National: Appeals court skeptical of privacy-focused suit against Trump fraud panel | Politico

An appeals court gave a skeptical reception Tuesday to a lawsuit claiming that President Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission violated federal law by failing to study the privacy impact of a demand for voter rolls and other personal data on millions of Americans. During oral arguments, a three-judge panel from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals didn’t say much about the possibility that the President’s Advisory Committee on Election Integrity violated a requirement Congress created in 2002 that federal agencies conduct a “privacy impact assessment” before embarking on collection of data on individuals. Instead, the judges repeatedly questioned whether the organization pressing the suit — the Electronic Privacy Information Center — had legal standing to pursue the case.

Alabama: Secretary of State: “Crossover Voters will not be prosecuted” | WHNT

For months now we have been wondering what will happen to the 674 people identified by the Alabama Secretary of State’s office as potential crossover voters. Friday afternoon, we finally got the answer. Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill has confirmed that none of those voters will be prosecuted. Over 600 voters were accused of illegally attempting to vote in the Republican Senate runoff on September 26 after casting ballots in the Democratic Senate primary on August 15. “Those individuals will be investigated, indicted, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Merrill told WHNT News 19 one day after the runoff between Luther Strange and Roy Moore.

Florida: Bill to protect voter info filed in both houses | Florida Politics

A bill that would shield the personal information of voters and preregistered minor voter registration applicants has been filed in both houses of the Legislature as of Monday. Rep. Cyndi Stevenson is carrying the House version (HB 761), while Sen. Tom Lee is carrying the Senate iteration (SB 532). The bill would exempt the “legal residential address, date of birth, telephone number, and e-mail address of a voter registration applicant or voter” from public records requirements, in addition to “information concerning preregistered voter registration applicants who are 16 or 17 years of age.”

Illinois: Divided vote keeps Illinois in Crosscheck voter database | Chicago Tribune

The State Board of Elections on Monday rejected an effort to remove Illinois from the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, leaving the state in a controversial system aimed at flagging voters registered in multiple states. The 4-4 split along partisan lines pitted election officials’ desires to have accurate voter rolls against concerns the system can be inaccurate and vulnerable to hackers looking for personal information — with a dash of political intrigue on the side. Republicans voted against leaving the system at Monday’s election board meeting, and Democrats were for it. Illinois is among more than two dozen states participating in the program known as Crosscheck. But the program has drawn increasing criticism after other states have wiped out voter registrations based solely on its findings without following procedures spelled out in federal voting rights laws. Because Monday’s vote was tied, the state remains in the program

Pennsylvania: Former election czar was fired, records show | Philadelphia Inquirer

The former head of the Pennsylvania Department of State didn’t resign on his own but appears to have been ousted by Gov. Wolf, according to newly released documents. In an email he wrote to the governor on the day of his Oct. 11 resignation, Pedro Cortes indicated he didn’t know why he was being forced from office. “I have done a great deal of soul searching in the last 24 hours,” Cortes wrote. “I remain at a lost [sic] to understand why you would dispense with my services without sharing with me concerns you had about my professional performance or personal life.” “Wished I had that opportunity,” Cortes wrote. 

Editorials: Texas needs to be prepared for more election hack attempts | San Antonio Express-News

The reasons remain unclear, but Russian-linked hackers targeted two Texas agencies during the 2016 presidential election. The hackers never accessed networks for the Department of Public Safety and the Texas Library and State Archives Commission, but the search for vulnerabilities by a foreign government is deeply disturbing. The Department of Homeland Security has included Texas in a group of 21 states that Russian hackers targeted during the run-up to the election. Just why DPS or the state’s library archive would be election targets is unclear. Although a Homeland Security official told Express-News reporter Allie Morris that in general terms, the hackers may have been looking for network vulnerabilities that could later be exploited in election systems. In other words, this might have been something akin to a practice run.

Virginia: State officials decide not to certify two House races amid claims that voters got the wrong ballots | The Washington Post

Virginia’s Board of Elections voted unanimously Monday to delay certification of two House races, amid new claims that dozens of voters got the wrong ballot in a tight contest that could determine control of the legislature’s lower chamber. The board called a “time out” after state Elections Commissioner Edgardo Cortés announced that in April 2016, Fredericksburg registrar Juanita Pitchford erroneously assigned 83 voters from the 28th House District to the 88th. It was not clear how many of the 83 voters actually cast ballots on Nov. 7, but the 28th District race is tight. Republican Robert Thomas leads Democrat Joshua Cole by 82 votes in the contest to fill the seat held by retiring Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford).

Wisconsin: Elections officials hoping to restore jobs that were cut | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Wisconsin Elections Commission asked for three more workers Monday because it has seen its staff cut by 28% over two years. In the most recent round of cuts, Gov. Scott Walker in September used his veto powers to eliminate five jobs from the agency. In all, six jobs were lost because lawmakers had already agreed to trim one position. Since 2015, the agency has lost 10 positions, reducing its ranks from 36 to 26. “These realities pose a risk to the smooth administration of elections in Wisconsin, and also create a greater challenge for the agency and local election offiicials to meet their legal obligations to fully implement federal and state laws,” Michael Haas, the administrator of the Elections Commission, wrote in a recent memo. 

Chile: Chile just went to the polls — and transformed its legislature | The Washington Post

On Sunday, for the seventh time since Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship ended, Chileans went to the polls to elect a president and National Congress. Only 46 percent of those eligible to vote actually did so, one of the lowest turnouts in the country’s history. In the presidential race, no candidate won a full majority, which means there will be a runoff, scheduled for Dec. 17. Although most opinion polls had shown right-wing billionaire and former president Sebastián Piñera with a clear lead of between 42 and 47 percent, the latest results show he received only 36.6 percent of the ballots. The next-place candidate, Sen. Alejandro Guillier, the center-left candidate, received just under 23 percent. Perhaps more significant than the presidential first round was the transformation of Congress. This was the first time Chile has gone to the polls since major electoral reforms. Voters weighed in on all the members of the legislature’s lower house, and almost half the Senate. What were the results?

Germany: Merkel prefers fresh elections over minority government | Deutsche Welle

German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on Monday that she was ready to take her Christian Democratic (CDU) party into fresh elections after coalition talks with the Green party and pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) failed over the weekend. “I’m very skeptical,” about leading a minority government, Merkel told public broadcaster ZDF. The center-right politician said she was ready to lead Germany for four more years, but that she felt a majority government was necessary for stability in her country and Europe. Merkel’s statement does not necessarily mean Germany is headed for snap elections. First, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will approach other parties to see if a last-ditch coalition can be cobbled together.

Nepal: Nepal gears up for elections amid fears of violence | Gulf Times

Nepali voters will head to polling stations across their northern Himalayan districts next Sunday in the first phase of general elections, taking a significant step forward in establishing a federal democracy in the country. The polls will take place under a new constitution passed by lawmakers in September 2015 as part of a peace process that began with the end of a decade-long civil war in 2006. The war pitted the Maoists against the state and left more than 16,000 people dead. After Maoist rebels gave up their arms, they joined the parliamentary system, resulting in Nepal shifting from a monarchy to a secular federal republic.

United Kingdom: UK to step up investigation into big tech’s Russia ties | Financial Times

MPs are stepping up their inquiry into fake news in an effort to extract answers from Facebook and Twitter about the extent of Russian interference in last year’s EU referendum and this year’s UK general election. Russian entities are known to have bought adverts on Facebook and generated election-related content before Donald Trump won last year’s US presidential election, while authorities in France and Germany have said their elections were also targeted.