New Hampshire: Senate approves second voter residency bill of session; Sununu support uncertain | Concord Monitor

The New Hampshire Senate approved the second bill of the session intended to equate voting in the state with residency, acting on party-lines despite lingering uncertainty over the governor’s support. House Bill 1264, which passed, 14-10, is near-exact replica of an earlier bill, House Bill 372, dealing with the definition of residency. Both bills would merge the meaning of the words “domiciled” person and “resident” for the purposes of election law, effectively turning those who vote into de facto residents. Republican supporters have said that the bills would bring New Hampshire in line with all other states, which require residency in order to vote. Democrats have fiercely opposed the move, saying it would target college students who for years have been regarded “domiciled” in New Hampshire and allowed to vote here, but are not fully residents. Merging the definitions could require college students and other temporary workers to register their vehicles in the state after voting, a change critics have labeled a “poll tax.”

Tennessee: Knox County officials investigating election night cyberattack | USA Today

Officials are investigating a cyberattack that crashed the website displaying Knox County election results Tuesday night. Additionally, Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett on Wednesday said he has called for a cyber-security contractor to look into the server crash that shut down the county’s website just as polls closed on election night, according to a news release. … Sword & Shield Enterprise Security, a Knox County-based IT security firm, will conduct a root-cause analysis to determine the exact nature of the County server’s shut down, beginning today, the release said. IT Director Richard “Dick” Moran wrote that a preliminary review “noted that extremely heavy and abnormal network traffic was originating from numerous IP addresses associated with numerous geographic locations, both internal and external to this country. Based on my experience, this was highly suggestive of a (denial of service) attack.

Armenia: Further Unrest Risked After Protest Leader Is Rejected as Prime Minister | Bloomberg

Armenian opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan failed in his attempt to become prime minister after the ruling Republican party refused to back his candidacy despite massive street demonstrations backing him. Pashinyan, who’s termed the protest movement a “velvet revolution,” gained 45 votes, eight short of the majority he needed to become premier in place of Armenia’s longtime ruler, Serzh Sargysan, who resigned last week as tens of thousands joined opposition demonstrations. The result means parliament will vote again in a week. A repeat of the result would trigger early elections. In the meantime, further civil unrest is likely.

Editorials: Democracy Is Held Back in Armenia | Viken Berberian/The New York Times

On Tuesday, electoral arithmetic defeated democratic sentiment in Armenia after the Republican Party of Armenia, the majority party, used its numerical strength to back a discredited government and block the election of the opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan as the new prime minister. A chorus of defiant honks expressing the collective angst filled the streets of Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, as the disappointing result became public. Tens of thousands of people had been singing and chanting at the Republic Square near Parliament throughout the day in support of Mr. Pashinyan’s election. Mr. Pashinyan, a former crusading journalist and opposition leader, had led the massive protests against the government in April, which culminated in the resignation of the former president and prime minister, Serzh Sargsyan.

Ireland: Why has the Government done nothing to facilitate emigrant voting? | The Irish Times

Tens of thousands of recent Irish emigrants could potentially legally vote during the referendum on the Eighth Amendment on Friday, May 25th. But, in an ironic turn of events, our voting system will only accommodate those with the means to travel. As founders of the We’re Coming Back and Get the Boat to Vote campaigns, we were both involved in organising the #Hometovote movement for the Marriage Equality referendum in 2015. Despite the public outpouring of support, and the welcome back for those who “voted with their feet” as Enda Kenny put it, absolutely nothing has been done since to facilitate an emigrant vote. Why? Under our electoral laws, Irish emigrants may fully retain their voting rights at home for a period of 18 months after leaving. Although the vast majority of citizens overseas have been out of the country for longer than a year and a half, those who have recently left – most of them too young to have voted in the 1983 referendum that brought in the Eighth Amendment, or even been alive to see it enacted – may yet have their say on May 25th.

