National: Virginia Elections Official to Testify Before Congress About Concerns of Electronic Voting Machine Vulnerabilities | NBC

Congress will question Virginia’s top elections official Wednesday about a decision he made weeks before this year’s election to prevent votes from being hacked. Virginia Department of Elections Commissioner Edgardo Cortes recommended removing all touchscreen voting machines and using paper ballots over concerns the electronic machines could be vulnerable to hackers trying to infiltrate Virginia’s election system. The U.S. House Oversight Committee called Cortes to testify and explain his decision Wednesday as part of a hearing on voting system vulnerabilities.

National: Gerrymandering opponents turn to ballot initiatives to redraw lines | The Hill

Advocates of radically overhauling partisan gerrymandering are increasingly looking to ballot initiatives to reform the redistricting process, in hopes of circumventing recalcitrant legislatures. Supporters of a proposal to create a nonpartisan redistricting commission in Michigan say they will turn in more than 400,000 signatures by the end of the year. They need 315,000 of those signatures to be valid in order to qualify for next year’s ballot. In Ohio, a coalition of organizations is in the process of collecting the 305,591 valid signatures they need to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot. And in Colorado, another coalition plans two ballot initiatives — one that would reform congressional redistricting, and another to reform legislative redistricting.

Full Article: Gerrymandering opponents turn to ballot initiatives to redraw lines | TheHill.

Editorials: You can’t hack paper ballots | Paul Campbell/Buffalo Reflex

Recently in this column I wrote about the problems with a cashless society, and today I am talking about the hazards of a paperless voting system. I’m sure this looks to some like I am anti-technology, but I’m not. All technologies — from television sets to the Internet — have their downsides, and these should be explored as objectively as possible. Everyone should read an excellent article on this subject in the December issue of The Atlantic magazine. The story, by Jill Leovy, is about Barbara Simons, 76, who has been an ardent fan of paper ballots for the past two decades. Just about everybody, including the League of Women Voters and the ACLU, passed her off as a crackpot for years. In the aftermath of the alleged Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election, however, the guardians of our voting system are taking a second look at Simons’ ideas. It should be noted that Simons, now retired, was a computer engineer for decades.

Full Article: You can’t hack paper ballots | News |

Colorado: State first to complete new kind of election audit | Craig Daily Press

Colorado has become the first state in the country to complete a risk-limiting audit, or RLA, designed to catch mistakes when ballots are tabulated, and Moffat County was part of the successful test that garnered national interest. “It went really great — better than expected,” said Deputy Election Clerk Amanda Tomlinson. “The processes took over a year of preparation with the secretary of state and learning to use the RLA tool.” The RLA is a procedure that provides strong statistical evidence that an election outcome is correct and has a high probability of correcting an erroneous outcome. It requires humans to examine and verify more ballots in close races and fewer ballots in races with wide margins.

Full Article: Colorado, Moffat County first to complete new kind of election audit |

Montana: At Secretary of State’s behest, county elections delves into ballot rejection process | The Missoulian

The May special election to find Montana’s new congressional representative just keeps coming back into play. Tuesday, Missoula County Elections Administrator Rebecca Connors told the County Commission about her office’s survey into their handling of rejected ballots. The survey was done at the request of Secretary of State Corey Stapleton, who, according to Connors asked the same of each Montana county elections office. And if the local offices didn’t want to, his office would. Stapleton’s request for the surveys came after an email exchange between him and Connors that was made public after the commissioners decided to respond. In the emails, Stapleton accused Missoula County of not taking voter fraud seriously and asked “why 91 illegal signatures on mail ballots are once again going to be silently set aside on the shelf of indifference.”

Full Article: At Secretary of State's behest, county elections delves into ballot rejection process | Local |

Montana: Stapleton Now Says No Evidence Of Voter Fraud | MTPR

Montana’s secretary of state said Tuesday that he’s looked into whether there was election fraud during this May’s special election and hasn’t seen any evidence showing a coordinated effort to cast mismatched, or illegal, signatures on ballots. Secretary of State Corey Stapleton raised the issue of potential voter fraud in August. At a meeting with state lawmakers, he said that just because it hasn’t happened in Montana before doesn’t mean it’s not happening now. But in a Tuesday afternoon phone conference with clerks, Stapleton said that after examining results from a survey of illegal ballots from the May 25 special election, he now believes Montana has a healthy election system that could use some improvement.

Full Article: Stapleton Now Says No Evidence Of Voter Fraud | MTPR.

New Hampshire: Amendment would raise bar for voting eligibility in New Hampshire | Concord Monitor

A late amendment to a bill that would limit voting to New Hampshire residents passed a Senate committee Tuesday, setting the stage for a new political battle in the Legislature next session over voting requirements. The proposed change would require residency in the state, setting a higher bar for eligibility than present election law, which requires only that voters be “domiciled.” Democrats were quick to condemn the move, calling it an attempt to suppress voting that would effectively target college students. Under current law, being domiciled means physically occupying a space in the state “more than any other place.” Residency carries stronger burdens of proof, such as utility bills or rental, and one of the consequences of declaring residency is that new residents must register their cars in New Hampshire and get state-issued driver’s licenses.

