Arizona: Fontes says he will answer questions about election day this week | Arizona Republic

A week after election-day voting problems impacted 95 precincts and thousands of people, Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes broke his silence in an unannounced Facebook live video. “We had some problems,” he said. “We didn’t deliver for all of our voters.” In the video, Fontes apologized for the issues that resulted in polling locations that were not ready for voters at 6 a.m. when voting was set to begin. On election day, Fontes blamed the issue on an IT contractor who he said did not provide the agreed-upon resources to set up the voter check-in machines. The Tempe-based contractor disputed Fontes’ claim and pointed the finger back on an unprepared Recorder’s Office. 

Guam: Election commission denies requests for another recount | Guam Daily Post

The Guam Election Commission will not be conducting another recount, and will therefore not be conducting a hand count of ballots. The commission was responding to multiple requests for a hand count, including one from the gubernatorial team of Sen. Frank Aguon Jr. and Alicia Limtiaco – the presumptive second place finishers in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Ken Leon-Guerrero and Andri Baynum also requested a hand count. The men are initiating a write-in campaign for Aguon-Limtiaco in the general election. Last Saturday’s recount was automatically initiated after a newly adopted formula showed there was a 2 percent difference between Aguon-Limtiaco and the Democratic gubernatorial team of Lou Leon Guerrero and Josh Tenorio.

Massachusetts: State to spend millions on election security – after November | Marshfield Mariner

Massachusetts has received millions of dollars in federal funding to bolster election security, but most of it will not be spent until after the November election. Massachusetts has received millions of dollars in federal funding to bolster election security, but most of it will not be spent until after the November election. The Bay State has received $7.9 million from the federal government, which election officials plan to spend on voting equipment, voter registration systems and cybersecurity, according to documents shared with Wicked Local. About 81 percent, however, will be spent after the upcoming midterm election. State officials, nonetheless, say the federal dollars — while helpful — are not vital to running a safe and accurate election.

New Mexico: An Unlikely Union Seeks to Stop Straight-Party Voting in New Mexico | Governing

There’s at least one thing Republicans, Libertarians, independents and even some Democrats seem to agree on. They do not want voters to cast straight-party ballots in the November election. And they are asking the state Supreme Court to stop Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver from putting an option for straight-party voting back on the ballot after a Republican predecessor scrapped it about six years ago. In an emergency petition filed late Thursday, an unlikely assortment of political leaders and advocates argued straight-party voting is no longer allowed under New Mexico law. Moreover, they contend it violates the idea of equal protection under the Constitution for some political parties and independent candidates.

North Carolina: Electoral map to be used in midterms despite being ruled unconstitutional | The Hill

A court on Tuesday said there was not enough time to redraw a North Carolina redistricting map that had been ruled unconstitutional last month, meaning the map will still be used in the 2018 midterm elections. “Having carefully reviewed the parties’ briefing and supporting materials, we conclude that there is insufficient time for this Court to approve a new districting plan and for the State to conduct an election using that plan prior to the seating of the new Congress in January 2019,” the court ruling said, according to CNN. t55“And we further find that imposing a new schedule for North Carolina’s congressional elections would, at this late juncture, unduly interfere with the State’s electoral machinery and likely confuse voters and depress turnout,” it added.

U.S. Territories: U.S. solicitor general: Voting case hinges on state, not federal law | Virgin Islands Daily News

The federal government has rejected any responsibility for a law preventing some territorial residents from voting absentee in federal elections, court documents show. U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco filed a response Wednesday in the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that responsibility for potential harm for territorial residents who wish to vote absentee in other states where they have resided lies instead with an Illinois law. Francisco made the argument in response to a group of residents of the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam who claim they were denied their constitutional right to vote absentee in Illinois because of the tenets of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act. The case, Segovia v. The United States, seeks a declared right to vote absentee for residents of the territories.

Virginia: GOP House speaker appeals redistricting ruling to high court | Associated Press

The Republican speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates has filed a formal appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to overturn a court ruling that found 11 House districts were unconstitutionally gerrymandered. A federal court ruled in June that lawmakers illegally packed black voters into the 11 districts and ordered lawmakers to redraw them by Oct. 30. Republicans say the districts are constitutional, and they filed noticed in July that they would appeal. House Speaker Kirk Cox’s appeal was filed Tuesday.

