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North Carolina: Certification in limbo in North Carolina House race as fraud investigation continues | The Washington Post

Mounting evidence of voter fraud in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District could indefinitely delay the certification of a winner, as state election officials investigate whether hundreds of absentee ballots were illegally cast or destroyed. The North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement has no plans to certify Republican Mark Harris’s 905-vote victory over Democrat Dan McCready, according to an agenda of a board meeting scheduled for Friday morning. The board is collecting sworn statements from voters in rural Bladen and Robeson counties, near the South Carolina border, who described people coming to their doors and urging them to hand over their absentee ballots, sometimes without filling them out. Others described receiving absentee ballots by mail that they had not requested. It is illegal to take someone else’s ballot and turn it in.

Full Article: Certification in limbo in N.C. House race as fraud investigation continues - The Washington Post.

National: Rosenstein urges tech to step up against disinformation | The Hill

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Thursday said social media companies need to protect their platforms from disinformation campaigns and properly police false or misleading content or they will face government regulation. “I think the companies now do understand if they do not take it upon themselves to self-regulate — which is essentially the theme of my talk today — they will face the potential of government regulation,” he said. Rosenstein’s remarks come amid fears that Iran and other countries are looking to take a page from Russia’s 2016 playbook and carry out sophisticated disinformation campaigns in the next presidential campaign.

Full Article: Hillicon Valley: Rosenstein urges tech to step up against disinformation | Experts see hackers turning to A.I. | White House to host tech summit | How Yemen's civil war is playing out online | Far-right activist handcuffs herself to Twitter office | TheHill.

Alaska: Mystery ballot could sway control of Alaska state government | Associated Press

It’s a sign that every vote does count. A single mystery ballot found on a precinct table on Election Day but not counted then could decide a tied Alaska state House race and thwart Republican efforts to control the chamber and all of state government. The ballot arrived in Juneau last Friday in a secrecy sleeve in a bin with other ballot materials. Officials were investigating its origins and handling before deciding whether to tally it. “People kept calling it close,” Democrat candidate Kathryn Dodge said of the race for the House seat in Fairbanks. “I just didn’t know it was going to be squeaky.” A recount is scheduled for Friday after the race between Dodge and Republican Bart LeBon was previously certified as a tie, at 2,661 votes apiece. The uncounted ballot appears to be marked for Dodge.

Full Article: Mystery ballot could sway control of Alaska state government | The Seattle Times.

Arizona: A Special Election To Replace Senator McCain Must Be Held In 6 Months, Claims New Lawsuit | Arizona Politics

The constitutionality of Arizona’s law giving Governor Doug Ducey the right to control the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the passing of John McCain has been challenged in federal court. A group of plaintiffs led by William Tedards filed the action against Ducey and Senator Jon Kyl yesterday and asks that the Governor be required to call for a special election within six months. Their contention is that the 17th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (text below) which requires that U.S. Senators be elected invalidates the Arizona law (also below) that the special election for a Senate vacancy can only be held at a biennial general election. McCain passed away in August, too late for Governor Ducey to add a primary and general election to be held by November 6, 2018. Instead, he appointed former Kyl to the seat, even as Kyl indicated that he might very well only stay in the position through the end of 2018. That would permit the Governor to make a new appointment for another two years, for a total of 28 months.

Full Article: Arizona's Politics: AZ LAW UNCONSTITUTIONAL? A Special Election To Replace Senator McCain Must Be Held In 6 Months, Claims New Lawsuit (BREAKING, READ).

Georgia: Lasting Rancor Over Voting Issues Puts a Spotlight on a Georgia Runoff | The New York Times

Election Day was three weeks in the past, and Kenneth Royal, a 37-year-old salesman who supported Stacey Abrams for governor, could have spent the chilly Wednesday evening at home, putting politics out of his mind. Instead, Mr. Royal, stung by Ms. Abrams’s narrow defeat, was manning a phone bank, trying to persuade fellow Democrats that the runoff election next week for Georgia secretary of state was not some obscure postscript, but a crucial battle over minority voting rights. The issue of whether the state’s elections are managed fairly grabbed hold of Georgia in the midterms, and has not let go. Brian Kemp, the Republican who ran for governor while still serving as secretary of state, oversaw voting roll purges, registration suspensions, and an Election Day rife with problems — all of which, critics said, were meant to suppress minority voting. Like many Democrats around the country, Mr. Royal believes that those tactics worked, and essentially cheated Ms. Abrams out of victory in an excruciatingly close race. And he sees the coming race for secretary of state as a way to set some things right.

