National: GOP operatives’ troubling trend of copying election systems | Tim Starks/The Washington Post

Donald Trump-allied attorneys directed a team of computer experts to copy sensitive data from Georgia election systems, part of a broader trend of assorted GOP efforts to copy such data, The Post reported Monday. … The copies of Dominion voting software in several locations would include “object code,” or the language that allows machines to understand the underlying source code, said University of Michigan computer scientist J. Alex Halderman. Such code is mostly straightforward to reverse-engineer. “The format is a speed bump for someone wanting to understand or exploit the system, not a real roadblock,” Halderman told me. Halderman said election security is too often a game of “security by obscurity,” one where everything is kept secret until suddenly “the cat’s out of the bag” with, say, imaged voting systems making their way into the broader public. That creates a period of heightened vulnerability, he said, where the bad guys have the edge over good guys who have to spend a lot of time working to patch flaws.

Full Article: GOP operatives’ troubling trend of copying election systems – The Washington Post

National: Poll worker recruitment efforts are in full swing for midterms amid shortage | Barbara Rodriguez/The 19th

When Power the Polls launched in 2020, the nonpartisan nonprofit aimed to recruit 250,000 people to sign up as poll workers around the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. The response was overwhelming. Power the Polls, through its partnerships with about 200 nonprofit organizations and businesses, estimates it recruited more than 700,000 prospective poll workers. Jane Slusser, program manager for Power the Polls, said 97 percent of those sign-ups were people who had never been a poll worker before. She said afterward, many expressed an interest in doing the work again. “Overwhelmingly, people were like, ‘Now I’m a poll worker for life. It was a tough day, but it was one of the most rewarding things I ever did,’” she said. Poll workers — the people, sometimes paid and sometimes not, who help voters check in, manage lines, troubleshoot equipment or assist with office duties — have historically been older women, though data is limited. Power the Polls wants to help election administrators recruit poll workers again amid new challenges. The election system is being tested in the face of lies spread by former President Donald Trump and his allies about widespread voter fraud, and members of the majority-women election official workforce have faced threats.

Full Article: Poll worker recruitment efforts are in full swing for midterms amid shortage

National: Republicans Turn Against the League of Women Voters | Megan O’Matz/ProPublica

For decades, the League of Women Voters played a vital but largely practical role in American politics: tending to the information needs of voters by hosting debates and conducting candidate surveys. While it wouldn’t endorse specific politicians, it quietly supported progressive causes. The group was known for clipboards, not confrontation; for being respected, not reviled. But those quiet days are now over, a casualty of the volatile political climate of the last few years and the league’s goal of being relevant to a new generation. n 2018, the league’s CEO was arrested, along with hundreds of other protesters, for crowding a Senate office building to demand lawmakers reject Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, a conservative accused of sexual harassment. Two years later, the league dissolved its chapter in Nevada after the state president penned an op-ed in July 2020 accusing the Democrats of hypocrisy for opposing gerrymandering in red states while “harassing” the league in Nevada over its activism on the issue.

Full Article: Republicans Turn Against the League of Women Voters — ProPublica

National: Trump supporters’ threats to judge spur democracy concerns | Gary Fields and Nicholas Riccardi/Associated Press

Hundreds of federal judges face the same task every day: review an affidavit submitted by federal agents and approve requests for a search warrant. But for U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, the fallout from his decision to approve a search warrant has been far from routine. He has faced a storm of death threats since his signature earlier this month cleared the way for the FBI to search former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate as part of a probe into whether he inappropriately removed sensitive materials from the White House. Reinhart’s home address was posted on right-wing sites, along with antisemitic slurs. The South Florida synagogue he attends canceled its Friday night Shabbat services in the wake of the uproar. Trump has done little to lower the temperature among his supporters, decrying the search as political persecution and calling on Reinhart to recuse himself in the case because he has previously made political donations to Democrats. Reinhart has also, however, contributed to Republicans. The threats against Reinhart are part of a broader attack on law enforcement, particularly the FBI, by Trump and his allies in the aftermath of the search. But experts warn that the focus on a judge, coming amid an uptick in threats to the judiciary in general, is dangerous for the rule of law in the U.S. and the country’s viability as a democracy. “Threats against judges fulfilling their constitutional responsibilities strike at the very core of our democracy,” U.S. Second Circuit Judge Richard J. Sullivan, chair of the Judicial Conference Committee on Judicial Security, said in a statement issued recently in the aftermath of the search. “Judges should not have to fear retaliation for doing their jobs.”

