Online voting is insecure but many Americans still vote that way | Miles Parks/NPR

The advice from cybersecurity experts is unanimous: Internet voting is a bad idea. A working group at UC Berkeley, funded by Bradley Tusk, Uber’s first political adviser, aimed to establish baseline standards for safe online ballot returns but concluded that secure internet voting remains unattainable. Despite this, internet voting was already used by over 300,000 Americans in the 2020 elections, primarily overseas and military voters. While the option is limited, it’s slowly expanding, driven in part by lawsuits advocating for accessibility for voters with disabilities. Critics emphasize the inherent risks, while proponents argue for improved security measures. Read Article

Opinion: Paper ballots are good, but accurately hand-counting them all is next to impossible | Barry C. Burden/The Conversation

There’s a growing movement, mainly among Republicans, to return to hand-counting ballots in the United States, fueled by suspicions of the 2020 election results. However, this approach, while appealing for transparency and accountability, has significant drawbacks. Hand-counting is slower and less accurate than machine tabulation, as it’s time-consuming, especially with ballots containing multiple contests, and prone to human error. Machine-counting systems, like optical scanners, are faster and more accurate, offering detailed data that demonstrates their superiority. While hand counts can play a role in post-election audits or close recount scenarios, they are not suitable for widespread adoption in modern elections due to speed and accuracy concerns. Read Article

Wisconsin enate elections committee votes against keeping elections chief Meagan Wolfe | Molly Beck/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Republicans in control of the Wisconsin state Legislature have taken a step towards removing the state’s top election official, Meagan Wolfe, in a move that has sparked a legal battle. The Senate Committee on Shared Revenue, Elections, and Consumer Protection voted 3-1 against Wolfe’s reappointment, a decision contested by Democrats and deemed legally dubious by the Democratic Attorney General and nonpartisan attorneys. The dispute stems from a failure to secure enough votes to reappoint Wolfe in June, with Democrats citing a recent Supreme Court ruling that allows appointed officers to remain in their positions until they are removed. Republican leaders, under pressure from the base over the 2020 election, continue to push for Wolfe’s removal. The full state Senate could vote on her firing as early as Thursday, though even if passed, legal challenges are expected. Read Article

National: AI that alters voice and imagery in political ads will require disclosure on Google and YouTube | Michelle Chapman/Associated Press

Google has announced that political ads using artificial intelligence (AI) to alter imagery or sounds must now include a prominent disclosure indicating that the content has been synthetically altered. This rule, starting in mid-November, aims to combat the potential spread of manipulated or misleading information in political advertising. The new requirement will apply to political ads on Google platforms, including YouTube, and third-party websites within Google’s ad display network. While Google is not outright banning the use of AI in political advertising, this move is expected to influence other platforms to adopt similar measures. Read Article

National: Special counsel election probe continues with focus on fundraising, voting equipment breaches | Zachary Cohen and Paula Reid/CNN

Special counsel Jack Smith is continuing his investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election, focusing on how money raised from baseless claims of voter fraud was used to fund attempts to breach voting equipment in several states won by Joe Biden. Recent interviews with witnesses indicate that prosecutors are particularly interested in the role of former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, whose nonprofit, Defending the Republic, hired forensics firms that accessed voting equipment in swing states. This investigation raises the possibility that others could still face legal consequences, and it remains unclear how it fits into Smith’s broader probe. Powell is already facing criminal charges in Georgia related to her alleged involvement in a multi-state plot to illegally access voting systems after the 2020 election. Read Article

National: Secretaries of state get ready for possible challenges to Trump’s ballot access | Vaughn Hillyard/NBC

Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes and New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan are grappling with potential legal challenges to former President Donald Trump’s eligibility to appear on the 2024 ballot. The issue revolves around the 14th Amendment, which bars individuals who have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” from holding public office. The question of whether Trump’s actions on January 6, 2021, qualify under this clause has gained attention among legal scholars, and state election officials are preparing to address any challenges while ensuring a smooth election process. Both Fontes and Scanlan emphasize that their primary goal is to run the elections efficiently while handling any legal matters that arise. Read Article

National: Constitutional debate over Trump’s eligibility to run more extensive than realized | Zach Montellaro/Politico

