Russia’s cyberattack on the U.S. electoral system before Donald Trump’s election was far more widespread than has been publicly revealed, including incursions into voter databases and software systems in almost twice as many states as previously reported. In Illinois, investigators found evidence that cyber intruders tried to delete or alter voter data. The hackers accessed software designed to be used by poll workers on Election Day, and in at least one state accessed a campaign finance database. Details of the wave of attacks, in the summer and fall of 2016, were provided by three people with direct knowledge of the U.S. investigation into the matter. In all, the Russian hackers hit systems in a total of 39 states, one of them said.
A longtime friend of President Trump said on Monday that Mr. Trump was considering whether to fire Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating possible ties between the president’s campaign and Russian officials. The startling assertion comes as some of Mr. Trump’s conservative allies, who initially praised Mr. Mueller’s selection as special counsel, have begun trying to attack his credibility. The friend, Christopher Ruddy, the chief executive of Newsmax Media, who was at the White House on Monday, said on PBS’s “NewsHour” that Mr. Trump was “considering, perhaps, terminating the special counsel.” “I think he’s weighing that option,” Mr. Ruddy said.
National: Sessions will testify in open hearing Tuesday before Senate Intelligence Committee | The Washington Post
Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s appearance Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee will be a high-stakes test for a Trump official who has kept a low profile even as he has become a central figure in the scandal engulfing the White House over Russia and the firing of James B. Comey as FBI director. Sessions, a former Republican senator from Alabama, will face tough questions from his former colleagues on a number of fronts that he has never had to publicly address in detail. Democrats plan to ask about his contacts during the 2016 campaign with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, which the attorney general failed to disclose fully during his confirmation hearing.
California: Democrats seek a change in California recall elections, and it could help an embattled state senator | Los Angeles Times
State Senate Democrats introduced legislation Monday to change the rules governing recall elections to remove a lawmaker from office, potentially helping one of their own survive an effort now underway in Southern California. The proposal, contained in one of the bills enacting a new state budget, comes after backers of an effort to remove state Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) from office have submitted more than 31,000 voter signatures to trigger a special election. “Recalls are designed to be extraordinary events in response to extraordinary circumstances – and it’s in the public’s overwhelming interest to ensure the security, integrity and legitimacy of the qualification process,” said Jonathan Underland, a spokesman for Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles).
Millions of voters have cast their ballots in Georgia using machines that offer a now-common experience: Press the touch screen, record your choice on anything from a local mayoral race to a presidential election. It is a simple action that belies the complex system that supports it. And it is a system that is under increasing attack. Georgia’s aging election system has flaws that could be exploited if a malicious hacker ever breached it, experts say. It’s a fear that has escalated with regular news reports about alleged attempts by Russian hackers to meddle in the 2016 presidential election, an issue raised again last week by the release of a leaked National Security Agency document. … The news three months ago of a potential data breach at Kennesaw State University’s Center for Election Systems raised alarms that for critics of Georgia’s system is still ringing.
Senate leaders said they had reached an agreement late on Monday to approve new sanctions against Russia for interfering in the 2016 presidential election and for the country’s conduct in Ukraine and Syria, delivering a striking message to a foreign power that continues to shadow President Trump. The bipartisan measure would place the White House in an uncomfortable position, arriving amid sweeping investigations into ties between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia. The sanctions package would also cut against the administration’s stated aim to reshape the United States’ relationship with Russia after Mr. Trump took office.
Holiday Burke, who is accused of submitting fraudulent voter registration forms in Indiana, has retained a former city-county councilor to fight the charges. Attorney Karen Celestino-Horseman said in a statement late Friday that Burke did nothing wrong. “Holiday Burke executed her duties in accordance with Indiana state election law, and this case has no merit,” Celestino-Horseman said. “State law requires registration efforts turn in every application. Holiday did so while clearly noting to the appropriate authorities which applications had inconsistencies or appeared problematic so that the county clerks could better do their job.”
Kris Kobach likes to bill himself as “the A.C.L.U.’s worst nightmare.” The Kansas secretary of state, who was a champion debater in high school, speaks quickly for a rural Midwesterner, with the confidence of a man who holds degrees from Harvard, Oxford and Yale Law School, and until January he hosted his own local radio show, which used that line about the A.C.L.U. to introduce each episode. On March 3 he strode into the Robert J. Dole Federal Courthouse in Kansas City, Kan., to face the latest lawsuit filed against him by the civil-liberties organization. In an unusual arrangement for a secretary of state, Kobach, 51, personally argues all of his cases. He seems to see it as a perk of the job — and a mission. The A.C.L.U. has filed four suits against Kobach since he was elected in 2010. All of them challenge some aspect of his signature piece of legislation, the Secure and Fair Elections Act, or SAFE Act, a 2011 state law that requires people to show a birth certificate, passport or naturalization papers to register to vote.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is suing the state of Missouri over its new Voter ID law. The ACLU is challenging the Show-Me State in court, saying Missouri failed to provide adequate funding to implement the law. The funds are to be used for voter education, providing free voter identification and birth certificates, and training for poll workers. The new law took effect June 1. The case was filed on behalf of the Missouri NAACP and the League of Women Voters of Missouri, who are seeking a temporary restraining order to block the law from remaining in effect during a local special election on July 11. In-person absentee voting begins Monday, June 12, and an additional 52 Missouri counties head to the polls on August 8.