Full Article: Amendment would raise bar for voting eligibility in New Hampshire.

New Mexico: Judge promises ruling Wednesday in ranked-choice voting case | Santa Fe New Mexican

It’s double overtime for the ranked-choice voting case that might turn the city of Santa Fe’s 2018 election on its head. After a daylong hearing Tuesday, state District Court Judge David Thomson said he would rule Wednesday morning on a petition brought by a group of advocates who want to force the city to use the long-delayed ranking mechanism in March, when voters will choose a full-time mayor. The state’s top election officials say the ranked-choice software module is ready. City attorneys, however, say it’s too late to change the rules — and dropped in the curveball argument Tuesday that a ranked-choice election might violate the state constitution.

Full Article: Judge promises ruling Wednesday in ranked-choice voting case | Local News |

New York: Lawmakers: Election Hacking Will Be Long-Term Challenge | Associated Press

Officials say New York managed to dodge Russian hacking attempts last year — and they’re aiming to keep it that way. Lawmakers at a hearing on election security Tuesday said the state must take steps to protect the democratic process because the risk of hacking is here to stay. Possibilities include statewide cybersecurity guidelines for county election boards and more aggressive auditing of ballots after an election to look for discrepancies. “We know now the cyberattacks were part of a comprehensive effort by Putin’s Russia,” said Assemblyman Charles Lavine, a Democrat from Long Island and the chairman of the Committee on Election Law. “These attacks were not aberrations. Only the most naive and/or the most corrupt would believe they will not continue into the future.”

Full Article: Lawmakers: Election Hacking Will Be Long-Term Challenge | New York News | US News.

Virginia: State Board of Elections certifies disputed Fredericksburg-area results despite 147 people voting in the wrong House race | Richmond Post-Dispatch

Virginia’s State Board of Elections on Monday certified the results of two Fredericksburg-area House of Delegates elections, despite Democrats asking the board to delay the process because 147 people voted in the wrong House district. The elections board’s 3-0 vote to certify the results showing Republicans winning the 28th and 88th District races does not finalize the outcome. But it closes an initial, chaotic chapter in the legal battle over a close 28th District race that could decide which party controls the House after Democrats picked up at least 15 seats in a wave election on Nov. 7.

Full Article: State Board of Elections certifies disputed Fredericksburg-area results despite 147 people voting in the wrong House race | Virginia Politics |

Editorials: Wisconsin Assembly Bill Runs Afoul of Federal Court Decision Protecting Early Voting | One Wisconsin Institute

A public hearing on Assembly Bill 637 today underscores serious flaws in the proposal that put it at odds with a federal court decision protecting early voting. Under the the bill municipalities would be allowed to use electronic voting machines to process early votes. But additional provisions would require different processes for counting early votes depending on where the vote is cast and re-impose restrictions on dates and times of early voting to eliminate weekend and some evening hours.

Full Article: Assembly Bill Runs Afoul of Federal Court Decision Protecting Early Voting | One Wisconsin Institute.

Germany: Spy agency attacks Facebook and others for failing to tackle fake news | AFP

The head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency has accused US tech giants such as Facebook of failing to take enough responsibility for content on their sites, undermining democracy by not distinguishing between fact and opinion. “Today we are discovering a ‘fifth estate’ that makes claims but up until now does not want to take any social responsibility,” Hans-Georg Maassen told a conference on cybersecurity organised by Germany’s Handelsblatt daily. “These are huge digital companies that only see themselves as conveyors of information and hide behind the legal privileges enjoyed by platforms because they do not want to take over editorial verification of their content.” Germany has been a leading proponent of stricter regulation of social media networks, passing a law in June to introduce fines of up to €50m ($59.67m) if they fail to remove hateful postings promptly.

Full Article: German spy agency attacks Facebook and others for failing to tackle fake news | World news | The Guardian.

Honduras: Ex-Sportscaster Takes Lead Over President | The New York Times

As Honduras counted votes on Monday in its presidential election, Salvador Nasralla, a former sportscaster representing a left-wing alliance, took an early lead over President Juan Orlando Hernández, an unexpected development that could reshuffle the country’s political forces if the trend holds. A victory by Mr. Nasralla would be a sharp rebuke to Mr. Hernández, an authoritarian who has maneuvered to take control over most of the country’s fragile institutions. On Monday, Mr. Nasralla began to take on the role of a president-elect, granting a radio interview to outline his policies and leading a rally of supporters in Tegucigalpa, the capital.

Full Article: In Honduras Election, Ex-Sportscaster Takes Lead Over President - The New York Times.