Afghanistan: Weeks away, critical Afghan elections threatened by violence, claims of manipulation | The Washington Post

In the lawless days of Afghanistan’s civil war, Zardad Faryadi was a young militia commander with a uniquely cruel reputation. From a highway checkpoint near Kabul, he extorted money from travelers and enforced his demands by threatening to let loose a menacing man who was later executed for killing 20 people, according to human rights reports. Faryadi fled the country but wound up serving 13 years in a British prison for conspiring to torture and take hostages in Afghanistan. Today, at 54, he is back home and attempting to run for parliament in elections scheduled just over six weeks from now. He seems like a changed man — reflective and eager to defend the rights of nomadic groups backing his candidacy. But he and 35 other candidates have been barred from running for legislative seats because of ties to illegal groups.

Brazil: Lula appeals to UN in desperate bid to gain access to election | AFP

Leftist ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will appeal his barring from October’s elections to the United Nations and Brazil’s Supreme Court, the man set to replace him on the ballot said Monday. The appeal will be accompanied by a request to suspend Friday’s decision by the Superior Electoral Court to prevent Lula from running for a potential third term as president because he is serving a 12-year jail sentence for accepting a bribe. After visiting Lula in prison in the southern city of Curitiba, Workers’ Party potential candidate Fernando Haddad said he had informed the former head of state of “all the possibilities at his disposal.”

Congo: Scores of pro-democracy activists held in Congo | AFP

Police arrested and violently dispersed scores of pro-democracy activists on Monday protesting against controversial voting machines that the government wants to use in key elections later this year. The pro-democracy movement Lucha (Struggle for Change) says the South Korean touch screen voting machines will pave the way for fraud in the long-delayed December 23 ballot. Police detained 22 Lucha activists briefly in Kinshasa as they demonstrated outside the office of the national electoral commission (CENI), police said. “They tried to march but were arrested by police. But there was no reason to hold them so I let them go,” Kinshasa police chief Sylvano Kasongo said.

Fiji: Aussies Co-Lead Observers Group For Elections | Fiji Sun

Australia will co-lead the Multinational Observation Group (MOG) for the 2018 General Election. Together with Indonesia and India, the three parties will observe and evaluate the functions and operations of the Fijian Elections Office with respect to the 2018 Fijian General Elections. Acting Prime Minister and Minister responsible for Elections Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum signed the terms of reference for the MOG with the Australian High Commissioner John Feakes and the Indonesian Ambassador to Fiji Benyamin Scott Carnadi signing on behalf of the two countries. The Indian Government will be signing subsequent to the Indian High Commissioner returning from Nauru next week.

India: Supreme Court seeks Election Commission response on ‘private parties handling’ electronic voting machines | The Economic Times

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought the Election Commission’s response on an allegation that electronic voting machines (EVMs) used in the last Assembly polls in Uttarakhand were handled by private parties, leaving them open to possible tampering. The petition, filed by a resident of Uttarakhand, argued that EVMs and VVPATs (voter verified paper audit trails) were handled by private parties in breach of the commission’s rules and in disregard of the recommendations of a committee which said physical contact was the only way these machines could be tampered with. The case, before a bench led by Justice AK Sikri, was argued by senior advocate Kapil Sibal. Citing RTI (right to information) replies, the petition claimed that the poll panel had conceded to have requisitioned the help of private security, transportation and other personnel during the elections.

Japan: Tsukuba first in Japan to deploy online voting system | The Japan Times

A new online voting system based on the My Number identification system and blockchain technology has been introduced in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture. Tsukuba, well known as a center for scientific research, is the first in the country to start using such a voting system, according to the city. The system allows voters to cast ballots via a computer display after placing the My Number card on a card reader. Blockchain technology is used to prevent the voting data from being falsified or read.

Rwanda: Ruling party to sweep Rwanda parliament poll | AFP

Rwanda’s ruling party was set to win three-quarters of directly elected parliamentary seats in this week’s poll, provisional results showed on Tuesday. Long-time ruler President Paul Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), and its seven smaller allied parties, had 75% of the votes after Monday’s election, with 70% of ballots counted. Final results are not due until 16 September. Parties were vying for 53 of the country’s 80 directly elected parliamentary seats of which 24 are reserved for women, two for youth and one for the disabled, all chosen by special councils and national committees.

