National: Advocates seek federal investigation of multistate effort to copy voting software | mma Brown , Aaron C. Davis and Jon Swaine/The Washington Post

An effort by supporters of former president Donald Trump to copy sensitive voting software in multiple states after the 2020 election deserves attention from the federal government, including a criminal investigation and assessment of the risk posed to election security, according to election-security advocates. As new information about the multistate effort continues to emerge, the national election and campaign-finance reform group Free Speech for People, along with several former election officials and computer scientists, sent a letter Monday urging the Justice and Homeland Security departments to investigate. They wrote that by copying voting software and circulating it “in the wild,” partisan election deniers have created a digital road map that could help hackers alter election results or disrupt voting. Evidence of the multistate effort was unearthed by plaintiffs in a long-running lawsuit over the security of Georgia’s voting system. They found that as Trump falsely blamed his 2020 defeat on hacked voting machines, sympathetic officials in rural Coffee County, Ga., allowed computer-forensics experts, paid by a nonprofit run by Trump-allied attorney Sidney Powell, to copy voting software in January 2021. That software was then uploaded to a website, from where it was downloaded by election deniers across the country. “Because these events were revealed in a private lawsuit rather than through a law enforcement investigation, the significance and consequences may not have registered with the relevant federal agencies,” reads the letter. Several of its 15 signatories have served as experts for the plaintiffs in the case.

Full Article: Advocates seek federal investigation of multistate effort to copy voting software – The Washington Post

National: Center for Security in Politics Working Group Releases Statement on Developing Standards for Internet Ballot Return | Recent News | University of California, Berkeley

Technology is still too limited, and the security risks too great to establish responsible standards for voting via the internet at this time, a Center for Security in Politics working group announced. Made up of a non-partisan group of experts from politics, election administration, academia, and technology, the working group was charged with determining the kinds of technical and implementation standards needed to ensure safe and secure internet ballot return. The group was convened with funding from Tusk Philanthropies. “Internet ballot return has the potential to serve voters experiencing barriers to more traditional forms of voting,” said Mike Garcia, a cybersecurity and election security expert who chaired the working group. “It could also be valuable in the event of broad disruptions like wildfires or floods. But current technology cannot provide the level of security needed for widespread use in public elections—at least not yet.” “We are living through a time of intense skepticism about elections when the very foundations of the democratic process are under threat,” said CSP director and former homeland security secretary Janet Napolitano. “It is imperative that voting accessibility be balanced with security, transparency, and equity. The working group brought their expertise to bear on this important topic, and I thank them for their service.”

Full Article: CSP Working Group Releases Statement on Developing Standards for Internet Ballot Return | Goldman School of Public Policy | University of California, Berkeley

National: Election Deniers Were Defeated in 2022, But May Run Again in 2024 | Ryan Teague Beckwith/Bloomberg

An all-out offensive by activists and state officials against election denial scored major successes in clamping down on the “stop the steal” movement in 2022, amid continued attempts to undermine free and fair elections in the US. Advocacy groups spent millions on ads against candidates who adhered to Donald Trump’s false claims that he lost due to widespread fraud and were running to oversee voting in presidential battlegrounds or lead them as governors. Local and state elections administrators coordinated with law enforcement to ensure that polling places remained safe. In the end, though, it was voters who had the biggest impact, rejecting election deniers for governor and secretary of state in five key states, re-electing officials who defied Trump’s efforts to overturn his loss and backing ballot measures to make it easier to vote and harder to challenge fair and accurate results. But an even bigger challenge will come in the high-stakes 2024 presidential election.

Full Article: Election Deniers Were Defeated in 2022, But May Run Again in 2024 – Bloomberg

National: Special counsel has subpoenaed officials in all 7 states targeted by Trump allies in 2020 election | Zachary Cohen and Sara Murray/CNN

Special counsel Jack Smith has issued a subpoena to local officials in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, for information related to the 2020 election, a spokesperson for the county told CNN. “Yes, we received a subpoena from the Department of Justice’s special counsel regarding the 2020 election. We have nothing further to share or provide,” said Amie Downs, the county’s communications director. The subpoena sent to Allegheny County is the latest in a string of requests for information sent by Smith, who is now overseeing the Justice Department’s sprawling criminal investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Smith’s team has now sent subpoenas to local and state officials in all seven of the key states – Georgia, New Mexico, Nevada, Michigan, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – targeted by former President Donald Trump Trump and his allies as part of their bid to upend Joe Biden’s legitimate victory.

