National: Report highlights voting inequities in tribal communities | Felicia Fonseca/Associated Press

Native American voting rights advocates are cautioning against states moving to mail-in ballots without opportunities for tribal members to vote safely in person. In a wide-ranging report released Thursday, the Native American Rights Fund outlined the challenges that could arise: online registration hampered by spotty or no internet service, ballots delivered to rarely-checked Post Office boxes and turnout curbed by a general reluctance to vote by mail. “We’re all for increased vote by mail,” said Jacqueline De Leon, a staff attorney with the group and a member of Isleta Pueblo in New Mexico. “We’re absolutely against all vote by mail. If there are no in-person opportunities, then Native Americans will be disenfranchised because it will be impossible for some of them to cast a ballot.” A few states automatically mail ballots to every eligible voter. Others are drawing up plans to rely more heavily on a mail-in system for this year’s elections amid the coronavirus pandemic and with social distancing guidelines in mind. Native Americans are reluctant to embrace the system because of cultural, historical, socioeconomic and language barriers, and past experiences, the report said.

Editorials: Online voting is my 2020 cybersecurity nightmare | Lee Black/The Hill

COVID-19 social distancing measures will likely continue through 2020 — or should — significantly impacting the November election. One proposed solution has been a shift to online voting — an approach that is the dream of many voting reform advocates and the nightmare of cyber and national security experts. Online voting has an allure, given our pervasive use of the internet: We file taxes online, conduct banking transactions, meet future spouses, buy, and sell houses, and purchase a dizzying array of goods and services. We have shifted so much of our lives and responsibilities online that at times it seems backwards to not digitize every action. So why not voting? There is no room for error with foundational democratic exercises like voting. In this case, the process is more important than the outcome. Trust is a critical element of the system for the winner, but more importantly, for the loser, whose acceptance of defeat based on the will of the people allows for a peaceful transition of power. Many uncertainties surround the technical security needed to ensure confidence in the results of online elections. More troubling still is how foreign governments might seek to deconstruct or disrupt any online voting technology we deploy. Similar efforts are already being reported targeting healthcare and research institutions in the U.S. working on a COVID-19 vaccine. Several threats must be addressed before we ever vote online.

Editorials: Election Day 2020 could yield a catastrophic mess | E.J. Dionne Jr./The Washington Post

All who rightly insist that remedying embedded racism and economic injustice requires both organized protests and election victories must reckon with this possibility: Election Day 2020 could be a catastrophic mess. Whose interest would a chaotic election serve? The chaos president. President Trump would challenge the results of such an election if he lost, and he might win it by blocking enough of those who oppose him from casting ballots. Last Tuesday’s primaries are a cautionary tale. They showed what can go wrong even in places that operate with the best will in the world. Both the District of Columbia and Maryland hoped to push as much voting by mail as possible. It was an admirable instinct during a pandemic, but it didn’t work out so well. Writing in Slate, Mark Joseph Stern called primary day in the nation’s capital “an unmitigated disaster.” The Post’s Julie Zauzmer, Jenna Portnoy and Erin Cox reported that many are calling for election officials in both D.C. and Maryland “to resign after botched delivery of absentee ballots and hours-long waits at polling places left some voters disenfranchised.”

California: Officials confident it can run November election smoothly even with coronavirus | John Wildermuth/San Francisco Chronicle

The coronavirus turned what already promised to be an unprecedented presidential election year into a new test for California and its voting system, Secretary of State Alex Padilla said Friday. The March 3 primary spotlighted the enthusiasm California voters were feeling, Padilla said in an hour-long online interview with Mark Baldassare, president and CEO of the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California. “We entered 2020 knowing this would be a big election year,” the secretary said. “We had record registration of nearly 20.7 million. We had a record number of primary ballots cast. We had the highest-ever percentage of eligible voters registered. “Then COVID happened.” Less than two weeks after the primary, much of the state was shut down as officials tried to stem the spread of the coronavirus, which as of Friday has killed 4,481 Californians and sickened more than 123,000. It also left Padilla and election officials around the state scrambling to ensure that the November election, with what could be a record voter turnout, would run smoothly and, just as important, safely. Luckily, California had a head start on the needed changes, Padilla said.

District of Columbia: Some D.C. Residents Were Allowed To Vote By Email. Was That A Good Idea? | Martin Austermuhle/DCist

By Monday, Ward 6 resident Alex Dickson was running out of options. She had requested an absentee ballot for the following day’s primary election, but even after repeated promises from the D.C. Board of Elections that one had been sent, she had yet to receive it. By late that day, election officials offered her another option: She could vote by email. “What? OMG that’s crazy,” wrote Dickson in a Twitter exchange with an election official. But on Tuesday morning, that’s what she did. Faced with what is reported to have been hundreds of complaints from D.C. residents who said they never got requested absentee ballots in the mail, early this week the elections board decided to offer the chance to cast their ballots via email, using an existing service that had been used in the past — but only for a small group of voters with disabilities, and also for those in the military living overseas. The move came in the last-minute scramble to accommodate voters ahead of Tuesday’s primary, which was being conducted largely through the mail because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the sudden shift in how the election was to be run — announced in late March, two months ahead of the primary — wasn’t without its challenges, leaving the elections board struggling to keep up with a huge number of requests for absentee ballots: more than 90,000 all told, roughly tenfold most normal election cycles.

