Thailand: Election could get delayed, again | The ASEAN Post

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha seems to have dropped another hint that the country’s long-awaited election will be delayed yet again. Despite previously promising that one will be held in February 2019, Prayut recently said that a further delay is possible. “We still confirm that the general election will be held in February 2019. Let’s talk about it later if we cannot hold such an election then, and now there isn’t any factor to make us hold the election sooner,” he told reporters after a cabinet meeting in the southern province of Chumphon.

But scepticism and frustrations are running high in the Land of Smiles following delay after delay as to a promised date for the country’s general election. Shortly after the junta’s – The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) – military coup on 22 May, 2014, it promised an election the following year. Four years later and Thailand is still under military rule. This scepticism was related in the Suan Dusit Rajabhat University’s latest poll findings published in June. The poll, carried out between 5 to 9 June and involving a sample size of 1,130 people throughout the country, revealed that the hottest political topic among Thais is whether or not an election will ever take place, and if so, when.

Florida: Cyber-threats abound as Florida gets ready to vote | Tampa Bay Times

Tuesday’s primary is a dry run for democracy in a tense time of cyber-threats. It will be the most thorough test of voting operations since Russian operatives tried to hack Florida voting rolls before the 2016 presidential election. But it’s not one election, it’s 67 — one in every county from the Keys to Pensacola. As counties plan for what’s often a low-turnout election, they have spent millions of dollars safeguarding computer servers, installing surveillance cameras and card readers, building security barriers and training workers to detect threats they can’t see. “We want to make sure that our employees know what a phishing email looks like,” says Lisa Lewis, supervisor of elections in Volusia County, a county the Russians targeted two years ago. “If there’s no subject line, I tell people, ‘Don’t open it.’ “

National: List of U.S. Senators Targeted by Foreign Phishing Attacks Mounts | Government Technology

Sen. Patrick J. Toomey is the latest U.S. politician to announce his campaign was the target of an attempt to hack into its emails. Google notified Toomey’s office that “hackers from a nation state may have attempted to infiltrate specific email accounts associated with his campaign apparatus” through a phishing scam, Steve Kelly, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Republican, said in a statement. “This underscores the cybersecurity threats our government, campaigns, and elections are currently facing,” Kelly said. “It is essential that Congress impose tough penalties on any entity that undermines our institutions.” The attacks were not successful. Toomey’s Senate office has not been the target of similar hacking attempts.

National: Report: Election Offices ‘Highly Susceptible’ to Spoofing | GovernmentCIO

Despite warnings about possible cyberattacks aimed at undermining midterm election security, new research reveals an overwhelming number of evaluated state, territory and District of Columbia election offices as highly vulnerable to email spoofing. Released today, the “Email Spoofing Threat to the 2018 U.S. Midterm Elections” report by Anomali Labs, the R&D arm of threat intelligence company Anomali, explores the strength of email security programs for election-related infrastructure. And of the 90 state, territory and District of Columbia election offices Anomali Labs assessed, 96 percent are “highly susceptible” to email spoofing attacks. The report found a low adoption rate of strong email authentication and email security standards among the majority of state-level election offices and their online voter registration sites. Adoption overall is inconsistent across the board. Being spoofable means threat actors could falsify the sender’s origins to appear as if the fraudulent email came from a legitimate government organization, according to the report. This type of threat is “100 percent real, and as far as urgency, given that phishing is the No. 1 attack vector, not just against election officials but also in industry in general, I think it’s very, very high,” said Roberto Sanchez, Anomali director of threat and sharing analysis and the lead researcher for the election security report.

Editorials: It’s Election Day in Florida. Who’s making sure our votes count? | Miami Herald

On Election Day, the people most in the dark about the security threats to Florida’s voting systems are Floridians. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson has made alarming claims about cyberattacks by Russian hackers, while citing classified sources and offering no evidence, but the response from state officials has only added confusion and rancor to what should be a sober discussion. Voters need clearer, concrete information in order to have confidence that their elections are secure. Since the 2016 presidential election, Americans have known that Russian operatives have attempted various means of hacking into states’ voting systems. An indictment this summer of 12 Russian intelligence officers stated that operatives in 2016 faked a real election vendor email account to send more than 100 “spearphishing” emails to election administrators in several Florida counties. Sen. Marco Rubio has said those threats remain as hackers continue to probe for cyber vulnerabilities, and he suggested that county elections supervisors have “overconfidence” in their systems.

