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National: Jailed Russian says Russia’s FSB ordered him to hack DNC in 2016 | The Kansas City Star

A jailed Russian who says he hacked into the Democratic National Committee computers on the Kremlin’s orders to steal emails released during the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign now claims he left behind a data signature to prove his assertion. In an interview with Russia’s RAIN television channel made public Wednesday, Konstantin Kozlovsky provided further details about what he said was a hacking operation led by the Russian intelligence agency known by its initials FSB. Among them, Kozlovsky said he worked with the FSB to develop computer viruses that were first tested on large, unsuspecting Russian companies, such as the oil giant Rosneft, later turning them loose on multinational corporations.

Full Article: Jailed Russian says Russia's FSB ordered him to hack DNC in 2016 | The Kansas City Star.

Alabama: Roy Moore files complaint to delay election certification | AL.com

The Roy Moore campaign filed a complaint Wednesday to have the election certification delayed “until a full investigation of voter fraud is conducted,” according to a statement from his campaign. The complaint includes affidavits from three “national election integrity experts” who claim election fraud occurred and a statement from Moore saying he successfully completed a polygraph test confirming the representations of misconduct made against him during the campaign are “completely false.” Moore has not conceded the election more than two weeks after he was defeated by Democrat Doug Jones. “This is not a Republican or Democrat issue as election integrity should matter to everyone,” Moore said. “We call on Secretary of State Merrill to delay certification until there is a thorough investigation of what three independent election experts agree took place: election fraud sufficient to overturn the outcome of the election.”

Full Article: Roy Moore files complaint to delay election certification | AL.com.

Maine: Judge backs Maine secretary of state in lawsuit against Trump fraud panel | Portland Press Herald

A federal judge has ruled that Maine’s Secretary of State can’t be excluded from participating in the work of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, on which he serves. U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly’s ruling Friday in Washington, D.C., largely agrees with Matthew Dunlap’s argument that as a member of the commission he must be given access to substantive commission documents. The opinion says Dunlap should have been granted access to documents such as a request for voter data sent to U.S. states and meeting agendas. Dunlap said in a statement that the ruling is “a clear vindication of what I have fought for.”

Full Article: Judge backs Maine secretary of state in lawsuit against Trump voter fraud panel - Portland Press Herald.

Nevada: DMV chief criticizes alleged voter fraud investigation | Las Vegas Review-Journal

DMV Director Terri Albertson said a letter sent to her office late Friday by Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske came “as a complete surprise.” In a written response to Cegavske, Albertson said, “you and your office have reviewed, contributed to, and approved the processes you are expressing concerns about.” The Republican secretary of state late Friday announced an investigation into alleged voter fraud, saying her office has uncovered evidence that noncitizens had cast ballots in the November election. Non-U.S. citizens who are in the country legally and live in Nevada can obtain a state driver’s license. Those without legal status can obtain a driver authorization card, which cannot be used as formal identification. Neither are eligible to vote.

Full Article: Nevada DMV chief criticizes alleged voter fraud investigation | Kaplan Herald.

New Jersey: Why everyone in New Jersey might not be counted in the 2020 Census | NJ.com

The 2020 Census is about two years away, but researchers already fear that not every person will be accurately counted. The Census Bureau, which every 10 years conducts its actual count of people as mandated by the U.S. Constitution, has been plagued with problems ranging from budget issues, cancelled tests and a leadership vacuum that has become unusually politicized. It is especially worrisome in New Jersey, which has growing communities of color and immigrant populations that could effectively be disenfranchised, experts say.

Full Article: Why everyone in New Jersey might not be counted in the 2020 Census | NJ.com.

