National: Trump says election proposals in coronavirus stimulus bill would hurt Republican chances | Maggie Miller/The Hill

President Trump said Monday that the vote-by-mail proposal in the original Democrat-backed House version of the coronavirus stimulus bill would have ensured that no Republicans were ever elected again. “The things they had in there were crazy. They had things, levels of voting that if you ever agreed to, you would never have a Republican elected in this country again,” Trump said during an appearance on “Fox & Friends.” “They had things in there about election days and what you do and all sorts of drawbacks. They had things that were just totally crazy.” Trump was referring to provisions that would have given $4 billion to states to boost mail-in and absentee ballots. Specific proposals included requiring states to send absentee ballots to every registered voter, requiring online and same-day voter registration, and expanding early voting by 15 days. House Administration Committee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who spearheaded the addition of the election funds and policies to the House version of the stimulus package, pushed back strongly against Trump’s comments on Monday, describing them as “morally bankrupt.” “The President says that if we make it easier to vote, Republicans will lose elections,” Lofgren said in a statement. “He is apparently willing to expose voters to the deadly COVID-19 for purely partisan political advantage.” She emphasized that “this is morally bankrupt and a monstrous example of putting party ahead of America. Every American, regardless of party affiliation, should condemn the President’s apparent belief that it’s a good thing for American voters to risk their lives when safer voting alternatives are possible.” Ellen Kurz, the founder and CEO of iVote, a political action committee, told The Hill that Trump’s “sentiments bring into stark relief why Republican officials across the country have taken every opportunity to keep people from voting.” 

National: Trump: If it’s easy for people to vote, Republicans will never win again | Emily Singer/The American Independent

Donald Trump on Monday offered insight into why Republican lawmakers opposed a Democratic proposal in the coronavirus relief package that would’ve allowed states to shift their 2020 elections to all-mail ballots. “If you look at before and after, the things they had in [the bill] were crazy,” Trump told “Fox & Friends” on Monday morning. “They had things, levels of voting that if you ever agreed to it you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.” Democrats have been pushing for a shift to absentee ballots in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that states could still hold elections even if the virus is still raging in November. Already, a number of states that do not allow for no-excuse absentee voting — that is, allowing voters to vote by mail for any reason — have had to postpone their primary contests, as requiring voters to show up at polling sites, and possibly wait in crowded lines for hours, could further spread the virus. “Without federal action, Americans might have to choose between casting a ballot and protecting their health. That’s wrong, and we must take swift action to address the problem,” Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Ron Wyden of Oregon — who introduced a bill to shift states to all-mail elections — wrote in a Washington Post op-ed. “The best way to ensure that this virus doesn’t keep people from the ballot box is to bring the ballot box to them. We must allow every American the ability to vote by mail.”

National: Trump says Republicans would ‘never’ be elected again if it was easier to vote | Sam Levine/The Guardian

Donald Trump admitted on Monday that making it easier to vote in America would hurt the Republican party. The president made the comments as he dismissed a Democratic-led push for reforms such as vote-by-mail, same-day registration and early voting as states seek to safely run elections amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Democrats had proposed the measures as part of the coronavirus stimulus. They ultimately were not included in the $2.2tn final package, which included only $400m to states to help them run elections. “The things they had in there were crazy. They had things, levels of voting that if you’d ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again,” Trump said during an appearance on Fox & Friends. “They had things in there about election days and what you do and all sorts of clawbacks. They had things that were just totally crazy and had nothing to do with workers that lost their jobs and companies that we have to save.” Democrats often accuse Republicans of deliberately making it hard to vote in order to keep minorities, immigrants, young people and other groups from the polls. And Republicans often say they oppose voting reforms because of concerns of voter fraud – which is extremely rare – or concerns over having the federal government run elections. But Trump’s remarks reveal how at least some Republicans have long understood voting barriers to be a necessary part of their political self-preservation. “I don’t want everybody to vote,” Paul Weyrich, an influential conservative activist, said in 1980. “As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