Full Article: Special counsel Jack Smith has subpoenaed officials in all 7 states targeted by Trump allies in 2020 election | CNN Politics

National: Report: threat of election subversion eased, but not ended | David Meyers/The Fulcrum

Even though many of the “election deniers” who sought influential positions in state government this year were defeated, the threat to democracy has not subsided, according to the latest report from a trio of organizations seeking to protect the system. Given the election results, the states that pose the greatest risk to free and fair elections are Florida, North Carolina and Texas, according to the States United Democracy Center, Protect Democracy and Law Forward. Those groups released the latest version of their joint report, “A Democracy Crisis in the Making: How State Legislatures are Politicizing, Criminalizing, and Interfering with Elections,” on Wednesday. “As Americans, we may disagree on a lot of things, but we can all agree that voters — not election denying officials — should choose our elected leaders,” said Rachel Homer, counsel with Protect Democracy. “At ballot boxes across the country, American voters made clear: they don’t want politicians who attack and undermine our elections to be running their states. This is a big win for our democracy. But in some state legislatures, the election denial fever hasn’t not broken. The threat is still very real and we can’t afford to ignore it.” Both Florida and Texas are in the high-risk category because the report identifies the states’ senior officials – governors, attorneys general, secretaries of state – the legislative majorities have all embraced former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims that the 2020 election was fraudulent. Those two states have also been at the forefront of legislative activity tightening voting rules.

Full Article: Report: threat of election subversion eased, but not ended – The Fulcrum

Arizona: Why Maricopa County’s ballot printers failed on Election Day | Jen Fifield/Votebeat Arizona

As Maricopa County investigates what exactly caused machines to reject thousands of voters’ ballots on Election Day, a Votebeat analysis of technical evidence found that local officials may have pushed the county’s ballot printers past their limits. The thickness of the ballot paper the county used, the need to print on both sides, and the high volume of in-person voting are all likely to have contributed to poor print quality on ballots, according to Votebeat’s review of printer specifications, turnout data, and interviews with eight ballot-printing and election technology experts. “It was a cascade of events, and once the first domino fell, they were setting the dominos back up while rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic,” said Genya Coulter, a senior election analyst and director of stakeholder relations for election technology and security nonprofit OSET Institute. The poor print quality caused machines to then reject thousands of ballots across the county, forcing voters to instead place their ballots in a secure box to be tallied later. Two technical experts closely familiar with the county’s equipment, who did not want to be named because they didn’t want to get ahead of the county’s public statements, said that the paper thickness was likely a major factor in why the toner — the powder laser and LED printers use to make images on paper — did not properly adhere to both sides of the paper.

Full Article: Why Maricopa County’s ballot printers failed on Election Day – Votebeat Arizona – Nonpartisan local reporting on elections and voting

Colorado: Claims of interference in El Paso County recount ‘not supported by evidence’: 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office | Breeanna Jent/Colorado Springs Gazette

Fourth Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen said this week he will not pursue criminal charges against the Colorado secretary of state or the El Paso County clerk and recorder following allegations they interfered with a recount of the June 28 primary election. Allen said in a Dec. 5 letter of review released to the media Tuesday that after his office completed a “thorough investigation” of the complaints lodged against Secretary of State Jena Griswold, El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Chuck Broerman and his staff “there are no reasonable grounds to pursue criminal charges based on the allegations” raised, which “are not supported by evidence.” Hugh Goldman submitted an affidavit to Allen’s office on Oct. 4 alleging Griswold interfered with the recount in El Paso County by “rewriting” state statutes governing recounts “into rules that materially and substantially misrepresent the statute, then officially distributed said rules to the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder’s Office.”

