Because voting machines contain computers that can be hacked to make them cheat, “Elections should be conducted with human-readable paper ballots. These may be marked by hand or by machine (using a ballot-marking device); they may be counted by hand or by machine (using an optical scanner). Recounts and audits should be conducted by human inspection…
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), who’s expected to become the next chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said he wants Georgia Gov.-elect Brian Kemp (R) to testify before Congress about allegations that he suppressed minority voters during his tenure as Georgia’s secretary of state. “I want to be able to bring people in, like the new governor-to-be of Georgia, to explain … why is it fair for wanting to be secretary of state and be running [for governor],” Cummings told HuffPost in an article published Monday. Kemp’s heated race against Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams was marked by calls for him to resign from his post overseeing the state’s elections while he simultaneously ran for governor.
Since the midterm election, a few things have become clear: Yes, we did have a blue wave. A big one, with 39 pick-ups for Democrats in the House, seven governor’s seats flipped red to blue, and a net gain of 350 state legislative seats. Media reports of lack of enthusiasm among Latinos prior to Election Day were way off — in fact, Latino turnout increased approximately 174% from 2014. And, finally, voter suppression doesn’t start or stop on Election Day. In Georgia and Florida, efforts to ensure that all votes are counted were aggressively challenged by the officials in charge of voting systems in those states — both of whom just happened to be Republican candidates in two of the contested races. Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse. The Democratic candidates in both states conceded their races.
Georgia voters return to the polls on Tuesday to elect a new elections chief in a state where critics accused Republicans this autumn of exploiting the position to suppress minority voting rights. Republican Brad Raffensperger and Democrat John Barrow were forced into a runoff in the secretary of state race after neither candidate secured a majority of the vote in the Nov. 6 general election as required by state law. The contest has showcased the partisan divisions still rankling the state after its hard-fought governor’s contest, which saw widespread reports of voting problems during an election overseen by the Republican candidate, Brian Kemp, then secretary of state.
The Nov. 6 midterms, and the prolonged vote count afterward, tested Georgian’s trust in how the state’s elections are administered. Multiple lawsuits were filed, and Democrats and Republicans, without evidence, accused each other of trying to steal the election. Now, less than two weeks after the statewide results were certified, voters will pick a new Secretary of State, Georgia’s top election official. Neither Republican Brad Raffensperger nor Democrat John Barrow could secure a majority of votes in the Nov. 6 general election, pushing their race to a runoff on Tuesday. The winner of the runoff will replace interim Secretary of State, Robyn Crittenden, who was appointed by Republican Gov. Nathan Deal when former Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp resigned.
Editorials: Georgia doesn’t need another voter suppressor running its elections | Carol Anderson/The Guardian
Donald Trump wants Brad Raffensperger to be secretary of state overseeing elections in Georgia. That, alone, should give any self-respecting American pause. What the state needs is not more of the voter suppression that put a truly compromised candidate in the White House in 2016 or that allowed more than 1 million Georgians to be purged from the voter rolls and tens of thousands of registrations held in electoral limbo because of a typo, a hyphen, or accent mark. What Georgia needs, instead, is democracy, which is something it hasn’t had in more than a decade. In 2005, Georgia passed the first voter ID law by a state that was under the preclearance jurisdiction of the Voting Rights Act. In the wake of the civil rights movement, states like Georgia, that had a demonstrated history of discriminating against its minority citizens’ right to vote, had to have all of their voter regulations and laws approved by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) or the federal court in Washington, DC before implementation. Preclearance had provided a powerful check on the rampant abuses of the 15th amendment.
Indiana: Late absentee ballots, early voting errors and lack of staff among red flags preceding ‘chaos’ of Porter County election | Chicago Tribune
Sundae Schoon, the Republican director in Porter County’s voter registration office, started worrying about how the county’s midterm general election was being handled in late September. “There was such an influx of (requests for) absentee ballots coming in,” she said, adding there were only two people in Clerk Karen Martin’s office to handle them. By the Saturday before the Nov. 6 election, her concerns grew deeper, because the suitcases for precinct inspectors weren’t ready to be picked up. Many inspectors pick up the supplies that day if they can’t get them the day before the election. She began to wonder. “If that’s not ready, what else isn’t?” she said, adding she called David Bengs, president of the election board, about the suitcases and he directed her to do whatever needed to be done to get them ready.
The office of Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin may have start from scratch on its goal to obtain nearly 20,000 voting machines for the state. Last week, Jay Dardenne, the commissioner of the state Department of Administration, confirmed an Oct. 10 ruling by the chief procurement officer, Paula Tregere, dealing an all-but-fatal blow to the $95 million contract Ardoin had awarded in August. Ardoin announced Aug. 9 that his office had chosen Dominion Voting Systems, one of the largest manufactures of voting equipment, to supply the state with new machines in time for the 2020 presidential election. But Tregere canceled the contract after one of the losing bidders, Election Systems & Software — the largest U.S. manufacturer of voting equipment — objected to the contracting process, arguing the original request for proposals contained specifications that only Dominion’s equipment could meet. The Advocate reported last week that Dominion, whose appeal Dardenne rejected, is still deciding whether to sue the state over losing its contract. The company has until Dec. 12 to file a suit, otherwise the entire bidding process might have to start over, Ardoin’s press secretary, Tyler Brey, told StateScoop.