National: HackerOne cuts ties with mobile voting firm Voatz after it clashed with researchers | Sean Lyngaas/CyberScoop

HackerOne, a company that pairs ethical hackers with organizations to fix software flaws, has kicked mobile voting vendor Voatz off its platform, citing the vendor’s hostile interactions with security researchers. It’s the first time in its eight-year existence that HackerOne, which works with companies from AT&T to Uber, has expelled an organization from its bug-bounty-hosting platform, a HackerOne spokesperson said. The decision comes after Voatz assailed the motives of MIT researchers who found flaws in the company’s voting app. “After evaluating Voatz’s pattern of interactions with the research community, we decided to terminate the program on the HackerOne platform,” a HackerOne spokesperson told CyberScoop. “We partner with organizations that prioritize acting in good faith towards the security researcher community and providing adequate access to researchers for testing.” It is the latest security-related setback for Voatz, which is trying to make inroads in a market dominated by traditional voting machine manufacturers. In the last two years, a smattering of U.S. counties have used the Voatz smartphone app in elections to try to improve turnout.

National: The Postal Service, in trouble before covid-19, is fighting for its life | Joe Davidson/The Washington Post

The $2 trillion congressional coronavirus assistance package would provide badly needed relief for millions of Americans and businesses but little for one organization already in desperate financial health. The U.S. Postal Service has been in money trouble for years. Now, covid-19, the disease the virus causes, is forcing the quasi-governmental agency into a fight for its life. “What we’ve seen in the pandemic is the collapse of mail,” Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.), chairman of the government operations subcommittee that oversees the Postal Service, said by phone. “While people are shipping packages, mail volume has collapsed.” Unless Congress acts quickly, the decline in mail because of covid-19 could soon close the constitutionally mandated mail service, according to Connolly and Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), chairwoman of the full Committee on Oversight and Reform. They called the situation “a national emergency” as they proposed postal relief measures. “As a direct result of the coronavirus crisis, it has become clear that the Postal Service will not survive the summer without immediate assistance from Congress and the White House,” Maloney and Connolly wrote in a letter Tuesday to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “Postal Service officials warn that, without immediate intervention, the precipitous drop off in mail use across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic could shutter the Postal Service’s doors as early as June.”

National: Stimulus package provides United States Postal System no funding, postal service could shutter by June 2020 amid coronavirus | Nicole Goodkind/Fortune

Fifty years ago, a postal worker strike halted mail delivery. The eight-day strike, carried out by 150,000 letter carriers across 30 cities, prompted then-President Richard Nixon to declare an emergency and send in the National Guard to deliver mail. “The United States Postal System is a vital element of our entire communications system. The poor depend heavily upon it for medical services and also for government assistance,” Nixon said in an address to the nation. “Veterans depend on it for their compensation checks. The elderly depend on it for their Social Security checks.” Today, the Postal Service is just as essential: It delivers about 1 million lifesaving medications each year and serves as the only delivery link to Americans living in rural areas. Working with other delivery services like UPS, the agency supports $1.7 trillion in sales and 7.3 million private sector workers year, and this year will prove essential to delivering the 2020 Census to citizens as well as any vote-by-mail initiatives. The USPS is the federal government’s most favorably viewed agency, with an approval rating of 90%. Yet once again, the USPS is in crisis mode.

National: Coronavirus cripples voter registration efforts. Millions could be denied. | Alex Seitz-Wald/NBC

Presidential elections are typically prime time for bringing new people into the political process, but the coronavirus pandemic is making voter registration more difficult than ever, prompting concerns that many young Americans and other nonvoters might miss their chance to get onto the rolls before November. “This is the moment when we historically see people take action to register to vote,” said Kristen Clarke, the president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “The public health crisis has brought all of that activity virtually to a grinding halt.” Voter registration happens year-round, but the months leading up to a presidential election are crucial as interest in politics spikes and funding for registration efforts flows in. In the runup to the 2016 presidential election, Americans filed more than 77.5 million voter registration applications, according to the Election Assistance Commission, a federal agency that helps states administer elections, and total registration topped 200 million.

