The Voting News Weekly: The Voting News Weekly for October 16-22 2017

At a Congressional hearing, local election officials responsible for election-data rolls called for swift, bipartisan action on legislation offering new requirements and funding for states to upgrade and secure the nation’s election system from foreign and other malicious hacks. Susan Greenhalgh, an election specialist with the non-profit group Verified Voting, said the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Department of Homeland Security are meeting with the Election Assistance Commission to promote use of the NIST cybersecurity framework by state officials. 

The untimely death of former Arkansas state Rep. David Dunn, a member of President Trump’s voter fraud commission, was only one of the crises facing the fraud commission this week. Maine’s Democratic secretary of state, Matthew Dunlap complained of a lack of communication from the commission and said it was “frustrating” to learn from reporters this past weekend that a man described as a researcher for the commission — Ronald Williams II — was arrested on charges of possessing child pornography.

A New York Times editorial called on Congress to assist state’s in securing the nation’s election infrastructure from cyber threats. The editorial notes that Colorado and Rhode Island are introducing risk-limiting post election audits, West Virginia has hired a computer security expert, and Delaware is planning to get rid of it’s Shouptronic direct recording electronic voting machines.

Te Verified Voting Foundation announced that it has named voting rights lawyer and former Pennsylvania election official Marian K. Schneider as its new president. A lawyer with expertise in voting rights and election law, Schneider has extensive experience with state government administration as well as in the nonprofit social justice sector. 

Georgia took a first step toward replacing their aging Diebold touchscreen voting machines with voters in some early voting centers casting paper ballots using ES&S DS200 optical scanners and Expressvote ballot marking devices. The pilot program comes as advocates have sued to force the state to dump its all-electronic system amid fears of hacking and security breaches. And it could pave the way for the first elections system reboot in Georgia since 2002.

A panel of lawmakers decided that same day voter registration and expanded voting by mail should be considered by next year’s Indiana General Assembly. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 other states don’t allow no-excuse absentee voting. A few states send ballots by mail to every citizen. The majority of studies on Election Day voter registration found that such policies increase turnout, according to the Government Accountability Office.

Arguments concluded in a North Carolina lawsuit that targets partisan gerrymandering in general and North Carolina’s current congressional map in particular. A similar case out of Wisconsin has already been argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, and the court’s decision is pending. In Pennsylvania, advocates are trying to fast-forward court action on changing Pennsylvania’s congressional map before the 2018 elections.

After his fellow commissioner fled the country, citing threats to her life, Kenya’s top election official on Wednesday accused the nation’s political parties of undermining the country’s stability and warned that he was not confident that next week’s presidential election would be credible. Kenyans are scheduled to vote — again — for president on Oct. 26.

Venezuela’s opposition presented evidence Thursday of possible ballot tampering in gubernatorial elections, seeking to bolster its claim that its shock loss at the polls was the result of fraud. The Democratic Unity Roundtable’s claim rests on results from a single race, in industrial Bolivar state, where pro-government candidate Justo Noguera was declared the winner by just 1,471 votes over opposition candidate Andres Velasquez.