Cambodia: Elections headed for a rigged one-horse race | Asia Times

While 20 different political parties will vie for votes at Cambodia’s national elections on July 29, the contest will be by any honest measure a one-horse race. Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), now in power for more than 33 consecutive years, eliminated the only serious competition ahead of the polls but will be hard-pressed to portray the elections as a legitimate expression of the popular will. The 19 other parties contesting the elections are seen by many as either proxies set up by the ruling party in an attempt to give the election a veneer of legitimacy, or too small and with too few followers to carry any seats.

India: Are Electronic Voting Machines democratic? | The Statesman

Those infatuated with the technology-driven Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) fail to realise that elections are synonymous with democracy and are meant to translate the consent of the citizens into governmental authority. To achieve this, elections should be held in strict conformity with democracy principles. … EVMs that are being presently used to conduct elections may be devices of technology excellence. But the moot question is ~ do they comply with the principles of democracy? The answer is: No. The Federal Constitutional Court of Germany in a landmark judgment in March 2009 held the use of EVMs unconstitutional if they do not comply with the ‘Democracy Principles’. The Court did not strike down the EVM ,but left it to the government/election authority to determine whether or not the machines comply with the principles of democracy. These authorities determined that EVMs do not and went back to the ballot paper. Many other countries followed.

Libya: Party chief warns of ‘fake voters’ due to ID card scam | Reuters

The head of one of Libya’s main political movements has alleged widespread fraud involving national identity cards, saying this could jeopardize elections that may be held late this year. Mahmoud Jibril, a former interim leader of the country, called for a thorough investigation into the abuses which could also have led to hundreds of thousands of fraudulent claims for welfare payments. The United Nations and rival Libyan factions say they hope presidential and parliamentary elections can be held on Dec. 10 in a step toward reunifying and stabilizing Libya, which has been in turmoil since a NATO-backed revolt toppled Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Mexico: Authorities mulling $10 million fine for election victors | Reuters

Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s party could face a $10 million fine for violations of campaign finance rules, the national electoral institute said on Wednesday following the group’s wide-reaching election victory. Lopez Obrador, a former Mexico City mayor who has vowed to root out corruption and make government contracts transparent, on Sunday won by a landslide while his leftist National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) took an outright majority in Congress. The possible fine of more than 197 million pesos, slated to be put to a vote by the National Electoral Institute (INE) on July 18, would be the largest related to campaign financing for the recently concluded election season.

Editorials: The Vote Leave revelations expose the vulnerability of UK democracy | Caroline Lucas/The Guardian

On Tuesday evening, the nation held its collective breath as the English football team beat Colombia on penalties to make it to the quarter-final of the world cup. Meanwhile, Vote Leave leaked news that the Electoral Commission is set to find it breached electoral law during the Brexit referendum. This is not the most obvious example of news being buried in Westminster. But it could be one of the most significant. With Britain just months from falling off a Brexit cliff edge, and with no guarantee yet in place for a people’s poll on the final deal, the disastrous consequences of failing to meet fundamental standards of democracy will be felt for generations to come.

Zimbabwe: After Mugabe, How Free and Fair Will Zimbabwe’s Vote Be? | VoA News

It will be a first for Zimbabwe’s voters: The name of Robert Mugabe won’t be on the ballot when elections are held on July 30. But the military-backed system that kept the former leader in power for decades, and then pushed him out, is still in control. That is the conundrum facing a southern African country anxious to shed its image as an international pariah, and to draw the foreign aid and investment needed for an economic revival. The government promises a free and fair vote and the military, whose 2017 takeover led to Mugabe’s resignation, says it won’t stray from the barracks. Some Zimbabweans, though, wonder how much things have really changed.

National: Ahead of midterms, states scrambling to fend off cyberattacks | CSMonitor

With the 2018 midterm elections fast approaching, security experts are warning that the nation’s election infrastructure will once again come under assault by hackers seeking to undermine American democracy. But here’s an underappreciated fact: We’re already under attack. “We average 100,000 scans on our [computer] systems a day,” Missouri’s secretary of state, Jay Ashcroft, told a recent Senate panel examining election security. He was referring to unauthorized probing of the networks. Mr. Ashcroft and other state election officials were asked how often they detect attempts specifically to break into voter-registration and other election-related systems. “Every day,” responded Vermont’s secretary of state, Jim Condos. “We probably receive several thousand scans per day.”

National: Trump-Russia: more election meddling evidence found, says Senate panel | The Guardian

A Republican-controlled Senate panel has said that further evidence has been found to support a US intelligence assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election to help elect Donald Trump. The Senate intelligence committee said “information obtained subsequent to publication” of a January 2017 report by US intelligence agencies “provides further support” to the conclusion that Vladimir Putin and his government aimed to discredit Hillary Clinton and boost Trump. No further detail was given. The discovery was noted on Tuesday in a summary of initial findings from the committee’s review of the January 2017 intelligence community assessment (ICA), which it said was a “sound intelligence product” backed up by evidence.