Full Article: Claims of interference in El Paso County recount ‘not supported by evidence’: 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office | Election Coverage |

Georgia election officials conduct optional audit of US Senate runoff | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The U.S. Senate runoff was being audited Wednesday and Thursday in most Georgia counties, where election workers will count paper ballots by hand so they can be compared to the results from the computer tally on election night. Election officials said Tuesday the audit will show voters whether results were accurate when Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock defeated Republican Herschel Walker by over 99,000 votes, or 2.8 percentage points. Because the audit isn’t required by state law, not every county chose to participate, making it impossible to double-check that statewide results were correct. Of Georgia’s 159 counties, 138 opted to join the audit, including all of metro Atlanta except Douglas County. “The big reason why we audit is we want to improve confidence in the results of the election,” said State Elections Director Blake Evans. “We want people to see that their county election officials are going the extra mile to be able to hand-count the batches of ballots that are selected, and those hand counts will be compared against the machine results.”

Full Article: Georgia election officials conduct optional audit of US Senate runoff

Michigan: Accuracy affirmed or errors exposed? Inside the proposal recount | Ben Orner/

The rustling of paper overtakes a city hall meeting room as election workers recount thousands of ballots by hand from four central Michigan counties. Votes examined here are among hundreds of thousands from 43 counties recounted since last Wednesday. So far, results have changed very, very little. But where election officials say they’ve seen the accuracy of Michigan’s midterm election upheld, the group behind the recount says it’s seen evidence of misconduct. “[The recount] was just to make sure that the election was accurate and run properly,” said Stefanie Lambert, a lawyer for Election Integrity Force, which requested the recount. “And there’s some very interesting problems that were discovered.” Despite the recount’s massive breadth, which Lambert said came via random sample, Proposals 2 and 3 passed by too many votes to be overturned – about 1.4 million votes combined. Prop 2 expands voting rights, including nine days of early in-person voting, and Prop 3 protects abortion rights. When the Board of State Canvassers greenlit the recount, chair Tony Daunt – a Republican – worried it was a bad-faith “fishing expedition” to further false claims of widespread fraud that originated after the 2020 election.

Full Article: Accuracy affirmed or errors exposed? Inside Michigan’s proposal recount –

Michigan elections director warns against further recount ‘disruptions’ | Beth LeBlanc and Craig Mauger/The Detroit News

Michigan Elections Director Jonathan Brater in a Friday letter warned against disruptions at recount locations across the state, citing examples of some challengers overstepping their roles in the recount process and resulting in at least one individual being escorted from a Marquette recount operation. Challengers who disagree with bureau staff decisions are free to appeal to the Board of State Canvassers, but the Bureau of Elections “will not permit disruptive behavior” at the recount locations, Brater wrote to Daniel Hartman, a lawyer for recount petitioner Jerome Jay Allen and the Election Integrity Force. “To the extent challengers are engaging in this behavior, they run the risk of hindering or delaying the conduct of the recount,” Brater wrote, encouraging challengers to review recount procedure so as to avoid disruptions.

Full Article: Michigan elections director warns against further recount ‘disruptions’

Nevada elections department subpoenaed in Trump probe | Gabe Stern/Associated Press

Nevada’s departing Secretary of State was served a subpoena last month as part of the U.S. Department of Justice special counsel’s investigation into efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election results. The subpoena required Barbara Cegavske to either appear in the U.S. District Court for Washington, D.C., on Dec. 9 or provide a litany of documents detailing communications with officials. Those documents mirrored the special counsel’s subpoenas in other key swing states. Cegavske’s office opted to provide documents, of which there was only one, with officials who were not on the DOJ’s request list. In a statement Thursday evening, Cegavske’s office said that document was provided “out of an abundance of caution.” Special counsel Jack Smith is overseeing the Justice Department investigation into the presence of classified documents at Trump’s Florida estate as well as key aspects of a separate probe involving the violent storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and Trump’s efforts to remain in power.

