National: Senators to introduce bipartisan bill to prevent foreign cyber interference in elections | CBS

A bipartisan group of senators are introducing a bill early next week to improve and streamline information about cyber threats between state and federal entities, in the wake of Russia’s believed interference during the 2016 election, according to a top aide to one of the senators involved. The bill, spearheaded by Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, and also sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, is intended to better the communication between the Department of Homeland Security, the intelligence community and state election offices, in efforts to thwart future interference in U.S. elections by foreign actors. The bill, which will include resources for states, is also intended to help states identify and prepare against cyber attacks.

National: Homeland Security, private sector launch election security group | The Hill

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Election Assistance Commission and a bevy of voting equipment industry and nonprofit groups met to launch an election security Sector Coordinating Council (SCC) on Thursday. The meeting further solidifies their decision last year to treat elections as critical infrastructure. The SCC will represent the private sector as Homeland Security deliberates strategies and policies to protect critical infrastructure. “No one entity — whether private or public — can manage the risk to our critical election infrastructure on its own,” said David Wulf, acting deputy assistant secretary for the DHS Office of Infrastructure Protection in a statement announcing the election SCC.

National: ACLU Adds Data Security Concerns To Lawsuit Challenging Kobach Fraud Commission | KMUW

A federal lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union questions the security of a multistate voter registration database championed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. The ACLU this week added concerns about personal privacy and data security to its list of complaints against President Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission. The national organization also claims that the commission violated sunshine laws on public meetings and public documents. Kobach is vice chairman of the commission, which has sought individual-level voter registration records from all 50 states, though some states refused to hand them over. The ACLU lawsuit cites concerns that the data-gathering effort would become a target for hackers, and by way of example points to indications that Kansas’ multistate Crosscheck voter registration system may not be secure.

National: Trump’s fraud panel has gone dark. Members don’t know why. | NBC

No one seems to know what’s going on lately with President Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission — not even its own members. “I have not heard anything since the New Hampshire meeting,” New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner told NBC News, referring to the commission’s Sept. 12 gathering, the panel’s most recent. Alan King, another Democrat serving on the commission, said he can’t even get his emails answered. “It’s my understanding that this commission is supposed to submit its recommendations in March 2018,” said King, the chief election official in Jefferson County, Alabama, adding that he was frustrated by the non-response. “I’m wondering when you take a two-and-half-month hiatus from meeting…I obviously think anyone would have concerns how a deadline like that is supposed to be met.”

National: Trump-Russia: Republicans trying to kill off investigation, says Adam Schiff | The Guardian

The senior Democrat in a congressional Trump-Russia investigation has said he fears Republicans are manoeuvring to kill off inquiries into Moscow’s interference in the 2016 US presidential election. “I’m increasingly worried Republicans will shut down the House intelligence committee investigation at the end of the month,” said Adam Schiff, who is the leading Democrat on the House intelligence committee. Schiff suggested Republicans also had their sights on the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation overseen by special counsel Robert Mueller. The president’s personal lawyers are reportedly set to meet Mueller and his team within days to ask about the next steps in his investigation.

Editorials: Automatic Voter Registration: A Solution to Voter Suppression? | Josh Berry/Harvard Political Review

On a quiet Mississippi road, one evening in June 1964, a gang of Ku Klux Klansmen attacked three workers canvassing with the Congress of Racial Equality. James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, all under 25, had volunteered their summers to register African Americans throughout Mississippi to vote after decades of suppression by Jim Crow laws. The next morning, police discovered their burned-out car in a ditch; the three young civil rights advocates were reported missing. Five weeks later, their mutilated bodies were discovered 15 feet underground on a nearby farm.

