Media Release: Election Security Experts Raise Concern about the Integrity of Alabama’s U.S. Senate Election if a Recount is Needed

Download as PDF Marian K. Schneider: “Alabama’s recount laws won’t do enough to protect voters’ votes.” The following is a statement from Marian K. Schneider, president of Verified Voting, on election integrity, and the need for manual recounts and audits. For additional media inquires, please contact   “All eyes might be on the candidates…

Alabama: Judge orders Alabama not to destroy voting records in Tuesday’s Senate election |

A judge directed Alabama election officials Monday afternoon to preserve all digital ballot images in Tuesday’s hotly contested U.S. Senate special election. An order granting a preliminary injunction was filed at 1:36 p.m. Monday – less than 24 hours before voting is to begin. The order came in response to a lawsuit filed Thursday on behalf of four Alabama voters who argued that the state is required to maintain the images under state and federal law. “All counties employing digital ballot scanners in the Dec. 12, 2017 election are hereby ordered to set their voting machines to save all processed images in order to preserve all digital ballot images,” Montgomery County Circuit Judge Roman Ashley Shaul wrote in the order.

Florida: Was the Heated 2016 Democratic Primary Rigged for Debbie Wasserman Schultz? | Alternet

In August 2016, Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz faced off against progressive maverick and Bernie Sanders supporter Tim Canova—her first-ever primary challenger—after six terms in Congress. Just weeks earlier she had been forced to resign as head of the Democratic National Committee after stolen emails showed her talking smack about Senator Sanders and leaning on the scales in favor of her ally Hillary Clinton. Canova focused the national outrage against her, raising over $3 million, and turning the congressional election into a referendum on her policies and ethics. But with a 13.5% victory she overcame questions about her political viability and returned triumphantly to her job in Washington. Now new evidence of original ballots being destroyed and cast ballots not matching voter lists calls into question the results of that election. 

National: US Officials, Lawmakers Warn More Cyberattacks Coming | VoA News

The United States is bracing for another wave of cyberattacks focused on disrupting or undermining the 2018 midterm elections, with some officials warning this is just the beginning of a much deeper and broader threat. Intelligence and security officials, as well as policymakers and other experts talking both on the record and on background say what began with a Russian effort to influence the 2016 presidential election has evolved. They expect the next round of Russian efforts to be more sophisticated and more widespread, likely to include a combination of disinformation campaigns on social media along with the potential hacking of vulnerable targets.

National: Russian hacker claims he hacked the DNC during the 2016 election ‘under the orders’ of the FSB | IBT

A Russian hacker has reportedly confessed that Russia’s state intelligence agency ordered him to hack the Democratic National Committee’s servers during the 2016 US presidential election. The hacker, Konstantin Kozlovsky, reportedly testified in court to carrying out the attacks at the request of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), considered to be the successor of the Soviet security agency the KGB. During the election campaign, hackers stole thousands of private DNC emails that were later steadily leaked by WikiLeaks in the months leading up to the November election, drawing heavy scrutiny and media attention. US intelligence agencies concluded earlier this year that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a complex influence campaign to help sway the election in Donald Trump’s favour using leaks, cyberattacks, a disinformation campaign and more. Putin has vehemently denied any involvement in the DNC hack or influencing the electoral process of another nation.

Editorials: Is the Supreme Court finally ready to tackle partisan gerrymandering? Signs suggest yes | Richard Hasen/Los Angeles Times

Is the Supreme Court about to cause great political upheaval by getting into the business of policing the worst partisan gerrymanders? Signs from last week suggest that it well might. At the very beginning of its term back in October, the court heard oral arguments in Gill vs. Whitford, a case challenging Wisconsin’s plan for drawing districts for its state Assembly. Republican legislators drew the lines to give them a great advantage in these elections. Even when Democrats won more than majority of votes cast in the Assembly elections, Republicans controlled about 60% of the seats. The court has for many years refused to police such gerrymandering. Conservative justices suggested that the question was “nonjusticiable” (meaning the cases could not be heard by the courts) because there were no permissible standards for determining when partisanship in drawing district lines went too far. Liberals came forward with a variety of tests. And Justice Anthony M. Kennedy stood in the middle, as he often does. He argued that all the tests liberals proposed didn’t work, while trying to keep the courthouse door open for new tests.