Full Article: Trump supporters’ threats to judge spur democracy concerns | AP News

Google Search Is Quietly Damaging Democracy | Francesca Tripodi/WIRED

Google’s aesthetic has always been rooted in a clean appearance—a homepage free of advertising and pop-up clutter, adorned only with a signature “doodle” decorating its name. Part of why many users love Google is its sleek designs and ability to return remarkably accurate results. Yet the simplicity of Google’s homepage is deceptively static. Overtime, the way that the corporation returns information has shifted ever so slightly. These incremental changes go largely unnoticed by the millions of users who rely on the search engine daily, but it has fundamentally changed the information seeking processes—and not necessarily for the better. When Google first launched, queries returned a simple list of hyperlinked websites. Slowly, that format changed. First Google launched AdWords, allowing businesses to buy space at the top and tailoring returns to maximize product placement. By the early 2000s it was correcting spelling, providing summaries of the news under the headlines, and anticipating our queries with autocomplete. In 2007 it started Universal Search, bringing together relevant information across formats (news, images, video). And in 2012 it introduced Knowledge Graph, providing a snapshot that sits separate from the returns, a source of knowledge that many of us have come to rely on exclusively when it comes to quick searches.

Full Article: Google Search Is Quietly Damaging Democracy | WIRED

Arizona: Maricopa County recorder says threats against election officials unlikely to stop,  | Gloria Rebecca Gomez/Arizona Republic

The state’s top elections official received a death threat last year. It wasn’t the first, and he fears it won’t be the last. On Tuesday, 50-year-old Missouri resident Walter Lee Hoornstra was indicted on suspicion of sending a threatening voicemail to Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer in May 2021. In it, Hoornstra warned Richer to stop speaking out against the Arizona Senate audit, or Richer would “never make it to (his) next little board meeting,” according to the indictment. Baseless claims that fraud occurred during the 2020 election sowed mistrust among voters, and election officials have borne the brunt of their vitriol. Across the country, election officials have resigned after dealing with relentless harassment. Richer estimates that he’s received thousands of hateful messages during his tenure since January 2021. So many that the threat from Hoornstra, at that point, wasn’t enough to cancel meetings or give him pause. “This would’ve been one of a deluge of voicemails, emails and social media messages at this time,” Richer said Thursday in an interview with The Arizona Republic. Allegations from the Arizona Senate audit inspired many of the messages, Richer said. Hoornstra’s voicemail came after the audit’s Twitter account falsely accused election officials of deleting electronic databases. In fact, contractors had simply been looking in the wrong place for the information, Richer said.

Full Article: Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer talks threats, voter vitriol

Connecticut: Overheated voting machines and poll workers disrupted last week’s primaries | Sten Spinella/The Day

Voting machines throughout the state were damaged on primary Election Day due to high temperatures, election officials said this week. Norwich and Stonington registrars told The Day that multiple machines at polling locations in the two municipalities malfunctioned during the state’s primary election on Aug. 9. Approximately 50 machines were affected throughout the state, according to the Secretary of the State’s office. Machines that were not at air-conditioned polling locations partially “melted,” officials say, and were unable to tabulate vote totals. With low voter turnout and only Democratic and Republican primaries for the Secretary of the State and U.S. Senate, Norwich and Stonington election workers were not made to stay much later than usual to count ballots, and none of the vote counts were affected by the machine errors. Norwich had four tabulator machines “melt down” at two separate locations on Aug. 9, according to Republican Registrar Cheryl Stover. The malfunctioning machines were at Moriarty Elementary School and Stanton Elementary School. “At first we began opening new tabulators not knowing what was going on. Once we lost more tabulators we realized something is happening due to the heat,” Stover said. “At the end of the day we opened tabulators in air-conditioned facilities and ran all those ballots through. We only had to do that for one of our stations. We had three tabulators at that specific location that melted down during the day, so we were unable to get any numbers off of them because they were completely nonfunctional.”