National: Once Bipartisan, an Election Security Bill Collapses in Rancor | The New York Times

The purpose of the bill seemed unassailable: to ensure that state officials could protect their elections against the kind of hacking or interference that has clouded the 2016 campaign. Although it started out backed by election integrity advocates and powerful senators from both parties, the Secure Elections Act has now all but collapsed. Lawmakers modified one of the bill’s key provisions after hearing relentless complaints from state officials, prompting many of its advocates to pull their support. Then last week delivered what one of the bill’s co-sponsors called “the gut punch” — the formal meeting to draft the bill before sending it to the floor was abruptly postponed, and the White House offered a statement critical of the legislation later that same day. No timetable has since been offered to reschedule it, and the election is two months away.

National: Election security bill backers say delay helps Russia | Associated Press

Just two months before the midterm elections, bipartisan legislation to try to prevent foreign hacking into U.S. election systems is stalled in Congress as the White House and some Republicans worry it could exert too much federal control over the states. Supporters of the bill say the delay could embolden Russia, which targeted election infrastructure in at least 21 states in 2016. A committee vote on the bipartisan bill was abruptly canceled two weeks ago after objections from some Republican senators and the states they represent. And Republicans and Democrats who are supporting the bill say they don’t know when — or if — it will be taken up again in the few remaining weeks Congress is in session before the midterms. The delay has some concerned that Congress could punt on the only piece of legislation that is designed to fix what went wrong in 2016 — and to prevent Russia or other countries from trying again. There is no evidence that the Russian targeting of state election systems was successful or changed any votes, but lawmakers, intelligence officials and elections experts say that they believe Russia will return in 2018 and beyond with more sophisticated tools.

National: States want more money, but aren’t waiting around to improve election cybersecurity | Washington Examiner

Election officials at the state and local levels are unhappily coming to terms with the idea that more funding probably isn’t coming for securing electoral systems from hacks this fall. But with help from the Department of Homeland Security, their confidence appears to be growing about how well they will perform on Election Day. Those officials are the front-line soldiers in the battle to combat Russian and any other cyber interference aimed at the midterm elections. In turn, they are becoming cybersecurity managers, according to Noah Praetz, director of elections in Cook County, Ill. He warned that $380 million in recent federal assistance to the 50 states “is not nearly enough to do a technology refresh” to update all of the antiquated elections systems across the country, but it has helped put state cyber experts “on the street” in five counties across Illinois. “It’s kind of like Andy in Mayberry being sent to deal with a foreign invasion,” he joked. DHS official Jeanette Manfra, speaking at a recent cyber conference, said the department is collaborating with states to shield voter registration from manipulation, ensuring the machines that tally votes are secure, and helping ensure that “unofficial tallies” released before the final election results aren’t altered to sow confusion and discord.

National: State Department unit created to fight foreign election interference still waiting on funding: report | The Hill

A State Department unit established to blunt election interference efforts by foreign countries has still not received funding that was allocated for the project two years ago, HuffPost reported. The news outlet reported that the Defense Department agreed to provide $40 million in funding to the Global Engagement Center earlier this year following complaints from lawmakers. However, the money still had not arrived as of last week, and a Senate aide told HuffPost that the amount had since been cut in half to $20 million. A State Department official told the news outlet that the Global Engagement Center would “be fine” even with the reduced amount of funding. The official said the center is waiting on another $20 million through the State Department’s budget.

National: Why the latest election security bill is stalled in Congress | The Washington Post

For a while there, the Senate’s flagship bill to help states improve election security appeared to be gaining steam. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle signed onto it. And an unlikely coalition of former national security officials, technologists and public policy groups urged lawmakers to pass the legislation. But the Secure Elections Act stalled last week after the Senate Rules Committee canceled a key vote on the legislation at the last minute — and now its future is uncertain. Some Republicans who seemed poised to support the bill balked after the White House raised concerns about giving the federal government too much authority in election administration, while state officials objected to some of its requirements. Election security experts, meanwhile, worry the legislation is getting too watered down. The delay highlights the tension at the core of the debate over how to best secure the country’s elections as officials warn about Russia’s ongoing campaign to disrupt U.S. politics. And the lack of progress in Congress underscores how difficult it is for lawmakers to balance competing concerns from state election administrators to national security officials to voting integrity groups.