Full Article: Nevada elections department subpoenaed in Trump probe | AP News

New Jersey: Next Steps for Mercer County Following Voting-Machine Failure | Andrew Appel/Freedom to Tinker

Hand-marked optical-scan paper ballots are the most secure form of voting: with any other method, if the computerized voting machines are hacked, there’s no trustworthy paper trail from which we can determine the true outcome of the election, based on the choices that voters actually indicated.  Even those voting methods that appear to have a paper trail, if it’s a computer that created the paper trail, it’s less trustworthy.  And that’s the case even if the human voters have an opportunity to look at the paper, as I will explain below. Mercer County, NJ uses hand-marked paper ballots in its election-day polling places.  That’s good.  But after the system-wide voting-machine failure in Mercer County, some county officials are thinking of abandoning hand-marked paper ballots, and using Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs) in polling places.  That would be a bad idea: BMDs can never be as secure as hand-marked paper ballots.   The use of BMDs can lead to unrecoverable election failures.  In  contrast, Mercer County’s failure was recoverable:  Even though the voting machines failed to work on election day, voters could (and did) hand-mark the same paper ballots that they would have fed into those voting machines, and the Board of Elections could (and did) count those ballots with their high-speed central-count optical scanners.

Full Article: Next Steps for Mercer County Following Voting-Machine Failure – Freedom to Tinker

88 Ohio counties, 11 different voting systems. Will that change anytime soon? | Abigail Bottar/Ideastream Public Media

Depending on what county you vote in, the way you actually cast your ballot may differ. There are 11 different voting systems used across Ohio’s 88 counties. That’s according to the Secretary of State’s office. However, when it comes to those 11 systems there is one big difference: paper or touchscreen? Richland County has used touchscreen technology for over a decade. Voters use the touchscreen machine which then prints their selections before they cast their ballot – all in one place. They rarely have problems with this technology, Board of Elections Director Matt Finfgeld said. “The voters in Richland County are pretty experienced with it,” Finfgeld said. “That’s what they’ve used and that’s what they’ve known for 15, 16 years.” This is what Lake County Board of Elections Director Ross McDonald calls a culture of touchscreen voting. Like in Richland, Lake has used touchscreen voting machines since the early 2000s. Unlike Richland, however, Lake recently moved to new technology. Voters still vote using a touchscreen but now the machine prints out a physical ballot that voters feed into a precinct scanner to be tabulated.

Full Article: 88 Ohio counties, 11 different voting systems. Will that change anytime soon? | Ideastream Public Media

Oklahoma: Audit confirms election results | Dale Denwalt/Oklahoman

A post-election review has confirmed the results of both the primary runoff and general elections in Oklahoma. Of the 31 races, and thousands of ballots re-tabulated, election officials found only two instances where the audit figures differed slightly from the certified results. The audit included results from federal, state, judicial and county elections. In one Okmulgee County precinct, a voter apparently put their “I Voted” sticker on their ballot before feeding it into the machine on Election Day, causing their pick for corporation commissioner to not be counted. During an audit in Johnston County, officials discovered that one ballot was missing from a sealed transfer case containing Election Day ballots. After recounting the ballots from that precinct multiple times and conducting a thorough search, the ballot could not be found. “While the ballot was not recovered, there appears to be no evidence of intentional wrongdoing by the precinct officials,” states the audit report. “The most likely explanation is that the precinct officials failed to properly secure the ballot in the transfer case after the polls closed.”

Full Article: Audit confirms Oklahoma’s election results

Pennsylvania: Recount requests delay election certification | Mark Scolforo and Brooke Schultz/Associated Press

Five weeks after Election Day, winning candidates in Pennsylvania from governor to Congress are waiting for their victories to become official. An effort that appears to be at least partially coordinated among conservatives has inundated counties with ballot recount requests even though no races are close enough to require a recount and there has been no evidence of any potential problems. The attempt to delay certification could foreshadow a potential strategy for the 2024 presidential election, if the results don’t go the way disaffected voters want in one of the nation’s most closely contested states. Recounts have been sought in 172 voting precincts across 40% of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. That led to nine counties missing their Nov. 29 certification deadline, though all but one has since certified. The Pennsylvania Department of State, in a response to The Associated Press on Wednesday, gave no date for certifying the results statewide but said it planned to comply with a request from the clerk of the U.S. House to send certification documents to Congress by mid-December. Wednesday was Dec. 14.

