The Voting News Weekly: The Voting News Weekly for August 14-20 2017

The security news site The Parallax posted an in depth examination of the security challenges facing US elections. Addressing the types of vulnerabilities hackers uncovered at DefCon—and plugging related holes across the United States’ election systems—would require a far more complex process than patching outdated software. It would also require years of concentrated work.

The New York Times ran a front page story on an anonymous Ukrainian hacker, who apparently wrote a program that American intelligence agencies publicly identified as one tool used in Russian hacking in the United States. Ukrainian police say that”Profexer”, as he is called, turned himself in early this year, and has now become a witness for the F.B.I. While there is no evidence that he worked for Russia’s intelligence services, it would appear that his malware apparently did.

The editorial board of the Washington Post argues that protecting voting rights is the foremost civil rights issue of our time. “The events in Charlottesville and the president’s apologia for the right-wing extremists there should mobilize anyone passionate about civil rights. There would be no better target for their energies than the clear and present danger to the most fundamental right in any democracy: the vote.”

The ruling by the 3rd District Court of Appeals has temporarily blocked a California law that would delay a recall election targeting a Democratic senator. While the court did not rule on the legality of the changes, they did rule that the law cannot be enforced while the court considers arguments from lawyers for all sides.

A lawsuit seeking to invalidate the results the special election run-off in Georgia’s 6th district has left thousands of Diebold touchscreen voting machines off-limits for future elections. This has created concerns for Atlanta officials who say they could be short of spare machines to run municipal elections in November.

Voter registration data belonging to the entirety of Chicago’s electoral roll—1.8 million records—was found last week in an Amazon Web Services bucket configured for public access. ES&S confirmed in a statement that the copy of the backup file, a .bak or Microsoft SQL backup file, contained 1.8 million names, addresses, dates of birth, partial Social Security numbers and in some cases, driver’s license and state identification numbers. In addition to the voter information, the bucket included some information on ES&S security procedures that included the hashed email passwords of ES&S employees.

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill has intervened in a lawsuit filed earlier this year by a civic group that alleges discrimination in access to early voting. Hill cited a 2001 statute that requires a unanimous vote of a three-member board — comprising of a Democrat, a Republican and the county clerk — to expand early voting. Earlier this month, an Indianapolis Star investigation showed how the law has been used by state and local Republicans to restrict early voting in predominantly Democratic areas while expanding voting access in Republican-held areas.

Federal judges invalidated two Texas congressional districts approved by state Republican lawmakers, ruling that they illegally discriminate against Hispanic and black voters. But it appears that the Governor has no plans to devote time to redistricting in a special session the legislature. On Friday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton appealed the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court in an attempt to keep the boundaries intact for the 2018 elections.

Over the past month, five members of Australia’s 226-member parliament have admitted that they may have unwittingly held dual citizenship — a condition that, under Australia’s 1900 constitution, disqualifies them from political office in Canberra. The latest blow on Monday ensnared Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, putting into jeopardy the government’s one-seat majority in the governing House of Representatives. Australia’s foreign affairs minister, Julie Bishop, accused New Zealand’s opposition party of colluding with the Australian Labor party in an attempt “to try and bring down the government”.

Ignoring calls by some election observers for him to concede, Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga has said he will go to court over last week’s presidential election results. Odinga said he he was challenging the results in the Supreme Court, not in the hopes of overturning the outcome but as a way to expose evidence of widespread vote-rigging.