Maryland: Senate leaders call for ‘hybrid’ election in November, with mail ballots plus more in-person voting sites | Emily Opilo/Baltimore Sun

Two state Senate leaders have called for a “hybrid” election to be held in Maryland this fall that would expand the number of in-person voting locations and allow early voting, while still mailing ballots to registered voters across the state. In a letter sent Tuesday to the state’s top election officials, Senate President Bill Ferguson…

Minnesota: Secretary of State says state will waive mail-in ballot witness requirement | Jessie Van Berke/Minneapolis Star Tribune

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon’s office said Tuesday that the state will waive the witness requirement for absentee ballots in the August primaries despite a federal judge’s misgivings about a consent decree easing the rules for mail-in voting. Simon’s office said he will follow a state court decision from a week ago that approved an agreement removing the witness requirement, a move that was sought in a lawsuit filed by the Minnesota Alliance for Retired Americans Educational Fund. Early voting in the August primary begins Friday. But in a separate case brought by the League of Women Voters of Minnesota, a federal judge said Tuesday that a similar agreement went “well beyond” the concerns raised by a voter who said her health could be jeopardized by having to meet the witness requirement to vote during the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. District Judge Eric Tostrud called for a more narrowly tailored agreement to remedy specific harms cited by the league’s lawsuit. Despite Tostrud’s opinion, Simon, a leading DFL proponent of mail-in voting, said his office will continue to waive the witness requirement in accordance with a decision signed last week by Ramsey County District Judge Sara Grewing.

Missouri: State Supreme Court sending absentee voting case back to Cole County Circuit Court | Brian Hauswirth/Missourinet

The Missouri Supreme Court issued a decision on Tuesday involving absentee voting, ruling that a lawsuit that aims to allow all Missourians to cast absentee ballots without notarization in 2020 can proceed. The Supreme Court is sending the case back to Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem. The decision means the lawsuit from the NAACP of Missouri and the ACLU of Missouri can proceed. The circuit court dismissed the lawsuit, finding that the plaintiffs failed to state a claim on which relief could be granted. The Supreme Court reversed that decision, finding the plaintiffs had stated a claim and remanded the case to the circuit court so the parties can proceed. The organizations filed a lawsuit in mid-Missouri’s Cole County, challenging the constitutional validity of absentee voting legislation that was approved by the Missouri Legislature on the final day of session in May. Governor Mike Parson (R) signed the legislation from State Rep. Dan Shaul, R-Imperial, in June. It expands voting by mail through the rest of 2020. There are two but separate options under the bill.

New Mexico: Bill could allow for all-mail election in certain areas | Michael Gerstein/Santa Fe New Mexican

Emergency powers included in legislation Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is expected to sign into law could allow for an all-mail general election in certain areas of the state with public health concerns from the pandemic, according to lawmakers and the Governor’s Office. Senate Bill 4, which the Legislature sent to Lujan Grisham’s desk Saturday night, was not intended to create a statewide, all-mail election. And a provision that would have allowed county clerks to send absentee ballots to all registered voters — not just those who made a formal request for one — was stripped from the bill in a Senate committee. But broad emergency powers in the bill provide a path for a range of measures, on a county-by-county basis, to protect public health. That could include shutting down polling locations in November, allowing drive-thru voting or requiring all-mail voting without an absentee ballot, according to the bill’s sponsors. “There is no plan [to do that] because we don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, D-Albuquerque, one of the sponsors. “Nothing is off the table,” Ivey-Soto added.

New York: Primary Plagued By Voting Issues, Including Long Lines, Broken Machines And Absentee Ballot Mix-Ups | CBS New York

Many New Yorkers say voting in the primary Tuesday was a nightmare. Some people never got their absentee ballots, and others were waiting in line for hours. The line to vote at Bronx Regional High School snaked around the block for most of the day Tuesday. “How long do you think you waited in line to vote?” CBS2’s Ali Bauman asked Shameeka France. “Oh, two hours, easy. I came here four times,” France said. “I waited inside because it was so hot out here and it’s been a long time. It’s been a long time to wait,” Renee Alford, of Morrisania, said. “I went walking in to find out and they told me there was only five people they were letting in at the time,” Kolaco Acquindo, of Morrisania, said. Acquindo called the Board of Elections to complain about the hold-up, and they eventually sent over an employee two hours before the polls closed. In the meantime, Acquindo says people who were waiting in line to vote got so frustrated they began to leave.

