Arkansas: Complaint asks state Supreme Court to certify language for proposed amendment to require paper ballots | Michael R. Wickline/The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Conrad Reynolds, a retired U.S. Army colonel, and the non-profit Arkansas Voter Integrity Initiative, led by Reynolds, have filed a complaint urging the Arkansas Supreme Court to verify the adequacy of proposed ballot language for two constitutional amendments. These amendments aim to mandate paper ballots for Arkansas elections and impose specific restrictions on absentee voting. The complaint, directed against Republican Secretary of State John Thurston and the state Board of Election Commissioners, seeks the court’s certification for the proposed amendments’ popular names and ballot titles. Reynolds challenges two 2023 state laws requiring the attorney general to certify proposed ballot language and petitions to have signatures from at least 50 counties. Read Article

Georgia:  trial set to begin will decide if state’s voting system is constitutional | Kate Brumback/Associated Press

Election integrity activists are seeking a federal judge’s intervention to halt Georgia’s use of Dominion Voting Systems ballot marking devices as a universal voting system, claiming they are vulnerable to attacks and pose operational risks that could compromise voters’ rights. The activists argue that the use of the machines violate the constitution, while election officials assert their security and reliability. The trial, set to begin, centers on a lawsuit filed in 2017 targeting the paperless AccuVote TSX DREs, which were replaced by the Dominion voting system in 2019. The activists advocate for a switch to hand-marked paper ballots with robust audits. The case predates baseless conspiracy theories about Dominion machines that emerged after the 2020 election. Read Article

The push for hand-counting ballots, election official turnover and other storylines Votebeat is watching in 2024 | Jessica Huseman/Votebeat

2024 is anticipated to bring challenges to the election landscape, including the persistence of hand-counting as a contentious idea within the Republican Party. The high turnover of election workers, exacerbated by stress, low pay, and harassment, poses a threat to the electoral process, especially in areas with new administrators. State legislatures’ historical underfunding of elections and the passage of laws with unintended consequences are ongoing issues. Notably, the Republican Party in Gillespie County, Texas, plans to hand-count its primary results, reflecting a broader debate fueled by election conspiracy theories. Election-related indictments and lawsuits in Arizona, Michigan’s implementation of new voting laws, and Pennsylvania’s significant loss of election director experience are key areas to watch in 2024. Read Article

National: As Jan. 6 nears, Trump voters ready to believe election fraud in 2024 | Susan Page Sudiksha Kochi Savannah Kuchar/USA Today

Supporters of Donald Trump, who generally believe his unfounded claims of fraud in the 2020 election, are prepared to accept those allegations again in 2024, potentially leading to protests and more if Trump runs and loses, according to a USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll. The poll reveals a lack of confidence in election integrity among GOP voters and widespread fears about threats to American democracy across the political spectrum. A majority of Trump supporters (52%) expressed no confidence that the results of the 2024 election would be accurately counted and reported. The findings underscore the deep political divide and skepticism among Trump supporters about the legitimacy of election results, similar to the sentiments that fueled the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021. Read Article

National: Post-2020 election: American democracy has overcome big stress tests. More challenges are ahead | Nicholas Riccardi/Associated Press

OverOver the past three years, the resilience of American democracy has been tested amid attempts by former President Donald Trump and his supporters to overturn the 2020 election results. While Trump’s efforts to overturn the election failed, concerns persist as he dominates the Republican primaries, raising the prospect of potential conflicts and challenges. A big test for American democracy awaits in 2024, with Trump running for the White House again and using increasingly authoritarian rhetoric. Read Article

National: ‘Stakes are really high’: misinformation researcher changes tack for 2024 election | Rachel Leingang/The Guardian

Kate Starbird, a key researcher in the fight against election misinformation, who herself became the subject of an intensive misinformation campaign, has noted that her field is accused of “bias” because right-wing individuals are now the primary spreaders of false information. Starbird, co-founder of the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public, expressed concern that the unfounded narrative of rigged elections has deeply permeated the beliefs of many Americans on the right, leading to a misinterpretation of information. Facing attacks and lawsuits, she now refers more to “rumors” than “misinformation” and is cautious about flagging content to social media platforms, anticipating the potential for accusations of bias and censorship. She fears that the election fraud narrative has deeply influenced Americans on the right and could lead to the adoption of worse laws and procedures, increasing the vulnerability to foreign interference in U.S. elections. Read Article

National: Fears grow over AI’s impact on the 2024 election | Julia Mueller and Jared Gans/The Hill

