National: Scientific collective calls for paper-based voting machines, no more internet voting | StateScoop

The United States should stop holding elections conducted without human-readable paper ballots as soon as possible, urges a report published Thursday by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. In a press release announcing the NASEM report, Lee Bollinger, president of Columbia University and co-chair of the committee that produced the report said “this is a critical time for our country” and called on all levels of government to prioritize the use of paper ballots. NASEM’s recommendations are all oriented around ensuring that election infrastructure is not vulnerable to tampering and that results can be verified. Chief among the recommendations is that all voting machines that do not create a paper trail allowing for independent auditing be “removed from service as soon as possible.” The report follows two years of federal and state activity centered on protecting election systems from foreign meddling, specifically groups linked to Russian intelligence agencies. State chief information officers first got a warning from the Department of Homeland Security in August 2016 about potential outside attacks, and federal agencies have increased their attention on the issue throughout 2018.

National: 6 Ways to Fight Election Hacking and Voter Fraud, According to an Expert Panel | The New York Times

Amid a chorus of warnings that the American election system is ground zero for foreign attackers, a panel of leading scholars and election experts issued a sweeping set of recommendations on Thursday for how to make elections more secure. Several similar reports have been issued lately, but this one is different. It not only carries a blue-ribbon pedigree from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, but it also suggests ways to address allegations of domestic voter fraud, which Republicans have leveled for years. The report notes the significant challenges of securing elections. In 2016, Americans voted in 178,217 precincts and 116,990 polling places. Under the Constitution, each state controls its own election procedures, and officials jealously guard their authority against federal interference. The rules vary so wildly that uniform standards are almost impossible. Still, many of the report’s proposals can be applied nationwide. Here are six ways the panel says that election security can be improved:

1. Use paper ballots to establish a backup record of each vote. Even if voter databases and other equipment aren’t connected to the internet, experts said, it will be hard to protect computer systems from cyber threats. As a result, they recommend that by 2020, every voting machine nationwide should generate a backup paper record of each vote. Currently, five states — Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, Delaware and New Jersey — and portions of several others do not maintain a paper trail.

National: The Best Way To Secure US Elections? Paper Ballots | Dark Reading

Voting machines that do not provide a paper trail or cannot be independently audited should immediately be removed, concludes a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is recommending the use of human-readable paper ballots as the best way to protect the security and integrity of US elections, at least in the immediate future. In fact, the committee behind the report wants election officials to consider ditching voting methods that do not provide a reliable paper-verifiable audit trail as early as the upcoming 2018 midterms and for all local, state, and federal elections by 2020. It also does not want jurisdictions to permit the use of the Internet and Internet-connected systems to return marked ballots until “very robust guarantees” of security and verifiability are developed. Other recommendations include the need for states to mandate risk-limiting audits prior to the certification of election results and routine assessments of the integrity of voter registration systems and databases.

National: Online-only voting? Don’t do it, experts say in report on election security | GeekWire

Chastened by Russian interference and hacking attempts in the 2016 election, academic experts on voting technology say electronic voting machines that don’t leave a paper trail should be phased out as soon as possible. “Every effort should be made to use human-readable paper ballots in the 2018 federal election,” the experts write in a report issued today by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine. “All local, state and federal elections should be conducted using human-readable paper ballots by the 2020 presidential election.” That’s already the case for Washington, Oregon and Colorado, where mail-only voting has become the norm. (The report notes that “vote-by-mail” is something of a misnomer, since most ballots are still returned by hand. “Ballot delivery by mail” comes closer to the mark.)

National: From encryption to deepfakes, lawmakers geek out during Facebook and Twitter hearing | The Washington Post

Jack Dorsey and Sheryl Sandberg relentlessly practiced before taking hot seats on Capitol Hill, engaging in role play and panels of questioning with colleagues and consultants. But the tech executives weren’t the only ones who came prepared for class on Wednesday. Senators on the Intelligence Committee clearly did their homework on a wide range of technical topics, and they peppered the executives with questions on issues ranging from doctored videos known as “deepfakes” to encryption. The grilling marked a stark departure from hearings earlier this year with Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, when senators on the Judiciary and Commerce committees were panned for their technical illiteracy. 