Full Article: Meltdown: Overheated voting machines and poll workers disrupted last week’s primaries

Georgia County Commissioners pass resolution urging lawmakers to remove QR codes from elections | Isaiah Singleton/Cherokee Tribune & Ledger-News

The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday urging the Georgia legislature to eliminate the QR codes used in the statewide voting system. Commission Chairman Harry Johnston said the board received many requests from the public to change the voting system in Cherokee County, but does not have the power to do it. “We’ve researched it, our attorney has researched it, and we’ve determined that we don’t have that power, while there are some points in the law that might seem to indicate we do, the preponderance of the law clearly says that we do not and so we just can’t do that,” he said. “Furthermore, I’m not sure we really would want to change Cherokee County in a way that would be unique from other counties. My personal belief is that 159 different voting systems across Georgia would not necessarily move us toward greater election integrity, but it might actually move us away from that.” In May, over 100 protesters gathered at the Albert Stone Elections Building in Canton to call for the elections board to hand count ballots from the May 24 primary. They said they had concerns about the state’s voting machines, specifically the QR codes, which they said were “unverifiable” and “illegible.”
Full Article: Commissioners pass resolution urging Georgia lawmakers to remove QR codes from elections | Local News | tribuneledgernews.com

Four Kansas counties complete abortion amendment recount | The Kansas City Star

Four of the nine counties ordered to undergo a hand recount of votes in Kansas’ abortion ballot initiative have finished their tallies with minimal changes to the overall vote total. Johnson County had not yet begun counting its ballots Wednesday afternoon. Mark Gietzen, a Wichita anti-abortion activist, and Melissa Leavitt, a Colby election denier, scraped together around $120,000 Monday to force a partial hand recount of the abortion rights affirming vote. They chose four of Kansas’ biggest counties — Johnson, Sedgwick, Douglas and Shawnee. They also chose five smaller counties — Crawford, Harvey, Jefferson, Lyon and Thomas. All but Thomas had a majority of voters reject the amendment. The recount, which began Tuesday and must be finished by Saturday, is virtually guaranteed to fail in changing the outcome of the election. Kansans rejected the amendment 59% to 41%, a gap of more than 165,000 votes.

Full Article: Four Kansas counties complete abortion amendment recount | The Kansas City Star

Michigan legislature mum on if it will allow clerks to preprocess absentee ballots in November | Jordyn Hermani/MLive.com

If preprocessing is a priority for the heads of the House and Senate’s election committees, then it’s one of several as the legislature turns its sights toward the 2022 election – and definitely not at the forefront. MLive spoke to a handful of local clerks following the Aug. 2 primary and the bulk – regardless of party affiliation – said they hope lawmakers address two main things before the Nov. 8 general election: The ability to preprocess absentee ballots and increased funding. Lawmakers though, specifically Sen. Ruth Johnson, R-Groveland Township, say it’s one of a handful of things they’re mulling this year regarding changes to how Michigan administers elections. Even with that acknowledgement, none of those topics are guaranteed to cross the legislative finish line and be implemented prior to November. Michigan flirted with preprocessing back in 2020 when 3.3 million people – 60% of voters that year – chose to vote from home in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time, the legislature allowed local clerks, though only for cities and townships with least 25,000 residents, to open the envelopes that absentee ballots came.

Full Article: Legislature mum on if it will allow clerks to preprocess absentee ballots in November – mlive.com

Nevada: How should ballots be hand counted? Nye County, state election officials disagree | Sean Golonka/The Nevada Independent

As Nye County’s top new election official prepares to hand count tens of thousands of paper ballots cast in this year’s general election, the secretary of state’s office is seeking to standardize and regulate that process. But the two sides are at odds. Last week, the secretary of state’s office hosted a workshop to solicit feedback on a proposed temporary regulation for hand counting that would require local election officials to follow certain procedures for tallying votes, submit plans for meeting numerous election deadlines and ensure hand-counting teams are not all of the same political party. “We strongly urge the secretary of state to not adopt these regulations,” Mark Kampf, who started as Nye County’s interim clerk earlier this month, said during the workshop. Kampf, who is running for a full four-year term as clerk, expressed concerns over several portions of the regulation, including calling for tally forms to be prescribed by the secretary of state rather than the county official, as well as another that would require clerks to report the use of any outside vendors hired to assist with the hand count. Instead, he touted his own plan — a “parallel tabulation” process that would involve running ballots through the typical mechanical tabulators at the same time as hand counting all ballots. “Nye County is going to be the guinea pig here, let’s be realistic about this,” he said. “[M]y goal is to develop a process that can be used throughout Nevada and throughout any other state.”

