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New Hampshire: State Says ‘Miscommunication’ to Blame for Notice Telling Towns to Remove Voters from Checklists | NHPR

The Secretary of State’s office says “miscommunication” is to blame for a message that appeared to direct local officials to strike the names of some voters from checklists without notifying them first. “It was miscommunication, pure and simple,” Deputy Secretary of State Dave Scanlan said. “What should have been a very quiet summer for us has actually been incredibly busy. There are a number of groups that have filed lawsuits against the election laws, and they file those against our office — so we’re dealing with that. We’re dealing with numerous right-to-know requests. We’re trying to train election officials. There’s only so many of us that can go around. You can understand how a miscommunication can take place,” Scanlan added, “and we just have to work harder at it, that’s all.”

Full Article: State Says 'Miscommunication' to Blame for Notice Telling Towns to Remove Voters from Checklists | New Hampshire Public Radio.

New York: ‘Ballot Selfie’ law survives court challenge | Reuters

A federal judge on Thursday rejected a constitutional challenge to a New York state law barring voters from taking photographs of their marked ballots, known as “ballot selfies,” so they could post them on social media websites. U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel in Manhattan also upheld the constitutionality of a New York City Board of Elections policy barring photography at city polling places. Rejecting free speech challenges under the First Amendment, Castel said the state law was “narrowly tailored” to help thwart fraud and ensure the integrity of the election process, while the city policy was a reasonable means to limit delays at the ballot box. The judge issued his 41-page decision one month after a two-day, non-jury trial.

Full Article: New York 'ballot selfie' law survives court challenge.

North Carolina: New York Times story on Russian election hacking peeves North Carolina officials | The Washington Post

The New York Times never reported that election systems in Durham, N.C., had succumbed to Russian hacking. In fact, the story indicated straight-up that “no clear-cut evidence of digital sabotage has emerged, much less a Russian role in it.” Even so, the Sept. 2 front-page story by Nicole Perlroth, Michael Wines and Matthew Rosenberg did quote an election “troubleshooter” as saying something suspicious regarding irregularities on Election Day in Durham: “It felt like tampering, or some kind of cyberattack,” Susan Greenhalgh told the newspaper. There were indeed difficulties, as laid out in the lede of the story by Perlroth, et al. So-called e-poll books — essentially digital rolls that guide voting-day check-ins — malfunctioned, resulting in potential voters leaving in frustration or standing in line, annoyed. The state’s vendor for e-poll books was VR Systems, a Florida company that was targeted by Russian state hackers, according to a leaked document from the National Security Agency. Many accounts have concluded that VR Systems was “successfully infiltrated,” though the company disputes the characterizations. “Absolutely we deny it,” says VR Systems’s Ben Martin.

Full Article: New York Times story on Russian election hacking peeves North Carolina officials - The Washington Post.

Wisconsin: State treasurer to Legislature: Penalize Dane County for funding voter ID study | Wisconsin State Journal

Republican State Treasurer Matt Adamczyk on Wednesday called on the Legislature to penalize Dane County for funding a UW-Madison study on the effects of the state’s voter ID law. Dane County spent $55,000 on the study by UW-Madison political science professor Ken Mayer. It concluded nearly 17,000 registered voters in Dane and Milwaukee counties may have been deterred from voting in November because of the controversial law. In a statement, Adamczyk called the taxpayer expenditure “a complete waste of money” partly because nearly three in four of those surveyed lived in Milwaukee County. He called for cutting $55,000 in shared revenue Dane County receives from the state in the next budget. The county receives about $3.9 million in shared revenue.

Full Article: State treasurer to Legislature: Penalize Dane County for funding voter ID study | Politics and Elections | host.madison.com.

Iraq: Thousands of attempts to crash e-voting site for Kurdistan referendum “failed,” developer says | Kurdistan24

The company who developed the website for people in the Diaspora to cast their ballot in the Kurdistan Referendum announced it had successfully stopped thousands of attempts to take down the e-voting site. Speaking to Kurdistan 24, Gohdar Jadir Ibrahim, Director of Awrosoft Company, the website developer responsible for the Kurdistan Referendum e-voting portal, confirmed there were hacking attempts to prevent people of the Kurdistan Region in the Diaspora from voting, but that they had “all failed.” “In three days, we received 815,000 visits. 

