National: One in four will consider not voting in elections due to cybersecurity | The Hill

One in four United States voters say they will not consider voting in upcoming elections due to concerns over cybersecurity, according to a new poll conducted by a cybersecurity firm. The 27 percent of voters who agreed with that statement mark a seven percent rise over a similar poll conducted in September. The poll, conducted by the firm Carbon Black, surveyed 5,000 respondents and has a margin of error of just under two percent. “There is no question, none, that the U.S. voting process is vulnerable,” Carbon Black Chief Executive Patrick Morley told The Hill.

National: Online ads offer legal option for U.S. election meddling | Reuters

The laws that prohibit foreign nationals from spending money to influence U.S. elections do not prevent them from lawfully buying some kinds of political ads on Facebook and other online networks, campaign finance lawyers said. The omission of online ads could be a potential hurdle for those investigating alleged Russian meddling in last year’s U.S. presidential election, according to the campaign finance lawyers, who are not involved in the probes. Since 1974, the United States has barred foreign nationals from giving money to campaigns and it later barred them from donating to political parties. The laws also prohibit foreign nationals from coordinating with a campaign and from buying an ad that explicitly calls for the election or defeat of a candidate.

National: Voter fraud commission worries civil rights advocates | McClatchy

President Donald Trump’s election fraud commission is coming under fire not only for requesting mass amounts of voter information but also for including two key members who have been accused of championing legislation that would suppress voter participation along partisan lines. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach was appointed the vice chairman of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity after Trump signed an executive order in May. … “We all agree American elections need to be secure,” said Sophia Lin Lakin, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project. “What we’re looking into here is to ensure … all of the information is being considered under the light.” Kobach, who launched his campaign for governor of Kansas last month, has supported Trump’s unfounded claim that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election.

Editorials: Trump’s election commission has been a disaster. It’s going exactly as planned. | Dahlia Lithwick/Slate

t’s hard to imagine how Kris Kobach could have screwed things up so badly. Here is a man who has pledged the better part of his legal career to ensuring that fewer people can voteand to treating any and all immigrants—documented or otherwise—like criminals. Here is a man, in short, who had a meeting with destiny. As Kobach put it to Ari Berman last month, his whole master plan for world dominion was so simple: to create in Kansas—where he is running for governor and has been secretary of state for a number of years—a template for programmatic vote suppression nationwide. If he created “the absolute best legal framework,” other states and the federal government would follow. Somehow, though, Trump’s “election integrity” commission turned into one of the most colossal cockups in an administration already overflowing with them.

Editorials: Trump’s plan to make voters older, wealthier and whiter | Scott Lemieux/Reuters

Whatever else can be said about the Republican Senate health care bill, it cannot be accused of pandering. The Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) – which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) hopes to bring to a vote next week – is astonishingly unpopular, often getting less than 20 percent support in polls. There isn’t a single state in which a majority favors the GOP’s proposals. In a starkly polarized political environment, it’s almost impossible for a major proposal to be this widely hated. So why would the House pass a similar bill, and why didn’t McConnell immediately bury it? Many Republicans legislators are insulated from even the fiercest political backlash because the political playing field is tilted strongly towards the GOP side. Now the White House is about to make it even more so with a scheme to shrink the electorate and skew it towards the GOP.

Editorials: Donald Trump Jr.’s free speech defense is as bogus as it sounds. | Richard Hasen/Slate

Get ready for the latest defense for Donald Trump Jr.’s actions: He had a First Amendment right to collude with the Russians to get dirt on Hillary Clinton. This defense, which has been advanced by noted First Amendment expert Eugene Volokh and others, posits that he cannot be charged under campaign finance laws for soliciting a foreign contribution because seeking and providing such information would be protected political speech, or at least protected for an American to receive. It’s a dangerous argument which fails to recognize the compelling interest promoted by Congress’s ban on foreign contributions: specifically guarding American self-government against foreign intrusion. Let’s first start with the statute Trump Jr. may have violated. Federal law makes it a potential crime for any person to “solicit” (that is, expressly or impliedly ask for) the contribution of “anything of value” from a foreign citizen. While we do not know enough to say that Trump Jr. should be charged with violating this statute, emails released by Trump Jr. himself on Tuesday (as the New York Times was about to report on them) provide more than enough detail to merit an investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Connecticut: Trump Panel Push For Voting Data Could Lead To More Connecticut Voter Privacy Protections | Hartford Courant

The push by President Donald Trump’s anti-voter-fraud commission to get huge amounts of voter data from across the nation could have unintended consequences in Connecticut: more state protections for registered voters’ personal information. Connecticut lawmakers and election officials say they will renew efforts to restrict public release of at least some of the personal information on voters that is now on file with the state. Many Connecticut voters are unaware that their dates of birth, home addresses, party affiliation, recent history of going to the polls and sometimes even telephone numbers are public information and easily available on the Internet. “It’s basically a ready-made, identification-theft kit,” said Dan Barrett, legal director of the Connecticut branch of the American Civil Liberties Union. Many states do have broad restrictions on how voter data can be released or used, but Connecticut only protects the addresses of law enforcement personnel and some types of crime victims.