Election officials in several states, including Colorado, Arizona, Michigan, and New Hampshire, have been contemplating the application of the 14th Amendment’s “insurrection clause” to potentially bar former President Donald Trump from seeking the presidency again. The legal theory argues that Trump’s actions post-oath of office could disqualify him. While some officials, like Georgia’s Brad Raffensperger, believe they lack the authority to make this determination, the liberal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has filed a lawsuit in Colorado to declare Trump ineligible, marking one of the first lawsuits on this matter. Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, who supports the lawsuit, emphasizes the unprecedented nature of this situation and the need for legal resolution regarding ballot access. Other organizations are also urging secretaries of state to disqualify Trump, with Free Speech for People and Mi Familia Vota Education Fund sending letters to officials in nine states, including Georgia and Michigan, in July. Read Article

National: TechScape: As the US election campaign heats up, so could the market for misinformation | Kari Paul/The Guardian

Twitter, now rebranded as X, has reversed its global ban on political advertising since 2019, raising concerns about the potential spread of misinformation ahead of the 2024 elections. This shift in policy is attributed to Elon Musk’s push for profitability and his identification as a “free speech absolutist.” Musk’s decisions, including the lifting of bans on accounts like Donald Trump’s, have sparked alarm among experts, who worry that these policy changes, coupled with workforce reductions, could hamper the platform’s ability to combat misinformation. Other platforms like YouTube and Meta have also made policy reversals regarding election integrity and the reinstatement of accounts spreading misinformation, potentially creating an environment ripe for misinformation wars. Additionally, the rise of generative AI poses a new risk for manipulating public perception on a large scale. Read Article

Voting Blogs: EagleAI – A New Antidemocracy Tool | Andrew Garber and Alice Clapman/Brennan Center for Justice

EagleAI NETwork, a new project supported by prominent election deniers, including Jason Frazier and Cleta Mitchell, is raising concerns about its potential to undermine voting rights and elections. EagleAI relies on a database of public voter data to identify potentially ineligible voters using unreliable criteria, such as matching names on voter lists with change-of-address forms or felony convictions, or even nursing home registrations, which can potentially disenfranchise voters. It allows amateur investigators to auto-prepare challenge forms, making it a clearinghouse for mass voter challenges, which, when based on unreliable data, often disrupt election administration, intimidate voters, and fuel election misinformation. The project’s backers are pushing to replace responsible voter list maintenance tools like the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) with EagleAI, posing risks to accurate voter rolls and potentially enabling more election misinformation. Read Article

Arizona: Judge questions legality of method used for verifying ballot signatures | Howard Fischer/Tucson Daily Star

A judge in Yavapai County, Arizona, has stated that the practice used by counties in the state to verify signatures on early ballots may be illegal. The judge emphasized that state law is “clear and unambiguous” in requiring election officials to compare the signature on a ballot envelope with the voter’s registration record, which consists of the document signed at the time of initial registration and subsequent changes such as party affiliation. This would make it illegal to use other documents for signature verification. The judge’s ruling came in response to a lawsuit challenging the practice, filed by two groups, and while a final order has not yet been issued, the judge’s decision to not dismiss the case indicates that the issue will be further litigated. The lawsuit targets Secretary of State Adrian Fontes’ efforts to allow comparison of signatures against additional documents, a practice currently in widespread use. Read Article

Arkansas isn’t ditching voting machines for paper ballots, despite claims online | Philip Marcelo/Associated Press

Claims circulating on social media that Arkansas is transitioning from voting machines to hand countedpaper ballots are false. Arkansas officials, including the Secretary of State’s office, have stated that there has been no statewide change in how voters cast their ballots, and most counties will continue to use voting machines. While one rural county, Searcy County, has approved a plan to start using paper ballots filled in by hand, a final vote on this decision is still pending. Additionally, Cleburne County briefly considered a similar switch but later rescinded the decision. A new law in Arkansas requires counties using hand-marked paper ballots to first tally the ballots by machine for initial results, with the option to conduct a hand count for official results later. Any additional expenses incurred by counties for hand counting will not be reimbursed by the state. Read Article

California State Senate Passes AB 969, Even as Costs of Shasta County’s Manual Tally of Election Ballots Continue to Rise | George Winship/