Full Article: How should Nevada hand count ballots? Nye County, state election officials disagree – The Nevada Independent

Ohio Raises a Volunteer Army to Fight Election Hacking | Katrina Manson/Bloomberg

Chris Riling says he “could never join the military.” He’s 37, has cerebral palsy, and wouldn’t have managed basic training, he says. Yet he recently swore an oath to protect the country and obey his commanding officers. At any moment, Ohio’s governor can call him up for active duty reporting to the state’s National Guard. And if he missteps, he can be tried under the Ohio Code of Military Justice. That’s because Riling, a systems architect at Cisco Systems Inc., is a volunteer for a novel kind of civilian reserve—a group of mostly private-sector tech professionals tasked with combating cyberattacks in the state. Right now, in the runup to the midterms, the group’s focus is election integrity: Voting-related hacking attempts could have disastrous implications for American democracy if successful, and cash-strapped state and local governments are often ill-equipped to face down new technological threats. Already, other states are seeking to copy Ohio’s model as they race to catch up with the threat of ransomware hacks, election interference, and other punishing cyberattacks, both foreign and domestic. Created just before the pandemic, the Ohio Cyber Reserve has assembled 80 members who can be called up under the command of Major General John Harris of the National Guard. They work mostly in cybersecurity by day and moonlight as crime-fighting reservists on weekends and Tuesday evenings from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The program already has state funding to expand to 200 people and could ultimately grow to 500, organizers say. Most members take leave from work to fulfill their reserve duties and receive travel expenses for training.

Full Article: Ohio Raises a Volunteer Army to Fight Election Hacking – Bloomberg

Pennsylvania: Doug Mastriano Plans to Use His Secretary of State Pick to Disrupt Elections | Jake Blumgart/Bolts

Doug Mastriano is a Donald Trump loyalist, and an ardent proponent of the former president’s baseless conspiracies about the 2020 election. He was outside the capitol on Jan. 6th, brought supporters to D.C. that day, and has been subpoenaed by the congressional committee investigating the riots. Now, Mastriano is also the GOP nominee in Pennsylvania’s governor’s race in November. His victory would hand over control of a large swing state to a hard right election denier in the lead-up to the next presidential race. “He has revealed the Deceit, Corruption, and outright Theft of the 2020 Presidential Election, and will do something about it,” Trump said of Mastriano when he endorsed him in May. A centerpiece of Mastriano’s promise to revamp the state’s election system is to flex the governor’s authority to choose Pennsylvania’s secretary of state. “As governor, I get to appoint the secretary of state. And I have a voting reform-minded individual who’s been traveling the nation and knows voting reform extremely well,” Mastriano told Steve Bannon, former chief strategist for Trump, in an April interview. “That individual has agreed to be my secretary of state.”

Full Article: Doug Mastriano Plans to Use His Secretary of State Pick to Disrupt Pennsylvania Elections | Bolts

Rhode Island: Voting security advocates, computer scientists sound alarm over new voting law | Nancy Lavin/Providence Business News

Once a common office fixture, fax machines have been reduced to a rare, if novelty, relic. Unless, of course, you’re a military member or overseas resident who wants to vote in a Rhode Island election. The good, old-fashioned fax machine has long been the only alternative to sluggish snail mail for overseas and military voters.

Full Article: Voting security advocates, computer scientists sound alarm over new R.I. voting law

Texas: How do you run an election without elections department staff? Gillespie County in a bind | Megan Rodriguez/San Antonio Express-News

The elections administrator in Gillespie County, which includes Fredericksburg, is stepping down Tuesday over death threats, stalking and understaffing that followed the 2020 election, according to the Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post. “I’m understaffed and underpaid and I’ve been asking for help for a while, and at some point, you just have to take care of yourself,”…

Wisconsin: Judge admonishes Michael Gableman’s review of 2020 election | Lawrence Andrea/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

For many months, former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman’s taxpayer-funded review of the 2020 presidential election that has not produced any evidence of substantive voter fraud “accomplished nothing,” according to a Dane County judge. Gableman didn’t keep weekly progress reports as required by the Wisconsin State Assembly.  He conducted no witness interviews. And he gathered “no measurable data” over at least a four-month span in 2021, the judge found. “Instead, it gave its employees code names like ‘coms’ or ‘3,’ apparently for the sole purpose of emailing back and forth about news articles and drafts of speeches,” Dane County Circuit Judge Frank Remington wrote in an opinion released Wednesday. “It printed copies of reports that better investigators had already written,” Remington added, “although there is no evidence any person connected with (the Office of the Special Counsel) ever read these reports, let alone critically analyzed their factual and legal bases to draw his or her own principled conclusions.”

