National: Planning to Vote in the November Election? Why Most Americans Probably Won’t | The New York Times

Lula Hill voted in just about every election once she became old enough in 1952. Her coal mining family of registered Democrats believed that elections were like church services: You didn’t skip them. But over time, her sense of civic obligation faded. Mines started laying people off. Opioids started poisoning her neighbors. As her town lost its vigor, Ms. Hill watched as smiling politicians kept making promises and, in her view, growing richer. By the late 1990s, when political leaders — Democrat or Republican — talked about the greater good, she no longer believed them. “I just got to the point, I said, ‘I’m not going do it anymore,’” said Ms. Hill, sitting on a couch in the lobby of the hotel she owns and runs, the Hotel Madison, 30 miles south of Charleston. “I just can’t vote for any of them in good conscience.” She has not voted since 1996 and said she has no intention of starting in November. Ms. Hill is hardly alone in West Virginia, a state with one of the lowest rates of voter turnout in the country and where the Democratic senator, Joe Manchin III, faces a tough race.

National: Secure Elections Act sponsors eye lame duck session | FCW

Meanwhile, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), the primary Democratic sponsor, said she and other senators are working on refining the legislation, but noted that lawmakers have a short window of opportunity to pass the Secure Elections Act before the midterms reset the legislative calendar. “We have a new version [of the bill] coming out, and we just ask you to work with us; I would love to have it get passed in the lame duck,” Klobuchar said. “For people that want to delay it or stall it beyond that, well that’s up to you because then we’ll have a new Congress.” The Secure Elections Act looked poised for a floor vote in August or September before a Rules Committee markup was abruptly canceled. Blunt’s staff told FCW at the time that Republican senators were balking at some of the provisions after receiving complaints from state and local election officials, while Reuters reported that the White House came out against the bill at the last minute for similar reasons. Lankford and Klobuchar have continued to fight for the bill’s passage, but several prominent Democratic senators, including original co-sponsor Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), signed on to rival legislation spearheaded by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

National: Senators say midterms will inspire revived version of stalled election security bill | Washington Times

Senators supportive of the Secure Elections Act, a bipartisan bill to protect political contests from cyberattacks, said lessons learned from next month’s midterms could make their way into a revised version in the works. Sen. Roy Blunt, Missouri Republican, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota Democrat, addressed efforts to rekindle the stalled Secure Elections Act during an event held Wednesday by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission in Washington, D.C. The bill will not be passed prior to the Nov. 6 midterms, according to both Mr. Blunt and Ms. Klobuchar’s co-sponsor, Sen. James Lankford, Oklahoma Republican, meaning states are missing out on millions of dollars that would have otherwise been allocated toward upgrading and securing voting and election systems, neglecting a major vulnerability raised by Russian hackers meddling in the 2016 race.

National: Security Clearances Won’t Get in the Way of Responding to Election Cyber Threats, Officials Say | Nextgov

A lack of security clearances among some state and local election officials shouldn’t hinder the Homeland Security Department from responding speedily to Election Day cybersecurity threats, the department’s top cyber official said Wednesday. Even if state and local election officials don’t have the necessary authorizations to view a particular piece of threat information, Homeland Security Undersecretary Chris Krebs said he’s confident those officials will start trying to mitigate the threat if he asks them to. “I’m confident that if I had a piece of information right now …I could say: ‘Look, I’ve got something you need to see. You need to take action. It’s going to take me a day or two to get you the information, but, in the meantime, you need to take action,” Krebs during an election readiness summit hosted by the Election Assistance Commission.\ “We have trust established so there would be at least the beginning of an article of faith that they would do something,” he said.

National: ‘No indication’ China intends to interfere with election infrastructure, Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen says | The Washington Post

The Department of Homeland Security hasn’t seen signs that China seeks to interfere in the midterm elections by targeting election infrastructure, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Tuesday — a statement that appears to be at odds with remarks President Trump made about Beijing last week. “We currently have no indication that a foreign adversary intends to disrupt our election infrastructure,” Nielsen told me at a cybersecurity summit hosted by The Washington Post. Nielsen did not endorse Trump’s alarming claim at the United Nations that China “has been attempting to interfere in our upcoming 2018 election.” Without offering evidence, Trump said China does not “want me or us to win because I am the first president to ever challenge China on trade” — an especially striking comment considering the president has repeatedly equivocated on his support for the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to help him win. 

National: Activists Concerned About Counties Destroying Ballot Images | WhoWhatWhy

Election integrity activists are worried that various counties in the crucial state of Florida could defy federal law by destroying crucial documents required for election audits and recounts after the midterms. Specifically, Americans United for Democracy, Integrity, and Transparency in Elections (AUDIT-USA) believes that county supervisors of elections in Florida are either not retaining ballot images or are destroying ballot images that are required by law to be kept for 22 months after a state or federal election. “Most of the counties down there are destroying the ballot images,” said John Brakey, director of the nonpartisan group.

