National: Bipartisan House committee members agree on cyber threats to elections, if not how to address it | Maggie Miller/The Hill

Members of two House Science subcommittees drilled experts about the security of voting machines during a hearing Tuesday afternoon, putting the spotlight on election security as congressional Democrats continue to push for action on the issue.  House members were given the chance to discuss the vulnerabilities of voting systems during a hearing held by the House Science subcommittees on investigations and oversight and on research and technology. While there was disagreement over specific Democrat-backed election security bills, subcommittee members seemed to come together over the need to address cybersecurity risks to voting machines. “When it comes to cybersecurity, the threat is constantly changing,” investigations subcommittee Chairwoman Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.) said. “It is our responsibility in Congress to help states arm themselves with advanced, adaptive strategies to prevent, detect, and recover from intrusions.”

National: Warren calls for major changes to US elections in latest campaign proposal | Christina Prignano/The Boston Globe

Senator Elizabeth Warren is calling for major changes to the way millions of Americans cast ballots in a proposal released on Tuesday, declaring the patchwork system of election administration run by the states a “national security threat” in the wake of attempted Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Warren wants Congress to standardize elections for federal office, with uniformly designed ballots and brand new voting machines in every polling place nationwide, combined with a “Fort Knox”-like security system to prevent tampering. The system would be run by a new federal Secure Democracy Administration. “This is a national security threat, and three years after a hostile foreign power literally attacked our democracy, we’ve done far too little to address it,” Warren wrote in a post on the Medium website announcing the plan. It is the latest in a series of detailed proposals released as she campaigns for the Democratic presidential nomination and prepares for the first debate on Wednesday night.

National: Elizabeth Warren aims for the fences on election security | Joseph Marks/The Washington Post

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), the top-polling candidate in the first Democratic presidential debate tonight, also has the most ambitious plan for how to protect U.S. elections from foreign hackers. But that aim-for-the-fences approach, which Warren introduced in an eight-page blog post Tuesday, is sure to be a nonstarter among Republicans. And it will face serious scrutiny from some of Warren’s Democratic opponents who are championing a more practical approach to securing elections. Warren’s plan would basically federalize election security. Washington would set all the rules for protecting federal elections against hackers — such as using hand-marked paper ballots and conducting security audits — and it would also foot the bill. States that didn’t meet her requirements would face lawsuits from a new agency named the Secure Democracy Administration. It comes after the 2016 election in which Russian hackers and trolls stole emails and launched a disinformation campaign aimed at helping elect Donald Trump. Warren would commit $20 billion over 10 years to the plan, which also focuses on improving ballot access for minorities and ending gerrymandering. “Our elections should be as secure as Fort Knox. But instead, they’re less secure than your Amazon account,” the policy plan declares.

National: House Panel Grapples With Election Security Ahead of 2020 | Megan Mineiro/Courthouse News

A bipartisan warning came out of a House committee Tuesday that the U.S. election system remains vulnerable to attacks from Russia and other foreign adversaries as the 2020 elections nears. Democrats on two subpanels of the House Committee on Space, Science and Technology called for a federal response to safeguard voting across the country, shadowed by some Republicans who cautioned elections should remain in the hands of state officials. But members were in agreement that every point of connectivity across the increasingly digital election system poses a vulnerable risk to the “cherished” democratic process. This consensus comes on the heels of special counsel Robert Mueller’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election in “sweeping and systematic fashion.” Experts at Tuesday’s hearing said across the country, election systems are weakened by aging technology and lack of expertise among personnel. Efforts to make voting more accessible and convenient also expose systems to targeting by foreign actors.

National: Senate GOP blocks election security bill | Jordain Carney/The Hill

Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked an attempt by Democrats to pass legislation aimed at bolstering the country’s election infrastructure despite a stalemate in the chamber on the issue. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), the top Democrat on the Rules Committee, tried to call up the Election Security Act, which would require backup paper ballots and provide election security grants to states, before it was blocked. “We know there’s a continued threat against our democracy. What we need to do now is address these facts with a common purpose, to protect our democracy, to make sure that our election systems are resilient against future attacks,” Klobuchar said from the Senate floor. Under the Senate’s rules, any one senator can try to pass a bill or resolution by unanimous consent, but any one senator can also block that request. Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) objected, arguing that he and Klobuchar were trying to draft separate legislation together and that he didn’t want to see election security become a partisan issue.

