National: New research shows voters are confident about election systems in their states | M. Mindy Moretti/electionline

Earlier this year, Verified Voting worked with Lake Research Partners in an effort  to assess voter confidence ahead of the 2024 elections in different parts of the election system, focusing on election audits.  Additionally, they hoped to provide research-backed messaging recommendations that election officials and others can use to increase trust with the electorate and explore the perspectives of election officials surrounding audits and voter education so they can be supported in their work in the field. … The good news, voters are confident in the voting systems in their own states. Roughly three quarters of voters think the system of voting and elections works well and are confident in the accuracy of the election results in their states, including four in ten who believe it works very well. In fact, democracy/voting rights was a middle-tier issue for most demographic groups other  than for white older women. Read Article

Rows and Columns, the County Line, and the ExpressVote XL | Andrew Appel/Freedom to Tinker

Why did New Jersey counties keep choosing one insecure voting machine after another, for decades?  Only this year did I realize what the reason might be. A century ago, New Jersey (like many other states) adopted lever voting machines that listed the offices by row, with the parties (and their candidates) across the columns. The Help America Vote act of 2002 banned the use of those machines (and also banned punch-card voting machines).  The states that were using paper ballots could continue to use them, but the states and counties using lever machines or punch cards had to switch to something else:  either paper ballots (counted by optical scanners) or paperless touch-screen voting machines.  Election-security experts urged the states and counties to avoid touch-screen voting computers, but almost every New Jersey county ignored them and adopted the AVC Advantage voting machine. Read Article

National: Election officials in key battleground states say they’re prepared for threats to poll workers ahead of 2024 elections | Alexandra Marquez/Washington Post

A bipartisan panel of four secretaries of state from key battleground states on Thursday told NBC News’ “Meet the Press” that they’re prepared to execute a safe and secure presidential election, despite previous threats to election workers. “Should any of that ugliness that we all experienced in 2020 return,” Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt said, a new election threat task force is prepared to respond quickly. Asked whether enough people have volunteered to be election workers in Georgia, where two 2020 poll workers were harassed and threatened for months after conspiracy theorists accused them of tampering with ballots, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told moderator Kristen Welker, “We’re actually in pretty good shape. The counties have done a great job of recruitment.” Read Article

National: Prominent pollster spreads Dominion voting machine misinformation | Glenn Kessler/The Washington Post

With almost a half million followers on X, the pollster Rasmussen has a wide reach. Former president Donald Trump repeatedly cited its polls when he was president as it consistently showed a higher approval rating for him than other pollsters. Now Rasmussen’s social media account is fanning previously debunked claims that Dominion Voting Systems machines could somehow be manipulated via the internet. Rasmussen’s source is a former Michigan state senator who traffics in election conspiracy theories and is president of a self-described election integrity group called the Michigan Grassroots Alliance. That former lawmaker cited emails released by a far-right sheriff, who obtained them from an attorney involved in a lawsuit filed by Dominion, despite a protective order agreed to by the parties in the case. Read Article

National: Black Americans disproportionately encounter lies online, survey finds | Kari Paul/The Guardian

As US presidential elections approach, the vast majority of Americans are concerned about online misinformation and fear they do not have enough accurate information on candidates, especially local ones, a new poll has shown. While people across the political and racial spectrum reported being “very concerned” about the deliberate spread of online misinformation, the study found Black Americans are disproportionately encountering misinformation when seeking accurate news. The report, released on Thursday by the social media watchdog group Free Press, found half of respondents encounter misinformation when they go online, and that only 28% of Americans feel “very informed” about local elections. Read Article

National: Debunking misinformation failed. Welcome to ‘pre-bunking’ | Cat Zakrzewski, Joseph Menn, Naomi Nix and Will Oremus/The Washington Post

Election officials and researchers from Arizona to Taiwan are adopting a radical playbook to stop falsehoods about voting before they spread online, amid fears that traditional strategies to battle misinformation are insufficient in a perilous year for democracies around the world. Modeled after vaccines, these campaigns — dubbed “prebunking” — expose people to weakened doses of misinformation paired with explanations and are aimed at helping the public develop to recognize and fend off hoaxes in a heated election year. In the run-up to next month’s European Union election, for example, Google and partner organizations are >blanketing millions of voters with colorful cartoon ads on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram that teach common tactics used to propagate lies and rumors on social media or in email. Read Article

