Malfunctioning Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) have again marred elections in India and raised question about the reliability of the devices. Election Commission (EC) officials blamed heat waves for affecting the machines. On Monday numerous media reports emerged about EVMs not working, with opposition parties claiming tampering as four Lok Sabha, or Lower House of the Indian Parliament, seats and nine assembly constituencies held by-elections. However, the EC has called the large number of EVM failures exaggerated and said defective machines did not diminish the credibility of elections, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported. According to media reports, the EC was also ridiculed after its officials said the EVM machines malfunctioned due to heat waves in the northern region of Uttar Pradesh.
National: Trump Asked Sessions to Retain Control of Russia Inquiry After His Recusal | The New York Times
By the time Attorney General Jeff Sessions arrived at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort for dinner one Saturday evening in March 2017, he had been receiving the presidential silent treatment for two days. Mr. Sessions had flown to Florida because Mr. Trump was refusing to take his calls about a pressing decision on his travel ban. When they met, Mr. Trump was ready to talk — but not about the travel ban. His grievance was with Mr. Sessions: The president objected to his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. Mr. Trump, who had told aides that he needed a loyalist overseeing the inquiry, berated Mr. Sessions and told him he should reverse his decision, an unusual and potentially inappropriate request. Mr. Sessions refused.
Breitbart News landed an election scoop that went viral in August 2016: “Exclusive: ‘Black Men for Bernie’ Founder to End Democrat ‘Political Slavery’ of Minority Voters… by Campaigning for Trump.” If the splashy, counterintuitive story, which circulated on such conservative websites as Truthfeed and Infowars, wasn’t exactly fake news, it was carefully orchestrated. The story’s writer—an employee of the conservative website run by Steve Bannon before he took over Donald Trump’s campaign—spent weeks courting activist Bruce Carter to join Trump’s cause. He approached Carter under the guise of interviewing him. The writer eventually dropped the pretense altogether, signing Carter up for a 10-week blitz aimed at convincing black voters in key states to support the Republican real estate mogul, or simply sit out the election. Trump’s narrow path to victory tightened further if Hillary Clinton could attract a Barack Obama-level turnout. Bannon’s deployment of the psychological-operations firm Cambridge Analytica in the 2016 campaign drew fresh attention this month, when a former Cambridge employee told a U.S. Senate panel that Bannon tried to use the company to suppress the black vote in key states. Carter’s story shows for the first time how an employee at Bannon’s former news site worked as an off-the-books political operative in the service of a similar goal.
The Anchorage League of Women Voters has sent a resolution to the State of Alaska asking it to adopt the mail-in ballot for the General Election. It’s not clear from the resolution if the League wants only Anchorage to be able to conduct the General Election with a mail-in ballot, or if the League expects the entire state to “go postal” in November. The resolution sent to the Division of Elections leaves that open to interpretation and seems to suggest a hybrid of regular and mail-in voting for areas outside of Anchorage. But Anchorage would be all mail-in, as it did in the Municipal Election in April. The wording “supports the State of Alaska utilizing the Municipality of Anchorage new vote-by-mail system beginning with the State of Alaska elections in 2018;” It’s the first public push from mail-in ballot proponents to get the entire state on the system.
Less than three months from the primary election, it is entirely unclear whether Florida is adequately prepared to fend off any cyber attacks that could compromise the results. Sen. Marco Rubio has his doubts, the state has yet to receive millions in federal dollars to improve security and county elections supervisors acknowledge they are scared. With the federal investigation continuing into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election, Gov. Rick Scott and state officials should accelerate efforts this summer to ensure voters can have confidence in the integrity of this year’s election. The state’s track record so far is not encouraging. The Legislature failed to approve money for the five cyber security experts Scott wanted to hire even though the Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau reported last year that five Florida counties were targeted in unsuccessful Russian attacks in 2016. Counties are still buying and installing sensors that can monitor and detect — but not stop — electronic attacks with $1.9 million in federal money sent by the state. And just last week, Scott overruled the state’s top elections official and declared the state will belatedly seek another $19 million in federal money to help counties further secure election systems.