Virginia: Virginia Beach congressional primary election sees technical issue with electronic pollbooks | 13newsnow

On Tuesday morning, as Virginia Beach residents headed to local polling locations to vote for congressional primary candidates, some were met with paper provisional ballots instead of the option to vote on a computer. The City of Virginia Beach wanted voters to know it’s not the voting computers that are the problem — it’s poll workers’ check-in computers, called electronic pollbooks. Donna Patterson, the city’s Voter Registrar, said offering paper provisional ballots was a “normal emergency plan.” By 2:30 p.m., all electronic pollbooks at the 91 active precincts were working properly again, Patterson said. The provisional ballots will be counted, Patterson said, but not today. Virginia Beach’s anticipated final voting results will be counted Wednesday, instead of Tuesday night. Virginia Beach spokeswoman Julie Hill said the Registrar’s Office is investigating why this happened and why the issue wasn’t caught ahead of the elections and will release a report with more details.

Malawi: Protect the vote, or the voter? In African elections, no easy choice. | Ryan Lenora Brown and Josephine Chinele/CSMonitor

The crowd gathered in Kasungu, stretched down its main street and bunched around a small stage. Some wore sky-blue skirts and dresses emblazoned with the face of Peter Mutharika, the country’s president. Others waved handkerchiefs or flyers stamped with four ears of corn – the logo of his political party, the Democratic Progressive Party. Shoulder to shoulder, they jostled for a view of his black SUV. As it parted the crowd, they cheered and ululated. Soon he was onstage, promising in a booming voice that his second term would bring a raft of good fortune to this town in central Malawi. It looks like a scene from another era, before social distancing made gatherings like this a near-impossibility in many parts of the world. But this rally was filmed in mid-June, as Malawi entered the final run-up to its election – held today. Across the world, the COVID-19 crisis has introduced a new wrinkle into the already complicated business of holding an election. Traditional campaigning, after all, is built on closeness – handshaking and posing for photos and the show of strength that is a mass rally. And voting itself often forces people to scrunch together in queues, touching the same polling-place door handles and touch screens and ink pads. How do you do that when experts say touch and breath could spread a deadly disease?

Singapore: Call to be aware of foreign interference risk during elections | Lim Yan Liang/The Straits Times

The Internet has made foreign interference in elections easy and inexpensive to carry out, and it will be foolish for Singapore not to take steps to deal with the threat, Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said yesterday. Whether it is cultivating political parties or sentiment amplification – such as using fake accounts to push a particular narrative – different methods of interfering in elections are “getting fused” together and employed by various entities, both governments and non-state actors, he added. “The Internet has turbocharged this kind of interference through fake news, through lies, through a variety of disinformation campaigns, through hacking,” he noted. “Many things are happening, and you got to be on top of the game.” Among the nations that said they have been targeted are advanced ones such as the US, Britain, France and Germany, he said. But there are ways to prepare for and counter foreign actors who try to interfere in elections or shape the voting behaviour of an electorate, said Mr Shanmugam.

Alabama: Want to vote absentee in Alabama? COVID-19 will be reason enough through end of year | Brian Lyman/Montgomery Advertiser

Voters concerned about the COVID-19 outbreak will be able to vote absentee in the Aug. 25 municipal elections and the November general election. The move does not affect any other of Alabama’s strict absentee voting requirements, but could significantly expand the number of people eligible to vote before Election Day. It comes after six weeks of rising coronavirus caseloads and a statewide mask order aimed at controlling the outbreak. “Amid coronavirus concerns, it is important to remember that Alabamians who are concerned about contracting or spreading an illness have the opportunity to avoid the polls on Election Day by casting an absentee ballot,” Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said in a statement. The Secretary of State’s office said voters with COVID-19 concerns can mark a box citing a physical illness or infirmity preventing them from going to the polls when they apply for an absentee ballot. Voters could do the same in the July 14th runoff election. Rep. Tashina Morris, D-Montgomery, one of several Democratic legislators who has pushed for more voting options amid the pandemic, called the decision “a great move,” but said there needed to be additional voting options in the state.