Ohio: Ohio Joins Wave Of States Trying To Erase Gerrymandering | WOSU

Five years ago, few people in Ohio were paying close attention to the claim that political consultants – armed with partisan power, increasingly sophisticated computer technology and big data – were in a position to hijack democracy. Critics like Carrie Davis of the League of Women Voters looked at Congressional maps, drawn largely in secrecy by Republican state lawmakers, and issued a warning. “Voters are ignored and made to feel as if their voice doesn’t count,” Davis said. “Communities are carved up so that they don’t have a Congress-person who truly represents them. Members of Congress are frequently threatened with being ‘primaried’ by the extremes of their own party.” But voters repeatedly turned down proposals to change the system. That may be changing – not just in Ohio, but around the country.

Full Article: Ohio Joins Wave Of States Trying To Erase Gerrymandering | WOSU Radio.

Utah: San Juan County Wants To Appeal Navajo Voting Rights Ruling | KUER

San Juan County is asking a federal court to finalize a recent decision on voting districts. County leaders want to appeal the ruling, as the county’s Native American majority applauds it. U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby issued his decision a few days before Christmas. It basically requires San Juan County to hold a special election next year using new district boundaries for three commission seats and five school board posts. And it’s aimed at reflecting the Navajo majority. “People are very excited,” says Mark Maryboy, who was talking about the decision with other Navajos on Wednesday in Monument Valley. “They want to try to get some Navajo candidates to run for the county commission, school board and other county positions.”

Full Article: San Juan County Wants To Appeal Navajo Voting Rights Ruling | KUER 90.1.

Virginia: Officials postpone lottery drawing to decide tied statehouse election | Reuters

A lottery drawing to settle a tied Virginia legislative race that could shift the statehouse balance of power has been indefinitely postponed, state election officials said on Tuesday, after the Democratic candidate mounted a legal fight. The decision to put off the high-stakes lotto, originally scheduled for Wednesday, marks the latest twist in a dramatic election recount that at one point showed Democrat Shelly Simonds beating Republican incumbent David Yancey by a single vote. A victory by Simonds would shift Republicans’ slim control of the 100-member House of Delegates to an even 50-50 split with the Democrats, forcing the two parties into a rare power-sharing arrangement.

Full Article: Virginia officials postpone lottery drawing to decide tied statehouse election.

Editorials: A tie in Virginia bodes poorly for democracy | Cate Carrejo/Houston Chronicle

Virginia’s House of Delegates 94th District captured America’s attention last week after a dramatic saga of vote counts and recounts culminated in a perfectly tied election. Both three-term Republican incumbent David Yancey and Democratic challenger Shelly Simonds received 11,608 votes, a rare feat that had electoral enthusiasts across the country ecstatic about democracy in action. On the surface, this race is a testament to the power of the American electoral system. A historically important election came down to a single citizen’s vote, and yet every citizen was an essential part of the outcome. The symmetry somehow implies harmony, evoking images of Smalltown, USA, where politics exist in perfect balance. But this bizarre fluke of democracy is no reason to celebrate. This outcome should leave Americans feeling deeply uncomfortable.

Full Article: A tie in Virginia bodes poorly for democracy - Houston Chronicle.

Congo: Opposition plans court challenge to electoral reforms | AFP

The opposition in Democratic Republic of Congo said Wednesday it had garnered enough signatures to challenge a new electoral reform, which it says is buttressing the ruling party of President Joseph Kabila. Opposition spokesman Christophe Lutundula said the reform “automatically” banned certain hopefuls from running against Kabila in the next election, scheduled for December 23, 2018. The opposition says the law automatically excludes certain candidates by setting a minimum threshold of the share of the national vote that a candidate must win in order to obtain a seat. They also dispute the use of voting machines in ballot stations and the high deposit that candidates must pay, equivalent to several hundred dollars.

Full Article: DRC opposition plans court challenge to electoral reforms — World — The Guardian Nigeria Newspaper – Nigeria and World News.