National: DOJ Cyber Task Force expected to release first-ever report in late July | CyberScoop

The Department of Justice’s internal “Cyber-Digital Task Force,” created by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in February, will release its first-ever public report later this month at the Aspen Institute’s annual Security Forum, a department spokesperson told CyberScoop. The report is expected to detail a series of security recommendations that the government should consider to protect future U.S. elections from a myriad of different threats, including foreign hacking attempts. A statement by the DOJ previously explained that the Task Force will “prioritize its study of efforts to interfere with our elections; efforts to interfere with our critical infrastructure; the use of the Internet to spread violent ideologies and to recruit followers; the mass theft of corporate, governmental, and private information; the use of technology to avoid or frustrate law enforcement; and the mass exploitation of computers and other digital devices to attack American citizens and businesses.”

National: Judge lets challenge to census citizenship query go forward | Associated Press

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that a legal challenge to the 2020 census can go forward, saying there was an appearance of “bad faith” behind the Trump Administration’s disputed decision to add a question about citizenship. U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman made the ruling at a hearing in federal court in Manhattan after citing contradictory statements by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross about the rationale for a plan to send a census form to every household that asks people to specify whether they are U.S. citizens. The move has fueled worries among Democrats that it will discourage immigrants from participating in the survey, thereby diluting representation for states that tend to vote Democratic and robbing many communities of federal dollars. A coalition of about two dozen states and cities have sued the U.S. government in New York to block the plan, calling it unconstitutional.

Editorials: This Independence Day, celebrate America by defending voting rights | Alex Padilla/Orange County Register

Flags are mounted, grills are fired up and friends, family and neighbors are gathering to celebrate Independence Day across the country. We celebrate our history, our veterans and our most fundamental values of American democracy, including the right to vote. But this year, recent decisions by an ideologically split U.S. Supreme Court are putting Americans’ right to vote at risk by enabling racial and partisan gerrymandering and upholding voter suppression tactics. We are reminded that we cannot celebrate America without also defending the right to vote. Make no mistake — the Supreme Court’s assault on voting rights impacts everyone — red states, blue states, the elderly and young of any race. But the brunt of such attacks will be felt most profoundly by communities that have been historically disenfranchised — people of color and low income communities.

Arizona: Lawsuit seeks to remove ‘ballot harvesting’ ban | Arizona Daily Sun

A new lawsuit seeks to block Arizona from enforcing its ban on “ballot harvesting” for the upcoming election, claiming the state has no legal authority to regulate who can and cannot deliver someone else’s mail. In legal papers filed in federal court here Tuesday, attorney Spencer Scharff is arguing that only Congress has the right to regulate the U.S. mail. And he said that once someone puts a ballot into an envelope which has prepaid postage on it, it becomes “mail.” What all that means, said Scharff, is a 2016 statutes that makes it a felony to collect early ballots and deliver them to polling places is preempted by federal law. And he is asking U.S. District Court Judge Douglas Rayes to put the law on “hold” until there can be a full hearing on the issue.

Kansas: Kris Kobach won’t represent himself during appeal | The Kansas City Star

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is no longer representing himself in a federal lawsuit over the state’s voter registration law that he lost after being found in contempt of court. Court documents show Kansas Solicitor General Toby Crouse will argue the case at the appeal stage. Crouse filed a notice this week on Kobach’s behalf saying he intends to appeal after Judge Julie Robinson ruled unconstitutional a state law requiring people to show proof of citizenship in order to register to vote.

Maryland: IT official out after voter-records snafu | WTOP

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said the head of IT for the state’s Motor Vehicle Administration is no longer at the agency following a technical error affecting voter registration records ahead of the June 26 primary. At one point last week, officials said the error — which came to light just days before the primary — may have affected some 80,000 voters who tried to change their addresses or party affiliations online or through an MVA kiosk. Affected voters were informed they would have to cast provisional ballots. When asked during a WTOP interview Tuesday whether anyone should lose his or her job over the error, Hogan replied: “Somebody already has lost their job over it. The person in charge of all IT for the MVA is no longer working there.”

New Mexico: Libertarians pay for recount in governor primary | Albuquerque Journal

The Libertarian candidates for governor and lieutenant governor are willing to pay $8,500 to cover the cost of a recount aimed at ensuring their names appear on the Nov. 6 ballot. The two candidates ran a write-in campaign to win the Libertarian nomination. Under state law, they had to receive at least 230 votes in the primary election to advance to the general election, but they fell about 50 votes short. Now, the Libertarians are asking the State Canvassing Board to authorize a hand tally in at least eight counties and they’ve provided an $8,500 check to cover the cost. They will get the money back if the recount shows that they had enough votes to qualify for the Nov. 6 ballot.