Verified Voting Blog: Four ways to defend democracy and protect every voter’s ballot | Douglas W. Jones

This article was originally posted at phys.org. As voters prepare to cast their ballots in the November midterm elections, it’s clear that U.S. voting is under electronic attack. Russian government hackers probed some states’ computer systems in the runup to the 2016 presidential election and are likely to do so again – as might hackers…

California: Can DMV be trusted to register voters after 23,000 botched registrations? | San Jose Mercury News

The California Department of Motor Vehicles’ acknowledgement this week that it botched 23,000 voter registrations is raising new questions about whether it can be trusted to register voters at a time when election integrity is under renewed scrutiny nationwide. The DMV said the errors are being corrected and that new safeguards — put in place after the mistakes surfaced — seem to be working. But the registration mistakes come at a time when the DMV is already under fire over massive backlogs in processing new federally compliant IDs, known as Real IDs. “Waiting in line is one thing, but having your voter registration tampered with without your knowledge or consent is a very disturbing development,” Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, said Thursday. “This touches on the very security and honestly the sacredness of a person’s registration and votes. This calls into question the ability of the DMV to manage voter registration.”

Colorado: Election prep summit included topics like cybersecurity threats and fake news | TheDenverChannel

It’s being billed as war games, election style. National leaders in cybersecurity, including the Secretary of Homeland Security, were in Colorado Thursday night to learn how to protect our ballots from bad actors. Colorado’s Republican Secretary of State, Wayne Williams, hosted election officials from all over the state to prepare for the November elections.  A battleground state, Colorado elections can come down to a few votes, which is why protecting the integrity of every one of them is of utmost importance. “Every vote is important. We want to make sure that voters know their votes matters, and it’s going to be counted right,” said Williams.

Michigan: Voting rights proposal certified for Michigan’s November ballot | The Detroit News

State elections officials on Thursday added a third proposal to the Nov. 6 ballot that would expand voting rights in Michigan. The Board of State Canvassers voted unanimously to certify signatures for a ballot initiative that would amend the Michigan Constitution to allow for no-reason absentee voting by mail, guarantee continued straight-party voting and let residents register to vote up to and on Election Day. The approval from canvassers comes a day before the deadline for inclusion on the November ballot and roughly a week after the ballot committee Promote the Vote asked a federal judge to force state certification of the proposal.

Missouri: Voter Crosscheck may wrongly purge Missouri voters from voting rolls | St. Louis American

U.S. citizens across the country soon will vote on all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, for 35 U.S. senators and three dozen governorships. The House of Representatives and possibly the Senate are up for grabs. Given the high stakes, voters would do well to check at least a month ahead of time with their local board of elections to see if they’re still registered to vote. This is especially true for people of color. The reason is that millions could find their right to vote challenged or taken away under suspicion that they’re trying to vote more than once, largely due to 26 states using the Interstate Voter Crosscheck system, which compares lists of voters in different states and challenges the registration of those whose names come up more than once.

North Carolina: Election Officials Get Extension for Voting Records Request | Wall Street Journal

Federal prosecutors on Thursday postponed a deadline for North Carolina election officials to provide voting records requested by federal immigration officials until after the Nov. 6 election. The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of North Carolina said in a letter that prosecutors would postpone the deadline until January and consider modifying the request, as long as election officials verified in writing that they wouldn’t destroy any relevant records. Prosecutors, at the request of immigration officials, had originally requested more than 20 million county and state records covering an eight-year period to be turned over by Sept. 25. North Carolina election officials had argued the effort required to collect the records would jeopardize their ability to prepare for this fall’s election.

Texas: O’Rourke campaign: “Impostor” responsible for texts about helping undocumented immigrants vote | The Texas Tribune

The campaign of Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, says an “impostor” was behind a text message that surfaced Wednesday asking voters to help people who are in the country illegally cast ballots. “Hi, it’s Patsy here w/ Beto for Texas,” reads the text, which was circulating on social media. “Our records indicate that you’re a supporter. We are in search of volunteers to help transport undocumented immigrants to polling booths so that they will be able vote. Would you be able to support this grassroots effort?” “That was not an approved message by the campaign,” said Chris Evans, O’Rourke’s communications director. “It was sent by an impostor. But we’re continuing to look into what happened.” Another apparently unauthorized text shared with the Tribune also said it was from “Patsy” and told readers that the campaign is “conducting an internal poll and would like to know your thoughts on the dangers of socialism.” It was not immediately clear how many unapproved texts went out and how many voters they reached.