Associated PNorth Carolina Democrats and allies continued to press Republican leaders Monday to redraw legislative maps quickly after the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed last week that nearly 30 districts are illegally racially gerrymandered. Last Monday, the nation’s highest court upheld the lower court decision of three federal judges who originally tossed out the districts in August. The lower court can’t act until formally getting the case back from the Supreme Court, but the judges wrote Friday that they would “act promptly” on when new maps should be drawn and whether a special election is necessary this fall. Still, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper said Monday that new “maps should be drawn this month and an election held before next year’s legislative session. If the legislature doesn’t do its job soon, the courts should.”
Oregon continues to lead the way in expanding voter access with the passage Monday of Senate Bill 802 which gives 16-year-olds the ability to pre-register to vote. Under current Oregon law, an otherwise qualified person who is at least 17 years of age may pre-register to vote. This legislation will lower that to age 16 so that Oregon is able to include, as part of the Motor Voter law, the nearly 20,000 16-year-olds who are licensed in Oregon every year. Without this change, it could take another eight years before those individuals again interact with the Department of Motor Vehicles and are automatically registered.
The governor of Puerto Rico, Ricard Rosselló, has announced that he is to visit Washington in the next phase of his campaign to turn the island into the 51st state of the United States. Rosselló will go to the US capital armed with a 97% backing for statehood from voters in Sunday’s plebiscite on the future of the stricken US colony. But he faces an uphill struggle impressing his case on the US Congress, which holds ultimate power over Puerto Rico, given the historically low turnout of the vote and the boycott staged by opposition parties. The governor, a 38-year-old member of the ruling Partido Nuevo Progresista (PNP), insisted the referendum sent a clear and strong message to Washington. “From today, the federal government will no longer be able to ignore the voice of the majority of the American citizens in Puerto Rico. It would be highly contradictory for Washington to demand democracy in other parts of the world, and not respond to the legitimate right to self-determination that was exercised today in the American territory of Puerto Rico,” he said after the vote.
Puerto Rico’s governor on Monday said the island’s vote in favor of becoming a U.S. state, despite low voter turnout and widespread boycotts, was “a fair and open” process that U.S. Congress should act upon. An island-wide referendum on Sunday favored statehood in a 97 percent landslide, though voter turnout reached just 23 percent as opponents of Governor Ricardo Rossello’s push to become a state boycotted the vote. The non-binding plebiscite is not expected to sway the U.S. Congress, which would have to agree to make Puerto Rico a state. Currently a U.S. territory, the island is struggling with $70 billion in debt and a 45 percent poverty rate, and is not viewed as a priority in Washington.
China: Privacy commissioner slams election office’s treatment of voter data following missing laptop incident | Hong Kong Free Press
The Privacy Commissioner has said the Registration and Electoral Office (REO) contravened privacy rules after it lost an election computer containing the personal information of all voters. It has demanded improvements. The commissioner’s office launched an investigation after two computers were lost from a backup polling station for the chief executive election in March. It was discovered a day after the election that the two machines had disappeared from a locked room, despite there being no sign of a break-in. One of the lost computers contained the names, addresses, and the identity card numbers – considered private information – of all 3.78 million Hong Kong voters. The data was stored in an encrypted format and did not include telephone numbers and voting records.
Italian voters have rejected the populist 5-Star Movement in mayoral elections, favoring established center-left and center-right tickets, but its leader vowed Monday to press on until national power is achieved. With a majority of ballots counted from elections a day earlier in some 1,000 small cities and towns, the 5-Star Movement had imploded in all big races, including in Genoa, home of its leader and founder, comic Beppe Grillo. Voters thrashed the anti-euro movement, which bills itself as anti-establishment since supporters’ online selections generally determine their slate of candidates.
The coalition of former ethnic Albanian rebel commanders won the most votes Sunday in Kosovo’s general election, which also saw a surge in popularity for a nationalist party, according to preliminary results. The ex-rebels came in first with around 35 percent of the vote. The nationalist Self-Determination Movement was neck-and-neck with the coalition led by former Prime Minister Isa Mustafa, which had around 26 percent each after the counting of about 70 percent of the votes, according to Democracy in Action, a monitoring group. No group can govern alone and coalitions will be likely.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced Monday that Lebanon would have a new vote law by Wednesday despite remaining obstacles that could unravel the agreement reached by the country’s top leaders to avert a parliamentary vacuum and clear the way for holding the first elections since 2009. He also said that neither he nor the Future Movement would run the elections under the disputed 1960 majoritarian law used in the last parliamentary elections.
More than 1,000 protesters were detained across Russia on Monday after the opposition leader Alexei Navalny raised the stakes in his battle with the Kremlin by calling on Muscovites to gatecrash a historical re-enactment fair being held on the Russian capital’s central street. As the president, Vladimir Putin, spoke of national unity at a ceremony in the Kremlin, a few hundred metres away on Tverskaya Street cordons of riot police moved against protesters.