National: Will Russian Hackers Affect This Year’s US Election? | Associated Press

Nearly a year after Russian government hackers meddled in the 2016 U.S. election, researchers at cybersecurity firm Trend Micro zeroed in on a new sign of trouble: a group of suspect websites. The sites mimicked a portal used by U.S. senators and their staffs, with easy-to-miss discrepancies. Emails to Senate users urged them to reset their passwords — an apparent attempt to steal them. Once again, hackers on the outside of the American political system were probing for a way in. “Their attack methods continue to take advantage of human nature and when you get into an election cycle the targets are very public ,” said Mark Nunnikhoven, vice president of cloud research at Trend Micro. Now the U.S. has entered a new election cycle. And the attempt to infiltrate the Senate network, linked to hackers aligned with Russia and brought to public attention in July, is a reminder of the risks, and the difficulty of assessing them.

Georgia: Lawsuit requiring Georgia to use paper ballots in next election moves forward | WSAV

A federal judge will not dismiss a lawsuit filed against Georgia’s Secretary of State which would require Georgia to move to paper ballots ahead of November’s election. The suit was filed due to concerns over the insecurity of Georgia’s voting systems. This means the case will move forward and both sides will present their arguments in front of a judge on September 17. Pleadings by Secretary Kemp’s legal team refer to the experts saying Georgia needs paper ballots as “so-called experts” who are only Ph.D. candidates, hackers, or low-level functionaries.  They also use the term “Luddite.” WSAV’s Atlanta Capitol Correspondent, Ashley Bridges, spoke to a world-renowned cyber security expert who says our system is one of the worst in the country.  “I don’t think of myself as a Luddite,” says Dr. Richard DeMillo. In reality, Dr. Richard DeMillo holds nearly 50 years of expertise in computer science and cyber security, with a PhD from Georgia Tech, even serving as the university’s Dean of Computing.  He says it’s because he does understand the technology that he thinks Georgia has to throw it out. “I have an appreciation for the complexity it takes. Like most people that look at it objectively, it’s about the worst in the country.”  

Georgia: Voting locations closed across Georgia after Supreme Court ruling | Atlanta Journal Constitution

When a passionate crowd rallied to save polling places in rural Randolph County, it won a high-profile battle for voting access. But voters trying to preserve their local precincts are losing the war as voting locations are vanishing across Georgia. County election officials have closed 214 precincts across the state since 2012, according to an analysis by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. That figure means nearly 8 percent of the state’s polling places, from fire stations to schools, have shut their doors over the past six years. Voting rights activists see the poll closures as an attempt to suppress turnout by African-American voters, but local election officials say they’re saving taxpayers’ money by consolidating precincts at a time when more Georgians are taking advantage of early voting.

Georgia: Voting Plan Has Drawn New Criticism, This Time Over How It’s Dealing With Voters Overseas | Buzzfeed

The state of Georgia has blocked all foreign internet traffic to its online voter registration site, BuzzFeed News has learned, a move that would do little to deter hackers but blocks absentee voters. The site,, is accessible only to US IP addresses. The decision has outraged technologists and voting groups. In theory, it’s meant as a security measure, based on the idea that a person visiting the site is more likely to be a foreign hacker. But in practice, it has the opposite effect: Georgians abroad who don’t know how to reroute their internet traffic with tools like virtual private networks (VPNs) or Tor will be prevented from registering to vote. “This won’t really do anything to dissuade a hacker. It will only turn away real voters,” said Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, president of the US Vote Foundation, a nonprofit that helps Americans vote abroad. “A hacker, or even a determined voter, will just get onto a VPN and to a US IP address, and guess what? They’re in.”

Kansas: Court rules for grand jury investigation of Kobach | Associated Press

A grand jury must be convened to investigate whether Republican gubernatorial candidate and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach intentionally failed to register voters in 2016, the Kansas Supreme Court has ruled. The court’s one-page opinion was released Friday and offered no explanation behind the ruling, which addressed Kobach’s appeal of a lower court’s order to summon the grand jury, the Lawrence Journal-World reported. The high court’s ruling stemmed from a petition first filed in 2016 by Steven Davis, a Lawrence resident who accused Kobach of intentionally choosing not to process online voter registrations and preventing qualified residents from voting in the 2016 election. The Douglas County District Court twice rejected Davis’ petition, saying there wasn’t enough evidence to support the allegations against Kobach.

