Indiana: Judge orders early satellite voting precincts for Marion County | The Indiana Lawyer

A federal judge Wednesday ordered Marion County to establish at least two early satellite voting precincts in time for the November general election, though the court refrained from requiring them in time for the May 8 primary election. Senior Judge Sarah Evans Barker issued an injunction in a suit brought by Common Cause and the NAACP. The suit filed in 2017 alleged that the county election board’s decision in recent years to permit early voting in just one location countywide provided unequal access to the ballot and violated voting rights in Indianapolis, particularly for minority voters.

New Hampshire: Senate election law committee greenlights domicile voting bill along party lines | Concord Monitor

One of two controversial bills to change the definition of “domicile” for voting purposes cleared a Senate committee Tuesday, heading to the Senate floor next for a make-or-break vote. In a 3-2, party-line vote, members of the Senate election law committee voted to recommend the bill, House Bill 1264, be passed by the full chamber. The bill would merge the definitions of “domiciled” people and “residents” for the purpose of voting, which supporters say will clear up confusion and bring New Hampshire’s process in line with other states. Democrats and other critics, meanwhile, say that combining the definitions will require those who vote to be residents, subjecting college students and other temporary residents to car registration fees and driver’s license requirements. Currently, voters are required only to be “domiciled,” meaning they spend a majority of their time in the state; adding residency could create a de facto poll tax in registration fees, critics allege.

Ohio: To Get On Ohio Ballots, Redistricting Reform Needed ‘A Minor Miracle’ | WOSU

Voters on May 8 have a chance to change the way Ohio draws Congressional maps. Issue 1 would require more bipartisanship in a line-drawing process that currently has few rules. It’s not the first time a redistricting proposal has gone to the ballot. But Issue 1 has brought together Republicans, Democrats and several groups advocating for reform. It takes a majority of the legislature to pass a map, and that means the party in power has a lot of say over how it looks. For decades, there have been attempts to shake up this process. “Millions of dollars were spent on both sides, countless redistricting reformers were engaged in those efforts, and we came to naught,” said Catherine Turcer, the director of Common Cause Ohio, one of the groups supporting Issue 1.

Oklahoma: Bill allowing ‘ballot selfies’ vetoed by Oklahoma governor | StateScoop

Oklahoma will not be the latest state to allow voters to take selfies with their ballots, after Gov. Mary Fallin vetoed a bill this week that would’ve legalized the seemingly innocuous, but controversial practice. Fallin, a Republican, declined to sign a bill that would’ve allowed Oklahomans to take photos of their marked ballots, from either an absentee form or a voting booth, and share the images on social media. So-called “ballot selfies” have become increasingly popular over the past several election cycles, but ballot-security experts and elections officials in some states have become increasingly wary of the images’ potential to be abused.

Editorials: Judge deserved more than probation after trying to rig election | Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Former Justice of the Peace Russ Casey walked out of a Tarrant County courthouse this week with a gift: He got a five-year, probated sentence after consciously trying to manipulate the electoral process. Casey’s plea deal looks even sweeter when compared to two other election fraud cases recently prosecuted by the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office. In those two cases confused — or at the very least misguided — women got prison sentences for voting violations. Forcing Casey to surrender his office — and his $126,000 salary — may be seen as a just penalty. It’s not enough. This Editorial Board thinks prosecutors and the public need to ask themselves if the scales of justice are out of balance. It offends our sense of fair play to see this kind of inequality. In the one case where an election was in real jeopardy, the guilty guy skates.

Wisconsin: Cyber security expert proposes analog solution to election hacking | Lacrosse Tribune

A New York attorney and cyber security expert says it may be time for American elections to be tallied with hand-counted ballots. Alexander Urbelis, a computer hacker-turned-lawyer, says vulnerabilities in voting technologies, combined with the weaponization of personal data and rampant disinformation campaigns that underpinned the 2016 presidential election, have created “a really dangerous situation” for democracy. “We live in a state of disbelief,” Urbelis said. “Facts aren’t facts, and nothing is verifiable.” Meanwhile, Urbelis said vote tabulation equipment — such as the optical scanners widely used in Wisconsin — could be vulnerable to hacking at a local level or within the supply chain.

Armenia: Acting leader suggests election as protests roll on | Reuters

Armenia’s acting prime minister on Wednesday suggested calling a parliamentary election as tens of thousands staged a new protest in the capital against the ruling elite. Two weeks of demonstrations looked to have peaked on Monday when Serzh Sarksyan quit as prime minister. But the protesters have made clear they consider the whole government tainted by his drive to shift power to the premier from the president. “The fight is not over!” said 21-year-old Susana Adamyan, clutching a placard calling on others to take a stand.