Georgia: SAFE Commission to review possible voting system replacements | Augusta Chronicle

Kemp, the GOP gubernatorial nominee, co-chairs the SAFE Commission with Harlem state Rep. Barry Fleming. The bipartisan committee includes two Democratic state legislators, six county elections officials, attorneys for the state Democratic and Republican parties and others. They won’t be put to use in Georgia anytime soon, but vendors interested in providing the state’s new voting system will present their wares Thursday in Grovetown. At the second meeting of the Secure, Accessible and Fair Elections (SAFE) Commission, vendors who responded to the state’s recent request for information on options for replacing Georgia’s voting system are invited to present their products to the statewide panel.

Indiana: Cybersecurity concerns persist as Election Day nears | WTHI

Voters are, once again, preparing to head to the ballot box as concerns over election tampering persist. Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson says she is taking steps to ensure every vote is protected but her opponent Jim Harper insists more should be done. The Republican incumbent recently announced plans to use more than $7.5 million in federal funding to beef up election security but the Democrat challenger says it’s a mistake the plan does not include improvements to voting machines. News 10 spoke with candidate Jim Harper while he was in Terre Haute speaking with voters and stumping with other Democrat candidates. Harper says voting machines should be replaced so there is a “paper trail.” He explains votes should be cast on paper ballots or voters should be given a verified receipt. Not every Indiana election machine issues receipts.

Kansas: ES&S says it’s rewritten faulty code that caused big delays — but can’t guarantee new software will be approved for use by November | Shawnee Mission Post

Twenty days after company officials told Johnson County residents technicians were “working around the clock” to identify the issue, Election Systems & Software said this morning that it had rewritten a portion of the software code that led to a massive delay in reporting primary election results earlier this month. But it’s not a guarantee that the updated software will be approved for use in November’s elections. “The slow reporting of results was unacceptable, and we apologize,” said Tom Burt, president and CEO, ES&S. “We know the Election Office and other Johnson County Government leaders put their faith in us and we let down our valued partners. After exhaustive analysis to pinpoint the issue, we rewrote the portion of code that caused the issue, and initial tests of the optimized code were successful. We will continue testing, and we look forward to federal certification of the optimized software.”

Nevada: Voting machine problems were much bigger than first thought | Reno Gazette Journal

For hundreds of Nevada voters and candidates, June’s primary election did not go as planned. Officials said then that a spate of well-publicized voting machine problems — including glitches that left some candidates off of ballots or displayed the wrong slate of ballot choices — only affected a small handful of voters. But a Reno Gazette Journal review of public records found more than 300 reported machine malfunctions across the state. More than 100 were recorded in Washoe County alone. Those software hiccups contributed to a double-voting snafu that forced officials to call a rare special election in Clark County. Records reveal they also saw Washoe threatened with at least one election-challenging lawsuit amid widespread reports of candidates being left off the ballot. Now, little more than two months ahead of the general election, elections officials have said in interviews with the RGJ they don’t know how many improperly displayed ballots might have gone unnoticed by voters and unreported to poll workers during the primary.

North Carolina: Federal Court Throws Out North Carolina’s Congressional Districts, Again | The New York Times

A panel of three federal judges again declared North Carolina’s congressional district map to be unconstitutional, ruling on Monday that it was gerrymandered to unfairly favor Republican candidates. The decision, which may have significant implications for control of Congress after the midterm elections, is likely to be appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which for the moment is evenly split on ideological lines without a ninth justice to tip the balance. Though North Carolina’s voters tend to divide about evenly between the two parties, Republicans currently hold 10 of the state’s 13 House seats. A redrawn district map may put more of the seats within Democrats’ reach. The three judges had ruled unanimously in January that the state’s House map violated the First and 14th Amendments by unfairly giving one group of voters — Republicans — a bigger voice than others in choosing representatives.

South Carolina: Proposal to pay $50 million for better voting machines at South Carolina polls | wistv

There are millions of dollars of taxes collected that are unspent and lawmakers will decide what to do with them. Here’s a plan for the ballot box: to spend $50 million to replace old, outdated voting machines in South Carolina. There are 13,000 voting machines some call antiquated. One state representative goes as far to call them unreliable. But the commission says $50 million may not replace all 13,000 machines, but it could at least make a better backup system – a paper trail of votes. The right to vote is the backbone of democracy. Some feel the system in South Carolina needs adjustment – worth $50 million taxpayer dollars. “Ballots are the currency in which we purchase democracy,” said Rokey Suleman II with Richland County Voter Registration, and Elections. “So, we have to treat that ballot as secure as we do any sort of currency, and we have to treat it like a bank vault and a cash drawer at a store.”