National: GOP senators nix vote on Election Security Act, similar bills wend their way through Congress | Teri Robinson/SC Media

Republicans in the Senate rebuffed an attempt by presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., ranking member of the Senate Rules Committee, to bring the Election Security Act to a vote Tuesday. “We know there’s a continued threat against our democracy. What we need to do now is address these facts with a common purpose, to protect our democracy, to make sure that our election systems are resilient against future attacks,” said Klobuchar when calling for a vote on the act, which would require voting systems to have paper ballots and give states grants for election election security. “There is a presidential election before us and if a few counties in one swing state or an entire state get hacked into there’s no backup paper ballots and we can’t figure out what happened, the entire election will be called into question,” she said. Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., who has worked with the Minnesota senator on bipartisan election security legislation, thwarted her efforts, noting their past collaboration and saying, “I think we still can resolve this and we can actually get a result, but a partisan proposal will not get us an end results where both parties come together and get to resolve this.”

National: Pelosi: Congress will receive election security briefing in July | Maggie Miller/The Hill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Wednesday that Congress will receive an election security briefing from administration officials next month, as Democrats put pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to allow votes on election security bills. “Next month we will take further steps to harden our democratic institutions against attacks, and on July 10 we will receive the all-member election security briefing we requested from the administration so we can continue to protect the American people,” Pelosi said during a press conference. The Democratic leader announced the date after McConnell told reporters earlier this month that a briefing would take place, while not giving any more details. Pelosi was joined at the press conference Wednesday by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other congressional Democrats to promote passage of the Securing America’s Federal Elections (SAFE) Act, which the House is set to vote on this week.

Verified Voting Blog: Statement to House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Joint Investigations & Oversight and Research & Technology Subcommittee

Download as PDF Chairwoman Sherrill, Ranking Member Norman, Chairwoman Stevens, Ranking Member Baird and committee members, thank you for the invitation to submit a written statement in connection with the Joint Investigations & Oversight and Research & Technology Subcommittee Hearing on “Election Security: Voting Technology Vulnerabilities.” Our statement will focus on 1) a brief overview…

Hawaii: Governor Ige Signs All-Mail Voting, Automatic Recount Bills | Blaze Lovell/Honolulu Civil Beat

When you vote for the next U.S. president or Honolulu’s next mayor, you probably won’t do it in a polling booth. Gov. David Ige signed into law Tuesday afternoon bills establishing an all-mail voting system starting with the 2020 elections along others mandating automatic recounts in close races. He also signed a bill that allows for ballots to be electronically transmitted for voters with special needs. Those bills were among 18 others Ige signed Tuesday covering homelessness, mental and physical health, kupuna care and traffic safety. The state Office of Elections has already begun work on getting the all-mail voting system ready for the 2020 elections. Voters should be getting their ballots, along with prepaid return envelopes, about 18 days before each election.

New York: Top court: Ballot images aren’t public | Ekuzabeth Izzo/Adirondack Daily Enterprise

The state’s highest court has ruled in favor of Essex County in a lawsuit that called into question whether electronically scanned images of ballots can be obtained without a court order following an election. In an opinion released June 13, state Court of Appeals Chief Judge Janet DiFiore wrote that electronic images of ballots should be subject to the same restrictions as paper ballots, which can only be examined within two years of an election with a court order or direction from a state legislative committee. “The Election Law’s closely regulated framework for handling of ballots and reviewing their contents balances ballot secrecy, anti-tampering measures, accuracy and finality,” DiFiore wrote. The Court of Appeals’ 4 to 3 decision marks the end to a four-year-long lawsuit that started with a Freedom of Information Law request in 2015. Bethany Kosmider, a former Crown Point town supervisor and chairwoman of the county Democratic committee, sought access to electronic images of ballots cast in the 2015 general election through a FOIL request filed that year.

