National: A Republican contractor’s database of nearly every voter was left exposed on the Internet for 12 days, researcher says | The Washington Post

A Republican analytics firm’s database of nearly every registered American voter was left vulnerable to theft on a public server for 12 days this month, according to a cybersecurity researcher who found and downloaded the trove of data. The lapse in security was striking for putting at risk the identities, voting histories and views of voters across the political spectrum, with data drawn from a wide range of sources including social media, public government records and proprietary polling by political groups. Chris Vickery, a risk analyst at cybersecurity firm UpGuard, said he found a spreadsheet of nearly 200 million Americans on a server run by Amazon’s cloud hosting business that was left without a password or any other protection. Anyone with Internet access who found the server could also have downloaded the entire file.

National: Supreme court to decide whether state gerrymandering violates constitution | The Guardian

The US supreme court on Monday agreed to decide whether electoral maps drawn deliberately to favor a particular political party are acceptable under the constitution, in a case that could have huge consequences for future US elections. The justices will take up Wisconsin’s appeal of a lower court ruling that said state Republican lawmakers had violated the constitution when they created legislative districts with the aim of hobbling Democrats. The case will be one of the biggest heard in the supreme court term that begins in October. Last November, federal judges in Madison ruled 2-1 that the Republican-led Wisconsin legislature’s redrawing of legislative districts in 2011 amounted to “an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander”, a manipulation of electoral boundaries for unfair political advantage. The judges said the redrawing violated constitutional guarantees of equal protection under the law and free speech by undercutting the ability of Democratic voters to turn their votes into seats in the Wisconsin state legislature.

Editorials: Does partisan gerrymandering violate the First Amendment? | Mark Joseph Stern/Slate

On Monday morning, the Supreme Court agreed to hear Gill v. Whitford, a blockbuster case that could curb partisan gerrymandering throughout the United States. Shortly thereafter, the justices handed down two excellent decisions bolstering the First Amendment’s free speech protections for sex offenders and derogatory trademarks. While the link between these two rulings and Whitford isn’t obvious at first glance, it seems possible that both decisions could strengthen the gerrymandering plaintiffs’ central argument—and help to end extreme partisan redistricting for good.

Arizona: Lawmaker: College kids ‘unfairly influence’ elections | The Arizona Republic

Arizona Rep. Bob Thorpe is getting a jump start on next year’s legislative session. His summer project? Restricting how college students vote. The Flagstaff Republican announced plans to introduce legislation next year to “address several problems with voting in Arizona’s college communities while ensuring that voting rights are preserved for all Arizona voters.” He alleges college students “unfairly influence” local elections by registering to vote using their college address, where they reside for “only six months out of the year.” That, he said, dilutes the votes of full-time residents. (And surely it has no connection to the fact that he and fellow Republicans narrowly held their seats in the district that includes Northern Arizona University.)

Editorials: If you’ve done your time, you should get to vote | Jason Kander/Sun Sentinel

On Nov. 8, 2016, we saw what will probably become one of the most consequential elections in American history, yet one in 10 voting age Floridians was unable to cast a ballot. That’s because Florida is one of only three states in the country — along with Iowa and Kentucky — where any felony conviction results in a lifetime ban on voting. The result? More than 1.6 million Floridians — equal to the populations of Orlando, Jacksonville, and Miami combined — are prevented from voting for the rest of their lives. This ban affects Democrats and Republicans alike, but disproportionately affects African-Americans; one third of the people facing a lifetime voting ban are African-American, who make up just 16 percent of the statewide population. There’s only one way that people can restore their right to vote — a process called clemency that is costly and takes years.

New York: Cuomo to order review of New York voting cyber security | New York Daily News

Responding to reports of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections, Gov. Cuomo Monday ordered a review of the state’s election-related cyber security efforts, the Daily News has learned. “The integrity of the electoral system is essential to a functioning democracy,” Cuomo said. The state Cyber Security Advisory Board will work with two state agencies and the state and county boards of election to assess potential risks and develop recommendations for new security measures within 90 days.

Oregon: Oregon’s electronic, accessible ballots may soon be available in other states | StateScoop

States may soon have another option for accessible ballots as an HTML ballot provider for 36 counties in Oregon considers service in new states. Five Cedars Group, which creates downloadable HTML ballots for the blind and disabled, is undergoing certification in California and also considering expansion to Ohio, both of which have faced voting discrimination lawsuits related to accessibility. The move marks a pattern of states looking toward new technological capabilities to address compliance issues with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), a law passed following the 2000 presidential election that ensures all voters have the ability to cast secret ballots privately and independently.