Louisiana: Second vendor wants Louisiana voting machine contract redo | Associated Press

Another losing bidder for Louisiana’s voting machine replacement work is calling for a new selection process and the cancellation of the current contract award. Hart InterCivic sent a letter to the Office of State Procurement supporting the protest filed by a second vendor spurned for the voting machine contract. Hart said the evaluation was “flawed and lacked the fundamental transparency that Louisiana voters deserve.” Contract negotiations with the winning bidder, Dominion Voting Systems, are stalled while the protest is under review. The secretary of state’s office described Dominion as the low bidder for the voting machine replacement, with the company estimating the work would cost between $89 million and $95 million. Bid evaluation and financial documents released by the Office of State Procurement also showed Dominion with the least-expensive proposals for either leasing or buying voting machines.

Michigan: College Democrats file lawsuit over Michigan’s ‘restrictive’ voting laws |

A lawsuit filed in federal court Thursday alleges Michigan’s election laws purposefully try to confuse and disenfranchise young, college-aged voters. College Democrats at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and Bureau of Elections Director Sally Williams claiming the state’s youngest voters are “particularly vulnerable to restrictive voting laws and uniquely susceptible to voter confusion.” The suit claims Michigan’s laws violate the First, Fourteenth and Twenty-Sixth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution and will presumably seek relief from these two come Nov. 6: “Rogers’ Law,” which requires a citizen vote where their driver’s license lists their address, as well as a law requiring first-time voters to vote in person, meaning they can’t participate in early or absentee voting.

New Mexico: Doña Ana County to hold special meeting on straight-party voting | Las Cruces Sun News

oña Ana County Commission Chairman Ben Rawson has called for a special meeting Tuesday to consider a resolution requesting that the county clerk not include a straight-party ticket option on the ballots for the 2018 election. Rawson, a Republican, said that officials in Lea, Curry, Roosevelt, Chaves, Eddy and San Juan counties have also called special meetings for Tuesday to take up the issue, and others are expected to as well. Tuesday is the deadline for county clerks to turn ballots in to the Secretary of State’s Office, he said. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat, announced that she was bringing back the option of straight-party voting, which had been discontinued in 2012 by then-Secretary of State Dianna Duran, a Republican. It allows voters to select all candidates from one party by filling in a single bubble on the ballot.

North Carolina: Judges say Cooper — not lawmakers — can control certain boards | News & Observer

A three-judge panel has expanded Gov. Roy Cooper’s authority to make certain appointments, the latest step in a separation-of-powers struggle that began when then-Gov. Pat McCrory sued the General Assembly in 2016. Cooper sued in May 2017 challenging the constitutionality of the legislature appointing the majority of members to certain boards and commissions. In some cases the legislature gave itself that authority. In other cases, Cooper argued, the legislature should have changed the membership of some existing boards to reflect rulings by the state Supreme Court. The three state Superior Court judges in a ruling filed Friday noted that the Supreme Court in the lawsuit brought by McCrory said the General Assembly had overstepped its authority.

Rhode Island: 5,000 voter records caught in computer glitch | Providence Journal

As a result of an “IT” snafu in the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles’ automatic-voter-registration system, the new and newly-updated records of at least 5,000 potential primary day voters got stuck in limbo. Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea is asking the state Board of Elections to take emergency steps at its next meeting on Wednesday to rectify the situation. More specifically, she is asking the state board to give the go-ahead for elections officials in all 39 cities and towns to add at least 1,400 new voters to their local rolls before the Sept. 12 primary, and change their own records to reflect changes — such as a move to a new address — of another 3,600 previously registered voters who did business with the DMV in the last year.

Brazil: Court bars Lula from presidential election | The Guardian

Brazil’s top electoral court has ruled that jailed former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is barred from running in October’s presidential elections. The ruling came after a dramatic and gruelling late-night session broadcast live on television and across news sites, and defied a request from the United Nations human rights committee that he be allowed to stand. Lula is serving a 12-year sentence for corruption and money laundering. The court also banned him from campaign advertisements. His defence said it would appeal the decision to Brazil’s supreme court.