United Kingdom: US elections are under threat from cyberattacks — and so are yours | Matt Rhoades/Politico.eu

When we talk about the integrity of elections, we tend to think about voter registration, transparency of donations, or the secrecy of our ballots. But on both sides of the Atlantic, the most disturbing new threat is the specter of cyberattacks against our campaign infrastructure. Whether in the wake of the U.K.’s EU referendum in June 2016, the U.S. presidential election that November, or the 2017 British general election, newspapers have been filled with endless speculation about foreign governments attempting to influence the outcome of elections. Unfortunately, much of the debate on the topic has become a partisan political tool used by both sides to make accusations against each other — creating chaos, just as cyberattacks are intended to do. What is deadly serious is the prospect of a malicious actor — who could be a foreign government, domestic extremist group or a single individual — acting to degrade the integrity of elections in the U.K.

National: Giuliani ‘made up’ Robert Mueller deadline for Trump probe: Report | CNBC

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s claim that special counsel Robert Mueller is hoping to end his investigation into whether the president obstructed justice in the Russia probe by Sept. 1 is “entirely made up,” a new report says. A U.S. official familiar with the case said Giuliani’s assertion in a New York Times article on Sunday about Mueller’s supposed target date was “another apparent effort to pressure the special counsel to hasten the end of his work,” Reuters reported. “He’ll wrap it up when he thinks he’s turned every rock,” the unidentified source said, referring to Mueller’s inquiry into possible obstruction by President Donald Trump into the question of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

National: Congress to receive classified briefing on election security Tuesday | The Hill

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has rescheduled a briefing for Congress on election security, which will now be classified, for Tuesday morning. Top U.S. officials are expected to brief lawmakers behind closed doors on current threats and risks to the election process and efforts by the Trump administration to help state officials secure their digital voting assets from hackers. The briefing will take place at 8 a.m. and will be classified, according to an aide for Ryan. The briefing was originally expected to take place last Thursday and be unclassified but closed to the public.

Editorials: How to Steal an Election in Broad Daylight | Nic Cheeseman and Brian Klaas/Foreign Policy

In Ukraine’s 2004 presidential election, droves of voters turned out in opposition strongholds, hoping to oust the incumbent, Viktor Yanukovych. Upon arrival at their assigned polling stations, they received their crisp ballot papers and pens to mark them with. They dutifully ticked the box for the opposition — and against the ruling regime. Then, they slipped their cleanly marked ballot papers into the ballot box to be counted. Having done their democratic duty, they left. Four minutes later, their ballots were blank. Although the opposition voters didn’t know it, they had been given pens that were filled with disappearing ink. The ballot boxes were filled with stacks of unmarked ballots. Despite such dirty tricks, Yanukovych eventually lost. Election observers noticed the disappearing ink trick — and many others — leading to the election being rerun. But Yanukovych’s defeat was unusual; incumbents win most elections these days for two reasons. First, they enjoy many legitimate advantages, such as the ability to set the political agenda. Second, a remarkably high proportion of elections are rigged. Most incumbents have learned to transform elections from a threat to their grip on power into something that can instead be used to tighten it. They’ve figured out how to rig an election, leading to the greatest political paradox of our time: There are more elections than ever before, and yet the world is becoming less democratic.

Arkansas: Lack of paper trail an election concern | Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

All but two of the 75 counties in Arkansas use voting machines that create paper copies of each ballot cast. Clerks in Union and Ouachita counties said they’ve never had a problem with their voting equipment. Election security experts have raised concerns about voting devices that don’t produce receipts for individual voters because the lack of those receipts makes it hard to ensure no votes were manipulated. Ouachita County Clerk Britt Williford acknowledged those concerns are the biggest drawback to his county’s current voting machines, which the county plans to replace before the general election in November.