Liberia: First results expected in watershed Liberian presidential poll | AFP

Initial results were expected Thursday in Liberia’s landmark presidential poll, the country’s first democratic transfer of power in decades, pitting former footballer George Weah against Vice President Joseph Boakai. Whoever wins will succeed Africa’s first elected female head of state, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who took over at the helm of the small west African nation in 2006. Sirleaf’s predecessor Charles Taylor fled the country in 2003, hoping to avoid prosecution for funding rebel groups in neighbouring Sierra Leone, while two presidents who served prior to Taylor were assassinated. The tumultuous events of the past seven decades in Liberia, where an estimated 250,000 people died during back-to-back civil wars between 1989-2003, means a democratic handover has not taken place since 1944.

Full Article: First results expected in watershed Liberian presidential poll.

Russia: Kremlin rejects concerns over banning of Alexei Navalny from elections | The Guardian

Russia has rejected concerns that a decision to bar the government critic Alexei Navalny from running against Vladimir Putin in next March’s presidential election could undermine the vote’s legitimacy, as the Kremlin hinted at reprisals in response to opposition calls for a boycott of the polls. Russia’s election committee ruled on Monday that Navalny should be ineligible to stand for public office until at least 2028 because of a previous conviction for fraud. Navalny, who has spent the past year carrying out a nationwide grassroots election campaign, said the charges that led to his conviction were trumped up to prevent him from challenging Putin. He said he would ask his 200,000 campaign volunteers to divert their efforts into convincing Russians to boycott the election and he also called for nationwide protests. “Vladimir Putin is extremely shaken up. He’s afraid of competing with me,” Navalny said in an online video address. “What they are offering us can’t be called elections. Only Putin and the candidates he has personally selected, those who don’t represent even the smallest threat to him, are taking part. To go to the polling station now is to vote for lies and corruption.”

Full Article: Russia rejects concerns over banning of Alexei Navalny from elections | World news | The Guardian.

United Kingdom: Voter ID trials ‘could disenfranchise older people’ | The Guardian

Trials to make people show identification before they can vote could unfairly affect older people who are less likely to possess photo ID or have access to other documents, the Labour party and charities have warned. The proposal to counter voter fraud by making people show ID will be piloted in five parts of England for the local elections in May, ministers announced this year. Voters in Woking, Gosport, Bromley, Watford and Slough will be asked to produce identification. In some areas people will be asked for photo ID such as a passport or driving licence, in others they will just have to show the polling card sent out to people’s homes.

Full Article: Voter ID trials 'could disenfranchise older people' | Politics | The Guardian.

Editorials: Russia never stopped its cyberattacks on the United States | Michael Morell and Mike Rogers/The Washington Post

Every first-year international-relations student learns about the importance of deterrence: It prevented a Soviet invasion of Western Europe during the height of the Cold War. It prevented North Korea from invading South Korea in the same time frame. Today, it keeps Iran from starting a hot war in the Middle East or other nations from initiating cyberattacks against our infrastructure. And yet, the United States has failed to establish deterrence in the aftermath of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. We know we failed because Russia continues to aggressively employ the most significant aspect of its 2016 tool kit: the use of social media as a platform to disseminate propaganda designed to weaken our nation. There is a perception among the media and general public that Russia ended its social-media operations following last year’s election and that we need worry only about future elections. But that perception is wrong. Russia’s information operations in the United States continued after the election and they continue to this day. This should alarm everyone — Republicans, Democrats and independents alike. Foreign governments, overtly or covertly, should not be allowed to play with our democracy.

Full Article: Russia never stopped its cyberattacks on the United States - The Washington Post.

National: Appeals court rejects challenge to Trump fraud panel | Reuters

A U.S. appeals court in Washington on Tuesday upheld a lower court’s decision to allow President Donald Trump’s commission investigating voter fraud to request data on voter rolls from U.S. states. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) watchdog group, which filed the lawsuit, did not have legal standing to seek to force the presidential commission to review privacy concerns before collecting individuals’ voter data. EPIC had argued that under federal law, the commission was required to conduct a privacy-impact assessment before gathering personal data. But the three-judge appeals court panel ruled unanimously that the privacy law at issue was intended to protect individuals, not groups like EPIC. “EPIC is not a voter,” Judge Karen Henderson wrote in the ruling.