National: Kentucky, New York Primaries Face Scrutiny After Complaints | Alexa Corse/Wall Street Journal

States holding primaries Tuesday are facing scrutiny after some voters raised concerns about delays in receiving absentee ballots in New York and voting-rights groups criticized a reduction in the number of in-person voting sites in Kentucky. The contests come after a string of chaotic voting days—including mail-voting snafus and long lines in Georgia and elsewhere—have raised concerns about the country’s preparedness to run a smooth election if the coronavirus pandemic continues through November. Kentucky and New York have presidential primaries on the ballot, along with some tightly contested Senate and House primaries, and they are dealing with challenges that contributed to voting problems in other states, including many more requests for absentee ballots than in previous elections and difficulty finding poll workers to staff in-person voting stations because of coronavirus fears. Virginia is also holding primaries Tuesday for U.S. Senate and House races, and North Carolina, South Carolina and Mississippi have primary runoff elections. In Louisville, Ky., voting-rights groups criticized the decision by officials in Jefferson County—the state’s most populous county with a large population of African-American voters—to open only one in-person polling location Tuesday, compared with the usual 231 voting sites.

National: ‘Nonsense’: Election experts reject Trump’s claim that foreign countries could counterfeit millions of mail-in ballots | Joey Garrison/USA Today

President Donald Trump delivered a new line of attack Monday in his crusade against expanded mail-in voting during the November election, warning that it could lead to “foreign countries” printing ballots to undermine results. Voting experts and election officials swiftly disputed the claim, characterizing the warning as a bogus conspiracy and pointing to safeguards that states use to protect the authenticity of absentee ballots and envelopes. Trump tweeted: “RIGGED 2020 ELECTION: MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND OTHERS. IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!” Trump echoed a claim that Attorney General Bill Barr made during an interview on Fox News on Sunday when he said vote-by-mail “absolutely opens the floodgates to fraud.” Barr said: “Right now, a foreign country could print up tens of thousands of counterfeit ballots, and it’d be very hard for us to detect which was the right and which was the wrong ballot. So, I think it can – it can upset and undercut the confidence in the integrity of our elections.” Lawrence Norden, director of the Election Reform Program for the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York School of Law, called the Trump administration’s assertion “nonsense.” “It doesn’t make any sense as an attack against our election system,” he said. “It would be too easy to catch. You just wouldn’t be able to do it. There’s obviously other ways – cyber warfare – of attacking election infrastructure. I think we have to be worried about them. But forging mail ballots is not a serious threat.”

National: With unsubstantiated claim, Trump sows doubt on US election | Eric Tucker/Associated Press

President Donald Trump opened a new front Monday in his fight against mail-in voting, making unsubstantiated assertions that foreign countries will print up millions of bogus ballots to rig the results and create what he called the “scandal of our times.” The claims not only ignore safeguards that states have implemented to prevent against widespread fraud but they also risk undermining Americans’ faith in the election, spreading the very kind of disinformation U.S. authorities have warned foreign adversaries could exploit to foment doubt in the voting process. Trump accelerated his attacks following a bruising weekend for his reelection campaign, when a lower-than-expected turnout at a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, left him seething, and as he fights for a second term during the worst unemployment since the Great Depression. The rhetoric, coming as states scramble to adjust voting processes because of the coronavirus pandemic, represents a two-track approach of trying to both block mail-in balloting in advance and setting the stage for challenging the results once it’s over. “It’s a way of trying to turn the foreign interference claims that have been made on their head,” said Richard Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California, Irvine. “Typically we’ve heard that the Russian government and others were working to help elect Trump, and here is Trump using fears of foreign interference as a way of bolstering his own side.” “This potentially lays the groundwork,” he added, “for him contesting election results.”

