International: Coalition of former Transatlantic leaders offer chilling election security warning | Washington Times

With more than 20 major elections scheduled in the next two years, governments on both sides of the Atlantic are still not prepared to fend off outside attacks to meddle in campaigns and election counts, an international bipartisan group of political, technology, business and media leaders warned Monday. “Governments are scrambling to prepare for the last disinformation campaign, rather than the next,” the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity said in a statement after a meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark. “In the coming years, the proliferation of technology will make it easy for everyone to sow the seeds of confusion and distrust,” the group said. The commission formed in May in the wake of reports that Russia had meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and worked with favored parties in votes across Europe in recent years. U.S. election officials have said they expect Russia to try to interfere in the November midterm and 2020 presidential elections as well.

National: Russia probe likely got access to NRA’s secret donors | McClatchy

For months, the National Rifle Association has had a stock answer to queries about an investigation into whether Russian money was funneled to the gun rights group to aid Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. The NRA, which spent $30 million-plus backing Trump’s bid, has heard nothing from the FBI or any other law enforcement agency, spokesman Andrew Arulanandam reiterated in an email the other day. Legal experts, though, say there’s an easy explanation for that. They say it would be routine for Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators, who are looking at the NRA’s funding as part of a broader inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections, to secretly gain access to the NRA’s tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service.

California: The November election just got a lot less confusing for California voters | Los Angeles Times

Californians won’t vote on the nation’s toughest privacy protections after all — because the Legislature did its job and handled the matter. That’s one less confusing ballot proposition and hundreds fewer annoying TV ads that voters will be pestered with in November. Same with a complex local tax measure. The soft drink industry was scared of local governments slapping taxes on sugary soda. So soda makers qualified a ballot initiative making it harder to increase local taxes period. But they withdrew the measure last week after the Legislature passed a bill to ban new soda taxes for 12 years. There also won’t be a squirrely ballot measure sponsored by paint manufacturers asking taxpayers to subsidize their lead paint cleanup. Outraged legislators responded to the initiative by introducing bills to penalize the companies. In the end, everyone holstered their weapons and agreed to negotiate.

Florida: Elections supervisors urged to take federal help on security | Tampa Bay Times

Florida election supervisors should take advantage of help from the Department of Homeland Security to make systems more secure, Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson wrote in a letter Monday. “County election boards should not be expected to stand alone against a hostile foreign government,” the lawmakers said in recommending “a wide range of services” from DHS to strengthen security. “We encourage you in the strongest terms to take advantage of those resources, and to let us know about your experience with DHS and FBI.”

Georgia: Election officials admit misplacing voters in Georgia House race | Atlanta Journal Constitution

Something went very wrong when dozens, maybe even hundreds, of voters received the wrong ballots in a tight primary election in North Georgia. They lived in one state House district but voted in another. Now, the election that seemed to unseat an incumbent representative might be thrown out. State Rep. Dan Gasaway, who lost the May 22 primary by just 67 votes to Chris Erwin, is asking a judge to order a new election. Election officials in Habersham County have acknowledged the errors, sending letters to voters saying “your address was found to have been placed in the wrong House district.”

Massachusetts: Court upholds 20-day voter registration cut-off | Reuters

Massachusetts’ top court on Monday unanimously upheld a state requirement that people must register to vote 20 days before an election, ruling in a case that could impact the ability of thousands of citizens to cast ballots. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favor of the state’s top election official by reversing a lower court judge’s 2017 ruling that concluded the registration cut-off violated the state’s constitution. The 7-0 ruling by the top court came in a lawsuit filed in 2016 by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts on behalf of two organizations, Chelsea Collaborative and MassVote, and several individual qualified voters.

