Pennsylvania: Mailers attempt to ’embarrass people into voting’ by revealing voting history to neighbors | Lancaster Online

An apparent effort to pressure Pennsylvanians into voting in Tuesday’s primary is raising red flags in Lancaster County and across the state as polls prepare to open Tuesday morning. In mailed letters and emails, a group calling itself the “Pennsylvania State Voter Program” is targeting specific voters with publicly available information showing whether they and their neighbors voted in three recent elections — and then indicating it will send an updated list after the May 15 primary. “What if your friends, your neighbors, and your community knew whether you voted?” the letter starts. Titled “Pennsylvania State Voter Report,” the letter does not indicate who specifically is behind the effort. It features a symbol that could lead some people to believe it’s coming from an official government office, though it’s not from any county or state office. The envelopes, marked that they’re from a post office box in Harrisburg, contain a giant red arrow pointing to the line, “Important taxpayer information enclosed.”

National: The Facebook ad dump shows the true sophistication of Russia’s influence operation | The Washington Post

The massive trove of Facebook ads House Intelligence Committee Democrats released Tuesday provides a stunning look into the true sophistication of the Russian government’s digital operations during the presidential election. We’ve already heard a lot from the U.S. intelligence community about the hacking operation Russian intelligence services carried out against Democratic party computer networks to influence the election in favor of then-candidate Donald Trump. But this is the first time we have a swath of empirical and visual evidence of Russia’s disinformation campaign, in the form of more than 3,000 incredibly specific and inflammatory ads purchased by an Internet troll farm sponsored by the Kremlin.

Florida: Voting officials fire back at Marco Rubio’s criticism over cyber-threats | Miami Herald

As the threat of another attempted cyberattack hovers ominously over Florida’s 2018 election, voting officials in the state are livid at U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio for claiming they are “overconfident” and not taking the possibility seriously enough. “That’s just not the case,” said Clay County Supervisor of Elections Chris Chambless. “We are all deeply concerned about the threat and are taking steps to limit the exposure. I thought that his comments were very inaccurate.” Rubio made his remarks in mid-April at a Florida Association of Counties meeting in Washington. “I don’t think they fully understand the nature of the threat,” Rubio said. Taken aback by Rubio’s criticism, Chambless and a second supervisor, Dana Southerland of Taylor County, separately tried to speak to Rubio. Both told the Times/Herald they got no response from his office.

Idaho: State Legislature website hacked by Italian hacktivist group | East Idaho News

The websites for the Idaho Legislature and Idaho’s iCourt portal were hacked Friday morning by a hacktivist group called AnonPlus Italia. From about 11 to 11:10 a.m., both websites were replaced with a black screen, and a manifesto written in Italian about government and media slavery. (The entirety of the text is posted at the end of this article.) AnonPlus is a sporadically active branch of Anonymous, a loosely connected group of hackers, which claim responsibility for online hacks that take place around the globe. AnonPlus was originally associated with a social network for Anonymous, but that network was later hacked by another group and ultimately abandoned. The name “AnonPlus” has been used occasionally in association with others hacks since then. It appears the most recent iteration of the group began activity this year. Italian media reported this week that AnonPlus had performed a seemingly identical hack — with the same message — on the K-9 Web Protection website, which is part of the Symantec antivirus company. K-9 Web Protection filters internet content.

North Dakota: As settlement talks near, Heitkamp says voter ID laws ‘clearly target’ Native Americans, college students | West Fargo Pioneer

Heidi Heitkamp criticized North Dakota lawmakers this week for passing what she called unnecessary voter identification laws in the years after she was first elected to the U.S. Senate as a Democrat, drawing a rebuke from Republicans. In an interview Thursday, May 10, Heitkamp said the laws “clearly target” Native Americans and college students, two groups that tend to favor Democrats. She said there’s “absolutely no proof” of voter fraud in North Dakota.

South Carolina: State needs more money to replace old voting machines | The State

South Carolina is receiving federal funds to boost its election security — but not enough to make the changes state election officials say are really needed. The S.C. Election Commission will receive a $6 million grant from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to improve the state’s election security ahead of the 2018 election, including replacing some of the state’s aging voting machines. The grant money, combined with $4 million lawmakers are expected spend this year and $1 million election officials have set aside, gives the state $11 million total to spend on updating the state’s 14-year-old voting machines. But election officials say the cost of replacing the more than 13,000 machines voters use to cast their ballots statewide could reach $50 million.