The rapid development of AI is raising concerns about its potential impact on the 2024 U.S. Presidential election. Capable of generating text, images, and deepfake videos, AAI could contribute to misinformation in an already polarized political landscape, eroding voter confidence. Experts warn that AI chatbots may provide misleading information on ballots, calendars, and polling places, while more nefarious uses could involve creating and disseminating misinformation against candidates or issues. Concerns about AI’s influence on the election process are reflected in polls, with a bipartisan majority expressing worries about the technology’s potential to spread false information. Read Article

National: Misinformation may get worse in 2024 election as safeguards erode | Ali Swenson and Christine Fernando/Associated Press

Nearly three years after the storming of the U.S. Capitol, false election conspiracy theories persist on social media and cable news, with experts warning that the misinformation landscape could worsen in the 2024 presidential election. The erosion of safeguards and the increasing strength of tools that create and spread misinformation contribute to this concern. Generative artificial intelligence tools make it cheaper and easier to spread misinformation, while social media companies have shifted priorities and reduced safeguards. Deepfake technology, capable of producing convincing fakes, is expected to play a significant role in spreading misinformation during the upcoming election. Despite efforts by election officials to prepare and counter misinformation, challenges remain in maintaining trust in the electoral process. Read Article

National: Get ready for AI mayhem in the 2024 elections | Dan Prieto and Miles Taylor/The Boston Globe

The 2024 elections face a significant threat of AI-fueled disinformation, according to experts who have convened to discuss election protection. The use of artificial intelligence is expected to escalate the scale of election interference methods, with deepfake content becoming more sophisticated and challenging to distinguish from reality. The potential deployment of hyperpersonalized disinformation targeted at specific voters is a major concern. Experts highlight the risk of AI making it easier for malicious actors to tamper with voting systems, posing a threat to the integrity of elections. While AI could provide defenses against attacks, there is a consensus that the United States is unprepared for the impact of AI-fueled attacks on the election, and there is a need for increased awareness, public campaigns, and collaboration with industry and civil society to address vulnerabilities and deploy effective AI defenses. Read Article

Arizona: It took years for truth about election ‘audit’ to emerge. Why The Arizona Republic kept fighting. | Ryan Randazzo/Arizona Republic

The Arizona “audit” of the 2020 election, initially presented as an objective review, has been revealed to be a partisan effort orchestrated by Donald Trump loyalists. The Arizona Republic, which fought for over two years to obtain information, uncovered through released texts and emails that the audit was part of a nationwide attempt to undermine elections in states won by Democrat Joe Biden. The audit, led by Cyber Ninjas, failed to provide evidence of fraud and cost over $5.5 million. The Republic’s lawsuit exposed financial ties between Trump-affiliated groups and the lead contractor, Doug Logan, as well as communication with Trump allies to sow distrust in election results. Read Article

Arkansas; Proposed amendments requiring paper ballots, restricting absentee voting, resubmitted to attorney general’s office | Neal Earley/Magnolia Banner News

Restore Election Integrity Arkansas has resubmitted ballot language for two proposed constitutional amendments to the state attorney general, marking its second attempt. One amendment aims to mandate elections in Arkansas to use hand-marked and hand-counted paper ballots, removing the option for voting machines. The other proposes stricter limits on absentee voting, allowing only registered voters unable to be present at the polls due to physical absence, hospitalization, incarceration, or residing in a long-term care facility to request an absentee ballot. Read Article

Colorado GOP’s appeal to U.S. Supreme Court likely guarantees Trump will be on state’s presidential primary ballot | Jesse Paul and Brian Eason/The Colorado Sun

The Colorado Republican Party has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the state Supreme Court’s decision blocking Donald Trump from appearing on the Republican presidential primary ballot due to a violation of the “insurrection clause” in the Constitution. The Colorado court ruled that Trump’s engagement in the January 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection disqualified him from running. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision may impact Trump’s candidacy nationwide, as the case challenges the application of the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause to presidential candidates. Read Article

Georgia: Heated election year might bring more changes to voting laws | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia legislators are considering various election-related proposals, driven by Republican concerns over the 2020 election, internal GOP power struggles, and a desire to enhance voter trust. Among the potential measures are allowing the State Election Board to investigate Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, ending no-excuse absentee voting, and verifying computer codes on ballots. Other considerations include eliminating runoffs, permitting public inspections of paper ballots, tightening ballot handling procedures, and allowing voters to fill out paper ballots by hand. While no priority has been set, many election bills are introduced yearly, and some become law, such as the 2021 voting law that restricted ballot drop boxes and imposed other restrictions. Read Article

Nevada: Elections head in Washoe County resigns, underscoring election turnover in key state | Gabe Stern/Associated Press

