National: Trump voting panel tells states to hold off sending data while court weighs privacy impact | The Washington Post

President Trump’s voting commission on Monday asked states and the District to hold off submitting the sweeping voter data the panel had requested until a federal judge in Washington decides whether the White House has done enough to protect Americans’ privacy. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a watchdog group, has asked U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly to block the commission’s data request, arguing that the panel had not conducted the full privacy impact statement required by federal law for new government electronic data-collection systems. Separately Monday, two civil liberties groups filed lawsuits to prevent the commission from holding its first scheduled meeting next week, alleging that the panel had been working in secret and in violation of government regulations on public transparency.

National: ACLU sues Trump over fraud commission | The Hill

The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging President Trump’s voter fraud commission. In a lawsuit filed Monday in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia, the ACLU says the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity violated federal public access requirements by holding its first meeting in private, without public notice. Trump formed the 15-member commission with an executive order in May to investigate his claims of voter fraud in last year’s presidential election. The group is expected to hold its first public meeting on July 19, according to a notice published in the Federal Register last week. … The Federal Advisory Committee Act also requires the membership of the advisory committee to be fairly balanced in terms of the points of view represented, the suit says, and ensures that “appropriate provisions” be made “to assure that the advice and recommendations of the advisory committee will not be inappropriately influenced by the appointing authority or by any special interest, but will instead be the result of the advisory committee’s independent judgment.”

National: Lawmakers blast Trump’s plan to work with Russia on cybersecurity | The Washington Post

On Sunday morning, President Trump spoke of his new alliance with Russian President Vladimir Putin to erect an “impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded.” This, the president tweeted at 7:31 a.m., came after Putin “vehemently denied” interfering with the 2016 U.S. election. The tweet’s timing could not have been more perfect — for congressional critics of Trump’s new plan. It gave them just enough of a head start to workshop one-liners and practice their comedic timing before the Sunday morning political talk shows. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) quipped on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Trump’s plan was “not the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard, but it’s pretty close.” Graham called Trump “literally the only person I know of who doesn’t believe Russia attacked our election in 2016″ and said he was “dumbfounded.” Graham said Trump is “hurting his presidency by not embracing the fact that Putin is the bad guy.”

National: States Push New Voter Requirements, Fueled by Trump | NBC

Paul Gieringer let Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft talk for half an hour, explaining the state’s complicated new voter ID law to a crowd of two dozen at the local community center, before raising his hand. “How many cases of voter fraud have there ever been in Missouri?” Gieringer, 61, asked. “We know it’s happened,” said Ashcroft, 44, noting that he didn’t have any hard numbers, although he cited a 2010 incident in which a couple claimed a false address on their voter registration forms to vote in a primary election. “How many are an OK number? Is it OK to have one or two?” The Republican secretary of state didn’t mention that the new law he’s traveling the state to promote — aimed at combating voter impersonation — wouldn’t have stopped the couple, a fact his office later confirmed. “He brought up the red herring of voter fraud,” Gieringer later told NBC News.

National: Secretaries of State pass resolution supporting state rights to oversee elections | WDRB

The nation’s Secretaries of State sent a clear message to the White House. Members of the National Association of Secretaries of State meeting in Indianapolis unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution underscoring the Constitutional rights of of states to administer local, state and federal elections. The resolution is in response to a letter from the Presidential Commission on Election Integrity, which requested secretaries turn over sensitive information about every voter including including party affiliation, voting history and Social Security numbers. 

National: Millions of American adults are not allowed to vote — and they could change history | Business Insider

An estimated 6.1 million American adults were not allowed to vote in the 2016 election because they had a felony conviction on their record. Most had already served their sentences and returned to their communities. The majority of US states take away felons’ voting rights, occasionally for life. This disenfranchisement affects an estimated one in 40 adult Americans, or 2.5% of the total US voting-age population, according to The Sentencing Project, a group that advocates criminal-justice reform. That number is greater than the entire population of Missouri, and it’s the largest single group of American citizens who are barred by law from participating in elections.

