National: Trump White House Aides Subpoenaed in Firing of Election Security Expert | Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Swan/The New York Times

The special counsel investigating former President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to cling to power after he lost the 2020 election has subpoenaed staff members from the Trump White House who may have been involved in firing the government cybersecurity official whose agency judged the election “the most secure in American history,” according to two people briefed on the matter. The team led by the special counsel, Jack Smith, has been asking witnesses about the events surrounding the firing of Christopher Krebs, who was the Trump administration’s top cybersecurity official during the 2020 election. Mr. Krebs’s assessment that the election was secure was at odds with Mr. Trump’s baseless assertions that it was a “fraud on the American public.” Read Article

Nevada becomes latest to enhance penalties for election worker intimidation after statewide exodus | Gabe Stern/Associated Press

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signed a bill into law on Tuesday that makes it a felony to harass, intimidate or use force on election workers performing their duties. The law was passed unanimously by the state legislature and was a core campaign promise from Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar. The law is meant to deter attacks against election workers who have faced increased scrutiny and threats in recent years. The law also makes it a felony to disseminate personal information about an election worker without their consent. The law is the latest in a series of measures taken by states to protect election workers. Other states that have taken similar steps include Maine, Vermont, Washington, New Mexico and Oklahoma. The law is a significant step in protecting election workers and ensuring that they can do their jobs without fear of harassment or intimidation. Read Article

How I Won $5 Million From the MyPillow Guy and Saved Democracy | Bob Zeidman/Politico

If you watch TV, especially conservative TV, you know Mike Lindell. He’s the guy who comes on every 10 minutes or so to sell his pillows for “the best night’s sleep in the whole wide world.” He’s also the guy who has sunk tens of millions of dollars into supporting investigations and lawsuits that claim the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump. And I just took him for $5 million. You may have read a little about it. In the summer of 2021, Lindell announced that he was going to hold a “Cyber Symposium” in Sioux Falls, S.D., to release data that proved that U.S. voting machines were hacked by China. He said he would even pay $5 million to anyone who could disprove his data. Right away, friends started calling to ask me if I was planning to go. After all, I invented the field of software forensics, the science of analyzing software source code for intellectual property infringement or theft. Still, I wasn’t sure. There are a lot of experts that could analyze data. And no one in their right mind would offer $5 million if the data wasn’t real and verified, right? Anyway, the symposium ran three days — not nearly long enough to analyze and verify any data. Read Article

Texas Legislature averts $100 million consequences of law requiring nonexistent election technology | Natalia Contreras/Votebeat Texas

Texas lawmakers have passed a bill reversing a costly state law that required election officials to replace their existing vote-counting equipment with non-existent technology. The 2021 mandate, initially aimed at preventing vote data tampering, would have forced counties to purchase new equipment worth over $100 million. The newly approved bill allows counties to continue using their current equipment, addressing concerns raised by election officials and experts. The legislative session presented the best opportunity to amend the law before it took effect for the 2026 elections. The corrective legislation, sponsored by State Sen. Bryan Hughes, received unanimous approval from both chambers and will go into effect on September 1, relieving election administrators who had raised the alarm about the costly requirement. The law, based on a misunderstanding of its scope, would have necessitated the replacement of equipment each election at a significant expense. Read Article

Elections in UK and US at risk from AI-driven disinformation, say experts | Dan Milmo and Alex Hern/The Guardian

Experts have warned that the upcoming elections in the UK and the US could be inundated with AI-powered disinformation campaigns. The use of generated images, text, and deepfake videos, propagated by swarms of AI-driven propaganda bots, poses a significant threat. Concerns have risen as breakthroughs in generative AI, such as ChatGPT and Midjourney, enable the production of highly convincing content on command. These technologies raise the possibility of interactive election interference on a large scale, with AI capable of engaging opponents in fruitless arguments while convincing onlookers across numerous social media accounts simultaneously. The ability to regulate and educate the public about AI-generated content is crucial in mitigating this growing concern. Read Article

Arizona isn’t banning machines to count ballots. Why a top senator’s declaration means nothing | Jen Fifield/Votebeat Arizona

A letter from Arizona Senate majority leader Sonny Borrelli to all 15 counties in the state is causing confusion about the use of machines to count ballots in future elections. Borrelli’s letter claims that a resolution passed by the legislature earlier this year prohibits the use of electronic voting systems unless they meet certain criteria, which current systems in Arizona do not. However, the resolution is not legally binding and does not change existing laws. County officials have stated that they will continue to follow state and federal laws regarding election equipment and procedures. Borrelli’s letter is seen by some as an attempt to push for a ban on voting machines based on concerns about their security, fueled in part by baseless claims made by former President Donald Trump, Read Articl

