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National: Patent suit pits top two players in U.S. electronic voting machines against each other | IPWatchdog

On Monday, August 21st, Omaha, NE-based voting machine firm Election Systems & Software filed a patent infringement suit against election product company Dominion Voting Systems of Toronto, Ontario. Election Systems is asserting a patent on an electronic voting machine technology that provides multiple methods by which a user may cast a vote in an effort to improve accessibility. The suit has been filed in the District of Delaware. Election Systems is asserting a single patent in the case: U.S. Patent No. 8991701, titled Integrated Voting System and Method for Accommodating Paper Ballots and Audio Ballots and issued to the firm in March 2015. It claims an accessible voting station for use during an election having a voting console to present an audio ballot to a voter and receive voting selections from the voter, a printer to print a ballot including the selections and a reader that scans a portion of the printed ballot to determine voting selections.

Full Article: Delaware Patent suit pits top two players in U.S. electronic voting machines against each other - IPWatchdog.com | Patents & Patent Law.

National: Trump fraud panel apologizes after judge calls failure to disclose information ‘incredible’ | The Washington Post

A federal judge on Wednesday tore into President Trump’s voter commission for reneging on a promise to fully disclose public documents before a July 19 meeting, ordering the government to meet new transparency requirements and eliciting an apology from administration lawyers. U.S. District Judge Colleen ­Kollar-Kotelly of Washington said the Election Integrity Commission released only an agenda and proposed bylaws before its first meeting at the White House complex last month. But once gathered, commissioners had thick binders that included documents the public had not seen, including a specially prepared report and a 381-page “database” purporting to show 1,100 cases of voter fraud, both from the think tank Heritage Foundation. The group also received a typed list of possible topics to address from the panel vice chairman, Kansas Secretary of State Kris W. Kobach.

Full Article: Trump voting panel apologizes after judge calls failure to disclose information ‘incredible’ - The Washington Post.

Editorials: On Voting Reforms, Follow Illinois, Not Texas | The New York Times

In the face of America’s abysmal voter participation rates, lawmakers have two choices: They can make voting easier, or they can make it harder. Illinois made the right choice this week, becoming the 10th state, along with the District of Columbia, to enact automatic voter registration. The bill, which could add as many as one million voters to the state’s rolls, was signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican who had vetoed similar legislation last year. Under the new law, all eligible voters will be registered to vote when they visit the Department of Motor Vehicles or other state agencies. If they do not want to be registered, they may opt out.

Full Article: On Voting Reforms, Follow Illinois, Not Texas - The New York Times.

Editorials: The Civil Rights Division has a proud legacy. Eric Dreiband is unfit to lead it | Mary Frances Berry/The Guardian

Over half a century ago, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1957 in what was a watershed moment for the US. In spite of intense opposition, including Strom Thurmond carrying out the longest spoken filibuster in the history of our country, Congress enacted the first significant African American civil rights measure since the Reconstruction era. The legislation established the US Commission on Civil Rights, on which I was honoured to serve for five presidential administrations, and it created a specific division within the Department of Justice dedicated solely to protecting civil rights. Sixty years later, we are witnessing a painful unravelling of a civil rights legacy that many people devoted their careers to – or even gave their lives for.

Full Article: The Civil Rights Division has a proud legacy. Eric Dreiband is unfit to lead it | Mary Frances Berry | Opinion | The Guardian.

Alaska: Legal Challenge Could Spell Trouble for Contribution Limits | Observer

An obscure legal challenge in the Land of the Midnight Sun may join a recent line of U.S. Supreme Court cases that have shaken up the status quo in campaign finance law. The case is Thompson v. Hebdon. David Thompson and District 18 of the Alaska Republican Party are challenging a section of the state constitution imposing a $500 cap on contributions to candidates, and a $5,000 cap on donations to political parties. Although a limit on contributions by out-of-state residents to candidates and political parties is drawing the most attention, restrictions on contributions made by in-state residents also will face scrutiny — and possible changes — if the case reaches the nation’s highest court.

Full Article: Alaska Case Could Spell Trouble for Contribution Limits | | Observer.