Pakistan: Could Facebook Data Leaks Impact Pakistan’s Elections? | The Diplomat

The surfacing in March of Cambridge Analytica’s social media breaches, with a whistleblower claiming that that over 50 million Facebook profiles were used to manipulate polls including the 2016 U.S. elections, meant that similar concerns have shrouded upcoming elections elsewhere this year. Among these are the general elections in Pakistan, scheduled to be held this summer. On April 6, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced two steps that would be introduced to address these apprehensions. “From now on, every advertiser who wants to run political or issue ads will need to be verified. To get verified, advertisers will need to confirm their identity and location,” he wrote on Facebook. “Second, we will also require people who manage large pages to be verified as well. This will make it much harder for people to run pages using fake accounts, or to grow virally and spread misinformation or divisive content that way.”

Turkey: Opposition parties unite against Erdoğan in elections | The Guardian

Turkey’s main opposition parties are expected to announce a broad electoral alliance before general elections in June, a step that could pose a significant challenge to the dominance of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling party. The deal, which will include the country’s largest secular and nationalist opposition blocs, is likely to dilute the Justice and Development party’s (AKP) control of the legislature and overcome the regulation that any party must receive 10% of the national vote to win a seat in parliament, a rule that has reinforced Erdoğan’s long-running majority. The coalition is expected to be formally announced on Thursday and will include the Republican People’s party (CHP), the İyi (Good) party, the Islamist Saadet party (SP) and the Democrat party (DP). The secularist CHP is the largest opposition grouping in parliament, and the newly formed İyi is composed primarily of nationalists. The İyi leader, Meral Akşener, has declared herself a presidential candidate.

National: Mueller Has Dozens of Inquiries for Trump in Broad Quest on Russia Ties and Obstruction | The New York Times

Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russia’s election interference, has at least four dozen questions on an exhaustive array of subjects he wants to ask President Trump to learn more about his ties to Russia and determine whether he obstructed the inquiry itself, according to a list of the questions obtained by The New York Times. The open-ended queries appear to be an attempt to penetrate the president’s thinking, to get at the motivation behind some of his most combative Twitter posts and to examine his relationships with his family and his closest advisers. They deal chiefly with the president’s high-profile firings of the F.B.I. director and his first national security adviser, his treatment of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and a 2016 Trump Tower meeting between campaign officials and Russians offering dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Editorials: What’s the longest war in American history? Fighting for the right to vote | Anga L. Sanders/The Hill

“No, Gertrude, you can’t go. I might not make it back, and somebody has to stay here and raise these girls.” With those words, my grandfather, farmer James DeWitt Rhoden, left his wife and two daughters in the late 1930s and set off for downtown Quitman, Texas to vote. He knew that his mission could end his life. As he mounted the tall steps of the Wood County courthouse, a crowd of hostile white men closed in behind him. “DeWitt! Where do you think you’re going?” He never turned around. Perhaps because they knew he wouldn’t go down alone, my grandfather was allowed to cast his vote and return home to his family. Decades later, my mother (his daughter) related this story to me. History may record that the longest war in the history of the United States was neither the Vietnam War nor the war in Afghanistan, but the ongoing war against disenfranchisement, which is the denial of the right to vote. History has also shown us that lynching and other forms of vigilantism were leveled at blacks who attempted to vote.

Florida: Path to restore felon voting rights hits roadblock | WFLA

There were some fast-moving developments this past week in the ongoing debate over restoring felon voting rights in the state of Florida. This week was supposed to be the deadline for Governor Rick Scott and the State’s Clemency Board to craft a new plan for restoring voting rights for felons after a Federal judge in Tallahassee ruled in February that the state’s current framework is unconstitutional. After calling a last-minute emergency meeting for Wednesday night, just hours before the plan was supposed to be presented to Judge Mark Walker – the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals stepped in — putting everything — including the voting rights of more than 1.6  million potential voters — on hold.

Illinois: Aurora Election Commission could end by mid-May | Aurora Beacon-News

The Aurora Election Commission could cease existence by as early as the middle of May. A planned appearance on May 15 by all parties involved before 16th Circuit Court Judge David Akemann could result in Akemann entering an order confirming the results of the March primary referendum in which Aurorans voted to eliminate the commission. If he enters that order, the Election Commission would have 24 hours to dissolve. As it is, Election Commission representatives have been working with people from the Kane County Clerk’s Office and the city of Aurora to take care of things before the commission ceases operations. All parties involved met before Akemann last week for a status update.