National: AI could sway the 2024 elections, campaign pros say — but not like you think | Jim Saksa/Roll Call

Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to revolutionize politics, granting an advantage to early adopters in upcoming elections. However, concerns arise as the ability to generate deceptive audio and video through AI raises troubling implications for an already misinformation-riddled political system. The accountability of politicians and the ability to differentiate real failures from fake ones become challenging for voters. Nevertheless, campaign professionals are more excited about AI’s potential to streamline mundane tasks and enhance big-race tactics in down-ballot contests. AI’s true impact on campaigning will occur behind the scenes, improving fundraising capabilities, providing personalized advertising, and offering up-to-date voter data. As the 2024 presidential elections approach, political consultants are racing to harness the power of AI to gain a strategic advantage. While the potential for AI to be used nefariously is a concern, professionals are optimistic about its potential to enhance campaign operations, although they remain cautious about its downsides. Read Article

National: Dominion CEO Predicts ‘Business Ultimately Goes to Zero’ | Mini Racker/Time

A month ago, Dominion Voting Systems seemed like a dragon slayer. The conservative news behemoth Fox News had just agreed to pay Dominion $787.5 million to settle a defamation suit that was hours away from going to trial. It was the largest such settlement ever announced by a media company. And yet, to Dominion CEO John Poulos, even that payday likely won’t be enough to save his company. The reputational damage Dominion has endured is just too severe, he tells TIME in a strikingly pessimistic interview about the company’s future. Read Article

National: Man who debunked Mike Lindell’s ‘blatantly bogus’ data wants his $5m | Sam Levine/The Guardian

Robert Zeidman, a cyber forensics expert, attended a “cyber symposium” hosted by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where Lindell claimed he had evidence of China interfering in the 2020 US election. Zeidman, who voted for Trump and suspected some election fraud but not enough to overturn the results, was skeptical but curious to see the evidence. Lindell offered $5 million to anyone who could disprove his data, prompting Zeidman to attend. However, Zeidman found the data Lindell presented to be bogus and took the matter to arbitration, which ruled in his favor. Now Zeidman is seeking enforcement of the arbitration ruling in federal court, while Lindell is attempting to vacate the ruling. Zeidman plans to donate some of the money to nonprofits and organizations working on voter integrity. Lindell faces multiple lawsuits related to his election misinformation claims. Read Article

National: Why Republican-led states keep leaving a group that verifies voter rolls | Matt Vasilogambros/Stateline

Several Republican-led states are withdrawing from a cooperative called the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), which aims to ensure accurate voter registration rolls. Concerns over privacy, confidentiality, and other reasons have prompted Virginia to join the list of states leaving ERIC. Experts in election security fear that this move, influenced by conspiracy theories, could lead to the creation of inaccurate voter databases. The changing Republican stance on the program stems from the spread of misinformation about the country’s election systems, largely fueled by former President Donald Trump and his allies. The departure of states from ERIC reflects a larger trend away from nonpartisan election administration, which is worrisome for maintaining reliable voter rolls and preventing voter fraud. Read Article

National: Paper ballots can ensure a secure, resilient election next year | Meghan McCarty Carino and Jesus Alvarado/Marketplace

Next year’s election is still 18 months away, but it’s never too soon to start thinking about security. Voting systems are a little different wherever you go and the tech has changed over the years — from paper ballots to electronic ones to something in between. Most jurisdictions in the U.S. now use hand-marked paper ballots, or paper ballots marked with an electronic interface, and counted with optical scanners or by hand, should the need arise. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke with Pam Smith, president and CEO of Verified Voting, who said that’s the gold standard for security. That nonpartisan organization recently published its recommendations for 2024. Read Article

Alabama post-election audit bill moves forward | Samuel Stett heimer/Alabama Political Reporter

An Alabama House committee has unanimously approved House Bill 457, known as the Alabama Post-Election Audit Act, which aims to conduct audits of general elections in each county. The bill requires county canvassing boards to manually tabulate every ballot cast in one randomly selected race after general elections conclude. The bill sponsor, Rep. Debbie Wood, expressed concerns about election integrity, citing the age and unsecured transportation of voting machines. Alabama is one of only four states that do not regularly conduct post-election audits, and the proposed legislation seeks to address this gap by involving canvassing boards in each county to ensure accurate election results. Read Article

