… DEF CON is getting more deeply involved with election security than ever before—this year, the event will host its first Voting Machine Hacking Village. DEF CON villages are offshoots of the main event, where attendees get to tinker with technology. At the vote-hacking village, they’ll be invited to tamper with voting hardware and software. In addition to the hackers, the village is expecting visitors from Congress, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Department of Homeland Security, and voting machine vendors. Moss hopes to discover just how easy it is to compromise a voting system. Although states test components of their systems, Moss couldn’t find any examples of a state testing their complete voting apparatus. Most manufacturers, he explained, test voting machines for their ability to withstand humidity rather than hackers. This is worrisome, particularly at a time when Americans are suddenly obsessed with qualifying the security of their electoral systems.
National: Kobach says states will be sent new letter on voter information request | The Kansas City Star
Kris Kobach said states will be sent a new letter describing how to submit voter information following a federal court ruling this week that favored Kobach and President Donald Trump’s election integrity commission. Kobach told The Star that he expected those instructions to be issued Tuesday. The commission, which Kobach helps lead, had asked states to hold off from submitting the data until a judge ruled on a request for a temporary restraining order filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “There are more than 30 states that already indicated they intended to provide this publicly available information to the commission,” Kobach said. “So I anticipate that that will start happening soon.”
National: Eager to punish Russia for meddling in 2016 election, House decisively passes sanctions bill curbing Trump’s power | Associated Press
Eager to punish Russia for meddling in the 2016 election, the House on Tuesday overwhelmingly backed a new package of sanctions against Moscow that prohibits President Donald Trump from waiving the penalties without first getting permission from Congress. Lawmakers passed the legislation, 419-3, clearing the far-reaching measure for action by the Senate. If senators move quickly, the bill could be ready for Trump’s signature before Congress exits Washington for its regular August recess. The Senate, like the House, is expected to pass the legislation by a veto-proof margin. The bill also slaps Iran and North Korea with sanctions. The 184-page measure serves as a rebuke of the Kremlin’s military aggression in Ukraine and Syria, where Russian President Vladimir Putin has backed President Bashar Assad. It aims to hit Putin and the oligarchs close to him by targeting Russian corruption, human rights abusers, and crucial sectors of the Russian economy, including weapons sales and energy exports.
With special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s criminal inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 election now well underway and at least four congressional probes ongoing, it may seem like every aspect of the controversy is already being closely scrutinized. But there’s also a less-noticed investigation by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General, which has been exploring several issues key to the Russia saga since before President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Inspector General Michael Horowitz has offered few public indications of the status of his probe, which some lawmakers said he initially told them was expected to be complete by early next year. On Wednesday, he’s likely to make his first public statements at a hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee about the status of his inquiry – and whether he’ll acquiesce to any of the many requests from Republicans and Democrats to expand his review to include the firing of former FBI director James Comey or other developments.
The largest cybersecurity event of the year kicks off this week, as the Black Hat, Def Con and BSides conferences launch back-to-back-to-back in Las Vegas. … In a subversive move, attendees at Def Con will be able to attend its first Voting Machine Village. The Village offers a side conference on voting machine insecurity and a playground of real voting machines for hackers to toy with.
Editorials: Automatic Voter Registration Could Strengthen Election Security. Do Republicans Care? | Ally Boguhn/Rewire
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) signed an automatic voter registration bill into law Wednesday, making the state the ninth in the nation to register eligible voters when they interact with the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Democratic Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea noted in a statement that such laws help update voter rolls and address concerns of election security. “Having clean voter lists is critical to preserving the integrity of our elections, which is why I made enacting Automatic Voter Registration a priority,” she said. “Automatic Voter Registration will help reduce the bloat in our voter rolls resulting from unintentional, duplicate voter registrations and help increase voter participation.”
Alabama: Group suing to force Alabama to add thousands of convicted felons to state voting rolls | AL.com
Alabama state voting rolls show that more than 66,000 convicted felons lost the right to vote under the state’s felony disenfranchisement law, many of whom may now be eligible to regain the right to vote under a new state law. And a nonprofit is now asking the state to automatically register several thousand former felons who applied but were denied the opportunity to vote. The Campaign Legal Center, a Washington, D.C.-based voting rights advocacy group, heads to U.S. District Court in Montgomery Tuesday afternoon for a hearing on a motion the organization filed June 30 on behalf of 10 plaintiffs.
A federal judge on Tuesday denied Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s request to reconsider a magistrate judge’s sanctions, finding Kobach has shown a pattern of misleading the court in a voting-rights case. In a ruling issued Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson refused Kobach’s request to reconsider a $1,000 fine issued by U.S. Magistrate Judge James O’Hara, as well as O’Hara’s order that Kobach submit to a deposition in an ongoing case between the secretary of state and the American Civil Liberties Union over Kansas’ requirement of proof of citizenship for registered voters. O’Hara sanctioned Kobach for misleading the court regarding the nature of voting-policy documents he was photographed with in a November meeting with President Donald Trump. The top sheet of the documents visibly showed suggested policy changes to the National Voter Registration Act which had been requested by the ACLU. After a review, O’Hara ordered Kobach to hand over the documents after finding them relevant to the case.
