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United Kingdom: Tech companies rush to fight misinformation ahead of UK vote | David Klepper & Dabica Kirka/Associated Press

Facebook is opening up a war room to quickly respond to election hoaxes. Twitter is banning political ads. Google plans to crack down on bogus videos on YouTube. Social media platforms say they are mounting a vigorous campaign against misinformation in the lead up to next month’s general election in the United Kingdom. But digital misinformation experts believe British voters remain vulnerable to the same type of misleading ads and phony claims that played a role in the vote to leave the European Union three years ago. Government inaction on online misinformation and digital ad regulations have added to the pressure internet companies are under as they face growing criticism for amplifying false claims during the run up to the 2016 Brexit referendum and the 2016 election in the U.S. Prime Minister Boris Johnson pushed for the snap Dec. 12 election, in which voters will choose 650 representatives to the House of Commons, hoping his Conservative Party will gain enough seats to break a stalemate over his plan to take Britain out of the EU. And with campaigns barely under way, falsehoods are already spreading online.

Full Article: Tech companies rush to fight misinformation ahead of UK vote.

Bolivia: President Evo Morales resigns after election result dispute | Ernesto Londoño/The New York Times

President Evo Morales of Bolivia, who came to power more than a decade ago as part of a leftist wave sweeping Latin America, resigned on Sunday after unrelenting protests by an infuriated population that accused him of undermining democracy to extend his rule. Mr. Morales and his vice president, Álvaro García Linera, who also resigned, said in a national address that they were stepping down in an effort to stop the bloodshed that has spread across the country in recent weeks. But they admitted no wrongdoing and instead insisted that they were victims of a coup. “The coup has been consummated,” Mr. García said. Mr. Morales was once widely popular, and stayed in the presidency longer than any other current head of state in Latin America. He was the first Indigenous president in a country that had been led by a tiny elite of European descent for centuries, and he shepherded Bolivia through an era of economic growth and shrinking inequality, winning support from Bolivians who saw him as their first true representative in the capital. “I want to tell you, brothers and sisters, that the fight does not end here,” Mr. Morales said on Sunday. “The poor, the social movements, will continue in this fight for equality and peace.” “It hurts a lot,” he added. Mr. Morales’s reluctance to give up power — first bending the country’s laws to stand for a fourth election, then insisting that he won despite widespread concerns about fraud — left him besieged by protests, abandoned by allies and unable to count on the police and the armed forces, which sided with the protesters and demanded he resign. As the country slipped into deeper turmoil over the weekend, protesters voiced their fear of Bolivia’s trajectory under Mr. Morales. “This is not Cuba. This is not Venezuela!” they chanted in La Paz, Bolivia’s main city, over the weekend. “This is Bolivia, and Bolivia will be respected.”

Full Article: Bolivian Leader Evo Morales Steps Down - The New York Times.

National: Expensive, Glitchy Voting Machines Expose 2020 Hacking Risks | Kartikay Mehrotra and Margaret Newkirk/Bloomberg

The first sign something was wrong with Northampton County, Pennsylvania’s state-of-the-art voting system came on Election Day when a voter called the local Democratic Party chairman to say a touchscreen in her precinct was acting “finicky.” As she scrolled down the ballot, the tick-marks next to candidates she’d selected kept disappearing. Her experience Nov. 5 was no isolated glitch. Over the course of the day, the new election machinery, bought over the objections of cybersecurity experts, continued to malfunction. Built by Election Systems & Software, the ExpressVote XL was designed to marry touchscreen technology with a paper-trail for post-election audits. Instead, it created such chaos that poll workers had to crack open the machines, remove the ballot records and use scanners summoned from across state lines to conduct a recount that lasted until 5 a.m. In one case, it turned out a candidate that the XL showed getting just 15 votes had won by about 1,000. Neither Northampton nor ES&S know what went wrong. Digital voting machines were promoted in the wake of a similarly chaotic scene 19 years ago: the infamous punch-card ballots and hanging chads of south Florida that tossed the presidential contest between George W. Bush and Al Gore into uncertainty.

Full Article: Expensive, Glitchy Voting Machines Expose 2020 Hacking Risks - Bloomberg.

