Michigan: Trump attacks Michigan Secretary of State with false claim; Benson quickly responds | By Matt Durr/MLive

President Donald Trump has again attacked Michigan leadership via his Twitter account. This time Trump went after Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, alleging she’s sent absentee ballots to 7.7 million voters in Michigan ahead of the August primaries. In a now deleted tweet, Trump called Benson a “rogue Secretary of State” and threatened to withhold funding to the state for attempted voter fraud. “Breaking: Michigan sends absentee ballots to 7.7 million people ahead of Primaries and the General Election. This was done illegally and without authorization by a rogue Secretary of State. I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!..” read Trump’s original tweet. The problem with Trump’s message is that Benson did not send ballots to voters. On Tuesday, Benson announced all voters in the state will receive applications to vote from home ahead of the August primary and general election in November. Benson said the option is available to Michiganders as part of efforts to protect the safety of voters and election workers during the coronavirus crisis. Shortly after Trump sent his tweet Wednesday morning, Benson corrected the president and pointed out that similar efforts have been made in other states.

Michigan: Can Michigan Mail Absentee Forms? Yes. Can Trump Withhold Funds? Unlikely. | Linda Qiu and Nick Corasaniti/The New York Times

President Trump on Wednesday made false accusations about mail-in voting in Michigan and Nevada, continuing his unfounded attacks on absentee balloting. He initially mischaracterized the Michigan secretary of state’s actions to expand voting by mail during the coronavirus pandemic, falsely claimed such actions were illegal, and repeated his false assertion that there is rampant fraud in mail balloting. He also threatened to withhold money from the states — which itself may be unconstitutional or illegal. Here’s an assessment of his claims.

Is Michigan mailing absentee ballots to 7.7 million voters?

No. Mr. Trump’s first tweet on the issue, on Wednesday morning, inaccurately said that absentee ballots were being mailed to 7.7 million people. But Michigan’s secretary of state, Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, is sending out applications for absentee ballots for the August primary and the November general election. To receive an actual mail-in ballot, a voter would have to fill out the application form and mail it to a local election office to be verified.

New Jersey: New Jersey abandons internet voting, for now | Tim Starks/Politico

New Jersey has decided not to repeat its recent experiment with internet voting during its July 7 presidential primary, the state told MC on Wednesday. “Given Gov. [Phil] Murphy’s announcement on how the primary will be run, it was determined that we don’t need the technology,” said Alicia D’Alessandro, a spokesperson for Secretary of State Tahesha Way. New Jersey allowed voters with disabilities to cast ballots online during May 12’s municipal elections, becoming one of the first states to test the technology as the coronavirus pandemic prompts in-person voting fears. That decision quickly drew a lawsuit from residents seeking to enforce a 2010 court order prohibiting any voting equipment connected to the internet. The Garden State’s decision comes as activists urge election officials to heed the overwhelming expert consensus: Internet voting is fundamentally insecure. Warnings from multiple federal agencies and independent experts “should be enough for New Jersey should to immediately ban all internet-based voting systems for all future elections,” said Penny Venetis, the director of Rutgers University’s International Human Rights Clinic, who wrote a letter supporting the recent lawsuit. (Only one person used the internet voting platform in the May 12 elections, according to Venetis.)

North Carolina: Bipartisan election bill promised as others fight over ballot rules | Travis Fain/WRAL

House leaders are close to filing a bill, with bipartisan support, changing state election rules because of the pandemic. The measure has most of what the State Board of Elections asked for two months ago when it rolled out a laundry list of requests, Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, said Thursday. There are key exceptions though: The bill won’t make Election Day a holiday, and it won’t cover postage costs on absentee ballots, both state board requests. The bill would forbid the board from going to an all-mail-ballot election in November, something the State Board of Elections has not requested but has been a concern for conspiracy theorists nonetheless. Mail-in ballots are already available in North Carolina to any voter who requests one, and they would remain so. Lewis, a top House Republican on election issues, confirmed some details of the bill Thursday and said it will likely be ready Friday after weeks of conversation. He said the bill would also include “a significant amount of money” for local boards of elections.