Full Article: Judge admonishes Michael Gableman’s 2020 review of Wisconsin election

Michigan plot to breach voting machines points to a national trend | atrick Marley and Tom Hamburger/The Washington Post

Eight months after the 2020 presidential election, Robin Hawthorne did not expect anyone to ask for her township’s voting machines. The election had gone smoothly, she said, just as others had that she had overseen for 17 years as the Rutland Charter Township clerk in rural western Michigan. But now a sheriff’s deputy and investigator were in her office, asking her about her township’s three vote tabulators, suggesting that they somehow had been programmed with a microchip to shift votes from Donald Trump to Joe Biden and asking her to hand one over for inspection. “What the heck is going on?” she recalled thinking. The surprise visit may have been an “out-of-the-blue thing,” as Hawthorne described it, but it was one element of a much broader effort by figures who deny the outcome of the 2020 vote to access voting machines in a bid to prove fraud that experts say does not exist. In states across the country, including Colorado, Pennsylvania and Georgia, attempts to inappropriately access voting machines have spurred investigations. They have also sparked concern among election authorities that, while voting systems are broadly secure, breaches by those looking for evidence of fraud could themselves compromise the integrity of the process and undermine confidence in the vote. In Michigan, the efforts to access the machines jumped into public view this month when the state attorney general, Dana Nessel (D), requested a special prosecutor be assigned to look into a group that includes her likely Republican opponent, Matthew DePerno.

Full Article: Michigan plot to breach voting machines points to a national trend – The Washington Post

‘Hackers against conspiracies’: Cyber sleuths take aim at election disinformation | Maggie Miller/Politico

One of the country’s biggest hacking conferences became a test site this year for an urgent political question for the midterms: How to hunt for vulnerabilities in voting machines without fueling election misinformation. Since 2017, the annual DEF CON conference — which wrapped up Sunday in Las Vegas — has featured a “Voting Machine Village” where attendees attempt to crack voting equipment ranging from registration databases to ballot-casting machines. The hackers at DEF CON — which takes its name from the military term for alert levels — have found vulnerabilities in nearly every machine featured during those years. But this year, in the wake of a 2020 U.S. presidential election where false claims of election fraud abounded — including everything from disproven allegations that mail-in ballots were tampered with, to unfounded claims that some voting machines were programmed to change votes — the Voting Village got a lot more political — and the organizers worked to control the information coming out of it. “If there is one theme this year, it’s hackers against conspiracies,” said Harri Hursti, the co-founder of the Voting Machine Village. “2020 and all the side effects have changed everything here.” It’s a tough battle to fight, and one that offers a taste of the problems that the election security community will be grappling with in the run-up to the November elections and the weeks following — as they try to both make sure voting equipment is as secure as possible and to tamp down false claims that the equipment could be tampered with to change the outcome of the election.

Full Article: ‘Hackers against conspiracies’: Cyber sleuths take aim at election disinformation – POLITICO

National: Election deniers march toward power in key 2024 battlegrounds | Amy Gardner/The Washington Post

First came Kristina Karamo, a community college instructor from Detroit who claimed without evidence that she witnessed fraud as a 2020 election observer — and who in April became her party’s pick for secretary of state, Michigan’s top election official, after repeatedly touting those claims. Next was Doug Mastriano, the firebrand state lawmaker from Pennsylvania who urged his colleagues to throw out Joe Biden’s 2020 victory. In May, Mastriano secured the GOP nomination for governor, a position with the power to certify the state’s slate of presidential electors. Finally, this month, Arizona Republicans nominated Kari Lake for governor and Mark Finchem for secretary of state. Both are outspoken election deniers who have pledged that they would not have certified Biden’s victory in their state. The winners fit a pattern: Across the battleground states that decided the 2020 vote, candidates who deny the legitimacy of that election have claimed nearly two-thirds of GOP nominations for state and federal offices with authority over elections, according to a Washington Post analysis.

Full Article: Election deniers march toward power in key 2024 battlegrounds – The Washington Post

National: Trump-allied lawyers pursued voting machine data in multiple states, records reveal | Emma Brown , Jon Swaine , Aaron C. Davis and Amy Gardner/The Washington Post

A team of computer experts directed by lawyers allied with President Donald Trump copied sensitive data from election systems in Georgia as part of a secretive, multistate effort to access voting equipment that was broader, more organized and more successful than previously reported, according to emails and other records obtained by The Washington Post. As they worked to overturn Trump’s 2020 election defeat, the lawyers asked a forensic data firm to access county election systems in at least three battleground states, according to the documents and interviews. The firm charged an upfront retainer fee for each job, which in one case was $26,000. Attorney Sidney Powell sent the team to Michigan to copy a rural county’s election data and later helped arrange for them to do the same in the Detroit area, according to the records. A Trump campaign attorney engaged the team to travel to Nevada. And the day after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol the team was in southern Georgia, copying data from a Dominion voting system in rural Coffee County. The emails and other records were collected through a subpoena issued to the forensics firm, Atlanta-based SullivanStrickler, by plaintiffs in a long-running lawsuit in federal court over the security of Georgia’s voting systems. The documents provide the first confirmation that data from Georgia’s election system was copied. Indications of a breach there were first raised by plaintiffs in the case in February, and state officials have said they are investigating.