Ireland: As crisis deepens, Ireland on the verge of snap election | Reuters

Ireland was on the verge of a snap election on Monday after the opposition party propping up the minority government said the deputy prime minister’s refusal to quit would force the country to the polls next month. The political crisis that deepened dramatically late on Monday has left the country’s two main parties with less than 24 hours to head off a general election in a dispute that cast a shadow over a key Brexit summit next month. Ireland will play a major role at the meeting, telling EU leaders whether it believes sufficient progress has been made on the future of the border between EU-member Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland. The pressure on Deputy Prime Minister Frances Fitzgerald of Varadkar’s Fine Gael party mounted on Monday following the release of fresh documents about her disputed handling of a police whistleblower who alleged corruption in the force.

Full Article: Ireland on the verge of snap election as crisis deepens.

Italy: Facebook to help Italy prevent fake news ahead of 2018 election | The Week

Italy’s anti-establishment 5-Star Movement is calling on international observers to help prevent “fake news” in the run-up to the country’s 2018 general election. Party leader Luigi Di Maio made the plea yesterday following allegations by the ruling Democratic Party (PD) that 5-Star supporters were using interlinked internet accounts to spread misinformation and smear the center-left government, says Reuters. Di Maio, whose party is leading the polls, wrote in a Facebook message: “The problem of fake news exists and we think it is necessary to have the OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] monitor news and political debate during the election campaign.” 

Full Article: Facebook to help Italy prevent fake news ahead of 2018 election | The Week UK.

Virginia: State elections board certifies two contested legislative races in Virginia despite election irregularities | The Washington Post

Virginia’s Board of Elections on Monday unanimously certified two state legislative races — in which 147 voters cast ballots in the wrong district — in favor of the Republicans in both contests. The decision means that Republicans control 51 seats in the House of Delegates while Democrats control 49. The action shuts down one potential route, but it does not end Democrats’ hopes to win control of the chamber. In letters sent over the weekend, Democrats had urged the Democratic-controlled board to hold off on certification because of the irregularities, particularly since one of the two races — in District 28 — was a squeaker that could determine which party takes charge of the House.

Full Article: State elections board certifies two contested legislative races in Virginia despite election irregularities - The Washington Post.

National: Russian hacking: FBI failed to tell US officials their email was targeted | The Guardian

The FBI failed to notify scores of US officials that Russian hackers were trying to break into their personal Gmail accounts despite having evidence for at least a year, an investigation found. The Associated Press dedicated two months and a small team of reporters to go through a hit list of targets of Fancy Bear, a Russian government-aligned cyberespionage group, that was provided by the cybersecurity firm Secureworks. Previous investigations based on the list had shown how Fancy Bear worked in close alignment with the Kremlin’s interests to steal tens of thousands of emails from the Democratic party. The hacking campaign disrupted the 2016 US election and cast a shadow over the presidency of Donald Trump, whom US intelligence agencies say the hackers were trying to help. The Russian government has denied interfering in the American election. The special counsel Robert Mueller is leading an investigation into alleged collusion between Trump aides and Russia. Indictments have been made.

Full Article: Russian hacking: FBI failed to tell US officials their email was targeted | US news | The Guardian.

Editorials: The Cyber Attacks on Democracy | Juan C. Zarate/InsideSources

The investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election continue to reveal a full-scale assault on American democracy. From sophisticated social media efforts and traditional information operations to attempted hacks of voter rolls and state electoral systems, the Russians engaged in a campaign to undermine American democracy. This is not the only time they have engaged in such activity. In countries like the Netherlands, Ukraine and France, the Russians have used influence operations to affect political campaigns and candidates, and to attack perceived opponents of Vladimir Putin’s Russia and support those more sympathetic to Russian interests. The Russians have decided to do this to achieve three complementary goals. They want to undermine faith and confidence in democracy and its institutions from within; exacerbate social and political divisions advantageous to Russian interests; and obfuscate or confuse the truth and amplify narratives that align with Russian interests, even when patently false.

Full Article: The Cyber Attacks on Democracy – InsideSources.

Editorials: A district judge might be handing Trump a chance to supercharge voter suppression | Richard Hasen/Slate

This could be a very bad week for voting rights in the United States. On Friday, a federal consent decree to stop potential voter suppression by the Republican National Committee—in place since 1982—is set to expire unless further extended by a federal district court in New Jersey. What happens next, with Donald Trump in charge of the Republican Party, will likely not be pretty. In 1981, the Democratic National Committee sued the RNC over its rival’s “ballot security” measures, which the Democrats alleged were aimed at suppressing minority voters.

Full Article: Donald Trump will supercharge voter suppression if the RNC consent decree falls..

Alabama: Secretary of state says some voters wrongly told they are not registered |

The Alabama Secretary of State’s office said today it has learned that some voters are receiving erroneous messages telling them that they are not registered to vote when, in fact, they are registered. Two organizations that are contacting voters said they are not sending erroneous message. Secretary of State John Merrill’s office sent out a press release about the erroneous messages today. Some erroneous messages are coming from people who claim to be members of the NAACP and of Open Progress, the secretary of state’s office said.

Full Article: Secretary of state says some voters wrongly told they are not registered |