National: How Will We Vote? Outbreak Revives Debate on Mail-In Ballots | Nicholas Riccardi and Rachel La Corte/Associated Press

As the coronavirus pandemic knocks primary election after primary election off schedule, Democrats argue the outbreak shows the country needs to move toward one of their longtime goals — widespread voting by mail — to protect the November election. But Democrats’ hopes for using the crisis to expand voting by mail face firm Republican opposition, as well as significant logistical challenges. In some states, it would amount to a major revamp of their voting system just eight months before an election. Vote-by-mail boosters already lost the first round of the fight. Democrats tried and failed to insert a broad mandate expanding voting by mail in the stimulus bill, a proposal that could cost as much as $2 billion. Instead, the bill included $400 million to help states adjust elections however they see fit before November. But Democrats in Washington say they will keep pressing the issue, pointing to the increasing number of states that are shifting to mail-in voting for primaries as evidence that the time is right. A poll from the Pew Research Center released Monday found that about two-thirds of Americans would be uncomfortable voting at polling places during the outbreak. “Practically every single Tuesday, we see another state reacting to their inability to run their election in the middle of this incredible health care pandemic,” said Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the first state to vote entirely through the mail. He called expanded mail voting “not even a close call.” Former Vice President Joe Biden, the leading Democratic presidential candidate, joined the push Sunday. “We should be looking to all-mail ballots across the board,” Biden said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “We should be beginning to plan that in each of our states.”

National: Voting security guidelines get Election Assistance Commission attention | Tim Starks/Politico

New federal voting system guidelines prohibiting internet and wireless connectivity received significant attention on Friday when members of an Election Assistance Commission advisory group explained the broad suite of new guidelines to EAC commissioners and the public during a virtual meeting. If approved, version 2.0 of the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines will require voting machines and ballot scanners to be air-gapped from networked devices, such as e-poll books that access voter registration databases. The new VVSG would also require physical connections instead of Wi-Fi or Bluetooth for peripherals such as keyboards and audio headsets. The internet and wireless bans “are logical and make sense and definitely could be [accomplished by] election officials,” said Orange County, Calif., elections supervisor Neal Kelley, a member of the EAC’s Technical Guidelines Development Committee. Asked by EAC Commissioner Donald Palmer whether the bans were feasible, Kelley said Orange County and other jurisdictions already use air gaps. The requirements should not “be onerous in any way,” he said. The NIST staffers who wrote the VVSG provisions “had many discussions surrounding this issue,” said Mary Brady, the head of NIST’s voting system program. Staffers talked to vendors about “what they thought might be workable,” she told Palmer. They also reassured election officials that simple workarounds existed for their most common networking use cases.

National: Coronavirus upends US election cycle as officials scramble to protect voters | Joan E Greve/The Guardian

When Spelman College announced this month it was suspending in-person classes and closing residence halls in response to coronavirus, Ashee Groce, a junior, had a question: how would she vote? Groce, who serves as president of Young Democrats of America at Spelman, had registered herself and a number of fellow students in the Atlanta area. But they had now lost their housing and would have to return home before Georgia’s presidential primary. On a press call for the not-for-profit Rock the Vote, Groce said she was grateful Georgia was one of the states that have delayed their primaries, giving her more time to figure out how to cast a ballot, but those decisions have sparked their own set of concerns. As the coronavirus outbreak spreads across America, it is wreaking havoc in an election year as Democrats pick a champion to try to oust Donald Trump from the White House. But at least 15 Democratic primaries have now been delayed because of coronavirus, essentially freezing the Democratic nominating contest – currently dominated by the former vice-president Joe Biden. While state officials scramble to find safe ways for voters to cast their ballots, voting rights advocates warn that lawmakers will have to do considerable work to ensure the pandemic does not derail the presidential election.

