Florida: Democrats Sue to Extend Voter Registration Deadline | Associated Press

A partisan brushfire blew up Tuesday over voter registration deadlines in the battleground state of Florida after Hurricane Michael’s approach disrupted registration in the state’s Panhandle region. The Florida Democratic Party sued in federal court, asking a judge to extend the state’s registration deadline by at least a week. Florida’s deadline to register to vote is Tuesday, 29 days ahead of the Nov. 6 election. Democrats including Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is running for governor against Republican Ron DeSantis, called for an extension as Michael’s imminent arrival prompted evacuations and the closing of government offices across the Panhandle.

Florida: With hours left to register to vote in Florida, complaints are mounting over glitches | Miami Herald

That huge swirling menace in the Gulf known as Hurricane Michael has the attention of Floridians four weeks before Nov. 6, Election Day. But a disturbance of another kind is intensifying, and it involves voting. Two controversies erupted at once Tuesday, one over a state online voter registration system and the other involving the storm’s disruption of the last day that Florida residents could become eligible voters in 2018. Complaints multiplied from people who say the state’s online registration portal was not working. The portal, which was a year old on Oct. 1, has had glitches before but never this close to a voter registration deadline, and it prompted threats of legal action.

Georgia: Some voters report registration delays ahead of deadline | Atlanta Journal Constitution

Scattered online problems on the last day of voter registration in Georgia have some voters complaining of long delays and slow-loading websites. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution received reports from a half-dozen voters who reported problems registering to vote, and officials with the Democratic party and Democrat Stacey Abrams’ campaign said they’ve heard from dozens more. Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office said its staffers have received four “easily resolved” election-related calls from voters who experienced problems. A spokeswoman for the office said there have been no system outages and no systemwide issues. The voter registration process is under scrutiny ahead of Tuesday’s deadline to vote for the Nov. 6 election, which features a matchup between Abrams and Kemp.

Michigan: Experts: Modem use makes Michigan elections vulnerable | Detroit Free Press

With the Nov. 6 election less than 30 days away, Michigan officials tout the fact that the state’s election machines are not connected to the Internet — eliminating a major hacking risk. But does that fact alone make Michigan’s election machines impervious to hacking? Many researchers and election integrity activists say no. They say Michigan could be vulnerable as one of at least four states — along with Florida, Illinois, and Wisconsin — that use cellular modems to transmit unofficial election results. In an Oct. 2 letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, 30 academics, security experts and election integrity activists — including a computer science professor at the University of Michigan — expressed “grave concerns” about the devices.

Missouri: Judge rules part of voter ID law unconstitutional | The Kansas City Star

A Cole County judge on Tuesday upheld most of a Missouri law requiring that voters present an ID at the polls but barred the state from requiring voters without a photo ID to sign a statement the court deemed “misleading.” Priorities USA, a national progressive organization, challenged Missouri’s voter ID law in a lawsuit filed in June. Missouri voters in 2016 gave the state authority by a constitutional amendment to impose a voter ID requirement. Under the state’s requirement, voters are to present a government-issued photo ID prior to voting if they have one. Voters who don’t have a photo ID but had another form of ID without a photo were supposed to sign a statement confirming their identity under penalty of perjury.

New Hampshire: Deputy secretary of state says ballot errors flagged by voting group now corrected | WMUR

The progressive New Hampshire Campaign for Voting Rights this week called on the Ssecretary of state’s office to conduct a “full review” of ballots for the upcoming general election after finding that some incorrect absentee ballots and sample ballots were printed and distributed. WMUR has learned that on Tuesday, the New Hampshire Democratic Party went further and issued a formal election law complaint to the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office, requesting that “immediate action be taken to audit all ballots issued for the Nov. 6 election.” According to a statement provided by the NHDP to WMUR, “The party has also requested corrections on inaccurate ballots, that voters in receipt of inaccurate ballots be notified and issued a correct ballot, and that an investigation into the publication and distribution of ballots occur immediately.”