Full Article: Recount requests delay Pennsylvania election certification | AP News

Pennsylvania county to begin hand recount of 2020 votes for president, state auditor general on Jan. 9 | John Beauge/PennLive

The hand recount of the 2020 general election ballots for president and state auditor general in Lycoming County is to begin Jan. 9. The county Board of Elections in October voted 2-1 to do the recount of ballots for president and one statewide office to prove the electronic tabulation is accurate and to restore vote confidence. Approximately 5,000, people, many of whom identified themselves with the conservative Patriots group, sought a recount even though President Trump outpolled Joe Biden in the county, 41,462 to 16,971. Nearly 60,000 ballots will be counted by up to 40 county employees who will be pulled off their normal jobs. They first will be trained by elections director Forest Lehman. The cost of the recount has not been determined, Commissioner Scott L. Metzger said Wednesday. No one extra is being hired, he said. It is no different than taking county employees off their regular jobs to assist after an election, he said.

Full Article: Pa. county to begin hand recount of 2020 votes for president, state auditor general on Jan. 9 –

Texas Republicans pushing for creation of election police | Michael Murney Michael Murney/Houston Chronicle

Texas Republicans are prefiling bills aimed at creating an election police force similar to a unit deployed in Florida during the 2022 midterm elections, NBC News reported Tuesday. The push for increased law enforcement involvement in Texas elections comes as GOP lawmakers are casting doubt on the outcome of Harris County’s election results and District Attorney Kim Ogg probes for alleged criminal activity following issues with paper ballot availability and adjusted polling hours. Harris County leaders have defended the election’s integrity, claiming GOP scrutiny of the county’s procedures is part of a conservative effort to undermine election outcomes since the county first went blue in 2018. Bills such as SB 220 aim to create a team of “election marshals” that would probe alleged criminal violations of Texas election laws and allow for the filing of criminal charges in certain cases. Houston-area state senator Paul Bettencourt, who wrote SB 220, told NBC News that the proposed legislation is specifically designed to address the issues that arose in Harris County during midterm voting.

Full Article: Texas Republicans pushing for creation of election police

Utah: No evidence of fraud in midterm elections, but auditors say there‘s room to improve elections systems | Bryan Schott/Salt Lake Tribune

A deep dive into Utah’s vote-by-mail system found no evidence of fraud, widespread errors or systematic problems during the 2022 midterm elections. Additionally, legislative auditors found that the safeguards already in place are sufficient to thwart any attempts to undermine election integrity. Still, independent investigators pointed out several areas that are in need of improvement. Legislative leaders ordered the audit last December in the wake of Donald Trump’s false claims of widespread fraud following his 2020 election loss. Utah House Majority Leader Mike Schultz, R-Hooper, argued the look would dispel any doubts about Utah’s voting system. Auditors observed the 2022 primary election in all 29 of Utah’s counties. They found that Utah’s decentralized system, where individual counties oversee elections, creates a firewall that makes it extremely difficult to compromise a statewide or national election. The final report also refuted one of the more outlandish conspiracy theories surrounding elections. Auditors examined election equipment in several counties and found no evidence that they are connected to the internet.

Full Article: Election audit: No fraud in Utah’s midterm, but room for improvement

Was Election Denial Just a Passing Threat? Or is it here to stay? | Blake Hounshell/The New York Times

In the months before the midterm elections, a reporter for Time magazine asked Mark Finchem, the Republican nominee for secretary of state in Arizona, why he was so convinced that Donald Trump had won the state in 2020 despite all evidence to the contrary. “It strains credibility,” Finchem responded. “Isn’t it interesting that I can’t find anyone who will admit that they voted for Joe Biden?” It was as succinct an explanation as any for why so many Americans believed the 2020 election had been stolen. Republicans, especially those living in deep-red areas, knew so few Democrats that it beggared their imagination that anyone, as Finchem put it, would vote for one. Now, two political scientists have put some rigor behind this idea. The more that voters were surrounded by other Republicans, Nicholas Clark and Rolfe Daus Peterson of Susquehanna University report in a forthcoming research paper, the more likely that they were to say that the 2020 election had been stolen, controlling for other factors.

