National: Ahead of November election, old voting machines stir concerns among U.S. officials | Reuters

U.S. election officials responsible for managing more than a dozen close races this November share a fear: Outdated voting machines in their districts could undermine confidence in election results that will determine which party controls the U.S. Congress. In 14 of the 40 most competitive races, Americans will cast ballots on voting machines that do not provide a paper trail to audit voters’ intentions if a close election is questioned, according to a Reuters analysis of data from six states and the Verified Voting Foundation, a non-political group concerned about verifiable elections. These include races in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Texas, Florida, Kansas and Kentucky. Nationwide, of 435 congressional seats up for grabs, 144 are in districts where some or all voters will not have access to machines using paper records, the analysis shows. While something could go wrong in any of those districts, it is in the close elections where a miscount or a perception of a miscount matters most.

National: State Websites Are Hackable — And That Could Compromise Election Security | FiveThirtyEight

Not every election hack is a blockbuster — but even small-scale attacks on states’ cyber infrastructure have the potential for catastrophic effects. After receiving a tip from a small cyber firm called Appsecuri, FiveThirtyEight has confirmed that two states, Alabama and Nevada, had vulnerabilities that left them open to potential compromises of their state web presences. Earlier this month, Appsecuri approached FiveThirtyEight and said it found potential flaws on several states’ websites that would allow for information to be tampered with. It provided a number of vulnerabilities to FiveThirtyEight; FiveThirtyEight is only reporting those it could verify with the states affected.

National: State Election Systems Increasingly at Risk for Cyberattacks, FireEye Says | Bloomberg

U.S. election systems are increasingly at risk for cyberattacks ahead of the November midterms as Russia continues information operations to sow political division, according to cyber firm FireEye Inc. State and local election infrastructure is becoming a more popular target for hackers, particularly state-sponsored cyber espionage actors, the Milpitas, California-based company said in a report Thursday, outlining risks to voter registration, polling places and ballot submission systems. Although the U.S. primary season is well underway, FireEye said it hasn’t observed attacks against election infrastructure as of March. But following Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, “malicious actors and nation states likely already have an understanding of the flaws in the U.S. elections infrastructure and will seek to exploit opportunities where they can,’’ the report said.

Arkansas: Lonoke County Voters Push for More Training after ‘Fiasco’ at Polls during Primary Election | FOX16

Problems at polling places on primary night in Lonoke County have many voters pushing for more training across the state. The Democratic Party of Arkansas has filed several complaints over issues there, with at least one more on its way from a former state lawmaker. The party first filed a lawsuit on election day, demanding all Lonoke County polling places remain open until 10 p.m., which was two and a half hours after they were supposed to close.  Chief of Staff Taylor Riddle said Democrats could not vote for the first three hours of regular voting at the England Rec Center because machines were not set up and they had only Republican and non-partisan paper ballots. The Arkansas Supreme Court ultimately denied the party’s request so it filed a complaint with the State Board of Election Commissioners.

California: California is making it easier to vote — even if you forgot to register | The Tribune

Thinking about voting in the June 5 election but forgot to register? Or maybe you moved and forgot to update your address. Don’t worry. For the first time in a California general election, voters who missed the registration deadline can still vote for sheriff or a favorite candidate for governor — thanks to a new conditional voter registration process. That’s because of state legislation that went into effect in 2017. It’s part of what Secretary of State Alex Padilla called, “a simple way we’re continuing to expand voting rights and opportunities in California.” All would-be voters need to do is fill out a same-day registration card and cast their ballots on or before Election Day.

Florida: Elections supervisors speak out on security | WJHG

Following a meeting with U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, who has called elections supervisors “overconfident”, Florida election officials say they have security in place to prevent foreign actors from tampering with this year’s election. In 2016, suspected Russian hackers got into a Tallahassee company. It provides support to the majority of the state’s elections supervisors. At least five suspicious emails were intercepted before they were opened in county supervisor’s offices. Mark Early was one of the supervisors meeting with U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, “We don’t think we want a repeat of 2016 where there was information out there that could have been helpful to us, but we can’t get our hands on that data to make good decisions on how to handle any threats we may not know about, so we are doing our best,” said the 32-year veteran elections official. Supervisor told Rubio they were prepared.

