National: Are Tuesday’s primaries safe from hackers? A state-by-state election security breakdown | The Washington Post

Tomorrow is a big test for election security coast to coast, as eight states including California hold primaries in one of the most consequential voting days since the presidential election. It’s the largest block of states to do so before the November midterms, and election officials hope they have the right safeguards in place to stave off the kinds of cyberattacks that occurred in 2016. That year, Russian hackers targeted election systems in 21 states. “We’ve done everything that we could think of doing — not to just assess what happened in 2016 but to fortify our defenses,” California Secretary of State Alex Padilla told me.  “Cybersecurity concerns are equally top-of-mind in the primary as they are in November,” he said. “We’re not considered a swing state, but we’re still California and from a security standpoint a high-value target, so we’re taking it very seriously, to protect our election process and the integrity of elections.”

National: Intel officials warn of Russian cyberattacks as 7 states set to hold primaries | Washington Times

Candidates won’t be the only ones sweating the vote as California and six other states hold primaries Tuesday, as election security officials say they are bracing to see how their systems hold up against an expected wave of cyberattacks. U.S. intelligence agencies say Russian hackers tried to disrupt both the campaign and vote-counting in 2016 and that they fully expect another wave of online attacks this year. Hackers last month sabotaged an online debate among congressional candidates by streaming gay pornography. Federal officials say Russian hackers targeted election systems in 21 states two years ago, although no evidence surfaced that any result was corrupted by the incursions. Tuesday’s primaries will be the largest single block of states voting on one day ahead of November’s fiercely contested midterm elections and the largest election day since November 2016.

National: Bill Clinton: US should return to paper voting to stop election hacks | Business Insider

All US states should return to a paper ballot system because they were at too much risk from cyberterrorism, former President Bill Clinton has said. While it isn’t yet clear how much of the 2016 presidential election was compromised by cyberattacks, all US citizens should return to pen and paper to vote for now, the 42nd president told the BBC on Monday. “Until we get this straightened out, every state should go to some sort of paper ballot system,” Clinton said. He specifically cited Virginia’s decision last year to return to a paper ballot system, in which manual votes are counted and processed by electronic scanners.

National: New cybersecurity funding won’t make U.S. election technology less vulnerable | Axios

The recent $380 million of federal funding to replace paperless voting machinery and improve cybersecurity is desperately needed, but it is unlikely to ensure the long-term cybersecurity of U.S. election technology. The big picture: At best, the one-time spending will provide a catalyst for election organizations to gain basic cybersecurity competence. At worst, though, the money will be spent on discretionary purchases (e.g., digital pollbooks or new PC hardware) that only appear helpful and that, without proper security-centric integration, may increase the systems’ exposure to attacks.

National: Trump’s lack of cyber leader may make U.S. vulnerable | Politico

The absence of senior cybersecurity leaders in President Donald Trump’s administration may be leaving the United States more vulnerable to digital warfare and less prepared for attacks on election systems, according to lawmakers and experts worried about White House brain drain under national security adviser John Bolton. Both Republicans and Democrats are expressing concern that the White House is rudderless on cybersecurity at a time when hostile nations’ hackers are moving aggressively, inspiring fears about disruptive attacks on local governments, power plants, hospitals and other critical systems. POLITICO spoke with nearly two dozen cyber experts, lawmakers and former officials from the White House, the intelligence community and the departments of Justice, Homeland Security, Defense and State about Bolton’s decisions to oust the White House’s homeland security adviser and eliminate its cyber coordinator position. The overwhelming consensus is that Bolton’s moves are a major step backward for the increasingly critical and still-evolving world of cyber policy.

National: States Want Voters to Start Young | Associated Press

Since his 2012 election to the Washington state legislature, Rep. Steve Bergquist had been trying to persuade his colleagues to support a bill allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote — and requiring schools to help get them on the rolls, a move the Democratic lawmaker was sure would improve voter turnout among young people when they turned 18. There was opposition and concern: Was it an unfair burden on schools? Did it open the registration and voting process up to fraud? And wasn’t it already pretty easy to register in Washington, which has a “motor voter” law, as well as registration by mail and online? So Bergquist used his experience as a former high school social studies teacher to his advantage. 

Editorials: Voter registration is useless. So let’s get rid of it. | Knut Heidar/The Washington Post

The automatic right to vote should be the essence of democracy. But it doesn’t exist in the United States — unless you remember to register. The problem is that about one in five U.S. citizens are eligible to vote but not registered. This makes turnout at elections in the United States much lower than in western Europe, shutting out significant voices in the democratic process. This democratic deficit deprives the less resourceful part of the population of its most central political right. It affects political campaigns as well as the election results. Candidates formulate policies and compete for office on the basis of policies targeting only registered voters. The unregistered are secondary citizens and excluded from the national “we.” But there is an easy way to ensure voting rights: automatic voter registration.

Arizona: State Settles Suit Over Handling of Voter Registration | Associated Press

Arizona officials announced Monday a settled lawsuit that says thousands of residents are being disenfranchised by the way the state handled voter registration applications that don’t provide proof of citizenship. The suit filed by the League of United Latin American Citizens and Arizona Students’ Association against Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan and Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes. The lawsuit claimed the state’s voter registration process was unduly burdensome, as people who use a state-produced application and fail to provide proof could not vote in both state and federal elections.

