National: Despite 2020 successes, election officials’ disinformation fight continues | Benjamin Freed/StateScoop

While the execution of the 2020 general election went off with relatively few bumps, election officials and industry experts said Thursday that the rampant disinformation that spread on cable news and social media during and after the campaign still leaves them with challenges in winning voters’ trust. “2020 was best administered election I’ve seen of my career,” Ben Hovland, the chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, said during a panel on election security hosted by the Mitre Corporation. “Election officials around the country put in countless hours and did the work.” That work, Hovland and others said, included expanding their absentee and early voting options in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, recruiting and training younger poll workers to replace seniors who withdrew over coronavirus concerns, implementing new post-election audits and conducting tabletop exercises at the national, state and local levels. Yet the election community still found itself fighting back one of the strongest tides of disinformation about mail-in voting and voting machines that grew so extreme that it prompted death threats against election officials and, eventually, the pro-Donald Trump mob that staged a deadly riot in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. One of those officials who had to put up with those threats was Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who told the Mitre event that Joe Biden’s narrow win over Trump in his state — the first by a Democrat since 1992 — prompted “questions about the accuracy of the election.”

Full Article: Despite 2020 successes, election officials’ disinformation fight continues

National: Massive breach fuels calls for US action on cybersecurity | Ben Fox and Alan Suderman/Associated Press

Jolted by a sweeping hack that may have revealed government and corporate secrets to Russia, U.S. officials are scrambling to reinforce the nation’s cyber defenses and recognizing that an agency created two years ago to protect America’s networks and infrastructure lacks the money, tools and authority to counter such sophisticated threats. The breach, which hijacked widely used software from Texas-based SolarWinds Inc., has exposed the profound vulnerability of civilian government networks and the limitations of efforts to detect threats. It’s also likely to unleash a wave of spending on technology modernization and cybersecurity. “It’s really highlighted the investments we need to make in cybersecurity to have the visibility to block these attacks in the future,” Anne Neuberger, the newly appointed deputy national security adviser for cyber and emergency technology said Wednesday at a White House briefing. The reaction reflects the severity of a hack that was disclosed only in December. The hackers, as yet unidentified but described by officials as “likely Russian,” had unfettered access to the data and email of at least nine U.S. government agencies and about 100 private companies, with the full extent of the compromise still unknown. And while this incident appeared to be aimed at stealing information, it heightened fears that future hackers could damage critical infrastructure, like electrical grids or water systems. President Joe Biden plans to release an executive order soon that Neuberger said will include about eight measures intended to address security gaps exposed by the hack. The administration has also proposed expanding by 30% the budget of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency, or CISA, a little-known entity now under intense scrutiny because of the SolarWinds breach.

Full Article: Massive breach fuels calls for US action on cybersecurity

National: EAC Chairman urged Congress to guarantee election security funding | Tonya Riley/The Washington Post

A top official urged Congress yesterday to ensure dependable funding for the Election Assistance Commission, an independent government body that allocate grants for states to improve their election security. The funding is essential to making sure that states can make critical election security improvements ahead of the 2022 election, said the group’s head. “The nature of cybersecurity threats, the ongoing nature of those threats and the fact that it is a national security issue means there’s real value to having a piece of federal funding that is dependable that can be planned around,” EAC Chairman Benjamin Hovland told members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government. The hearing comes as a Democrat-led Congress tees up a new round of efforts to improve election security in the aftermath of a fiercely disputed 2020 election.  Democrats have made passing a sweeping elections package a priority now that they control the Senate. The package includes permanently authorizing the EAC’s budget as well as new requirements for states to update their voter registration systems and additional funding to make upgrades possible. “The fact these dedicated election officials were able to achieve this feat amid a global pandemic is even more remarkable. However, now is not the time to proclaim “mission accomplished,” said subcommittee Chair Mike Quigley (D-Ill.). “The threats to our democracy are constant and ever evolving. Our enemies will not be taking a break, so neither can we.”