New York: Rensselaer County election system, site, malfunctions and shows incorrect results | Steve Maugeri/WRGB

Primary night was a longer than usual in Rensselaer County. Republican election commissioner Jason Schofield says some of the results coming out of the machine weren’t correct. That lead to some incorrect unofficial results going on up on their website. “Someone in our office had looked to see how a particular candidate had done. That candidate had prevailed in is primary in one town about a 50 vote margin. When we inputted the disk, it had him losing the election 70 votes to one vote,” Schofield said. That prompted them to shut down their system and resorted to counting by hand. He says this is a necessary step to avoid misleading voters or candidates during the primaries. The Board of Elections still have to count absentee ballots, but they won’t be counted using these machines. All of them will be counted by hand. The Board of Elections hopes to have the final results in by next week.

North Dakota: New voting machines being ‘put through the paces’ | Prairie Public Broadcasting

New voting machines for North Dakota are set up in a room at the Capitol. “We’re putting them through the paces, said Deputy Secretary of State Jim Silrum. “We want to make sure they can handle our open primary, and any election we would throw at it.” It is the Secretary of State’s job to certify the new devices, and de-certify the devices that are no longer used. Silrum said the contract to finalize the purchase of the new devices will likely be finished by the end of the week, and the plan is to have all the devices in Bismarck by the end of July. After that, county election officials will be trained on them.

Pennsylvania: House considers $90M for voting machines, end to straight-party voting | Jan Murphy/PennLive

The state House of Representatives is poised to vote on Thursday on a bill that calls for the state to borrow up to $90 million to help counties defray the cost of buying new voting machines. The bill, which has the state picking up 60 percent of a county’s tab, also includes some election reforms. The most significant reform: the bill would eliminate the straight-ticket voting option in general elections. Senate Appropriations Committtee Pat Browne, R-Lehigh County, said the majority Republicans have not yet discussed the legislation as a caucus and haven’t committed to it. Providing the funding to help cover the cost of voting machine replacement has been a major concern to county commissioners since Gov. Tom Wolf last year ordered all of the state’s voting machines to be de-certified by the end of this year. He wants them replaced with ones that have a verifiable paper trail by no later than next year’s presidential primary. The cost of replacing the machines was estimated between $93 million and $150 million, according to the Department of State. House Appropriations Committee Stan Saylor, R-York County, said the money the state is borrowing won’t be available until 2020-21, but “we just wanted to make sure the county commissioners had that assurance they were receiving dollars.”

India: Activists write open letter to parties, seek all future elections be held with paper ballots | The Times of India

A group of activists Thursday jointly demanded that all elections in the country in future should be held with paper ballots, following reports of alleged irregularities in functioning and transport of electronic voting machines during the recent Lok Sabha polls. At a press conference here, the activists from different organisation also released an ‘open letter’ addressed to political parties, saying, “The opposition parties should raise the matter with the electoral authorities.” Activist and poet Gauhar Raza, former DUTA chief Nandita Narain, JNUSU president N Sai Balaji, AISA Delhi president Kawalpreet Kaur and Shabnam Hashmi, among others, cited various incidents reported during the Lok Sabha polls. “There were reports of several EVMs being left unattended, or many voters complaining about malfunctioning of EVMs. Then, there was a debate over counting of VVPATs. The elections left several doubts in our minds,” Kaur told reporters.

Russia: Russia’s trolling tactics are getting more elaborate | Shannon Vavra/CyberScoop

Facebook’s early May takedown of a Russian political disinformation operation was much larger than previously thought, according to research published this weekend by the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab. The Russian-linked actors behind the campaign went well beyond just amplifying political narratives on Facebook, and in fact began much earlier by planting false stories and then later amplifying these fake stories using fake accounts. In one case, these Russian-linked actors impersonated Sen. Marco Rubio’s Twitter account in a tweet that made it look like he was disparaging Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters. Then-Defense Secretary of the UK Gavin Williams was also victim to a similar photoshop effort. One of the false stories that the Russian trolls created and amplified through fake accounts includes a storyline that a Spanish intelligence agency rooted out an anti-Brexit pilot to assassinate Boris Johnson. Johnson is now in the running to serve as the UK’s next prime minister.

Switzerland: Swiss Delay Plans for Nationwide e-Voting, Citing Flaws | Associated Press

Swiss officials are delaying plans to introduce electronic voting across the Alpine country, saying it’s “premature” because of problems testing the security and reliability of the system. The Federal Council said there is support for e-voting in addition to mail-in and in-person balloting. Some Swiss cantons, or regions, have already used e-voting systems, and the federal government has supported work on a nationwide system.