Florida: Thousands wait decades to regain the right to vote | Tampa Bay Times

Adam McCracken has a Ph.D., practices psychology in Orlando and is married with two sons. But for 25 years, the state of Florida said he couldn’t be a full-fledged citizen because of a long-ago drug conviction. McCracken served 10 months in a federal prison and five years on probation for possession with intent to distribute LSD. It was a serious mistake. It happened in 1991. He was 21. The case is so old that a Google search turns up nothing. The state of Florida allows McCracken to practice psychology. But he can’t vote. A law-abiding citizen for 26 years, he wants to bury his past. But the state won’t let him.

Georgia: Buying voting machines in Georgia not so simple anymore | The Brunswick News

Voting being the essential democratic function that it is, the Glynn County Board of Elections is charged with keeping the county’s voting machines running and in good condition. That task has become more difficult this year. The board voted Tuesday to buy five used voting machines from San Diego County, Calif., to use as backups. The machines board members chose to buy have only been used once and can be had at a savings. However, they did not have the option to buy new machines. No county in Georgia does. Glynn County Board of Elections Supervisor Tina Edwards said the board was prompted to buy the machines because the newer models are no longer being sold by the manufacturer, Electronic Systems and Software. San Diego County is the only source of the machines that she is aware of at the moment. The company has no plans to stock more in the near future, leaving Georgia counties with no choice but to buy machines secondhand or from third parties, Edwards said.

Georgia: ACLU says Georgia voting mailer is illegal | Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The ACLU of Georgia says a letter mailed to nearly 50,000 Fulton County voters, telling them they could be declared inactive because they filed change of address forms but didn’t update their voter registration, is illegal. The letter states that voters have 30 days to confirm their address on their registration record before being deemed inactive, meaning they could be removed in the future. ACLU of Georgia legal director Sean J. Young said the organization plans to sue if Fulton doesn’t correct the issue. The mailers referenced by the ACLU in its Tuesday letter specifically involve voters who have moved within Fulton County. “You cannot say, ‘Do something in 30 days or something bad is going to happen to you,’” Young said. “This kind of nonsense is straight out of the voter suppression playbook.”

New Hampshire: ACLU-NH mulls constitutional challenge to voting bill signed by Sununu | WMUR

A day after Gov. Chris Sununu signed into law legislation to tighten voter registration identification requirements, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire said it is reviewing whether to mount a constitutional challenge. ACLU legal director Gilles Bissonnette, who was one of the most outspoken critics of Senate Bill 3 throughout the legislative session, in a statement called it “an attack on eligible voters’ voting rights.”  Bissonnette said the bill improperly allows people to be fined for “doing nothing wrong other than not returning to a government agency with certain paperwork — paperwork that these legitimate voters may not have. Senate Bill 3 is also a violation of voters’ privacy by sending government agents to voters’ homes to check their documents. Requiring people to accept this government intrusion as a condition of voting will chill the right to vote.”

Texas: State accused of withholding documents in Texas redistricting case | San Antonio Express-News

Plaintiffs challenging the 2013 redistricting maps on Tuesday accused the state of improperly delaying the release of thousands of pages of documents from them, including 113 documents that state lawyers refuse to hand over because they say they are privileged. The spat may further delay a conclusion to the weeklong trial, which already was frustrating judges on Tuesday because of repetitive questions during the House maps portion of the trial. Testimony over congressional maps was heard late Tuesday. Many of the documents in question pertain to communications of the chairman of the 2013 redistricting committee, Rep. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, with other people involved in the redistricting, according to a lawyer for the plaintiffs.

Texas: Why Texas is Texas: A gerrymandering case cuts to the core of the state’s transformation | Los Angeles Times

Civil rights groups descended on a San Antonio courthouse Monday to challenge the constitutionality of the state’s current redistricting maps and accuse Republican legislators of deliberately drawing them to dilute the voting power of minorities. The trial is only the latest round in a long-running Texas saga over gerrymandering and race. Voting rights advocates have long accused Texas Republicans of working to undermine the growing political clout of Latino and African American voters by intentionally — and unfairly — cramming them into districts or splitting them up so they are outnumbered. Republican legislators still control roughly two-thirds of State House and Senate and congressional seats.

