The Voting News Weekly: The Voting News Weekly for November 13-19 2017

Buzzfeed took a look at improvements to the security of the nation’s voting system and found, while some efforts have been made, it is unclear that enough has been done to make sure a future hacking effort won’t succeed. “We’re not doing very well,” Alex Halderman, a renowned election security expert, told BuzzFeed News. “Most of the problems that existed in 2016 are as bad or worse now, and in fact unless there is some action at a national policy level, I don’t expect things will change very much before the 2018 election.”

One bright spot is Colorado’s decision to conduct post-election risk-limiting audits. Audits of the November 7th election are underway and are drawing attention from around the country. “It’s a huge deal in the election world,” said Lynn Bartels, spokeswoman for the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, which is implementing the audit. Rhode Island will also be conducting risk-limiting audits next year. Reflecting on the importance of post election audits, Susan Greenhalgh, vice president of programs for Verified Voting, observed “[t]his is providing transparency in the election process, verifiability for the voters and increasing voter confidence that … their votes were counted correctly. Considering the new world that we live in, it is very important that we implement these types of programs.”

With Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore facing numerous accusations of child sexual abuse, national party leaders have explored various options to avoid the special election scheduled for December 12. Gov. Kay Ivey, who has proclaimed her steadfast support for Moore, has rejected various proposed schemes, including re-scheduling the election and forcing a new special election through the resignation of appointed interim Senator Luther Strange.

In a letter sent tis wee, the ACLU warned Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan that state agencies are systematically violating the National Voter Registration Act, burdening and impeding voter registration among minorities. The 15-page letter, a required precursor to a lawsuit under the NVRA, cites ACLU analysis of voter registration and public assistance data, policies, and practices, and interviews with public assistance employees and recipients.

Stanford University law professor Nathaniel Persily filed preliminary House and Senate redistricting plans, as the first step in a court-ordered  process to redraw some North Carolina legislative districts that were determined to be unconstitutional. Persily also requested formal responses from Republican legislative leaders who originally drew the boundaries and from voters who successfully sued over them.

A federal appeals court on Monday revived a lawsuit against Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted that was filed by blind voters claiming the state’s paper absentee ballots illegally force them to rely on others to vote. Overruling a District Court decision, a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declared that a district court judge must consider factual claims contending that Ohio deprives them of their equal opportunity to vote privately and independently.

A federal judge denied a motion from Democrat Josh Cole on Friday that would have forced the county’s electoral board to count 55 late-arriving absentee ballots in a tightly contested House of Delegates race in the 28th District. Republican Bob Thomas leads in the race by 82 votes, and the contest is one of three around the state that could head to a recount and determine control of the House — Republicans are currently holding onto a 51-49 majority.

Kaspersky, the Russian cybersecurity company accused of helping the Kremlin spy on the U.S. intelligence agencies as part of its 2016 election meddling, has launched an internet voting system. Not surprisingly, the systems, called Polys, is not being marketed in the US.

A Swiss lawmaker with experience in computer science has proposed offering financial rewards to hackers who are successful in breaching the country’s internet voting system. Radical Party parliamentarian Marcel Dobler is calling on the government to subject online voting systems to stress tests, in a structured process open to public view.