Pennsylvania: Independent commission will probe Pennsylvania voting system | WHYY

Cybersecurity specialists at the University of Pittsburgh have formed an independent panel to study ways to protect Pennsylvania’s voting system from hackers. The Blue Ribbon Commission on Pennsylvania’s Election Security includes experts, reform advocates, and present and former government officials. It met for the first time June 26. David Hickton, a former U.S. attorney and founding director of the Institute for Cyber Law, Policy and Security, co-chairs the panel. In an interview, he said the commission plans to examine the state’s election machinery, its voter rolls, and the system’s resiliency in the event of an attack. Hickton said the Department of Homeland Security has confirmed the state’s voter rolls were compromised by hackers in 2016.

Tennessee: Election site is not allowing naturalized citizens to register to vote | Daily Dot

On Friday, a 30-year-old culinary student and Nigerian immigrant in Nashville, Tennessee, attempted to update her voter registration information so that she could vote in the state’s upcoming primaries. The woman, Funmilayo Ekundayo, had voted in two previous elections, so updating her registration should have been routine. But after getting through the second step of Tennessee’s multistep online voter registration system, which rolled out in 2017, Ekundayo was told by the website that records showed she was “not a citizen of the United States.” It was just days before Tennessee’s July 3 deadline to vote in the August primaries.

U.S. Territories: Territories’ voting rights an ‘uphill battle’ | Guam Daily Post

Chief Judge Gustavo Gelpí of the District Court of Puerto Rico spoke with Guam attorneys and law students at the Guam Museum on Monday morning, discussing the nebulous relationship between United States territories and the Constitution, just days before the nation celebrates its 242nd birthday. While Gelpí covered a number of constitutional questions, he repeated several times that territories remain in a “constitutionally scary” situation, in which the territories remain at the mercy of Congress. “What Congress giveth, Congress can taketh away,” he said.

Europe: European Parliament backs (modest) electoral reform changes | Politico

Members of the European Parliament on Wednesday backed changes to the rules governing European elections — but the reforms were a long way from the ambitious plans that many lawmakers had hoped for. At the end of more than two years of tricky negotiations with EU member countries, MEPs voted by 397 votes to 207 in favor of the changes, with 62 abstentions. Some of the proposals will be in place in time for next year’s election. They agreed to allow internet voting, allow EU citizens to vote from non-EU countries, and put in place tough penalties for those who vote in more than one country. They also agreed to put names and logos of EU political parties next to national ones on the ballot paper, but only on a voluntary basis. There was also success for Germany and Spain which, unlike most other EU countries, don’t have mandatory thresholds of votes in EU elections but will now be able to introduce a limit of between 2 and 2.5 percent. Berlin had lobbied hard for electoral thresholds despite a 2014 German court ruling which declared them unconstitutional.

Australia: Typeform Breach Update: TEC, ARM, And UK’s LibDems Also Affected | Hacking News

The Typeform data breach that shook the internet world last week now appears much more shocking and far-reaching then initially speculated. At that time, Typeform did not clearly mention the affected customers. Rather it summed up by saying that it is notifying the affected customers directly. However, the recent reports and repeated confessions about data breach from a number of organizations give us a hint of the Typeform’s victimized clientele. In this Typeform breach update, we report the data breaches faced by various political parties. One of the initial entities that confirmed data breach right after the news about Typeform breach surfaced online, is the Tasmanian Electoral Commission (TEC). After receiving the notification from Typeform, they quickly published a media release about the incident. 

Iraq: Manual recount of votes from disputed election begins | Reuters

Iraqi authorities began recounting votes on Tuesday from May’s disputed parliamentary election, officials said, a step toward forming a new government after weeks of delays. Counting started in the ethnically mixed northern oil-producing province of Kirkuk, the election commission said, and at least six other provinces were expected to follow suit in coming days. Parliament ordered a full recount last month after a government report concluded there were widespread violations. As a result, political blocs began heated talks about the formation of the next government.

Mali: Election officials end strike, easing fears for July 29 poll | Reuters

Election organizers in Mali have ended a two-week strike over working conditions, a union said on Wednesday, lifting a threat to a looming vote. Malians are due to vote on July 29 in a presidential election that many hope will chart a way out of six years of political unrest and jihadist violence. But attacks by militants had cast doubt on the government’s ability to hold the poll on time even before the strike, which disrupted the distribution of voting cards. Last week, militants raided the headquarters of a regional military base in central Mali, leaving at least six people dead. Four civilians were also killed on Sunday by a car bomb that targeted French troops in the north.