Maine: Judge denies Republicans’ bid to escape ranked-choice voting in June 12 primaries | Portland Press Herald
A federal judge on Tuesday turned down a request for a preliminary injunction barring the use of ranked-choice voting in the Maine Republican Party’s June 12 primaries, including the contest to become the party’s gubernatorial candidate. The party filed suit after its state convention in early May, saying delegates unanimously wanted to continue to use a plurality vote in the primary, meaning that the candidate who gets the most votes in the initial round of balloting would win. But the Maine secretary of state had decided that ranked-choice voting, adopted by referendum in 2016, would be used in this year’s primary balloting. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Jon Levy dismissed the party’s main argument – that ranked-choice voting might result in a different candidate being selected than if the nominee were chosen in a plurality vote. The party had argued that ranked-choice voting therefore violated its First Amendment rights of freedom to associate.
More Nebraska county election officials are seeking state permission to conduct elections exclusively by mail as turnout figures rise. Garden County was the first in Nebraska to conduct a countywide all-mail election after receiving approval to pilot the project from the Secretary of State this year, the Lincoln Journal Star reported . Nebraska counties with populations of 10,000 people or fewer have had the option since 2009 to hold all-mail elections, if given state approval. More than 58 percent of Garden County voters cast a ballot in the May 15 primary election, compared to statewide voter turnout of about 24 percent.
New Hampshire: Database flags 142 possible voter fraud cases, not Trump’s ‘thousands’ | Associated Press
Fewer than 150 of the nearly 95,000 New Hampshire names flagged by a multistate voter registration database represent cases of possible fraud, the secretary of state said Tuesday. The Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program is aimed at preventing voter fraud by identifying duplicate voter registration records among those voluntarily provided by states. New Hampshire was among 28 participants last year, though some states have dropped out or are re-evaluating the program amid criticism that it results in false matches and doesn’t properly protect personal information. After the 2016 general election, the system flagged 94,610 New Hampshire voters whose first and last names and dates of birth matched those in other states. That amounts to about 1 in 9 voters, but officials eliminated all but 142 of the matches after taking a closer look at middle names and other information, including the marked checklists maintained by poll workers. Of the 142, officials have sent 51 to the attorney general’s office for investigation and are waiting for information from other states on the rest, Secretary of State Bill Gardner told the Ballot Law Commission.
Saratoga County Board of Elections has once again rejected a request for copies of the electronic ballots cast in November’s charter referendum that was defeated by 10 votes. In a May 25, 2018 letter from the county Board of Supervisors, the former chair of the now disbanded Charter Review Commission Bob Turner was informed that the request “is duplicative of your previous request, which (has) been fully settled.” Turner said the move by Board of Election Commissioners Roger Schiera (Republican) and William Fruci (Democrat) “undermines the public’s confidence in the integrity of the electoral process. If the election was run properly, there is nothing to hide,” Turner said. The city’s charter-change advocates submitted a second Freedom of Information Law request after an April 12 ruling of 3-2 in Kosmider vs. Whitney in the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court. A panel of five judges ruled that electronic ballot images in this Essex County case can be accessed through a FOIL request. The Board of Supervisors in Essex County, the Sun Community News reported, has filed a paperwork reserving the right to appeal.
The two sides fighting over North Dakota’s voter identification law failed to reach a settlement Tuesday, May 29. More than two years after several members of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa sued Secretary of State Al Jaeger over the state’s voter ID laws, the two sides met in a settlement conference at the federal courthouse in Bismarck Tuesday. But that ended without an agreement, Jaeger told county auditors in a message. Jaeger, a Republican, said he couldn’t disclose any proposals because the talks were confidential. He said “discussions may continue.”
Any day now, the U.S. Supreme Court may decide a case that could change how Ohio removes people from voter rolls. The court heard arguments in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute in January. Federal law lays out a process for taking people’s names off the registered voter list if they have moved to a new address and haven’t updated election officials. Ohio is one of several states to begin the removal process if voters skip elections and don’t have other contact with their local election board. … Under federal law, state election officials can send a forwardable confirmation mailer to the address asking if the voter still lives there. A voter can send the card back in either to confirm that they do, or to update their address. If state officials don’t receive any response, federal law requires them to wait four years. If the voter doesn’t cast a ballot or update their address, they can be taken off the rolls.