National: Experts are warning coronavirus puts integrity the election at risk. Here’s what could happen come November. | Marshall Cohen and Kelly Mena/CNN

As states scramble to delay their spring primaries, election professionals and voting experts are anxiously looking ahead to November and warning that the coronavirus pandemic is already threatening the safety and integrity of the next presidential election. These experts are raising the alarm that the virus poses unprecedented challenges to the 2020 election, and that time is running out to prevent a disaster at the polls. President Donald Trump will square off against likely Democratic nominee Joe Biden in what is shaping up to be a tight race, where small tweaks to voting rules could tip the scales or trigger a constitutional crisis. The Trump administration is planning for a pandemic with multiple waves of illness that are expected to stretch into next year, according to an internal government report obtained by CNN. That means sweeping changes will be necessary in all 50 states to pull off the first pandemic-plagued presidential election in American history, according to interviews with more than a dozen state officials, former federal officials, voting rights activists and legal scholars.

National: How to Get Ahead of Election 2020 Security Threats | Tom Guarente/StateTech Magazine

With the first waves of 2020 election primaries behind us, state officials continue to face the question of whether their election systems are prepared for looming cybersecurity threats. Foreign threat actors have shown again and again their interest in undermining one of the most sacred rights Americans hold: the vote. In Florida, it’s been reported, Russian interference in voter roll systems had the potential to alter results during the 2016 midterm elections. In Illinois, media reports show,  there’s evidence that hackers working for Russian military intelligence installed malware on the network of a voter registration technology vendor that year. In fact, all 50 states’ election systems were targeted by Russia in 2016, according to a July 2019 report from the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Security experts have seen a number of potential threats to the 2020 elections, namely a significant increase in ransomware attacks, continued disinformation campaigns and more aggressive nation-state attacks within regions outside the United States.

Editorials: What Happens in November if One Side Doesn’t Accept the Election Results? How the coronavirus could contribute to a 2020 election meltdown. Richard L. Hasen/Slate

The November 2020 presidential election won’t be run perfectly—we have never had a perfect election conducted in this country or elsewhere—but the unique challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic add special stress to what was already going to be a difficult election and underline the need to ensure that it is run in a way that maximizes both voter access and integrity. Even before the current crisis, I had been deeply concerned about the chances of a 2020 “election meltdown,” in which the 47 percent or more of the population on the losing side would not accept the results as legitimate. I am even more worried now because of the changes and shortcuts that will be necessary to successfully run November’s tally amid a pandemic. Here is what we need to do to minimize the chances of a November meltdown.

Arkansas: Judge rejects absentee-ballot extension for runoff | Linda Satter/Arkansas Democrat Gazette

A federal judge on Monday evening denied a last-minute request to allow absentee ballots for today’s runoff elections to be counted as long as they are postmarked by today and received within 10 days. In denying a temporary restraining order requested Friday by the nonprofit Christian Ministerial Alliance, citing voting difficulties caused by the covid-19 pandemic, U.S. District Judge James Moody Jr. noted Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s March 20 executive order suspending some election laws. The order was issued “to aid County officials and County Board of Election Commissioners to carry out their duties in respect to the March 31, 2020 election deadlines.” It allowed eligible voters to request absentee ballots from their counties of residence and for the ballots to be sent if the applications were received within seven days of Election Day. “The effect of this Executive Order is to allow anyone to request an absentee ballot, regardless of whether they are unavoidably absent or unable to attend, and to allow them to request the absentee ballot by mail within seven days of an election,” Moody said.

Florida: Voter registration system experiences ‘intermittent issues’ | Allison Ross/Tampa Bay Times

Florida’s online voter registration system began experiencing “intermittent issues” Sunday that could have kept some residents from registering to vote online. Some users who went to on Sunday encountered a 503 error saying the service was unavailable. The Florida Department of State said Sunday evening that some users experienced issues but others have been able to submit voter registration applications. It said Sunday evening that the site appeared to be up and running. A reporter briefly encountered the error Monday morning, but the website came up when the site was refreshed. The state has added a notification to the website apologizing for any inconvenience and saying it’s working to resolve the issue “as expeditiously as possible.” It has not responded to a question of what caused the problem. The website issue comes at a time when some of the other channels for registering to vote are less available.