New Jersey: Thousands of Voters Received Ballots With Errors, but They’ll Still Count | The New York Times

There were two unusual lines, both confusing and concerning, on Jonathan Latimer’s vote-by-mail ballot: “MAIL 6619” and “BROWN UNIVERSITY.” Neither line is part of his actual address in Middlesex County, N.J., and so Mr. Latimer, 76, who went to college in California many years ago, was concerned the erroneous and random insertions threatened to invalidate his mail-in ballot for November’s midterm elections. If the address on his ballot didn’t match the address the state had on record, he wondered, would it be counted given New Jersey’s strict vote-by-mail requirements? Turns out, Mr. Latimer is not alone. More than 43,000 vote-by-mail ballots were sent out, and the Middlesex County Clerk’s office estimated that “a large percentage of them” contained erroneous address information, though they were not able to give an exact number of affected ballots.

North Carolina: Protecting voting rights after Hurricane Florence | Facing South

As the response to Hurricane Florence shifts from relief to recovery mode in the Carolinas, voting rights advocates are taking steps to ensure people living in or displaced from flood-stricken communities have access to the ballot in the upcoming election. Just days after the storm made landfall south of Wilmington on Sept. 14, the North Carolina NAACP announced it was launching a campaign to provide absentee ballot applications to registered voters in impacted counties. Under state law, any registered North Carolina voter may request an absentee ballot, no excuses needed, through 5 p.m. on Oct. 30. “It is imperative that while our communities struggle to recover from the devastating flooding and other destruction from this storm, citizens’ right to vote should not be impaired,” said Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, the group’s president.

North Dakota: Supreme Court allows North Dakota to enforce voter ID laws | The Hill

The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to toss out an appeals court order that allows North Dakota to enforce its voter ID requirement during the 2018 elections. The request to toss out the order came from a group of Native American residents who are challenging a new state law that requires voters to present identification that includes a current residential street address. The challengers argued the new rule disenfranchises a disproportionate share of the population because many Native American voters live on reservations without standard addresses.  

U.S. Territories: US Supreme Court won’t review voting rights lawsuit | Guam Daily Post

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied review of a lawsuit that sought to expand voting rights to Americans in U.S. territories, including Guam. The Supreme Court met privately in conference on Friday, Guam time, to weigh whether it would review the case. The lead plaintiff, Luis Segovia, is a Guam resident and military veteran who served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. Segovia appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court after the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided that ruling in favor of the Segovia plaintiffs would create so-called “super citizens.”

West Virginia: Critics call for halt of West Virginia program to vote by app | McClatchy

Four advocacy groups for elections and cybersecurity called Wednesday for the halt of a pilot project in West Virginia that allows military personnel posted overseas and other U.S. citizens living abroad to cast ballots for the 2018 midtersm using a smartphone app. “Military voters … deserve any help the government can give them to participate in democracy equally with all other citizens. However, in this threat environment, online voting endangers the very democracy the U.S. military is charged with protecting,” the groups said. Proponents argued that with voter turnout so low, technology like the app is worth the risk. The report was issued by the New York-based National Election Defense Coalition, the nonpartisan watchdog group Common Cause, the center-right think tank R Street Institute, and the Technology Policy Committee of the Association for Computing Machinery, a group that says it provides neutral input on issues involving computing technology.

Afghanistan: Election candidate killed in suicide attack | Al Jazeera

A suicide bomber has struck an election meeting in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, killing at least eight people, including a candidate for the upcoming parliamentary elections, a provincial official said. Saleh Mohammad Achekzai was holding a meeting in front of his house in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand, when the suicide bomber detonated his explosives on Tuesday. The blast also killed several of Achekzai’s bodyguards, Attahullah Afghan, head of the southern Helmand provincial council told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. It was the second suicide attack to target a parliamentary candidate since campaigning officially kicked off on September 28 for the parliamentary elections scheduled for October 20.

Bahrain: Opposition calls for election boycott | AFP

Bahrain’s main opposition group called Tuesday for a boycott of November parliamentary elections after its members were banned from running. The vote follows waves of unrest since 2011, when security forces in the Sunni-ruled Gulf state crushed protests led by its Shiite majority demanding a constitutional monarchy and an elected prime minister. Authorities have imprisoned hundreds of dissidents, stripped many of their nationality and outlawed opposition movements including Al-Wefaq, the main movement representing the kingdom’s Shiite majority.