Ohio: The Buckeye State Readies for the Covid-Russia-Trump Election | Francis Wilkinson/Bloomberg

In an April poll, two-thirds of Americans said the coronavirus pandemic would “significantly disrupt” the election in November. In the same poll, nearly as many expressed confidence that “all citizens who want to vote in the election will be able to.” There may be some tension between those beliefs. “Even people with good intentions don’t know how hard it is to pull off an election,” said Jen Miller, executive director of the League of Women Voters in Ohio. “Pulling off an election” is the task of the elected officials, administrators and volunteers who make voting feasible in the nation’s 10,000 electoral jurisdictions. “Election policy and implementation are really complicated,” said Miller, who has been working on voting rights for 16 years and lobbying the Ohio legislature for nearly as long. “Most of the legislature, regardless of party, struggles to understand the realities of elections.” Those realities are quickly changing as the election comes under multiple threats. Well before the arrival of the novel coronavirus, U.S. intelligence agencies had already concluded that Russia is once again seeking to help elect Donald Trump and rattle public confidence in democracy, an effort that may include cyberattacks on election systems or related infrastructure. Likewise, Trump is once again spreading falsehoods about voter fraud in a parallel effort to undermine democratic faith.

Editorials: Voting test run: Officials will learn a lot from Pennsylvania primary vote by mail | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The campaign to encourage Pennsylvania voters to request mail-in ballots for the June 2 primary election has already resulted in more than 1 million registered voters asking for ballots. Along the way, elections officials are learning that even a mail-in system is not without challenges, and those must be addressed before the November presidential election. In Allegheny County, which has already processed about 180,000 absentee or mail-in ballot requests, officials have had to deal with a problem of duplicate ballots being mailed because of a glitch in processing batches of mailing labels. Elections officials said they have corrected the problem and that bar codes on the ballots will prevent any voter from having more than one ballot counted. Officials need to continue their vigilance in identifying and correcting that problem. Since the county opted to send applications for a mail-in ballot to all registered voters, there is also the issue of ballot applications going to deceased people who have not been removed from registration rolls. Those registration rolls need to be reviewed and purged before November’s election to limit the possibility of voter fraud.

Tennessee: Connection between Shelby County Elections administrator and ES&S under scrutiny | April Thompson/WREG

WREG has learned there is a lot of controversy surrounding the company providing new voting machines for the county and the Shelby County Elections administrator. WREG has confirmed with an election commissioner the company is ES & S, the same company that commission and election administrator Linda Phillips recommended. Phillips says the new machines are desperately needed. “Our current scanners are very, very old,” Phillips said. “Our new election system has new modern updated scanners. But I am becoming increasingly concerned we will not get those in time to do the August election. The hold up, the Letter of Intent for the new equipment hadn’t been approved by the County Mayor.” A group of concerned citizens have raised the issue about the purchase and about Phillips. Erika Sugarmon among them. “It’s an appearance of conflict of interest. Because once these contracts are executed then one or two of her children has appointment with these companies,” Sugarmon said. “And the company ‘Everyone Counts’ for example, she worked there prior to coming to the Shelby County Election Commission.”

Texas: Federal appeals court puts coronavirus mail voting expansion on hold again | James Barragán/Dallas Morning News

A federal appeals court has once again put on hold an expansion of mail voting during the coronavirus in Texas. The decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans on Wednesday came just one day after a federal judge in San Antonio ordered that all Texas voters who feared contracting the coronavirus could apply to vote by mail. The temporary hold on that order is a victory for Attorney General Ken Paxton, who said U.S. District Judge Fred Biery had ignored evidence and disregarded well-established laws in his decision to expand mail voting on Tuesday. But it could prove to be a temporary win. The appeals court’s action is an administrative stay that is in place while the court considers whether to block Biery’s ruling while it hears Paxton’s appeal. The Texas Democratic Party and the voting rights groups that filed the suit to expand mail voting have until Thursday at 3 p.m. to present their argument to the appeals court to give reasons Biery’s order should remain in place while the appeals court hears the case.

Utah: Pushing back against Trump, Romney says 90% of ‘very Republican’ Utah votes by mail | Summer Lin/McClatchy

Senator Mitt Romney broke with President Donald Trump and other GOP leaders who denounced voting by mail, saying it works “very, very well,” media outlets reported. “In my state, I’ll bet 90% of us vote by mail. It works very, very well, and it’s a very Republican state,” Romney told reporters on Wednesday, according to ABC News. Trump has rallied against voting by mail. “They grab thousands of mail-in ballots and they dump it,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Tuesday, according to Politico. “I’ll tell you what — and I don’t have to tell you, you can look at the statistics — there’s a lot of dishonesty going along with mail-in voting.” Trump doubled down on his comments on Wednesday, saying that it could lead to fraud. “Mail-in ballots are a very dangerous thing. They’re subject to massive fraud,” Trump said, according to NPR. When asked if he’d take away federal funding from states that offer mail voting, he said: “We’ll let you know if it’s necessary. … I don’t think it’s going to be necessary.”