Opinion | Worry about AI interference and misinformation in the 2024 election | Josh Tyrangiel/The Washington Post

At a recent tech conference, Dario Amodei, CEO of Anthropic, struggled to convey optimism about AI, revealing deep concerns about its potential dangers alongside its benefits. This ambivalence is shared by other tech leaders like Elon Musk and Sam Altman, who express both hope and fear regarding AI’s future impact. The upcoming 2024 U.S. presidential election underscores these fears, with FBI Director Christopher Wray warning of AI-driven election interference. Despite the urgency, Congress has made little progress in regulating AI, leaving election officials under-resourced and unprepared for sophisticated AI-generated misinformation campaigns. The legal case Murthy v. Missouri has further complicated efforts by restricting federal communication with social media platforms, exacerbating the risk of widespread misinformation. With inadequate legislative action and rapid technological advancements, the integrity of the election process faces significant threats, highlighting the need for immediate and effective regulation and funding. Read Article

Arizona Secretary of State warns threats against election officials are domestic terrorism as 2024 fears grow | Elizabeth Beyer/USA Today

Arizona’s secretary of state warned that threats against elections officials in the United States is a form of domestic terrorism, his comments coming as fears over violence surrounding the 2024 election grow. “One of the ways that I have been looking at this and addressing this is telling the really hard truth, and that is this: Threats against elections officials in the United States of America is domestic terrorism,” Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes said during a roundtable discussion on “Meet the Press” on Sunday He noted that terrorism is defined as a threat or violence for a political outcome. “That’s what this is,” he added. Read Article

Arkansas Supreme Court rejects request to certify paper ballot initiative | Antoinette Grajeda/Arkansas Advocate

The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit filed by supporters of proposed ballot initiatives that would change absentee voting procedures and require elections be conducted with paper ballots. Arkansas Voter Integrity Initiative Inc., its CEO Conrad Reynolds and Restore Election Integrity Arkansas, a ballot question committee, filed the original jurisdiction complaint against Secretary of State John Thurston and the State Board of Election Commissioners in January. Petitioners asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to independently certify the legal sufficiency of the measures’ ballot titles and popular names and order them placed on the November 2024 ballot. Read Article

Georgia: Republican member of metro Atlanta elections board won’t certify primary results | Rosie Manins/The Atlanta Journal Constitution

A Republican member of the Fulton County elections board refuses to certify primary election results unless given access to detailed voting data, a move that Democrats worry could jeopardize certification of November’s general election results. Julie Adams, who joined the Fulton County Board of Registration & Elections in February, sued the board and the county’s elections director after the May 21 primary, claiming she’s prevented from performing her board duties. Adams wants access to “essential election materials and processes” and a ruling that her duties – including certification of election results – are discretionary, not mandatory. Read Article

Louisiana struggles to buy new voting machines after placating election deniers | Wesley Muller/Louisiana Illuminator

A voting systems law the Louisiana Legislature enacted three years ago to placate right-wing election deniers has made the task of buying voting machines so burdensome that lawmakers are now repealing parts of it. House Bill 856, sponsored by Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Pineville, would repeal requirements that the secretary of state use the state’s Administrative Procedure Act to purchase new machines and contract with at least three independent experts to certify the machines, among other stipulations in the law. The bill, which is pending a final concurrence vote in the House, sailed through both chambers without opposition, though the most significant parts of the legislation were only recently added through an amendment adopted Thursday on the Senate floor. The proposal repeals parts of a statute lawmakers passed in 2021, Act 480, which created the Voting System Commission within the Louisiana Department of State. Comprised of government officials who serve without compensation, the commission is charged with analyzing any available voting systems and recommending a specific type to the secretary of state. Read Article

Michigan clerks hit with ‘new reality’ as activists seek voting records in lawsuits | Craig Mauger/The Detroit News

Activists, pursuing unproven, yet lingering claims that something is fundamentally wrong with Michigan’s election system, are turning to the courts in the battleground state to try to get access to voting records. At least 18 clerks or local officeholders, across two counties, have been sued over the past year for rejecting Freedom of Information Act requests from people seeking data on voters. In rural Barry County, Irving Township Deputy Clerk Shelly Lake sued clerks from three other townships after trying to obtain past qualified voter lists, according to court records. In Macomb County, Michigan’s third-most populous county, Michael Butz, a 60-year-old retiree from Bruce Township, sued 15 clerks or local officials after asking for data from electronic poll books, which account for eligible voters and their assigned ballots for specific elections in specific precincts. Read Article