Brazil: Brazil battles fake news ‘tsunami’ amid polarized presidential election | The Guardian

As Brazil nears the climax of its most bitter and polarized election in recent history, academics and digital activists fighting to stem a rising tide of fake news say that accurate coverage of the campaign risks being drowned out by the sheer volume of lies being spread on Facebook and WhatsApp. On Monday, Brazil’s electoral court ordered Facebook to remove links to 33 fake news stories targeting Manuela D’Ávila, a communist party politician and the vice-presidential candidate for Fernando Haddad of the Workers’ Party (PT). D’Ávila party hailed the decision as a victory, but one digital media expert said it was a mere drop in the ocean. “This is nothing. It’s irrelevant amid the lies and attacks in this election,” said Pablo Ortellado, a professor of public policy at the University of São Paulo who leads a project monitoring public debate on social media. “There is very little correct information.”

Cameroon: A tense, long wait for election results as social media claims unverified winners | Quartz

Over the last two years, Cameroon’s government has gained a poor reputation for being repressive when it comes to internet freedoms. It’s had one of the longest-running intermittent internet shutdowns on record of 230 days between January 2017 and March 2018 as it tried to prevent political activists in the English-speaking regions of the country from using social media platforms to share information or organize. Because of this reputation, many watchers expected the government would again block the internet in the run-up to a highly contentious election in which the president, Paul Biya, 85, is looking to extend his 36-year rule by another seven years.

Maldives: President challenges election defeat | Al Jazeera

Maldives President Abdulla Yameen has filed a court challenge against his election loss, citing a “lot of complaints from supporters”, according to a lawyer. The complaint was filed at the island nation’s Supreme Court on Wednesday, said the president’s lawyer, Mohamed Saleem. Yameen lost the September 23 election by a 16 percent margin to opposition leader, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, in an outcome hailed as a win for democracy in the crisis-hit Indian Ocean archipelago. The result was widely accepted, including by the United States, China, India, and the European Union.

Sao Tome and Principe: Sao Tome ruling party loses assembly majority | AFP

The ruling party in Sao Tome and Principe emerged victorious in a weekend election but lost its majority in the small African island nation, according to initial results, as hundreds demonstrated against potential poll fraud but were dispersed by riot police. In power since 2014, the Independent Democratic Action party (ADI) won Sunday’s poll, securing 25 of the 55 assembly seats, the Electoral Commission said late on Monday — down on its previous tally of 33 seats. Protesters gathered on Monday night in front of the electoral commission claiming the ADI vote share had been boosted through fraud.

National: How hackers could disrupt Election Day — and how the bad guys could be stopped | The Boston Globe

Election Day presents a tantalizing target for a malicious hacker. The complex, multifaceted US voting system is rife with technological weak spots, from problems with the electronic voting machines in use in some states to vulnerabilities in the websites government officials use to disseminate information. In an era where public trust in American institutions is at an ebb, and conspiracy theories threaten to metastasize online, public safety officials and cybersecurity experts say they have to be careful how they talk about the vulnerabilities. “If the people do not trust that it’s a fair system, then the whole thing is going to fall apart,” said Cris Thomas, a well-known hacker who often goes by the name “Space Rogue” and now works in security at IBM. … This November, 15 states — none of them in New England — will use at least some electronic voting machines that leave no paper trail, according to the Verified Voting Foundation.

National: Technology giants face big test in midterm elections | The Washington Post

With less than a month before the midterm elections, technology companies are fighting to prove they can adequately shore up their platforms and products against foreign influence. Their success may mean the difference between getting to police their own house and having lawmakers do it for them. Election Day could be a tipping point for Silicon Valley titans, who are increasingly in Washington’s harsh glare following revelations that disinformation campaigns linked to Russia were widely disseminated on their platforms ahead of the 2016 elections. Tech moguls like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey were dragged to Capitol Hill to give mea culpas for their past practices and publicly pledge to do better next time. The companies contend they have learned from their missteps during the 2016 election and are improving their election-integrity efforts as other elections have taken place around the world. They’ve promised to do more to identify and stamp out fake accounts, and they have increased transparency around political ads. Facebook opened a 20-person war room on its Menlo Park campus aimed at quashing disinformation and deleting fake accounts. 