Denmark: After election vote Greenland eyes independence from Denmark | CNBC

Greenland’s 40,000 eligible voters delivered a bittersweet election victory for Prime Minister Kim Kielsen’s social-democratic Siumut party Tuesday, as it lost ground to centrist rivals. With only one international airport and no roads connecting the territory’s 17 towns, dog sleds were used to carry ballots to polling stations across the vast island. According to Greenland’s government, some fishermen travelled 93 miles to deliver ballot papers to a remote town. As Kielsen began coalition talks with left-wing parties Wednesday, Greenland’s politicians must tackle more problematic questions about the future of the sparsely populated Arctic nation.

Iraq: In power for 15 years, Iraq’s Shi’ites split ahead of crucial vote | Reuters

United in their fight against Saddam Hussein’s oppression for decades, Iraq’s Shi’ites have become deeply fragmented and disillusioned with their leaders after 15 years in power. In Iraq’s Shi’ite heartlands, many who once voted blindly along sectarian lines are now turning their ire against the Shi’ite-led governments they say have failed to repair crumbling infrastructure, provide jobs or end the violence. The divisions within the community now risk splitting the Shi’ite vote in a May 12 election, which could complicate and delay the formation of a government, threaten gains against Islamic State and let Iran meddle further in Iraq’s politics.

Lebanon: Lebanon prepares for first parliamentary elections since 2009 | Jerusalem Post

It has been nearly a decade since Lebanese citizens last had the opportunity to go to the polls, with the current parliament having on three separate occasions unilaterally renewed its mandate for reasons ranging from security risks caused by the war in neighboring Syria to the inability to agree on electoral reform. But following an agreement last summer to replace a plurality voting system with proportional representation, elections finally will be held on May 6. The new law also reduced the number of electoral constituencies (which may comprise more than one district) to fifteen, with seats allocated in each according to the size of the region’s population. Furthermore, parliamentary mandates within each constituency are reserved for various sects, including Sunnis, Shiites, Druze, Catholics, Protestants, Greek Orthodox, etc.…

Malaysia: Politicians take election battle to cyberspace | Nikkei Asian Review

With only two weeks left before elections, Malaysia’s political parties are ratcheting up their battle on social media, even before the start of official campaigning on Saturday. At stake are young and newly registered voters, as well as a substantial number of people still undecided. Voters under 40 years old account for 41% of the 15 million eligible voters. The country’s high smartphone penetration rate of 76% lets politicians target groups with help from analytics services provided by social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Official data shows that 97% of social media users are on Facebook, making Malaysia one of the most socially engaged countries in the world. “It is now time to attack,” said Prime Minister Najib Razak in a blog last April, referring to pro-ruling party social media activities. 

National: Open letter urges states to spend election security funds wisely | Cyberscoop

Download the letter )pdf)

As states start receiving their slice of a new federal fund to enhance the administration of elections, an ensemble of election security advocates is calling on the officials to spend that money on things like replacing paperless machines and improving network security. Signatories of an open letter to election officials in all 50 states include subject matter experts from think tanks and universities, former state election officials and former federal government officials. State and local election officials have been deliberating over how to make the best use of a $380 million election improvement fund that Congress included in an omnibus spending bill last month.

National: Experts: Switch Off Wi-Fi and Ditch Paperless Voting Machines | Infosecurity Magazine

A bipartisan group of former state election specialists, intelligence officials and voting experts have urged local state officials to ditch paperless voting machines as part of a $380m security overhaul. The funds were released by Congress to help states upgrade their election systems in the wake of Russian cyber-attacks ahead of the 2016 presidential election. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) claimed last year that a total of 21 state systems were targeted by Kremlin hackers ahead of the election. Although actual compromises were confined to a small number of states, there are fears that the hackers will use the intelligence they gained to potentially cause greater disruption next time around.

National: Senate panel to examine Trump officials’ election security efforts | The Hill

The Senate Homeland Security Committee will meet Tuesday to examine the federal government’s cyber mission, focusing in part on work to secure election systems from cyberattacks, according to opening remarks from Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). Lawmakers will have the opportunity to question a top cyber official at the Department of Homeland Security who is leading efforts to provide cyber vulnerability scans of election systems and other services to states that request them. “The midterm elections are fast approaching, and I am glad to see the Administration and DHS working diligently to engage with the states, election agencies, and election service providers,” Johnson will say, according to a copy of his planned remarks obtained by The Hill.

Editorials: Cybersecurity woes in U.S. midterm elections | Mary Scott Nabers/Born2Invest

The voting environment in America has been forever changed. That’s because the significant vulnerability of the country’s election systems and the fear of election “interference” by foreign or domestic operatives are genuine. With midterm elections only seven months away, this situation weighs heavily on the minds of both candidates and public officials responsible for ensuring secure and accurate election results. While hacking of American voting systems is a relatively new challenge, technical problems caused by the advanced age of most voting machines are not new. Technology in recent years set the bar for improved voting efficiency by replacing paper ballot systems with electronic voting machines. But the new technology, which does not leave a paper trail, tends to fall short when it comes to security, accuracy and attacks by hackers. Too many voting machines currently in use have not been replaced or updated in more than a decade, and a high percentage have exceeded their life expectancy.