Kansas: Kobach can use state money to pay contempt costs | The Kansas City Star

Kansas lawmakers have abandoned an effort to force Secretary of State Kris Kobach to pay out of his own pocket the costs of being held in contempt of court. The decision ended a looming showdown between Kobach and the Legislature over who is on the hook financially. Kobach was dressed down by a federal judge during a civil trial over voter rights and ordered to pay attorney fees for the plaintiffs in the case. The Legislature’s decision to drop the effort means Kobach will be able to use state money to pay any fines stemming from being found in contempt. During negotiations over the state budget, lawmakers on Tuesday removed a prohibition on using state money to pay for contempt fines or defend himself against contempt. The House had approved the rule last week. Lawmakers negotiating a final deal on the budget removed the prohibition after a letter from Kobach’s office to top Republicans contending the ban would be illegal became public.

Louisiana: Secretary of State quits amid sexual misconduct claim | Associated Press

With calls for his resignation increasing, Louisiana’s secretary of state announced Tuesday that he is leaving his position as state elections chief amid allegations he sexually harassed one of his employees. Secretary of State Tom Schedler said in a letter to the governor that he will be stepping down May 8, becoming the highest-level public official in Louisiana to be felled by sexual misconduct accusations since the #MeToo movement began unseating people in positions of power in Hollywood, the media and government. “I leave office with a heavy heart knowing I have disappointed the people in my life who care for me the most,” Schedler wrote. “But I also have experienced from them the miraculous power of forgiveness and grace during the twilight of my career, and for that I am grateful.”

North Carolina: Judge: Libel case over double-voting accusations to continue | News & Observer

Four North Carolina voters can pursue their libel lawsuit against allies of former Gov. Pat McCrory and a Virginia law firm that tried to help the Republican politician’s unsuccessful effort to disqualify votes and win re-election in 2016, attorneys learned Tuesday. Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour notified attorneys he’s decided to allow the four plaintiffs to continue their claims against the Pat McCrory Committee Legal Defense Fund, the Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky law firm and four of the Warrenton, Virginia-based firm’s attorneys. The McCrory allies helped mount a last-ditch effort to sway a close election for governor by accusing voters in 52 counties of double voting and other misdeeds. The voters from Guilford and Brunswick counties sued after being falsely accused of felony voting crimes like casting ballots in multiple states.

North Dakota: Federal judge won’t delay voter ID ruling | Associated Press

A federal judge won’t delay part of a ruling that found problems with how North Dakota’s voter identification laws affect Native Americans, despite the state saying it could lead to voter fraud. U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland in his order Monday chided the state for raising a “litany of embellished concerns” about people taking advantage of his ruling last month that expand the proof of identity Native Americans can use for North Dakota elections. Hovland last month eliminated a requirement that documents used by Native American include residential street addresses. Those sometimes aren’t assigned on American Indian reservations. North Dakota officials called that part of the ruling unworkable, and claimed someone with only a post office box could still vote where they don’t live. “The reality is (the state) has failed to demonstrate any evidence of voter fraud in the past or present,” Hovland wrote in his order Monday, denying a delay.

Tennessee: Cyberattack crashes Knox County election website | Knox News

The Knox County website that displays election results crashed on election night due to “deliberate” and “widespread” cyberattack, officials said. Officials described the cyberattack as a distributed denial-of-service attack, which is an attempt to disable an online service by overloading it with computer traffic that comes — or appears to come — from many sources. The cyberattack had no effect on vote tallies. It only prevented officials from displaying election results to the public through the Knox County Election Commission’s website, according to Richard Moran, the IT director for the county.

Washington: Secretary of state urges King County to postpone prepaid-postage plan for mail-in ballots | The Seattle Times

Secretary of State Kim Wyman said she will ask Gov. Jay Inslee for emergency funding to help the state’s counties pay for postage for voters in this year’s primary and general election if King County moves forward with a similar plan. However, Wyman urged the King County Metropolitan Council on Monday not to fund prepaid postage for mail-in ballots this election cycle, becoming the first of the state’s 39 counties to do so. She told the council she supports the idea but believes for reasons of equity it should happen statewide, all at the same time.

