The vice chair of a presidential commission charged with investigating voting fraud swung back at the Democratic leader of the Senate Friday, saying it was “pathetic” that Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer equated the panel with white supremacists and a deadly rally earlier this month in Charlottesville, Virginia. “It’s a pathetic, partisan attempt to wrap Charlottesville around every issue he can think of,” said Kris Kobach, the vice chair of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. “It’s complete nonsense.” On Thursday, Schumer, a Democrat from New York, posted a piece on Medium.com calling for President Donald Trump to disband the commission. He also said if Trump failed to do so, Congress should consider attaching riders to “must-pass” legislation in September that would prohibit the panel’s operation.
Editorials: Outdated technology is a greater threat than hackers to US elections | Antonio Mugica/Washington Examiner
The recent DefCon hacking conference demonstrated why America needs to modernize its voting systems with more technology, not less. Participants exposed vulnerabilities in various pieces of election technology at DefCon’s Voting Machine Hacking Village and, predictably, had no difficulty infiltrating many of the systems. The twist? They were hacking into technology that hadn’t been updated since the early 2000s. Interestingly, the key takeaways from this hack-a-thon closely mirror the recommendations recently put forth to Congress by 100 security experts. They include the need for multiple levels of encryption, post-election audits and secure servers. But it’s important to remember that these findings aren’t new. And my company, Smartmatic, has been using such measures to protect voters for over a decade, so we know the technology exists. The hackers at DefCon highlighted the dramatically archaic state of U.S. voting machines and reminded the public to prioritize securing voting infrastructure for upcoming elections. In a field where the half-life of software can be just a few months, it’s no surprise hackers took down equipment that was over a decade old. The concerning part is that some of this technology is still used in elections today.
California: Judge invalidates law that would have allowed public financing of political campaigns | Los Angeles Times
A Superior Court judge has struck down a new law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown that would have allowed cities, counties and the state to provide public financing of political campaigns, ruling that it violates a ban on that use of taxpayer dollars established nearly 30 years ago, officials said Monday. Judge Timothy M. Frawley in Sacramento ruled that the financing law, which was signed last September, “directly contradicts” Proposition 73, an initiative approved by voters in 1988 that bans use of public money for campaigns.
Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a measure Monday allowing automatic voter registration in Illinois, a move that comes a year after he rejected a similar measure over concerns about voter fraud. Illinois joins more than half a dozen other states with some form of automatic voter registration, which proponents say boosts civic participation. “This is good bipartisan legislation and it addresses the fundamental fact that the right to vote is foundational for the rights of Americans in our Democracy,” Rauner said at a Chicago bill signing ceremony attended by supporters. “We as a people need to do everything we can to knock down barriers, remove hurdles for all those who are eligible to vote, to be able to vote.”
North Carolina: State Supreme Court weighs GOP lawmakers stripping Cooper’s powers | Associated Press
North Carolina’s highest court on Monday tackled the question of how far the Republican-led legislature can go to minimize new Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s ability to pursue goals that helped him get elected last year by reshaping state government. The state Supreme Court heard arguments in a lawsuit brought by Cooper that claims legislators violated North Carolina’s constitution this spring by passing a law diminishing the governor’s role in managing elections.
North Carolina Republicans quickly positioned themselves Monday to approve new General Assembly districts before a court-ordered deadline later this week, even as Democrats argued the new maps display the same unlawful racial bias that judges found in the earlier ones. The full House voted 65-47 for district lines that appear to help the GOP retain its strong majority in the chamber. The Senate followed late Monday with a 31-15 vote giving final approval to its remap, which also should help keep Republicans firmly in charge there, too. The Senate already had debated extensively on its plan before giving initial approval last Friday. The votes were largely along party lines favoring Repubilcans. The House still must consider the Senate map this week and the Senate must vote for the House districts, but these actions are likely perfunctory. Redistricting plans aren’t subject to the veto stamp of Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat.
The secretary of state’s office is set to officially roll out its new online voter registration system in Tennessee. The new system is already available online but the office will officially announce it next week. The move will put the state’s voter registration into the digital age as Tennessee joins a majority of other states that have already implemented similar systems. “This system meets people where they already are: online,” Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “It will improve accuracy and efficiency for voters and election officials by ensuring there are fewer errors and more accurate voter rolls.”