Full Article: Was Election Denial Just a Passing Threat? – The New York Times

Pennsylvania: Inside the post-election review designed to give voters more confidence in the results | Carter Walker/Pennsylvania Capital-Star

A person approaches the table and picks up a 10-sided die. She rolls. Four. The next roller in line takes her turn. Seven. The unusual die, shaped like an elongated diamond, may seem a curiosity except to those who use it most: “board gamers and elections officials,” Jonathan Marks, Pennsylvania’s deputy secretary of state, said. But the rollers, employees of the Pennsylvania Department of State, are not casting their dice to determine their next move in Dungeons & Dragons. Instead, they are generating a long, random number that will determine the course of Pennsylvania’s 2022 risk-limiting audit. A risk-limiting audit is a type of post-election review designed to give statistical confidence that an election outcome was accurate. This year is the first when all 67 counties are required to participate in one of these audits before certifying their election results. The math used to conduct the audit is available to the public, though practitioners agree it is hard to understand. Elections officials who have used it said the audit took time to understand but they now have confidence in it, and they hope it will give the public more confidence as well that election outcomes are accurate.

Full Article: Inside the post-election review designed to give Pa. voters more confidence in the results – Pennsylvania Capital-Star

National: Midterms free of feared chaos as voting experts look to 2024 | Nicholas Riccardi/Associated Press

Election Day, anxiety mounted over potential chaos at the polls. Election officials warned about poll watchers who had been steeped in conspiracy theories falsely claiming that then-President Donald Trump did not actually lose the 2020 election. Democrats and voting rights groups worried about the effects of new election laws, in some Republican-controlled states, that President Joe Biden decried as “Jim Crow 2.0.” Law enforcement agencies were monitoring possible threats at the polls. Yet Election Day, and the weeks of early voting before it, went fairly smoothly. There were some reports of unruly poll watchers disrupting voting, but they were scattered. Groups of armed vigilantes began watching over a handful of ballot drop boxes in Arizona until a judge ordered them to stay far away to ensure they would not intimidate voters. And while it might take months to figure out their full impact, GOP-backed voting laws enacted after the 2020 election did not appear to cause major disruptions the way they did during the March primary in Texas. “The entire ecosystem in a lot of ways has become more resilient in the aftermath of 2020,” said Amber McReynolds, a former Denver elections director who advises a number of voting rights organizations. “There’s been a lot of effort on ensuring things went well.”

Full Article: Midterms free of feared chaos as voting experts look to 2024 | AP News

National: Local Officials Across US Still Trying to Subvert 2022 Vote | Ryan Teague Beckwith and Sarah Holder/Bloomberg

Some local officials in the battleground states of Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania defied state elections laws as they pushed debunked claims about the November midterms, a disturbing trend that could spell trouble in 2024. The incidents, most of which were rebuffed or ended when the officials backed down, show that despite losses for dozens of candidates who worked to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory, GOP officials are still trying to toy with electoral defeats. “What we’re seeing now is the beginning of the same playbook that could be used in 2024,” said Matthew Seligman, a fellow at the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford University. The Board of Supervisors in rural Cochise County, Arizona, refused to certify the November elections, leading the secretary of state and an advocacy group to sue. The Board of Elections in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, was initially deadlocked on whether to report their tallies to the state. Officials in Nye County, Nevada, repeatedly attempted to hand-count all ballots even as the state Supreme Court tried to stop them, only to give up and use the voting machines for their official count.

