Editorials: On Martin Luther King’s 90th birthday, a reminder of how far we have come and how far we still have to go | Peniel E. Joseph/The Washington Post

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one of the architects of America’s struggle for racial justice, would have been 90 years old on Tuesday. This year also marks the 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved Africans on the shores of Jamestown, Va., the dawn of the black experience in what would become the United States. These two historic milestones offer us an opportunity to examine King’s political legacy, influence and resonance in our own time. The modern civil rights struggle represented a Second American Reconstruction, the sequel to the nation’s original post-Civil War attempt to fundamentally remake the nation as a true democracy. These efforts ended in the heartbreak of massive anti-black violence, lynching, imprisonment and land dispossession. By the end of the 19th century, America had indeed been remade, not as a racially integrated democracy but as an apartheid state euphemistically referred to as Jim Crow.

National: Court Blocks Trump Administration From Asking About Citizenship in Census | The New York Times

A federal judge blocked the Commerce Department from adding a question on American citizenship to the 2020 census, handing a legal victory on Tuesday to critics who accused the Trump administration of trying to turn the census into a tool to advance Republican political fortunes. The ruling marks the opening round in a legal battle with potentially profound ramifications for federal policy and for politics at all levels, one that seems certain to reach the Supreme Court before the printing of census forms begins this summer. The upcoming census count will determine which states gain or lose seats in the House of Representatives when redistricting begins in 2021. When the Trump administration announced last year it was adding a citizenship question to the census, opponents argued the results would undercount noncitizens and legal immigrants — who tend to live in places that vote Democratic — and shift political power to Republican areas.

National: Is This the Year for a Redistricting Revolution? | The Atlantic

Barack Obama and Arnold Schwarzenegger agree: Neither thinks Donald Trump has any business being anywhere near the White House, but the main political issue they’re going to focus on for the next two years is redistricting reform. The clock is ticking. The 2020 census, and the nationwide 2021 redistricting right after, are around the corner. Deadlines for ballot initiatives and legislation are already on the horizon for some states to change their procedures before then. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court could soon take up a case that would gut most of the efforts at redistricting reform that have, over the past 10 years, changed how states draw the maps that determine who runs where for Congress and their own legislatures.

National: The Shutdown Is Doing Lasting Damage to National Security | The Atlantic

As the longest government shutdown in American history drags on, it’s not just hurting the morale of America’s federal workforce and the broader American economy. It’s hurting our national security. Some of the damage is already plainly apparent—but in four crucial ways, its harms will persist long after the government reopens. We’re beginning to see indicators of short-term national- and homeland-security vulnerabilities. Airports are short on screeners; thousands of FBI agents, analysts, and staff are on furlough; and our government’s newest cybersecurity unit had barely launched before half of its staff was furloughed. Each of these lapses may cause specific problems: Dangerous weapons may slip through security, endangering the flying public; investigative leads may suffer from inattention, causing investigations of federal crimes to be delayed or go unfinished; and recent efforts to improve federal cybersecurity may be stopped before they ever really started. Moreover, given the importance this administration purports to place on immigration enforcement and border security, the irony of the Department of Homeland Security’s border agents and immigration officials not being compensated to perform their important work is hard to miss.

Georgia: Watchdog says Georgia Voting Machine Commission Recommended “Unsafe Voting Systems” | AllOnGeorgia

The final report expected this week from Brian Kemp’s Secure, Accurate and Fair Elections (SAFE) commission will recommend voting systems that experts deem unsafe. The report will recommend electronic ballot markers over hand marked paper ballots including ballot markers that embed hidden unverifiable votes in digital bar codes for tabulation. Such systems were strongly discouraged as security risks by computer scientists, Election Integrity advocates, public speakers at all commission meetings and even the commission’s own cyber security expert.

Editorials: Making Georgia, U.S. election systems more secure | Wenke Lee/Atlanta Journal Consitution

For the better part of the past year, I served as the cybersecurity expert to Georgia’s “Secure, Accessible, and Fair Elections (SAFE) Commission” – a group tasked with recommending new, more secure voting equipment and procedures in our state. The result of much discussion is that I (along with 24 other computer scientists at universities, labs, industry and the nonpartisan organization Verified Voting) advocated for a return to paper ballots. Now, as Congress examines the same, more states could move in this direction. I’d like to explain the irony behind why cybersecurity experts recommend voting on paper and new approaches we all must reconsider going forward.