Connecticut: State Works To Fend Off Cybersecurity Attacks On Election | CT News Junkie

Two days after President Donald Trump eliminated the position of cybersecurity coordinator on the National Security Council, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill convened the second meeting of the Elections Cybersecurity Task Force. At the very beginning of the meeting, Merrill reminded the task force that the election system faces several threats, including natural ones, like the tornadoes that touched down in the state last week and caused more damage than some hurricanes in several towns. She said they have emergency protocols in place for what happens if a polling place loses power, but are still putting plans together for emergencies that might not be as easily detected. “This will be the first statewide election following Russia’s attempt to interfere with our election infrastructure right here in Connecticut,” Merrill said.

Florida: Supervisors Focus On Security Ahead Of Fall Elections | WLRN

Supervisors of elections throughout Florida are preparing for the upcoming election season, with the secruity of the voting process being a top priority. After the 2016 elections, such elements as voter registration rolls and machines were designated as “critical infrastructure.” That means more funding from the Department of Homeland Security has poured into local elections offices to help protect them. Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer said that money has allowed local elections officials like himself to check the security of registration information and the machines voters will use to cast their ballots.

Florida: Report: Not restoring felons’ rights costs Florida $385M a year | Miami Herald

Seven years after Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet voted to end the state policy that automatically restored the civil rights of nonviolent offenders after they complete their sentences, a price tag has emerged. Florida lost an estimated $385 million a year in economic impact, spent millions on court and prison costs, had 3,500 more offenders return to prison, and lost the opportunity to create about 3,800 new jobs. Those are just some of the conclusions of a new economic research report prepared by the Republican-leaning Washington Economics Group of Coral Gables for proponents of Amendment 4, the proposal on the November ballot that asks voters to allow the automatic restoration of civil rights for eligible felons who have served their sentences.

Maine: Republicans’ court filing takes aim at ranked-choice voting | Portland Press Herald

Ranked-choice voting is a system “designed to change election outcomes and messages” and alter the Maine Republican Party itself, the party said in its latest court filing over the controversial election method. Monday’s filing supports a federal court lawsuit the party filed to stop the use of ranked-choice voting, which was adopted by Maine voters in a 2016 referendum. The party says that “ranked-choice voting is designed to change the character of the party” and shouldn’t be forced on Republicans in the June 12 primary.

Maryland: Political Insiders Plotted the Most Gerrymandered District in America—and Left a Paper Trail | The Washingtonian

If you drive west to Garrett County, Maryland, and ask people what Potomac is like, they usually say they don’t spend much time “downstate.” They watch the Pittsburgh nightly news and, on Sundays, root for the Steelers. When I asked people in the tony Washington suburb of Potomac about Oakland, the Garrett County seat, they unfailingly replied, “Where’s that?” Maryland is a ragtag jumble of mansions and mountain towns—it’s normal not to know much about what goes on 170 miles away. But the people who live along the Youghiogheny River and the ones who take the Red Line into DC each morning have something in common: They are all residents of Maryland’s 6th Congressional District. Which means these strangers-turned-bedfellows share something else: They are the most gerrymandered people in America. At least they are for now. In March, the Supreme Court heard a groundbreaking challenge to the district’s wild contours, brought by seven Republican voters. These Marylanders argue that the Grand Canyon–size district—in a state whose seven others would barely cover the map of Massachusetts—was redrawn to punish the region’s GOP voters.

Editorials: Maryland election law needs a serious upgrade | Baltimore Sun

There are some big things that are wrong with the way Marylanders elect candidates to office. We hand the drawing of legislative and congressional district lines to self-interested politicians who abuse the process to bolster their political parties, reward friends and punish enemies. And we have a campaign finance system that magnifies the influence of wealthy special interests. Those are foundational problems in our political system, and the possible solutions to them — redistricting reform and publicly financed campaigns — have proven to be difficult to enact. But this year’s elections have uncovered some dumb problems that are eminently fixable.

North Dakota: Jaeger to run as independent after Gardner drops out of secretary of state’s race | West Fargo Pioneer

North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger plans to seek re-election as an independent in November after the Republican-endorsed candidate dropped out once his 2006 peeping arrest surfaced. Jaeger, a Republican who has been in office since 1993, said Monday, May 21, he conferred with Republican Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem about his legal options and determined an independent run was his only viable path to re-election. “I know the office well. I believe I have a good record,” Jaeger said. Jaeger will need 1,000 signatures by Sept. 4 to appear on the November ballot.