Full Article: Lasting Rancor Over Voting Issues Puts a Spotlight on a Georgia Runoff - The New York Times.

Georgia: Voting rights at stake in runoff for Georgia elections chief | The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

After an election marred by voting problems, Georgia voters will decide in Tuesday’s runoff who should fix them. One candidate for Georgia secretary of state wants to tackle voter purges, long lines and voting rights. His opponent prefers leaving most elections management to county officials and improving training. Democrat John Barrow, a former U.S. congressman, said he’d seek both voting fairness and accuracy if elected as the state’s top elections official. He faces Republican Brad Raffensperger, an engineering firm CEO who said he would ensure only U.S. citizens can vote and mostly maintain Georgia’s current election process.

Full Article: Georgia Secretary of State Runoff 2018: Barrow vs. Raffensperger.

Maryland: Federal team finds no intrusion on Maryland election systems | Associated Press

A U.S. Department of Homeland Security team found no evidence of intrusion on Maryland’s election system after the FBI told state officials that a company hosting certain elections systems had been acquired by a firm partly owned by a Russian oligarch. Still, the state’s elections board announced Thursday it will transition to a new data center “out of an abundance of caution.” The Hunt and Incident Response Team from the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center was deployed in August to offices in Annapolis, Maryland, at the request of state officials to examine the state’s election infrastructure network enclave, which is hosted and maintained by Annapolis, Maryland-based ByteGrid. “During the course of the on-site engagement, HIRT did not positively identify any threat actor activity on the MDSBE, ByteGrid, or Enclave networks,” concluded the 15-page report released at the elections board’s meeting Thursday.

Full Article: Federal team finds no intrusion on Maryland election systems | The Tribune.

Michigan: Rochester Hills to conduct post-election risk-limiting audit | The Oakland Press

On Monday, Dec. 3, Rochester Hills will conduct Michigan’s first pilot of a risk-limiting post-election audit. Risk-limiting audits provide a check on election results. The procedure is designed to detect irregularities that may include intentional cyber attacks or unintentional error that may change the reported election outcomes. “Michigan voters put their faith in us as election administrators to conduct free and fair elections,” said Rochester Hills Clerk Tina Barton. “This procedure will provide us with another opportunity to confirm their trust is well placed.” The pilot is one of three to be conducted the first week of December and part of the first multi-jurisdictional risk-limiting audit pilot in the country. Lansing and Kalamazoo will hold their pilots later in the week.

Full Article: Rochester Hills to conduct post-election audit | Local News | theoaklandpress.com.

North Carolina: Senate gives final approval to voter ID rules | WRAL

The Senate gave final approval Thursday to legislation setting the rules for the recently approved constitutional amendment requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls. Sens. Joel Ford, D-Mecklenburg, and Don Davis, D-Pitt, joined the Republican majority in the 30-10 vote. Those two Democrats and Sen. Ben Clark, D-Hoke, also voted for the new rules in Wednesday’s 32-11 preliminary vote. The measure now heads to the House. There was little debate in the Senate on Thursday, but several Democrats repeatedly called Wednesday for slowing down the process, noting dozens of changes have already been made to the draft legislation that was first rolled out a week ago and suggesting people will be wrongly blocked from voting if IDs are required starting next year.

Full Article: Senate gives final approval to voter ID rules :: WRAL.com.