Arizona: After botching election results, Pinal County wants to try hand-counting ballots | Jen Fifield/Votebeat Arizona

Pinal County supervisors in Arizona are considering hand-counting ballots in future elections despite the proven drawbacks of manual counting, as they face pressure from residents who believe in false claims about vote switching. The county’s previous election had errors due to human error, not the tabulation machines. Supervisors plan to conduct a trial hand-count using a sample of 2022 ballots and discuss the possibility of counting all 2024 ballots by hand, although it is currently illegal in Arizona. The county is taking steps to address election problems, including adding staff and implementing new processes, while also exploring the option of hand-counting to appease public demand. Read Article

Arizona judge dismisses Kari Lake’s final claim in election loss for governor | Aossicated Press

A judge has dismissed the only remaining legal claim in Republican Kari Lake’s challenge of her loss in the 2022 Arizona gubernatorial race, affirming the election of Democrat Katie Hobbs. Lake, who promoted former President Donald Trump’s election lies during her campaign, failed to prove her claim that Maricopa County did not verify signatures on mail ballots as required by law. Despite other election deniers conceding after losing their races in November, Lake has continued to tout her legal battle and has been mentioned as a potential vice presidential pick for Trump. However, the judge ruled against her, stating that the evidence did not support her claim. Read Article

California: Shasta County supervisor renews unproven claims of 2020 election fraud | David Benda/Redding Record Searchlight

Shasta County Supervisor Patrick Jones, who orchestrated the decision to terminate the county’s contract with Dominion Voting Systems and return to manual vote counting, claimed fraud occurred in his own 2020 election race, despite winning by a significant margin. Jones referenced the Mesa, Colorado, “pattern of fraud” coined by Jeffrey O’Donnell, a promoter of election conspiracy theories. Jones announced plans to hold a town hall meeting on hand-counting ballots, where he intends to invite speakers who have propagated false theories on voting machines and a rigged election system. Shasta County Registrar of Voters Cathy Darling Allen expressed skepticism about the purpose of the town hall, stating that California already has set parameters and processes for hand counting, and upcoming hand-count regulations are expected to be published by the California Secretary of State. The county has allocated over $1.5 million to develop a hand-count system pending state certification. Read Article

Florida election bill immediately challenged in federal court | Tampa Bay Times

After Governor Ron DeSantis signed a new elections bill in Florida, legal battles erupted over the restrictions on voter registration groups. Organizations such as the League of Women Voters of Florida and the NAACP filed federal lawsuits claiming that the restrictions violate First Amendment rights and will hinder efforts to register Black and Hispanic voters. The bill, supported by Republicans, imposes stricter regulations on third-party registration groups, including higher fines for violations and preventing non-U.S. citizens from handling registration applications. Proponents argue that the changes aim to enhance election security, while opponents contend that they disproportionately affect minority voters. The lawsuits seek injunctions against the disputed provisions and allege violations of constitutional rights. Read Article

Georgia: Cyber Ninjas CEO’s voting machine activities draw investigation and scrutiny | Chris Anderson/Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Doug Logan, the former CEO of Cyber Ninjas Inc., is at the center of an incident where he gained unauthorized access to a Georgia elections office to examine voting machines as part of an investigation into alleged election fraud in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Logan, along with a colleague, spent several hours inside the office, altering computer settings and scanning thousands of ballots. This incident is part of a larger investigation that may lead to criminal charges. Additionally, financial transactions involving Logan, such as paying off his mortgage and having a Payment Protection Loan forgiven, are highlighted. Connections between Cyber Ninjas, Sidney Powell’s nonprofit Defending the Republic, and a separate criminal investigation in Michigan are also mentioned. Read Article

Nevada: In response to Trump fake electors in 2020, bill passes legislature | April Corbin Girnus/Nevada Current

The Nevada Republicans who submitted fraudulent election certification documents after the 2020 presidential election will not face criminal charges for their actions, but a new bill, Senate Bill 133, has been passed that would make creating or serving on a false slate of electors a category B felony. If the bill becomes law, future fake electors could face a minimum sentence of four years in prison, a maximum of 10 years, and a fine of up to $5,000. They would also be prohibited from holding public office or jobs in state or local government. The bill is a response to the coordinated attempt made by the 2020 Trump campaign and allies to overturn the election results and the actions of fake electors, which were central to Trump’s failed plan for Congress to reject Joe Biden’s victory. The bill now awaits the decision of Governor Joe Lombardo, who previously expressed support for one of the fake electors. Read Article