Kentucky: Senate president says Bevin should concede election if recanvass doesn’t alter vote totals | Joe Sonka and Deborah Yetter/Louisville Courier Journal

Republican Senate President Robert Stivers believes Gov. Matt Bevin should concede his loss to Democrat Andy Beshear if next week’s recanvass doesn’t significantly change the vote totals. “It’s time to call it quits and go home, say he had a good four years and congratulate Gov.-elect Beshear,” Stivers said in a brief Friday interview at the Capitol. Bevin finished 5,189 votes behind Beshear in Tuesday’s gubernatorial election but has refused to concede the race, requesting a recanvass of the vote that will take place Nov. 14. The governor has also made allegations of widespread voting irregularities and fraud on Election Day, but hasn’t provided any evidence to back up those claims. Stivers said if Bevin chooses to contest the election by calling a special session of the General Assembly and making a case that there was illegal activity, lawmakers would have to hear the dispute under the state constitution.

Full Article: Kentucky Senate president: Bevin should concede if votes unchanged.

National: Targets of foreign election interference may get a call from US intel officials | Kevin Collier and Zachary Cohen/CNN

The US government has set up a new process to alert targets of foreign election interference in an attempt to be more transparent and counter ongoing efforts by Russia and other adversaries to influence the American political process. The FBI, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice and relevant intelligence agencies announced Friday that the government will notify relevant members of Congress, state and local officials, private sector and the public of foreign interference “where necessary to protect national security and the integrity of our elections,” beyond existing laws and policies. Most intelligence concerning threats to election security is initially classified, making it difficult to quickly release to the public. When Russian intelligence conducted its election interference campaign in the leadup to the 2016 election, the FBI and DHS had difficulty conveying information about some cyber threats to county and state election officials who didn’t have security clearance.

Full Article: Targets of foreign election interference may get a call from US intel officials - CNNPolitics.

National: As 2020 US presidential election nears, voter systems are still vulnerable | Lydia Emmanouilidou/Public Radio International

With just a little more than a year to go before the 2020 US presidential election, security experts and lawmakers say progress has been made to guard against foreign interference. But they warn the country’s election infrastructure could be vulnerable to the types of hacking operations that took place in the lead-up to the 2016 election. One such attack was directed at the Illinois State Board of Elections, an agency that oversees and facilitates parts of election processes in the state, including a statewide voter registration system. “One of our IT people noticed that our [voter registration] system was running extremely slowly,” said Matt Dietrich, a spokesperson for the agency. “It had practically shut down.” The IT member inspected the system, and discovered that an intruder had exploited a vulnerability on the board’s online voter application, broken into the statewide voter registration database and gained access to voter information, including names, addresses and drivers’ license numbers. “It was terrifying. … We took the entire system down,” Dietrich said.

Full Article: As 2020 US presidential election nears, voter systems are still vulnerable | Public Radio International.

National: Spy, law enforcement agencies step up U.S. election security measures | Mark Hosenball/Reuters

U.S. spy and law enforcement agencies on Friday said they had strengthened procedures for informing Congress, state and local governments, private business and the public about foreign interference in U.S. elections. The FBI has already given some American election candidates “defensive” briefings on evidence U.S. agencies collected of possible election interference, an FBI official told a briefing for journalists. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, declined to give further details regarding who might have been warned about the interference or where and how such interference might have originated. An official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said that U.S. agencies believe that Russia, China and Iran all present continuing potential threats to the U.S. electoral system. However, officials stressed that U.S. agencies had not seen direct threats to American election systems recently. An FBI official added that the bureau has “invested a lot of time” in trying to help social media companies detect inauthentic politically related message traffic, and shares information on this with social media companies.

Full Article: Spy, law enforcement agencies step up U.S. election security measures - Reuters.

National: Swing state election websites aren’t secure against Russian hacking, McAfee says | Joseph Marks/The Washington Post

County election websites in two battleground states are highly vulnerable to hacking by Russia or another adversary that might seek to disrupt the 2020 vote by misleading voters about polling locations or spreading other false information. About 55 percent of county election websites in Wisconsin and about 45 percent in Michigan, both states that President Trump flipped from Democratic to Republican in 2016 lack a key and fairly standard security protection, according to data provided exclusively to me by the cybersecurity firm McAfee. Without this protection, called HTTPS, it’s far easier for an adversary to hijack those sites to deliver false information, divert voters to phony sites that mimic the real ones or steal voters’ information, per McAfee. (You can often tell if a site has HTTPS protection if there’s a small lock icon to the left of a Web address.) The repercussions could be huge if Russia or another country decided to manipulate sites in key counties to send voters to the wrong polling places or at the wrong times. They could even flood people seeking voting information with malicious software so they spend much of Election Day getting their phones and laptops fixed and have less time to actually go vote. In states with incredibly tight margins of victory in the last presidential election, a hacker who prevented just a few thousand people from voting in one of them in 2020 could swing an election or create broad doubt about the results.

