Pennsylvania: ‘They are actually suppressing votes’: voters abroad are blocked from state election website | Philadelphia Inquirer

Thousands of registered Pennsylvania voters who live outside the United States are being blocked from accessing absentee ballots on the state’s website in a move intended to beef up election security. Several other states, including New Mexico, Tennessee, Georgia, and Vermont, also appear to be blocking foreign access to their election sites. “This should be a red flashing light issue in the state of Pennsylvania right now. They need to solve it — today,” said Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, president and CEO of the nonprofit U.S. Vote Foundation. “Because they are actually suppressing votes if this is how it is right now.” Under UOCAVA, an acronym for the law enshrining their voting rights and procedures, military and overseas civilian voters are supposed to be able to request an absentee ballot and have it sent to them to fill out and return. In Pennsylvania, voters can request absentee ballots by mail or as a download link by email.

National: DHS says teamwork is improving election security | FCW

A month out from the 2018 midterms, all eyes are on the Department of Homeland Security as it approaches its first real test since being given a broader election security mandate in the wake of the 2016 presidential elections. Speaking at a cybersecurity event hosted by the Washington Post, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen highlighted improvements in information sharing across the federal government and with state and local officials as well as closer relationships with stakeholders that will lead to faster coordination in the wake of an emerging threat. “First of all, the information sharing is much stronger than it even has been before,” said Nielsen when asked what had changed in the department’s approach since 2016. “So [we’re] working very closely with the intel community, and the moment that we see something significant we are — in conjunction with the IC — sharing with our state and local partners. The sharing is quicker, faster, more tailored.”

Georgia: Civil rights lawsuit filed against Secretary of State Brian Kemp | WJBF

A new lawsuit set to be filed against Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp and the plaintiffs say every Georgia voter needs to know about it right now. Have you received something like this in your mailbox? A simple postcard that might look kind of like junk mail.  But if you didn’t return it and you missed voting in a few elections you, and tens of thousands more Georgians, might not be registered to vote anymore, and you’ll have received no further notice. Some say that’s an urgent problem because October 9th is the last day to re-register before the November election.

Nevada: Group looks to help Nevada felons regain voting rights | Las Vegas Review-Journal

With the voter registration deadline looming, a new organization is encouraging Nevada’s felons to push past misinformation and re-secure their right to cast a ballot. Almost 90,000 people in Nevada, or about 4 percent of the voter-age population, are unable to vote because of state laws. But there are avenues available for felons to regain the right, advocates said Tuesday morning at a press conference outside the Regional Justice Center in downtown Las Vegas. “You have a pathway to restoring your voting rights. That’s often the biggest misconception,” said Aaron Esparza, organizer of Las Vegas Restore Your Vote. The national campaign, an offshoot of the Campaign Legal Center, has launched in Nevada, Alabama, Alaska and Texas.

New York: Republicans Attack Cuomo’s Plan to Restore Felons’ Voting Rights | Wall Street Journal

Republicans are attacking an initiative by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to restore the voting rights of former felons, holding hearings and releasing a new digital advertisement accusing him of prioritizing sex offenders over other voters. Between April and September, 30,666 parolees received a conditional pardon allowing them to vote, a member of Mr. Cuomo’s cabinet revealed this week. It is unclear how many of those people have registered, said representatives for the State Board of Elections. Previously, those convicted of felonies in New York could vote only after completing parole. The governor, a Democrat seeking a third term in November, and his team cast their effort as necessary to combat the effects of mass incarceration, and said disenfranchising voters disproportionately impacts racial minorities.

North Carolina: Lawmaker To Propose Bill To Address Voters Affected By Hurricane Florence | WFAE

The ballots for North Carolina’s upcoming election have had a number of delays as cases on amendments and party affiliation wound their way through the court. Just as ballots were finally on track to meet September’s deadline for printing, Hurricane Florence came along. Now state leaders are trying to ensure those hit hard by the storm can still easily vote. The state’s deadline to register to vote is coming up on Oct. 12. While many residents are still focused on recovering from the storm, House Elections Chairman David Lewis of Harnett County wants to extend the voter registration deadline to at least Oct. 15, similar to an extension that was provided after Hurricane Matthew. He plans to introduce a bill to do just that and make other election tweaks when state lawmakers convene today in a special session to consider relief options in the wake of Florence.

Pennsylvania: Lawmakers float some redistricting ideas, but few expect results | WHYY

Top Pennsylvania House lawmakers have taken a brief stab at restarting the chamber’s long-deadlocked conversation on redistricting — filing amendments with a few options for changing the congressional reapportionment process. However, there’s still no clear path toward a consensus. One of the options involves a nine-member redistricting commission appointed by the legislature, with one non-partisan member. Another would create an 11-person commission chosen at random. A third would have the Secretary of the Commonwealth choose random commissioners, and give legislative leaders limited veto power.

South Carolina: In a first, voter registration deadline extended 10 days after Florence flooding | Post and Courier

South Carolina voters will have an extra 10 days to register to vote after a judge agreed Tuesday to an extension in the wake of massive flooding from Hurricane Florence. This is believed to be the first time South Carolina has ever extended state voter registration deadlines, State Election Commission Director Marci Andino said. The state has extended voting hours at some precincts after machine glitches or long lines. Giving South Carolinians more time to sign up for the Nov. 6 election was backed by the Election Commission, S.C. Democratic and Republican Party leaders as well as Republican Gov. Henry McMaster and his challenger, Democrat James Smith.