Tennessee: ‘They’re opposed to government. But now they are the government.’ One county’s hard-right shift | Christina A. Cassidy/Associated Press

Conservative groups that have targeted and won majorities on local boards and commissions across the United States over the past couple years are now pressing agendas that include election distrust, skepticism of government and a desire to have religion play a greater role in public decision-making. The consequences are becoming apparent in places such as Sumner County, Tennessee, where a local Constitutional Republicans group won a majority last year on the county commission. Members have waged a political war on fellow Republicans they view as insufficiently conservative and are feuding with the county’s election commission in ways that could affect preparations for the 2024 presidential election. Read Article

Texas: Harris County to sue over GOP-backed bills targeting local elections | Jen Rice/Houston Chronicle

Harris County, Texas plans to file a lawsuit challenging two election bills, both of which are targeted specifically at the county. One bill eliminates the elections administrator office, while the other increases state oversight and grants the Secretary of State the authority to observe activities in the county’s election office. County Attorney Christian Menefee argues that the bills violate the Texas Constitution, which prohibits legislation targeting specific cities or counties. The bills were initially written to apply more broadly but were later narrowed to only affect Harris County. Menefee intends to file the lawsuit after the bills are signed into law by the governor. Read Article

Wisconsin fake electors trial set to start weeks before 2024 election | Molly Beck/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A trial in a Wisconsin lawsuit over the actions of 10 Republicans who posed as electors for Donald Trump in the 2020 election will take place in September 2024, just weeks before the next presidential election. Two Wisconsin presidential electors filed the lawsuit seeking to penalize the group of Republicans who falsely represented themselves as members of the Electoral College. The plaintiffs are also seeking damages and want the defendants barred from becoming electors in the future. The lawsuit claims that the Republicans engaged in a conspiracy to defraud voters and played a role in the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. The defendants are accused of violating laws governing Electoral College meetings and acting as if they held public offices they did not. The trial will determine the outcome of the case, which has implications for future elections. Read Article

AI presents political peril for 2024 with threat to mislead voters | David Klepper and Ali Swenson/Associated Press

The rise of powerful artificial intelligence (AI) tools is posing a significant threat to the integrity of political campaigns and elections. Sophisticated generative AI can rapidly create fake audio, video, and images that are realistic enough to deceive voters and manipulate public opinion. These AI-generated synthetic media can be used to spread misinformation, impersonate candidates, and mislead voters on a large scale and at a rapid pace. The implications for the 2024 campaigns and elections are troubling, as these tools can undermine trust and erode the democratic process. Experts warn that society is ill-prepared to combat this emerging threat, and urgent measures are needed to address the potential consequences of AI-generated political disinformation. Legislation requiring labeling of AI-generated campaign advertisements and synthetic images has been proposed, but more comprehensive solutions are required to safeguard elections from AI manipulation. Read Article

Why we need to celebrate and protect our Black election officials | Veronica Degraffenreid/Philadelphia Inquirer

My grandmother, Carrie L. Williams, a teacher, was one of the first Black people to vote in rural Bertie County, N.C. She registered during a time in the state’s history where Black people were required to pass a literacy test, and my grandfather, who never attended formal school, could not join her in casting a ballot. Just a few decades later, I became the director of election operations in North Carolina. I wonder if Grandma Carrie could have imagined when she was headed to the ballot box for the very first time that one day her granddaughter would be helping to run elections in the very same state — working like many other Black election officials and poll workers to ensure that all eligible citizens, regardless of race, can participate in a truly representative democratic society. Read Article

National: Generative AI Adds New Dimensions to Election Interference | Carl Smith/Governing

The spread of misinformation through social media, fueled by artificial intelligence (AI), has created significant challenges for election officials. AI tools have the potential to worsen this problem, amplifying falsehoods and slander about election processes and officials. The resulting atmosphere of harassment and threats towards election officials has even led to the assault on the Capitol building. As AI continues to advance, the public sector needs to find ways to combat the potential disruptions and negative consequences it may bring, whether through collaboration with the industry or the use of AI tools to counter misinformation. Read Article

National: Trump Was Implicated in a Vote Machine Theft. Why Isn’t DOJ Investigating? | Ben Clements and Susan Greenhalgh/Slate

