Editorials: Hacker conference proves how weak US voting machines really are | Michael DeLaGarza/The Hill

In January, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson announced: “Given the vital role elections play in this country, it is clear that certain systems and assets of election infrastructure meet the definition of critical infrastructure, in fact and in law.” With this one statement, the nation’s election infrastructure was firmly placed for the first time on equal footing with other parts of America’s critical infrastructure such as emergency services, nuclear reactors, and water systems. While this was a welcome designation, events that unfolded in late July demonstrated just how vulnerable this infrastructure really is. With the ongoing controversy surrounding the integrity of our nation’s voting systems, hackers at the 25th annual DEF CON computer security conference held late last month in Las Vegas were given an unprecedented opportunity to find and exploit possible vulnerabilities in a variety of different voting systems supplied by organizers of the show.

National: Brennan Center and Protect Democracy File Suit to Make “Voter Fraud” Commission Records Public | eNews Park Forest

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law and Protect Democracy filed a lawsuit today in federal court in New York to compel the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of Management and Budget to disclose information to which the public is entitled pertaining to the president’s “Election Integrity” Commission. The organizations filed suit after their requests to the agencies for information under the Freedom of Information Act went unanswered. The Commission has had its motives and work questioned since it was launched in May, after the president made unfounded claims that voter fraud and noncitizen voting were rampant in the 2016 election. It is co-chaired by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has a long history of supporting — and implementing — anti-voter policies.

Editorials: Voting Machines Are Easy To Hack – It’s Time We Face The Harsh Reality | Daniel Knighten/News4C

We live in the age of technology and every aspect of our life is evolving. Technology is present everywhere and while this provides numerous advantages, it can also become a major weak spot. The best example is the upgrade of the voting process in the US. It made things easier for voters, but it soon became clear that the voting machines are vulnerable pieces of electronic equipment that require the attention of government officials. Security experts gave out several warnings and earlier this year we have announced that the security of the voting system represents a priority for our country. In the words of Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security, “Given the vital role elections play in this country, it is clear that certain systems and assets of election infrastructure meet the definition of critical infrastructure, in fact and in law.” However, despite the government’s best intentions, the 25th annual DEF CON computer security conference was an eye-opener for national security. The convention, held in July, in Las Vegas, proved just how simple it is to interfere with the voting machines and it managed to expose all their exploitable parts.

Editorials: Non-citizens are gaining the right to vote. Good. | Joshua A. Douglas/The Washington Post

As President Trump continues to peddle his debunked theory that millions of illegal ballots in the 2016 presidential election cost him the popular vote, his commission on voter fraud is wasting federal resources to figure out just how many noncitizens voted in our federal and state elections. But amid all the falsehoods, there has actually been some positive news for some legal noncitizens: They are gaining the right to vote in some places. In November, San Francisco voters approved Proposition N, which grants the right to vote in school board elections to noncitizen parents and guardians living in the city. The noncitizen voters must be at least 18 years old and cannot be in prison or on parole for a felony conviction. The law goes into effect for the November 2018 school board election.

Alaska: Meet the machine handling Anchorage’s next election | Alaska Public Media

Though still a few months away, Anchorage is getting ready for its first election set to be conducted by mail. In April, as residents pick a mayor and weigh in on a controversial public bathroom measure, they won’t be heading to the usual polling locations. Instead, they’ll be sending envelopes to a white, rectangular sorting machine that arrived at the city’s election center Monday morning. Moving trucks backed up to an expansive warehouse that’s largely empty, save for clusters of new election equipment and computers. Half-a-dozen workers used wrenches and drills to take apart shoulder-high wooden crates. The cargo inside was metal sorting trays and a boxy machine that resembles a filing cabinet. The official name is the Bell and Howell Envelope Intake and Signature Verification System, Deputy Clerk Amanda Moser explained. Moser is responsible for overseeing much of the multi-year process converting Anchorage to a Vote By Mail election system. The Bell and Howell machine cost the municipality $610,599, and the Anchorage Assembly voted to include an additional $56,790 contract for installation and continued support.

California: Democrats push new bill to change recall rules, save senator | Associated Press

California Democrats started a new legislative push Monday to change recall election rules in an effort to protect one of their own after a court put an earlier attempt to slow the recall process on hold. A measure introduced Monday would help state Sen. Josh Newman of Fullerton, who is facing a recall attempt backed by Republicans over his support for a gas tax increase. If they succeed in replacing Newman with a Republican, Democrats would lose their supermajority that allows them to raise taxes without GOP votes. Election officials in three counties reported Friday that they’ve verified enough signatures for the recall to proceed. State law gives Secretary of State Alex Padilla 10 days to certify them. Republicans are pushing to hold a recall election shortly after the gas tax rises Nov. 1.

Colorado: Attorney General won’t prosecute the Hamilton Elector who voted for Kasich not Clinton | The Colorado Independent

Colorado Republican Attorney General Cynthia Coffman will not prosecute Micheal Baca, a former member of the Electoral College who was stripped of his position when he cast a vote for Ohio Gov. John Kasich instead of Hillary Clinton during a chaotic day in December. Coffman, who has said she is exploring whether there is a path for her to run for governor, says she doesn’t want Baca to use Colorado’s court system as a platform to make more headlines. Colorado GOP Secretary of State Wayne Williams, who asked Coffman to investigate Baca, said he is “disappointed” the AG won’t pursue the case. On Dec. 19, Baca became the first elector in Colorado history not to cast a ballot during a ceremony at the Capitol for the presidential candidate who won the state’s popular vote. Baca was part of a movement known as the Hamilton Electors who believe they have the authority under the U.S. Constitution to vote their conscience as national electors. They hatched a plan to try and thwart Donald Trump from the White House by trying to convince enough electors around the country to vote for a more palatable Republican.