Florida: In Florida, Long Fight for Restored Vote Often Ends in Minutes | Courthouse News

On a muggy 90-degree day in 2013, Virginia Atkins traveled to Florida’s state capitol building in Tallahassee to ask Gov. Rick Scott for her voting rights back. Dressed conservatively in a black blouse, blue dress with a palm tree print and thick, horn-rimmed glasses, the 44-year-old waited nearly three hours before a clerk called her number: 36. Atkins, accompanied by her adult daughter, approached the podium and timidly greeted the governor. “It’s been 10 years since these charges,” she began, referring to a 2001 conviction for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. “I’ve served my time. I’m working. I’m a grandmamma. I’m going to be a grandmamma to twins.” Atkins smiled and touched her daughter’s belly. “I work every day,” she continued. “I’m active in the community. I stay out of trouble.” She paused and bit her lower lip, seeming to swallow her tears. Scott asked why she did it. “I was protecting my daughter at the time,” Atkins said, explaining an incident involving a woman spitting on and slapping her 13-year-old daughter, Kashandra Nixon.

Iowa: Civil Rights Group Blasts Voter ID Law | Courthouse News

A Latino civil rights organization and an Iowa State University student filed a lawsuit calling the state’s new voter ID law unconstitutional and particularly burdensome for minority, disabled and elderly voters. The legislation at issue, House File 516, was passed on a party-line vote by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed into law by former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad last year. It made a number of significant changes to the Hawkeye State’s voting laws, including a requirement that voters show a photo ID or an approved substitute ID at the polls, as well as new restrictions on absentee ballots and the elimination of straight-party voting. According to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Polk County District Court, HF 516 “severely burdens and abridges Iowans’ fundamental right to vote.”

Maryland: Judge denies Ervin request to order new ballots, sets hearing for Monday | The Washington Post

An Anne Arundel County Circuit Court judge has refused to order the Maryland State Board of Elections not to use ballots for the June 26 Democratic primary that list Valerie Ervin as a candidate for lieutenant governor. Judge Laura Sue Kiessling scheduled a hearing for Monday on whether the state must change its ballots to reflect that Ervin has replaced her former running mate, the late Baltimore County executive Kevin Kamenetz, at the top of the ticket. Kamenetz died unexpectedly May 10. Ervin, a former member of the Montgomery County council and school board, took his place on the ballot, and tapped former Baltimore County school board member Marisol Johnson as her running mate.

Michigan: New election equipment and systems more secure in 2018 | Daily Tribune

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said new election equipment and millions of dollars worth of federal election security grants will help to further protect the state’s elections systems this fall. With the statewide primary election being held in August, residents should be aware that for the first time in 12 years, every voter will be using new election equipment designed with added security measures including optical-scan ballot tabulators, accessible features for voters with disabilities as well as upgraded election-management and reporting software. In Oakland County, voters will be using election equipment supplied by Hart Intercivic, a Texas-based company that signed a 10-year contract with the county and 10 other counties around the state in 2017.

New Hampshire: State Supreme Court hears from 10 parties on voting rights bill | Associated Press

Ten individuals or groups have weighed in as the New Hampshire Supreme Court decides whether to consider the constitutionality of ending the state’s distinction between full-fledged residents and those who claim the state as their domicile in order to vote. Current law allows college students and others who say they are domiciled in New Hampshire to vote without being official residents subject to residency requirements, such as getting a New Hampshire driver’s license or registering a vehicle. The Legislature sent Republican Gov. Chris Sununu a bill last week to align the definitions of domicile and residency, but he wants the court to clarify whether doing so would be constitutional.

Texas: 5th Circuit temporarily blocks online voter registration for Texas drivers | The Texas Tribune

Texas will not be required to meet a 45-day deadline to implement online voter registration for drivers — for now. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday temporarily blocked a lower court ruling that mandated a voter registration system that would allow drivers to register to vote when they renew their driver’s licenses online. The requirement was part of U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia’s ruling that Texas was violating a federal voter registration law — also known as the “Motor Voter Act” — that’s meant to ease the voter registration process.