Full Article: Local Officials Across US Still Trying to Subvert 2022 Vote – Bloomberg

National: Manchin and Klobuchar: Omnibus likely place for electoral count overhaul | Jim Saksa/Roll Call

Legislation to overhaul how Congress counts presidential electoral votes should hop on the must-pass spending omnibus on its way out of the Senate, Sens. Joe Manchin III and Amy Klobuchar said Wednesday. Speaking at a National Council on Election Integrity event, Manchin said the Electoral Count Reform Act was “ready.”“I would thin k the omnibus bill is the appropriate place to put it,” the West Virginia Democrat said. Speaking later, Klobuchar, who chairs the Senate Rules Committee, said the National Defense Authorization Act was another option, but “the omnibus is ​​looking more and more promising.” “That’s coming out of the meeting at the White House,” the Minnesota Democrat added. She said Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer is “hopeful.” Manchin and Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine hashed out the bipartisan bill over the summer in an ad hoc committee of senators before handing the bill over to Klobuchar’s committee in September. Collins told reporters Tuesday that she was worried about finding time in the lame duck to pass the legislation.

Full Article: Manchin and Klobuchar: Omnibus likely place for electoral count overhaul – Roll Call

National: Election security a success, but more improvements needed, experts say | Ines Kagubare/The Hill

Despite the myriad of threats that faced the nation during the 2022 midterms, experts say security for the election proved successful overall. They warned, however, that some improvements are still needed in certain areas. Experts praised election officials for being well-prepared and efficient at managing ongoing threats while communicating with voters on how to spot disinformation. “This was a remarkably smooth election given everything that we were facing as a country,” said Lawrence Norden, senior director of the Brennan Center’s elections and government program. In the months and weeks leading up to the election, government officials sent out regular alerts warning the public of threats that could impact the midterms, including cyberattacks, foreign interference, disinformation, insider threats and threats to election workers. Experts said that in the last couple years, the Department of Homeland Security, which houses the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and other agencies have been preparing for and responding to all kinds of threats that could jeopardize elections, including by conducting tabletop exercises, drills and workforce development for personnel involved in securing elections.

Full Article: Election security a success, but more improvements needed, experts say | The Hill

Arizona: Election in Cochise County is certified after judge’s order | Hansi Lo Wang/NPR

Under a court order, officials in Republican-controlled Cochise County, Ariz., finally certified their local midterm elections results after they missed the state’s legal deadline and put more than 47,000 people’s votes at risk. Ruling from the bench at a court hearing on Thursday, Pima County Superior Court Judge Casey McGinley ordered the county’s board of supervisors to meet and make the results official by 5 p.m. MT Thursday. Two members of the board — Ann English, a Democrat, and Peggy Judd, a Republican — then voted to certify, while the board’s third member — Tom Crosby, a Republican — did not attend the court-ordered meeting. The court order came three days after the board’s two Republicans voted Monday not to certify the results — despite finding no legitimate problems with the counts — turning a usually uneventful step in the election process into a closely watched controversy. The move prompted multiple lawsuits, including one by the state’s secretary of state, who has been waiting for the county’s results to proceed with the statewide certification that is legally required to take place next week.

Full Article: Election in Arizona’s Cochise County is certified after judge’s order : NPR

Colorado election worker pleads guilty in election equipment tampering case | CBS

A former elections manager who prosecutors say assisted in a security breach of voting equipment in a Colorado county pleaded guilty on Wednesday under a plea agreement that requires her to testify against her former boss. Sandra Brown is one of two employees accused of helping Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters allow a copy of a hard drive to be made during an update of election equipment last year in search of proof of the false conspiracy theories spun by former President Donald Trump. Brown, 45, pleaded guilty to attempting to influence a public servant, a felony, and official misconduct, a misdemeanor, but will not be sentenced until right after she testifies at Peters’ trial next year so her performance on the witness stand can be considered. “There were things going on that I should have questioned and I didn’t,” Brown told Judge Matthew Barrett.