National: DNC builds a tech team with deep bench in wake of 2016 hack | McClatchy

The digital operations team at the Democratic National Committee hit some dark days after Russian hackers mauled their networks in 2016, hijacking dozens of computers and pilfering tens of thousands of emails to hand over to WikiLeaks and onto the internet. Remnants of that digital bruising linger. “I feel like everyone’s still feeling, like, the PTSD from ’16,” said Raffi Krikorian, who now is the chief technology officer for a newly beefed-up unit of the Democratic National Committee, referring to post-traumatic stress disorder. The mood today of the DNC’s tech security team is one of cautious vigilance. The unit has grown in size and now employs cybersecurity experts who have come from some of the biggest Silicon Valley companies. Every day, the security team spots anomalies and strange behavior that could indicate a new cyberattack.

Florida: Florida Wrestles with Election Cybersecurity | American Prospect

Ever since the infamous election of 2000, Florida has been ground zero in the struggle to improve the technology and security of voting. Unfortunately, those critical issues have been conflated with deliberate political efforts to suppress voting and undermine confidence in voting systems, and 2018 is no exception. The reforms instituted since the 2000 debacle, such as early voting, served to make voting more convenient and restored confidence that all votes would be counted accurately. Even Republican Governor Rick Scott, no fan of convenience or expanding the franchise, finally went along with online voter registration last year. Thanks to the work of county election officials and civic reform groups, as well as good-faith efforts by Scott’s Republican predecessor, Charlie Crist, Florida had already made significant strides on election administration and had extended voting rights to certain disenfranchised former felons as well.

Massachusetts: Group raises questions about absentee ballot errors | Associated Press

A voting rights group on Monday called for a “full review” after finding several errors on absentee New Hampshire. But the secretary of state’s office said the group is wrong in one instance and that other issues are being addressed as part of the usual pre-election process. A small number of ballots are sent 45 days before the election to military members and others overseas. The New Hampshire Campaign for Voting Rights said Londonderry’s ballots listed a candidate under the wrong party, the Bedford ballot lists a candidate twice and another candidate was left off ballots for Auburn, Sandown and Chester. The group’s director, Liz Wester, called the errors “unacceptable.”

Michigan: 2-plus years later, lawsuit over ballot selfies not over | Daily Journal

Eager to snap and post an online photo of your Michigan ballot in the Nov. 6 election? Think again. A legal dispute over photos in polling places still hasn’t reached the finish line, more than two years later. A millennial voter from the Kalamazoo area, Joel Crookston, filed a lawsuit deep in the 2016 election season to try to stop Michigan’s ban on taking photos of marked ballots or publicly exposing them. A violation can disqualify a ballot. U.S. District Judge Janet Neff granted an injunction, clearing the way for so-called ballot selfies. But a higher court stepped in and said the sudden change just days before the Trump-Clinton election would be a “recipe for election-day confusion for voters and poll workers alike.”

North Carolina: Voter registration deadline extended for Hurricane Florence victims | WNCT

The voter registration deadline is extended for those impacted by Hurricane Florence. The extension is part of the Hurricane Florence Emergency Response Act. The deadline is now extended to 5 P.M. on October 15th. The change is for the 28 counties heavily impacted by the storm. In the East that includes: Lenoir, Pitt, Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Duplin, Greene, Hyde, Jones, Onslow and Pamlico counties. In the remaining 72 counties, the deadlines remains Friday October 12th.

Texas: With Various Threats, How Secure Is the 2018 Vote? | Government Technology

Across the country, voter registration deadlines began this week. Texas has already seen an all-time high of registrations ahead of Tuesday’s deadline to register. That’s despite the fact that the state announced recently that thousands of voters who registered online through Vote.org may not have officially registered. This is because Texas does not offer online voter registration. So when all those potential voters show up to vote in November, how confident can they be that their vote will count? Short answer: Very. Long answer: While experts feel the voting process itself is secure, they have concerns about the protection of voter rights, accessibility of the vote and the risk for misinformation, particularly from foreign sources looking to sway election results, which they say has not been adequately addressed.

