Russian hackers attacked at least one U.S. voting software supplier days before last year’s presidential election, according to a government intelligence report leaked Monday that suggests election-related hacking penetrated further into U.S. voting systems than previously known. The classified National Security Agency report, which was published online by The Intercept, does not say whether the hacking had any effect on election results. But it says Russian military intelligence attacked a U.S. voting software company and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials at the end of October or beginning of November. U.S. intelligence agencies declined to comment. However, the Justice Department announced Monday it had charged a government contractor in Georgia with leaking a classified report containing “Top Secret level” information to an online news organization. The report the contractor allegedly leaked is dated May 5, the same date as the document The Intercept posted online.
Russia’s military intelligence agency launched an attack before Election Day 2016 on a U.S. company that provides voting services and systems, according to a top secret report posted Monday by The Intercept. … J. Alex Halderman, a computer security expert from the University of Michigan, is among those who have been sounding the alarm for years. “It’s highly significant that these attacks took place, because it confirms that Russia was interested in targeting voting technology, at least to some extent. I hope further investigation can shed more light on what they intended to do and how far they got,” he says. Halderman and others note that local election officials often contract with private vendors, such as VR Systems, to program their voting equipment. He says if those vendors are hacked, then malware could easily be spread to local election offices and ultimately to individual voting machines. Jeremy Epstein, another voting security expert, said that even though the NSA report describes efforts to hack into voter registration systems, once a hacker has access to a local election office’s computers, they can potentially infect other aspects of the election. “If I was a Russian trying to manipulate an election, this is exactly how I would do it,” he says.
National: Reality Winner accused of leaking NSA file about Russia hacking US election | The Guardian
Three days before Americans voted last November, Reality Winner joked with her sister online that Moscow’s efforts to influence the US presidential election could have an upside for her as a keen weightlifter. “When we become the United States of the Russian Federation,” she said on Facebook, “Olympic lifting will be the national sport.” Seven months later, Winner, 25, called home to Texas on Saturday to let her family know that the Russian hacking saga had ended up landing her in a far more serious situation. “She said that she had been arrested by the FBI and that she couldn’t really talk about it,” her mother, Billie Winner-Davis, told the Guardian in a telephone interview. “I am still in shock.”
An intelligence contractor was charged with sending a classified report about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election to the news media, the Justice Department announced Monday, the first criminal leak case under President Trump. The case showed the department’s willingness to crack down on leaks, as Mr. Trump has called for in complaining that they are undermining his administration. His grievances have contributed to a sometimes tense relationship with the intelligence agencies he now oversees. The Justice Department announced the case against the contractor, Reality Leigh Winner, 25, about an hour after the national-security news outlet The Intercept published the apparent document, a May 5 intelligence report from the National Security Agency. The report described two cyberattacks by Russia’s military intelligence unit, the G.R.U. — one in August against a company that sells voter registration-related software and another, a few days before the election, against 122 local election officials.
National: Who Won the Election? NSA Report Suggests Russia Might Have Hacked Voting System | Newsweek
Russian military intelligence attempted to cyber-attack a U.S. voting software supplier and more than 100 local election officials in the days leading up to the 2016 presidential election, The Intercept reported Monday. While there is no indication that voting machines or the result of the election were tampered with, this is the first report of its type to raise serious questions about whether Russian hackers attempted to breach the voting system. According to an NSA document acquired by The Intercept, Russian military intelligence cyber-attacked a U.S. voting software supplier, using information gained in that attack to “launch a voter registration-themed spear-phishing campaign targeting U.S. local government organizations.”
California: Orange County wants to overhaul the way we vote, but some say changes should wait | Orange County Register
A massive overhaul of how Orange County voters cast ballots will be considered Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors, but some Republican leaders concerned about potential voter fraud want any changes postponed. Elections officials here and in other states that have implemented similar changes counter that by saying the upgrades make voting systems more secure. “There’s no better time to make these changes than now,” said Neal Kelley, county Registrar of Voters, who says the new approach would save the county between $10 million and $20 million. The “vote center” system he’s proposing would do away with the approximately 1,000 precinct polling places typically set up in the county for each election. Instead, the county would create new vote centers and distribute mail-in ballots to every registered voter.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley said Monday that Russian operatives hacked into the State Board of Elections last year to view voter database files, a potential move toward trying to make voters distrust the state and federal election system. Quigley, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, also warned of a potential “constitutional crisis” over executive privilege between President Donald Trump and the U.S. Supreme Court as part of multiple investigations into possible collusion between agents of the Russian government and Trump’s presidential campaign. Quigley’s declaration of Russian involvement in the hacking of the state elections board marked the first time the country had been definitively identified as behind the attack last year, though it had been widely suspected.