Virginia: Conservative lawsuit says absentee voting not needed for coronavirus | Denise Lavoie/Associated Press

A group of voters is suing Virginia election officials over a loosening of restrictions on absentee ballots for next month’s statewide primary, arguing that the state can’t allow voters to use the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to vote by mail. State elections officials and Gov. Ralph Northam have encouraged voters to use absentee ballots for the June 23 primary to prevent the spread of the virus at polling places. Because state law requires voters to list a reason why they can’t vote in person on Election Day, the Virginia State Board of Elections has advised voters they can choose the “disability or illness” option on the form. The federal lawsuit was filed last week by conservative attorney Jim Bopp on behalf of six northern Virginia voters. Bopp has filed a similar lawsuit on behalf of voters in Nevada. The Virginia lawsuit says that expanding absentee balloting is unnecessary to combat COVID-19. “The same social distancing and good hygiene practices — which are effective for preventing the spread of the virus when going out for essential services, like grocery shopping and other essential services — are also an effective way to prevent the spread of the virus for in-person voting,” the lawsuit states.

Uncategorized: After April’s election difficulties, would a vote-at-home system make more sense for Wisconsin? | Patricia McKnight/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Wisconsin’s April primary was problematic by any standard. Voters in some locations stood in line for hours in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, thousands of absentee ballots either weren’t sent out or ended up lost in the mail and others were returned too late to be counted. As a battleground state sure to draw national attention for its August primary and again during the presidential election in November, could a more robust vote-at-home system help more voters safely cast their ballots?  “I’m for whatever makes voting easy or convenient for the most amount of people,” said Milwaukee voter Jaime Wendt. “I think having vote-from-home is a good idea. It would be best if we had something like that with the option to vote in-person either on election day or vote early.” Implementing such a system so quickly would be difficult even if the state’s political leadership was willing to work together to make it happen. And there is ample evidence that Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and the state’s GOP leadership — Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald — have a hard time doing much of anything together.

National: Trump Steps Up Attacks on Mail Vote, Making False Claims About Fraud | Reid J. Epstein, Nick Corasaniti and Annie Karni/The New York Times

President Trump on Wednesday escalated his assault against mail voting, falsely claiming that Michigan and Nevada were engaged in voter fraud and had acted illegally, and threatening to withhold federal funds to those states if they proceed in expanding vote-by-mail efforts. The president inaccurately accused Michigan of sending mail ballots to its residents. In fact, the secretary of state in Michigan sent applications for mail ballots, as election officials have done in other states, including those led by Republicans. In Nevada, where the Republican secretary of state declared the primary an all mail election, ballots are being sent to voters. The Twitter posts were the latest in a series of broadsides the president has aimed at a process that has become the primary vehicle for casting ballots in an electoral system transformed by the coronavirus pandemic. As most states largely abandon in-person voting because of health concerns, Mr. Trump, along with many of his Republican allies, have launched a series of false attacks to demonize mail voting as fraught with fraud and delivering an inherent advantage to Democratic candidates — despite there being scant evidence for either claim.

Texas: Federal judge orders expansion of mail-in voting in Texas | Paul J. Weber/Associated Press

A federal judge Tuesday ordered Texas to allow any of the state’s 16 million voters to cast a ballot by mail over fears of the coronavirus, paving the way for what would be one of the most dramatic expansions of mail-in voting in the country. The decision is unlikely to be the last word. Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who in recent weeks has suggested that steering voters toward wrongly applying for mail-in ballots could result in prosecution, said the state would appeal. He called the ruling by U.S. District Judge Fred Biery a dismissal of “well-established law.” The fight in Texas is just one of several court battles across the country over efforts, mainly by Democrats, to expand access to mail-in ballots amid the pandemic. In Wisconsin, where election officials drew widespread criticism for holding its April 7 presidential primary even as other states delayed voting, a new lawsuit filed Monday argued that not enough has been done since then to ensure that the upcoming elections can be conducted safely and fairly. Voting by mail in Texas is generally limited to those 65 or older or those with a “sickness or physical condition” that prevents voting in person. In a lengthy ruling, Biery rejected Paxton’s assertion that fear of getting the virus doesn’t qualify as a disability under the law.

