Pressure to examine voting machines used in the 2016 election grows daily as evidence builds that Russian hacking attacks were broader and deeper than previously known. And the Department of Homeland Security has a simple response: No. DHS officials from former secretary Jeh Johnson to acting Director of Cyber Division Samuel Liles may be adamant that machines were not affected, but the agency has not in fact opened up a single voting machine since November to check. Asked about the decision, a DHS official told TPM: “In a September 2016 Intelligence Assessment, DHS and our partners determined that there was no indication that adversaries were planning cyber activity that would change the outcome of the coming US election.” … Computer scientists have been critical of that decision. “They have performed computer forensics on no election equipment whatsoever,” said J. Alex Halderman, who testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee last week about the vulnerability of election systems. “That would be one of the most direct ways of establishing in the equipment whether it’s been penetrated by attackers. We have not taken every step we could.”
National: Trump’s voter-fraud commission wants to know voting history, party ID and address of every voter in the U.S. | The Washington Post
The chair of President Trump’s Election Integrity Commission has penned a letter to all 50 states requesting their full voter-roll data, including the name, address, date of birth, party affiliation, last four Social Security number digits and voting history back to 2006 of potentially every voter in the state. In the letter, a copy of which was made public by the Connecticut secretary of state, the commission head Kris Kobach said that “any documents that are submitted to the full Commission will also be made available to the public.” On Wednesday, the office of Vice President Pence released a statement saying “a letter will be sent today to the 50 states and District of Columbia on behalf of the Commission requesting publicly available data from state voter rolls and feedback on how to improve election integrity.”
A former British government intelligence official has said he was approached last summer by a veteran Republican operative to help verify hacked Hillary Clinton emails offered by a mysterious and most likely Russian source. The incident, recounted by Matt Tait, who was a information security specialist for GCHQ and now runs a private internet security consultancy in the UK, may cast new light on one of the pathways the Russians used to influence the 2016 presidential election in Donald Trump’s favour. Tait’s account, published on the Lawfare national security blog, demonstrates a willingness to collude with the Russians on the part of the Republican operative, Peter Smith, who had a long history of hunting down damaging material about the Clinton family on behalf of the GOP leadership. It also points towards possible collusion by Trump aides.
Donald Trump’s attempt at voter suppression through his “election integrity” commission is a voting rights nightmare that is being enacted so clumsily it just might backfire. Both before and after the election, Trump made wild and unsubstantiated claims about voter fraud and the system being “rigged.” Before the election, many of the claims were about voters voting five, 10, or 15 times by impersonating other voters. The ridiculous and unproven charges of voter suppression had a racial tinge, with suggestions the fraud would happen in majority minority communities. According to the New York Times, he told an audience in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, a few weeks before Election Day: “I just hear such reports about Philadelphia. … I hear these horror shows, and we have to make sure that this election is not stolen from us and is not taken away from us.” He added for emphasis: “Everybody knows what I’m talking about.”
Allegations that the federal government tried to hack Georgia’s election systems were unfounded, according to a letter the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general sent Monday to Congress. The conclusion comes more than six months after Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp accused the department of attempting to “breach our firewall” a week after the November presidential election. The letter said investigators with the inspector general’s Digital Forensics and Analysis Unit reviewed computer data from the federal agency, Kemp’s office and also interviewed a contractor. They also recreated the contractor’s actions. The data, Roth wrote, confirmed the contractor’s statements that on Nov. 15 he used a public page on Kemp’s website to verify security guards’ weapons certification licensing, which he then copied into a spreadsheet.
Maine: Voter-approved ranked-choice voting stays in effect as repeal bills fail | Portland Press Herald
A voter-approved law making Maine the first state in the nation to used ranked-choice voting for statewide elections will stay in effect until at least next year after two legislative efforts to repeal it were unsuccessful Wednesday. The Legislature was attempting to respond to a May advisory opinion from the Maine Supreme Judicial Court that found the parts of the law that applied to races for the governor’s office and Legislature were unconstitutional. A House bill would have left ranked-choice voting in state primary elections and those for Maine’s congressional seats, but not for legislative and gubernatorial races unless the Legislature approved a constitutional amendment to allow ranked-choice voting and state voters ratified it. The Senate version, which had Republican and Democratic support, would have repealed the ballot law completely.
The bill to redraw judicial districts in North Carolina will not advance this session, the legislation’s sponsor said Tuesday. Rep. Justin Burr, a Republican from Albemarle, told The News & Observer that House Bill 717 will be taken up when the General Assembly returns in a few months. That is when a special redistricting session could occur. Burr introduced the bill in a House committee on Monday, where it was approved and calendared for consideration by the full House on Tuesday. Democrats and some court officials said the bill was too significant to be rushed through at the end of session. On Tuesday, Burr said he thought he would have more time to advance the proposal. He said the governor vetoed the budget earlier than he anticipated, narrowing the time frame that the bill could be moved through both chambers. Legislative leaders say they anticipate ending the session as early as this week.
Seattle’s first-in-the-nation voucher system for publicly financing political campaigns is facing a new legal challenge by two local property owners who say it forces them to support candidates they don’t like. The Pacific Legal Foundation, a libertarian-leaning law firm, sued the city Wednesday in King County Superior Court over the “democracy voucher” program, which was passed by voters in 2015 and is being used for the first time in this year’s City Council and city attorney races. Under the program, Seattle’s voters decided to tax themselves $3 million a year in exchange for four $25 vouchers that they can sign over to candidates. According to the city, it costs the average homeowner $11.50 per year.
Want to influence an election? All you need is about $400,000, according to cyber security consultant Trend Micro Inc. That’s the sum it takes to buy followers on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, hire companies to write and disseminate fake news postings over a period of 12 months, and run sophisticated web sites to influence public opinion, according to Udo Schneider, a security expert for the German-speaking market at Trend Micro. “Hacking the actual voting process isn’t worth it as it leaves traces, is very expensive and technologically challenging,” Schneider said Wednesday at a security conference organized by Deutsche Telekom AG in Berlin. Yet influencing public opinion via fake news and data leaks, as is believed to have happened during the U.S. and French election campaigns, is relatively simple and “could also happen ahead of the German elections.”
There was no outright winner in Mongolia’s presidential election on Monday, forcing the country’s first ever second-round run-off between the two leading candidates, the country’s General Election Committee said on Tuesday. The populist former martial arts star Khaltmaa Battulga of the opposition Democratic Party won the most votes, but failed to secure the majority required, the committee said. He will face ruling Mongolian People’s Party (MPP) candidate Miyeegombo Enkhbold, who came second, in a run-off on July 9, the committee’s chairman Choinzon Tsodnomtseren confirmed at a briefing on Tuesday morning.