An initiative to reform Utah’s nominating system failed to make the ballot after opponents convinced nearly 3,000 people to withdraw their name from a petition in support of the measure, election officials said Tuesday. Initiatives on medical marijuana, redistricting and Medicaid expansion did make the ballot, officials announced, making them the first to be decided by Utah voters in 14 years. Tuesday’s result is a victory for defenders of the current political system, but will also heighten questions about the ability to block initiatives from reaching voters. Republican Gov. Gary Herbert has spoken out against urging voters to withdraw names from petitions they’ve already signed and said last week the system ought to be rethought.
Barbados elected its first female prime minister as the opposition inflicted a crushing defeat on the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP), winning all the seats in the Caribbean island’s parliament, election results showed on Friday. Mia Mottley’s victory in Thursday’s elections returns the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) to power on the island of some 285,000 people for the first time in a decade. The Electoral and Boundaries Commission said the BLP had elected all 30 members of the parliament, delivering the first clean sweep in the history of the legislature. The DLP had previously held a slim majority with 16 seats. “This victory is the people of Barbados’ victory,” Mottley, 52, told supporters outside the BLP’s Bridgetown headquarters early on Friday, calling the result a vote for a more inclusive and transparent kind of leadership for Barbados.
Iraq’s parliament successfully held its fourth emergency session to discuss election results on Monday, pushing the session until late afternoon while waiting for holding quorum. At least 165 lawmakers need to be attending for a parliamentary session to kick off legitimately. More so, the Iraqi parliament approved manual recounting of 10 percent of votes in the May 12 parliamentary election amid allegations of fraud, forgery and irregularities. If there is 25 percent difference between the results of the manual and electronic count, then all Iraqi provinces are to undergo a full manual recount.
Latvia is investigating whether its banks acted as conduits for Russian funds used to interfere in elections and politics elsewhere, after it received a warning from the United States, officials have told Reuters. The allegations, which highlight the country’s role as a stepping stone for Russian money on its way to the west, come after Latvia’s third largest bank was shut in February after being accused by the United States of money laundering. Foreign affairs minister Edgars Rinkevics told Reuters that citizens from Russia and former Soviet states, including people subject to U.S. sanctions, had put money in Latvian banks and some of it may have been used for political manipulation.
Libyan rival factions agreed on Tuesday to hold elections on 10 December. The agreement was made at a Paris meeting called by the French president Emmanuel Macron. An adviser to UN-recognised Libyan prime minister Fayez al-Serraj said the agreement included the finalisation of a constitution by 16 September. Serraj, eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar and the heads of two parliamentary assemblies attended the talks. “The parties have committed to set the constitutional basis for elections and adopt the necessary electoral laws by 16 September and hold parliamentary and presidential elections on 10 December,” an eight-point joint statement read.
For every peso declared to Mexican electoral authorities by political parties and candidates, 15 more are moving under the table, according to a report Tuesday on the problem of illegal campaign finance. The nonprofit Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity published the report after months of investigation, concluding that Mexico’s public campaign finance system has failed to keep illegal money from influencing elections. The report says that the cash moving around electoral campaigns is such that Mexico’s central bank has documented inexplicable increases in the amount of cash circulating in the economy in the five months before elections. The money comes from both public and private sources. Money is siphoned from public programs and local governments to fund campaigns and is funneled to candidates by businesses interested in winning public contracts and having access to elected officials.
With the June 13 local elections about two weeks away, some foreign residents with voting rights are still having difficulty getting information about candidates because of the language barrier. The National Election Commission (NEC) has been running an official foreign language website, but they are poorly managed with few updates; they are virtually useless for foreign voters who cannot speak Korean. From May 27 to 29, foreign residents with suffrage need to visit their local community center or government website for their city, county or district, to confirm whether they are listed as eligible voters and how to find their polling station. Foreigners who find their names missing should ask the center to include them during this period. Otherwise, they might lose the chance to vote.