Full Article: The Cybersecurity 202: A top official urged Congress to guarantee election security funding – The Washington Post

National: Mail Voting Boosted Turn Out for Voters With Disabilities. Will Republican Lawmakers Let It Continue? | Abigail Abrams/Time

Republican state lawmakers are advancing a wave of new voting restrictions aimed at reversing the slew of pandemic-inspired election flexibilities, including expansions of mail voting, that most states adopted last year. But new evidence shows that those voting options likely led to significantly higher turnout among Americans with disabilities, a group that is equally as likely to vote Republican as Democrat. Just 11% of voters with disabilities said they experienced difficulties in voting in 2020, down from 26% in 2012, according to a study on voting accessibility published Wednesday by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC). Among disabled voters who used mail ballots, just 5% reported experiencing difficulties, while 18% of disabled voters who opted for in-person voting encountered difficulties. Those numbers mark a major change from previous election cycles, according to experts on political participation. “Anything that makes it easier, that provides more options to people with disabilities, is good for the turnout of people with disabilities,” says Douglas Kruse, a professor at Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations who co-authored the EAC study. But in the wake of former President Donald Trump’s election loss and the subsequent Jan. 6 riots incited by his claims of a stolen election, Republican state lawmakers are doubling down on bills that require Americans to jump through more hoops to cast a vote. A recent analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice found that this year, lawmakers have already filed 165 bills to restrict voter access in 33 states. Many of the bills would limit mail voting, add new voter ID requirements, make it tougher to register to vote and easier for states to kick people off voter rolls if they don’t vote in every election. States that were closely contested in 2020 have seen the most legislative action, with Arizona, Pennsylvania and Georgia leading the pack on new voting restriction proposals. Republicans in Wisconsin and Michigan have indicated they may also pursue similar bills.

Full Article: Mail Voting Boosted Turn Out for Voters With Disabilities | Time

National: New guide on election system supply chains aids risk evaluations | Benjamin Freed/StateScoop

new report by the Center for Internet Security aims to simplify the process for election technology vendors securing the supply chains they use in developing the products they sell to state and local officials. Although the guide, published last week, had been in the works for months, its authors said it takes on added relevance in the wake of the so-called SolarWinds hack, a suspected Russian espionage operation that breached the software supply chains of numerous federal agencies, corporations and state governments. So far, there has been no evidence the SolarWinds hack affected any U.S. election systems, the acting head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said Feb. 3, but the sheer amount of hardware and software used in the voting process leaves it vulnerable to similar compromises, said Aaron Wilson, a senior director for election security at CIS and one of the report’s authors. “The election space is a lot like the rest of our technology space where the supply chain has inherent risks,” he told StateScoop. Modern elections are conducted on an elaborate assembly of technologies, including voter registration systems, electronic pollbooks used when voters check in, ballot-marking devices, optical scanners that collect and tabulate ballots and election night results websites where unofficial counts are posted. And each of those are made up of their own, sometimes complex chain of components, the CIS report explains. That means election officials need to be confident that their vendors have assessed and mitigated any risks with their third-party suppliers, Wilson said. While the larger vendors in the election technology market have large and sophisticated technical staffs, he said, there are also smaller companies that may need direction on how to avoid incidents that could undermine public confidence in an election.

Full Article: New guide on election system supply chains aids risk evaluations

National: What comes next for top election administrators | Zach Montellaro/Politico

2020 was a tumultuous year for the election administrators of America.And while running a presidential election is never an easy job, it is often a low-profile one — which was distinctly not the case last year. “It was one of those scenarios that we we practice in tabletop exercises, that seems totally unrealistic, but that’s what we were facing,” New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat and the president of the bipartisan National Association of Secretaries of State, said in an interview with Score. Election officials dealt with the dual threat of the pandemicand misinformation. And while one will (hopefully) be a distant memory by the next national election, fighting misinformation will be a role that secretaries will have to embrace going forward — and one that secretaries will increasingly have to lean on each other to combat. Toulouse Oliver stressed that voter-education will be important: “The longer term challenge, that I think we as election officials acknowledge that we’re going to have to figure out a way to deal with this better, is to better educate the public,” she said, citing states pushing for more transparency in the system and making sure information is more “digestible” to the average person not steeped in the process. Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a Republican and the co-chair of NASS’ elections committee, stressed the importance of trying to get as many people involved in the process as possible in an interview, saying elections were a “breeding ground” for “mythology.” But he also noted the speed in which results, even unofficial, are known is critical. “We’re never going to sacrifice accuracy for speed. But we’ve all gotten accustomed to being able to deliver our numbers pretty quickly on election night,” he said. He nodded to the fact that the Buckeye State allows election officials to process mail ballots much earlier than other battleground states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which created the time needed in those states for conspiracy theories to ferment. (I’ll note that the Republican-controlled legislatures in those states balked at giving an extended window, despite early warnings about what could happen.)