North Carolina: General Assembly releases Senate districts map | News & Observer

State lawmakers released a proposed map for the North Carolina Senate on Sunday evening, part of a court-ordered redrawing of election lines. The Republican-drawn Senate map comes a day after the release of a proposed House map. Neither map includes demographic data for the proposed districts, which is expected Monday. Attempts to reach Sen. Ralph Hise, a Mitchell County Republican who serves as the co-chair of the General Assembly’s joint redistricting committee, were unsuccessful. [See the new Senate map]

North Carolina: Grand jury indicts former Durham County elections worker Richard Robert Rawling of Cary | News & Observer

A Durham County grand jury has indicted Richard Robert Rawling of Cary, a former Durham County elections worker, on charges related to the mishandling of provisional-ballot results during the March 2016 primary election. The indictment was handed down on Monday on counts of obstruction of justice, which is is felony, and failure to discharge a duty of his office, which is a misdemeanor, the N.C. State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement said in a release. Rawling worked for the Durham County Board of Elections during the March 15 primary, before resigning later that month. The N.C. State Board of Elections opened an investigation into the election in April 2016.

Angola: Opposition party to publish own count of election results | Reuters

An Angolan opposition party, CASA-CE, said on Monday it will use a computer program to minimize the chances of ballot-rigging in next Wednesday’s election. The country’s main two opposition parties, National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) and Broad Convergence for the Salvation of Angola – Electoral Coalition (CASA-CE), have complained of irregularities in the electoral process. The People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), which has ruled Angola since independence from Portugal in 1975, is expected to win this week’s election. CASA-CE’s program, presented to media in Luanda on Monday, will calculate results based on data from delegates at polling stations.

India: First-past-post: House panel asks parties if election system should change | The Indian Express

Initiating what could be the first structured discussion on the issue, an all-party Parliamentary panel is exploring “different systems of elections”, other than the first-past-the-post (FPTP) system that is currently followed in the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls. Citing “apprehensions” that the FPTP may not be the “best suited system”, as “evident” from the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election results, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, headed by Congress leader Anand Sharma, has sent a six-page “Questionnaire on Electoral Reforms” to all parties and the Election Commission. “There are different systems of elections — like first-past-the-post (FPTP), list system (open list and closed system), proportional representation, ranked or preferential voting, and mixed systems. In our country we follow FPTP for Parliament and Legislative Assemblies’ elections and proportional representation for the election of President…What is your view in the matter and please also suggest the alternative system, if any,” says the questionnaire.

Israel: Likud to lengthen waiting period for voting | Jerusalem Post

Fear of moderate and centrist members who have joined Likud could cause anyone who has joined the party recently to not be able to choose the party’s next Knesset list, Likud officials said Sunday. The party has embarked on a series of steps against the so-called New Likudniks, a group of centrists who want the party to become more moderate and return to values they say existed when Likud was led by then-prime minister Menachem Begin and are no longer prevalent in the party.

Kenya: Opposition outlines vote-rigging case ahead of court battle | Financial Times

Kenya’s opposition has alleged that results from more than a third of polling stations in this month’s presidential election contained “fatal and irredeemable irregularities” as it seeks to overturn President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory. In legal documents filed to the Supreme Court, the National Super Alliance (Nasa) also said the electoral commission “selectively manipulated, engineered and/or deliberately distorted the votes cast” to deny Raila Odinga, the opposition leader, hundreds of thousands of votes. Nasa last week decided to contest the election result in court after Mr Kenyatta won 54 per cent of the vote to Mr Odinga’s 44 per cent, a difference of 1.4m votes. Independent monitors’ parallel tallies recorded a similar result to the electoral commission based on a representative sample of almost 2,000 polling stations. 

Nigeria: Persons with disabilities demand full inclusion in electoral process | BusinessDay

As the nation prepares for 2019 general election, Nigerians living with disabilities have developed a demand charter for inclusion that will enable them participated fully in electoral processes in the country, in line with what is obtainable across all developed democracies. The Charter was said to have been developed as a frontal attack to the challenge of poor management of political process, particularly the voting day machinery which usually exclude Persons with Disabilities (PWDs). Although, various persons with disabilities in the country acknowledged that various cluster of PWDs usually participated in elections, there is the need for more inclusion in the processes to boost greater participation in future elections.

New Zealand: Third party leader quits in close election race | Associated Press

Three weeks ago, New Zealand’s conservative National Party appeared to be cruising to a fourth straight election victory. Opinion polls showed the party had strong support and the opposition was struggling to inspire people ahead of September’s general election. But much has changed since then due to the rise of opposition leader Jacinda Ardern, and the latest polls indicate the election will be closely contested. The latest shift came Monday, when United Future leader Peter Dunne resigned, the third party leader to quit in as many weeks. His small party supported the government and his move came as a blow to Prime Minister Bill English and his National Party. Dunne said there’s a mood for change in the district where he has served as a lawmaker for 33 years, something that’s become apparent to him only in recent weeks.

United Kingdom: Tactical voting surged in general election as voters tried to ‘game’ system, research finds | The Independent

Voters switched party allegiances at unprecedented rates in the general election as they tried to game the failing electoral system, according to voting reform campaigners. Elections are now more like lottery than a real choice with 22 million votes cast in June having no impact on the result, the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) found. It branded the June vote the “hold your nose” election after an estimated 6.5 million people made tactical decisions and said the Conservatives could have won a majority if just 0.0016 per cent of voters had chosen differently. The first-past-the-post system is exaggerating divisions because of the huge discrepancy in the number of votes cast in an area for a party and the number of seats it wins and a new system must now be introduced, the ERS said.