Editorials: Aha! North Carolina voter fraud does exist. (Just not the kind you think) | Charlotte Observer

As news continues to break about possible voter fraud in North Carolina’s 9th District congressional election, we’re seeing emails and comments with a similar theme: Aha! Voter fraud! Don’t voter ID opponents (and you, the Observer editorial board) say that fraud is almost non-existent? No, we don’t say that. But the voter fraud that exists is the one Republicans in Raleigh don’t much want to talk about. First, what we’ve said: Voter ID laws primarily deal with protecting elections from in-person voter fraud, meaning someone going to a precinct and attempting to vote as someone else. That kind of voter fraud is rare — in 2016, the state Board of Elections found that 4,769,640 votes were cast in November and that one (1) would probably have been avoided with a voter ID law.

Full Article: Aha! NC voter fraud does exist. (Just not the kind you think) | Charlotte Observer.

Ohio: Counties Getting State Funding For New Voting Machines | WOSU Radio

Ohioans are closer to getting new voting machines. Secretary of State Jon Husted has notified county boards of elections they can start the process of selecting new equipment. “Ohio’s voters will soon say goodbye to aging voting equipment that pre-dates the first generation iPhone,” Husted said in a statement Thursday. State lawmakers approved the Voting Equipment Acquisition Program this year. It sets aside $104.5 million to purchase new equipment for Ohio’s 88 counties. Under the program, each county’s commissioners can select a voting system, equipment and services from five voting system vendors. 

Full Article: Ohio Counties Getting State Funding For New Voting Machines | WOSU Radio.

Pennsylvania: State commits to new voting machines, election audits | Associated Press

Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration is settling a vote-counting lawsuit stemming from the 2016 presidential election, in part by affirming a commitment it made previously to push Pennsylvania’s counties to buy voting systems that leave a verifiable paper trail by 2020. Paperwork filed Thursday in federal court in Philadelphia caps a lawsuit that Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein filed in 2016 as she sought recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. All three states had a history of backing Democrats for president before they were narrowly and unexpectedly won by Republican Donald Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton. Months ago , Wolf, a Democrat, began pushing counties to upgrade to voting machines that leave a paper trail as a safeguard against hacking by 2020. Four in five Pennsylvania voters use machines that lack an auditable paper trial.

Full Article: Pennsylvania commits to new voting machines, election audits | Myrtle Beach Sun News.

Texas: Attorney General Ken Paxton celebrates eight-year sentence against woman who accidentally voted illegally. | Salon

Earlier this month, the Texas 2nd Court of Appeals affirmed Rosa Maria Ortega’s eight-year prison sentence for illegal voting. Attorney General Ken Paxton celebrated the decision in a triumphant press release boasting of Ortega’s draconian punishment. But there is nothing just about the fact that Ortega may spend the next eight years languishing behind bars for unknowingly casting illegal ballots. To the contrary, her sentence is wildly out of proportion with her crime—the possible result of prosecutorial chicanery during closing arguments that has no place in a courtroom. And it’s yet another example of prosecutors using isolated cases of illegal voting to intimidate legitimate voters out of casting a ballot. Although Paxton has presented Ortega’s conduct as evidence that voter fraud is a genuine problem in Texas, her case bears no resemblance to the paranoid myth of immigrants covertly swinging elections. Ortega is a lawful permanent resident who was brought to the United States as a baby. She has a sixth-grade education and did not know that she could not legally vote.

Full Article: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton celebrates eight-year sentence against woman who accidentally voted illegally..

Australia: NSW government finally released ‘net vote system review, says everything’s just fine Including, wait for it, ‘security through obscurity’. No, really | The Register

Australia’s New South Wales Electoral Commission has given its electronic voting system a clean bill of health, dismissing hacking fears as “theoretical,” and accepting a PWC report saying the system to date was protected by “security through obscurity”. Reviews of election processes are routine, and in 2016, the NSW Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters kicked off the Wilkins report. It was completed in May of this year, but was only recently made public (PDF). NSW’s “iVote” system was used by nearly 300,000 citizens in the 2015 election, a week after Melbourne University crypto-boffins Dr Vanessa Teague and Dr Chris Culnane demonstrated a FREAK-bug-like “theoretical attack”.

Full Article: NSW government finally released 'net vote system review, says everything's just fine • The Register.