U.S. Territories: 2 panels to weigh arguments vs disenfranchisement in US territories | Saipan Tribune

Just weeks after the one-year anniversary of Hurricanes Maria and Irma hitting Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the issue of disenfranchisement in U.S. territories will be considered by both the U.S. Supreme Court and the Organization of American States Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on the same day. “The opportunity to have either the Supreme Court or the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights take up the issue of voting rights in U.S. territories is momentous in its own right. But to have both do it on the same day is something truly special,” said Neil Weare, president and founder of Equally American, a non-profit organization that advocates for equality and civil rights for the nearly 4 million Americans who live in U.S. territories. This comes as the U.S. Senate considers whether to confirm President Trump’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

Utah: Cox says Utah election system under fire, but safe from malefactors | Deseret News

Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox offered a positive message Tuesday speaking about election security issues — even amid unprecedented levels of hacking attempts, voters can cast their upcoming midterm ballot in confidence that it will be duly and fairly tallied. “We would encourage Utah voters to know that we’re on the front lines fighting this battle for you,” Cox said. “Know that this election is secure and you can be sure that your vote will count.” Cox, whose oversight of state elections is part of his duties as lieutenant governor, outlined the millions in new state funding and federal assistance that’s been dedicated to beefing up security measures for this election cycle, including the latest in voting machine technology, upgrades to the voter registration database protections and partnerships that have helped bolster the state’s digital resilience to those who would seek to infiltrate and disrupt the election process.

Virginia: Governor Northam threatens veto over GOP redistricting plan | The Washington Post

Gov. Ralph Northam warned Tuesday he would veto a redistricting plan that Republicans in Virginia’s House of Delegates hope to approve this month. The lawmakers are set to consider new legislative boundaries in response to a federal court’s ruling that 11 House of Delegates districts were racially gerrymandered. House Speaker Kirk Cox ­(R-Colonial Heights) said earlier Tuesday that he would summon lawmakers on Oct. 21 to take up a plan passed out of committee on a party-line vote last week. If the legislature fails to act by Oct. 30, judges at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia will handle the redistricting themselves.

Europe: EU member states under fire over expat voting restrictions | Parliament Magazine

MEPs will be asked this week to pile pressure on the European Commission and Council to protect the rights of expats to vote in May’s European elections. At present, citizens of the UK, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Ireland and Malta do not have the right to vote in national elections when they reside elsewhere in the EU. For example, a British citizen who has lived abroad for more than 15 years forfeits the right to vote. The campaign to remove the voting restrictions, which will be debated during this week’s plenary session in Strasbourg, is being led by ALDE group MEP Cecilia Wikström, a petitions committee member, who has previously tabled questions to the commission on the issue. “[The right to vote in elections] is a fundamental right common to the constitutional traditions of the member states and recognised in the EU treaties as related to the right of political participation,” Wikström said.

Afghanistan: Suicide bomber kills 14 at election rally in Afghanistan | Associated Press

A suicide bomber struck an election rally in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province on Tuesday, killing at least 14 people and wounding around 40, a provincial official said. The attack, the first since campaigning began last week ahead of elections for the lower house of parliament, underscored the widespread violence gripping the country 17 years after the U.S.-led invasion toppled the Taliban. The vote is scheduled for Oct. 20 but it’s unclear if the balloting will go ahead in areas controlled by the Taliban, who have seized several districts across the country in recent years and who carry out near-daily attacks. Tuesday’s attack targeted a rally for Abdul Naser Mohmand, an independent candidate, who was unharmed.

Bosnia: Observers Gather in Bosnia to Scrutinise Elections | Balkan Insight

More than 50,000 national and international observers will monitor Bosnia’s eight post-war election whose campaign has less than a week to run. The Central Electoral Committee has accredited 2,9191 observers, but this figure only refers to those who will be observing the CIK and the main vote collection centre. “International observers can submit their request by October 7, while municipal electoral committees are in charge of accreditations on that level,” Maksida Piric, from the CIK, told BIRN. The delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council Of Europe is coming on October 5 in a mission, joining 486 other confirmed international observers.

India: Fearing breach, Election Commission moves to secure cyber walls for 2019 | The Indian Express

Amid allegations and fear of cyber-meddling in polls abroad, the Election Commission (EC) has initiated an unprecedented drive to protect its voter registration database and office networks from unauthorised influence and access during the Lok Sabha polls next year. A chief information security officer in Delhi and a cyber security nodal officer in each state; regulations on cyber security exclusively for the Commission; third-party security audit of all poll-related applications and websites; workshops to train officers in cyber hygiene; and a proposal to recognise elections as ‘critical information’ under the IT Act, 2000. These are the key steps taken by the EC over the last nine months to secure elections from cyber threats, The Indian Express has learnt.

Iraq: After months of deadlock, Iraqis name new president and prime minister | Associated Press

Iraqis named a president and a prime minister designate Tuesday, capping five months of halting negotiations that played out amid widening popular unrest and an intensifying rivalry between the United States and Iran for influence over Iraq’s leadership. Within an hour of Iraq’s parliament electing veteran Kurdish politician Barham Salih as president, he announced that he had asked former oil minister Adel Abdul Mahdi to form the next government. The selection of the men showed how the sectarian loyalties in Iraq’s Kurdish, Sunni Arab and Shiite Arab communities that have prevailed since the U.S. invasion in 2003 are breaking down, giving way to more-pragmatic coalitions that cut across sectarian lines.

Thailand: Deputy Prime Minister says Thailand will stick to 2019 date for general election | Reuters

There will be no delays to a general election planned in Thailand for 2019, the deputy prime minister said on Wednesday, amid the concerns of government critics and the opposition that it could be pushed back. The military government, which came to power after a 2014 coup, has promised to hold an election between February and May next year, following repeated delays on the grounds of constitutional and legislative steps needed ahead of a vote.