National: Two primaries underscore dueling paths to holding elections during coronavirus pandemic | Joseph Marks/The Washington Post

Voters got a split-screen view of pandemic-era elections yesterday in Oregon and Kentucky. Both states were scheduled to conduct their presidential primaries, but only Oregon, where voters cast ballots almost entirely by mail, carried it off. The state had tallied results from about 75 percent of 1.2 million ballots it received as of early this morning and declared winners in most major races. Former vice president Joe Biden, the last remaining Democratic presidential candidate, handily won the state’s presidential primary with about 70 percent of votes.  Kentucky, where just about 2 percent of voters cast their ballots by mail in 2018, delayed its primary until June 23. Now, the state is scrambling to rebuild its voting operations from the ground up in just a matter of months. The split demonstrates how some states are facing far greater challenges preparing for the primaries and general election during the pandemic — and how some voters are in greater danger of facing a choice between casting their votes and protecting their health.

National: Trump Is Threatening to Go Ukraine on Michigan Because They’ll Let People Vote By Mail During a Pandemic | Jack Holmes/Esquire

Just to recap a presidential abuse of power from 14 years—whoops, three months—ago, the president withheld vital aid to a United States ally, Ukraine, until the government of that country agreed to ratfuck the 2020 presidential election for his personal benefit. When he was impeached on the basis he’d misused the powers of his office in an attempt to extort a foreign country until it acted to undermine our democracy to help him get reelected, Pamela Karlan, a legal scholar from Stanford, testified in favor of his removal from office on those grounds. She also offered a future hypothetical. “Imagine living in a part of Louisiana or Texas that’s prone to devastating hurricanes and flooding. What would you think if you lived there and your governor asked for a meeting with the president to discuss getting disaster aid that Congress has provided. What would you think if that president said, ‘I would like you to do us a favor. I’ll meet with you, and I’ll send the disaster relief, once you brand my opponent a criminal.’ Wouldn’t you know in your gut that such a president had abused his office, that he had betrayed the national interest, and that he was trying to corrupt the electoral process?”

Editorials: Trump’s bogus attacks on mail-in voting could hurt his supporters, too | Richard L. Hasen /The Washington Post

On Wednesday morning, President Trump threatened to withhold aid from Michigan and Nevada because of purportedly illegal activity related to absentee ballots. In reality, the states are doing nothing illegal — they are trying to ensure voters can exercise their right to vote without jeopardizing their health during a pandemic. Even putting aside the likely unconstitutionality of the president conditioning aid to states upon acceding to his political demands, Trump’s unsupported claims are exceedingly troubling because they seek to cast doubt on the legitimacy and fairness of the upcoming elections without reason. Trump may not realize it, but they are also politically counterproductive for him: Rural Republican voters, even in blue states, may be the ones most hurt in November by attacks on mail-in balloting. Let’s start with the facts. On Michigan, Trump wrote: “Breaking: Michigan sends absentee ballots to 7.7 million people ahead of Primaries and the General Election. This was done illegally and without authorization by a rogue Secretary of State. I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!.” On Nevada, he wrote: “State of Nevada ‘thinks’ that they can send out illegal vote by mail ballots, creating a great Voter Fraud scenario for the State and the U.S. They can’t! If they do, ‘I think’ I can hold up funds to the State. Sorry, but you must not cheat in elections.” But Michigan is not sending absentee ballots to all 7.7 million registered voters in the state, as Trump’s claim suggests. Instead, as Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson explained, officials are sending absentee ballot applications to voters. These forms have to be filled out and sent back to election officials, who verify that these voters are, indeed, eligible to obtain ballots. Republican election officials in states such as Iowa and Nebraska have done the same thing. Political parties send such applications to voters all the time. Trump has offered no evidence that sending absentee ballot applications leads to the fraudulent casting of ballots.