Full Article: Trump-allied lawyers pursued voting machine data in multiple states, records reveal – The Washington Post

National: CISA expands efforts to fight election disinformation ahead of ‘challenging’ 2024 vote | Suzanne Smalley/CyberScoop

Chris Krebs, former head of the nation’s cybersecurity agency inside the Department of Homeland Security, caused a stir this week when he suggested the agency break out on its own. Instead of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency residing in DHS, Krebs told an audience at the Black Hat cybersecurity conference in Las Vegas, a standalone CISA could help streamline how the private sector and other stakeholders work with the government to combat cyberthreats. “Instead of going to five or six different agencies, make the front door clearly visible — and as I see it that’s CISA,” Krebs said. But former CISA officials and other cybersecurity experts said that idea is simply unrealistic and impractical. CyberScoop spoke with eight former U.S. cybersecurity officials, executives and experts about Krebs’ comments and a majority said that CISA needs to reside inside DHS in order to accomplish its mission. “DHS gives CISA size and Cabinet-level seniority in the interagency,” Looking Glass CEO Bryan Ware, who previously served in senior cybersecurity roles at CISA and DHS, told CyberScoop. “I worry that without that top cover [CISA] could be diminished by DOD, FBI and others.”

Full Articlee: CISA expands efforts to fight election disinformation ahead of ‘challenging’ 2024 vote

National: On TikTok, Election Misinformation Thrives Ahead of Midterms | Tiffany Hsu/The New York Times

In Germany, TikTok accounts impersonated prominent political figures during the country’s last national election. In Colombia, misleading TikTok posts falsely attributed a quotation from one candidate to a cartoon villain and allowed a woman to masquerade as another candidate’s daughter. In the Philippines, TikTok videos amplified sugarcoated myths about the country’s former dictator and helped his son prevail in the country’s presidential race. Now, similar problems have arrived in the United States. Ahead of the midterm elections this fall, TikTok is shaping up to be a primary incubator of baseless and misleading information, in many ways as problematic as Facebook and Twitter, say researchers who track online falsehoods. The same qualities that allow TikTok to fuel viral dance fads — the platform’s enormous reach, the short length of its videos, its powerful but poorly understood recommendation algorithm — can also make inaccurate claims difficult to contain. Baseless conspiracy theories about certain voter fraud in November are widely viewed on TikTok, which globally has more than a billion active users each month. Users cannot search the #StopTheSteal hashtag, but #StopTheSteallll had accumulated nearly a million views until TikTok disabled the hashtag after being contacted by The New York Times. Some videos urged viewers to vote in November while citing debunked rumors raised during the congressional hearings into the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. TikTok posts have garnered thousands of views by claiming, without evidence, that predictions of a surge in Covid-19 infections this fall are an attempt to discourage in-person voting.

Full Article: On TikTok, Election Misinformation Thrives Ahead of Midterms – The New York Times

National: Another year, another high-profile voter-fraud summit — this time from True the Vote — goes bust | Philip Bump/The Washington Post

It was just over a year ago that MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell convened supporters and data experts in South Dakota for a multiday summit at which he pledged to show his evidence that foreign actors had interfered in the 2020 election. As presented, the idea was straightforward: Lindell, who believed fervently that the election had been stolen, would finally offer up the raw information that he claimed showed how voting machines had been hacked and the results altered from overseas. This wasn’t his analysis, obviously; he’d hired guys who said they’d uncovered a pattern that could be replicated by others. But when the moment came … it couldn’t. The data was invalid and/or useless. There was no proof. None has since emerged. But Lindell was in a corner. He’d kept stringing people along for months, promising a big reveal. Whether he knew he didn’t have anything or not, someone did. And this is how cons work: The stakes keep getting increased until the whole thing collapses. This episode sprang to mind immediately when I started watching “The Pit,” a symposium held in Arizona over the weekend by 2022′s in-vogue election conspiracy theorists, the leaders of the group True the Vote. Same elevation of hype. Same collapse of what was promised.