Editorials: A post-election assessment of the Cayman Islands electoral process | Cayman Compass

In a report released this week, election observers from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association British Islands and Mediterranean Region made 21 recommendations to improve the voting process in the Cayman Islands. Their observations, especially those concerning suffrage and campaign finance, deserve serious consideration. Of particular note, the observers took issue with the obvious – the unequal weight of voters depending on the districts in which they reside. For example, East End’s 692 registered voters have a disproportionately greater impact in their district’s elections than, say, the 1,513 registered voters in Bodden Town East. The Sister Islands are also way out of balance. Observers also voiced concerns about lengthy residency requirements for voters – even those of Caymanian status – and the exclusion of permanent residents from voting. This is the junction at which voting rights and human rights oftentimes collide. But some of the most troubling shortcomings found by observers are in the area of campaign finance.

Editorials: Kenya election: ‘I’m tired of people asking about violence’ | Kate Lyons/The Guardian

One of Kenya’s leading economists has said he is “sick” of being asked whether the country’s general elections next month will trigger violence. He added that people whose sole interest in the polls on 8 August was whether or not there would be clashes were setting a “very low bar” for the country. Kwame Owino, chief executive of Kenya’s Institute of Economic Affairs, told the Guardian he was fed up with people only asking him for a prediction as to whether there would be unrest after the country goes to the polls, as there was after the 2007 elections, which resulted in more than 1,000 people being killed and 600,000 displaced from their homes. “We are hung up with 2007 and 2008, which were very specific circumstances,” he said. “We have the view that anything that doesn’t lead to violence is acceptable. It’s not.

New Zealand: Greens’ co-leader says his MP spoke ‘out of turn’ on New Zealand First | The National Business Review

Green Party co-leader James Shaw is distancing himself and his party from comments made by new MP Barry Coates about the party not supporting a Labour/New Zealand First government. In a post on The Daily Blog, Barry Coates –  a list MP who entered Parliament in October last year – said if the Greens are not part of a coalition government, the party would not accept a Labour/New Zealand First government. Mr Coates said this could mean forcing the country back to the polls for another election. “[Labour/New Zealand First] could not count on the support of the Green Party there is no automatic support that is provided for a government under those circumstances,” he wrote. But Mr Shaw says Mr Coates spoke “out of turn.”

Papua New Guinea: Candidate launching court case over ‘unconstitutional’ Sunday voting | ABC

A candidate opposing Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister has taken the country’s Electoral Commission to court for allowing voting on a Sunday. Voting in Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s electorate of Ialibu-Pangia began on Sunday July 2 after two days of delays, symptomatic of widespread problems with the current PNG national election. Opposing candidate Stanley Liria has filed an application in the PNG Supreme Court, asking for it to decide if the Sunday voting breached the constitution. Mr Liria said Sunday voting was prohibited in section 130 of PNG’s Organic Law on National and Local-level Government Elections, which says polling must take place on days “other than a Sunday or a public holiday”.

Spain: Catalonia plans to hold an independence vote whether Spain lets it or not | The Economist

The production was as dramatic as any other the National Theatre in Barcelona has seen. There, on July 4th, the president of Catalonia’s government, Carles Puigdemont, announced plans to hold a unilateral referendum on independence from Spain on October 1st. The draft law he unveiled says that, whatever the turnout, if those voting in favour outnumber those against, within 48 hours the Catalan parliament will declare independence. To Mr Puigdemont’s supporters, this is a national epic. To Mariano Rajoy, Spain’s conservative prime minister, it is “authoritarian delirium”. He is determined that it should not take place. Mr Puigdemont’s push follows five years of secessionist agitation in Catalonia, one of Spain’s richest regions, whose 7.5m people make up 16% of its population.

Venezuela: Electoral Chief Rejects Constituent Assembly Boycott | teleSUR

Venezuelan National Electoral Council, CNE, President Tibisay Lucena on Wednesday rejected calls by the right-wing opposition to boycott National Constituent Assembly elections scheduled for July 30. Lucena said that despite the call for violent protests by the opposition, the electoral body will guarantee citizens their right to participate by providing security throughout the election. The CNE official said opposition supporters are allowed to be against the National Constituent Assembly, but can’t impede other Venezuelans from voting. “An electoral process can not be prevented, it’s an attack to the very heart of democracy and human rights,” Lucena said. “I am sure that peace will prevail on July 30.”