Colorado: State’s mail-in voting infrastructure a boon during COVID-19 | Griffin Swartzell/Colorado Springs | Colorado Springs Independent

Colorado will hold its primary elections on June 30. But during a pandemic, nothing happens normally. On April 7, Wisconsin’s presidential primary elections drew national attention, presenting a model for how states could handle the process of democracy safely. According to an NPR report, turnout there was respectable for a presidential primary — 34 percent, about the same as the state’s turnout in 2008. But Wisconsin’s turnout was only as high as it was because 71 percent of those who voted did so by absentee ballot, a massive leap from 27 percent in November 2016 and 21 percent in November 2018. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that in Milwaukee, the largest city in Wisconsin, only five of a planned 180 polling places opened that day. Vox reported that, after initially agreeing to a typical in-person election, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers pushed to delay the election or extend the deadline for absentee ballots due to how suddenly the pandemic came on. The former was overturned by the state legislature and supreme court, and the latter was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. And the Wisconsin State Journal reports that at least 67 Wisconsinites tested positive for COVID-19 after voting in person or working at the polls that day, though it’s hard to say for certain these people were infected because they were voting.

Connecticut: Voters will be allowed to cast mail-in ballots for the presidential primary if a COVID-19 vaccine isn’t available by August | Zach Murdock/Hartford Courant

Every Connecticut voter will be able to cast a mail-in or drop-off absentee ballot in the state’s delayed-to-August presidential primary election if no COVID-19 vaccine is widely available by then, per a new executive order issued Wednesday by Gov. Ned Lamont. The order comes the same day that President Donald Trump blasted officials in Michigan and Nevada for their plans to send absentee ballot applications to millions of voters — as Connecticut already had announced — and said that he would withhold some unspecified funding from those states in retaliation. Lamont shrugged off the president’s threats at his daily coronavirus news briefing Wednesday afternoon, and pledged to work toward a similar measure for the upcoming November general election.

Florida: Groups say federal funding for election efforts during coronavirus | Dave Berman/Florida Today

A coalition of voting-rights advocacy organizations on Wednesday urged the state to do more to assure that there would be full access to elections in the current time of the coronavirus pandemic. During a video news conference, they pushed for the state to help local supervisors of elections gain access to federal money from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, including for measures to accommodate the expected increase in people voting by mail. They also want to increase the time periods for early in-person voting. That would reduce the potential for long lines of voters on Election Day, allow for social distancing, and better protect poll workers and voters from risk of infection. “Florida’s voters deserve a safe, efficient and fair election,” said Patricia Brigham, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida. “We expect nothing less.”  One proposal would be to have county supervisors of election mail every voter information on how to obtain a vote-by-mail ballot, including a mail ballot request form.

National: Coronavirus has made the 2020 election a perfect storm for voting rights lawsuits | Jon Ward/Yahoo News

The 2020 election is setting up a legal battle of historic proportions over voting rights, said the top Democratic attorney in the thick of the fight. “There’s been more voting rights litigation this election cycle already than there was in all of 2016, by a lot,” said Marc Elias, a D.C.-based lawyer with a long history in the political trenches. “There may be more voting rights litigation in 2020 already than there was in 2016 and 2012 combined. It is on an order of magnitude,” Elias said in an interview on “The Long Game,” a Yahoo News podcast. And the situation is being exacerbated by the coronavirus outbreak, which could require an unprecedented increase in mail-in voting this November. Elias, who was the top campaign lawyer for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, said he currently has 32 active lawsuits in 16 states, with about three-quarters of those suits having been filed since last November. Republicans are not sitting idly by either. The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee have budgeted $20 million for court fights over voting rights.

National: America Is Woefully Unprepared for a COVID-19 Election—And More Than a Million Votes Are at Stake | Ken Stern/Vanity Fair

On Monday advocates for minority voters and voters with disabilities filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to make sweeping changes in election practices in Wisconsin. After a shambolic primary, marked by clashes between the Democratic governor and the Republican-controlled legislature, last-minute court battles, and mail-ballot stumbles, the lawsuit argues that officials will need to make dramatic changes to rectify the failures of the April primary and comply with the requirements of the U.S. Constitution, the Voting Rights Act, and the Americans With Disabilities Act. (A spokesman for the Wisconsin Elections Commission declined ABC News’s request for comment.) Last month more than 1 million Wisconsin voters turned to mail voting, overwhelming state officials. Many towns couldn’t adequately staff polling places, as volunteers, many of them elderly, were hesitant to work. Only five voting locations were open in Milwaukee, with voters waiting up to two and a half hours to cast their votes. In a call with reporters last week, Senator Amy Klobuchar described images of voters wearing garbage bags as makeshift personal protective equipment, which she acidly contrasted with “the president of the United States [who] was able to vote in the luxury of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.” It could have been far worse. Wendy Weiser, an election expert at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, told me that Wisconsin is a “marker for all that can go wrong.” She noted that April 7 was only a lightly contested primary election, and that pitfalls would have been multiplied in a heavily trafficked general election. The specter haunting election officials across the country is a November repeat of Wisconsin 50 times over.