West Virginia: Mobile Blockchain Ballot Trial Raises Voting Security Questions | Security Intelligence

Smartphone voting will get a trial run during November’s U.S. elections. As part of a new pilot program, West Virginia has partnered with Voatz, a Boston-based technology startup, to allow some members of the military stationed overseas to cast ballots with devices connected to a blockchain-enabled vote recording system. Security experts have had mixed reactions to the plan, with some saying blockchain technologies aren’t yet ready for important tasks such as voting security. But defenders say the pilot program will allow veterans stationed in remote locations to make their voices heard during the midterm elections — as long as proper security measures are put in place. Joseph Lorenzo Hall, chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology, a digital rights group, believes smartphone voting is too unproven to use during this year’s elections. “I don’t know why everyone’s solution to things lately is ‘rub some blockchain on it,’” he said. “Blockchain voting methods typically mean you are doing internet voting — which is a horrifically bad idea — and committing encrypted ballots to the blockchain.”

Europe: European Commission to crack down on data misuse ahead of EU Elections | EURACTIV

The European Commission is set to announce plans to clamp down on the misuse of personal data retrieved from social networks in the run-up to the 2019 European Elections, the Financial Times reported on Sunday (26 August). The move comes after the Cambridge Analytica scandal made headlines earlier this year with the company’s acquisition of personal data from Facebook users causing outrage. The Financial Times wrote that the European Commission will draft an amendment prohibiting European political parties from harvesting online data as a means to make strategic headway in next year’s elections. Any potential amendment would require the approval of EU governments as well as the European Parliament. A Commission spokesperson, contacted by EURACTIV, could not offer any specific details.

Colombia: Colombia, the country that voted against a peace process, fails to vote against corruption | Colombia Reports

A referendum that sought to curb rampant corruption in Colombia’s congress failed on a knife’s edge on Sunday after voters failed to turn out. Of Colombia’s 36.4 million voters, less than 12 million cast votes, leaving the referendum 500 thousand votes short for it to be declared valid. The citizens who did vote, overwhelmingly approved the seven anti-corruption measures. More than 99 percent of the voters who did turn up approved the measures. Colombia’s rampant corruption is one of the most common grievances in the South American country, yet it failed to mobilize enough voters to address the problem that is bleeding the national treasury. According to the country’s Inspector General some 10 percent of the national budget gets lost through corruption every year.

India: Opposition parties, Shiv Sena pitch for election through ballot papers | Business Standard

Several opposition parties and ruling NDA constituent Shiv Sena on Monday pushed for reverting back to ballot paper in place of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and opposed simultaneous elections at a meeting convened by the Election Commission which also saw some parties pitching for state funding of elections. The Shiv Sena differed with its ally BJP to support the polls through ballot paper and the CPI-M too differed from other opposition parties and said it was not for returning to the old system of holding elections. It sought more safeguards in EVMs. Chief Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat said after the meeting that the poll panel will take a call on all the issues raised by parties including on EVMs and ballot paper, integrity of electoral rolls and ceiling on expenditure by political parties.

Maldives: Opposition presidential candidate says government may rig next month’s election | Associated Press

The Maldives opposition presidential candidate said Monday he fears the government will rig next month’s election. Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said his Maldivian Democratic Party is “very worried about the situation” but has “trust in the people.” Solih spoke to journalists after addressing a meeting of Maldivian citizens living in Sri Lanka. A government spokesman did not answer calls seeking comment. The government has rejected such accusations in the past, saying they are baseless.

Papua New Guinea: 2 Million Papuan Voters Threatened to Lose Voting Rights, House of Parliament Reacts | Netral News

House Speaker Bambang Soesatyo (Bamsoet) fears that some 2 million Papuan voters could not exercise their voting rights in the 2019 Election. This was said after the Papua Election Commission released a data on voters who did not have an electronic identity card (e-KTP) comprise of 2 million prospective voters. Bamsoet says if referring to Regulation Number 7 Year 2017 on General Elections, e-KTP becomes a valid requirement of voters to exercise their right to vote. The right to vote for all Indonesian citizens (WNI) must be guaranteed. Therefore, Bamsoet asked the Interior Ministry together with the Papua Population and Civil Registration Service to immediately collect data / matching activities and research on people who do not have e-KTP.

