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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. Read More

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. Read More

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. Read More

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. Read More

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. Read More

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. Read More

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. Read More

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.  Read More

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. Read More

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. Read More