Full Article: The Cybersecurity 202: Swing state election websites aren’t secure against Russian hacking, McAfee says - The Washington Post.

National: Every State Was Given Funding to Increase Election Security. Here’s How They Spent It | Nicole Goodkind/Fortune

The U.S. is less than a year out from one of the most consequential elections of the century, which President Donald Trump’s Department of Homeland Security has called “the big game” for foreign adversaries looking to attack and undermine the Democratic process. Congress, meanwhile, is locked in a stalemate about how to secure systems in the country’s 8,000 largely disjointed voting jurisdictions. Tuesday marks the last test of security preparedness before the 2020 elections, as certain statewide polls take place around the country. The Department of Homeland Security is gearing up “war rooms” to monitor for potential interference and test voting infrastructure, but with sluggish movement at a federal level there is little they’ll be able to do to correct any issues within the next 12 months. There is, however, one beacon of hope: 2002’s Help America Vote Act (HAVA)—a block grant issued to states to bolster election security following the Bush v. Gore hanging chad debacle some 19 years ago. In 2018, Congress used the Omnibus Appropriations Act to pad HAVA with an extra $380 million to be divided up amongst the states in proportion to their voting age population. The idea was that they spend it to prepare for the 2020 elections, and Democrats and Republicans are likely to approve at least another $250 million through the act this year.

Full Article: Election Security Funding: How States Are Spending to Protect Votes | Fortune.

National: I study blockchain. It’s not ready to use in our elections | Nir Kshetri/Fast Company

A developing technology called blockchain has gotten attention from election officials, startups, and even Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang as a potential way to boost voter turnout and public trust in election results. I study blockchain technology and its potential use in fighting fraud, strengthening cybersecurity, and securing voting. I see promising signs that blockchain-based voting could make it more convenient for people to vote, thereby boosting voter turnout. And blockchain systems can be effective at strengthening the security of devices, networks, and critical systems such as electricity grids, as well as protecting personal privacy. The few small-scale tests run so far have identified problems and vulnerabilities in the digital systems and government administrative procedures that must be resolved before blockchain-based voting can be considered safe and trustworthy. Therefore I don’t see clear evidence that it can prevent, or even detect, election fraud.

Full Article: I study blockchain. It's not ready to use in our elections.

Bolivia: Evo Morales agrees to new elections after irregularities found | Dan Collyns/The Guardian

The Bolivian president, Evo Morales, is to call fresh elections after international monitors identified serious irregularities in the last vote and recommended a new ballot. The announcement comes after weeks of unrest over disputed election results, which escalated over the weekend as police forces joined anti-government protests, and the military said it would not “confront the people” who had taken to the streets. In a televised news conference on Sunday, Morales told journalists he had decided to call fresh elections to “to preserve the new Bolivia, life and democracy”. Morales, who has been Bolivia’s president for nearly 14 years, announced he would also replace members of the country’s election board. The body has been heavily criticised after an unexplained 24-hour halt in the vote count on 20 October, which showed a shift in favour of Morales when it resumed. The stoppage fed accusations of fraud and prompted an audit of the vote by the Organisation of American States. But Bolivia’s opposition leaders say the call for a fresh vote comes too late. Luis Fernando Camacho, a civic leader from the opposition stronghold Santa Cruz, said the OAS audit shows fraud and that Morales should resign.

Full Article: Evo Morales agrees to new elections after irregularities found | World news | The Guardian.

National: Election security drill pits red-team hackers against DHS, FBI and police | Sean Lyngaas/CyberScoop

A year from the 2020 election, sophisticated exercises to help secure the vote are kicking into high gear. On Tuesday, executives from the Boston-based firm Cybereason will conduct a tabletop exercise testing the resolve of officials from the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, and the police department of Arlington County, Virginia, among other organizations. The fictional scenario will involve attackers from an unnamed foreign adversary laying siege to a key city in a U.S. swing state. Hacking, physical attacks and disinformation via social media will be on the table as the attackers seek to flip the vote to their preferred candidate — or sow enough doubt among voters to undermine the result. One of the objectives of the red team — technical specialists from Cybereason and other private organizations — is voter suppression. That is exactly what Russian operatives aimed to achieve in 2016 and what, according to U.S. officials, they could strive for again in 2020. What participants learn from Tuesday’s event can be worked into future election-security drills, which will only grow more frequent as the 2020 vote approaches.