National: U.S. infrastructure vulnerable to cyberattacks designed to suppress voter turnout | CBS

Your voting booth might — or might not — be safe from hackers. But imagine a cyberattack that keeps you from going to your polling station in the first place. Security experts warn that critical infrastructure systems in the United States are vulnerable to crippling cyberattacks designed to suppress voter turnout by disrupting systems that cities and towns rely on. “If ransomware hits, what’s the backup plan to allow people to vote? Do we extend it a day? Do we hold off the tally of the votes? Do we take absentee ballots? What do we do?” said Fortalice Solutions CEO and former White House chief information officer Theresa Payton.

Editorials: A plea to end all partisan gerrymandering challenges | Lyle Denniston/Constitution Daily

Reopening a deeply divisive controversy that has troubled the Supreme Court for 32 years, four state legislators from North Carolina have urged the Justices to bar all constitutional challenges to partisan gerrymandering. The decades-long search for a way to judge the constitutionality of election maps that give one party’s candidates a clear advantage at the polls has been “an exercise in futility,” the state lawmakers argued.  The time has come to end that search altogether, according to the appeal in the case of Rucho v. Common Cause.  The document has just become available publicly. If the Court were to do as asked, legislators with control of their chambers would have no limit on how far they could go to create for their party an enduring domination of seats in state legislatures and even in the U.S. House of Representatives.  The only realistic remedy would be for the people of a state to take the task of drawing new districts away from the legislature, or — ultimately — for the nation to amend the Constitution.

Editorials: Ongoing Denial of Voting Rights in U.S. Territories Incompatible With Our Founding Values | Geoffrey Wyatt and Neil Weare/Civil Liberties Law Review

This week, the Supreme Court will consider a question concerning the voting rights of American citizens residing in U.S. territories – one that goes straight to our nation’s founding principles.  Under federal and Illinois overseas voting laws, state citizens who move to a foreign country or to American Samoa or the Northern Mariana Islands are permitted to vote absentee in federal elections in Illinois – but not if they move to Guam, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands.  In our petition to the Supreme Court in Segovia v. United States, we argue that this disparate treatment – and the arbitrary denial of voting rights based on where you happen to live more generally – is irreconcilable with our most cherished values.

Arizona: Ninth Circuit Considers Arizona Ballot Delivery Law | Courthouse News

Attorneys for a Phoenix-area election volunteer and the state of Arizona faced off before the Ninth Circuit Wednesday over a state law restricting who can deliver ballots for people who can’t get out to vote. A recent Arizona law forbids most non-family volunteers from delivering ballots to polling places — something that used to be a widespread practice. According to volunteer poll worker Rivko Knox and her attorney, Spencer Scharff, the 2015 law conflicts with federal postal laws that allow deliveries like the ones Knox hopes to make. The case hinges on several aspects of federal postal law, which allows some private carriers to deliver mail when they are engaged in official duties and using a postal route. The state argued that volunteer poll worker deliveries don’t meet those criteria, but Knox’s attorneys say they do.

Florida: Inside the Unlikely Movement That Could Restore Voting Rights to 1.4 Million Floridians | Mother Jones

On a muggy August day in 2005, Desmond Meade stood in front of the railroad tracks north of downtown Miami and prepared to take his life. He’d been released from prison early after a 15-year sentence for gun possession was reduced to three years, but he was addicted to crack, without a job, and homeless. “The only thing going through my mind was how much pain I’d feel when I jumped in front of the oncoming train,” Meade said. “I was a broken man.” But the train never came, and eventually Meade walked two blocks to a drug treatment center and checked himself in. He got clean, enrolled in school, and received a law degree from Florida International University in 2014. Meade should have been the archetypal recovery success story­—­“[God] took a crackhead and made a lawyer out of him,” as he put it. But he’s not allowed to practice law. And when his wife ran for the Florida House of Representatives in 2016, he couldn’t vote for her. “My story still doesn’t have a happy ending,” he said. “Because despite the fact that I’ve dedicated my life to being an asset to my community, I still can’t vote.”

Michigan: GOP pressure shaped district maps, court records show | The Detroit News

Republican mapmakers who drew Michigan’s current political districts were pressured to appease lawmakers and made changes to help gain legislative approval, according to documents and depositions in a federal lawsuit. The documents show mapmakers in 2011 gave top party officials the partisan vote history breakdowns of new districts, shared proposed maps with an interest group linked to the DeVos family, entertained suggestions from at least one GOP donor and faced backlash from incumbents vexed at how their districts were redrawn. “I think your map protects all nine incumbents and it looks good,” GOP redistricting guru Bob LaBrant, then a Michigan Chamber of Commerce official, told congressional mapmaker Jeff Timmer in a May 2011 email. It came as pressure from within and outside the Legislature began to rise.