Nevada elections official confronts escalating threats in battleground county | Sara Murray and Kim Berryman/CNN

In the Washoe County elections office, everyone is new to the job. Cari-Ann Burgess – the top elections official in the county – is the third registrar of voters there in just four years. She’s been leading the office for less than six months. Her deputy, Andrew McDonald, has been on the job for a few weeks. Media production specialist George Guthrie started less than nine months ago. Even Noah Autrey, the office assistant, started full-time less than a year ago. With 100% staff turnover since the last presidential election, Washoe County is emblematic of a nationwide trend. States are gearing up for the 2024 election while grappling with an election worker exodus driven by the complexity of the job, as well as threats and harassment, experts say. Election worker turnover has been ticking up steadily over the past two decades, but the pace has increased in recent cycles. Since 2020, at least 36% of local election officials have left the job, according to researchers from the Bipartisan Policy Center and the University of California, Los Angeles. Read Article

Ohio House passes Biden ballot fix bill despite DNC remedy | Isabella Murray/ABC

Ohio’s state House passed two bills on Thursday — one of which ensures President Joe Biden appears on the state’s general election ballot in November despite the Democratic National Committee’s announcement earlier this week that they would remedy the issue on its own. The ballot bill delivers a temporary extension to the state’s current ballot certification deadline of Aug. 7. Democrats were set to nominate Biden at the party’s convention, which starts Aug. 19 — meaning Biden wouldn’t be eligible to make it on the Ohio ballot given the earlier August deadline. More than 30 Republicans joined Democrats in passing that bill, which is now superfluous after the national party announced they’d virtually nominate the president ahead of Ohio’s certification cutoff. Read Article

Pennsylvania voting rights groups are suing to allow undated ballots to be counted. They hope to win before November’s election. | Katie Bernard/Philadelphia Inquirer

Pennsylvania voting rights groups are once again seeking to overturn a state law that bars undated or incorrectly dated mail ballots from being counted. The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and Public Interest Law Center filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court on behalf of eight voting rights and civil rights organizations. The suit, which was filed against Pennsylvania Secretary of State Al Schmidt and election officials in Philadelphia and Allegheny Counties, argues that the disqualification of undated ballots violates the Pennsylvania Constitution, which guarantees a right to vote in free and equal elections. Read Article

South Dakota Board of Elections, Secretary of State reject hand count petitions | C.J. Keene/SDPB

The South Dakota Board of Elections is rejecting an effort to move the state back to hand-counted ballots. The move resulted in heated public comment during Wednesday’s meeting, including calls for the Secretary of State to resign. After a 45-minute executive session, the board announced a major aim of the South Dakota Canvassing group was not proper. The group seeks to implement hand-counted ballots in response to mistrust of the electronic voting systems. Those petitions were submitted by Rick Weible. Clifton Katz, the board’s legal counsel, explained the roadblock the group ran into. “In this case, Mr. Weible did not set forth an issue to be answered by the board,” Katz said. “The petitioner instead wants the board to act by, among other items, issuing letters, decertifying ES&S Systems, and ordering the counties to suspend ES&S Express Vote system. Therefore, it is not appropriate to enter a declaratory ruling in this matter.” Read Article

Texas risked ballot secrecy in bid for election transparency | Natalia Contreras, Karen Brooks Harper and William Melhado/The Texas Tribune

Texas’ efforts to make elections more transparent allows the public — in limited instances — to pierce the anonymity of the ballot and find out how people voted, undermining the secrecy essential to free elections. The choices voters make in the private voting booth can later be identified in some cases using public, legally available records, a review by Votebeat and The Texas Tribune found. Since 2020, requests for such records have skyrocketed, fueled by unsubstantiated concerns about widespread voter fraud, and Texas lawmakers have supported changes to make election records easier to access soon after elections. County elections administrators, trying to fulfill activists’ demands for transparency, have also made information public that can make it easier to determine how specific people voted. Read Article

Virginia board considers ousting GOP election official accused of sharing voting machine info | Graham Moomaw/Virginia Mercury

Two members of the Charles City County Electoral Board have asked Virginia officials to begin the process of removing the third member of the board, who is accused of sharing sensitive election machine information with a local GOP leader. In a May 14 letter to the Virginia State Board of Elections, election officials in Charles City — a small community between Richmond and Williamsburg — formally requested the ouster of local Electoral Board Member Maria A. Kinney, a Republican who just joined the board in January. The cause listed in the request was “severe dereliction of duties,” including a claim Kinney allowed a former Charles City County GOP chair, Irene Churins, to view election equipment passwords during an accuracy test. Read Article

