The Voting News Weekly: The Voting News Weekly for November 27 – December 3 2017

The House Oversight Committee’s subcommittees on information technology and intergovernmental affairs heard testimony from voting experts and election officials about efforts underway to secure vote tabulation devices from potential hacking in the 2018 mid-term elections. While acknowledging efforts underway in many states, the witnesses called on Congress to appropriate funds to help states  buy upgrade voting technology. The witnesses provided a number of recommendations for how to secure election infrastructure in their testimony, including paper ballot voting systems, post election audits, federal certification for voting equipment and training for election officials, and the regulation of voting systems manufacturers.

Politico warned that it may already be too late to make necessary changes. “It’s high-time we got started, and it will be too late soon if there isn’t action,” said J. Alex Halderman, a University of Michigan computer scientist and a leading expert on digitally securing elections. Halderman said it’s probably already too late for the midterms to make many hardware upgrades to voting equipment — such as replacing paperless, touch-screen machines with ones that produce a paper trail — and that there’s only a window of about six to nine months to make the switch in time for 2020, due to the winding procurement process involved.

Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap wrote an oped for the Washington Post explaining why he was suing the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Dunlap observes that what’s remarkable about my lawsuit seeking to obtain the commission’s working documents, correspondence and schedule is that he is a member of the commission.

ElectionlineWeekly published a report on Colorado’s recently-competed risk-limiting post election audit. EAC Chairman Matthew Masterson, who observed the audit, noted “Colorado’s risk-limiting audit provided great insights into how to conduct more efficient and effective post-election audits. The EAC is eager to share some of the lessons learned with election officials across America.”

Legislative hearings were held in Georgia to consider replacements for the state’s aging Diebold touchscreen voting machines. Lawmakers heard from representatives of three voting system manufacturers, who presented paper ballot systems and ballot marking devices. Verified Voting’s Susan Greenhalgh recommended that Georgia follow the lead of other states in opting for systems that use paper ballots marked by hand and rather than ballot marking devices for al voters.

At an Assembly hearing in Manahttan the New York Board of Elections officials said they would be seeking $27 million for the upcoming fiscal year — nearly $15.5 million more than the current year — to help enhance security as well as update the state voter registration and campaign finance systems.

Texas appears to have decided not to appeal an August federal appellate court ruling against the state’s restrictions on language interpreters in polling places. At issue in the case was an obscure provision of the Texas Election Code that required interpreters helping someone cast a ballot to also be registered to vote in the same county in which they are providing help.

A Wisconsin legislative panel heard arguments on a proposal to allow in person early voting in the state. Until now the state has allow voters to deliver absentee ballots to a county election office in advance of election day, but new legislation would give counties the option of providing optical scanners to scan paper ballots and store the votes electronically until they can be counted on election day.

Bolivia’s highest court ruled against the country’s presidential term limits allowing Evo Morales to run for fourth term. The court decision, which is final and cannot be appealed, spared protests from opposition supporters.

After a week of upheaval and uncertainty, German Chancellor Angela Merkel turned to her old coalition partners the Social Democrats raising the prospect of another “Grand Coalition” like the one that has led the country since 2013.