National: Trump spreads new lies about voter fraud, stoking fears of a ‘rigged election’ | Marshall Cohen/CNN

Reeling after a weekend campaign rally with lower-than-expected turnout, President Donald Trump changed the subject Monday morning with a series of widely debunked lies about alleged voter fraud in US elections, stoking fears of a “rigged election” this November. Trump tweeted an article highlighting Attorney General William Barr’s recent comment that expanding mail-in voting “absolutely opens the floodgates to fraud.” (This specific claim has been debunked many times.) Trump added his own commentary to the article, tweeting, “This will be the Election disaster of our time. Mail-In Ballots will lead to a RIGGED ELECTION!”
Trump then tweeted an all-caps missive with many of the debunked claims he’s been pushing all year: “RIGGED 2020 ELECTION: MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND OTHERS. IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!” In a third tweet Monday morning, Trump said “Because of MAIL-IN BALLOTS, 2020 will be the most RIGGED Election in our nations history – unless this stupidity is ended,” and accused his political opponents of “using Covid in order to cheat by using Mail-Ins,” without providing proof.

National: Election chaos renews focus on gutted Voting Rights Act | Bill Barrow/Associated Press

When some Georgia voters endured a pandemic, pouring rain and massive waits earlier this month to cast their ballot, President Donald Trump and other Republicans blamed local Democrats for presiding over chaos. “Make no mistake, the reduction in polling places is a result of a concerted effort by Democrats to push vote-by-mail at the expense of in-person voting,” said Justin Clark, the Trump campaign’s senior counsel. “Nothing more and nothing less.” But the meltdown was also a manifestation of a landmark Supreme Court case that gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. The 2013 decision — Shelby County v. Holder — was heralded by conservatives at the time for invalidating a longstanding “preclearance” process that required certain states and jurisdictions with high minority populations and a history of discrimination to get federal approval for any changes to voting procedures. Seven years later, the fallout from that decision is colliding with unprecedented changes to the way elections are being conducted. In response to the coronavirus, many states are encouraging mail-in voting. That — combined with a reduction in poll workers — has prompted the consolidation of polling places.

National: Congress must act now to help states with vote-by-mail in November, experts say | Gopal Ratnam/Roll Call

The November presidential and congressional elections are a little more than four months away, and Congress must act now to help states prepare for a surge in Americans seeking to vote by mail because of pandemic-driven fears that are likely to keep them from voting in person, according to election experts, advocates and lawmakers. As many as 30 states have already lowered barriers for voters seeking to mail in their ballots because of COVID-19. Some, like Nevada, have gone as far as sending pre-printed mail-in ballots to all registered voters in some counties. But states scrambling to scale up voting by mail also need to be prepared for voters to show up in person at regular polling places because of glitches in the mailing process or a failure to receive mail-in ballots in advance. That could increase costs not only for new equipment but for staffing to handle both ways to vote, experts say. Several states that postponed their primaries from March to late May and early June saw voters turn to voting by mail in large numbers, said Edgardo Cortés, an election security adviser at the Brennan Center for Justice. “It doesn’t matter whether you encourage it or not, that’s what voters want,” he said about voters’ preference for mailed ballots. “So you have to be ready for it, and state officials need to be ready to handle that influx.”

National: Voter Fraud and Fake Ballots in Mail Elections, Explained | Mike Baker/The New York Times

As states grapple with how to safely carry out elections during a pandemic, President Trump has made an escalating series of fantastical — and false — accusations about the risks of embracing mail voting. Without evidence, the president has warned that mail elections would involve robbed mailboxes, forged signatures and illegally printed ballots. In a tweet on Monday, this one in all-caps, Mr. Trump warned of a “rigged 2020 election” and claimed: “Ballots will be printed by foreign countries, and others. It will be the scandal of our times!” That claim about foreign-made ballots was the latest misleading statement from Mr. Trump: He offered no evidence, and the tampering of ballots is widely seen as a nearly impossible scenario because they are printed on very specific stock and often have specific tracking systems like bar codes. Mr. Trump himself has voted by mail, yet at the same time he has claimed in the past that mail-in voting could mean “thousands of people sitting in somebody’s living room, signing ballots all over the place.” “Kids go and they raid the mailboxes and they hand them to people signing the ballots down at the end of the street,” Mr. Trump said in May. Officials in 11 of the 16 states that limit who can vote absentee have eased their election rules this spring to let anyone cast an absentee ballot in primary elections — and in some cases, in November as well.