Indiana: Secretary of State: No link between early voting access and turnout. Democrats: Get real.| Indianapolis Star

Republican Secretary of State Connie Lawson told a committee of state lawmakers Wednesday that she doesn’t see a correlation between early voting access and voter turnout. The statement comes a few weeks after an IndyStar investigation found that state and local Republicans have expanded early voting in GOP-dominated areas and restricted it in Democratic areas. Common Cause Indiana, the Indiana State Conference of the NAACP and the local NAACP Branch, filed a lawsuit in May against the Marion County Election Board and Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, due to the scarcity of early voting locations in Marion County. In the lawsuit, the organization said the lack of early voting opportunities discriminates against African-American voters and violates the constitution.

Full Article: Secretary of State Lawson: Early voting doesn't increase turnout.

Minnesota: Are our elections secure? Minnesota’s in better shape than most states | WDAY

With the CIA and the FBI agreeing that Russia attempted to interfere in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump, many Minnesotans are concerned about protecting the integrity of the state’s election system. They shouldn’t be too worried, Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said Tuesday, Aug. 29, during a visit to Detroit Lakes. “My biggest surprise about this job is the time, effort and energy that I and the rest of the staff spend on cyber security issues,” said Simon, who was elected in 2014. He campaigned on running the office with a Joan Growe-style of excellence, and expected to deal with straightforward issues: expanding access to voting, removing barriers to voting, making business services as streamlined as possible.

Full Article: Are our elections secure? Minnesota's in better shape than most states | WDAY.

Missouri: Secretary of State seeking dismissal of voter ID lawsuit | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft filed a motion Tuesday to dismiss a lawsuit against the state’s new voter ID law. In a statement, Ashcroft said the certified results of the Aug. 8 special elections in two legislative districts showed that “Missouri’s photo voter ID law works.” The law took effect June 1. Days later, the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri and the Advancement Project filed a lawsuit in Cole County on behalf of the Missouri NAACP and the League of Women Voters. 

Full Article: Missouri secretary of state seeking dismissal of voter ID lawsuit | St. Louis Public Radio.

North Dakota: City election date debated by lawmakers | Bismarck Tribune

Moving local elections to November may make it harder for voters to keep track of races, a North Dakota lawmaker said Tuesday. The interim Government Administration Committee began examining the possibility of moving city and other local elections from June to November during a meeting at the state Capitol Tuesday. City elections in North Dakota are held on the second Tuesday in June in each even-numbered year, coinciding with primary elections for state and federal offices, while general elections are held in November during each even-numbered year. The resolution requesting the legislative study said conducting local elections at the same time as the primary may cause voter confusion. Moreover, newly elected city officials have only about two months to get up to speed before cities have to prepare preliminary budgets.

Full Article: City election date debated by North Dakota lawmakers | North Dakota News | bismarcktribune.com.

Angola: Vote Counting in Angola Marred By Irregularities | allAfrica.com

The Angolan National Electoral Commission (CNE) announced yesterday that it has already processed the tallying of the final results of the August 23 elections in 11 of the 18 provinces, according to its spokesperson, Júlia Ferreira. These are the provinces of Bengo, Benguela, Cabinda, Cuando-Cubango, Cunene, Huíla, Kwanza-Norte, Kwanza-Sul, Luanda, Moxico and Zaire. However, the Angolan opposition parties claim that 11 of the country’s 18 provinces – Bengo, Bié, Cuando-Cubango, Cunene, Huambo, Kwanza-Sul, Luanda, Lunda-Norte, Lunda-Sul, Malanje, Moxico – have still not verified their results as the law requires. This list includes five of the provinces in which the CNE declares the counting is complete: Bengo, Cuando-Cubango, Kwanza-Sul, Luanda, and Moxico. The various provincial electoral commissions have declared that they have completed their task, but the commissioners appointed by opposition parties are refusing to approve the vote tallies from these provinces.

Full Article: Angola: Vote Counting in Angola Marred By Irregularities - allAfrica.com.