Secretary of State William Galvin plans to appeal a judge’s ruling that abolishes a voter registration deadline of 20 days before an election. Galvin said removing the 20-day cutoff could lead to more work for town clerks. He contends there is little demand for a change. “The 20-day period is something the clerks need to make sure the voting is accurate,” he said. “They made no showing that there were these thousands of people. … The idea that there’s this large group of people out there that’s suffering because of the 20-day period simply isn’t true.” On Monday, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Douglas Wilkins ruled that the cutoff was unconstitutional because it prevented thousands of voters from making it to the polls on election day. Wilkins used last year’s successful early voting as his main argument against the cutoff.
Ohio: Voter fraud is rare, Secretary of state tells Trump’s election integrity commission | Cleveland Plain Dealer
Soon after taking office, President Donald Trump assembled an election integrity commission to investigate his theory that millions of people voted illegally in last year’s presidential election. On Monday, Ohio’s top election official wrote in a letter to Trump’s panel that it didn’t happen in Ohio, a swing states crucial to Trump’s victory. … Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted told Trump’s commission his office identified 153 “irregularities” in Ohio during the 2016 election, in which 5.6 million Ohioans cast presidential ballots out of 7.9 million registered voters. His office referred 52 cases for further investigation and prosecution, including 22 individuals who voted in more than one state.
Voting-rights advocates are backing Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s decision to not give private voter information to President Trump’s Election Integrity Commission. The White House panel requested voter data from states as it investigates the president’s claims about fraud in the 2016 election. Husted responded by offering an online link to public-record voter information and stating that private information, such as voters’ Ohio drivers license numbers, will not be provided. Catherine Turcer, executive director of Common Cause Ohio, said it was the right move. “The commission seems bent on looking for something that doesn’t actually exist,”she said, “and asking for voter information and all sorts of information that is just truly not necessary and that they don’t have the right to have.”
Wisconsin: Democrats’ short-lived 2012 recall victory led to key evidence in partisan gerrymandering case | Capital Times
By most accounts, the 2011 and 2012 gubernatorial and Senate recall elections were a complete disaster for Wisconsin Democrats. Gov. Scott Walker’s historic victory boosted his fundraising and re-election prospects. The recall petition became a litmus test for party loyalty. And though Democrats recaptured the Senate majority in June 2012, they lost it five months later and have been shut out of state government ever since. But some Democrats see a silver lining in the recalls that has gone mostly unnoticed until now: The unearthing of key evidence in a potentially landmark legislative redistricting case now before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Kenya: Electoral Boundaries Commission Assures Back-Up System Tamper Proof, Warns Rogue Poll Officials | allAfrica.com
Voters whose biometric data will not be detected on the Kenya Integrated Elections Management System (KIEMS) will have their registration documents scanned before being allowed to vote. The scanning capability of the KIEMS devices will according to Commissioner Roselyn Akombe provide a complementary mechanism for voter identification in a bid to eliminate irregularities where biometric identification fails. However, those identified using a complementary mechanism will have to fill a Form 32 which will be used to validate them in the voter turnout count.
Vote counting in the Papua New Guinea’s national elections is continuing, with the results yet to be announced. The final shape of the government may take time to emerge. A voting map from the PNG Electoral Commission on the progress of the election. Green signifies voting is complete, orange that preference distribution is ongoing, light green that first preference counting is completed and blue that first preference counting is on-going. According to the PNG Electoral Commission, Papua New Guinea’s Governor General, Sir Bob Dadae, has granted a four-day extension to the return of writs, from Monday 24 July, to Friday 28 July. The four-day extension will give additional time to electorates that are slow in counting to speed up and complete their counting.
Rwanda is getting ready for its federal election on August 4. If nothing unexpected happens, then President Paul Kagame will win a third term. But there is only one remaining question: Will he get more votes than in the last elections seven years ago, when he won 93 percent? Or will it be even higher than it was in 2003, when he got 95 percent? It seems certain that the opposition doesn’t stand a chance. The press coverage from the mostly government controlled media is concentrated on the ubiquitous Paul Kagame and his FPR party. Nevertheless, two other candidates were allowed to contest for the presidency: Frank Habineza, chairman of Rwanda’s Green party and a former member of the current ruling party. Little is known about the second candidate – Philippe Mpayimana – a former journalist who recently returned to Rwanda after years of exile in the Central African Republic and France. He is contesting as an independent candidate in the elections.
Tensions are near breaking point in Venezuela ahead of a vote on 30 July which the beleaguered president, Nicolás Maduro, says will stabilize the flailing country – home to the world’s largest oil reserves – and which the opposition describes as a bald-faced power grab. Maduro has convened a national vote to elect a Constituent Assembly to redraft the country’s constitution. 364 members of the assembly will be chosen by local polls open to all registered voters. The remaining 181 members will be elected by members of seven social sectors, including pensioners, indigenous groups, businesspeople, peasants and students. The opposition has vowed to boycott the 30 July vote, which means voter turnout will be exclusively pro-government – and likely very low, given that Maduro’s approval rating hovers around 20%.