Full Article: U.S. appeals court rejects challenge to Trump voter fraud panel.

National: A Democrat on Trump’s voter fraud commission asked for more transparency. Here’s what happened next | Los Angeles Times

The request from Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap seemed to be a given for any member of President Trump’s voter fraud commission: He wanted transparency. But Dunlap, among a handful of Democrats on the panel launched by executive order in May with the stated goal of restoring confidence and integrity in the electoral process, said he was denied full access to internal information. So he sued the commission he sits on. On Friday, a federal judge ruled the panel must give Dunlap access to relevant documents in order to allow him to fully participate in the commission’s work. “He has a right to access documents that the commission is considering relying on in the course of developing its final recommendations,” U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly wrote in a lengthy opinion.

Full Article: A Democrat on Trump's voter fraud commission asked for more transparency. Here's what happened next – LA Times.

National: Black Turnout in Alabama Complicates Debate on Voting Laws | The New York Times

Even before a defiant Roy S. Moore stood at a lectern this month and refused to concede the Alabama Senate race, one political reality was clear: An extraordinary turnout among black voters had helped push Doug Jones to a rare Democratic victory in this state. That turnout, in which registered black voters appeared to cast ballots at a higher rate than white ones, has become the most recent reference point in the complicated picture about race and elections laws. At issue, at a time when minorities are becoming an increasingly powerful slice of the electorate, is how much rules like Alabama’s voter ID law serve as a brake on that happening. The turnout by black voters in Alabama raises a question: Did it come about because voting restrictions were not as powerful as critics claim or because voters showed up in spite of them?

Full Article: Black Turnout in Alabama Complicates Debate on Voting Laws - The New York Times.

National: In an election, tie goes to … | Daily Press

When Athenians came up with the idea of democracy 2,500 years ago, they figured the best way to be sure that the people, and not a tyrant, ruled was to pick their Council of 500 by lot — basically, the way the next member of the House of Delegates the 94th district could be selected. And the way control of the nation’s oldest legislature, the Virginia House of Delegates, will be decided. While Americans don’t normally chose officials this way, it’s not unknown when an election ends in a tie. As it did in six races — school boards, county commissioners and city councils — in Colorado this year. The winners in those cases were drawn by lot, as Colorado law dictates — pretty much echoing Virginia’s with pretty much the same lack of detail about the method.

Full Article: In an election, tie goes to ... - Daily Press.

Editorials: Russia is going to attack our next election. The Trump administration may not even try to stop it. | Paul Waldman/The Washington Post

The Russians are coming for our elections — to disrupt them, to discredit them, and even to affect their outcome. They’ll be coming in 2018, and in 2020. The trouble is that even if we figure out what they’re up to, our own government may be unable or unwilling to stop it. That’s the conclusion one has to come to upon reading reports like this new one from Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima, and Greg Jaffe, which describes how powerless the federal government has been and continues to be in the face of an ongoing war that Vladimir Putin is waging against U.S. democracy. It was hard enough to resist when the executive branch wanted to resist it; who knows how hard it will become as President Trump feels more politically threatened by upcoming elections and Robert S. Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in 2016.

Full Article: Russia is going to attack our next election. The Trump administration may not even try to stop it. - The Washington Post.

Alabama: Roy Moore releases poem, doesn’t concede Senate race to Doug Jones | AL.com

Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore released a poem on Christmas Eve, just days before the final totals in his losing effort against Democrat Doug Jones are to be certified. Moore’s self-written poem was posted to Facebook. It tells the story of a young girl whose father had died and the following Christmas miracle. “Have a Blessed and Merry Christmas!” the note accompanying the video said. Moore has not addressed his loss to Jones, the first Democrat in more than 20 years to be elected to the Senate from Alabama. The former Alabama Chief Justice hasn’t conceded the race, saying he wanted to wait until all military and provisional ballots were counted. That happened last week and did not change the results of the election.

Full Article: Roy Moore releases poem, doesn't concede Senate race to Doug Jones | AL.com.