Full Article: What comes next for top election administrators – POLITICO

National: Despite Security Concerns Online Voting Advances | Matt Vasilogambros and Lindsey Van Ness/Stateline

This past year showed that unexpected events can upend traditional, in-person voting. The rush to mail-in voting during the pandemic also exposed the challenges that voting by mail poses for certain residents, including those with disabilities who may not be able to independently fill out and mail a paper ballot. But election security experts say electronic voting poses significant risks. Personal devices such as smartphones and laptops are often littered with malware. A ballot could be tampered with on the voter’s device, on its way to a server or on the server of the election authority. Hostile foreign countries or other organized groups could surreptitiously change votes before they’re counted. The threat from malicious foreign actors was recently highlighted in the Russian hack of U.S. government and corporate systems in the widespread SolarWinds attack. Most election security experts prefer paper ballots or ballot-marking devices that have a paper trail, which allow state and local election officials to back up their results. Some online voting methods allow both the voter and the election official to print out a receipt that shows the vote was transferred. But that’s not good enough for security experts, who point out that the vote could have been corrupted in transfer. “There’s not much that we can do to be able to detect that a problem has occurred,” said J. Alex Halderman, director of the Center for Computer Security and Society at the University of Michigan. He co-authored an analysis last year that found there is a “severe risk” to using Seattle-based voting technology company Democracy Live’s online voting platform.

Full Article: Despite Security Concerns Online Voting Advances | The Pew Charitable Trusts

National: Truth and consequences – Lawsuits arrive for networks and lawyers who backed Donald Trump | Steve Mazie/The Economist

During his first campaign for the American presidency in 2016, Donald Trump said he wanted to “open up our libel laws” to make suing news outlets easier. Those plans did not materialise. But in the aftermath of Mr Trump’s extraordinary challenges to his re-election loss and amid his second impeachment trial, defamation law is back in the headlines. Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic, both voting-technology companies, have sued or are gearing up to sue three right-wing cable news networks, some of their hosts and two of Mr Trump’s lawyers for claiming their devices were used to steal the election for Joe Biden. Such claims are a central element of the false voter-fraud theory that fuelled the storming of the Capitol on January 6th, resulting in the deaths of five people. Dominion has launched a pair of $1.3bn lawsuits against Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, Mr Trump’s legal advisers—with more to come. On February 4th Smartmatic filed its own 276-page suit against Fox and three of its commentators (Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs and Jeanine Pirro), as well as Mr Giuliani and Ms Powell, for $2.7bn. Whether potentially defamatory statements are written (“libel”) or spoken (“slander”), the aggrieved party has to clear a high bar in America, where the constitution’s First Amendment protects free speech and freedom of the press. In Britain defendants must usually show their utterances were true or amounted to fair comment. In America it is plaintiffs who have the burden of proof; they lose unless they can prove the defendant’s statements were false but presented as claims of fact. Establishing defamation also means showing the speaker was negligent and damaged the plaintiff’s reputation.

Full Article: Truth and consequences – Lawsuits arrive for networks and lawyers who backed Donald Trump | United States | The Economist

Arizona leads nation in proposals to suppress votes, groups say | Laura Gómez/Arizona Mirror

Local and national civic advocacy groups are paying close attention to a laundry list of proposed legislation in Arizona that would make it harder for voters to participate in elections. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, Arizona leads the nation in “proposed voter suppression legislation in 2021.” In a press call Tuesday morning, Stand Up America — a progressive organization working to increase voter participation — echoed this finding. “What is going in Arizona right now is particularly insidious,” said Christina Harvey, managing director of Stand Up America. Harvey said 33 state legislatures have proposals that would make it harder for voters to cast their ballot. States like Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania — all battleground states with Republican legislatures that former President Donald Trump narrowly lost in November — are awash with restrictive voting measures, Harvey said. “Republicans, seeing that they increasingly cannot win free and fair elections, are trying to make it harder to vote for those who may not support them, rather offering a vision of America that might appeal to those voters,” Harvey said. “Arizona, a state Donald Trump lost by only 10,000 votes, leads the nation in the number of proposed voter suppression bills.” Arizona community organizations and voting rights groups have identified approximately 40 bills introduced by Republican lawmakers that would purge eligible voters from early voting lists, make it harder for election officials to send out ballots over the mail, eliminate Arizona’s Permanent Early Voting List, change how Electoral College electors are selected and even allow legislators to overturn election results. “These are extremely dangerous proposals, and even if some of them may not make it out, even though some of them may not pass, they are evidence of a level of fanaticism and megalomania that is very disconcerting,” said Alex Gulotta, state director for All Voting Is Local Action Arizona. “They are designed to let less voices be heard.” 