Full Article: Thousands of attempts to crash e-voting site for Kurdistan referendum "failed," developer says.

Japan: Abe faces new challenge as he calls snap election | The Washington Post

A surge of popularity for a freshly minted opposition party in Japan is making Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s decision to call a snap election look riskier than initially thought. Abe dissolved the lower house of parliament Thursday, setting the stage for an Oct. 22 vote. The Party of Hope, launched earlier this week by Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, may not dethrone Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party but analysts say it could put a dent in the LDP’s majority. A major setback could derail Abe’s presumed hope to extend his rule for three more years at a party leadership meeting next year. Minutes after the lower house dissolution, Abe made a fiery speech to party members. He said he is seeking a public mandate on his tough diplomatic and defense policies to deal with escalating threats from North Korea, and that party members would have to relay his message to win voter support during the campaign.

Full Article: Japan’s Abe faces new challenge as he calls snap election - The Washington Post.

Liberia: Elections Violence Overwhelming Liberia, Liberians In Great Fear For Elections Result Acceptance | GNN

Since the start of political campaigns around the country for elected positions in the pending October 10, 2017 general and presidential elections, the news of election violence seems to be overwhelming as many supporters of political parties continue to breed confusion during their exercises. Uncountable elections temptations are been reported each day with one party and the others are said to be at each other’s throat with their supporters reportedly inciting what many considered as elections violence, a situation if not carefully handled may lead to a  serious crisis during this period.

Full Article: Elections Violence Overwhelming Liberia, Liberians In Great Fear For Elections Result Acceptance -.

National: Democratic election task force to hear from Obama Homeland Security chief | The Hill

A task force of congressional Democrats is slated to meet with an Obama-era Homeland Security secretary this week as part of an ongoing effort to address cyber threats to election infrastructure. The election security task force announced that it will host a public forum on Thursday featuring Jeh Johnson, who led the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under the Obama administration. News of the forum comes days after the DHS notified nearly two dozen states that they were targeted by Russian hackers ahead of the 2016 presidential election. It was Johnson who was responsible for engaging with state-level officials on cybersecurity ahead of the election last year. The department offered voluntary cybersecurity assistance to states to shore up their systems ahead of the vote.

Full Article: Dem election task force to hear from Obama Homeland Security chief | TheHill.

Wisconsin: State to end use of ballot-counting machine that had flaw highlighted in recount | Wisconsin State Journal

State elections officials plan to end the use of a type of ballot-tabulation machine after the statewide 2016 recount linked the machine to vote-counting discrepancies in the last election. State elections commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to de-certify the machine, the Optech Eagle, immediately after the 2018 election. The commission also required that if those machines are used in a recount before then, a hand recount would be required. A Wisconsin State Journal analysis of the recount results, published in January, highlighted the problems. The Optech Eagle, which processed about 10.6 percent of the ballots in the state, produced a higher error rate than other machines — likely because some voters didn’t comply with instructions to use a certain kind of ink or pencil to mark their ballots.

National: Big stakes in high court fight over partisan political maps | Associated Press

Democrats and Republicans are poised for a Supreme Court fight about political line-drawing with the potential to alter the balance of power across a country starkly divided between the two parties. The big question at the heart of next week’s high court clash is whether there can be too much politics in the inherently political task of drawing electoral districts. The Supreme Court has never struck down a districting plan because it was too political. The test case comes from Wisconsin, where Democratic voters sued after Republicans drew political maps in 2011 that entrenched their hold on power in a state that is essentially evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. “It could portend massive changes in our electoral system,” Washington lawyer Christopher Landau said, if the court for the first time imposes limits on extreme partisan gerrymandering, or redistricting. Courts have struck down racially discriminatory maps for decades.

Full Article: Big stakes in high court fight over partisan political maps - StarTribune.com.