Full Article: Another year, another high-profile voter-fraud summit — this time from True the Vote — goes bust – The Washington Post

Editorial: American Democracy Was Never Designed to Be Democratic | Louis Menand/The New Yorker

To look on the bright side for a moment, one effect of the Republican assault on elections—which takes the form, naturally, of the very thing Republicans accuse Democrats of doing: rigging the system—might be to open our eyes to how undemocratic our democracy is. Strictly speaking, American government has never been a government “by the people.” This is so despite the fact that more Americans are voting than ever before. In 2020, sixty-seven per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot for President. That was the highest turnout since 1900, a year when few, if any, women, people under twenty-one, Asian immigrants (who could not become citizens), Native Americans (who were treated as foreigners), or Black Americans living in the South (who were openly disenfranchised) could vote. Eighteen per cent of the total population voted in that election. In 2020, forty-eight per cent voted. Some members of the loser’s party have concluded that a sixty-seven-per-cent turnout was too high. They apparently calculate that, if fewer people had voted, Donald Trump might have carried their states. Last year, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, legislatures in nineteen states passed thirty-four laws imposing voting restrictions. (Trump and his allies had filed more than sixty lawsuits challenging the election results and lost all but one of them.) In Florida, it is now illegal to offer water to someone standing in line to vote. Georgia is allowing counties to eliminate voting on Sundays. In 2020, Texas limited the number of ballot-drop-off locations to one per county, insuring that Loving County, the home of fifty-seven people, has the same number of drop-off locations as Harris County, which includes Houston and has 4.7 million people.

Full Article: American Democracy Was Never Designed to Be Democratic | The New Yorker

The Arizona Republican Party’s Anti-Democracy Experiment | Robert Draper/The New York Times

R​​ose Sperry, a state committeewoman for Arizona’s G.O.P., answered immediately when I asked her to name the first Republican leader she admired. “I grew up during the time that Joe McCarthy was doing his talking,” Sperry, an energetic 81-year-old, said of the Wisconsin senator who in the 1950s infamously claimed Communists had infiltrated the federal government. “I was young, but I was listening. If he were here today, I would say, ‘Get him in there as president!’” Sperry is part of a grass-roots movement that has pushed her state’s party far to the right in less than a decade. She had driven 37 miles the morning of July 16, from her home in the Northern Arizona town Cottonwood to the outskirts of Prescott, to attend the monthly meeting of a local conservative group called the Lions of Liberty, who, according to the group’s website, “are determined to correct the course of our country, which has been hijacked and undermined by global elites, communists, leftists, deep state bureaucrats and fake news.” That dismal view of America today was echoed by nearly every other conservative voter and group I encountered across the state over the past year. Arizona has become a bellwether for the rest of the nation, and not just because of its new status as a swing state and the first of these to be called for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. It was and has continued to be the nexus of efforts by former President Donald Trump and his Republican allies to overturn the 2020 election results. At the same time, party figures from Trump down to Rose Sperry have sought to blacklist every Arizona G.O.P. official who maintained that the election was fairly won — from Gov. Doug Ducey to Rusty Bowers, speaker of the state’s House of Representatives. Such leaders have been condemned as RINOs, or Republicans in name only, today’s equivalent of the McCarthy era’s “fellow travelers.”

Full Article: The Arizona Republican Party’s Anti-Democracy Experiment – The New York Times

Georgia: Giuliani Is Told He Is a Target in Trump Election Inquiry | Richard Fausset and Danny Hakim/The New York Times

The legal pressures on Donald J. Trump and his closest allies intensified further on Monday, as prosecutors informed his former personal attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani, that Mr. Giuliani was a target in a wide-ranging criminal investigation into election interference in Georgia. The notification came on the same day that a federal judge rejected efforts by another key Trump ally, Senator Lindsey Graham, to avoid giving testimony before the special grand jury hearing evidence in the case in Atlanta. One of Mr. Giuliani’s lawyers, Robert Costello, said in an interview that he was notified on Monday that his client was a target. Being so identified does not guarantee that a person will be indicted; rather, it usually means that prosecutors believe an indictment is possible, based on evidence they have seen up to that point. Mr. Giuliani, who as Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer spearheaded efforts to keep Mr. Trump in power, emerged in recent weeks as a central figure in the inquiry being conducted by Fani T. Willis, the district attorney of Fulton County, Ga., which encompasses most of Atlanta. Earlier this summer, prosecutors questioned witnesses before the special grand jury about Mr. Giuliani’s appearances before state legislative panels in December 2020, when he spent hours peddling false conspiracy theories about secret suitcases of Democratic ballots and corrupted voting machines.

