National: Evidence of Russian Election-Data Tampering Mounts as Urgency to Investigate It Does Not | Slate

Russia’s attempts to interfere with the 2016 U.S. election directly at the ballot box may have been more aggressive than we previously understood. The New York Times published an alarming investigation on Friday about hackers’ efforts to tamper with electoral systems and the government’s surprising lack of response to the threat. The article builds on revelations reported by the Intercept in June that Russia’s military intelligence agency had breached VR Systems, a company that provides electronic poll books to counties in eight states, beginning in August 2016. Hackers infiltrated at least two other unnamed companies providing essential election apparatuses like voter databases and registration operations in the months leading up to November, anonymous intelligence officials told the Times, and election systems in at least 21 states had been targeted. (In June, Bloomberg reported that Russian hackers had accessed election-related systems in 39 states. It’s unclear why the Times now estimates fewer states were penetrated.)

Editorials: In Election Interference, It’s What Reporters Didn’t Find That Matters | Nicole Perlroth/The New York Times

The story started, as many do, with our own confusion. The most unusual of presidential elections — one marred by Russian trolls, a digital Watergate-style break-in and the winning candidate’s dire warnings of a “rigged election” — was followed by the most unusual period of acceptance. In the immediate aftermath of the 2016 election, government officials, the Clinton campaign, intelligence analysts, and civic and legal groups all appeared to calmly accept claims that votes had not been hacked. I had been on the cyber beat for six years and had grown accustomed to deep, often lengthy digital forensics analyses of cyberattacks against a wide range of targets: Silicon Valley start-ups, multinational conglomerates, government agencies and our own Times breach by Chinese government hackers. In the vast majority of cases, it takes investigators months or years to discover that hackers had indeed been lurking undetected on victims’ machines.

Editorials: Can America handle the truth of the tarnished 2016 election? | Will Bunch/Philadelphia Inquirer

Something smelled wrong about the election from the very start. In the weeks before the presidential balloting took place, millions of voters were bombarded with “fake news” about the candidates on Facebook and other social media sites. And when the vote tallies were announced, the nation was shocked by the results. There was scattered unrest, even violence — and loud whispers that the election had somehow been stolen. Some wondered about the role of Cambridge Analytica, the firm founded by a billionaire backer of Donald Trump. Then, something remarkable — unprecedented, really — took place. The nation’s highest court decided to launch a thorough investigation of what really happened on Election Day. What the justices eventually uncovered was shocking — a scheme to change results from the actual polling places when they were tallied electronically. What happened next was perhaps more surprising: The Supreme Court justices ordered a new national election. Yes, this scenario actually just played out. In Kenya.

Alabama: Lawsuit challenging racial makeup of Alabama courts moves forward |

Despite accounting for more than one-quarter of the state’s population, African-Americans rarely get elected to the state’s highest courts – a situation advocacy groups want to change by ending statewide judicial elections. Their argument got a boost this week after a federal judge rejected motions to dismiss a lawsuit brought last fall by the NAACP of Alabama and The Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The organizations filed suit against the state of Alabama and Secretary of State John Merrill. The lawsuit alleges that the practice of holding statewide elections for Alabama’s 19 appellate judges disenfranchises black voters. Instead, civil rights groups propose creating districts for elections, increasing the odds for black candidates in majority-black districts.

California: How Santa Rosa elections became a lawsuit waiting to happen | The Press Democrat

In late May, the Los Angeles Times published a story about a Malibu lawyer who was suing cities — alleging they failed to provide representation for low-income and minority neighborhoods. Using the prescriptions of the California Voting Rights Act, attorney Kevin Shenkman was finding success, and the story made clear that other California cities could expect to hear from him. His certified letter to the city of Santa Rosa arrived in mid-July. In it, Shenkman and a voting rights’ group called the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project put the City Council on notice that it could choose to fight a lawsuit or agree to district elections. On Tuesday night, the council capitulated, voting 7-0 to set in motion a process that could lead to district elections next year. Gone would be the system in which seven council members are elected citywide.

New Hampshire: Election-law lawsuit by Democratic party to become federal case | Union Leader

A lawsuit by the N.H. Democratic party to block implementation of a new election law is about to become a federal case. Lawyers for the defendants — Secretary of State William Gardner and Attorney General Gordon MacDonald — filed court motions on Thursday to have the lawsuit removed from Superior Court in Nashua and transferred to U.S. District Court in Concord. On the same day, the Democratic Party filed motions to have its lawsuit married to a virtually identical action filed by the League of Women Voters, increasing the likelihood that the lawsuits will be combined and heard in federal court.

North Carolina: Take a look at one of the country’s most blatant gerrymanders | The Washington Post

A North Carolina state senate district recently sprouted a mysterious new appendage that just happens to encompass a lawmaker’s second home. The extension, and the bipartisan approval it won in the GOP-led state legislature, is a classic example of the backroom dealing that happens when lawmakers are allowed to draw their own legislative boundaries. A little background: North Carolina Republicans redrew all of the state’s legislative maps in 2011, following the 2010 Census. Democrats immediately cried foul, contending that the maps were drawn with the express purpose of solidifying Republicans’ hold on power in the state.

Ohio: Dennis Kucinich finds Cuyahoga County Board of Elections building unlocked, no one in building | Cleveland Plain Dealer

Former Congressman Dennis Kucinich found a public back door to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections building unlocked Saturday afternoon. Kucinich said he was on his way to vote around 2:15 p.m. since the Board of Elections, which is at Euclid Avenue and East 30th Street, is typically open on a Saturday, he said. “I went to the back entrance and I entered and then the alarm went off and I said, ‘That’s odd,'” Kucinich said. He took the elevators up to the second floor and then to the third floor to tell someone that the alarm was going off, he said. “There was no one in the building,” Kucinich said. “The rear door of the Board of Elections was unlocked.”