National: Why You Can’t Just Vote on Your Phone During the Pandemic | Sue Halpern/The New Yorker

When Alex Howard, a resident of Washington, D.C., failed to receive an absentee ballot for the city’s June 2nd primary, he assumed that he would have to vote in person. Then, by chance, on the day of the election, he saw a Twitter post alerting voters of the option to vote remotely over the Internet. Howard, a digital-governance expert at Demand Progress, an advocacy group for good governance, decided to give it a try. “I’m a poker and a prodder and a professional evaluator of government I.T. programs,” he told me. “I like to see how things work.” He was directed to a Web site typically reserved for members of the military, which sent him to a site where he confirmed his date of birth and address. He then logged on to another site to vote. A few minutes later, he e-mailed his completed ballot to the Board of Elections. “There were people who stood in line for hours and hours to vote, and here I was, voting at home on my laptop,” he said. “It was really good for my family from a health standpoint, but whether it’s a good idea at scale—I don’t think so.” He is still waiting to hear if his ballot was received.

Editorials: How to fight election cyber attacks while protecting the health of voters during a pandemic | Quentin E. Hodgson and Jennifer Kavanagh/Baltimore Sun

State and local elections officials — nervously eyeing the fall for a potential second wave of COVID-19 — are scrambling. With only five months before the presidential election, they are scouting larger polling places to enable social distancing and planning to mail and scan more absentee and mail-in ballots than ever. But in addition to keeping poll workers and voters safe from viral transmission, there is a second major risk: how to keep the election itself secure from cyber threats. During the recent months of the pandemic, U.S. adversaries have stepped up both cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns. The United States should expect them to also take advantage of the logistical challenges of voting in a COVID-19 world to redouble their efforts against elections. Cyber threats to U.S. elections came into sharp relief in 2016, when Russia conducted operations to influence the electorate and infiltrate voting systems. In January 2017, the Department of Homeland Security declared elections to be “critical infrastructure” and embarked on an extensive cybersecurity support effort. It established, for example, the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center which provides elections officials with cybersecurity alerts, vulnerability assessments and response aid when experiencing a cyberattack.

Alabama: Attorney General seeks to block federal judge’s order allowing curbside voting, relaxing absentee ballot rules | Kent Faulk/

Alabama has asked a federal appeals court for an emergency stay of a federal judge’s order that allows local officials to offer curbside voting during the COVID-19 pandemic and relaxes restrictions on absentee ballots in three counties for the July 14 runoff election. U.S. District Judge Abdul K. Kallon ruled Monday night in favor of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit who claim several Alabama voting restrictions violate their voting rights because of hardships and risks created by the coronavirus pandemic. The Alabama Attorney General’s Office filed a notice of appeal to the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday and on Wednesday asked that court in an emergency motion to block implementation of Kallon’s order while they appeal. Kallon ruled that the potential health risks to older and medically vulnerable voters in going to the polls, or getting absentee ballots witnessed or notarized, merited the changes.

Georgia: Fulton County, State Chart Path Forward To Fix Election Issues | Stephen Fowler/Georgia Public Broadcasting

While politicians and the public are still seeking answers about what went wrong with Georgia’s June 9 primary, officials from the state’s most populous county are looking to ensure the same issues don’t plague the August runoff and November general election. In a private meeting Monday, members of the Fulton County Board of Elections, the Secretary of State’s office and several civil rights groups including the Rainbow PUSH Coalition discussed concerns with the mail-in absentee voting process, polling place shortages and struggles with poll worker training that led to problems with a new $104-million voting system. “The most important thing is, we really just want to deal with the issues that we’ve been seeing for a long, long time,” Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said to the board members. “Because even though we don’t run elections, at the end of the day we’re in the hot seat – and I’m sure you’re in the hot seat.” On Election Day, voters in parts of metro Atlanta – especially in predominantly Black communities – waited in lines upwards of four hours as county officials grappled with fewer machines in polling places, fewer places to vote and fewer knowledgeable poll workers because of the coronavirus pandemic. Fulton County accounted for about 70% of reported issues statewide, the Secretary of State’s Office said.