The turnover among election officials in Nevada continues as Washoe County Registrar of Voters, Jamie Rodriguez, abruptly resigns less than a month before the Feb. 6 presidential preference primary. In her resignation letter, Rodriguez expressed a desire to pursue opportunities outside of elections and spend more time with family in preparation for the crucial 2024 election cycle. This adds to the eleven of Nevada’s 17 counties that have seen turnover in top county election positions since the 2020 election. Rodriguez’s departure comes after an extensive audit in Washoe County revealed issues of rapid turnover and understaffing that hindered election processes. The state has faced resignations due to threats, lack of support, and challenges in implementing changes like the universal mail ballot system. Read Article

New Hampshire: New Dominion voting machines may not be widely available for 2024 election | Amanda Gokee/The Boston Globe

New Hampshire’s aging AccuVote voting machines need to be replaced, but an updated voting machine from Dominion might not be ready for the 2024 election in November. Secretary of State David Scanlan said when the ImageCast devices were conditionally approved, the New Hampshire vendor that services the machines, LHS Associates, said they believed they would be ready in time for the election, as did VotingWorks, a second voting machine company that received approval. Both machines have to undergo state and federal testing before receiving full approval. The testing of VotingWorks machines is on schedule, according to Scanlan, who anticipates three to four machines will be in place in 2024. But during a December meeting of the Ballot Law Commission, the president of LHS Associates Jeff Silvestro said Dominion might not be able to complete all of the testing required by the state of New Hampshire in time. Read Article

North Dakota: Laboratory for a Suite of MAGA-Driven Election Reforms? | Greg Simbeck/WhoWhatWhy

A proposed ballot measure in North Dakota, led by Lydia Gessele, aims to mandate hand counting of all ballots in elections, with several other major proposed changes, including new restrictions on mail-in balloting, a mandate for all in-person voting to take place on Election Day, and the elimination of tribal government-issued IDs and long-term care IDs as valid identification at the polls. The proposal is part of a broader movement influenced by unsupported claims of election rigging in the 2020 election. Verified Voting comments on the proposal, highlighting the importance of safeguards in voting technology and expressing concerns about widespread expansion of hand counting impairing election administration and undermining public confidence in U.S. elections. The measure faces opposition from Republican officials, including the current Secretary of State Michael Howe, who argues that hand counts are less standardized than using scanners. Read Article

Pennsylvania elections chief: Fixes coming to avoid errors that plagued Northampton County | Tom Shortell/Lehigh Valley News

Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt has expressed confidence that Northampton County is addressing the issues that led to problems in the 2023 general election. The issues, which involved voters casting emergency ballots due to problems with the ExpressVote XL voting machines, were attributed to human error rather than flaws in the voting system. Schmidt mentioned that the state is stepping up training and assistance for county election officials to prevent similar errors in future elections. The state is also revisiting guidance on logic and accuracy testing, considering the importance of manual testing, and establishing a training office for county election officials.Read Article

Pennsylvania: As 2024 election approaches, voting officials worry state isn’t prepared for misinformation | Kate HuangpuSpotlight PA

As the 2024 presidential election approaches, election officials in Pennsylvania are urging the state to update its century-old Election Code and make critical adjustments to mail voting processes to fortify the system against baseless fraud claims. The election directors are proposing changes like clarifying mail voting rules, allowing poll workers to count ballots before Election Day through pre-canvassing, updating the Election Code to reflect technological advancements, and imposing penalties for false claims and harassment of election officials. However, there is skepticism about the state legislature’s willingness to pass such changes, and the political divide on election issues persists. Read Article

Texas: Travis County GOP unable to secure resources for hand counting in primary election | Grace Reader/KXAN

The Travis County Republican Party in Texas was unable to secure the necessary resources to hand count early voting ballots in the March primary election, despite ongoing negotiations with the Travis County Democratic Party. Only Republican mail-in ballots will be hand-counted, while early voting ballots will not undergo the same process. The deadline for the GOP to gather volunteers and resources was December 31, and it was not met, according to County Clerk Dyana Limon-Mercado. Read Article

Wisconsin judge rules election clerks can accept absentee ballots missing parts of witness address | Jessie Opoien/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A Dane County judge in Wisconsin ruled that election clerks in the state may accept absentee ballots with incomplete witness addresses, as long as they can determine how to reach the witness from the available information. The decision came in response to a request by a Madison voter and the liberal group Rise Inc. to revise guidance provided by the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) on handling incomplete addresses. The ruling establishes a uniform standard and is expected to reduce the rejection of absentee ballots. The decision may be appealed and could reach the state Supreme Court. Read Article