Monday. “To state the obvious: You don’t want your national security adviser compromised with the Russians.” But President Trump did not immediately fire the adviser, Michael T. Flynn, over the apparent lie or the susceptibility to blackmail. Instead, Mr. Flynn remained in office for 18 more days. Only after the news of his false statements broke publicly did he lose his job on Feb. 13.

National: Trump seizes on election rules to raise money, push agenda in new ways | USA Today

President Trump has headlined four big rallies in the first months of his presidency to tout his agenda and savage his foes. A new $1.5 million television ad campaign promotes his accomplishments and attacks the media. The flurry of activity to build support for Trump’s policies isn’t organized by the White House but springs from his re-election campaign, which filed paperwork allowing him to begin raising and spending money on Jan. 20 — the same day he took the oath of office. By contrast, both President Obama and President George W. Bush had been in office for more than two years before they filed for re-election. Traditionally, presidents use federal money to push their policies and refrain from overtly political activity until later in their terms. But Trump’s unorthodox move to immediately start fundraising allows him to capitalize on federal election laws to push his agenda in new ways. He can rally his supporters, openly denounce his political enemies and pressure recalcitrant lawmakers in Congress — all without running afoul of rules that bar using taxpayer money for politics.

Voting Blogs: Voter Fraud Was Complete Non-Issue in 2016 Elections | Democracy Chronicles

Following numerous claims by members of the Republican Party, including the including the President of the United States, that the election system is “rigged”, there have been numerous studies released following the election cycle that have debunked those claims. One of the most notable instances of voter fraud accusations include President Trump accusing residents from Massachusetts traveling over to New Hampshire and voting a second time in the Presidential election (and New Hampshire Senatorial election). However, a new study done by the Brennan Center for Justice and the Washington Post, concluded that there was no credible evidence for those claims. The two studies reported both on the claim that President Trump made about New Hampshire (the Washington Post’s study), although the study produced by the Brennan Center for Justice focused on nation wide voter fraud allegations.

Colorado: Unaffiliated voter bill raises questions | Grand Junction Sentinel

If unaffiliated voters designate a preference in which major parties’ primary they want to cast a ballot without actually joining that party, they would be tagged as someone who voted in that political primary under a bill that is racing through the Colorado Legislature. Some county clerks say that provision in SB305, a bill that was introduced only last Wednesday and is being fast-tracked, flies in the face of the ballot question voters overwhelmingly approved last fall that allows unaffiliated voters to cast ballots in the party primary races without having to declare affiliation with that party. The bill, which won preliminary approval in the Colorado Senate on Friday, calls for sending voters two ballots during a primary election, with instructions to return only one.

Georgia: Republican accuses Democrat of voter registration ‘trick’ | The Hill

Karen Handel, the Republican nominee in Georgia’s closely watched 6th District special election, is accusing Democrats of a “trick” by convincing a federal judge to extend voter registration in the district. Handel, who faces Democrat Jon Ossoff in a runoff next month, lampooned Thursday’s federal court decision to reopen voter registration in a Monday fundraising email signed by the candidate. … Democrats fell just short of flipping the historically Republican seat in April when Ossoff fell short of the 50 percent threshold needed to win the jungle primary outright. While the outcome is giving Republicans a chance to reorganize and coalesce behind one candidate, Ossoff’s strong performance gave his party hope that he could flip the seat and send a chill through Republicans ahead of the 2018 midterms.

Illinois: Voter Registration Database Hackers Home in on Galesburg Residents | Government Technology

Hackers viewed the information of more than 14,000 Galesburg residents in the state of Illinois’ voter registration database last year — more than any other Illinois location. Staff from the Illinois State Board of Elections provided an update to the Illinois Senate’s Subcommittee on Cybersecurity on Thursday, revealing that in last summer’s cyberattack on the state’s database, Galesburg records had been viewed more than those from elsewhere in Illinois. Kyle Thomas, executive director of the board, and Kevin Turner, IT director for the board, said the board sent letters to 14,121 Galesburg residents last fall to notify them that some aspect of their information had been viewed. The hacked information included names, birth dates, addresses, driver’s license numbers and the last four digits of social security numbers.