Verified Voting in the News: State moves forward with first mobile voting app, despite fears from security experts | TechRepublic

During the 2018 midterms, deployed military personnel from West Virginia will be the first in the nation to vote in a federal election on their smartphones using a blockchain-based app—despite numerous concerns from cybersecurity experts. Concern over voting security in the midterm elections is rising, after the Department of Homeland Security detected Russian hackers targeting voter registration databases in at least 21 states in 2016. While most of the systems were not breached, and there is no evidence that Russian agents were able to manipulate voter data or election results, it’s likely that the cybercriminals were scanning them for vulnerabilities to potentially exploit in the future, the department said. … Cybersecurity experts are less confident in the safety and viability of a system like Voatz. “This is the last thing that people need to be thinking about when it comes to voting right now,” said Joseph Lorenzo Hall, chief technologist at the nonpartisan Center for Democracy and Technology. “There are so many more boring pieces of low-hanging fruit, like two-factor authentication, password management, and defending against phishing attacks. But that’s unfortunately not as exciting to most people as the blockchain voting stuff.”

Belgium: Belgium to polling officials: Please don’t accidentally delete all the votes | TNW

When you think of potential threats to electoral integrity, your mind conjures up all sorts of images. You start to imagine shadowy state actors toiling away from seedy basements in Moscow, or anarchic young hacktivists doing it for the lulz. In Belgium, they’ve got another potential foe to contend with: the actual polling agents themselves. It turns out that Belgium’s voting machines store a record of each vote on a USB stick. This drive uses a Linux-compatible filesystem — presumably because that’s what the voting machines themselves run. What happens when you shove one of the sticks into a computer running Windows? Well, the machine won’t recognize the stick and will tell you to format it with a compatible filesystem, like FAT32. And what happens when you do that? Well, you delete all the votes, that’s what.

Cameroon: Polls close, vote counting begins in key election | ABC

Polls closed in Cameroon Sunday evening and vote counting began in an election that will likely see Africa’s oldest leader win another term amid fighting and threats from separatists that prevented residents in English-speaking regions from voting. President Paul Biya, in office since 1982, vows to end a crisis that has killed more than 400 people in the Central African nation’s Southwest and Northwest territories in more than a year. The fractured opposition has been unable to rally behind a strong challenger to the 85-year-old leader. Voting ended around 6 p.m. local time and results are expected within two weeks. “I am satisfied after performing my civic duty and particularly satisfied that the election is taking place in calm and serenity and without fighting,” said Biya after voting. “I hope that the calm will continue after results are proclaimed.” Main opposition Social Democratic Front party candidate Joshua Osih voted in Douala and called for transparency in vote counting.

Congo: UN Security Council asks DRC to examine voting machine use | Associated Press

The United Nations Security Council has called on the Democratic Republic of Congo’s electoral commission to open dialogue on the use of voting machines for December elections. French Ambassador Francois Delattre, who co-headed a delegation with ambassadors from Bolivia and Equatorial Guinea, said on Sunday the security council wants the commission to consider a “broad consensus”. Voting machine use has been disputed by some presidential candidates and opposition leaders.

Latvia: Russia launched cyber-attacks against Latvia, claims security service | LSM.LV

Latvia’s state security service the Constitution Protection Bureau (SAB) said October 8 that Russia has in the past launched several cyber-attacks against Latvia. In a rare statement posted to its website, SAB said that like the Netherlands – which recently went public with claims it had been subjected to cyber-attacks from the Russian Federation – Latvia too had been targeted several times, naming Russia’s GRU military intelligence service specifically as the perpetrator. “The cyber attacks in Latvia were carried out by the GRU for espionage purposes, and the most frequent attacks were directed against state institutions, including the foreign and defense sectors. Rarely, attacks were targeted at private companies, including the media. The essence of cyber-attacks carried out by GRU is to enter an information system, operate in it unnoticed, and obtain long-term data from the system – for example, regular access to e-mail correspondence and documents processed at the workstation,” SAB said.