Tennessee: Global cyberassault caused Knox County election night server crash | Knox News

A surge of traffic from 65 foreign countries – including Albania, Taiwan, Ukraine and New Zealand – helped crash the Knox County Election Commission website in a “direct attack,” according to a security firm’s report made public Friday. Such an attack – which struck the night of the May 1 primary as voters, candidates and reporters watched for results – could only have been deliberate, aimed at a specific weak point on the web server, investigators for Sword & Shield Enterprise Security found. Sword & Shield recommended further testing to determine whether such an assault could crash the server again. Knox County Information and Technology Department staffers performed the tests this week and believe they’ve plugged the hole, Deputy IT Director David Ball said. “We essentially re-enacted the attack and believe we have fixed it,” he said.

Download the Sword & Shield Report on the Knox County Cyberattack

Texas: Many Electronic Voting Machines Are Insecure. One Texas County Is Trying To Fix That | NPR

Election administrators in Austin, Texas, are trying to put an electronic voting system in place before the 2020 presidential election that is more secure than anything else in the market right now. There are widespread concerns that many of these voting machines are vulnerable to hacking due to aging equipment and design flaws. Following reports of Russian interference in the 2016 election, lawmakers say local governments need to start switching to more secure technology.

Texas: Saying the state is violating a voter registration law, federal judge gives Texas until Thursday to propose a fix | The Texas Tribune

Texas has less than a week to tell a federal judge in San Antonio how it will begin complying with the National Voter Registration Act, a decades-old federal law aimed at making it easier for people to register to vote by forcing states to allow registration while drivers apply for or renew their driver’s licenses. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled more than a month ago that Texas was violating the law, sometimes called the Motor Voter Act, by not allowing Texas drivers to register to vote when they update their driver’s license information online. But it wasn’t clear until this week what exactly state officials would have to do to address that — and by when they’d have to do it. Now, Texas and the Texas Civil Rights Project — which sued the state over the issue in 2016, saying Texas’ current system disenfranchised thousands of voters and violated the U.S. Constitution — have until Thursday to propose a detailed fix for the system. After that, Garcia will weigh the proposals and order a remedy.

Utah: How fair is the citizen initiative signature rescission process? | Deseret News

It’s nail-biting time for supporters and opponents of the four initiative proposals that citizens are trying to place on the 2018 November ballot. Tuesday, May 15, is the deadline for initiative opponents to turn in documents rescinding signatures. After Tuesday, the lieutenant governor’s office will total the number of signatures verified, the number of signatures rescinded, and will determine which initiatives qualify for the ballot. That likely won’t end the controversies, however. If passed, the initiatives would institutionalize Count My Vote, fully expand Medicaid, create a commission to propose political district boundaries and allow marijuana to be used for medical purposes. The rescind efforts have sparked accusations of deception and even bullying. What is going on here? Supporters and opponents of the initiative efforts are accusing the other of unfair tactics, misleading messaging, false representations, intimidating behavior and other outrageous activities. So the initiative campaigns have devolved into … resembling every political contest for the last 10,000 years of human history.

Virginia: Election officials assigned 26 voters to the wrong district. It might’ve cost Democrats a pivotal race. | The Washington Post

Last year’s race for state delegate in Newport News went down in Virginia history for its razor-thin margin. Republican David E. Yancey won on Election Day by 10 votes; Democrat Shelly Simonds beat him by a single vote in a recount. Then, a judicial panel declared a tie, so officials picked a name out of a bowl to determine a winner, and it was Yancey. Now, a review of voter registration records and district maps by The Washington Post has found more than two dozen voters — enough to swing the outcome of that race — cast ballots in the wrong district, because of errors by local elections officials. The misassigned voters lived in a predominantly African American precinct that heavily favored Democrats in the fall, raising the possibility that they would have delivered the district to Simonds had they voted in the proper race. The impact of a Simonds win would have been felt far beyond Newport News.