Full Article: Giuliani Is a Target in Georgia’s Trump Election Inquiry, Lawyer Says – The New York Times

Kansas to recount abortion vote by hand, despite big margin | John Hanna/Associated Press

Kansas’ elections director says the state will go along with a request for a hand recount of votes from every county after last week’s decisive statewide vote affirming abortion rights, even though there was a 165,000-vote difference and a recount won’t change the result. Melissa Leavitt, of Colby in far western Kansas, requested the recount and declined to comment to reporters Friday evening, citing work obligations. But she said on an online site raising funds for a recount that she had “seen data” about the election. Her post was not more specific, and there is no evidence of significant problems with the election. Baseless election conspiracies have circulated widely in the U.S., particularly among supporters of former President Donald Trump, who has repeated false claims that he lost the 2020 election through fraud. Kansas law requires Leavitt to post a bond to cover the entire cost of the recount. Bryan Caskey, state elections director for the Kansas secretary of state’s office, said it would be the first recount of the votes on a statewide ballot question in at least 30 years.

Full Article: Kansas to recount abortion vote by hand, despite big margin | AP News

Louisiana: Conspiracies complicate voting machine debate | Christina A. Cassidy/Associated Press

The need for Louisiana to replace its voting machines is not in dispute. They are badly outdated — deployed in 2006, the year after Hurricane Katrina struck — and do not produce paper ballots that are critical to ensuring election results are accurate. What to do about them is another story. The long-running drama includes previous allegations of bid-rigging, voting machine companies claiming favoritism and a secretary of state who is noncommittal about having a new system in place for the 2024 presidential election. Local election clerks also worry about the influence of conspiracy theorists who have peddled unfounded claims about voting equipment and have been welcomed into the debate over new machines. “It would be a travesty to let a minority of people who have little to no experience in election administration tear down an exceptional process that was painstakingly built over many, many years,” Calcasieu Parish Clerk of Court Lynn Jones told state officials in a meeting this summer. “And for us to throw it out of the window because of unfounded theories is mind-boggling.” The uncertainty is playing out against a backdrop of attacks on the integrity of elections, fueled by former President Donald Trump’s lies that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him and promoted by a web of his allies and supporters. Some of those same supporters have been trying to convince election officials across the country that they should ditch machines in favor of paper ballots and hand-counts.

Full Article: Conspiracies complicate voting machine debate in Louisiana | AP News

Michigan: Preprocessing, more funding among clerks’ asks for legislature | Ben Orner/MLive.com

Michigan’s primary election passed by last week with few bumps in the road. But with the most decentralized election system in America, local clerks from both parties are calling for critical changes, and they want state lawmakers’ attention. Election results are notoriously slow in Michigan, with the most finger-pointing directed toward mail-in ballot processing. State law doesn’t allow tabulation of absentee ballots – which numbered more than 1.1 million in last week’s election – until 7 a.m. on Election Day. Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum told MLive that things ran smoothly in her jurisdiction on Aug. 2, but it could be smoother. She said there is room for lawmakers to add absentee (also called AV) ballot preprocessing, while also give more funding to train more election officials.

Full Article: Preprocessing, more funding among Michigan clerks’ asks for legislature – mlive.com

Nevada: Voter groups object to proposed hand-counting rules | Gabe Stern/Associated Press

As officials in some parts of rural Nevada vow to bypass voting machines in favor of hand counting ballots this November, the Nevada secretary of state’s office is proposing statewide rules that would specify how to do it, including requiring bipartisan vote counters, room for observation and how many ballots to count at a time. On Friday, four voting rights groups came out against the proposal, calling it an “admirable attempt to ensure higher standards” for counting votes by hand, but urging the secretary of state to prohibit the practice outright, noting that the push for hand-counting stems from “unfounded speculation” about voting machines. “The regulations are not enough to address the underlying accuracy issues and remediate the legal deficiencies of hand count processes,” the groups Brennan Center, All Voting is Local, ACLU Nevada and Silver State Voices said in a statement Friday. Both voting rights groups and hand-count proponents spoke at an online hearing Friday, the first meeting convened to discuss the regulations. Voting rights groups lobbied to prohibit hand-counts, while voting machine skeptics, a majority of the speakers, said the proposed regulations were a power grab meant to sabotage hand-counting.

Full AQrticle: Voter groups object to proposed Nevada hand-counting rules | AP News