Full Article: Arizona leads nation in proposals to suppress votes, groups say

Florida: Voting by mail was a success, so why do Florida Republican legislators want to make it harder? | Mary Ellen Klas/Miami Herald

Bypassing the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” question, Florida Senate Republicans agreed Tuesday that Florida’s vote-by-mail process worked smoothly in the last election cycle but still needed a change. They want to erase all standing requests for mail-in ballots in 2022 and require voters to start over. “It’s not that big of a change. Some people are nervous about change,” said Sen. Dennis Baxley, a Republican from Ocala who sponsored the bill. “Why not try this? It may invigorate participation.” After a record 4.8 million Floridians voted by mail in November, the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee approved SB 90 along party lines to limit vote-by-mail applications to one election cycle and require everyone who signed up for mail ballots in 2020 to reapply to get them in 2022. Current law allows voters who ask for a mail-in ballot to have their request remain current for two general election cycles unless they opt out. The bill also moves up the starting time for counting vote-by-mail ballots from 22 days before an election to 35-40 days before an election, putting into statute a portion of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order from 2020. The change to the mail-in ballot dates was opposed by both Democrats and Florida’s nonpartisan election supervisors, who last week warned lawmakers about tinkering with Florida’s election laws after the state conducted the first election in years that wasn’t marred by problems.

Source: Florida Republicans vote to add hurdle for mail-in voting | Miami Herald

Georgia Senate committee votes for absentee voting restrictions | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Bills requiring an excuse and an ID number for absentee voting in Georgia cleared their first committee Wednesday, creating new restrictions after last year’s presidential election. A Senate subcommittee voted 3-2 along party lines to approve the bills, which now advance to the full Ethics Committee. Georgia law has allowed any registered voter to cast an absentee ballot since 2005, but Senate Bill 71 would limit absentee voting to people who are over 75, have a physical disability or are out of town. Democrats said the bill would stop people from voting from home if they’re worried about their health, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. “COVID isn’t choosy,” said state Sen. Sally Harrell, a Democrat from Atlanta. “We are all vulnerable. We don’t know which person this virus is going to kill.” The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Jeff Mullis of Chickamauga, said voters should have to provide a reason to vote outside a polling place, as they had to before the Republican-controlled General Assembly’s made it available to everyone 16 years ago.

Full Article: Georgia Senate committee votes for absentee voting restrictions

Iowa: It might just be game over for the Iowa caucuses | David Siders and Elena Schneider/Politico

The siege of Iowa and New Hampshire has begun. The two states with privileged places on the presidential primary calendar are finding their roles more threatened than ever before — most recently in the form of a bill introduced in Nevada this week to move that state’s nominating contest to the front of the line in 2024. On its own, the Nevada encroachment would mean little. For years, Iowa and New Hampshire have successfully defended their one-two position from states eager to jump ahead. But the combination of Iowa’s botched 2020 caucus and increasing diversity in the Democratic Party’s ranks has made the whiteness of Iowa and New Hampshire all the more conspicuous, putting the two states on their heels and throwing the 2024 calendar into turmoil. “There’s no reason in the world that those states should go forward so early, because they’re not representative of what 90 percent of the country’s all about,” said former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat who remains influential in party politics. “America looks different than it did 50 years ago, when these traditions were put in place, and the Democratic electorate looks really different.” He added, “It’s no longer palatable, as far as I’m concerned, for those states to take precedence over states like South Carolina and Nevada.”