Editorials: The Alabama Senate Race May Have Already Been Decided | Scott Douglas/The New York Times

The Senate election in Alabama on Tuesday is not just about the choice between Doug Jones and Roy Moore. It’s also about a voter suppression campaign that may well sway the result of a close race. In 2011, Alabama lawmakers passed a photo ID law, ostensibly to combat voter fraud. But “voter impersonation” at polling places virtually never happens. The truth is that the lawmakers wanted to keep black and Latino voters from the ballot box. We know this because they’ve always been clear about their intentions. A state senator who had tried for over a decade to get the bill into law, told The Huntsville Times that a photo ID law would undermine Alabama’s “black power structure.” In The Montgomery Advertiser, he said that the absence of an ID law “benefits black elected leaders.”

Arizona: Franks’ immediate resignation puts monkey wrench into special election | Arizona Capitol Times

A quirk in state law could force top contenders to replace Trent Franks to choose between a run for Congress and keeping their current jobs in the Legislature. Gov. Doug Ducey is expected to announce Monday the date for the primary election for those who want to vie for the now-open post in Congressional District 8. That can be between Feb. 26 and March 8. But by law, the deadline to submit nominating petitions will be Jan. 10. And that’s what creates the dilemma for sitting lawmakers.

Georgia: FBI mum on Georgia’s wiped election server | GCN

Georgia is currently facing a lawsuit in federal court by voters and advocacy groups that claim a June 2017 special election may have been compromised because of insufficient security practices by Georgia officials and the organization that oversaw election infrastructure, Kennesaw State University (KSU). The special election was to fill the seat vacated by Tom Price, who resigned from the House of Representatives to serve as Secretary of Health and Human Services before resigning from that post. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit allege that Georgia’s voter registration data was hosted on the same server as the vote tabulation databases, the software used to program ballots and the passwords for both voting machines and election supervisors. Further, all of this data was connected to a public-facing website that was accessible for at least 10 months to anyone with an internet connection and technical expertise.

Maryland: Supreme Court will take up a second gerrymandering case this term | The Washington Post

The Supreme Court announced Friday it will add a second case this term to determine whether partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional, accepting a challenge from Maryland Republicans who say the state’s dominant Democrats drew a congressional district that violated their rights. The court already has heard a challenge from Wisconsin Democrats, who challenged a legislative redistricting drawn by the state’s Republican leaders. The cases could reshape the way American elections are conducted. The Supreme Court has never thrown out a state’s redistricting efforts due to partisan gerrymandering, and political parties consider drawing the map one of the perks of being in charge of state government.

Montana: Political watchdog says Democratic Party violated campaign finance laws | Associated Press

The Montana Democratic Party failed to identify the issues and candidates that benefited from its spending of about $375,000 on the 2016 general election, the state’s top election watchdog found. Commissioner of Political Practices Jeff Mangan also found that the party failed to include Supreme Court candidate Dirk Sandefur on a list of candidates it was supporting. He referred the case to the Lewis and Clark County attorney for potential prosecution, but his Dec. 5 finding said such cases are usually settled with a civil fine.

New Mexico: Santa Fe mayor proposes money, runoff for March ranked-choice election | Albuquerque Journal

The Santa Fe City Council on Wednesday will consider two new proposals related to the March 6 municipal election, which a district court judge last month ordered to be conducted using the ranked-choice voting method. One would create a new section in the city’s election ordinance that calls for a runoff election between the top two voter-getters if no one receives a majority of all votes cast, a possibility despite ranked-choice voting’s description as an “instant runoff.” The other amends the city’s public campaign financing ordinance to allow surplus funds to be used on a public education campaign about ranked-choice voting (RCV).

Pennsylvania: Lawsuit challenging congressional map begins state court | WHYY

Testimony in a fast-tracked lawsuit alleging gerrymandering got underway in Pa. Commonwealth Court Monday. The case could force a new state congressional map before the 2018 midterm election. Eighteen registered Democrats — one from each congressional district — claim Pennsylvania’s map was drawn unfairly by state GOP leaders to advantage Republicans. Congressional maps have to follow certain rules, such as distributing equal numbers of voters between districts. Advocates for fairer congressional maps say it’s also a best practice to avoid dividing counties and municipalities when drawing district boundary lines.