Kentucky: While national voices claim ‘voter suppression,’ Kentucky on pace for record voter turnout | Phillip M. Bailey and Joe Sonka/Louisville Courier Journal

While national Democrats, athletes and celebrities are saying Kentucky’s rescheduled primary is an attempt at voter suppression, the Bluegrass State is on its way to a possible record turnout in Tuesday’s primary election. Kentucky received high marks months ago when Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear and Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams agreed to allow registered voters to mail in absentee ballots to avoid in-person voting during the coronavirus pandemic. Under the plan, Kentuckians have also been allowed to vote in-person since June 15, a week ahead of the new primary date. “If the governor and I are both suppressors, we’re doing a terrible job because we’ve got the highest turnout we’ve ever seen — and that’s the bottom line,” Adams told The Courier Journal on Monday. Critics of Kentucky’s plan have ranged in the past few days from NBA star LeBron James to former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Texas: Coronavirus postponed a Texas election. Now there’s even greater risk for some voters. | Alexa Ura/The Texas Tribune

When the coronavirus threat was newer and seemed more immediate, Texas postponed its May elections to pick winners in several party primary runoffs, fearing the health risks of exposing voters and poll workers. With those statewide elections about to take place, the health risks voters face are now arguably greater than when the runoffs were initially called off. The virus appears to be in much wider circulation than the original May 26 runoff date, with the state coming off a full week of record highs for COVID-19 hospitalizations and several consecutive days of record highs for daily reported infections. But voters won’t be required to wear masks at polling places. Gov. Greg Abbott, who earlier expressed concerns about exposing Texans “to the risk of death” at crowded polling sites, has forbidden local governments from requiring people to wear them in public. And Texas Republicans, led by state Attorney General Ken Paxton, have successfully fought off legal efforts by Democrats and some voters to let more people vote by mail if they are fearful of being exposed to the virus at polling places.

Wisconsin: Lawsuits aim to ease rules limiting Wisconsin college voters | Kayla Huynh/Wisconsin State Journal

On the day of the Wisconsin spring primary in February, Peter German was determined to vote. In between strained breaths, German — a freshman from West Bend attending UW-Madison — said he had been running from building to building in an attempt to cast his ballot. “I haven’t missed an election yet,” he said. The previous day, he tried to register to vote at the Madison City Clerk’s office with no luck. He lacked the required form of identification and documents under Wisconsin’s voter ID law, implemented in 2015 after a series of legal battles. On Feb. 18, Election Day, he again could not vote because he did not have a voter-compliant photo ID card. This sent German crisscrossing campus for nearly an hour, where he was finally able to cast his ballot — thanks to a freshly printed student voter card. As German learned, for students living away from home, Wisconsin is one of the most difficult states in which to vote. Student IDs issued by state colleges and universities in Wisconsin are not sufficient for voting, requiring students to go through additional hoops if they wish to vote using their college address.

Namibia: Ballot Papers to Return in November Elections | Kuzeeko Tjitemisa/New Era

The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) has confirmed it will use the manual ballot papers in the upcoming regional council and local authority elections, saying the electoral body would not be in a position to afford voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) devices to allow for electronic voting. According to the ECN, the situation is exacerbated by the global Covid-19 pandemic. Briefing the media last week, ECN chairperson Notemba Tjipueja said they have taken note of the views expressed by a sizeable portion of stakeholders against the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) without the VVPAT or paper trail – a matter that was the bone of contention in a Supreme Court case. “We also wish to note that the cost of acquiring the VVPAT devices, including development of prototype, customisation, shipment and operator training and voter education, is estimated at N$132 927 642,” she said. Furthermore, Tjipueja said, the Covid-19 pandemic has forced both private and public sector organisations to change and re-engineer business processes. “Operating and voting by use of EVMs involves substantial touching of equipment both during the first level check, candidate setting as well as the actual casting of votes,” she said.