Full Article It might just be game over for the Iowa caucuses – POLITICO

Louisiana Elections Chief Asks to Resume Voting Tech Search | Melinda DeSlatte/Associated Press

Louisiana’s top elections official is pushing to resume his voting machine replacement effort, telling the state’s chief procurement officer that her temporary hold on work to hire a contractor “needlessly upended” the process. Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin lambasted the decision by Louisiana’s chief procurement officer Paula Tregre, whose office in Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration oversees the bidding process. Tregre stopped the voting machine shopping work after one of the interested vendors, Texas-based Hart InterCivic, complained the contractor solicitation was drawn too narrowly and could sideline it and other qualified voting technology firms. The secretary of state’s office said Wednesday that suggestions from the company that the bid solicitation wasn’t being inclusive to vendors “is absurd.” Ardoin sent a letter to Tregre on Sunday saying she “injected confusion” into the replacement effort. “By jumping the gun and declaring a stay of (request for proposals), we cannot even evaluate the concerns raised in Hart’s letter,” Ardoin wrote. It wasn’t clear when the contractor search will resume. Ardoin, a Republican, launched the search for a voting machine vendor on Jan. 27. Bids from companies interested in the contract were supposed to be due at the end of March. Louisiana’s contract is estimated to be worth up to $100 million. Ardoin wants to have the first new early voting machines in some parishes by the spring 2022 elections. Hart InterCivic CEO Julie Mathis said several of the secretary of state’s requirements for contractors — including the type of voting system sought, the machines’ screen size and the phased approach to rolling out new machines — could arbitrarily keep some election technology from being considered.

Full Article: Louisiana Elections Chief Asks to Resume Voting Tech Search | Louisiana News | US News

Michigan regent denounces ‘cynical lies’ about 2020 election | Craig Mauger Kim Kozlowski/The Detroit News

Defeating individuals who reject truth and democracy is “the struggle for our time,” University of Michigan regent Jordan Acker declared during a speech at a Thursday board meeting. Acker, a Democrat, addressed the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and unsubstantiated claims of fraud focused on the Nov. 3 election. He contended that people cannot reject others they simply disagree with but have to reject “those who disdain democracy.” “We must all live in the same basic truth: The election of 2020 was not stolen, the insurrection was not a hoax, and that our government can only endure when the losers of an election accept the legitimacy of defeat,” Acker said. The election’s results, including Democratic President Joe Biden’s 154,000-vote victory in Michigan, are “not matters of opinion” but are facts, Acker said during his speech at the beginning of the meeting. “No man or woman can lead who denies objective truths,” he said. “We cannot claim we are a democracy while standing with those who would reject it for conspiracy-laden minority rule.” Acker’s speech did not reference fellow regent Ron Weiser, the new chairman of the Michigan Republican Party. But Weiser, an Ann Arbor businessman, has been criticized for choosing GOP activist Meshawn Maddock as his co-chair. Maddock supported efforts to overturn the results of the election last year as former President Donald Trump levied unproven claims of widespread election fraud.

Full Article: Michigan regent denounces ‘cynical lies’ about 2020 election `

New York: Oneida County elections commissioners resign after NY-22 mistakes | Mark Weiner/Syracuse Post-Standard

Oneida County’s two elections commissioners have decided to resign from their jobs amid mounting pressure over a series of mistakes in the 22nd Congressional District election. Carolanne Cardone, the Democratic elections commissioner, submitted her resignation on Tuesday, Oneida County Legislature Chairman Gerald Fiorini said today. Rose Grimaldi, the Republican elections commissioner, plans to submit her resignation on Wednesday, Fiorini said. Both commissioners received a letter this week requesting their resignations from the state Board of Elections in Albany. Otherwise, the state board would have asked Gov. Andrew Cuomo to fire them, Fiorini told Cardone and Grimaldi did not respond to requests for comment. Former Rep. Anthony Brindisi, D-Utica, has called for an independent investigation of the Oneida County Board of Elections after a series of errors and other problems were exposed during a three-month legal battle over dispute ballots in the election. Brindisi conceded to Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-New Hartford, last week, saying he didn’t want to continue a months-long battle that could further divide the community. Brindisi and voting rights advocates were outraged after Oneida County election clerks revealed in court that they failed to process more than 2,400 applications from new voters who had properly registered at the state Department of Motor Vehicles.

