The Voting News Weekly: The Voting News Weey for December 4-10 2017

The chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee has suggested that the committee’s forthcoming report on Russian interference in the 2016 election will include little in the way of legislative proposals. Rather, the report will recommend best practices for state and local election officials.

An amicus brief signed by more than a half-dozen technology experts and former national security officials including former national intelligence director James R. Clapper Jr. urged a federal court to halt the collection of voter information for a planned nationwide voter database. Filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, the brief supports a lawsuit by Common Cause, a nonprofit government watchdog group, that seeks to halt the commission’s collection of a wide array of sensitive data about American voters.

A lawsuit was filed against Alabama’s Secretary of State and the state’s election director seeking to preserve electronic ballot images of paper ballots cast in next week’s high-profile special U.S. Senate election between Democrat Doug Jones and Republican Roy Moore. “As a result of Defendants’ failure to comply with Alabama’s public records law, digital ballot images used for tabulating votes and possible post-election adjudication will be destroyed following the December 12, 2017, special election for United States Senate in Alabama,” the suit said. “The issue continues to be ripe through all elections scheduled in 2018.”

In a Congressional hearing, FBI Director Christopher Wray declined to answer questions about whether the bureau retained data on a Georgia election server before it was wiped clean by state election officials. He also declined to state whether there was an ongoing investigation into the erasure. Joe Kiniry, CEO of Free and Fair, a company that tests election systems for cybersecurity vulnerabilities, said the combination of Georgia’s reliance on paperless voting, outsourcing of election operations to a third-party and “really bad security processes” by KSU created a perfect storm that inevitably led to lawsuits but also opportunity.

The Supreme Court has added a second case this term to determine whether partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional.  Having already has heard a challenge from Wisconsin Democrats, who challenged a legislative redistricting drawn by the state’s Republican leaders, the court accepted a case in which Maryland Republicans challenge districts drawn by the state’s Democrats.

In a Pennsylvania lawsuit, a group of voters claim they have been harmed by partisan gerrymandering and are calling for a new map in time for the 2018 congressional midterm elections. The trial wrapped up in a Philadelphia courtroom on Thursday with a string of stirring closing arguments before a three-judge panel.

Texas officials hoped to persuade a federal appeals court that the latest version of the state’s voter ID law should be allowed to take effect. The hearing centers on a law re-worked in May by the Texas Legislature after years of court battles.

Verified Voting President Marian Schneider penned an oped in the Virginia-Pilot arguing for manual recounts of state legislative races in Virginia rather than simply re-scanning the ballots. “The only way for Virginia to mitigate the possibility of a risk of error in recounts is for the state to pass legislation calling for manual recounts. Retabulation is not enough to provide confidence in election outcomes. Not in this state election, and not at any point in the future.”

Verified Voting’s Board Chair Barbara Simons and Advisory Board member Mark Halvorson were interviewed about electronic voting, voter verified paper audit trais and post-election audits in India by the National Herald.

Liberia’s Supreme Court told the electoral commission to proceed with organizing the final round of presidential elections that was initially scheduled Nov. 7 but put on hold to probe allegations of fraud during the first round.