Wisconsin: Lawmakers Push For Recognition Of Tribal ID Cards | Wisconsin Public Radio

Wisconsin lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow members of federally recognized tribes to use their tribal identification cards for voter registration and more. The bill would allow tribal ID cards to be used to pick up medication at a pharmacy, as well as buy alcohol and tobacco products. State Sen. Jerry Petrowski, R-Marathon, said other states recognize tribal IDs as official forms of identification, including Idaho, Minnesota and Washington. “I think this bill is reasonable and I would hope you all would support it,” said Petrowski in a Senate Committee hearing Thursday.

Cambodia: EU suspends funding for Cambodian election | Reuters

The European Union has suspended funding for Cambodia’s 2018 general election because the vote cannot be credible after the dissolution of the main opposition party, according to a letter sent to the national election committee on Tuesday. The Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) was dissolved by the country’s highest court last month at the request of the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen after the arrest of opposition leader Kem Sokha for alleged treason. “An electoral process from which the main opposition party has been arbitrarily excluded cannot be seen as legitimate,” read the Dec. 12 letter reviewed by Reuters.

France: Corsica calls for greater autonomy from France after election | The Guardian

Corsican nationalists have demanded talks with the French government over more autonomy after a convincing win in Sunday’s regional elections. President Emmanuel Macron now faces the dilemma of whether to loosen France’s grip on the Mediterranean island or to maintain centralised control. Like Catalonia, whose bid for independence from Spain has sparked a crisis with Madrid and in the European Union, Corsica has long harboured separatist ambitions. Sunday’s second-round vote, in which a coalition of nationalist candidates won a 56.5% share, strengthens the hand of those seeking greater control. Unlike Catalonia, which is wealthy and self-sufficient, Corsica depends heavily on funding from Paris, prompting the Pè a Corsica (For Corsica) movement to insist it is seeking autonomy not independence.

Germany: Merkel, Social Democrats seek clarity on coalition talks | Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) say they hope to find clarity soon on prospects for a new ruling coalition as they gear up for exploratory talks this week. The conservatives, meeting on Monday to map out their negotiating positions, believe compromises can be reached to renew the “grand coalition” that governed for the past four years. The two blocs must overcome differences over the future of Europe, pensions, health care and education. Merkel, whose CDU/CSU alliance last month failed to cut a coalition deal with two smaller parties after an inconclusive national election in September, is due to brief the media at 1 pm (1200 GMT).

Honduras: Election turmoil erupts in protests, clashes | Miami Herald

Thousands of protesters marched on the U.S. Embassy in Honduras on two separate occasions over the weekend, calling for U.S. support amidst a deepening political crisis sweeping their country. Protesters claim current President Juan Orlando Hernández stole the Nov. 26 presidential election from the Opposition Alliance candidate, Salvador Nasralla, who ran on a popular anti-corruption platform. This weekend, protesters also linked their struggle to U.S. border security and immigration concerns, saying the spike in U.S.-bound migration since 2014 can be blamed on violence and impunity perpetuated by the Hernández administration and his National Party. “Before the reason for migration was uniting families and looking for better paid work. Now violence, extortion, cartels and impunity are forcing people to leave Honduras,” said Darlan Alvarado, coordinator for the Honduras chapter of Doctors of the World, which helps treat immigrants’ medical needs. Hernández’s presidency has seen widespread human rights abuses, as well as a corruption scandal involving skimming money from the social security system.

Venezuela: Maduro bans opposition parties from election | Telegraph

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro announced Sunday that leading opposition parties will be barred from taking part in next year’s presidential vote after they boycotted mayoral polls, in a move set to further consolidate his grip on power. That includes the groups of key figures who have led street protests against his rule such as Henrique Capriles, Leopoldo Lopez and others, Mr Maduro told reporters after casting his vote in the municipal polls. “That’s what the National Constituent Assembly set out,” he said, referring to a controversial Maduro-allied special powers legislature whose legitimacy has been questioned by many in the international community.