Illinois: Senators advance bipartisan automatic voter registration bill | Chicago Tribune

Senate lawmakers again advanced legislation Friday that could automatically register many Illinoisans to vote, a victory for now for supporters who saw a similar effort last year vetoed by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. Both Democrats and Republicans voted for the revamped proposal after sponsoring Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, incorporated changes pushed by Rauner — a rare attempt at compromise in a statehouse that’s been marked by years of dysfunction and partisan bickering. “That is without question going to lead to more people, more citizens of our state, regardless of where they live, regardless of party affiliation, participating in our electoral process,” Manar said. “And regardless who wins an election, we all win as citizens of the state of Illinois.”

Kansas: Post-Election Voter Registration Battle Continues in Kansas | Courthouse News

A federal court in Kansas has advanced an ongoing battle over voter registration to trial, striking down motions for summary judgment by both the American Civil Liberties Union and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. The ACLU sued Kobach in February 2016, claiming that Kansas law violates the National Voter Registration Act by requiring proof of citizenship to register. U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson disagreed that the registration requirement hinders voters’ right to travel under the 14th Amendment’s Privileges and Immunities Clause, which prohibits states from discriminating against citizens from other states.

Nebraska: Ricketts gets victory as lawmakers fail to override veto on felons’ voting rights bill | Omaha World-Herald

Gov. Pete Ricketts flexed some political muscle Monday, easily winning a veto showdown over legislation that would have expanded felon voting rights in Nebraska. Legislators voted 23-23 on a motion to override Ricketts’ veto of Legislative Bill 75, which sought to eliminate the two years felons must wait to vote after completing their prison sentences. Overturning a veto requires the support of at least 30 of 49 senators in the single-house Legislature. The outcome provided a victory to the governor in a high-profile override attempt. In the previous two years senators have overridden his vetoes on measures related to the death penalty, the gas tax and two bills granting privileges to immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.

Texas: Bill to abolish “one-punch” voting approved in Texas House | The Texas Tribune

The Texas House late Saturday gave final approval to a bill that would eliminate “one-punch” voting, forcing voters to make an individual decision on every ballot item, starting with the 2020 election. House Bill 25, approved 88-57, could drastically change Texas politics considering straight-ticket ballots accounted for almost 64 percent of total votes cast in the state’s 10 largest counties in 2016. Forty-one states don’t allow straight-ticket voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The final vote fell largely on partisan lines; only three Democrats voted for it, while only seven Republicans voted to keep one-punch voting.

Texas: In Texas, almost all non-voters have a photo ID — but few understand the voter identification rules | The Washington Post

Over the past 12 years nearly 20 U.S. states have adopted voter photo identification laws, which require voters to show a picture ID to vote. These laws have been challenged in numerous lawsuits, resulting in a variety of court decisions and, in several instances, revised legislation. Supporters argue that photo ID rules are necessary to safeguard the sanctity and legitimacy of the voting process by preventing people from impersonating other voters. They say that essentially every U.S. citizen possesses an acceptable photo ID, or can relatively easily get one. Opponents argue that that’s not true; that laws requiring voters to show photo ID disenfranchise registered voters who don’t have the accepted forms of photo ID and can’t get one easily. Further, they say, these laws confuse some registered voters, who therefore don’t bother to vote at all. Opponents also point out that there are almost no documented cases of voter impersonation fraud. Supporters counter that without a photo ID requirement, we have no idea how much fraud there might be.

Texas: Criminal investigation opens into West Dallas voter fraud after ‘off the charts’ allegations | Dallas Morning News

The Dallas County district attorney’s office has opened a criminal investigation into allegations of voter fraud in Saturday’s elections, affecting at least two Dallas City Council races. Assistant District Attorney Andy Chatham said the investigation was opened after an “off the charts” number of allegations, especially in West Dallas, where, he said, there have long been “persistent rumors” of voter fraud and “messin’ around with mail-in ballots.” But nothing like this year, he said.

Bulgaria: Ruling party to table legislation to introduce majoritarian election system | The Sofia Globe

The first legislation that Boiko Borissov’s centre-right GERB party will table in the Parliament elected in March this year will be to introduce a majoritarian system for electing MPs, parliamentary group leader Tsvetan Tsvetanov said. Tsvetanov was speaking on the weekend after Borissov returned to power as Prime Minister, at the head of a coalition government of GERB and the nationalist United Patriots. Tabling a bill on a majoritarian voting system was a fulfilment of a commitment made by GERB at the end of the previous legislature as well as its promises during the campaign ahead of the March 2017 elections, Tsvetanov said.