Arizona: GOP House Speaker J.D. Mesnard cuts weekend voting proposal | The Arizona Republic

A bill to modernize elections that had broad support from both parties ran into a partisan buzz saw last week when the Republican House leader stripped key items such as weekend voting. The legislation would have allowed Arizona counties with the proper technology to keep early voting centers open from Saturday through Monday before Election Day, giving voters three more days to cast a ballot. The current prohibition on voting during the weekend dates to when election departments needed time to mark paper rosters by hand to note who cast early ballots before Election Day.

Florida: Fearing court action, Rick Scott calls emergency meeting of clemency board | Tampa Bay Times

Gov. Rick Scott called an emergency meeting of the Cabinet for Wednesday in anticipation of a federal court not approving a delay in adopting a new system of granting the right to vote to convicted felons. Scott acted in the absence of a decision of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, which has not acted on the state’s request to stay a lower court decision that struck down the state’s system of restoring voting rights to felons and ordered a new system to be instituted by April 26.

Kansas: ‘Probably not worth arguing’: Kobach legal team mistakenly files draft with note | Topeka Capital-Journal

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office on Tuesday mistakenly filed an unfinished document in the case over the state’s voter registration law. An all-caps note in the document declares a legal point is “PROBABLY NOT WORTH ARGUING.” Another section was left blank. There is a declaration that “it has been illegal in Kansas to register to vote for years.” The office later corrected the document, which was signed by Garrett Roe, a deputy assistant secretary of state.

Louisiana: State officials deny assessment, say they are working to prevent voting interference | The Louisiana Weekly

The Institute for Southern Studies compiled research on states’ election security and concluded that many states, including Louisiana, urgently need to improve. The recommendation follows months of research on the part of federal and state lawmakers as well as voting security experts, who began assessing the vulnerability of election procedures after Department of Homeland Security officials notified 21 states that Russian hackers had attempted to infiltrate their election systems during the 2016 presidential election. In Illinois, hackers successfully accessed voter registration information for tens of thousands of voters. … The Institute’s index includes extensive research from the Center for American Progress, which gave Louisiana a “D” grade for its voting security in an election security report released in February 2018, based in part on the state’s continued use of paperless electronic voting machines. Election security experts recommend that states use machines that create ballots as votes are cast, which can be counted in a post-election audit to detect potential manipulation of votes.

Mississippi: Ex-Felons Oppose Merger of 2 Voting Rights Cases | Associated Press

Some former convicts who want to regain voting rights in Mississippi say their lawsuit should stand on its own and not be merged with a similar case. Two federal lawsuits are challenging Mississippi’s system for restoring suffrage to people convicted of certain felonies. One was filed in September by the Mississippi Center for Justice and other attorneys, representing some former convicts. The other was filed in March by the Southern Poverty Law Center and other attorneys, with a different set of plaintiffs who had lost voting rights because of felony convictions. The state’s top elections official, Republican Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, filed papers April 5 requesting consolidation of the two cases, which he said are similar. They are assigned to different judges.

Montana: Democrats Take Secretary of State to Court over Green Party Votes | KGVO

The Montana Democratic Party, assisted by a prestigious international law firm, is taking Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton to court over approving signatures that allowed the Green Party to qualify for the general election. Green Party spokesperson Danielle Breck said the Montana Democrats have a date in Helena District Court on Tuesday afternoon. “The Montana Democratic Party, along with a couple of individuals, have filed suit against the Secretary of State saying that 180 of the more than 7,300 signatures that he validated of the more than 10,000 we turned in, are not valid, and therefore we should be removed from the ballot,” said Breck. “Tomorrow (Tuesday) there is a hearing to show cause and the Democrats have to show cause to move forward with the case.”

Pennsylvania: Expert: Pennsylvania ‘would get an F’ on voting machine security | The Intelligencer

Computer security expert J. Alex Halderman has seen just how vulnerable many of the nation’s voting machines are to sabotage. Pennsylvania is among the most susceptible. A decade ago, he was part of the first academic team to conduct a comprehensive security analysis of direct-recording electronic (DRE) voting machines, which are widely used throughout the state, including Bucks County. “What we found was disturbing,” Halderman said in a June 2017 Senate Intelligence Committee hearing. “We could reprogram the machine to invisibly cause any candidate to win. We also created malicious software — vote-stealing code — that could spread from machine-to-machine like a computer virus, and silently change the election outcome.” A Bucks County native and professor and director of the Center for Computer Security and Society at the University of Michigan, Halderman said cybersecurity is critical in the fight to protect American elections, “the bedrock of our democracy.”