National: McCain Made Campaign Finance Reform A Years-Long Mission | NPR

John McCain devoted much of his career in the Senate to controlling the influence of money in public life — in part to try to recover from his own role in a big congressional influence scandal. McCain, who died Saturday of brain cancer, made money and influence big themes of his first presidential race. “Y’know, there’s a little game they got in Washington,” he told a crowd in New Hampshire in 1999. “And that is: Look at the tax bill when it comes out, to figure out who’s getting the benefit — because of the very complex and convoluted way that they write the tax laws. And it’s a disgrace.” Although McCain, an Arizona Republican, lost the Republican nomination to George W. Bush, his warnings that money was corrupting politics reverberated in many state primaries, amplifying his message and propelling him toward an unexpected legislative triumph in the Senate that helped define his career. … McCain, who served more than 30 years in the Senate, began as an unlikely crusader.

National: Facebook and Microsoft briefed state officials on election security efforts today | TechCrunch

So much for summer Fridays. Yesterday, BuzzFeed reported that a dozen tech companies, including Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Snapchat, would meet at Twitter headquarters on Friday to discuss election security. For two of them, that wasn’t the only meeting in the books. In what appears to be a separate event on Friday, Facebook and Microsoft also met with the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and two bodies of state election officials, the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) and the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), about their election security efforts.

National: Democrats Overhaul Controversial Superdelegate System | The New York Times

Democratic Party officials, after a yearslong battle between warring ideological wings, have agreed to sharply reduce the influence of the top political insiders known as superdelegates in the presidential nomination process. Under the new plan, which was agreed to on Saturday afternoon in Chicago at the Democratic National Committee’s annual summer meetings, superdelegates retain their power to back any candidate regardless of how the public votes. They will now be largely barred, however, from participating in the first ballot of the presidential nominating process at the party’s convention — drastically diluting their power. Superdelegates will be able to cast substantive votes only in extraordinary cases like contested conventions, in which the nomination process is extended through multiple ballots until one candidate prevails. “After you lose an election, you have to look in the mirror,” said Howard Dean, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Mr. Dean had recorded a video message to committee members urging them to back the proposed changes.

National: Midterm Campaigns Fight to Prevent Cyber Attacks | New York Magazine

Melting in South Florida’s humidity, a young congressional campaign manager let his nerves show. Sitting across from a pair of visitors on a café patio, he widened his eyes when they asked if there were any tool he wished he had to help protect his campaign from cyber attacks. “I have no idea! I don’t even know what that would be, to be honest.” Weeks away from Election Day, the operative’s fear is increasingly common — practically unavoidable in 2018, in fact. Midterm campaigns are entering the fall more anxious than ever about looming threats of email phishing, text hacking, and countless other ominous possibilities that could derail their hopes with the touch of a Muscovite button. And it’s becoming increasingly clear to many that they may just not be ready for what’s coming — or what’s already occurred.

Arizona: What happens next to John McCain’s Senate seat | Politico

Sen. John McCain held his seat in the Senate for nearly 32 years. After McCain’s death Saturday, it will fall to Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to name his successor. State law gives Ducey, a Republican, the power to fill the Senate vacancy for the next two years, until a special election is held in 2020 to select a person to complete the final two years of McCain’s term. The seat will then be up again for a full six-year term in the 2022 election. Arizona law also stipulates that the appointee must be from McCain’s party. Ducey has avoided any discussion in recent months about which Republican he might appoint to fill McCain’s seat, citing respect for the senator and his family. “Out of respect for the life and legacy of Senator John McCain and his family, Governor Ducey will not be making any announcements about an appointment until after the Senator is laid to rest,” said Daniel Ruiz, a spokesman for Ducey.

Arizona: Judge upholds law barring collection of mail-in ballots | Associated Press

A judge has upheld a 2016 Arizona law that bans groups from collecting early mail-in ballots from voters and delivering them, marking the second time this year that a legal challenge to the statute has failed. U.S. District Judge Douglas Rayes on Friday dismissed the latest challenge to the statute that bans anyone but caregivers or family members from delivering a completed early ballot to a polling place. The lawsuit was filed by Democratic activist Rivko Knox, who said the law caused her to stop delivering ballots for voters who request assistance. Rayes rejected arguments from Knox’s attorneys that the law was unconstitutional because it’s trumped by federal statutes and violated her free-speech rights.

