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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.

Full Article: State seeks to keep voter ID law in place for handful of elections - San Antonio Express-News.

Texas: Supreme Court temporarily blocks ruling against Texas congressional map | The Texas Tribune

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.

Full Article: U.S. Supreme Court temporarily blocks ruling against Texas congressional map | The Texas Tribune.

U.S. Territories: National GOP leaders’ push for equal US citizenship is backed | Saipan Tribune

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.

Full Article: National GOP leaders’ push for equal US citizenship is backed - Saipan News, Headlines, Events, Ads | Saipan Tribune.

Wisconsin: 24 counties have passed resolutions against gerrymandering | Wisconsin Gazette

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.

Full Article: 24 Wisconsin counties have passed resolutions against gerrymandering | Opinion | wisconsingazette.com.

Angola: Explain your results, beaten Angola party head tells electoral commission | Reuters

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.”

Full Article: Explain your results, beaten Angola party head tells electoral commission.

Germany: This German political party is a complete joke — literally | The Washington Post

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. 

Full Article: This German political party is a complete joke — literally - The Washington Post.

Kenya: Court grants Kenyan opposition access to election count system | Financial Times

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.”

Full Article: Court grants Kenyan opposition access to election count system.

Liberia: EU Invited to Observe Elections | Daily Observer

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.

Full Article: Liberia Invites EU to Observe Elections | Liberian Observer.

Tonga: Attorney General says Tonga ready for election | Radio New Zealand

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.

Full Article: Tonga ready for election, says attorney general | Radio New Zealand News.

National: How secure are America’s voting machines? | PRI

At a recent DefCon security conference, organizers wanted to test how voting machines could be hacked. The result? It took just 90 minutes for the hackers to get into the machines. Joseph Lorenzo Hall, chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology, in Washington, DC, says the hack took that long only because the individual had to leave the facility to go buy a USB keyboard. “When he came back, there were two open USB ports on the back of this machine, which was a decertified AVS WINVote,” Hall explains. “He did the ‘three-fingered salute’— the Windows control-alt-delete — and it dropped to Task Manager. Then he could load whatever he wanted. They installed Winamp and played the now-famous Rick Astley song, ‘Never Gonna Give You Up.’” Some of the machines the hackers “attacked” are still in use, but for the most part, they were purchased on eBay or GovDeals (the government version of eBay), Hall says. Most were two or three years old and not running the most current software. Nevertheless, the experiment exposed serious flaws in virtually every type of machine.

Full Article: How secure are America’s voting machines? | Public Radio International.

Florida: Effort to restore felons’ voting rights gains momentum | Sarasota Herald-Tribune

It has been eight years since Neil Volz finished serving probation on a felony charge stemming from a congressional corruption scandal. During that time Volz has continued to atone for his crime. He went to work for his Fort Myers church helping homeless individuals dealing with drug and alcohol issues. He currently chairs the Lee County Homeless Coalition. But even as Volz married and became a dedicated member of his community who is devoted to helping the less fortunate, one measure of redemption eluded him: he still cannot vote. If Volz lived in Washington, D.C., where the crime occurred, he’d be able to vote. But he moved to Florida in 2008, and the state has one of the most restrictive laws in the nation regarding the voting rights of convicted felons.

Full Article: Effort to restore felons' voting rights gains momentum.

National: U.S. state election officials still in the dark on Russian hacking | Reuters

The federal government has not notified U.S. state election officials if their voting systems were targeted by suspected Russian hackers during the 2016 presidential campaign, and the information will likely never be made public, a top state election chief told Reuters. “You’re absolutely never going to learn it, because we don’t even know it,” Judd Choate, state election director for Colorado and president of the National Association of State Election Directors, said in an interview on Thursday during the group’s summer conference. Nearly 10 months after Republican Donald Trump’s upset presidential victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton, Choate said he had not spoken to a single state election director who had been told by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security if their state was among those attacked. The lack of information-sharing on the election breaches reflects the difficulty state and federal officials have had in working together to protect U.S. voting from cyber threats. All U.S. elections are run by state and local governments, which have varying degrees of technical competence.

Full Article: U.S. state election officials still in the dark on Russian hacking.

National: My Conversation With a Leading Election Technology Researcher Should Terrify You | Patriot NOT Partisan

Def Con is a 25 year old hacking convention where the worlds best hackers come together often highlighting security vulnerabilities in technology. This year, Def Con made news by raising awareness of our voting machine insecurities by challenging hackers to hack into the voting machines commonly used in this country for elections. These Def Con hacks took place in the “Voting Village”. I spoke with Voting Village organizer and leading election technology researcher, Harri Hursti, about the results of the experiment and the challenges we face in securing our elections in the future.

AM: Tell me about Def Con and the “Voting Village” and the role you played in the experiment.

HH: I was the co-organizer of the Village along with professor Matt Blaze.

AM: What was the main purpose of this exhibition?

HH: Education. We wanted to let the security community learn more about the machines and the designs. So far, only a very small group of people have been allowed to study and research these machines. As a result there was a lot of misinformation, rumors and false claims, and finding proven facts was difficult. The broader community which has 1st hand experience can help the public and the policy makers to get the facts known and drive better policies and practices to secure the elections.

Full Article: My Conversation With a Leading Election Technology Researcher Should Terrify You – Patriot NOT Partisan.