Bahrain: Elections go to runoffs | Ahram Online

Bahraini authorities announced the results of last week’s parliamentary and local council elections, despite calls by the opposition to boycott and government insistence there was high voter turnout.
Minister of Justice, Islamic Affairs, Religious Endowments and Chairman of the National Elections Committee (NEC) Khaled bin Ali Al-Khalifa announced the election results on Monday, the fifth round of elections since constitutional reform in 2002. Al-Khalifa told a news conference that voter turnout reached 70 per cent, which is close to local and international media reports quoting Bahraini officials indicating 67 per cent turnout.

Full Article: Bahrain: Elections go to runoffs - Region - World - Ahram Online.

Moldova: Moldova’s election to test EU credentials | EU Observer

The Republic of Moldova has close ties with the EU, but abuse of rule of law and democratic principles puts that relationship in danger. The country is part of the EU’s Eastern Partnership policy. It is implementing an association agreement with the EU, aiming at political association and economic integration. The EU has become its main trading partner and development aid donor and, since April 2014, Moldovan citizens can also travel to the EU without a visa. However, Moldova faces a number of key challenges, including a lack of respect for the rule of law, the absence of an independent and effective functioning judiciary, corruption, and controlled state institutions by the ruling Democratic Party.

Full Article: Moldova's election to test EU credentials.

Togo: Opposition Calls on Supporters to Protest Local Election | Bloomberg

Togo’s main opposition plans to hold nationwide protests on Thursday to demand the government halts preparations for Dec. 20 local elections in which only some small parties and independent candidates will participate. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to demand an end to the rule of President Faure Gnassingbe last year, prompting talks led by Ghana and Guinea. While the negotiations resulted in a date for the local vote, the opposition says that the government hasn’t fulfilled promises it made to mediators of the Economic Community of West African States, known as Ecowas.

Full Article: Togo's Opposition Calls on Supporters to Protest Local Election - Bloomberg.

Thailand: Thai election fight turns to YouTube, Facebook after campaign ban | Bloomberg

The battle to win over millions of first-time and undecided Thai voters is now increasingly being fought online as the military-run government bans campaigning ahead of a general election expected next year. New and established parties and even junta leader Prayut Chan-o-cha are vying for attention on platforms ranging from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to the Line messaging service. The contest is set to intensify as the military government that seized power in 2014 prepares to finally hold an election on Feb 24. While the junta in September eased its ban on political activity, allowing parties to raise money and elect leaders, electoral campaigning and political gatherings of more than five people continued to be prohibited.

Full Article: Thai election fight turns to YouTube, Facebook after campaign ban, SE Asia News & Top Stories - The Straits Times.

Madagascar: Ex-presidents to compete in runoff election | Al Jazeera

A former president of Madagascar and the man who overthrew him in a coup will compete to become the island state’s next leader in December after the two came top in a first-round vote that knocked out the incumbent. Former President Marc Ravalomanana received 35.35 percent of the vote in the November first round, behind his successor, Andry Rajoelina, who got 39.23 percent, the High Constitutional Court said on Wednesday. Current President Hery Rajaonarimampianina received just 8.82 percent, the court said, and will not take part in the second round. The court rejected his request to have the election cancelled. The runoff vote is set for December 19. 

Full Article: Madagascar ex-presidents to compete in runoff election | News | Al Jazeera.

Ethiopia: Prime minister meets opposition parties, promises fair elections | Reuters

Ethiopia’s prime minister met members of 81 opposition parties on Tuesday to discuss ways of reforming the electoral system, his office said, as he pressed on with promises to open up a political arena dominated by his coalition. Abiy Ahmed has turned national politics on its head since coming to power in April by welcoming back exiled opposition and separatist groups, releasing prisoners and appointing a formerly jailed dissident as head of the election board. The meeting focused “on highlighting the reforms required to ensure the upcoming election is free & fair, and the shared responsibilities of all,” his office said on Twitter. There was no immediate comment from opposition groups.

Full Article: Ethiopia PM meets opposition parties, promises fair elections | Reuters.