Canada: Liberal elections bill looks to make voting easier, tighten rules on privacy, spending | National Post

The federal Liberal government wants to make it easier for Canadians to cast a ballot, while making it harder for political parties — or foreign entities — to violate their privacy or persuade them who to vote for using falsehoods or vast sums of money. Treasury Board President Scott Brison introduced a bill Monday meant to address several promises Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made on the campaign trail, including by tackling how much political parties and third-party advocacy groups can spend before and during election campaigns. It is also meant to buttress the Canadian electoral system against new threats to democracy by reining in the proliferation of so-called fake news and barring any organizations, including social media sites, from knowingly selling election advertising bought with foreign funds.

Canada: Federal act would make hacking to interfere with elections a crime | IT World Canada News

Ottawa will make it clear that hacking into a computer during a federal election period is a criminal offence, foreign states will be forbidden from buying advertising during a federal election period and federal political parties will have to create a policy for protecting personal information in their databases if proposed changes to the Elections Act are approved. These are part of a broad piece of legislation updating the laws overseeing federal elections introduced Monday by the Liberals. They hope to have it passed in time for the scheduled October 2019 vote. The proposals in Bill C-76, called the Election Modernization Act, come amidst a U.S. indictment alleging Russia attempted to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election, and a NATO researcher who says Canada should assume Russia will attempt to interfere in the 2019 federal election. In 2017 the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), Canada’s electronic spy agency which is also responsible for securing government networks, warned in a report that it is “highly probable” cyber activity against democratic processes in other countries will be seen here. 

India: Cyber experts say ‘playground open’ for influencing elections | ET CIO

With the Karnataka Assembly elections round the corner, the cyber experts have said that it is quite possible to influence elections in India. Talking to ANI, cyber expert Sunil Abraham did not rule out the possibility of influencing the voters as India does not have data protection law in place. He said under the provisions provided by 43 (A) of Indian IT Act, two types of data collection are completely legal: first, the data shared by the user in the public domain and secondly, the data published by the social platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, which was shared by the user for his/her friends. “Both these types of data are not considered sensitive personal data. Under Indian law, if they are collecting your biometrics, passwords and health information only then they need your consent,” Abraham told in an exclusive interview.

Malaysia: Election Will Test the Country’s Stability | The Diplomat

Malaysians will go to the polls on May 9 in the country’s 14th general election. This is the most hotly contested election in Malaysia’s history, pitting the scandal ridden incumbent Prime Minister Najib Razak against a coalition led by former political enemies: former prime minister Mahathir Mohammed, who is 92 years old, and his former deputy prime minister, Anwar Ibrahim, whom Mahathir had imprisoned. Anwar is once again in prison, on more trumped up charges, and is unable to contest the election, instead endorsing his former boss, who quit the ruling UMNO party that he led for 22 years in what he claims to be disgust over Najib’s corruption. Mahathir has since apologized for sacking Anwar, but make no mistake: this election is about strange bedfellows.

Malawi: New Biometric Voter Registration Pushed, Despite Doubts | VoA News

Malawi has always relied on paper registration for voters, but electoral authorities say that hasn’t worked so well. “We used to have a lot of problems in the past” with the passports and driver’s licenses used for registration “because photographs may fall off” or names may get misspelled, said Yahya Mmadi, a member of the Malawi Electoral Commission. But the southeast African country’s recently unveiled biometric system, being put in place before the 2019 general elections, “will be 100 percent correct,” he said. It relies on unique markers such as fingerprints.

Mexico: Bots and Trolls Elbow Into Mexico’s Crowded Electoral Field | The New York Times

The message that circulated on social media earlier this year — most Mexicans would have to re-register within days if they wanted to vote in the presidential election — set off a low-level panic on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms. The thing is, it wasn’t true. The source remains unclear. But whether the message was a dirty trickster’s attempt to undermine the system or just an ill-informed public service effort, the anger and uncertainty it generated represented an early skirmish in the battle over disinformation in this year’s fiercely contested election season. “What candidates do on social media will be decisive,” said Carlos Merlo, managing partner of Victory Lab, a marketing firm dedicated to spreading viral claims, saying they must respond quicker than ever to combat disinformation.