Full Article: Worker pleads guilty in Colorado election equipment tampering case – CBS News

Georgia election audit shows similar results as machine ballot count | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

An election audit completed Friday showed similar results between a hand count and machine tally of ballots in the secretary of state’s race, a result that Georgia election officials said confirmed the outcome. The audit examined a randomized sample of 231,000 ballots cast in the secretary of state’s race and found few discrepancies in Republican Brad Raffensperger’s reelection over Democrat Bee Nguyen. Across the state, the audit counted 21 more votes for Raffensperger and 18 fewer for Nguyen. “This audit shows that our system works and that our county election officials conducted a secure, accurate election,” Raffensperger said. Georgia law requires an audit of one race after each general election, and Raffensperger decided to check his own win, which had the largest margin of victory in any statewide race, at 9.3 percentage points.

Full Article: Georgia election audit shows similar results as machine ballot count

Michigan Board of State Canvassers approves 2022 election results | Clara Hendrickson/Detroit Free Press

During a chaotic meeting that lasted over four hours, the state’s bipartisan elections panel rebuffed calls Monday from losing candidates not to officially certify the recent midterm election in Michigan, and the panel unanimously accepted the results. The vote by the Board of State Canvassers − made up of two Democrats and two Republicans − marks the first certification of a general election since the otherwise routine process garnered national attention two years ago, when allies of former President Donald Trump pressured GOP members not to certify the results and raised the prospect the panel might deadlock along partisan lines. But the board that year certified the election in a 3-0 vote with one GOP canvasser abstaining. During a lengthy public comment period that followed the certification vote of the recent Nov. 8 midterm, some echoed those calls from 2020 not to certify the results, accused state canvassers of committing treason, pleaded for a so-called forensic audit and said that they would pray for members of the board. “I will take prayers from anywhere,” said Republican canvasser and board chair Tony Daunt, in response to one commenter. Daunt kicked off the meeting by asking those attending to conduct themselves appropriately, but at times, attendees interrupted the proceedings with loud jeers directed at the canvassers.

Full Article: Michigan Board of State Canvassers approves 2022 election results

New Jersey: Why the voting machines failed in Mercer County | Andrew Appel/Freedom to Tinker

On Election Day, November 8, 2022, every voting machine in every polling place in Mercer County, New Jersey failed to work.  Voters in each precinct filled in the ovals in their preprinted optical-scan paper ballots, but the voting machines couldn’t read them.  So voters were instructed to put their ballots into “slot 3” of the voting machines, that is, directly into the ballot box.  The Mercer County Board of Elections collected the ballots at the close of the polls on election night, using their usual chain-of-custody procedures.  Then they counted those ballots using the county’s central-count optical-scan voting machines, which are normally used for mail-in ballots.  This took two or three days.  All the votes got counted – but it’s still an embarrassing screw-up that deserves scrutiny. Between 2002 and 2018, Mercer County used paperless full-face touchscreen voting machines.  That was an untrustworthy technology–if the computer miscounted the votes because of hacking or malfunction, there were no paper ballots that could be recounted, and we’d never know.  So I was glad to see those machines go, and glad to see them replaced by hand-marked optical-scan paper ballots, counted by precinct-count optical scanners.  This is the most securable technology I know of.  And that method of vote-counting is robust, meaning even if the voting machines fail to operate, voters can deposit their ballots in a ballot box for counting later.  That’s how all the votes got counted in the November 22 election. Still, we don’t expect every voting machine in the whole county to fail at once!  So what happened exactly?

Full Article: Why the voting machines failed in Mercer County

New York: Oops. Green ink. Stray marks. Inside the largest hand recount in Onondaga County history / Chris Carlson/

The largest hand recount in the history of Onondaga County elections began on Tuesday in an atmosphere resembling a standardized test. Officials, volunteers and lawyers began the painstaking process of counting more than 93,000 ballots by hand in a non-descript room in the Onondaga County Board of Elections. Over the next week, they will spend nearly eight hours a day counting the votes that will eventually determine whether Democrat John Mannion or Republican Rebecca Shiroff becomes the senator representing New York’s 50th District. With Mannion, the incumbent, leading by just 51 votes, the race is so close that it triggered a state law requiring a hand count of each ballot. The scene that played out in Onondaga County Tuesday is expected to be repeated each work day until the results are known sometime next week.

Full Article: Oops. Green ink. Stray marks. Inside the largest hand recount in Onondaga County history –