Alabama: Roy Moore recount could cost $1 million, may not be allowed |

Roy Moore isn’t ruling out asking for a recount in his failed bid for the U.S. Senate. That doesn’t mean it will happen or is even allowed, however. Moore lost to Democrat Doug Jones on Tuesday night by some 20,000 votes – 650,436 votes, or 48 percent, to 671,151, or 50 percent. Moore has refused to concede the race to Jones, saying he will wait until all provisional and military ballots are counted and the race is certified. According to Secretary of State John Merrill, the final results will be certified no earlier than Dec. 26 and no later than Jan. 3. Moore hopes the margin is close enough – under 0.5 percent – to trigger an automatic recount. “Realize when the vote is this close, it’s not over,” Moore told supporters Tuesday night. “And we still got to go by the rules about this recount provision. It’s not over, and it’s going to take some time.”

California: Millions of California voter records exposed in unprotected MongoDB | SC Magazine

California officials are investigating a report that an unprotected MongoDB database has been discovered possibly containing the names of every California voter. Kromtech Security’s Bob Diachenko that earlier this month Kromtech came across an database named cool_db containing 19.2 million voter records gathered in two collections that was fully unprotected and thus open for anyone to view. One batch contained voter registration data for a local district and the other the millions of records. “Kromtech researchers were unable to identify the owner of the database or conduct a detailed analysis due to the fact that the database has been deleted by cyber criminals and there is a ransom note demanding 0.2 bitcoin ($2,325.01 at the time of discovery),” he said. 

Florida: Congressional candidate accuses elections chief of wrongly destroying 2016 ballots | Sun Sentinel

Congressional candidate Tim Canova said Friday that Broward Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes wrongly destroyed ballots from the August 2016 primary while his court case seeking to review them was pending. Records from the election, which Canova lost, aren’t entirely gone. Snipes’ office made electronic copies of the ballots before destroying the originals. “The ballots are stored in a different manner,” said Burnadette Norris-Weeks, outside attorney for the elections office. Canova said that isn’t good enough. “Destroying the ballots when they’re the subject of litigation, it’s mindboggling,” Canova said in a telephone interview.

New Hampshire: Sununu opposes GOP bill that could curtail college student voting | Seacoast Online

Gov. Chris Sununu said he would “never support” any legislation that could potentially curtail college students’ ability to vote in New Hampshire. Last week, Sununu said he “hates” HB 372, which would tighten the legal definitions of a resident, inhabitant and residence or residency by eliminating the language in the law that considers residents domiciled in the state if they have demonstrated they will be staying in New Hampshire “for the indefinite future.” “I’m not a fan. I hope that the Legislature kills it,” Sununu said to Ben Kremer of the New Hampshire Youth Movement in a video posted to YouTube. “I will never support anything that suppresses the student right to vote.”

New Jersey: Push to restore voting rights to those with criminal records advances | WHYY

More than 94,000 New Jersey residents with criminal convictions are prohibited from voting, but civil rights groups are pushing for that to change. Blacks make up about 15 percent of New Jersey’s population, but represent about half of those who cannot vote because of a criminal conviction. That disproportionately reduces the political power of black communities, said state Sen. Ron Rice, because of systemic racism in the criminal justice system. “I believe that every New Jerseyan and every public official concerned with the integrity and legitimacy of our democracy should be ashamed that this practice was born in 1844 at a time when slavery was legal and practiced in our state and has continued for 170 years,” said Rice, D-Essex.

Editorials: Native voting — a step in the right direction | Derrick J. Lente/Santa Fe New Mexican

Sometimes progress is slow. That much is clear when you consider Native Americans could not vote in New Mexico until 1948. That’s less than 70 years ago. Natives have faced an uphill battle when it comes to gaining access to the voting booth since the dawn of New Mexico’s statehood. Written in 1912, the state’s Constitution didn’t merely fail to provide voting rights to Native Americans — it explicitly prohibited them. Today Native Americans have the right to vote, but the historical barriers to voting have left a lasting imprint, as evidenced by the fact that voter turnout among Native American populations is typically lower than it is for the rest of the electorate.