Wisconsin: Constitutional amendment on election workers draws input from liberal, conservative groups | Henry Redman/Wisconsin Examiner

A constitutional amendment passed by Wisconsin voters in April that limits who is allowed to work on tasks related to the administration of an election has drawn questions from across the state on how it should be interpreted. In recent weeks, both liberal and conservative groups have weighed in on the state Department of Justice’s effort to provide clarity. The amendment was one of two approved by voters in April. Both drew criticism from Democrats that they sprouted from Republican conspiracy theories involving false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election. One amendment banned the use of outside money for funding election administration. The other amendment, which passed in this year’s spring election with 58% of the vote, states that “only election officials designated by law may perform tasks in the conduct of primaries, elections, and referendums.” Election officials across the state have been seeking clarity on how the restriction should be applied. Read Article

‘Uncharted terrain’: How officials, campaigners and fact-checkers tackle AI’s influence on elections around the world | Mark Scott/Politico

When it comes to artificial intelligence’s role in elections, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of buzzwords, tech industry jargon and murky political activity. AI-generated deepfakes. Large language models. Recommendation algorithms powering social media. But behind the rise of this emerging technology lies a sea of election officials, civil society groups and fact-checking organizations from Peru to the Philippines — all trying to corral potential abuses of AI while, at the same time, attempting to harness the technology to improve how elections operate worldwide. It’s not an easy task. Ever-changing technical advances, limited budgets and breathtaking hysteria around what AI can supposedly do have created endless difficulties for those on the front line of protecting global elections from AI-fueled disinformation. Read Article

Michigan: ‘There’s no fraud here’: how a Republican official is addressing election denialism in his rural county | Alice Herman/The Guardian

Abe Dane would be the first to admit he had concerns about election fraud during the 2020 election. He believed the elections in his own county, where he had worked the polls, were clean – but he wasn’t sure about other counties in the state, where unfounded claims of fraud swirled in 2020. That was before he took a position in local election administration. Now, with first-hand experience, Dane, the director of elections in Hillsdale County, Michigan, is confident in the process. It’s convincing others that’s the challenge now. Read Article

National: AI could offer ‘enhanced opportunities’ to interfere in 2024 election, DHS warns | Sean Lyngaas/CNN

Artificial intelligence tools for creating fake video, audio and other content will likely give foreign operatives and domestic extremists “enhanced opportunities for interference” as the 2024 US election cycle progresses, the Department of Homeland Security said in a recent bulletin distributed to state and local officials. A variety of “threat actors” will likely try to use generative AI — or AI that creates fake content — to influence or “sow discord” during the US election cycle, says the May 17 bulletin, which was produced by the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis. While a “large-scale attack on the election is less likely” because of the “higher risk of detection and the decentralized and diverse nature of the voting system,” the bulletin says, “threat actors might still attempt to conduct limited operations leading to disruptions in key election battleground areas.” Read Article

National: Election deniers moving closer to GOP mainstream as Trump allies fill Congress, report shows | Nicholas Riccardi and Lisa Mascaro/Associated Press

In the hours after the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, Ohio’s then-Republican senator, Rob Portman, voted to accept President Joe Biden’s win over the defeated former president, Donald Trump, despite Trump’s false allegations that Biden only won because of fraud. But as Trump charges toward his rematch with Biden in 2024, Portman has been replaced by Sen. JD Vance, a potential vice presidential pick who has echoed Trump’s false claims of fraud and said he’ll accept the results this fall only “if it’s a free and fair election.” South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, other possible VP picks, also declined to object to Biden’s victory over Trump, but have been less committal this year. Rubio said recently if “things are wrong” with November’s election, Republicans won’t stand by and accept the outcome. Read Article

National: Smartmatic alleges Newsmax has deleted evidence in lawsuit over false vote-rigging claims | Sarah Fitzpatrick/NBC

Smartmatic alleges that Newsmax has destroyed evidence in the voting machine company’s lawsuit against the right-wing news channel over false claims that Smartmatic helped “rig” the 2020 election, according to court documents made public this week. Lawyers for Florida-based Smartmatic allege that Newsmax engaged in a “cover-up” by destroying texts and emails of key executives that would demonstrate the network’s knowledge that voting fraud claims being pushed by former President Donald Trump and his allies were untrue. Smartmatic says the deletions occurred after Newsmax had received notice to preserve evidence for the pending suit. Read Article