Illinois: Will Illinois switch to all vote-by-mail in November? It could cost counties millions | Kelsey Landis/Belleville News-Democrat

They don’t have enough money and the clock is winding down, but election officials are preparing for three times as many voters to cast ballots by mail in November. The threat of coronavirus could compel unprecedented numbers of Illinoisans to vote from home rather than risk a trip to the polls on November 6, said St. Clair County Clerk Thomas Holbrook. “Anyone with an ounce of sense knows it makes more sense to vote by mail,” Holbrook said. “But the presidential general election is going to be overwhelming and it’s going to stretch our budget and capacity to the limit.” With already strapped budgets, clerks worry about the price tag: each packet costs at least a dollar to print, not to mention postage and labor to process applications, said Vicky Albers, Clinton County clerk. “That’s over a dollar a piece that you don’t have in your budget,” Albers said. In 2016, St. Clair County saw a 66% voter turnout, and 11,400 people applied to vote by mail. That number could double or triple this year as voters decide to avoid the polls, Holbrook said. Statewide in 2016, just 6.5% of voters cast their ballots by mail, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections. That number is almost certain to increase this year.

Georgia: More Georgians voted by mail than in-person on Day 1 of early voting | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Turnout was relatively high on the first day of in-person early voting in Georgia’s primary, but even more people voted absentee Monday amid the coronavirus pandemic. Over 15,000 voters, many of them wearing masks, cast their ballots at early voting locations, according to state election data.That’s a larger turnout than on the first days of in-person voting for primaries in 2016 and 2018, but slightly lower than the start of early voting for this year’s presidential primary on March 2.Still, most Georgians preferred to vote remotely, with over 26,000 absentee ballots received by county election offices Monday. The combination of voting options could result in significant participation in the combined presidential and general primary. A record 1.46 million voters have requested absentee ballots, and many more will cast their ballots during three weeks of early voting and on election day June 9. Overall, nearly 415,000 people have voted so far, including 400,000 who submitted absentee-by-mail ballots. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is encouraging people to vote absentee and avoid human contact, but they can also choose to vote in person.

Indiana: No PPE required: State orders no restrictions on voting | Gus Pearcy/Pharos Tribune

County clerks across Indiana were notified this week by the Indiana Election Division that voters cannot be required to be screened for COVID-19 or forced to wear masks, use hand sanitizer, wash their hands or even respect social distancing guidelines when showing up to vote in person. “You don’t want to have anything perceived as voter suppression or requirements of the voter over and above just coming in and voting,” Boone County attorney Bob Clutter said about the development which he said he hadn’t considered. “You know, the screening might make some people uncomfortable and you don’t want to do anything that would in any way inhibit their way to vote.” The Boone County Courthouse is currently closed to the public. However, people who have business with the courts and all employees are being screened before entering the courthouse with a series of questions about exposure or symptoms of COVID-19. All entrants are also having their temperatures taken. Anyone whose temperature is 100.4 or above is not allowed to enter. Voters will not be subjected to the screening.

Idaho: Secretary of State working with Boise cybersecurity company on absentee election security | Rachel Spacek/Idaho Press

The Idaho Secretary of State’s Office is working with a Boise-based cybersecurity company to track election security-related issues during the state’s unprecedented absentee ballot election. According to a press release, PlexTrac will allow the secretary of state election cybersecurity team to collaborate with every county in the state about any election security issues that come up. Tuesday, the day of the primary election, was the last day for voters to request a ballot. Completed ballots are due June 2, when results will be released. Foster Cronyn, deputy secretary of state, said the office has implemented several tools over previous election years that monitor and report on election security. “PlexTrac consolidates this very complex information into an organized, actionable report for our cyber security analysts,” Cronyn said. “In previous elections, we have had to manually review these reports and look for patterns. Although this election is absentee ballot only, these are still requested, tallied and reported on using large online computing systems. PlexTrac aggregates security reports from these systems.”