National: Leaked questions reveal what Mueller wants to ask Trump about Russia | The Guardian

Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the US election, wants to ask Donald Trump about contact between his former election campaign manager Paul Manafort and Russia, the New York Times reported on Monday. The paper said it had obtained a list of nearly 50 questions that Mueller, investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, wants to put to the US president. More than half relate to potential obstruction of justice. “What knowledge did you have of any outreach by your campaign, including by Paul Manafort, to Russia about potential assistance to the campaign?” is one of the more dramatic questions published by the Times.

National: Trump-allied House conservatives draft articles of impeachment against Rosenstein as ‘last resort’ | The Washington Post

Conservative House allies of President Trump have drafted articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who oversees the ongoing special counsel probe, setting up a possible GOP showdown over the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The document, which was obtained by The Washington Post, underscores the growing chasm between congressional Republican leaders, who have maintained for months that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III should be allowed to proceed, and rank-and-file GOP lawmakers who have repeatedly battled the Justice Department during the past year. The draft articles, which one of its authors called a “last resort,” would be unlikely to garner significant support in Congress. But the document could serve as a provocative political weapon for conservatives in their standoff with Mueller and the Justice Department.

Editorials: Truth Has Stopped Mattering in the Russia Investigation | Michelle Goldberg/The New York Times

On Friday, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released a report based on their cursory investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Full of shoddy rationalizations and evasions, it purported to show that America’s intelligence community failed to use “proper analytic tradecraft” in concluding that Russia wanted to help elect Donald Trump, and that there is no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. Its real message was that, for Republicans in Congress determined to protect this president, evidence is irrelevant. Consider just one bit of spin about the Trump campaign’s clandestine Russia connections. During the presidential transition, Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Michael Flynn, who had been named national security adviser, tried to set up a back channel to the Kremlin through the Russian Embassy, in an apparent attempt to evade American intelligence monitoring. The majority report treats this, amazingly, as exculpatory: “Possible Russian efforts to set up a ‘back channel’ with Trump associates after the election suggest the absence of collusion during the campaign, since the communication associated with collusion would have rendered such a ‘back channel’ unnecessary.”

Florida: Group asks appeals court to hear case to purge Broward voter rolls | Sun Sentinel

A federal court case isn’t over yet against Broward Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes. It claims she isn’t moving quickly enough to remove ineligible voters from the county’s roles. The American Civil Rights Union filed notice Sunday that it is appealing U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom’s March decision that found Snipes’ office was following the state’s requirements. The notice went to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. The ACRU and other conservative organizations have accused elections offices across the nation of not doing a good enough job purging their rolls of ineligible voters — including people who had died, moved, committed felonies or were not U.S. citizens. And they say that could encourage vote fraud.

Illinois: Officials outline ‘Automatic’ voter registration | Shelbyville Daily Union

The State Board of Elections recently held a public hearing at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston to give the public a chance to learn more about the upcoming implementation of Illinois’ automatic voter registration, set to begin in July. But in many ways, voters won’t be “automatically” registered to vote unless they seek a new federally compliant ID starting next January. The new system will phase in starting July 1. At that time, anyone who goes to their local Department of Motor Vehicles, whether to change a title or get a new driver’s license, will be able to opt in to register to vote or update their voting information electronically.

Kansas: Kobach’s office: Stopping him from paying contempt fine with state money ‘illegal’ | The Kansas City Star

Kris Kobach’s office says a House effort to stop him from using state money to pay fines for being found in contempt of court is illegal. A top lawyer in the secretary of state’s office condemned the Republican-controlled House’s decision to put the prohibition in its most recent budget. In a letter to legislative leaders obtained by McClatchy, senior counsel Sue Becker raised potential problems with the budget requirement. “(The) proviso is illegal and would require the State to expend significant resources in any futile attempt to defend it,” the letter says.

New Hampshire: No plan to enforce residency requirement for voting, even if it passes Legislature | Union Leader

As the state draws closer to enacting a residency requirement for voting, one question remains unanswered: How would the obligation to obtain a New Hampshire driver’s license and vehicle registration after voting be enforced? No one seems to know. The Secretary of State’s office says “check with the Division of Motor Vehicles,” while the DMV says, not our problem. More precisely, here’s what David Scanlan, the deputy secretary of state for elections, had to say when asked how the state would verify that non-residents followed the law after declaring themselves as New Hampshire residents for the purpose of voting.