National: Facebook isn’t consulting the experts to fight Russian election meddling on its platform | Quartz

There’s a crop of experts in Washington, DC with decades of experience in running campaigns and writing legislation, who are trying to keep America’s elections free and fair. They can be found at Democracy 21, founded by veteran campaign-finance lawyer Fred Wertheimer; at the government transparency group Sunlight Foundation; at Issue One, which aims to keep outside groups from hijacking elections; in the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign donations; and the at the Campaign Legal Center, which hopes to give regular Americans more of a voice in elections. Outside the capital, New York University’s Brennan Center looks at voting rights and elections. As Facebook grapples with how Russia may have used its platform to influence the US election, however, it hasn’t reached out to a single one of these organizations, representatives from the groups told Quartz this week. A Facebook spokesman said he had no more information to offer than was already public on the situation.

Full Article: Facebook & Russia: Mark Zuckerberg isn't calling the experts to fight meddling on his platform — Quartz.

National: 7 Senators Demand To Know If DOJ Is Involved With Trump Fraud Probe | HuffPost

Seven Democratic senators on Tuesday asked the Department of Justice to explain any involvement it has with President Donald Trump’s commission convened to investigate voter fraud. Justice Department officials have said it has no involvement with the commission, which Trump created in May. But in a Tuesday letter, Democrats said two incidents made them suspicious. In June, the department sent an unusual letter to 44 states asking them for information on their practices for purging voters from the rolls. The same day, the voter fraud panel sent out a request to all 50 states for sensitive voter information. Earlier this month, a public records request by the Campaign Legal Center revealed that a February email from Hans von Spakovsky, a commission member, was forwarded to the Department of Justice with instructions for U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to read it. In the email, von Spakovsky said Democrats shouldn’t be appointed to the commission and lamented it also might be filled with Republicans whose views were too mainstream.

Full Article: 7 Senators Demand To Know If DOJ Is Involved With Trump Voter Fraud Probe | HuffPost.

Alabama: Merrill says Dems who illegally vote Tuesday could face jail time | Alabama Today

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said he’s received reports from several voting locations where Alabamians who voted in the Aug. 15 Democratic primary were attempting to cast ballots in Tuesday’s GOP runoff. According to Alabama state law, that’s considered voter fraud and is illegal. State residents are prohibited to vote in one party’s primary and later voting in the other party’s runoff election. The process, deemed “crossover voting,” was made illegal earlier this year in an attempt to limit cross-party candidate selection as Alabamians are not required to register to a specific party to vote, but may only vote in one party’s primary.

Full Article: Merrill says Dems who illegally vote Tuesday could face jail time.

California: San Luis Obispo County voting won’t change due to cyber security | The Tribune

Citing concerns about election cyber security, San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong has decided to keep neighborhood polling places with an option to vote by mail in 2018, opting out of a state test of an all-vote-by-mail system. Gong said the new model that also would have included a handful of voting centers to be open for multiple days — and expected to increase voter participation and save money — may be implemented for the presidential primaries in March 2020. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill to modernize California elections a year ago. Fourteen counties, including San Luis Obispo, were offered a chance to participate in 2018. So far, Sacramento, Nevada, Napa and San Mateo counties decided to make the switch, according to the State Secretary of State Office.

Full Article: SLO County voting won't change due to cyber security | The Tribune.

Indiana: Lawmakers set to propose voting by mail, same-day registration | WISH-TV

At the summer study committee on election laws, it was announced lawmakers are planning to file bills for same-day voter registration and the ability to vote by mail. While we don’t have details on these bills there were plenty of suggestions on improving voting laws. In a time where many issues can cause divide, some want election laws to be different. “Voting in elections should be among the most inclusion activities we experience as Hoosiers,” said Julia Vaughn with the organization Common Cause. “Our assumption should be that people want to participate.”

Full Article: Indiana lawmakers set to propose voting by mail, same-day registration | WISH-TV.