National: Vote Fraud Crusader J. Christian Adams Sparks Outrage | NBC

J. Christian Adams claims there’s an “alien invasion” at the voting booth. Adams, a member of President Donald Trump’s election integrity commission, is dedicating his life to cleaning up registration rolls around the country and trying to prevent non-citizens from casting ballots. To do so, he’s spent years suing counties to force them to purge their rolls and he’s published personal information online about thousands of registered voters he believes could have committed fraud. Adams has turned allegations of sweeping, illegal voting into a career marked by frequent litigation and a bombastic media presence — calling critics who say that there’s no widespread proof of voter fraud “flat-earthers.”

Full Article: Vote Fraud Crusader J. Christian Adams Sparks Outrage - NBC News.

National: Kander says courts can’t be counted on to save voting rights in Trump era | The Kansas City Star

Former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander told a crowd of people at a progressive event in Parkville Saturday that they can’t just rely on the courts to protect voting rights under President Donald Trump and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Kander, a Democrat, said that with Trump appointing judges and Sessions running the U.S. Department of Justice, voting rights cases will become tougher to win. Legal challenges have to be paired with political activism. “I believe there should be political consequences for politicians who commit voter suppression,” Kander said. “I believe that if you make it harder to vote, then we should make it harder for you to get reelected.” Kander, who started a political action committee this year called Let America Vote, spoke at a “voting rights festival” hosted at English Landing Park by Northland Progress. The festival is part of the group’s “In for 10” campaign, in which volunteers pledge to help at least 10 Missouri citizens register to vote.

Full Article: Kander says courts can't be counted on to save voting rights in Trump era | The Kansas City Star.

National: Florida judge dismisses fraud lawsuit against DNC | The Washington Post

A year-long legal battle over the Democratic National Committee’s handling of the 2016 presidential primary came to an end Friday, with a federal judge in Florida dismissing a class-action suit brought by supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). “To the extent Plaintiffs wish to air their general grievances with the DNC or its candidate selection process, their redress is through the ballot box, the DNC’s internal workings, or their right of free speech — not through the judiciary,” Judge William Zloch, a Reagan appointee, wrote in his dismissal. “To the extent Plaintiffs have asserted specific causes of action grounded in specific factual allegations, it is this Court’s emphatic duty to measure Plaintiffs’ pleadings against existing legal standards. Having done so . . . the Court finds that the named Plaintiffs have not presented a case that is cognizable in federal court.”

Full Article: Florida judge dismisses fraud lawsuit against DNC - The Washington Post.

Editorials: What I Learned at Gerrymandering Summer Camp | Issie Lapowsky/WIRED

At 6’5″, Aaron Dennis towers over the whiteboard beside him. Blue marker in hand, the 22-year-old hunches slightly to jot down suggestions being shouted by a group of people deep into a brainstorming session. Dressed mostly in nerdy T-shirts (one reads Science! with a test tube in place of the letter i), they’re trying to come up with names for a tech tool they plan to build during a two-day hackathon at Tufts University’s data lab. The group includes computer science PhD candidates, mathematicians, political operatives, and experts in so-called geographic information systems, or GIS. That’s the mapping technology that underlies many apps and software tools that run our lives, from Google Maps to logistics software. It also comes in handy when you’re carving the American electorate into voting districts that favor your political party, a time-honored—and reviled—tradition known as gerrymandering.

Full Article: What I Learned at Gerrymandering Summer Camp | WIRED.

Editorials: President Trump’s ‘election integrity’ panel is a sham | USA Today

As the 2018 and 2020 elections approach, federal and state officials ought to be scrambling for ways to prevent a repeat of Russian interference or other meddling in American democracy. Instead, many are on an obsessive hunt to eradicate phantom problems, such as supposedly massive fraud by non-citizens and people voting in two states. The upshot is that 54 years after Martin Luther King Jr. appealed for voting rights in his “I Have a Dream” speech, those rights remain under a double-barreled assault.

Full Article: Voting rights: 'I Have a Dream'.

California: There’s a simple reason some say it’s time for a larger California Legislature | Los Angeles Times

When the California Legislature reconvenes this week for its final month of work for the year, its members will likely do what they believe is in their constituents’ best interests. And yet, Californians have less representation than citizens of states such as Georgia and Minnesota. A single state senator in Sacramento represents roughly 988,000 people — more than the populations of six states. Each Assembly member now represents nearly half a million people, about 45 times more Californians than each lawmaker represented in the years following the historic Gold Rush. In short, California’s representative democracy is a far cry from the days when politicians could easily connect with their constituents. “That whole concept has gotten totally lost in California,” said Mark Paul, a journalist and historian who co-wrote a book on improving the Golden State’s system of governance.

Full Article: Political Road Map: There's a simple reason some say it's time for a larger California Legislature - LA Times.

Editorials: Here’s how to fix Indiana’s rigged voting system | Indianpolis Star

Let’s be honest: Republicans have gamed Indiana’s voting system to their advantage. They gerrymandered congressional and legislative districts in their favor after the 2010 Census, helping the party gain supermajorities in the Indiana House and Senate. They’ve also suppressed the number of early voting sites in Democratic areas while encouraging their expansion in counties where Republicans dominate. Consider that in Marion County, population 939,000, voters can cast early ballots at only one location, at the City-County Building in congested Downtown. Republicans repeatedly have blocked proposals to open more voting centers in Indy.

Full Article: Editorial: Here's how to fix Indiana's rigged voting system.