Florida: Primary is big test for security of voting process | Miami Herald

Tuesday’s primary is a dry run for democracy in a tense time of cyber-threats. It will be the most thorough test of voting operations since Russian operatives tried to hack Florida voting rolls before the 2016 presidential election. But it’s not one election, it’s 67 — one in every county from the Key West to Pensacola. As counties plan for what’s often a low-turnout election, they have spent millions of dollars safeguarding computer servers, installing surveillance cameras and card readers, building security barriers and training workers to detect threats they can’t see. “We want to make sure that our employees know what a phishing email looks like,” says Lisa Lewis, supervisor of elections in Volusia County, a county the Russians targeted two years ago. “If there’s no subject line, I tell people, ‘Don’t open it.’ ”

Georgia: Elections board takes less than a minute to reject proposal to close 7 of 9 polling places in majority-black county | CNN

In a meeting that lasted less than 60 seconds, a Georgia elections board voted down a plan Friday to close seven of a majority-black county’s nine polling places ahead of November’s midterm elections. Critics had said the plan to consolidate polling places in Randolph County, Georgia, was a brazen attempt to suppress the black vote in Georgia’s governor race, which pits former Georgia House minority leader Stacey Abrams, who is black, against Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who is white.

Indiana: Election security plans don’t include new machines | The Hour

Indiana’s top elections official is planning to use more than $7.5 million in federal funding on improving the state’s election security but won’t upgrade its voting machines. Republican Secretary of State Connie Lawson has announced plans for using the federal assistance to strengthen voting systems ahead of the November election. Indiana was among the states and territories to receive money from the $380 million approved by Congress amid ongoing threats from Russia and others. Indiana will also spend an additional $659,000 on election security under the requirement to match 5 percent of grant funding with state money, The Indianapolis Star reported. The state money will go toward evaluating election infrastructure, conducting third-party testing, implementing email encryption and training state and county officials, according to Lawson.

Kansas: ‘There’s no road map for him’: Deaf candidate for Kansas House aiming to make history | The Kansas City Star

As the Olathe candidate knocked on a voter’s door, a dog inside barked and the sound of footsteps approached. The candidate didn’t look up. He’s deaf. The door opened. The homeowner started to say hello but trailed off as the candidate gestured to his ear and smiled. He pointed to his shirt — “Haulmark for Kansas” — and held up a pamphlet advertising his campaign. The homeowner nodded, tilting his head slightly, and looked on. There have been deaf city counselors and a deaf mayor, but Chris Haulmark, if elected, would be the first deaf legislator — at the state or national level — in U.S. history, according to the National Association of the Deaf. “It will be the very first time in America’s history that finally a deaf person has been invited to the table to sit with the other politicians, legislators and lawmakers and be able to make decisions together,” Haulmark, 39, said recently at an event commemorating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Louisiana: ES&S protests Louisiana’s voting machine contact | Associated Press

One of the losing bidders for Louisiana’s voting machine replacement work wants a re-do, saying the bid process was “irresponsibly rushed and fundamentally flawed.” Election Systems and Software filed a formal protest late Thursday (Aug. 23) with the state’s procurement office, objecting to the choice of another vendor for the lucrative contract. The protesting company said the process used to choose Dominion Voting Systems to replace 10,000 early voting and Election Day machines was mishandled from the start by Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, his office and the team that evaluated the bids.

Massachusetts: State works to start automatic voter signup | Lowell Sun

Local city and town clerks are looking for guidance as the state develops methods and regulations to automatically register eligible voters in time for the 2020 presidential elections. “I think it’s going to unfold as we get closer,” said Fitchburg City Clerk Anna Farrell. “We want everything to be clear as we move forward.” Gov. Charlie Baker signed the law to enact automatic voter registration earlier in the month. The Registry of Motor Vehicles, MassHealth, and the Health Connector will be the agencies that automatically register residents who meet the qualifications to vote. There is an option to opt out.

New Hampshire: Election System Might Be Vulnerable | Associated Press

mid concerns about hacking from Russia, Iran and other countries, New Hampshire plans to spend a quarter of a million dollars in federal grant money on assessing whether its election systems are vulnerable to intruders. David Scanlan, the deputy secretary of state, said that $250,000 from the five-year grant will be used to hire a firm that will attempt to hack the election system to help identify any weaknesses. The state also plans to embed software in the election database that can recognize abnormal activity and shut it down. The state also wil monitor the “dark web” for signs the state is being discussed among hackers. “It’s kind of an ear to the ground to find if New Hampshire is being discussed in any way to give us a heads up of when a potential attempt to hack might happen,” Scanlan said of the “dark web” effort. Scanlan said there is no evidence so far that anyone has attempted to hack and get into New Hampshire’s election system.