Mexico: Puebla suffers rash of ballot burglaries, one dead | The Mast

Only hours before the polls closed in Mexico’s highly contentious general elections, the city of Puebla suffered a rash of ballot robberies at polling stations, leaving one person killed and voters unable to make their selection for president, the state governor, and congressional representatives. The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) confirmed that one of their local chairpeople in the state of Puebla, Fernando Herrera Silva, was also assassinated on Sunday. In a statement, the PRI said, “We demand the state and judicial authorities to clarify this attack, which also recorded three other people injured. This process is marred again by acts of violence and it is the duty of the state government to guarantee the safety of citizens, in the free exercise of their rights.”

Taiwan: DPP website hacked by Chinese hackers | Taiwan News

The Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) official website was attacked by Chinese hackers early Tuesday morning, and the website was replaced with pictures and words reading “Chinese netizens are supporting Tsai Ing-wen to run for re-election” in simplified Chinese characters.  DPP spokesperson Kolas Yotaka said on Tuesday noon that the cyber attack took place between 1:30 a.m. and 2 a.m. July 3, and the party will heighten its cybersecurity after the hack.  A screenshot image showed that the title of the website was changed into a long sentence, which read “We don’t touch your confidential information, it’s not worth it; our next target will be the Kuomintang.”

Zimbabwe: Opposition says ‘no election’ without ballot paper deal | Reuters

Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa made a veiled threat on Wednesday to boycott elections on July 30 if there is no agreement between the independent election agency and political parties on ballot papers. Chamisa and his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are the main rivals to President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the first presidential and parliamentary vote since Robert Mugabe resigned last November following an army coup. The MDC is wary of any attempt to put it at a disadvantage to Mnangagwa and the ruling ZANU-PF party, insisting there be a deal on how to design, print and store ballot papers.

International: Coalition of former Transatlantic leaders offer chilling election security warning | Washington Times

With more than 20 major elections scheduled in the next two years, governments on both sides of the Atlantic are still not prepared to fend off outside attacks to meddle in campaigns and election counts, an international bipartisan group of political, technology, business and media leaders warned Monday. “Governments are scrambling to prepare for the last disinformation campaign, rather than the next,” the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity said in a statement after a meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark. “In the coming years, the proliferation of technology will make it easy for everyone to sow the seeds of confusion and distrust,” the group said. The commission formed in May in the wake of reports that Russia had meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and worked with favored parties in votes across Europe in recent years. U.S. election officials have said they expect Russia to try to interfere in the November midterm and 2020 presidential elections as well.

National: Russia probe likely got access to NRA’s secret donors | McClatchy

For months, the National Rifle Association has had a stock answer to queries about an investigation into whether Russian money was funneled to the gun rights group to aid Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. The NRA, which spent $30 million-plus backing Trump’s bid, has heard nothing from the FBI or any other law enforcement agency, spokesman Andrew Arulanandam reiterated in an email the other day. Legal experts, though, say there’s an easy explanation for that. They say it would be routine for Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators, who are looking at the NRA’s funding as part of a broader inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections, to secretly gain access to the NRA’s tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service.

California: The November election just got a lot less confusing for California voters | Los Angeles Times

Californians won’t vote on the nation’s toughest privacy protections after all — because the Legislature did its job and handled the matter. That’s one less confusing ballot proposition and hundreds fewer annoying TV ads that voters will be pestered with in November. Same with a complex local tax measure. The soft drink industry was scared of local governments slapping taxes on sugary soda. So soda makers qualified a ballot initiative making it harder to increase local taxes period. But they withdrew the measure last week after the Legislature passed a bill to ban new soda taxes for 12 years. There also won’t be a squirrely ballot measure sponsored by paint manufacturers asking taxpayers to subsidize their lead paint cleanup. Outraged legislators responded to the initiative by introducing bills to penalize the companies. In the end, everyone holstered their weapons and agreed to negotiate.

Florida: Elections supervisors urged to take federal help on security | Tampa Bay Times

Florida election supervisors should take advantage of help from the Department of Homeland Security to make systems more secure, Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson wrote in a letter Monday. “County election boards should not be expected to stand alone against a hostile foreign government,” the lawmakers said in recommending “a wide range of services” from DHS to strengthen security. “We encourage you in the strongest terms to take advantage of those resources, and to let us know about your experience with DHS and FBI.”

Georgia: Election officials admit misplacing voters in Georgia House race | Atlanta Journal Constitution

Something went very wrong when dozens, maybe even hundreds, of voters received the wrong ballots in a tight primary election in North Georgia. They lived in one state House district but voted in another. Now, the election that seemed to unseat an incumbent representative might be thrown out. State Rep. Dan Gasaway, who lost the May 22 primary by just 67 votes to Chris Erwin, is asking a judge to order a new election. Election officials in Habersham County have acknowledged the errors, sending letters to voters saying “your address was found to have been placed in the wrong House district.”