Full Article: Election security drill pits red-team hackers against DHS, FBI and police.

National: Internet Voting Is Becoming A Reality In Some States, Despite Cyber Fears | Miles Parks/NPR

For decades, the cybersecurity community has had a consistent message: Mixing the Internet and voting is a horrendous idea. “I believe that’s about the worst thing you can do in terms of election security in America, short of putting American ballot boxes on a Moscow street,” howled Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., on the Senate floor this year. And yet, just a few years removed from Russia’s attack on democracy in the 2016 presidential election, and at a time of increased fear about election security, pockets of the U.S. are doing just that: experimenting with Internet voting as a means to increase turnout. Some experts are terrified. Others see the projects as necessary growth in an American voting system they call woefully stuck in a previous century. The number of people expected to vote this way in 2020 is still minuscule. But the company administering the system and advocates pushing for its use are open about wanting to fundamentally change the way Americans cast their ballots over the coming decade. The U.S. does not have a federalized election infrastructure. That means states and localities have the freedom to oversee voting how they see fit, with little oversight from the federal government. In some cases, that can lead to contradictory trends: At the same time some states implement same-day voter registration, others add more burdensome photo ID requirements. Voting technology is no different.

Full Article: Internet Voting Is Becoming A Reality In Some States, Despite Cyber Fears : NPR.

National: Cyber firm sows chaos in election hack simulation | Derek B. Johnson/FCW

The fictional City of Adversaria was ground zero for an Election Day security training exercise pitting law enforcement officials attempting to maintain order during an election against “K-OS,” a mysterious cyber group aiming to disrupt and undermine voter confidence. The simulated battle was part of Operation Blackout, a tabletop exercise hosted by Cybereason Nov. 5 to test how federal officials might react to a dedicated attack on election day. The company invited officials from real federal agencies like FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to sit in on both the “Blue” team representing law enforcement and “Red” team representing K-OS, to learn how to better protect election infrastructure. Ari Schwartz, former senior director of cybersecurity at the National Security Council under President Barack Obama, helped adjudicate the exercise and told FCW afterwards that in a real election, much of the planning by defenders would be gamed out in the weeks and months leading up to election day, but that unforeseen attack vectors are always out there and can throw a wrench into the gears of the best laid plans.

Full Article: Cyber firm sows chaos in election hack simulation -- FCW.

National: Administration officials say election security is a ‘top priority’ ahead of 2020 | Tal Axelrod/The Hill

Several administration officials Tuesday released a joint statement assuring the public that they are prioritizing election security less than a year away from the 2020 presidential race. Attorney General William Barr, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, outgoing acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan, acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire, FBI Director Christopher Wray and others said they have increased the level of federal support to state and local election officials and are prioritizing the sharing of threat intelligence to improve election security. “In an unprecedented level of coordination, the U.S. government is working with all 50 states and U.S. territories, local officials, and private sector partners to identify threats, broadly share information, and protect the democratic process. We remain firm in our commitment to quickly share timely and actionable information, provide support and services, and to defend against any threats to our democracy,” they said in a joint statement.

Full Article: Administration officials say election security is a 'top priority' ahead of 2020 | TheHill.

Editorials: Empower the FEC to Fight Election Crime – A depleted commission faces threats from Russia and beyond | Bloomberg

Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas, two Soviet-born associates of Rudolph Giuliani, are charged with funneling $325,000 in foreign money into a super-PAC supporting President Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign. Their indictment should serve as a warning about the threat of foreign manipulation of U.S. elections. It also proves the need for a functioning Federal Election Commission. After a resignation in August, the six-seat commission is down to only three members. The commission needs four for a quorum, and requires a quorum to authorize investigations by its office of general counsel. So FEC lawyers can work on cases previously authorized, but they can’t investigate new ones until the president nominates, and the Senate confirms, at least one new commissioner. Trump has nominated Texas lawyer James “Trey” Trainor III — but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has fast-tracked dozens of federal court nominees, has dragged his feet on this one, failing to schedule a hearing or a vote. McConnell’s antipathy to campaign regulation appears to be trumping his duty to voters.