Wisconsin: Appeals court yet to rule on voter ID, election laws after 16 months | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

More than a year after hearing arguments, a federal appeals court has yet to rule on a host of Wisconsin voting laws, including aspects of the state’s voter ID statute. The long delay has left some scratching their heads and raised questions about whether the court will act before this year’s elections, including the fast-approaching Aug. 14 primary.  “It is rare but not unprecedented for a case to take this long,” said Joshua Douglas, a University of Kentucky College of Law professor. “I do think it’s very weird and I’m very surprised it has taken this long.” What’s at issue has only grown more complicated. In one recent development, the state sued a voting rights group to try to prevent it from contacting voters who have had difficulty getting free state IDs. Litigation over the voter ID law has been going on since shortly after the measure was approved seven years ago. The law has largely been upheld, but courts have modified parts of it to make it easier for people who don’t have birth certificates to get free IDs.

International: State-sponsored cyber attacks deserve tougher responses: ASPI report | ZDNet

“If cyberattacks really pose a significant threat, governments need to start thinking of them like they think of other incidents in the physical world,” says a new policy paper from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). “It is telling that Prime Minister Theresa May made public attribution of the Salisbury poisonings in a matter of days and followed up with consequences shortly thereafter. Her decisive action also helped galvanise an international coalition in a very short time frame,” it says. “Obviously that was a serious matter that required a speedy response, but the speed was also possible because government leaders are more used to dealing with physical world incidents. They still don’t understand the impact or importance of cyber events or have established processes to deal with them.” The paper, titled Deterrence in cyberspace, was released on Friday. The author is Chris Painter, formerly the world’s first top cyber diplomat at the US State Department, now a Commissioner on the Global Commission for the Stability of Cyberspace (GCSC), and distinguished non-resident fellow at ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre (ICPC).

Colombia: Presidential runoff will be a yet another referendum on peace | The Conversation

There were five candidates competing in Colombia’s May 27 presidential election, but peace was the main question on the ballot. In late 2016, the Colombian government signed a controversial accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, a guerrilla group. Election season closely followed the peace deal – an incredibly divisive issue that was defeated at referendum just over a month before Congress approved it – turning it into a polarizing campaign issue. Implementation of the ambitious agreements with the FARC remains a work in progress. Colombia is also currently negotiating another peace process, with the National Liberation Army guerrilla group. The next president must decide whether to keep to this path or take a different route.

Croatia: Far right pushes for vote to curb minority rights | Associated Press

A far-right group campaigning for a change in Croatian election laws said Thursday it has collected enough signatures to call a nationwide referendum that could curb significantly the rights of ethnic minorities. The “People Decide” group said it has collected nearly 400,000 signatures for a vote on a proposal to reduce the number of lawmakers in Croatia’s parliament from 150 to a maximum 120, curb the number of MPs representing ethnic minorities and ban them from voting on crucial issues such as forming Croatia’s government and the national budget.

Iraq: Parliamentary election results at more than 1000 stations cancelled | Iraqi News

Baghdad ( Iraq’s High Elections Commission announced on Wednesday it was cancelling voting results in the recent parliament elections from more than 1000 polling stations, adding it would hold violators accountable. It said its teams scrutinized 102 stations at 10 provinces where vote manipulation was reported by political parties, adding that violations were verified. The commission added it voluntarily scrutinized 2000 more stations, out of which 852 proved to have witnessed breaches, hence cancellation of results. It clarified that 67 stations for expatriate voters also had their results cancelled due to violations, including in the United States, Germany, the U.K., Sweden, Jordan and Turkey.

Spain: Prime Minister ousted in no-confidence vote | CNBC

Spain has a new prime minister after a parliamentary vote Friday led to the ousting of incumbent Mariano Rajoy. Speaking to the Spanish parliament just before the vote, Rajoy said he would accept the result and wanted to be the first to congratulate the leader of the opposition Socialist Party, Pedro Sanchez, as his successor. A long-running corruption trial — known as the Gurtel case — found dozens of people linked to Rajoy’s governing People’s Party (PP) guilty of benefiting from illegal kickbacks. That prompted Sanchez to push for a vote of no-confidence against Rajoy.