Utah: Federal judge sides with San Juan County, says it’s been ‘pretty vigorous’ in implementing new voter boundaries that benefit Navajo residents – The Salt Lake Tribune

A federal judge declined Monday to reopen a landmark voting rights case filed by Navajo residents in southeastern Utah, suggesting that San Juan County’s Republican-controlled leadership has led “a pretty vigorous effort” to comply with the redistricting that he ordered last year to reverse the political domination by whites over American Indians there. It’s a surprising dismissal that for now ends the six-year legal battle that has overtaken politics in this remote and rural corner of the state and left lingering bad blood over the ruling. (The county has an appeal still pending.) “I have little doubt that after six years of litigation in this case, there’s not a lot of fond feelings and also some level of distrust,” said U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby. “But this process we’ve been engaged in here [with the request to reopen the case] is not helpful in correcting any of that.”

Australia: Tasmanian electoral body caught up in Typeform data breach | ZDNet

The Tasmanian Electoral Commission says an “unknown attacker” has breached a server’s security and downloaded a back-up file containing the names, addresses, emails, and date-of-birth information of electors. The breach occurred through a server of the Barcelona-based company Typeform, whose online forms have been used on the TEC website since 2015 for election services, the commission said in a statement on Saturday. Typeform said the breach was identified on June 27, with the vulnerability closed down within half an hour of detection.

Cambodia: NGOs warned of unofficial election monitoring | Khmer Times

The National Election Committee has warned civil society organisations that intend to deploy observers to monitor the election on July 29 without being registered that they will face the law. The NEC issued a statement on Saturday informing all its Phnom Penh and 24 provincial election committees to closely monitor election watchdog Comfel for training its volunteers to monitor the election on July 29, noting that the NGO was infringing on the Law on Political Parties, election law and law on NGOs and associations.

Iraq: Manual recount of votes from disputed election begins | Reuters

Iraqi authorities began recounting votes from May’s disputed parliamentary election on Tuesday, officials said, a step towards forming a new government after weeks of delays. Counting started in the northern oil-producing province of Kirkuk, a election commission source there said, and at least six other provinces were expected to follow suit in coming days. Parliament ordered a full recount earlier in June after a government report concluded there were widespread violations.

Pakistan: Pakistan’s Bittersweet Election Season | The Diplomat

Uncertainty, doubts, and skepticism are on the rise as Pakistan inches toward its July 25 parliamentary elections, the most controversial in the country’s democratic history thanks to recurring direct and indirect interference by the powerful military. There exists both hope and despair – hope of a third transfer of power from one elected government to another and despair because of the increasing role of the proverbial “invisible hand” that some observers and political analysts label as the “creeping coup.” Unlike the past, where the military used to pack elected governments through direct interference or pick and choose by acting behind the scenes, this time it is the top judiciary and the accountability department — the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) — standing in the front row and believed to be targeting some, while sparing others.

Turkey: Government signals early local election in November | Hurriyet Daily News

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has signaled the bringing of local elections forward to November 2018 instead of March 2019, on the condition that opposition parties agree as the process requires a constitutional amendment. “I think holding local elections on the first or second Sunday of November, which corresponds to a date between Nov. 1 and 8, would be appropriate,” AKP Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Mustafa Elitaş told the Demirören News Agency on July 2. “But three parties have to agree on that,” he added, in reference to the need to amend the constitution in order to change election dates. Elitaş’s statement followed comments from Food, Agriculture and Livestock Minister Ahmet Eşref Fakıbaba, who fueled discussions by saying that the first year after a local election is usually “wasted” on preparations and orientation, and it would be better to spend the last months of the year on such preparations.

Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe has an election coming up. Is political violence brewing? | The Washington Post

Zimbabweans head to the polls on July 30, in the first presidential election since the ouster of President Robert Mugabe last year. Until a week ago, Zimbabwe’s presidential campaigning had been relatively peaceful, with the exception of some violence reported during the party primary elections. That changed abruptly on June 23, when Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe’s new president, survived a grenade blast at a political rally in Bulawayo, the country’s second-largest city. The president’s office announced on June 26 that two people died from injuries sustained during the attack, while 49 others remained in the hospital.