Idaho: May primary election won’t be delayed, but will go all-absentee | Betsy Z. Russell/Idaho Press

Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney said Monday afternoon that the governor won’t be delaying the May 19 primary election, but it’ll go all-absentee due to the risk from coronavirus. “He is not going to delay it,” Denney told the Idaho Press. “We still have some things to iron out about exactly what we will be trying to do … and I can tell you we’re going to push very, very hard for as much absentee as we can, so that we don’t have people having to be in contact with each other.” Gov. Brad Little’s office confirmed this decision in a press release later that afternoon and said Little will issue a proclamation addressing the election in the coming days. The election will be conducted by mail, the governor’s announcement states, noting “the move is necessary after it became clear that sufficient polling places and poll workers could not be obtained for the election.” There were legal impediments to delaying the election for a month, as Denney had requested. “Personally, I don’t think it’s legally impossible, but there was a question whether he had the authority to delay it or not,” Denney explained. “By not delaying it, it takes one more potential challenge off the table.”

New Jersey: Questions Remain About Whether Murphy Will Delay Primary, Use Mail-in Balloting | Colleen O’Dea/NJ Spotlight

This year’s primary election for seats representing New Jersey in Congress will feature contests that involve either one or both of the major parties in nearly all districts as well as the battle for Democratic U.S. Sen. Cory Booker’s seat. What isn’t known now is how and when the primary, typically held on the first Tuesday in June, will take place. State officials are evaluating the situation, given the current state of emergency due to the spread of COVID-19, and are expected to make a decision soon. So far, Gov. Phil Murphy has declined to change the date of the primary, now scheduled for June 2, but he could choose to delay the vote or have it conducted entirely by mail if he thinks the disease will still be a threat in two months. Murphy already postponed some local and school board elections until May 12 and ordered that all elections by that date be conducted completely by mail-in balloting. Some states, including Pennsylvania and Connecticut, have postponed their primaries until June 2. That traditionally had been the last primary date for the presidential election, which is also this year. But other states have pushed their voting even further back — Louisiana until June 20, for instance, and New York and Kentucky until June 23.

New Mexico: Clerks seek emergency court action for all-mail voting in primary | Dan McKay/Albuquerque Journal

More than two dozen of New Mexico’s county clerks asked the state Supreme Court on Monday for an emergency order that would allow them to conduct the June 2 primary by mail. The clerks said they otherwise face an impossible choice – putting voters’ and election workers’ lives at risk or violating their oath of office – amid the coronavirus pandemic. “The state of New Mexico faces a public health emergency unprecedented in modern times,” the clerks said in an their petition. Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, New Mexico’s chief election officer, supports the petition, describing the move to mail-in ballots – with some exceptions for in-person voting – as a sensible way to protect public health and the right to vote. The unusual petition seeks emergency court intervention. The clerks acknowledge that an immediate special session – allowing the governor and legislators to change election laws – is a potential solution. But it isn’t practical to convene a session amid a virus outbreak that could kill hundreds of New Mexicans in the next few months, the clerks said, citing a projection by University of Washington researchers. The clerks also noted that most of New Mexico’s 112 legislators are 60 or older, putting them most at risk of the disease.

Ohio: Voting rights groups sue state over extended Ohio primary | Rick Rouan and Darrel Rowland/Columbus Dispatch

Voting rights advocates sued the state Monday over a new primary election plan state lawmakers adopted last week after polls were closed because of the COVID-19 outbreak. The League of Women Voters, A. Philip Randolph Institute and four individual voters filed a federal lawsuit Monday alleging the plan violates the National Voter Registration Act and the First and Fourteenth amendments of the U.S. Constitution. Immediate action is needed from the court “to prevent the state from compounding the current public health crisis into a crisis for democracy in Ohio,” the lawsuit said. Among the remedies they are seeking is to push the completion of the election to a later date. “Under the General Assembly’s undemocratic election scheme, thousands, if not millions, of Ohioans will not get to vote through no fault of their own,” said Jen Miller, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio, in a prepared statement.