The California State Senate has approved Assembly Bill 969, which places restrictions on certain voting jurisdictions, including Shasta County, preventing them from terminating voting system contracts and resorting to manual vote counting except in specific circumstances. This legislation is designed to safeguard the use of automated voting systems and curb the adoption of manual counting in these jurisdictions. Concerns highlighted include the rising expenses associated with manual ballot counts, which can become substantial. The bill will now return to the Assembly for consideration of Senate amendments before reaching the governor’s desk for final approval. Read Article

Georgia: ‘Crooked Coffee’: The alleged election office breach in the Trump indictment was part of a years-long pattern, some locals say | Elle Reeve and Samantha Guff/CNN

The alleged breach of the Coffee County elections office in Georgia, which is featured in the indictment of former President Donald Trump and associates, is seen by many locals as part of a long history of voter suppression and intimidation in the area. The allegations involve former county Republican Party chair Cathy Latham and former elections supervisor Misty Hampton facilitating a tech team’s access to sensitive voter data and election software. Many residents in Coffee County, which has a majority Black city surrounded by a predominantly White county, believe that the breach reflects a broader pattern of failing to secure the rights and votes of residents and hope that it will lead to a reckoning for those involved. Read Article

Michigan: Antrim County election software ‘in the wild’ | Mardi Link/Traverse City Record-Eagle

Election security experts warn that protected images from Antrim County’s election equipment and a copy of the county’s election management software have been accessed and shared by unauthorized users in multiple states, including Georgia, Arizona, Colorado, and Pennsylvania. This comes after a data team in Georgia uploaded the information to an online storage folder in 2020. The election software used in Antrim County is used in many voting systems across the United States. Election security adviser Susan Greenhalgh has called for a federal investigation into what she describes as a “multi-state conspiracy” to undermine, disrupt, or tamper with elections by accessing and distributing election software. Read Article

Michigan fake elector described planning with Trump campaign attorneys: ‘Mike Pence and Congress [to] make that decision’ | Andrew Kaczynski and Em Steck/CNN

Meshawn Maddock, one of the fake electors in Michigan appointed by Republicans in December 2020, revealed in a radio interview that the plan to use fake electors was coordinated with constitutional attorneys from the Trump campaign. Maddock’s comments contradict her recent statements, where she claimed only a “vague” recollection of the scheme. In the December 2020 interview, she acknowledged that the slate of fake electors could potentially override the legitimate elector votes on January 6, 2021, demonstrating her understanding of the plot. Maddock, who is currently facing charges for her involvement in the scheme, has been a vocal proponent of false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election. Read Article

New Jersey: Probe blames ES&S for double-counting votes in Monmouth County 2022 election | David Wildstein/New Jersey Globe

An independent investigation, ordered by the state attorney general’s office, attributes a 2022 election tabulation malfunction in four Monmouth County municipalities to Election Systems & Software (ES&S). The error, which led to a school board race result reversal, occurred due to ES&S’s failure to apply a software patch to prevent double ballot tabulation. Additionally, a customer relations manager sent by ES&S lacked the necessary training to rectify the issue. The investigation concluded that elections in New Jersey are secure and no fraudulent conduct was involved. Read Article

Texas law abolishing Harris County elections office goes into effect | Jen Rice/Houston Chronicle

Harris County Clerk Teneshia Hudspeth and Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Ann Harris Bennett have assumed responsibility for running elections and voter registration following the implementation of a new Texas state law that abolished the elections administrator’s office in Harris County. Senate Bill 1750, which applies only to Harris County, eliminates the appointed elections administrator role and reverts the duties for overseeing elections to the county clerk and voter registration to the tax assessor-collector. A separate law, Senate Bill 1933, allows the state to remove elected officials if a “recurring pattern of problems” is not addressed. Critics argue that these changes are politically motivated and may hinder voter access. Read Article

Wisconsin voters caught in the middle as misinformation takes on education | Alice Herman/The Guardian

In Wisconsin, two distinct groups of activists are engaged in campaigns concerning the state’s election system. One, led by former Republican state senator Kathy Bernier, seeks to restore trust in election administration and results, while the other, North of 29, rejects the 2020 election results and spreads false claims of widespread voter fraud, advocating for a return to hand-counting ballots. The persistent misinformation regarding elections, driven by political polarization and prominent figures, has created an environment where both groups can draw in voters, leading to concerns among voting rights advocates about the trend toward hand-counting ballots based on conspiracy theories. Read Article