The lengthy town-by-town recount of nearly 300,000 ballots cast in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District race will begin Thursday morning, according to the Secretary of State’s Office. Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin requested the recount after a tabulation of the ballots using Maine’s ranked-choice voting system showed him trailing Democrat Jared Golden by 3,509 votes. Poliquin is also challenging the constitutionality of ranked-choice voting in court. The recount is expected to take as long as four weeks as teams from the two campaigns hand-count each ballot in every municipality, setting aside any disputed ballots. The process is repeated for each round of ranked-choice voting as the teams tabulate the second- and third-choice preferences of voters whose candidates were eliminated from contention.
North Carolina: Election-fraud investigation centers on operative with criminal history who worked for GOP congressional candidate | The Washington Post
In a low-slung, aging commercial strip across the street from an online-gaming parlor here, a local operative named Leslie McCrae Dowless ran his command center for Republican Mark Harris in the 9th Congressional District primary this spring. Dowless sat at a desk at the back of one of the strip’s vacant storefronts, where he oversaw a crew of workers who collected absentee ballots from voters and updated the Harris campaign on the numbers, according to Jeff Smith, who is the building’s owner and a former Dowless friend. Smith provided his account about the primary campaign to state investigators, who are examining whether Dowless’s activities then and in the general election violated North Carolina’s election laws, which allow only individual voters or designated close relatives to mail a ballot. Dowless is now at the center of a burgeoning fraud investigation that has delayed the certification of Harris’s narrow victory and could prompt officials to call for a new election between him and Democrat Dan McCready, who are separated by 905 votes, according to unofficial returns.
Though the new state legislative session hasn’t technically started, lawmakers are already filing memos for the bills they plan to sponsor. One of the first issues on the agenda has already commanded lawmakers’ attention for nearly a year: redistricting. Last winter, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ruled the state’s congressional map unfairly benefited Republicans and redrew it. The move inflamed a debate that had smoldered for a long time: that the map-drawing process has to be less political. The commonwealth’s congressional maps are passed through state legislation. State House and Senate maps are drawn by a five-member commission, of which four members are elected officials.
It turns out the nearly decade-long fight over Texas’ legislative districts didn’t actually end with the Supreme Court’s ruling against the plaintiffs in June. Late Friday afternoon, the coalition of voting rights groups that have fought the state for fairer legislative districts since the last round of redistricting in 2010 filed a pair of new briefs with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in Austin. They seek to have the state forced back into federal preclearance under the Voting Rights Act. States subject to the VRA’s preclearance provision must seek and receive federal approval for any changes they make to any law that applies to voting. Texas has been free from the requirement since 2013, when the Supreme Court cleared the list of states subject to preclearance, but could be placed back on the naughty list if federal courts determine that the state is intentionally discriminatory in its voting laws.
Thousands of Georgians have staged a mass protest over the results of the country’s presidential runoff vote, alleging widespread electoral fraud and demanding snap parliamentary elections. About 25,000 opposition supporters demonstrated in the capital, Tbilisi, on Sunday, days after the former Soviet nation elected its first woman president, Salome Zurabishvili. An independent candidate backed by the ruling Georgian Dream party, Zurabishvili claimed almost 60 percent of the vote to beat the opposition candidate Grigol Vashadze on Wednesday. But opposition leaders including Vashadze have refused to accept the result, pointing to instances of alleged vote-buying, voter intimidation and ballot-stuffing in the election’s second round.
Malta: PN’s trust in electronic counting ‘seriously decreased’ after changes without Commission’s consent | The Malta Independent
The Partit Nazzjonalista’s trust level in the new electronic vote counting system has “seriously decreased” after changes were made to the system by the company responsible for it without informing the Electoral Commission or the political party delegates. Speaking to this newsroom after a report published in The Malta Independent, PN Secretary Clyde Puli said that the PN had voted in favour of this system in parliament as it removes tension by reducing long waiting times; however after news of the non-consensual changes emerged following the system’s second mock test on Saturday, Puli said that their trust level in the system has “seriously decreased” and that they were “very concerned”. The PN demanded reassurances about what safeguards will be in place to ensure that no one can just change the system at will before they can re-affirm their status in favour of this system. The situation, Puli said, “is dangerous for democracy”.
Returning to Nigeria after a long sick leave in London last year, President Muhammadu Buhari was greeted with a bizarre conspiracy theory. He had died and been replaced by “Jubril from Sudan”, a body double who had undergone extensive plastic surgery, said the Biafran secessionist leader Nnamdi Kanu. In October, just before campaigning began for February’s presidential election, the rumour went viral. For weeks now, prospective voters have been squinting at before-and-after pictures of the president’s hands and ears, trying to spot the difference – so much so that the normally-tightlipped Buhari has felt the need to deny the rumours. “It’s the real me, I assure you,” he told an audience in Poland on Sunday, chuckling.
Togo’s opposition coalition has called for workers across the country to stay at home on Tuesday as campaigning starts for parliamentary elections later this month. The West African nation’s main opposition has vowed to boycott elections over alleged fraud and is demanding President Faure Gnassingbe resign after more than a decade in power. “We don’t want fraudulent elections in this country,” coalition coordinator Brigitte Adjamagbo-Johnson said in a video published on social media on Sunday evening.