Federal investigators are seemingly overlooking Donald Trump’s potential involvement in a criminal conspiracy to access and copy voting software systems as part of the larger scheme to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Testimony suggests that Trump was at least aware of the unlawful scheme, which was discussed with him in an Oval Office meeting prior to the January 6 electoral college count. Evidence has emerged of multiple software breaches orchestrated by Trump’s campaign, including instances in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Georgia. Despite the evidence and requests for investigation, there has been no federal inquiry into this software scheme, its connection to the broader conspiracy, or its potential implications for future elections. A thorough federal investigation is necessary to hold accountable those involved and to safeguard the integrity of future elections. Read Artiole

National: States share services as DHS cyber grants roll out | Benjamin Freed/StateScoop

State Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) in the United States are prioritizing election security by sharing their cybersecurity services and tools with local governments, school districts, and other political subdivisions. They are utilizing funds from the $1 billion cybersecurity grant program established under the Biden administration’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure spending law. Instead of implementing complex subgrant processes, states are leveraging the funds to bolster election cybersecurity capabilities in smaller public-sector entities. Initiatives include assisting local governments in implementing multi-factor authentication, migrating to the .gov domain, and providing training on cybersecurity skills. This collaborative approach aims to strengthen election defenses across diverse jurisdictions and promote shared security measures throughout the states. Read Article

National: The Supreme Court has an electoral ‘bomb’ on its hands. Will it defuse it before 2024? | Zach Montellaro/Politico

The U.S. Supreme Court’s resolution of the Moore v. Harper case, which addresses the controversial independent state legislature (ISL) theory, may not occur this year. The theory, championed by conservative legal scholars, diminishes the role of state courts in interpreting election laws set by state legislatures. However, uncertainty looms as the Supreme Court could choose to avoid issuing a decision, potentially leading to chaos in the 2024 election. Proponents argue that accepting the theory could grant state legislatures unchecked authority to shape election rules, potentially enabling partisan gerrymandering and unfair changes to voter registration and ballot casting regulations. The lack of a clear decision could disrupt both congressional and presidential elections, fueling concerns among critics and legal experts. The fate of the Moore case remains uncertain, and its resolution will have significant implications for future elections. Read Article

Editorial: Unsealing the Halderman report would be Responsible Vulnerability Disclosure | Andrew Appel/Freedom to Tinker

A statement by computer security experts published on May 12he argues for the immediate unsealing and public release of a report on security flaws in Dominion voting machines, authored by Professors J. Alex Halderman and Drew Springall. It highlights the importance of responsible disclosure in the field of computer security, where vulnerabilities are reported to software vendors and subsequently made public after a set period to incentivize prompt fixes and improve overall security. The statement emphasizes that keeping vulnerabilities secret does not provide security, as others can discover them as well. It cites the industry norm of responsible disclosure and the benefits it brings in terms of prompt patching and informed decision-making by software users. The authors assert that the report in question should be released since the vendor has had ample time to address the vulnerabilities it highlights, and the public needs full information about the security of Dominion’s voting machines. They also express concerns about the potential risks of unauthorized access or public leakage of the report, particularly close to the 2024 election. Read Statement

Alabama Bill requiring mandatory ballot audits filed in House | Craig Monger/1819

Alabama State Representative Debbie Wood has sponsored House Bill 457, which requires a mandatory ballot audit after each county and statewide general election in Alabama. The bill mandates that each county’s canvassing board will conduct a post-election manual audit that includes a manual tally of all ballots in at least one randomly selected race. The selection of the race and polling location may be by drawing lots or computerized random selection to ensure that all voting locations and races are included in the selection method. According to the bill’s sponsor, the audit will ensure accountability to both candidates and voters, particularly as her race was decided by a margin of seven votes. The bill has been assigned to the House Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee. Read Article

Arizona: Why Kari Lake is still, six months after losing, in court arguing the 2022 election was stolen? | Jen Fifield/Votebeat Arizona

Kari Lake, a GOP candidate who continues to assert that the 2020 election was fraudulently stolen from her, persists with shape-shifting arguments in court even six months after the races were called. Recently, a judge granted Lake a trial on a claim that has undergone changes over time, reflecting her determination to challenge the election results. Despite lacking evidence to support her allegations, Lake has used the ongoing litigation as a platform to spread false claims and solicit funds from supporters. The prolonged legal battle not only fuels uncertainty among voters but also deepens distrust in the electoral system. While Lake benefits from fundraising opportunities, taxpayers foot the bill for state and county attorneys defending the election. This protracted timeline hampers the ability of the Republican Party in Arizona to move forward and focus on upcoming elections, including a crucial Senate race in 18 months. Read Article