Massachusetts: Vote-By-Mail Forces Grow Anxious About Timeline, Renew Push For Action On Beacon Hill | Chris Lisinski/WBUR

Legislation outlining vote-by-mail procedures for the September and November elections in Massachusetts “absolutely cannot wait another month,” electoral reform advocates said Wednesday as they renewed their push for action on Beacon Hill. Under normal circumstances, local departments need several months to prepare fully for major statewide elections, particularly in a presidential year. But with the COVID-19 pandemic upending most aspects of public life — and with voters broadly supporting mail-in ballots — reform advocates argued it is critical for lawmakers to quickly find consensus on the myriad proposals before them. The Sept. 1 primary is less than four months away, and Secretary of State William Galvin wants to begin printing ballots as soon as two weeks from Tuesday. “Election officials need to prepare for the fall, and they need to do it as soon as possible,” said Common Cause Massachusetts Executive Director Pam Wilmot during a virtual press conference alongside about a dozen groups. “We’ll see what the Legislature decides, but time is absolutely of the essence and it needs to go now.”

Kentucky: State board working through election complications | Tom Latek/State Journal

The State Board of Elections met Tuesday to continue preparations for what is likely to be the most unusual election in Kentucky history due to the coronavirus pandemic. Chairman Ben Chandler repeated their goal is to have as many people as possible vote by absentee mail-in ballot for the primary election, which was delayed from May 26 to June 23.  “We’re having trouble getting poll workers, which shouldn’t surprise anybody, and we want to make sure that not only the poll workers who are necessary but the administrative staff at the county clerk offices and the voting public are safe,” he said. Chandler also acknowledged the county clerks have to be able to accommodate those who vote in-person absentee, as well as those who want to vote on Election Day itself, so each of the 120 county clerks were to submit a plan to the state Board of Elections for approval. Executive Director Jared Dearing told the board members, “We are currently at around 90-plus counties with a little less than 30 more to come in. We are in contact with those counties who are still making their plans as we speak.”

Louisiana: House panel refuses expanded vote by mail | Catherine Hunt/The Advocate

A Louisiana House committee Tuesday rejected legislation that would have allowed all registered voters to vote by mail in all state elections, including this fall’s presidential contest. More voters than normal can cast mail-in ballots in 33 states and Washington, D.C., this year to reduce health risks from the coronavirus. Some states, such as Colorado, Oregon and Washington, rely entirely on mail-in ballots for all their elections. Red states like Wyoming, Montana, Utah and Alaska also have decided to conduct their presidential primaries this year entirely through mail ballots. Michigan, a political swing state, announced Tuesday that it would send mail-in ballots to all its voters for the fall election. New Orleans Democratic Rep. Mandie Landry’s House Bill 419 would not mandate voting by mail but simply allow it to be used more broadly. Before the House and Governmental Affairs committee, the measure failed in a party-line, 9-5 vote.

Maryland: After vendor wrongly said Baltimore’s ballots were on the way, officials are scrambling to get them | Emily Opilo/Baltimore Sun

An out-of-state vendor failed to mail hundreds of thousands of ballots to Baltimore voters for nearly a week despite assuring Maryland they were on the way, officials revealed Tuesday amid growing concerns over administration of the June 2 primary. U.S. Postal Service trucks have been driving overnight shifts since officials learned of the problem Sunday, ferrying ballots from Minnesota to Maryland where they are placed into the local mail stream, said Nikki Charlson, deputy administrator of the Maryland Board of Elections. “We have significant unanswered questions about the process, and after the election, we will require a full accounting with a particular focus on Baltimore City ballots,” Charlson said. She said the state had delivered necessary voter information to the company in time for ballots to be mailed more than a week ago. “We are extremely disappointed that the vendor has failed to deliver according to the schedule,” Charlson said.

Michigan: All voters to get absentee ballot applications in mail | Todd Spangler/Detroit Free Press

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said Tuesday all of Michigan’s 7.7 million registered voters will be mailed absentee ballot applications so they can take part in elections in August and November without the risk of in-person voting if they choose to do so. Benson, in a move likely to anger some Republicans and potentially lead to a court battle, said the threat posed by the spread of coronavirus, which has already killed 4,915 Michiganders since March but has been on the decline in recent weeks, is still too great to consider having people go en masse to the polls to vote in the Aug. 4 and Nov. 3 elections. Benson is a Democrat. “By mailing applications we have ensured that no Michigander has to choose between their health and their right to vote,” Benson said. She noted that in 50 local elections held across the state on May 5, turnout was up significantly from other years and that the vast majority of voters cast absentee ballots by mail or through a drop box. “We know from the elections that took place this month that during the pandemic Michiganders want to safely vote,” she said.