Pennsylvania: Top GOP state senator pushes for redistricting, election overhauls | WITF

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati is throwing his weight behind a few measures that have, of late, been more commonly championed by Democrats. The top Republican official, of Cameron County, said in a wide-ranging speech Monday that he wants to see the redistricting process overhauled, and also switch the commonwealth to open primaries. Scarnati made it clear, his anger over the state Supreme Court’s decision to invalidate and redraw Pennsylvania’s congressional map hasn’t abated. But in the midst of reproaching the justices for having “trampled, shredded, and burned” the constitution, he said he knows the process has to change–though he added, it’ll be a challenge.

Texas: State appeals after a judge orders the state to implement online voter registration for drivers | The Texas Tribune

The legal fight over whether Texas is disenfranchising thousands of voters by violating a federal voter registration law is on its way to federal appeals court. Just after a federal judge gave Texas less than two months to implement a limited version of online voter registration, the state on Monday formally notified U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia that it was appealing his finding that Texas was violating the law — also known as the “Motor Voter Act” — by failing to allow drivers to register to vote when they renew their driver’s licenses online. Pointing to registration deadlines for the November election, Garcia created a 45-day deadline for the state to create the online system for drivers in order to comply with the federal law that requires states to allow people to register to vote while getting their drivers licenses.

Colombia: Candidate Petro says voting software tampered with, government denies | Reuters

Leftist Colombian presidential candidate Gustavo Petro said on Sunday that voting software for next week’s contest has been tampered with, in a bid to aid center-right candidate German Vargas, an allegation the government denied. Petro, an ex-mayor of Bogota and former M-19 rebel, has long held second place in surveys, behind right-wing candidate Ivan Duque. Vargas is in fourth place. “The software has algorithm alterations that don’t give a guarantee and could generate a massive fraud,” Petro told journalists, questioning what he said was the absence of a European Union electoral observation mission with the expertise to examine the system.

Iraq: Electoral Commission cancels results of 103 vote centres | Middle East Monitor

On Monday, Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission announced the cancellation of the results of 103 vote centres of parliamentary elections, which were held on 12 May, after the verification of dozens of “red complaints.” The “red complaints” are those that Electoral Commission deems “extremely serious violations (such as forgery and manipulation) that affect the outcome of competing lists at the vote centres.” In a statement that Anadolu News Agency obtained a copy of, the Commission said that “the Board of Commissioners (the exclusive authority which deals with complaints in the Electoral Commission) has investigated 1,436 complaints that have been submitted about the voting day, and have then been classified by the specialized committees in the Council.”

Ireland: Online ads restricted ahead of Ireland’s abortion vote amid concerns over social media influence | Associated Press

In homes and pubs, on leaflets and lampposts, debate is raging in Ireland over whether to lift the country’s decades-old ban on abortion. Pro-repeal banners declare: “Her choice: vote yes.” Anti-abortion placards warn against a “license to kill.” Online, the argument is just as charged — and more shadowy, as unregulated ads of uncertain origin battle to sway voters before Friday’s referendum, which could give Irish women the right to end their pregnancies for the first time. The highly charged campaign took a twist this month when Facebook and Google moved to restrict or remove ads relating to the abortion vote. It is the latest response to global concern about social media’s role in influencing political campaigns, from the U.S. presidential race to Brexit.

Venezuela: Re-elected, Maduro faces global criticism, U.S. sanctions | Reuters

Critics at home and abroad on Monday denounced the re-election of Venezuela’s socialist President Nicolas Maduro as a farce cementing autocracy, while the U.S. government imposed new sanctions on the crisis-stricken oil-producing country. Maduro, the 55-year-old successor to late leftist leader Hugo Chavez, hailed his win in Sunday’s election as a victory against “imperialism.” But his main challengers alleged irregularities and refused to recognize the result. In response to the vote, U.S. President Donald Trump issued an executive order restricting Venezuela’s ability to liquidate state assets and debt in the United States, the latest in a series of sanctions that seeks to choke off financing for the already cash-strapped government.