California: Election Officials Enlist Data Scientists in Election Monitoring Bid | Bloomberg

Southern California officials are turning to data scientists for help spotting suspicious trends as voters head to the polls in primaries on Tuesday and cyber experts warn that Russia will seek to meddle in this year’s midterm elections. As part of a pilot project, the Orange County Registrar of Voters is shipping some of its data to researchers at the California Institute of Technology through a secure pipeline. They’re developing analytic tools that could help election officials review voting data for irregularities. California is one of eight states holding primaries Tuesday and Orange County alone has nearly 1.5 million registered voters. The aim of the California project is to help local officials pinpoint any “anomalies” in their data, providing “metric-based evaluations” on the integrity of elections, according to Michael Alvarez, a Caltech political science professor. The Caltech team will post its data analysis on an online dashboard.

California: In a handful of California counties, polling places are giving way to a sweeping new election system | Los Angeles Times

The neighborhood polling place, a staple of American elections, has disappeared as election day arrives in five California counties — the first sites to transition to a sweeping new system dependent on absentee ballots and a limited number of all-purpose voting centers. It is a major change, far beyond the tinkering in years past. And when it spreads to California’s most populous cities and communities in 2020, the new system probably will lead to a rethinking of what it means to conduct an election. “Forget everything you know about the voting process and create an all-new one,” said Alice Jarboe, Sacramento County’s interim registrar of voters.

Florida: After two months, Florida’s election security money is approved in one day | Tampa Bay Times

Well, that was fast. It took Gov. Rick Scott’s administration two months to formally apply for $19.2 million in election security money. It took the feds one day to approve the request. The U.S. Election Assistance Commission on Monday released a letter it sent to Sen. Marco Rubio that said the EAC “has reviewed Florida’s disbursement request and approved the request in one working day. We expect funds will be in Florida’s account this week.” … The money will be divided among the state and all 67 counties to improve security procedures to help detect threats to voting systems, such as the attempted phishing emails in at least five counties in 2016 that a federal agency said was the work of Russian hackers.

Editorials: A ticking clock on Virginia redistricting | Richmond Times Dispatch

The Virginia Supreme Court’s decision upholding 11 challenged legislative districts shows just how high a bar opponents of gerrymandering need to clear. The anti-gerrymandering group OneVirginia2021 brought the case, arguing that the 11 districts violated the state’s constitutional requirement that districts must be compact. It brought in experts who testified that the districts failed to meet various statistical tests for compactness. For instance, Michael McDonald argued that reducing the compactness of an ideally compact district by more than 50 percent in order to meet other considerations not required by the Virginia Constitution meant that those latter considerations predominated over compactness — and any such predomination was unconstitutional.

Wyoming: State gets half of needed funds for voting equipment | Cody Enterprise

Wyoming is about halfway there. In an omnibus appropriations bill passed by the U.S. Congress this spring, legislators designated $380 million in elections security grants to the states, and Wyoming will be getting a $3 million chunk of those funds. The grants require a 5 percent match from states, working out to $150,000 from Wyoming. A formula breaking down distribution by county has yet to be hashed out, but will likely factor in population and individual county needs. The funds will be provided through the Help America Vote Act of 2002, which last disbursed payments for upgrades nationally in 2010. The last time Wyoming saw any of that money was in 2005, however, when the current generation of machines were bought for the 2006 elections.

Canada: Why electronic voting in the Ontario election is a mistake |

A seismic shift will occur in Ontario politics on June 7 regardless of which party wins the election: electronic vote-counting machines will be used across the province for the first time. Machines will scan voters’ paper ballots and calculate the totals at each polling station that is equipped with them. Ninety per cent of the ballots will be counted this way. The rest will be counted by hand, as not all polling stations will have machines. When the polls close, offsite computers will add up the votes. On June 1, CBC News reported that the Progressive Conservatives, “wrote to Elections Ontario this week to flag several issues, including concerns about protection from hacking and the certification of the vote-counting machines.” Elections Ontario’s chief administrative officer, Deborah Danis, was quoted as responding, “There is no possibility that the counts could not be fully corroborated. I would actually argue that the introduction of technology increases our accuracy.” Unfortunately, this response from Elections Ontario falls far short. Here’s why.

Colombia: Presidential candidates want to see evidence of voter fraud | Colombia Report

Both candidates in Colombia’s presidential election race have asked the country’s chief prosecutor to reveal alleged evidence of voter fraud. Prosecutor General Nestor Humberto Martinez said Thursday this year’s elections saw widespread election fraud, but said he would not reveal evidence until after a new president is elected. The results of legislative elections in March and the first presidential election round last week have become controversial after claims that both votes saw widespread fraud. Martinez said he would not reveal evidence of “sicking” levels of fraud until after the elections “so they don’t say I am intervening in politics.” Martinez’ claim contradicted the country’s electoral authorities that have categorically denied fraud claims.

Slovenia: Elections Tilt Another European Country to the Right | The New York Times

Voters in Slovenia gave victory to a populist party led by a firebrand former prime minister in parliamentary elections on Sunday that tilted another European country to the right. The Slovenian Democratic Party, led by the two-time former prime minister Janez Jansa, received nearly 25 percent of the vote, according to the country’s National Election Commission. “Those who cast their ballots for us have elected a party that will put Slovenia first,” Mr. Jansa told supporters at the party’s headquarters in Ljubljana after the result was announced.

Turkey: Electoral noose tightens in Turkey’s critical southeast | Al-Monitor

Pressure against Turkey’s largest pro-Kurdish bloc is nothing new. But with under three weeks left before the June 24 presidential and parliamentary polls, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is being squeezed more tightly than ever. HDP officials charge that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is trying to prevent the HDP from winning the minimum 10% of the vote needed to take seats in the parliament so as to ensure its continued dominance of the legislative body. Under Turkey’s convoluted rules, the first runner-up in a given electoral district picks up a party’s seat if it fails to scale the national barrier and in the Kurdish-dominated southeast, that would likely be the AKP. An estimated 80 seats are at stake.