Texas: White Judge Sentenced to Probation for Election Fraud in Same County Where Black Woman Received 5 Years | The Root

Right now, there is a black woman sitting in prison, reading about a Texas judge who was found guilty of the same crime she committed. She probably noticed that the judge was sentenced to five years’ probation in the same county that sentenced her to five years in jail. More than likely, she also noticed that she is black and the judge who was found guilty of turning in fake signatures to secure a spot in the Republican primary is white. On Monday, Tarrant County, Texas, Justice of the Peace Russ Casey pleaded guilty to tampering with a government record after an investigation found that many signatures on his ballot petition were false, even though Casey signed a form attesting that he’d witnessed the signatures, according to the Star-Telegram.

Texas: Judge dismisses GOP lawsuit that sought to remove dozens of Democrats from November ballot | Dallas Morning News

A judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit that would have removed more than 80 Democrats from the November general election ballot, putting to rest a controversy that threatened to toss Dallas County elections into chaos. State District Judge Eric Moyé  issued an order tossing out Dallas County Republican Party Chairwoman Missy Shorey’s lawsuit against Democratic Party Chairwoman Carol Donovan and 127 Democrats originally listed on the March 6 primary election ballot. After the primary, the names of the candidates that were in jeopardy dwindled to 82. The lawsuit contended that Donovan did not sign the candidate applications of 127 Democrats before they were forwarded to the Texas secretary of state’s office. That signature, according the lawsuit, was needed in order to certify the candidates for the election.

U.S. Territories: Territorial voting rights case appealed to U.S. Supreme Court | Pacific Daily News

A federal lawsuit involving the inability of residents of Guam and other U.S. territories to vote for president has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court typically hears about 0 cases out of the thousands of petitions it receives each year. It announces its docket in early October, In November 2015, six U.S. citizens, who all are former Illinois residents now living in Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, filed a lawsuit in Illinois’ northern district court with the nonprofit groups Iraq, Afghanistan and Persian Gulf Veterans of the Pacific and the League of Women Voters of the Virgin Islands.

West Virginia: Russians Want to Hack Your Election? Call Out the National Guard | Bloomberg

When floods swept through West Virginia polling places during the 2012 presidential election, the National Guard came to the rescue with tents and electrical connections. For the state’s congressional primaries next month, the Guard will be on the lookout for another disaster: Russian interference. West Virginia’s top election official, Republican Secretary of State Mac Warner, has embedded a member of the Air National Guard in his office to scour election networks daily. Short on funds and expertise, a number of Warner’s counterparts across the country are also tapping the Guard to bolster their cybersecurity before November’s midterms.

Lebanon: Local tensions flare up before Lebanese election | Reuters

Incidents of political violence including an assault on one candidate and an attack on the office of another are casting a shadow over Lebanon’s first general election in nine years. The May 6 vote will take place using a complicated new electoral law. It is not expected to cause major changes to the government or its policies. Analysts expect Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri will head the next cabinet. But the law has made the outcome less predictable in some places. This has sharpened local rivalries and is encouraging parties to campaign extra hard.

Malaysia: Election Commission’s new rules disqualify use of Mahathir’s face in campaign materials | Channel NewsAsia

Malaysia’s Election Commission on Tuesday (Apr 24) issued new guidelines relating to campaign materials for the 14th general election. Only images of party presidents and deputy presidents – or their equivalents – can be used on campaigning material. This effectively rules out pictures of Pakatan Harapan chairman Mahathir Mohamad on most posters and banners in campaigning for the May 9 polls – a move the opposition decried as a deliberate decision targeted at the 92-year-old former prime minister.

National: Senators chart path forward on election security bill | The Hill

Senators are working to again revise legislation designed to help guard digital voting infrastructure from cyberattacks after meeting with state officials. Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) told The Hill that he expects to work out the final details of the bill within “weeks,” after state election officials expressed some remaining concerns with the current version. Lankford and a slate of bipartisan co-sponsors originally introduced the legislation, called the Secure Elections Act, last December, months after the Department of Homeland Security acknowledged that Russian hackers tried to break into voting systems in 21 states as part of a broader effort to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

National: Voting Laws for Felons Can Be Hard to Follow. Here’s an Overview. | The New York Times

If a person is convicted of first-degree murder in the state of Vermont, he or she will retain the right to vote — even while incarcerated. But a person who commits perjury in Mississippi could be permanently barred from casting a ballot there. It is up to states — not the federal government — to say whether convicted felons can vote, and which ones, and when. So the rules for convicted criminals can change, sometimes drastically, from one state to the next. (The issue can be knotty within states, too: This past week, New York’s governor announced plans to sidestep a resistant State Legislature to give the vote to felons on parole.) It’s a lot to keep track of, but here’s an overview of where states stand — at least for now — on felons’ voting rights.