South Carolina: Letter warns against connecting voting machines to networks | WYFF

A letter addressed to officials at the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission cites “grave concerns” over connecting voting machines to wireless networks. “The convenience of transmitting vote totals online does not outweigh the need of the American people to be assured their votes will be accurately transmitted and counted,” the letter reads. The South Carolina Election Commission’s website says touch screen voting machines are not accessible to wireless or wire-based computer systems. They aren’t connected to phone or network lines. “We often hear the assertion voting machines are not connected to the internet, and in many cases the voting machine you actually vote on in the polling location is not connected to the internet,” said Susan Greenhalgh, the policy director for the National Election Defense Coalition. “However, there are many states that the voting machine that is in the polling location is connected to the internet, perhaps temporarily with the use of these wireless modems.”

Texas: Thousands of Texas voter registration applications filed using online tool could be invalid | Dallas Morning News

More than 2,000 Texans who registered to vote using an online tool provided by a California nonprofit could be in for a rude awakening on Election Day — they are not, in fact, officially registered. In September,, which uses technology to increase voter turnout and bring more people into the political process, rolled out the tool to help Texans register for the November election. It was available in Dallas, Bexar, Cameron and Travis counties ahead of Tuesday’s registration deadline. Applications began rolling in, even from outside those four counties. But on Monday, the office of the secretary of state, the top elections administrator, told the nonprofit the applications submitted through it weren’t valid because they didn’t have original signatures. 

Afghanistan: Election Rally Bombing in Afghanistan Heightens Security Fears | The New York Times

A suicide bomber attacked an election rally on Tuesday in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar, killing at least 14 people and once again highlighting security concerns as candidates prepare for an Oct. 20 parliamentary vote amid a raging war. The attack struck at a gathering of about 300 supporters of the candidate Nasir Mohmand in Nangarhar’s Kama district. Najibullah Kamawal, the province’s director of public health, said at least 43 others were wounded. Officials feared the toll could rise. Mr. Mohmand survived, but with more than two weeks until Election Day, at least other seven candidates have already been killed across Afghanistan.

Armenia: Prime Minister Says He Will Resign In Push To Force New Elections | RFE/RL

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian vowed late on October 2 to tender his resignation in an effort to force early parliamentary elections before the end of the year. Rallying tens of thousands of supporters in Yerevan, he also announced the firing of six government ministers representing the Prosperous Armenia (BHK) and Dashnaktsutyun parties who he accused of hampering his drive for early elections. Pashinian called on supporters to rally outside the parliament building in central Yerevan immediately after lawmakers from the BHK and Dashnaktsutyun joined the former ruling Republican Party (HHK) in passing a bill that would make it harder for him to dissolve the current parliament.

Brazil: ‘Brazil is at war’: election plays out amid homicidal violence | The Guardian

Francine Farias had just completed a census of her tumbledown favela on the outskirts of one of the world’s most violent cities when she heard a volley of gunfire and her count was rendered suddenly out of date. One unpaved street away, her nextdoor neighbour, 17-year-old Ruan Patrick Ramos Cruz, lay dead in the dirt after being repeatedly shot in the head and chest by unknown assassins. “First I heard four [shots], then two more,” recalled Farias, a community leader in Loteamento Alameda das Árvores, a rundown 288-home settlement on the southern fringes of Feira de Santana. “It’s devastating to see one more young person die because of crime – a young man with his whole future before him,” added Farias, 31, who said her neighbour had become mixed up in drugs. “He’s the third since I’ve lived here. All of them the same age.” Cruz was the 296th person to die in Feira de Santana this year and the latest victim of an escalating murder crisis that has arguably made public security the key issue as Brazil holds its most unpredictable presidential election in decades.

Cameroon: Anglophone crisis looms over presidential election | Al Jazeera

On the morning of October 7, eight of Cameroon’s 10 regions will vote in a presidential election that could end the long-running leadership of Paul Biya, who has been in office since 1982 and was prime minister in the seven years before that.  Dissidents in the remaining two regions – the South West and North West – home to Cameroon’s English-speaking minority, have threatened a showdown. “There is localised violence in the Anglophone regions … more than 1,000 men have pledged to dislodge the elections in those regions by violence,” says Hans de Marie Heungoup, senior analyst for Central Africa at the International Crisis Group. Besides fighting by Boko Haram in the Far North and North regions and rebel incursions from the Central African Republic into the Eastern region, Cameroon is largely beset by the Anglophone crisis, a separatist uprising with roots in the pre-World War I era when it was a German colony.

Canada: Trudeau government beefs up legislation to fight federal election interference | Associated Press

The Trudeau government is beefing up legislation aimed at making it easier for Canadians to vote and harder for foreign entities to interfere in federal elections. It has sponsored a number of amendments to Bill C-76, including one that would ban advocacy groups from ever using money from foreign entities to conduct partisan campaigns. When the bill was introduced last spring, the government proposed only to prohibit the use of foreign money by so-called third parties during the weeks immediately prior to an election being called and during the actual campaign, known as the pre-writ and writ periods.