Hawaii: Lawmakers draft bills for recounts in close elections | Associated Press

At least three state senators are drafting legislation that would require automatic recounts in close election races in Hawaii. The bills being drafted seek to avoid or more quickly resolve election disputes such as the one ongoing for a Honolulu City Council seat, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Monday. The council is still without a ninth member after candidate Tommy Waters challenged Trevor Ozawa’s 22-vote victory at the last election.

Indiana: Governor asks for $10 million to improve election security | WSBT

Indiana’s governor is asking for $10 million to improve election security. Most of that would upgrade electronic touch screens with what’s called a voter verifiable ballot. That’s essentially a traditional paper ballot in case questions come up later. The $10 million request made by Governor Holcomb is part of a pilot program. It would initially pay for a few counties to use the new system. The hope is that the voter verifiable ballot would eventually be used by all Indiana counties. “This is much needed and is a start as we move towards that upgrade that is going to happen over the next several years,” said Chris Anderson, Elkhart county clerk.

Iowa: Reynolds to propose lifting felon voting ban in Condition of the State | Des Moines Register

Gov. Kim Reynolds will propose a constitutional amendment restoring voting rights to convicted felons in a Condition of the State address that highlights “the beauty of grace” and second chances. “Talk with someone who, by their own actions, hit rock bottom but decided to turn their life around,” Reynolds will say Tuesday, according to her prepared remarks, portions of which were shared exclusively with the Des Moines Register. “Watch their face light up when they tell you about the person who offered them a helping hand. … There are few things as powerful as the joy of someone who got a second chance and found their purpose.”

Kentucky: Blevins seeking millions for new voting machines in Lexington | Lexington Herald Leader

Fayette County’ Clerk Don Blevins Jr. told the Lexington council Tuesday he will request up to $2 million in coming months to replace decade-old voting machines that were partly to blame for long lines at precincts in November. “Our machines stink,” said Blevins, who oversees elections in Fayette County. “It’s time. We need to replace these machines.” Lexington has about 1,000 Hart eSlate machines, which use a wheel that voters turn to highlight their choice on the ballot. Voters then push a button to make the highlighted choice. Most precincts only have a couple machines, which creates long lines when the ballot is lengthy. The machines can be attached to another machine that prints the completed paper ballot, but Lexington does not use those. That means there is no printed record of an individual’s vote.

New York: Lawmakers approve election reforms, including early voting | NBC

New York state lawmakers approved a series of reforms intended to make it easier to vote on Monday, including giving voters 10 days of early access to the ballot box prior to Election Day and consolidating primary dates. The reforms were passed by the new Democratic majority in the state Senate. Similar reforms have died in the legislature in recent years, thanks to Republican control in the Senate. The bills are expected to be signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who commended the legislature for taking “quick action” on the issue, soon. “At a time when the federal government is doing everything it can to disenfranchise voters, we are taking action to make it easier for New Yorkers to participate in the democratic process and crack down on corporate influences in our election,” Cuomo said in a statement on Monday.

North Carolina: House Administration Democrats keeping close eye on North Carolina election | Politico

The top Democrat on the House Administration Committee is closely monitoring the ongoing investigation in North Carolina’s contested 9th Congressional District, advising the state elections board to “preserve and protect” all of the evidence it has gathered. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), chair of the Administration Committee, raised the possibility that her panel could intervene to determine “the rightful claimant to the seat” in North Carolina. After election night, Republican Mark Harris held a 905-vote lead over Democrat Dan McCready in the vote count — but the election board subsequently refused to certify the results, citing election fraud allegations against a contractor for Harris’ campaign and questions of ballot irregularities. In a letter to the state election board sent Friday evening, Lofgren also pointed out that a “certificate is not ultimately determinative of the House’s course of action.”