Editorials: Open Door to Moscow? New Facts in the Potential Criminal Case of Trump Campaign Coordination with Russia | Bob Bauer/Just Security

The Trump campaign in 2016 was signaling to Russia that it would be happy to have the Putin regime’s help.  President Trump, as a candidate, famously called for Russia’s assistance. Later, when pressed, he repeatedly refused to clearly acknowledge its interference or condemn it. Now it appears that Trump campaign was not simply hinting that it would welcome this help. The Wall Street Journal very recently, and now the New York Times, have reported active Trump campaign or campaign supporter contacts with Russian agents or intermediaries toward the goal of obtaining negative information about Hillary Clinton.  And, for the first time, someone named Trump–Donald, Jr.–has publicly confirmed that the campaign communicated directly with a Russia foreign national connected with the Putin regime in the bid for material damaging to the former Secretary of State.

Delaware: Election officials to restrict access to voter records | Delaware First Media

By the end of the week, most Delawareans will no longer be able to ask for a copy of the state’s voter registration database. That news comes in the wake of an effort by the Trump Administration to root out what they view as widespread voter fraud across the country. “I don’t feel like we should give that information,” said state Election Commissioner Elaine Manlove, referring to a panel led by Vice President Mike Pence (R). Last week, her office said it wouldn’t comply with a request from the group, which would’ve involved handing over voters’ dates of birth, the last four digits of their social security numbers and more.

Georgia: State Voting System Update Gaining Bipartisan Support | WABE

The call to overhaul Georgia’s 15-year-old voting system is getting bipartisan support. State lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have proposed on social media to work together on an update. The problem isn’t a new one. Georgia’s voting machines leave no paper trail — that means there’s no way to confirm that what someone voted for is what gets recorded. Democratic state Rep. Scott Holcomb, who represents District 81, said what’s different about this moment is the national conversation about cybersecurity. “Part of Russian foreign policy — this is really simple, it’s not complicated — they purposely involve themselves in manipulating the elections in Western democracies,” Holcomb said. He said ensuring the public’s belief in the accuracy of Georgia’s voting system is especially important in a time when hacking headlines are a daily occurrence.

Indiana: Lawson could be check on Trump voter fraud commission | Indianapolis Star

Amid concerns about the intent of President Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission, one of the strongest checks on any potential federal overreach could be an unassuming Republican from Vice President Mike Pence’s home state. As a member of Trump’s commission, Secretary of State Connie Lawson is charged with recommending federal policies to buckle down on potential voter fraud. But as the incoming leader of the National Association of Secretaries of State and an advocate for state control over elections, she is skeptical of federal involvement. That could put her at odds with the commission and its vocal vice chairman Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Making matters even trickier for Lawson, Pence — who continues to have a major influence in Indiana politics — chairs the commission.

Nevada: Voting centers bringing technology upgrade to Clark County elections | Las Vegas Review-Journal

On election days in 2018, Las Vegas Valley voters will have to travel no more than 2 miles to cast a ballot. That’s because Clark County will implement voting centers by the primary election in June 2018. The technology allows voters to cast a valid ballot at any polling location inside Clark County, not just their local precincts. “It’s (like) early voting on Election Day,” County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria said during a presentation on Monday night. “You don’t have to race across town at 5 o’clock to get to the voting place designated for you. You can stop anywhere.” County Commissioners voted in April to spend about $1.57 million to implement the new method of voting on Election Day. Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas and Boulder City used voting centers in their 2017 municipal elections.

New Hampshire: Sununu signs controversial GOP voter registration measure into law | WMUR

A bill to tighten New Hampshire’s voter registration identification requirements – one of the major Republican initiatives of the 2017 legislative session – was quietly signed into law by Gov. Chris Sununu on Monday. The governor’s office included Senate Bill 3 on a list of 18 bills he signed into law. There was no public bill signing ceremony, as had been the case when he signed several other high-profile bills in recent weeks. … The signing came amid a related controversy surrounding Sununu’s support for Secretary of State William Gardner’s intention to provide state voter data to President Donald Trump’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.

New York: Redistricting panel with diminished role lives on with $1.5 million budget | Times Union

Every decade, New York state redraws its legislative and congressional districts in a process that critics have derided as skewed toward incumbents and majority parties. The last redistricting ended in 2012, and the years between then and the 2020 federal census — which will provide fresh demographic data before a new round — would arguably include a lot of downtime for the task force that was once assigned to do the work. Yet records show the Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Appointment maintains a large and expensive staff, even though its power to draw district lines was taken away by a constitutional amendment passed three years ago. LATFOR had faced criticism for drawing district lines that favor the candidates of majority Assembly Democrats and Senate Republicans.