National: Verified Voting Comments On VVSG 2.0 v3

Download the letter here  June 22, 2020 TO: The United States Election Assistance Commission (EAC) Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines (VVSG) 2.0. Verified Voting’s mission is to strengthen democracy for all voters by promoting the responsible use of technology in elections. Verified Voting applauds the diligent…

Delaware: Election Commission Quietly Fielded An Online Voting System, But Now Is Backing Away | Sophia Schmidt/NPR

Delaware briefly deployed a controversial internet voting system recently but scrapped it amid concerns about security and public confidence. Before the online option was shuttered, voters returned more than 2,700 ballots electronically — and those votes still will be counted, according to the state, along with conventional votes in the upcoming July primary. Delaware Election Commissioner Anthony Albence said the decision to stop using the cloud-based return option was made to protect public perception of the election. “We have had no problems with the system,” said Albence. “We have confidence in the system, but we want everyone to be fully confident in anything that we do.” The coronavirus pandemic has sent election officials nationwide scrambling for creative solutions to voting problems this year, but it’s becoming clear that there remains very little appetite for new internet voting platforms as part of that conversation. After NPR reported in April that three states were moving toward statewide pilot programs to allow voters with disabilities to return their ballots over the internet, two of those states have since backed away from those plans after intense criticism from the cybersecurity community.

Georgia: How Electronic Voting in Georgia Resulted in a Disenfranchising Debacle | Sue Halprin/The New Yorker

No one familiar with Georgia’s record of election administration was surprised to see another train wreck unfold during Tuesday’s primary. Lines were so long that some voters waited seven hours to vote. It was a monumental failure that—not surprisingly—occurred in predominantly African-American and poor neighborhoods. Part of the problem was the use of expensive, new voting machines, which could signal problems for the Presidential election, in November. On Tuesday, Georgians voted using thirty thousand new machines, called Ballot Marking Devices (B.M.D.s), which the state purchased last year for a hundred and seven million dollars, despite public opposition. When voters finally made it to the front of the line, they signed into electronic poll books (many of which malfunctioned) and were given a smart card loaded with the ballot for their district. They then inserted the card into the voting machine, the ballot popped up on a touch screen, they made their selections, and the machine printed out a summary of those choices.

National: How secure are electronic pollbooks and vote reporting tools? This new program aims to find out | Joseph Marks/The Washington Post

Voting machines get most of the attention when it comes to election security. But officials are now trying to tackle myriad ways adversaries could undermine U.S. elections aside from directly rigging ballots. A new pilot project run by a top cybersecurity nonprofit group and the Election Assistance Commission aims to look for bugs in the many other machines that hackers could exploit to throw an election into chaos, such as electronic poll books and systems for reporting unofficial election night results. Most states currently don’t have a formal process for ensuring they’re secure. “Most of our adversaries aren’t looking to affect the outcome of an election as much as they want to affect our confidence in that outcome,” Aaron Wilson, senior director of election security at the Center for Internet Security, which is running the project, told me. “All of these technologies could have a really big impact on voter confidence and in some cases on the vote itself.” A cyberattack that modified voter information in e-poll books, for example, could make it difficult or impossible for many people to cast ballots. An attack that changed election night results could create confusion about the winner and degrade faith in the real result.

National: “Catastrophe:” Elections experts fear what primary mayhem may mean for November | Melissa Quinn/CBS

With five months to go before tens of millions of Americans head to the polls, voting rights groups and elections experts who watched chaos unfold in states that recently held their primaries are sounding the alarm about what Election Day in November may hold, amid the coronavirus pandemic. “I’m concerned that if we’re already seeing failures happening during these lower-turnout primary elections, come November when turnout will be two to three times what it was, the problems will still persist and we’ll have catastrophic failure,” Michael McDonald, a political science professor at the University of Florida and expert on elections, told CBS News. While some states have been able to navigate the uncertain landscape brought by the coronavirus, others have seen their primaries plagued by long lines, technical snags and widespread confusion. In Georgia and Nevada, voters waited in line for hours to cast their ballots because of the consolidation of polling locations and a shortage of poll workers, who are typically older and who opted to stay home to protect themselves and their health.