Texas: State seeks to keep voter ID law in place for handful of elections | San Antonio Express-News
Less than a week after a judge tossed Texas’ voter identification law, the state is asking permission to keep the requirements in place for a handful of upcoming elections in which early voting had already been underway. Attorney General Ken Paxton, who has already pledged to appeal the court’s ruling, said changes at this stage could create voter confusion. Denton Independent School District and the city of Southlake were in the middle of early voting for Sept. 9 elections when U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi struck down the law Wednesday. In roughly a dozen more cities and school districts, early voting for an Aug. 26 election had ended before the ruling came out.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday put on hold a lower court ruling that invalidated two of Texas’ 36 congressional districts. In an order signed by Justice Samuel Alito, the high court indicated it wanted to hear from the minority groups suing the state before the state’s appeal of that ruling moves forward. The high court ordered the state’s legal foes to file a response by Sept. 5 to the state’s efforts to keep congressional district boundaries intact for the 2018 elections. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had asked the Supreme Court to block a three-judge panel’s unanimous finding that Congressional Districts 27 and 35 violate the U.S. Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act. State leaders have said they have no immediate plans to call lawmakers back to Austin to redraw the congressional map. Instead, they looked to the high court to protect Texas from needing a new map ahead of the 2018 elections.
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and several members of the Legislature support the Republican Party’s push for “equal U.S. citizenship” to be extended to the three U.S. territories. Sponsored by U.S. Virgin Islands’ national committeeman Jevon Williams, the Republic National Committee last Friday adopted a resolution titled “Affirming Equal Citizenship for All Americans,” which is set to be submitted to U.S. President Donald J. Trump, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), and Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). The resolution says U.S. citizens residing in the “territories of Guam, NMI, and the Virgin Islands,” regardless of their sex, race, color, ethnicity, religion or creed, are “entitled to the full of enjoyment of their citizenship.” Americans in U.S. territories are U.S. citizens but cannot vote for the U.S. President, nor do they have full representation in Congress.
The drive to improve the way Wisconsin redraws its district maps is rapidly gaining speed. Using advanced mathematical modeling, Republicans have gerrymandered the state’s current political map so that 40 percent of its districts do not have competitive elections. The winners have already been chosen by the way that boundaries were drawn. In the first eight months of this year, a total of 17 counties in Wisconsin have endorsed the Iowa Model, and 7 counties endorsed it in previous years, so 24 counties are now on board. Three counties – Kenosha, La Crosse, and Monroe — have passed resolutions saying they are in favor of nonpartisan redistricting in just the past few weeks.
The leader of Angola’s main opposition party called on the country’s electoral commission on Saturday to explain how it compiled provisional election results giving the ruling MPLA party a landslide victory. Isaias Samakuva said his UNITA party, which has rejected the published results of Wednesday’s national ballot, was conducting a parallel count using polling station records and computer software that did not tally with the commission’s figures. “Where did those results come from?” Samakuva asked supporters at the party’s campaign headquarters in Luanda. “The CNE (commission) must explain to Angolans what it did wrong and why it did it.”
On posters blanketing the German capital, a warning is emblazoned: “We give a face to the crisis.” The visage is Nico Semsrott’s, ghost white save the shadow cast on his right cheek by the upturned hood of his black sweatshirt. He glowers. This is the face of a hoodlum — gazing out from placards advertising his campaign for the German Parliament. The election is next month. But crisis? What crisis? Semsrott is not campaigning in the United States, where emotions are red hot. This is Germany, where politics is seemingly untroubled. The chancellor, Angela Merkel, is poised to claim a fourth term, polls show. One poster for her center-right party, the Christian Democratic Union, features a young woman lying in the grass, sleeping. “Enjoy the summer now and make the right choice in the autumn,” the flier counsels, suggesting that voters sleepwalk through the race.
Kenya’s Supreme Court on Monday ordered the electoral commission to grant the opposition access to its computer servers and results forms as it began hearing a challenge to this month’s disputed presidential vote. Opposition officials, who claim that the electoral commission’s systems were rigged to ensure President Uhuru Kenyatta defeated Raila Odinga, his main rival, said the court’s decision was “very significant”. “This enables us to access materials that can substantially strengthen our case,” said Moses Wetangula, a senior member of the National Super Alliance, an opposition coalition led by Mr Odinga. “The ICT processes have not been made accessible to the public and we have evidence that some were tampered with and manipulated.”
Foreign Minister, Madam Marjon Kamara and the head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Liberia, Amb. Tiina Intelmann, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) concerning the observation of the 2017 presidential and representative elections – one final act as head of the EU Delegation to Liberia. Ms. Intelmann leaves the country shortly after a successful two and half year stint as head of the EU Delegation to Liberia. According to a Foreign Ministry release, the MoU signed between the Government of Liberia and the European Union at the Foreign Ministry on Monday, August 28, is based on an invitation extended to the EU on February 1st, 2017 by the Government to observe the 2017 presidential and representative elections.
Tongans will head to the polls in November after the King’s sudden decision to dissolve parliament, which is being seen as an effective vote of no confidence in the government of the Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva. ‘Aminiasi Kefu said the country had the resources to arrange an election at short notice, and the sudden nature of this year’s election should prove no impediment. “I don’t suspect there would be a lot of difficulty,” he said.