Wisconsin: Legal Fight Over Wisconsin Primary Reaches State High Court | Joe Kelly/Courthouse News

Officials from a liberal-leaning Wisconsin county accused state Republicans of playing politics Monday in response to a petition filed in the state’s highest court challenging the county clerk’s decision to waive photo ID requirements for absentee ballots in next week’s primary in light of Covid-19 disruptions. Mark Jefferson, executive director of the Wisconsin Republican Party, asked the state supreme court on Friday to review Dane County Clerk Scott McDonnell’s decision to allow certain voters to request and cast absentee ballots without presenting a photo ID, which was made on the basis that these voters are “indefinitely confined” due to the coronavirus outbreak and the various lockdown measures enacted to slow its spread. Republicans contend that clerks have no legal authority to waive the photo ID requirement and argued in their petition that “without this court’s intervention, the upcoming election will take place under two sets of different rules—one for voters in Dane County, and one for voters in the rest of the state.” The state GOP’s petition makes a grand total of five separate lawsuits brought in the last two weeks over how to proceed with Wisconsin’s April 7 primary election as the Covid-19 pandemic snarls governments and volatile markets and upends civic life across the globe. As of Monday afternoon, Wisconsin reported nearly 1,200 confirmed cases of Covid-19, including 18 deaths.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Personal details for the entire country of Georgia published online | Catalin Cimpanu/ZDNet

The personal details for more than 4.9 million Georgians, including deceased citizens, has been published on a hacking forum over the weekend, on Saturday. Personal information such as full names, home addresses, dates of birth, ID numbers, and mobile phone numbers were shared online in a 1.04 GB MDB (Microsoft Access database) file. The leaked data was spotted by the Under the Breach, a data breach monitoring and prevention service, and shared with ZDNet over the weekend. The database contained 4,934,863 records including details for millions of deceased citizens — as can be seen from the screenshot below. Georgia’s current population is estimated at 3.7 million, according to a 2019 census. It is unclear if the forum user who shared the data is the one who obtained it. The data’s source also remains a mystery. On Sunday, ZDNet initially reported this leak over as coming from Georgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC), but in a statement on Monday, the commission denied that the data originated from its servers, as it contained information that they don’t usually collect.

Mali: Legislative elections hampered by low voter turnout | Ineke Mules/Deutsche Welle

Few turned out to vote in Mali’s long-delayed parliamentary elections over the weekend, as the country grapples with the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic, the kidnapping of main opposition leader Soumalia Cisse, and an ongoing security crisis in the state’s north and central regions. An official turnout figure was not available at the closing of the polls. However, observers from a group of civil society associations estimated that the figure was close to 7.5%. In addition to concerns over the spread of coronavirus, which meant many chose to stay at home, at least 200,000 people who had been displaced by violence were also unable to vote. The elections had already been postponed several times – the last parliamentary poll was held in 2013, which saw President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s Rally for Mali party win a significant majority. The next parliamentary election was due to be held in late 2018 following Keita’s re-election, however the vote was repeatedly deferred owing to security issues. Mali announced its first coronavirus death on Saturday evening, just hours before the polls opened. The victim was a 71-year-old man who had recently returned from France. Mali currently has 20 confirmed cases of the virus. Several opposition parties had called for the election to be canceled due to fears over the spread of coronavirus. However, Prime Minister Boubou Cisse said proper precautions had been put in place and issued an appeal to voters to observe hygiene measures at the polls.