Full Article: Oneida County elections commissioners resign after NY-22 mistakes –

Pennsylvania: U.S. Supreme Court will consider Rep. Kelly’s petition over mail-in voting law | Julian Routh/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

In a closed-door session on Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court will discuss if it wants to hear a case on the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s mail-in voting law. The nine Supreme Court justices, who use private conferences to mull the thousands of cases they’re asked to review each year, will consider a petition filed by U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Butler, and other Republicans that asks the court to settle if Pennsylvania and its state Legislature violated the U.S. Constitution when it instituted mail-in voting in 2019. Though experts note it’s extremely unlikely that any one case is chosen for full review by the nation’s highest court and that the court had already denied requests for expedited review and an emergency injunction, lawyers for the Republican plaintiffs say their case raises important issues that are relevant far beyond a single election. “The reason it’s important is the court should take an interest in whether Pennsylvania’s election laws are administered constitutionally or not, and in accordance with the Pennsylvania constitution and with the federal constitution,” said Greg Teufel, a lawyer representing Mr. Kelly. Acknowledging that it’s a “1 or 2 percent chance” the court takes their case since so many cases are vying for its attention, Mr. Teufel said he expects the justices to ask the defendants — including the state, Gov. Tom Wolf and former Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar — to file their official response, which they indicated they wouldn’t do unless asked by the court.

Full Article: U.S. Supreme Court will consider Rep. Kelly’s petition over Pa. mail-in voting law | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Tennessee: Shelby County Election Commission to sue over voting equipment funds | Laura Testino/Memphis Commercial Appeal

The Shelby County Election Commission intends to file suit against the county commission over funding it says it needs for new voting equipment. Election commissioners met in an executive session with attorneys about the matter Tuesday, according to a release from the election commission. “The County Commission has repeatedly denied our requests to fund the ballot marking devices, because they want paper ballots,” Steve Stamson, chairman of the election commissioners, said in a statement. He said the election commission attempted to put the funding measure back on a county commission agenda for January, but that the request was denied. Although a filing date was not discussed during the session, the suit is likely to be filed in a local court within the next 30 days, Suzanne Thompson, spokesperson for the election commission, said by phone. The ultimate filing date is up to attorney Allan Wade, she said. Wade, of The Wade Law Firm, will represent the election commission. Election commissioners say the need for funding for the new equipment is urgent. The vendor that supports the voting machines that are currently in use, the commissioners say, is stopping service at the end of the year. Funding was denied in 2020, ahead of the Nov. 3 election, as county commissioners raised questions about the bidding process for the proposed machines. 

Full Article: Shelby County Election Commission to sue over voting equipment funds

Virginia Department of Elections announces statewide post-election risk limiting audit | Emporia Independent Messenger

The Virginia Department of Elections (ELECT) will coordinate a statewide post-election Risk Limiting Audit (RLA) of the November 2020 General Election for President and U.S. Senate. The audit was announced by Christopher Piper, Commissioner of the Department of Elections, at the Jan. 12, State Board of Elections meeting. Pursuant to Va. Code §24.2-671.1, ELECT is required to coordinate an annual post-election RLA of ballot scanner machines used in the Commonwealth of Virginia. All of the 133 localities in the Commonwealth of Virginia will be participating in the audit. ELECT is partnering with VotingWorks(, a non-profit organization, which will be assisting with the statewide audit. Based on the vote totals and voter turnout, VotingWorks projects around 1,423 ballots will need to be retrieved by localities across the Commonwealth to provide for an accurate audit.

Full Article: Virginia Department of Elections announces statewide post-election risk limiting audit | News |

Wisconsin Governor calls for expanding early voting, seeks to let clerks count absentee ballots before election day | Patrick Marley/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Gov. Tony Evers’ state budget would expand early voting, allow clerks to count absentee ballots before election day and require a voter bill of rights to be posted at every polling station. The Democratic governor’s push to change voting laws comes after the coronavirus pandemic upended elections in 2020. Republicans who control the Legislature have called for tightening election laws and are likely to toss out many of the voting proposals from Evers.  Evers wants to allow local officials to decide when early voting should begin, instead of limiting it to the two weeks before election day. Republicans put the early voting limits in place years ago, saying they wanted to make sure large communities don’t start early voting well before rural areas.  Evers is seeking to add a provision to state law that would require polling stations to post notices telling people they have a number of rights, including the right to vote if eligible, review a sample ballot before voting, cast a secret ballot, get assistance if they are disabled and report illegal activity. The notices would also have to alert people that they are allowed to vote if they are in line before the polls close. Evers wants to allow clerks to count absentee ballots on the day before election day if they want. Clerks have long asked for that authority, saying it would have helped them contend with an unprecedented influx of mail ballots during the pandemic. Under Evers’ plan, clerks could count absentee ballots between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. the day before election day as long as they used automatic tabulating machines. Members of the public would be allowed to watch the process, just as they can observe voting at the polls.

Full Article: Tony Evers calls for expanding early voting as part of state budget