National: New Effort Aims to Improve Election Tech Vulnerability Tests | Jule Pattison-Gordon/Government Technology

A new program is trying to get election system companies to collaborate with security researchers on better vulnerability testing. In September, the Information Technology-Information Sharing and Analysis Center (IT-ISAC) convened interested security researchers and voting system companies for a three-day forum. The event aimed to build trust among participants, and it included a day and a half during which researchers tested not-yet-deployed election technologies from participating companies, the IT-ISAC announced in a new report. Election Systems & Software, Hart InterCivic and Unisyn Voting Solutions all provided their choice of equipment, such as electronic pollbooks, digital ballot scanners and ballot marking devices. Some providers gave researchers credentials so they could mimic insider compromise. Read Article

Arizona: Election officials are role-playing AI threats in preparation for November | By Lauren Feiner/The Verge

It’s the morning of Election Day in Arizona, and a message has just come in from the secretary of state’s office telling you that a new court order requires polling locations to stay open until 9PM. As a county election official, you find the time extension strange, but the familiar voice on the phone feels reassuring — you’ve talked to this official before. Just hours later, you receive an email telling you that the message was fake. In fact, polls must now close immediately, even though it’s only the early afternoon. The email tells you to submit your election results as soon as possible — strange since the law requires you to wait an hour after polls close or until all results from the day have been tabulated to submit. This is the sort of whiplash and confusion election officials expect to face in 2024. The upcoming presidential election is taking place under heightened public scrutiny, as a dwindling public workforce navigates an onslaught of deceptive (and sometimes AI-generated) communications, as well as physical and digital threats. Read Article

Georgia prosecutors appeal dismissal of some charges against Trump in election interference case | Associated Press

A Georgia prosecutor on Thursday appealed a ruling dismissing some of the criminal charges against former President Donald Trump and other defendants in an election interference case. The notice of appeal filed by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis does not say why an appeals court should reverse the March dismissal. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee quashed six counts in the indictment, including three against Trump, saying the counts did not allege sufficient detail regarding the nature of the violations. The ruling was a setback Willis, though it left much of the sweeping indictment intact. Read Article

Idaho: ‘Very organized chaos’: A look at vote counting at the Ada County Elections Office | Sarah Cutler/Yahoo

You voted in Tuesday’s primary election in Ada County. You stopped by your precinct, filled out a paper ballot and fed it into a voting machine. Of course, you got an “I Voted” sticker for the road. Your job was done, but then what happened? At the Ada County Elections Office, dozens of people were gearing up to do their jobs as part of what appeared to be a well-oiled machine — other than a few complaints about the cookie selection in the workers’ break room. The Idaho Statesman visited Tuesday night to get a look behind the scenes of the county’s vote-counting process. Here’s how it played out. Read Article

Michigan: Election officials grapple with sweeping voting changes and a presidential election | Fredreka Schouten/CNN

This year, voting will be far easier for Michigan residents – thanks to new laws that establish early voting, automatically send out absentee ballots to voters who requested them and mandate that every community has least one drop box in which to return those ballots. But the changes have made running elections in this crucial presidential battleground much harder – leading some to worry about burnout among the state’s more than 1,500 local clerks, who must juggle increasingly complex election responsibilities with other duties, ranging from town record-keeping to licensing pets. “We just put a Ferrari engine inside a Model T car,” Michael Siegrist, the clerk of Canton Township, said of the sweeping effort to modernize elections in a state that still conducts balloting under a decades-old, hyperlocal system. Read Article

New Hampshire authorities charge Democratic operative behind Biden AI robocall | Derek B. Johnson/CyberScoop

New Hampshire authorities on Thursday indicted the Democratic political operative Steve Kramer for his role in creating and distributing an AI-generated robocall that impersonated President Joe Biden and urged the state’s voters to not cast their ballots in January’s primary election. Kramer, who has admitted to being behind the creation of the robocall, was indicted on 13 counts of felony voter suppression and 13 misdemeanor counts of impersonating a political candidate. New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella said he believes the charges “send a strong deterrent signal to anyone who might consider interfering with elections, whether through the use of artificial intelligence or otherwise.” Read Article