Wisconsin: ‘Your Health or the Right to Vote’: A Battle in Wisconsin as Its Primary Nears | Nick Corasaniti and Stephanie Saul/The New York Times

With April elections rapidly approaching in Wisconsin, local officials were issuing stark warnings about holding in-person voting amid the escalating coronavirus outbreak, saying the state was forcing voters to choose between their health and their constitutional right to vote. For weeks, both the Democratic governor and Republican lawmakers remained unmoved, pledging to keep the polls open even as other states postponed elections. But on Friday, as the coronavirus cases in the state topped 700, Gov. Tony Evers reversed his position, instead requesting that absentee ballots be sent to every one of the state’s 3.3 million registered voters ahead of its April 7 presidential primary. The sudden request to print and mail millions of ballots in less than two weeks, a task Republican leaders in the state immediately dismissed as impossible, is the latest example of how the pandemic is roiling democratic institutions as states across the country scramble to protect voters and poll workers.

Editorials: Amid coronavirus, give clerks support to conduct the November election | Tina Barton, Kammi Foote and Paddy McGuire/Detroit Free Press

COVID-19 comes 102 years after the Spanish Flu epidemic that coincided with 1918 midterm elections, during Woodrow Wilson’s second term as president. Technology and the political climate have changed drastically in the last century, but protective measures such as quarantines, are eerily similar to today. In 1918, our country managed to hold its November election during a pandemic, suspending quarantines to do so, but it wasn’t without great cost to the health and safety of our nation. We election officials have confidence that we can hold the November 2020 presidential election if this pandemic continues, but we are going to need to act quickly, and without partisanship, if we are going to be successful in that endeavor. Today, more than ever before, local and state election officials across this country have the capacity to provide safe and transparent elections to all voters. We are calling on Congress and States to act now to provide the funding and local autonomy needed to protect the sanctity of this November’s election.

National: How Elections Got So Vulnerable—and What We Can Do Now | Alejandro de la Garza/Time

America’s democracy is at risk from more than Russian Twitter trolls. Our voting systems, the information technology that undergirds our elections, are dangerously outdated and vulnerable to attack. And for Finnish data security expert Harri Hursti, the best defense we have might be counting paper ballots. We don’t have to count every vote by hand, he says — just enough to prove with a reasonable standard of certainty that the electronic results are valid. And for Hursti, who founded a string of companies before becoming involved in the area of election security, such a low-tech solution might be our best chance to protect the core mechanisms of our democracy. Hursti is the subject of the new HBO documentary Kill Chain: The Cyber War on America’s Elections, directed by Simon Ardizzone, Russell Michaels and Sarah Teale. The film, which premiered March 26, follows Hursti as he exposes the vulnerabilities of America’s election systems. Watching the doc and learning the extent of those weaknesses won’t necessarily help you sleep at night, but for activists and ethical hackers, the first step in fixing a system is showing that it was broken to begin with. Hursti spoke with TIME in advance of the film’s release, taking a deep look at the realities of American election security, psychological warfare and the information landscape in the age of coronavirus. The interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

National: Nationwide voting by mail will be a massive undertaking say those who’ve done it | Joseph Marks/The Washington Post

It will take a massive effort of time and resources to increase voting by mail across the nation if the coronavirus pandemic is still jeopardizing in-person voting in November. And the $400 million appropriated by Congress is nowhere near enough to make it feasible. That’s the warning from election officials in states that vote almost entirely by mail, who say it took years of careful planning for them to make the transition. “It’s going to be a herculean effort, but failure is not an option,” Washington state Secretary of State Kim Wyman, whose state is among five that vote that way, told me. By contrast, there are 13 states that don’t currently even offer all their voters the option of casting ballots by mail, according to a tally released yesterday by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University. The warnings underscore the unprecedented challenge facing officials who are beginning to contemplate a complete overhaul of their election operations during just seven months and in the midst of a global health crisis. The shift to better secure elections against hacking after Russian interference in 2016, by contrast, took place over more than three years and still produced mixed results.