Full Article: Federal Election Commission Needs Members to Stop 2020 Vote Crime - Bloomberg.

Georgia: Problem with new election equipment delays voting in Georgia counties | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A glitch with Georgia’s new voter check-in computers caused delays in most of the six counties testing it, causing some precincts to stay open late to accommodate voters who left without casting their ballots. The problem occurred in at least four of the six counties where the new voting system was being tested Tuesday before it’s rolled out statewide to 7.4 million registered voters during the March 24 presidential primary. Most Georgia voters were still using the state’s 17-year-old voting technology Tuesday. Poll workers weren’t able to create voter access cards on new voting check-in computers manufactured by KnowInk. Those cards activate touchscreen voting machines so that they display the ballot associated with the jurisdictions where voters are registered. In Decatur County, near the Florida border, some voters waited 45 minutes for the problem to be fixed. Decatur election officials decided to keep precincts open an hour later, until 8 p.m. “Let’s get these kinks resolved now, before March 24,” said Carol Heard, chief elections officer for Decatur County. “My hair was red before today. Now it’s gray.” The same issue also occurred in Bartow, Carroll, Paulding and Lowndes counties. Catoosa County had no problems.

Full Article: Elections: 'Glitch' in new equipment delays voting in Georgia counties.

Indiana: Machines reportedly switching votes plagues Indiana county for second straight election | Owen Daugherty/The Hill

Voting machines reportedly switching people’s choices have troubled a county in Indiana for the second consecutive election. Tippecanoe County experienced issues with machines switching people’s selections on Election Day on Tuesday at multiple locations, according to the Lafayette Post & Courier. Tippecanoe County Clerk Julie Roush was notified by a voter who called in saying their selection on a voting machine at a local polling location would be changed by the machine, which would mark an “X” for someone other than the candidate the voter wanted. Roush said she checked the calibration on three different voting machines after receiving a call. Robert Kurtz, a resident of West Lafayette who went to vote Tuesday, recorded a video of a touch screen on a voting machine that would not record the proper selection. “When I touched a square next to a candidate’s name, the machine selected the square for the candidate above,” Kurtz told the new outlet. “If I touched the square for the candidate at the top of the list, nothing happened.”

Full Article: Machines reportedly switching votes plagues Indiana county for second straight election | TheHill.

Indiana: New voting machines cause some snags, delays in St. Joseph County elections | Caleb Bauer/South Bend Tribune

The implementation of new voting machines for Tuesday’s election came with hiccups and technical issues in St. Joseph County. Early results showed the wrong number of precincts reporting, technical malfunctions on the iPads used to scan voter IDs caused delays, many poll workers were unfamiliar with the new voting machines, and votes for a write-in candidate in South Bend were not immediately tallied. Still, members of the county Election Board were adamant that the problems didn’t impact vote counts. Rita Glenn, the county clerk and an election board member, said plans are already being put in place to provide more training for poll workers for future elections and to rectify the software issues that surfaced Tuesday. “We need to do a little bit more thorough training and get more people involved,” Glenn said. “Next year will be a bigger election, so we’re going to make sure we’re addressing issues ahead of time.” For about 20 minutes on Tuesday night, the election board’s YouTube live stream of results, which The Tribune and other local media use to release information to the public, showed incorrect tallies of the number of precincts reporting.

Full Article: New voting machines cause some snags, delays in St. Joseph County elections | Local | southbendtribune.com.

Kentucky: A Bevin-Beshear recount? Here’s what could happen in the Kentucky governor’s race | Joe Sonka/Louisville Courier Journal

To cap off one of the wildest finishes to a gubernatorial election in Kentucky history, Democratic candidate Andy Beshear declared victory to supporters Tuesday night, moments after Republican incumbent Matt Bevin told supporters that he will not concede the race. “This is a close, close race,” said Bevin, who trailed Beshear by 5,189 votes with 100% of precincts reporting across the state. “We are not conceding this race by any stretch.” Later that night, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes told CNN her office had called the race for Beshear, as they do not believe the difference in the vote can be made up by Bevin. As if matters couldn’t get more complicated, Republican Senate President Robert Stivers then told reporters that a joint session of the Kentucky General Assembly may eventually decide the winner, citing a provision in the state constitution that hasn’t been used in 120 years. So … what now?

Full Article: Bevin-Beshear recount: What happens next in Kentucky governor race.