Maine: Lawmakers have five options on ranked-choice voting. Signs point to repeal. | Bangor Daily News
Protected by Maine’s high court, a key group of Democrats looks open to eventually joining Republicans in repealing the state’s pioneering ranked-choice voting law before the 2018 election. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court issued a unanimous opinion in May finding the law unconstitutional after it passed with 52 percent support from voters in 2016, saying it violates a provision allowing elections to be won by a plurality — and not necessarily a majority — of votes. The opinion is non-binding, but it threw the law into question and led to dueling legislative proposals to deal with the problem: Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason, R-Lisbon Falls, wants to repeal the law, while Sen. Catherine Breen, D-Falmouth, wants to amend the Constitution to allow it. With legislative Republicans and Gov. Paul LePage united on repealing the law, Democrats hold the cards on whether it’ll survive and, if so, in what form. Some key Democrats are open to repeal.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday faulted North Carolina again in a racially tinged voting rights case, upholding a lower court’s ruling that Republican lawmakers mapped state legislative districts in a way that diluted the clout of black voters. But the justices also threw out another ruling by the same panel of three federal judges ordering special elections by November to fill the state legislature seats at issue in the dispute. The high court, with no recorded dissents, sent the case back to the lower court to reconsider whether special elections are necessary. The Supreme Court in January put the matter of special elections on hold while it decided whether to hear the state’s appeal of the ruling.
The Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling that struck down 28 state House and Senate districts in North Carolina because they violated the rights of black voters. But the justices rejected the court’s order to redraw the districts and hold a special election. The action by the justices Monday sends the matter back to the lower court, which could order new districts in time for the regular cycle of elections in 2018.
Pennsylvania: Report: 26K voters caught in registration delay before pivotal Trump election | Billy Penn
About 26,000 people across Pennsylvania — 17,000 in Philadelphia alone — may not have received voter registration cards until after the November Presidential election because their voter registration applications were processed late, according to a new report released this week by a nonpartisan conglomerate of organizations that advocate for election reform. The report released by Keystone Votes, a group of about 40 organizations, cited data from the Pennsylvania Department of State and concluded that thousands of Pennsylvanians who attempted to register to vote on time may not have received any confirmation that their registration was approved prior to Nov. 8, 2016. The group also reported that due to the late processing, those people may have been “relegated” to supplemental voter rolls, instead of appearing in the main voter roll book at their polling location.
Rhode Island: Federal judge dismisses former director’s suit against state Board of Elections | Providence Journal
A federal judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit brought by the embattled former state Board of Elections executive director that accused his once employer of violating his rights by firing him. U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell Jr. granted the board’s motion to dismiss after hearing arguments at Roger Williams University School of Law in April. Kando sued the board in September, arguing that he was fired a month earlier without proper notice. He alleged violations of due process and the state Open Meetings Act.
Authorities have issued their first arrest warrant in the Dallas County voter fraud case that roiled the May municipal elections in West Dallas and Grand Prairie, causing 700 suspicious mail-in ballots to be sequestered. Miguel Hernandez, 27, of Dallas, is wanted on a charge of illegal voting, a third-degree felony. He is accused of visiting a woman around April 10 and collecting her blank absentee ballot, then filling it out and forging her signature on it before mailing it to the county, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. Authorities say they plan to make more arrests in the case. Last month, Assistant District Attorney Andy Chatham and Elections Administrator Toni Pippins-Poole named two persons of interest in the investigation, neither of whom was Hernandez.
Independent election observers praised Sunday’s running of the nationwide commune elections as largely smooth and peaceful, even while noting a raft of problems, including unauthorized officials at polling sites, intimidated observers and soldiers being brought to vote at some polling stations by the truckload. Dubbed the “Situation Room,” the coalition of NGOs that teamed up to send some 14,000 observers across the country described the voting as “smooth, safe and peaceful” but marred by “some minor irregularities.” Recounting one of the day’s most flagrant breaches, Koul Panha, director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia, said 12 observers across two communes in Kandal province’s Loeuk Dek district were pressured into abandoning their duties by local authorities.
Election officials in the mountain kingdom of Lesotho on Sunday investigated why armed soldiers had been deployed at many polling stations on voting day. The army has often been accused of interfering in politics in Lesotho, a landlocked African country of two million people that has been hit by attempted coups and instability in recent years. “The nation, the voters and even the observers were surprised… they felt that some voters were intimidated,” Independent Electoral Commission spokesperson Tuoe Hantsi told reporters. “The law dictates who should be at the polling stations, and (the soldiers) caused confusion.”
A hotly contested state election in Mexico is heading to court after the president’s cousin was declared the victor amid widespread allegations of voter intimidation, vote buying and misuse of public resources. Alfredo del Mazo Maza, the candidate for the Institutional Revolutionary party (PRI), was declared the winner after early results in the state of Mexico gave him a two-point lead over Delfina Gómez of the leftwing National Regeneration party (Morena). But with the vote so close, Morena – led by the populist firebrand Andres Manuel López Obrador– is refusing to accept the initial results. The full count will not be completed before 7 June, after which Morena will almost certainly seek that the election be annulled.
United Kingdom: British voters head to polls in a political landscape jolted by terrorism | The Washington Post
A country once again buffeted by terrorism will go to the polls Thursday in the latest test of the relationship between mass violence, carried out with the most everyday of tools, and democratic debate over security and ties to the outside world. Saturday’s attack, which left seven people dead, marked the third major terrorist strike in Britain in as many months — the first unfolding steps from Parliament and the second outside a packed pop concert in Manchester. Each was claimed by the Islamic State. The latest assault, in which three suspects mowed down pedestrians on London Bridge before slashing their way through a nearby market, inserts an unpredictable new dynamic — the fear and uncertainty sowed by terrorism — into this week’s contest, which was already tightening.