Editorials: Ohio lawmakers may be trying to keep redistricting power in-house with latest reform effort | Thomas Suddes/Cleveland Plain Dealer

The Ohio General Assembly is heading home for Christmas, but not before signaling one of its likely 2018 priorities: “reform” in congressional districting. True, the legislature’s first and foremost task is getting re-elected, which means slipping special-interest legislation past voters while ballyhooing motherhood and patriotism. But General Assembly members of both parties are said to now agree it’s high time for Ohio to change how it draws its (currently ridiculous) congressional districts. Today’s districts, in politically closely divided Ohio, send 12 Republicans and just four Democrats as Ohio’s delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives. Ohio GOP leaders say bipartisan deal close for congressional redistricting reform.

Tennessee: House Democrats to renew push to change Tennessee voter ID law | Times Free Press

Pointing to Tennessee’s cellar-dwelling rankings among states when it came to 2014 mid-term elections voter participation, state House Democrats on Friday vowed to renew their push in 2018 to repeal or change GOP-passed laws they charge are aimed at depressing voter turnout.  Tennessee is absolutely at the bottom,” Rep. Brenda Gilmore, D-Nashville, told reporters. In a news conference, Gilmore, a former chair of the Tennessee Black Caucus, blamed a 2011 law requiring would-be voters to have officially issued state or federal government-issued photo identification like a driver’s license to vote. She said it disproportionately impacts women, elderly, college students, black and Hispanic voters.

Canada: Vote tabulators may be used for Calgary 2021 municipal election | Metro Calgary

Calgary could see 2021 voting relief in the form of tabulators, electronic poll books and voter assist terminals after October’s civic election debacle. A report coming to council Monday outlines some of the challenges, including ballot shortages, a crashed website and results that trickled – all leaving citizens frustrated, politicos sweating and the media cursing. Calgary’s returning officer and city clerk, Laura Kennedy, is pushing for a deeper look into modernizing Calgary election system, recommending that her department be tasked with creating a four-year plan leading up to the next civic election.

Chile: Conservative Sebastián Piñera Wins Chile’s Presidential Election | The New York Times

Chileans on Sunday gave former President Sebastián Piñera a new term in office, rejecting his opponent’s call to build on the social and economic changes set in motion by the incumbent, Michelle Bachelet. Mr. Piñera’s victory marks the latest shift to the right in a region that until recently was largely governed by leftist leaders who rose to power promising to build more egalitarian societies. Mr. Piñera vowed on Sunday night to govern for all Chileans. “Chile needs dialogue and collaboration more than confrontation,” he said after a cordial televised meeting with his opponent, Alejandro Guillier.

Honduras: Call for fresh Honduras election after president Juan Orlando Hernández wins | The Guardian

The Organization of American States has called for fresh elections in Honduras, hours after President Juan Orlando Hernández was declared the winner. Luis Almagro – the secretary general of the OAS, a regional forum which sent an election observer mission to monitor the Honduran poll – said the process was plagued by irregularities, had “very low technical quality” and lacked integrity. The statement came after the electoral court president, David Matamoros, revealed the winner on Sunday, saying: “We have fulfilled our obligation [and] we wish for there to be peace in our country.” It follows three weeks of uncertainty and unrest following the 26 November poll. At least 17 people have died in protests amid opposition allegations of election fraud.

Liberia: Unity Party Scrutinizes NEC Boss Credibility to Handle Runoff Election |

The national Chairman of the governing Unity Party (UP), Mr. Wilmot J.M. Paye, has expressed dismay over the credibility of the head of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Chairman Jerome George Korkoya, to conduct a free, fair and transparent runoff election on December 26. He made the statement over the weekend in an interview with a team of reporters at his Unity Party headquarters in Congo Town during a one-day mini youth retreat organized by the UP National Youth Congress. Chairman Paye said even though UP does not have the appointing and dismissal power to remove the NEC Chairman, but as a political party, it is deeply concerned over the poor performance and inability of Cllr. Korkoya to lead the affairs of the Presidential runoff election.