Virginia: Richmond judge finds ‘out-and-out fraud’ in effort by Rep. Scott Taylor staff to get independent on ballot | Richmond Times Dispatch

In a ruling with potentially serious ramifications for the re-election campaign of Rep. Scott Taylor, R-2nd, a judge on Wednesday found “out-and-out fraud” in signatures Taylor’s campaign staff gathered to help get an independent spoiler candidate on the ballot. Richmond Circuit Judge Gregory L. Rupe ruled that independent Shaun Brown should be removed from the 2nd Congressional District ballot. Campaign staffers for Taylor helped gather signatures required to get Brown on the ballot. Investigations by news media and the Democratic Party showed forged signatures, including from voters who had died or no longer lived in the congressional district. The judge’s ruling followed testimony in a civil lawsuit the Democratic Party of Virginia brought against state elections officials. Four Taylor staffers and a former campaign consultant signed affidavits invoking their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in response to a series of questions about what happened.

Wisconsin: Experts discuss vulnerabilities in Wisconsin elections | The Badger Herald

The League of Women Voters of Dane County hosted a forum Wednesday on protecting Wisconsin’s elections amid questions surrounding foreign influence in the 2016 presidential election. Panelists included University of Wisconsin political science professor Barry Burden, the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism managing editor and co-founder Dee Hall and Richard Rydecki from the Wisconsin Elections Commission. While the panelists agreed that Wisconsin elections are vulnerable to security threats, they disagreed on what could cause significant errors.

Australia: Facebook working with Australian authorities to improve election integrity | AdNews

Facebook’s Australia boss Will Easton says the social media giant is working with local authorities to ensure next year’s federal election is not influenced by fake accounts and bad actors manipulating users on the social media platform, according to an interview with Fairfax Media. Easton said its policy team is working with the government on election integrity in a effort to prevent an Australian version of the Cambridge Analytica scandal where user data was harvested and then used by political strategists to manipulate and influence users to vote for Donald Trump in the US election. “Our policy team are in constant connection with the government around a number of different areas and election integrity is clearly a part of that. We’re very proactively talking to the election authorities in Australia about potential elections coming up,” he told the Fairfax Media.

Brazil: Jair Bolsonaro: Brazil presidential frontrunner stabbed at campaign rally | The Guardian

Jair Bolsonaro, the far-right frontrunner in next month’s Brazilian presidential election, is in a serious condition in hospital after being stabbed while campaigning. Bolsonaro was taken to hospital in the town of Juiz de Fora, about 125 miles (200km) north of Rio de Janeiro, after he was stabbed by a man who rushed up to him while he was being carried through a crowd on the shoulders of a supporter. He was in a serious but stable condition after injuries to his abdomen, surgeons at the Santa Casa de Misericórdia hospital said. Bolsonaro’s son Flávio – himself a candidate for the Brazilian Senate – tweeted that his father was “almost dead” when he arrived at hospital, having lost a lot of blood.

Nigeria: Huge fees for Nigerian election hopefuls under fire | AFP

Nigeria’s two main political parties are asking election hopefuls to pay huge fees for the chance to stand at next year’s general election, in a move criticised as favouring the rich and well-connected. At the last nationwide vote in 2015, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of then-president Goodluck Jonathan charged 22 million naira per nomination form. The All Progressives Congress (APC) of the eventual winner Muhammadu Buhari asked for 27.5 million naira just to stand in the party’s presidential primary. Now, as both parties prepare for polling in February next year, the APC wants an eye-watering 45 million naira ($125 500) per presidential primary candidate, according to newspaper adverts on Wednesday.

Sweden: Deadlock looms as Swedish election nears | Reuters

Neither of Sweden’s main political blocs is likely to win a majority in an election on Sunday, giving the far-right Sweden Democrats a key role in shaping the next government. The center-left bloc, uniting the minority governing Social Democrat and Green parties with the Left Party, is backed by about 40 percent of voters, recent opinion polls show, a slim lead over the center-right Alliance bloc. The Sweden Democrats, who oppose immigration and Sweden’s continued membership of the European Union, are polling around 18 percent of the vote and would thus hold the balance of power.