Australia: Marriage survey: two-thirds of new voters are aged 18-24 | The Conversation

About two-thirds of the nearly 100,000 people added to the electoral roll ahead of the same-sex marriage postal ballot are young voters, according to final figures issued by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) on Wednesday. Between August 8 and 24 the AEC dealt with 933,592 enrolment transactions, 87% of which were changes or updates. Those making changes and re-enrolments were mostly electors aged 25 to 39. More than 98,000 were added to the roll, of whom 65,000 are aged 18-24. More than 16 million people are eligible to vote in the voluntary ballot. Voting papers are due to start to go out from September 12, assuming the High Court rules favourably for the government on the constitutionality of the ballot.

Full Article: Marriage survey: two-thirds of new voters are aged 18-24.

Germany: Election could be won by early voting | Deutsche Welle

Election day in Germany isn’t until September 24. But what if the decisive votes have already been cast? More and more Germans are choosing to vote early, which also changes who loses and who wins. More people in Germany are skipping the trip to the voting booth and casting their ballots ahead of election day. In 2013, 24.3 percent of German voters cast their ballots early and by mail, and Cristina Tillmann, director of the Future of Democracy Program at the Bertelsmann Foundation, said that number could rise even further this time around. “Mail-in voting is here to stay,” Tillmann told DW.  “It’s become a full-fledged alternative to going to the polls in the real lives of voters, so it’s no longer an exception, even if it’s legally still defined as one. Parties and election workers need to reckon with a quarter or even 30 percent of voters casting their ballots early.”

Full Article: German election could be won by early voting | Germany | DW | 30.08.2017.

Kenya: Opposition Says Audit of Electoral System Shows Misuse | Bloomberg

Kenya’s main opposition group said an audit of the electoral authority’s computer servers found they were accessed by “anonymous users” and that there’s no trace of data being submitted by polling stations in this month’s presidential election. The National Super Alliance also alleged in documents submitted to the Supreme Court on Tuesday that scrutiny of the Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission servers showed Chairman Wafula Chebukati’s account was “used multiple times to transfer, delete and modify files.” IEBC spokesman Andrew Limo declined to comment.

Full Article: Kenya Opposition Says Audit of Electoral System Shows Misuse - Bloomberg Quint.

Editorials: Kenya: The Election & the Cover-Up | Helen Epstein/The New York Review of Books

On August 8, millions of Kenyans formed long, orderly lines outside polling stations across the country to vote in presidential and local elections. Kenya is notorious for corruption, and virtually all prior elections had been marred by rigging. This time, however, the US and Kenya’s other donors had invested $24 million in an electronic vote-tallying system designed to prevent interference. When Kenya’s electoral commission announced on August 11 that President Uhuru Kenyatta had won another five-year term with over 54 percent of the vote, observer teams from the African Union, the European Union, and the highly respected US-based Carter Center, led by former Secretary of State John Kerry, commended the electoral process and said they’d seen no evidence of significant fraud. Congratulations poured in from around the world and Donald Trump praised the elections as fair and transparent.

Full Article: Kenya: The Election & the Cover-Up | by Helen Epstein | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books.

Tonga: Election authorities need to update roll | Radio New Zealand

Tonga’s Electoral Commission is trying to fast-track the updating of the roll in light of the royal dissolution of parliament. The king has ordered elections by 16 November, a year out from when they were originally scheduled. The supervisor of elections Pita Vuki acknowledges this has created challenges for his office. “We were working on updating our electoral roll, thinking that the election would be next year. Our staff have just completed a visiting programme to all the villages of this main island Tongatapu. We just completed that last month and we were planning to go out to the outer islands to continue the same works.”

Full Article: Tonga's election authorities need to update roll | Radio New Zealand News.

National: Cyber experts were blocked in their push to patch voting systems in 2016 | McClatchy

They knew Russian operatives might try to tamper with the nation’s electronic voting systems. Many people inside the U.S. government and the Obama White House knew. In the summer of 2016, a cluster of volunteers on a federally supervised cybersecurity team crafting 2018 election guidelines felt compelled to do something sooner. Chatting online, they scrambled to draw up ways for state and local officials to patch the most obvious cyber vulnerabilities before Election Day 2016. Their five-page list of recommendations focused on two gaping holes in the U.S. election system. It warned that internet voting by at least some citizens in 32 states was not secure and should be avoided. And, critically, it advised how to guard voting and ballot-counting machines that the experts knew could be penetrated even when disconnected from the internet. But the list was stopped in its tracks. A year later, even as U.S. intelligence agencies warn that Russian operatives have their eyes on 2018 and beyond, America’s more than 7,000 election jurisdictions nationwide still do not have access to those guidelines for shielding the voting process.