Texas: Trump’s Justice Department wants Texas to keep invalidated voter ID law | The Texas Tribune

Continuing a dramatic reversal on voting rights under President Donald Trump, the U.S. Department of Justice is asking a federal appeals court to allow Texas to enforce a photo voter identification law that a lower court found discriminatory. In a filing Thursday, the Justice Department asked the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to block a lower court ruling that the state’s new voter identification law — Senate Bill 5, enacted this year — failed to fix intentional discrimination against minority voters found in a previous strict ID law, enacted in 2011. Last week, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos tossed SB 5, which in some ways softened the previous requirements that Texans present one of seven forms of photo ID at the polls. The new law “does not meaningfully expand the types of photo IDs that can qualify, even though the Court was clearly critical of Texas having the most restrictive list in the country,” she wrote. “Not one of the discriminatory features of [the old law] is fully ameliorated by the terms of SB 5.” The Corpus Christi judge also completely struck elements of the 2011 ID law, which SB 5 was based upon.

Vermont: Meet the 13-year-old running for Vermont governor | Burlington Free Press

Whether by design or accident, Vermont’s founders imposed no age requirement on those who could run for governor of this state. Town officials in Vermont must be legal voters, meaning they have taken the voter’s oath and are at least 18 years old. No such requirement exists for Vermont’s highest office. The constitutional quirk paved the way for Ethan Sonneborn, 13, of Bristol, to announce this summer that he’s running for governor. Eligible candidates must have simply lived in Vermont for four years before the election — “which I’ve tripled, and then some,” said Sonneborn, a 13-year resident of Vermont. The youngest governor to lead Vermont was F. Ray Keyser, Jr., who was 34 years old when he took office in 1961, according to the state Archives and Records Administration. Sonneborn, who is starting eighth grade this fall at Mount Abraham Union Middle/High School, hopes to beat that record by a good 20 years. 

Wisconsin: Voter hopes SCOTUS will revamp map drawing | CNN

Wisconsin voter Helen Harris says she hopes an upcoming Supreme Court case will revolutionize the way state and county legislators draw district maps and bring an end to a political practice she believes has gone amok. At issue is partisan gerrymandering — or the length to which legislators go when they manipulate district lines for partisan advantage.
Harris, a plaintiff in the case, has studied tortured district maps, she’s pored over legal briefs replete with raw data and mathematical calculations and she believes it all boils down to one thing: an individual’s right to vote. “I feel like I’m no longer represented,” she said in an interview.

Angola: Opposition parties call for election recount | AFP

Four opposition parties in Angola on Sunday called for a recount in last month’s general election, alleging “irregularities” during the vote that kept the ruling party in power. The MPLA party of outgoing President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos won just over 61 percent of the votes cast on 23 August and an absolute majority with 150 of the 220 seats in parliament, according to a provisional vote count. The commission is due to release the official results on Wednesday. Isaias Samakuva, head of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), read a statement to reporters saying the process to determine definitive election results “was not conducted, in a large number of cases, in accordance with the law”. The statement was signed by three other leaders of Angola’s main opposition parties.

Germany: CDU politician accuses Russia of hacking website |

A senior politician of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) lashed out at Russia after her website appeared to be hacked Sunday. Julia Klöckner, the leader of the CDU in the state of Rhineland Palatinate, said on Twitter: “Today a massive hacker attack on my homepage – with greetings from Russia. [As] if this has something to do with the election.”

Kenya: As fresh vote approaches, Kenya faces ethnic tensions | Associated Press

As gunfire and screams rang out in her Nairobi neighborhood after last month’s disputed presidential election, Lucy Anyango stepped outdoors and across a tense ethnic divide. The member of Kenya’s Luo minority went to her friend Sheila Kariuki, an ethnic Kikuyu, and walked Kariuki’s two daughters to the safety of her own home amid threats of rape and violence. Angry Luo were rampaging in the streets in protest over the loss of their opposition candidate, Raila Odinga, to President Uhuru Kenyatta, a Kikuyu. As calm began to return the next day, Kariuki thanked her friend in a heartfelt Facebook post. “I will forever be grateful,” she wrote. “As I write this my eyes are full of tears. Dear God, when will this madness ever stop?”

Editorials: Kenya’s Giant Step for Fair Elections | The New York Times

The Kenyan Supreme Court’s courageous decision to nullify the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta is a critical first for Kenya and Africa, demonstrating that democratic institutions are capable of acting independently and resolving disputes that in the past have often spilled over into violence. The ruling was also a rebuke to international monitors and diplomats — and to this page — who were too quick to dismiss charges of irregularities, largely out of relief that the Aug. 8 voting had been mainly peaceful and in the hope that disappointment with the results would not lead to the sort of violence that erupted after the disputed 2007 election, in which hundreds of people were killed.

Norway: Election security may delay results | News from Norway

As Norwegian voters head into election booths to cast their ballots, state officials have already been working for months to ensure the highest possible security around their choices for Parliament. Some of the security measures now in place may cause some delays in election results early next week, but that’s a risk the officials are willing to take. “We’ll just have to use the time it takes to count up all the ballots,” one local official told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) just after being told on Friday that all municipalities must conduct at least one manual count of all absentee and early voting and those ballots cast on Election Day next Monday. Instead of simply feeding ballots into scanners attached to the Internet, people will also count the votes.