Wisconsin: Elections Commission to weigh electronic poll books at voting locations | Wisconsin State Journal

The state Elections Commission will weigh whether to help municipalities adopt electronic poll books — record-keeping devices used in lieu of paper rosters at Election Day polling places. The item is on the agenda for the commission’s Tuesday meeting. E-poll books have not been used in Wisconsin, but the commission says they are used in at least 27 states. Like their paper counterparts, the devices contain lists of registered voters in a municipality, as well as voter signatures and other information about voters. If commissioners move toward the use of e-poll books, they could be employed for the fall 2018 election, according to a spokesman for the commission, Reid Magney.

Australia: New South Wales Electoral Commission given $5.4m to rebuild iVote | iTnews

The NSW Electoral Commission scored $5.4 million in this year’s state budget to rebuild its iVote online voting system in time for the next state election in 2019. The funding is part of a $23 million package to improve the agency’s online systems, which will also see the introduction of “an end-to-end solution for the disclosure of political donations, expenditure and the lodgement of public funding claims,” budget documents state. Last month the NSWEC asked the market to suggest off-the-shelf software that could replace the online voting system’s current core platform. “The RFI [request for information] process will give suppliers the opportunity to demonstrate new or innovative solutions that may better meet the needs of the NSWEC,” the agency said at the time.

Canada: Cyber threats against Canadian democratic processes will increase, warns spy agency | IT World Canada

Canada’s electronic spy agency has warned the country’s political parties, candidates and news media that it is “highly probable” the increasing cyber threat activity against democratic processes around the world will be seen here. In a report issued Friday the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), which looks after protecting federal networks, said specifically it expects “that multiple hacktivist groups” will very likely deploy cyber capabilities in an attempt to influence the democratic process — including disrupting political parties, candidates and the media — during the 2019 Canadian federal election. “We anticipate that much of this activity will be low-sophistication, though we expect that some influence activities will be well-planned and target more than one aspect of the democratic process.” For example, it notes that in 2015 the hactivist group Anonymous leaked reports about the redevelopment of Canada’s key diplomatic centres in Britain.

Fiji: Parties want ballot paper change | Fiji Times

THE Fiji Labour Party says the current ballot paper design withholds information that will assist voters in easily identifying the candidate of their choice. Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry made the comment in response to a Tebbutt-Times Poll on the ballot papers that showed majority of people prefer having photos of the candidates alongside their candidate number on the ballot paper. “FLP’s position is that the ballot paper should include the names of the candidates with their photographs and their party acronyms and symbols,” he said. “It is wrong to withhold vital information which would assist the voters to cast their votes with confidence.

France: Election results in record number of women in parliament | Reuters

France voted a record number of women into parliament, election results showed on Monday, after President Emmanuel Macron’s victorious Republic on the Move (LREM) party fielded a gender-balanced candidate list. Of the 577 newly elected lawmakers, 223 were female, beating the previous record of 155 set after the last election. That sent France leapfrogging from 64th to 17th in the world rankings of female parliamentary representation and to 6th place in Europe, overtaking Britain and Germany, according to Inter-parliamentary Union data compiled at the start of June. LREM, which won an overwhelming majority in Sunday’s ballot, had the highest proportion of women elected, at 47 percent.

Iraq: An uncertain referendum for Iraqi Kurdistan | Arab News

The Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government’s (KRG) President Masoud Barzani announced on June 7 that a referendum will be held in Iraqi Kurdistan on Sept. 25 this year. It will be a non-binding referendum — meaning that the proclamation of independence will be left to the discretion of the Kurdish leaders even if the outcome of the referendum is in favor of independence. An independent Kurdistan has always been an aspiration of many Kurds, be they in Iraq, Iran, Turkey or Syria. Barzani played his cards as cautiously as possible by not going too fast. This caution may be due to several reasons: The subsidies that he was receiving from Baghdad, being worried of solation in the international arena, advantages of holding various offices in Baghdad, etc. He kept saying that Kurds have their right to independence and that they will use it when the time comes.

Papua New Guinea: ‘Make election less disruptive’, pleads commissioner ahead of PNG ballot | Asia Pacific Report

More than 800 election monitors will be deployed nationwide to observe and make independent reports on Papua New Guinea’s national election starting this Saturday. Electoral commissioner Patilias Gamato says international and local monitors will report back to their respective organisations, heads of governments and the government itself on the credibility of the PNG election process. “We have invited international election monitors or observers to visit during the months of June and July to see whether we have planned well for the election and also see if we followed the rule of law and the election laws on conducting the 2017 national election,” Gamato said in a statement.