Full Article: State officials in denial on rising Russian cyber security threat to U.S. voting systems | The Olympian.

National: President Trump’s cybersecurity advisers resign with dire warning | Metro US

Eight advisers on President Trump’s cybersecurity team have resigned, leaving behind a scathing message for him: He has “given insufficient attention to the growing threats” facing the United States, and his inaction has “threatened the security of the homeland.” The advisers comprised more than one-quarter of the National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC). The 28-member panel, established in 2001 and drawn from the private sector, government and academia, advises the Department of Homeland Security on cybersecurity and infrastructure protection. They excoriated Trump on those fronts, saying he has failed to be “adequately attentive to the pressing national security matters” or “responsive to sound advice received from experts.” Those departing experts cited the president’s response to the violence in Charlottesville, in which he defended white supremacists, his withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change and his inaction on safeguarding the U.S. election system after the Russian attacks on the 2016 election.

Full Article: Trump Advisers Resign Over Security Concerns | Metro US.

National: In one corner of the Internet, the 2016 Democratic primary never ended | The Washington Post

On Friday afternoon, a judge in South Florida dismissed a lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee, brought by people who accused it of committing fraud during the 2016 primary to the detriment of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt). Neither the DNC nor ousted chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) responded to the dismissal when asked to comment. Within hours, the attorneys who bought the suit, Jared and Elizabeth Beck, were providing updates on the case to the blogger and fantasy author H.A. Goodman. Calling out the people and outlets who they believe had covered them unfairly, the Becks described a legal system so corrupt that there could be no fair accounting for what the DNC did. It would be up to alternative media to get the truth out. “This population has been battered by propaganda, and misinformation, and corrupt politicians for so long,” Jared Beck said. “If you go into court, and you represent anyone but a rich person or a powerful corporation, the chances of you having a fair day in court are slim to none.”

Full Article: In one corner of the Internet, the 2016 Democratic primary never ended - The Washington Post.

Editorials: The New Front in the Gerrymandering Wars: Democracy vs. Math | The New York Times

n the late spring of 2011, Dale Schultz walked the short block in Madison from his State Senate office in the Wisconsin Capitol to the glass-­paneled building of Michael Best & Friedrich, a law firm with deep ties to his Republican Party. First elected in 1982, Schultz placed himself within the progressive tradition that made Wisconsin, a century ago, the birthplace of the state income tax and laws that guarantee compensation for injured workers. In the months before his visit to Michael Best, Schultz cast the lone Republican vote against a bill that stripped collective-­bargaining rights from most public employees. But if Schultz had doubts about some of his party’s priorities, he welcomed its ascendance to power. For the first time in his career, Republicans controlled the State Senate and the State Assembly as well as the governor’s office, giving them total sway over the redistricting process that follows the census taken at the beginning of each decade. ‘‘The way I saw it, reapportionment is a moment of opportunity for the ruling party,’’ Schultz told me this summer.

Full Article: The New Front in the Gerrymandering Wars: Democracy vs. Math - The New York Times.

Alabama: Bill would align special U.S. Senate races with general elections | Times Daily

In the future, any special U.S. Senate races would happen during a general election cycle and not in a separate off-cycle election like the one currently underway, according to proposed legislation. Rep. Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, has pre-filed for next year’s session a bill to allow the governor to appoint an interim senator until the next general election, which happen every two years. Cost is a driving concern, Clouse said today. The Legislative Fiscal Office estimates that the primary, runoff and general election this year to replace Jeff Sessions will each cost about $3.5 million.

Full Article: Bill would align special U.S. Senate races with general elections | State Capital | timesdaily.com.