Texas: Redistricting trial opens with accusations 2013 maps diluted minority vote | Houston Chronicle

Civil rights groups and minority lawmakers opened a redistricting trial Monday with testimony they say shows the GOP-controlled Legislature illegally diluted the minority vote when it adopted temporary, court-ordered maps in 2013 as long term. The trial, in front of a bipartisan three-judge panel, is the latest chapter in a long-running dispute over which party will wield more or less power in Texas as a result of the once-a-decade redrawing of political lines. It grows out of a lawsuit filed in 2011 by minority groups and politicians who accuse the state of suppressing the minority vote through racial and partisan gerrymandering. The judges’ panel has previously denied the partisan gerrymandering claims but is taking up racial gerrymandering claims.

West Virginia: Secretary of State Warner: ‘No intention’ of sharing voter data | Huntingdon Herald-Dispatch

West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner has no intention of releasing personal information of West Virginia voters to a White House commission investigating President Donald Trump’s allegations of voter fraud, a spokesman said Monday. Warner’s office received a request from the commission on July 3 requesting voter information as a part of the investigation, said Michael Queen, Warner’s deputy chief of staff for external affairs and director of communications. Warner, a Republican, has been consulting with legal counsel and Republican West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey before responding to the commission’s request, and he’s expected to make a decision Wednesday or Thursday, Queen said Monday.

Cambodia: Parliament changes election law ahead of 2018 vote | Reuters

Cambodia’s parliament on Monday amended the law to ban people from associating with anyone convicted of a criminal offense, a move the opposition says aims to hobble rivals of Prime Minister Hun Sen ahead of a general election next year. Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) voted to change the election law to ban political parties from engaging with such individuals, who also face bans on participating in politics through images, audio recordings and writing. Political parties which violate the law face a five-year suspension or could be dissolved. The amendment effectively bans former opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who lives in exile in France to avoid arrest in a number of convictions, from campaigning from abroad for the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).

Editorials: Cambodia: Revoke Ban on Election Monitors | Human Rights Watch

The Cambodian government should rescind its recent order restricting independent election monitoring groups, Human Rights Watch said today. On July 4, 2017, a month after the country’s flawed commune elections, the Interior Ministry issued a letter to two election-monitoring organizations to cease their activities in alleged violation of the country’s nongovernmental organization law. The government’s action sets the stage for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) to broaden restrictions on election monitoring prior to the 2018 national elections. “The Cambodian government appears intent on quashing any challenges to its political control – and obviously doesn’t want any witnesses,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director. “Cambodia’s donors should call for the government to rescind these orders and ensure independent monitoring of the 2018 elections.”

Kenya: Fears of rigging ahead of election | Deutsche Welle

Distrust is the best word to describe Kenya’s political mood ahead of the upcoming elections. Just as the country was getting ready for the first presidential debate ahead of the elections, President Uhuru Kenyatta pulled out. When the last election was held four years ago he complained that the moderators’ questions were biased. His main opponent, Raila Odinga, followed suit and the debate was postponed. The move is symptomatic of Kenya’s heated campaigning period, which has seen the debate over political reforms and development take a back seat. On August 8, Kenyans will not only elect the next president, they will also vote for new governors, senators and local governments.

Liberia: Alternative National Congress Still Confident of Credible Elections | FrontPageAfrica

The Alternative National Congress (ANC) says it is still confident in the ability of the National Elections Commission (NEC) to conduct free, fair and transparent elections, despite rejecting their vice standard bearer’s nomination. On Monday, the party’s chairman, Lafayette Gould told journalists that despite the NEC’s rejection, his vice standard bearer Ambassador Jeremiah Sulunteh will be on the ballot as running mate to Alexander Cummings. … The ANC chairman called on supporters of the ANC to remain calm, confident and undistracted over the recent announcement from the National Elections Commission (NEC).

Rwanda: Two candidates cleared to run against Kagame | AFP

Rwanda’s election commission on Friday permitted two opposition candidates to run against President Paul Kagame in elections due on August 4, ruling out three other challengers. National Election Commission (NEC) chief Kalisa Mbanda announced the approval of the Democratic Green Party’s Frank Habineza, independent Philippe Mpayimana and Kagame as candidates, while rejecting three other independents. Habineza’s is the only opposition party permitted to operate in Rwanda, long dominated by Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), and the only opponent to a 2015 constitutional reform that cleared the way for the president to run again despite having been in charge of the country since 1994.