Louisiana: Felon voting-rights case appeal lands at Baton Rouge court | The Advocate

Ashanti Witherspoon served 27 years at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola for armed robbery and has been on parole since 1999, but because Louisiana law bars him from voting until his parole expires in 2045, he was on hand at a Baton Rouge appeals court Wednesday where documents were filed challenging the law’s legality. The 1976 state law prohibits roughly 71,000 felons on probation and parole from voting. “I’ve campaigned for people, but I can’t vote,” Witherspoon, 68, of Baker, said inside the state 1st Circuit Court of Appeal. Witherspoon is a pastor, minister, motivational speaker and husband. “We’ll sit down and discuss the issues,” he said of his wife during election times. “I drive her to the place where she votes.” Witherspoon is one of the plaintiffs who filed suit against the state in an effort to have the four-decade-old law struck down.

Full Article: Felon voting-rights case appeal lands at Baton Rouge court | Courts | theadvocate.com.

New Hampshire: State Sends Mixed Signals to Towns on Rules for Removing Voters from Checklists | NHPR

The Secretary of State’s office had to backtrack this week on its instructions about how to handle voters flagged through the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck System. It initially suggested local checklist supervisors could remove people from local rolls without notifying them first. The Crosscheck system is a multi-state database that’s been promoted as a tool to catch potential cases of voter fraud — in part, because it’s designed to flag people who are registered in multiple states. New Hampshire agreed to join the program last year. (The system has been championed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the chair of the Trump administration’s election commission who recently came under fire for alleging that out-of-state voters swayed the outcome of New Hampshire’s elections.)

Full Article: State Sends Mixed Signals to N.H. Towns on Rules for Removing Voters from Checklists | New Hampshire Public Radio.

New York: Jared Kushner Registered To Vote As a Woman | WIRED

Since moving into his White House office months ago, Jared Kushner—senior adviser and son-in-law to the President, savior of the Middle East, and possible person of interest in a federal investigation—has amassed a rather extensive project portfolio. The issues under Kushner’s purview include negotiating peace between Israel and Palestine, fixing the opioid crisis, updating technology across the entire federal government, and spearheading criminal justice reform, to name just a few. It seems like a nearly impossible set of challenges for anyone to tackle, and even more so for Kushner. Because in addition to not having any previous government experience, the former real estate exec has demonstrated repeated difficulty filling out simple, routine forms correctly. This includes his own voter registration form. According to the records held by the New York State Board of Elections, Jared Corey Kushner is a woman. Is Kushner a woman? Did he just accidentally fill out the form incorrectly? Is he the victim of a malicious voter impersonation scheme? Unfortunately, there’s absolutely no way to know for sure, because he has yet to provide WIRED with a comment. But based on his recent history with paperwork, option two seems like a pretty safe bet.

Full Article: Jared Kushner Registered To Vote As a Woman | WIRED.

Ohio: Maintenance of Butler County voting machines raises concerns | Journal-News

The Butler County commissioners are concerned the Board of Elections dropped a maintenance contract on its 1,600 voting machines, presumably because they thought they would be getting new ones soon. Commissioner Don Dixon said he understood the Board of Elections may have been trying to save money — the maintenance agreement costs about $85,000 a year — if they thought the voting machines would be replaced soon, but that’s not the case. “If they are under the impression that this equipment is going to be changed out in the next months, I think they are operating under the wrong assumption,” said Dixon, who added that an 85/15 funding bill from the state would not happen until 2018 or 2019. Butler County has about 1,600 voting machines — 150 are currently broken but are used for spare parts, according to the Board of Elections — that are 12 years old.

Full Article: Maintenance of Butler County voting machines raises concerns.

Ohio: New congressional redistricting method could be on ballot by next year | WCMH

Who should control the drawing of congressional district maps is at stake as Republican leadership at the statehouse come together to create a panel of four lawmakers who could develop a new method by the end of the year. For months, an effort supported by the League of Women Voters has been underway to gather signatures so a ballot issue could be placed before the people of Ohio. The measure would be similar to one introduced a few years ago. In 2015, voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot issue that restructured how the General Assembly districts will be drawn starting in 2021. To get to that point, four lawmakers sat down and hashed out a plan over a three-hour meeting; though to hear State Senator Matt Huffman tell the story, it was mostly himself and Vernon Sykes working out the details with some help from the other two men in the room, Keith Faber and Joe Schiavoni; this after hearing testimony from the public, of course.

Full Article: New congressional redistricting method could be on ballot by next year | NBC4i.com.