France: Evidence suggests Russia behind hack of French president-elect | Ars Technica

Late on May 5 as the two final candidates for the French presidency were about to enter a press blackout in advance of the May 7 election, nine gigabytes of data allegedly from the campaign of Emmanuel Macron were posted on the Internet in torrents and archives. The files, which were initially distributed via links posted on 4Chan and then by WikiLeaks, had forensic metadata suggesting that Russians were behind the breach—and that a Russian government contract employee may have falsified some of the dumped documents. Even WikiLeaks, which initially publicized the breach and defended its integrity on the organization’s Twitter account, has since acknowledged that some of the metadata pointed directly to a Russian company with ties to the government.

France: Election Hacks Are Beginning to Look Like the New Normal | MIT Technology Review

French citizens have elected the centrist Emmanuel Macron as president, despite an unwelcome last-minute leak of his campaign’s documents over the Internet. Late Friday evening, Macron found thousands of files and e-mails relating to his campaign, totaling at least nine gigabytes, shared online. Just ahead of the country’s midnight campaigning cutoff, Macron’s En Marche! team had time to alert the public to the fact that the document dump was the result of a hack, and took the opportunity to implore media organizations to report on the news responsibly. As CNBC points out, French law bans the media from covering the election in the run-up to voting, which means that domestic publications had little chance to run the story. That didn’t stop bots on Twitter, though, which appear to have been widely circulating links during the weekend.

Iran: Electronic Voting Machines to Be Installed in 145 Cities across Iran | Tasnim News Agency

Electronic voting machines are planned to be installed in 145 cities tomorrow as Iran prepares to hold the 5th City and Village Councils elections concurrent with the upcoming presidential vote, an official said on Monday. Speaking to the Tasnim News Agency, Qassem Mirzaee Nekou, an ICT official at the central board responsible for monitoring the 5th City and Village Councils elections said all the necessary measures have been taken to provide the required facilities, including hardware and software, to hold the polls electronically.

Malta: Ink on new, supposedly secure voting documents can be easily rubbed off, PN reveals | The Malta Independent

The new voting documents, which are set to be distributed to households as from tomorrow, do not have the necessary safety features, and the ink can be easily wiped off, PN Deputy Leader Beppe Fenech Adami revealed this evening. Addressing a press conference, Dr Fenech Adami, accompanied by the PN Secretary General Rosette Thake, said that the PN was informed that due to a problem in the lamination machine, the documents were printed on plastic paper, instead of the standard lamination.

Papua New Guinea: Electoral Commission to use technology to transmit election results | Post Courier

The mobile application that the Electoral Commission will use to transmit election results will increase transparency for polling and counting processes, according to an IT expert. Electoral Commission Software Technician Henry Wakit said the application which does not rely heavily on the internet is installed in a tablet with each electoral officer for the 111 open and regional electorates in the country.

South Korea: South Korea faces a pivotal vote | Deutsche Welle

South Koreans are taking Tuesday’s presidential election seriously. Estimates suggest that the voter turnout is likely to be as high as over 90 percent. Over 11 million people – or more than 26 percent of the nation’s 42.5 million registered voters – have already cast their ballots in early voting, according to local media. This year is the first time early voting has been available in a presidential election. South Koreans are voting for a replacement for former President Park Geun-hye, who was recently ousted from office on account of a high-profile corruption scandal. Park was subsequently charged with bribery, coercion, abuse of power and leaking state secrets.

United Kingdom: Independence is an unwanted election challenge for Scottish nationalists | Reuters

Calum Kerr, a parliamentarian from the Scottish National Party (SNP), is having to work hard to get his message across. As he defends a wafer-thin majority in Britain’s June 8 election, he wants to focus on issues directly affecting his farming constituency bordering England, with its struggling economy that may suffer further when Britain leaves the European Union. But those issues are being drowned out by the often shrill debate about Scotland’s right to another vote on independence from Britain. Scots rejected secession by 10 points in a 2014 referendum and polls show most still do not support it. “This election is not about independence at all,” said Kerr, who wants to get away from the topic as he campaigns for votes. “It’s about getting the voice of the Borders heard and it is all about Brexit, which is amplified in the rural context.”