National: Top Senate Republican pushes back against Trump’s unsubstantiated claims mail-in-voting leads to mass fraud | Manu Raju and Clare Foran/CNN

A Senate GOP leader raised concerns on Wednesday over President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claims that mail-in-voting leads to mass fraud, arguing that Republicans should instead be encouraging voters to use the method in order to compete in a consequential election that will determine control of Congress and the White House. “Mail-in voting has been used in a lot of places for a long time,” Senate Majority Whip John Thune, the No. 2 Senate Republican, said in the Capitol. “And honestly, we got a lot of folks, as you know, who are investing heavily to try to win that war, it’s always a war too for mail-in ballots. Both sides compete and it’s always an area where I think our side — at least in my experience — has done pretty well.” The South Dakota Republican added, “I don’t want to discourage — I think we want to assure people it’s going to work. It’s secure and if they vote that way, it’s going to count.” The comments come as a range of Republican officials throughout the country have reacted with growing alarm to the President’s attacks on mail-in ballots, saying his unsubstantiated claims of mass voting fraud are already corroding the views of GOP voters, who may ultimately choose not to vote at all if they can’t make it to the polls come November.

National: Coronavirus creates new election threats, experts warn at Black Hat | Laura Hautala/CNET

Election security, meet the coronavirus pandemic. That was the theme of the Black Hat security conference Wednesday, a meeting of cybersecurity experts from around the world that is taking place virtually this year to help limit the spread of COVID-19. The public health emergency will change voting. As a result, voters will have to plan ahead for Election Day, consider participating as a poll worker or other volunteer and be patient for the final tally of votes, said Christopher Krebs, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. His agency, a department of the US Department of Homeland Security, is responsible for programs to secure elections throughout the US. “Be a part of the solution,” Krebs told the audience of security experts. In a keynote address, cybersecurity expert Matt Blaze made a similar call to action. Blaze noted that US elections officials will have to overcome major logistical hurdles to scale up vote-by-mail options while also creating a surplus of in-person voting locations. With fewer than 100 days until the 2020 presidential election, Blaze said it’s imperative for people with tech knowledge to get involved and ask local election officials what help they need.