North Carolina: 9th District election dispute grinds through courts | CNN

A Superior Court judge in North Carolina has set a hearing in a lawsuit filed by Republican candidate Mark Harris asking the court to force the State Board of Elections to certify the results of the state’s 9th Congressional District election — before the board completes its investigation into potential fraud in the race. The hearing is set for January 22. There is still no clear resolution to the controversy over the results in North Carolina’s 9th District more than two months after Election Day. Harris leads the race by 905 votes over Democrat Dan McCready, but there are serious questions surrounding an absentee ballot operation led by a political consultant he hired.

South Carolina: Election officials ask for change to paper ballots in 2020 | The State

S.C. election officials took a small step Tuesday toward changing the way the state votes in 2020. The S.C. Election Commission requested $60 million Tuesday from legislators to buy a new voting system in time for the next statewide election, a system that — for the first time in a decade — would produce a paper trail of ballots cast. The Election Commission has requested money for new voting machines before and been denied. However, this request comes in a favorable budget year amid national concern around election security.

State lawmakers have said they want to make a switch to paper-trail ballots in time for the 2020 election, using money from $1 billion in added state revenues. But there will be hurdles to overcome. Gov. Henry McMaster unveiled his budget proposal Tuesday and included only $5 million for new voting machines.

Virginia: Senators introduce bipartisan amendment to change redistricting | WHSV

As Virginia lawmakers get started on the 2019 session of the General Assembly, an unlikely bipartisan duo has a proposal to fix gerrymandering in the commonwealth. Senator Emmett Hanger, a Republican representing Augusta County in the Shenandoah Valley, and Senator Mamie Locke, a Democrat representing Hampton in the Eastern Shore, have joined forces to propose a bill that would take redistricting out of the hands of politicians and create an independent commission of citizens tasked with drawing election boundaries. “You can’t take politics out of the redistricting process, it’s political in nature, but you can set up a process if our constitution allows it,” Senator Hanger told us.

Canada: Canada is a prime target for cybersecurity attacks in 2019 | IT World Canada

Get ready Canada.  The cybercriminals have you in their sights for 2019. Despite our smaller market size, Canada had the third most cyber incidents in the world last year, according to a recent study. This year’s federal election is likely to attract more “bad actors” who will try to use misinformation to influence public opinion, warns the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security in its latest threat assessment. Cybercrime against Canadian citizens and businesses, however, will be the biggest threat this year, the report says. “It is certain that Canadians will be affected by malicious online activity in the coming year,” said Scott Jones, head of the Cyber Security Centre.

Congo: Vote data reveals massive election fraud – report | AFP

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s opposition leader Martin Fayulu was a clear winner in the central African nation’s December 19 polls, according to data obtained by the Financial Times. An FT analysis of two separate collections of data shows that Fayulu won the vote by at least 59.4% while president elect Felix Tshisekedi obtained 19% of the votes. The analysis points to huge fraud in the first change of power since outgoing President Joseph Kabila took over from his late father in 2001. According to the report, the election data is likely to embolden Kabila’s critics who have accused him of seeking to cling on to power through a deal with Tshisekedi.

United Kingdom: Labour Party wants a general election — but a second referendum is more likely, lawmaker says | CNBC

As the world awaits U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s next move after her Brexit deal failed to obtain parliamentary approval, some politicians from the country’s biggest opposition party believe a second referendum is now increasingly likely. “The critical issue is now that she’s been defeated in the House of Commons, what does Theresa May do and I think, there’s only one way she can really go now — and that’s towards a referendum to give the people a chance to sort out this crisis,” Andrew Adonis, a Labour member of the upper house who previously served as U.K. transport minister and education minister, told CNBC on Wednesday.

Thailand: Election Commission must postpone election again, until March: officials | Reuters

Thailand’s long-delayed general election to end military rule will have to be postponed from its Feb. 24 date and will likely be held in March, two officials in the Election Commission said on Tuesday. The Election Commission of Thailand has not announced the postponement, but two senior election officials told Reuters it was impossible to hold the polls on Feb. 24, as announced last month. The military junta that has ruled for nearly five years had earlier suggested a one-month delay because of scheduling clashes with the coronation of the king in May. “The February 24 election cannot take place because the Election Commission doesn’t have enough time to organize it,” a senior commission official said.