Afghanistan: Deadline extended for voter registration amid violence | AFP

A deadline for Afghans to register to vote in the October 20 legislative elections has been extended, officials said Friday, as figures show hundreds of civilians have already been killed or wounded in poll-related violence. Enrolment for the long-delayed parliamentary and district council elections began on April 14 and was originally scheduled to finish in mid-June. By Thursday, just over 1.5 million adults had signed up to vote, a spokesman for the Independent Election Commission (IEC) told AFP — a fraction of the 14 million it had hoped to register during the two-month process. “The election commission of Afghanistan has extended the voting registration process for one month,” the IEC said in a statement, without explaining the reason for the decision.

Barbados: Barbados Electoral Office Sticks to Guns on Not Allowing Commonwealth Citizens to Vote | Caribbean360

The Electoral and Boundaries Commission (EBC) is holding firm to its position that Commonwealth citizens in Barbados are not eligible to vote in the May 24 general election unless they have permanent resident or immigrant status. And one of the lawyers representing four non-nationals embroiled in a legal battle with the EBC has warned the Commission that there will be hell to pay if it persists in “blatantly ignoring” the Court of Appeal ruling on the eligibility of qualified Commonwealth citizens to vote. Gregory Nicholls said yesterday that that the electoral management body was flirting with danger and would “suffer the consequences of their actions”.

Burundi: Burundi to vote in referendum to extend president’s term | The Guardian

Millions of voters in Burundi will go to the polls this week in a referendum that could allow president Pierre Nkurunziza to stay in power until 2034. After a campaign marked by allegations of widespread human rights abuses and hate speech, members of Burundi’s divided and weakened opposition see little chance of any serious resistance to Nkurunziza’s efforts to secure his future at the head of the impoverished state. Burundians are being asked to vote yes or no to a proposal to extend the president’s term from five years to seven, which would allow Nkurunziza, who has been in power since 2005, to rule for another 14 years when his term expires in 2020. Tensions have been running high in Burundi for months amid a wave of alleged detentions and killings of the government’s perceived opponents. At least 26 people were killed and seven others wounded in an attack in the north-western province of Cibitoke on Friday, though it is unclear if the massacre was politically motivated.

Iraq: Iraq holds first nationwide election since Islamic State group defeat | AFP

Iraq began voting Saturday in its first parliamentary election since declaring victory over the Islamic State group, with the country hoping to shore up a fragile peace and rebuild. Polling stations opened around the conflict-scarred nation under tight security as the jihadists still pose a major security threat despite a sharp fall in violence. The ballot comes with tensions surging between key players Iran and the United States over the nuclear deal, sparking fears of a destabilising power struggle over Iraq. Roughly 24.5 million voters face a fragmented political landscape five months after IS were ousted, with the dominant Shiites split, the Kurds in disarray and Sunnis sidelined.

Malaysia: Anger Broke the Fix in Malaysia’s Elections | Foreign Policy

At a rally on the southern outskirts of Kuala Lumpur Wednesday night, 92-year-old Mahathir Mohamad declared victory in Malaysia’s elections, a result confirmed the next morning. Mahathir’s victory brought an end to the six-decade dominance of the Barisan Nasional (BN), a coalition of parties led by the United Malays National Organization — a group that Mahathir himself once headed. Mahathir was celebrating in the capital, but his victory was forged in the countryside, where the United Malays National Organization has long had a powerful grip on rural voters, especially ethnic Malays, maintained through a decades-long web of favors, benefits, subsidies, and political appointments. But trust in that system has frayed thanks both to mismanagement at the top and incompetence at the bottom, leaving Malaysia’s rural poor turning away from the party they’d helped keep in power for decades.

Nigeria: Why millions may not vote in 2019 | New Telegraph

There are strong indications that millions of Nigerians of voting age might be disfranchised in next year’s general elections because their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) have either been lost or damaged. Majority of these people are currently in various internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps, especially in Northern and North Central parts of the country. Some have relocated because of insecurity in their area. In Borno and Yobe states, millions of Nigerians are in IDP camps due to the activities of the Boko Haram insurgents. And in the North Central states of Plateau, Benue, Nasarawa and Niger, Fulani herdsmen have sacked people from their homes and burnt their houses, forcing them to them to also take refuge in camps. Down South, Ebonyi State has also witnessed herdsmen attacks and communal clashes. Apart from loss of property and other personal belongings, some (if not most) of these people have also lost their PVCs. In all intent and purposes, they have been disenfranchised from voting in next year’s general elections.