National: Unease at the Polls Over Election Integrity | George Leopold/EE Times

The polling place in the gym at Buzz Aldrin Elementary School in northern Virginia was humming like a well-oiled machine on Super Tuesday morning, March 3. Poll workers were efficiently checking in voters, briskly directing them to cardboard cubicles where citizens filled out paper ballots tallied by electronic vote scanners. I handed my drivers’ license to a poll worker who placed it in a holder while pulling up the county database on a tablet device to confirm my eligibility to vote in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. “State your name and address,” she instructed. I was handed a ballot, directed to a tabletop voting “booth”, filled in the circle next to my choice, placed my ballot in the scanner that verified my vote had been duly recorded. Another poll worker handed me a be-flagged “I Voted” sticker and I was on my way. Exercising the franchise took all of ten minutes. Nothing to it. That is, if you live in the genteel suburbs of Washington, DC. Elsewhere, casting a vote can be an ordeal. Accurate votes counts are becoming more problematic. In many areas, touchscreen voting machines based on electronic pen technologies like “ballot marking devices” remain vulnerable. Recent legislation ostensibly designed to secure the 2020 presidential elections lack safeguards such as encryption, election security experts note.

National: The Coronavirus Could Change How We Vote, In 2020 And Beyond | Lee Drutman/FiveThirtyEight

The 2020 election will likely be different thanks to the new coronavirus. In fact, COVID-19 has already left its mark on the Democratic nomination race, with many states postponing their primaries. So it’s likely that in the coming months, states will begin to move toward allowing more voters to mail in their ballots, or at least cast votes early to spread people out. It’s entirely possible that Election Day 2020 will be more like Election Month (or perhaps months, depending on how long it takes to count the ballots). That means between now and November, states and election administrators are going to have to make lots of decisions about how they conduct elections. How they manage this may affect who votes and whose vote is counted, how campaigns operate, and perhaps even the level of uncertainty in the polls. In short, the mechanisms of the voting process may turn out to be as important this year as what the candidates say. We’re not starting from scratch, however. In 2016, roughly two in five voters cast their ballots early or by mail, which marked a record share of ballots cast by methods other than in person on Election Day.

National: Facebook, Google and Twitter Struggle to Handle November’s Election | Kevin Roose, Sheera Frenkel and Nicole Perlroth/The New York Times

The day after the New Hampshire primary last month, Facebook’s security team removed a network of fake accounts that originated in Iran, which had posted divisive partisan messages about the U.S. election inside private Facebook groups. Hours later, the social network learned the campaign of Michael R. Bloomberg, the billionaire former New York mayor, had sidestepped its political ad process by directly paying Instagram meme accounts to post in support of his presidential bid. That same day, a pro-Trump group called the Committee to Defend the President, which had previously run misleading Facebook ads, was found to be promoting a photo that falsely claimed to show Bernie Sanders supporters holding signs with divisive slogans such as “Illegal Aliens Deserve the Same as Our Veterans.” Facebook, Twitter, Google and other big tech companies have spent the past three years working to avoid a repeat of 2016, when their platforms were overrun by Russian trolls and used to amplify America’s partisan divide. The internet giants have since collectively spent billions of dollars hiring staff, fortifying their systems and developing new policies to prevent election meddling. But as the events of just one day — Feb. 12 — at Facebook showed, although the companies are better equipped to deal with the types of interference they faced in 2016, they are struggling to handle the new challenges of 2020.

National: Pandemic pushes states to vote-by-mail, bringing new challenges | Gopal Ratnam/Roll Call

States and local election jurisdictions across the country are preparing for a surge in voting by mail this November stemming from people’s reluctance to gather in crowds or even venture out if the coronavirus pandemic persists through late fall. The switch to mail-in ballots is likely to heighten security challenges both on cyber and physical fronts. While many western states including Oregon, Washington, Colorado and parts of California already rely heavily on vote-by-mail, states east of the Mississippi are likely to see an increase in absentee voter requests and for vote-by-mail, and are preparing for that, Ben Hovland, chairman of the Election Assistance Commission, told CQ Roll Call in an interview. In conference calls with state officials, Hovland said he has heard them discuss changes in processes and procedures to prepare for a surge in vote-by-mail and the risks that could stem from the shift. “It adds to an already difficult job that state election officials face,” Hovland said. “People need to be aware of potential new risk vectors in as far as some jurisdictions are talking about creating an online portal for voters to request mail-in ballots.”