Florida: Lawyer says ex-Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin illegally voted in Florida, asks Aramis Ayala to pursue charges | Katie Rice/Orlando Sentinel

A man running for election supervisor in Pinellas County is asking Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala pursue charges against Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis ex-cop accused of killing George Floyd, alleging he voted illegally in two Florida elections. Dan Helm, a Democrat and attorney, sent Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala a letter notifying her of Chauvin’s voting record. “While living in Minnesota, working there, paying taxes there, Derek Chauvin cannot claim residency in Orange County. His home, residency and where he intends to live is in Minnesota, not Florida,” Helm wrote. His letter cites the Florida statute prohibiting false swearing and the submission of false voter registration information, adding that violation of the statute is a third-degree felony. “I encourage you to hold people accountable for their actions, especially breaking the laws of our state,” Helm wrote.

Iowa: Senate Republicans propose limiting election officials’ powers during emergency | Ian Richardson and Stephen Gruber-Miller/Des Moines Register

Three days after a statewide primary election that saw record turnout due largely to coronavirus-related absentee voting, Iowa Senate Republicans advanced legislation that would prevent election officials from repeating some of the same steps in the general election. The legislation would prohibit county auditors from reducing polling locations by more than 35% during an emergency and prohibit the secretary of state from mailing absentee ballot requests without a written voter request. Iowa election officials took both of those actions before Tuesday’s primary to ease both voting and election administration during the virus. Republicans have said they want to write guidelines to provide clarity for campaigns ahead of the November federal elections. But Democrats on Friday said the changes would suppress votes, and the amendment also drew outcry from local election officials.

Minnesota: ACLU, NAACP lawsuit: Amid pandemic, mail absentee ballots to all voters | Kirsti Marohn/MPR

The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Minnesota secretary of state, asking that absentee ballots be mailed to every registered voter due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the NAACP and two elderly Minnesota voters who live alone and have health conditions. It contends that voting in person would put the women at risk for exposure to the coronavirus. So would voting by absentee ballot, because Minnesota law requires a witness. “They recognize the threat, and so for them having to go to the polls or even having to get a witness to sign the absentee voting ballot envelope puts their health at an undue risk,” said David McKinney, a staff attorney for the ACLU of Minnesota. The lawsuit asks the court to suspend the witness requirement and mail absentee ballots to every registered voter in Minnesota for the August primary and November general election.

Pennsylvania: The primary wasn’t a disaster. But it showed there’s work to do before November | Jonathan Tamari and Jonathan Lai/Philadelphia Inquirer

At least it wasn’t Wisconsin. As with every election, the Pennsylvania primary Tuesday had its problems, from long lines at some poll sites to ballot screwups. With huge numbers switching to voting by mail because of a new law expanding that option and coronavirus fears of voting in person, the state faces a long slog of vote-counting that, as of Friday, left many elections unresolved. Thousands of mail ballots didn’t reach voters in time. Their ability to use those ballots was only saved by a last-minute order from Gov. Tom Wolf that extended the mail-in deadline. The issues were worst in big cities — which suffered the greatest effects from the coronavirus and, just as the election arrived, the largest protests against police brutality. In Philadelphia, the surge of mail ballot requests and delays caused by protests and curfews contributed to a slow counting process to ensure that those who voted by mail didn’t also do so in person, potentially delaying results for weeks. But even with those issues, Pennsylvania’s election Tuesday mostly went OK — at least compared with Wisconsin’s April debacle, when lines in Milwaukee stretched for blocks during one of the worst phases of the pandemic.

Rhode Island: 100K mail ballot applications sent by state were returned to sender | Katherine Gregg/Providence Journal

In the end, roughly 83% of the 123,875 Rhode Islanders who voted in Rhode Island’s June 2 presidential primary voted by mail ballot. But in the first-ever predominantly mail-ballot election, an unknown number of ballots went astray; at least 1,670 ballots arrived in the mail too late to be counted; and approximately 100,000 of the mail ballot applications the state sent, unsolicited, to 779,463 registered voters were returned as undeliverable, according to post-election reports from the Board of Elections. In an effort to reduce potential public exposure to the highly transmissible COVID-19 respiratory disease, state elections officials slashed the number of polling stations and attempted to conduct a predominantly mail-ballot election. While the machine-vote tallies made President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden the apparent winners of the Republican and Democratic primaries on Tuesday, the unofficial tally was not posted until Friday night.

Tennessee: State election coordinator: Don’t send forms yet for expanded voting | Jonathan Mattise/Associated Press

Tennessee’s election coordinator told his local counterparts Friday not to send absentee voting applications to some Tennesseans just yet, guidance issued the day after a court ordered that all 4.1 million registered voters can vote by mail during the coronavirus pandemic. In his email, Tennessee Elections Coordinator Mark Goins told local election officials not to send the applications for people citing illness or COVID-19 as a reason. He wrote that the state may be revising its application form and that it will ask an appeals court to block the expansion to allow all voters to cast ballots by mail during the pandemic. Those seeking to vote by mail for other valid reasons, including all voters 60 or older, can still be sent applications, Goins wrote. Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle’s ruling late Thursday instructs that anyone who “determines it is impossible or unreasonable to vote in-person at a polling place due to the COVID-19 situation” is eligible to check a box on the absentee ballot application about “being hospitalized, ill or physically disabled.” Officials began accepting applications to vote by mail last month for the upcoming Aug. 6 primary election in Tennessee.

Bolivia: A Bitter Election. Accusations of Fraud. And Now Second Thoughts. | Anatoly Kurmanaev and Maria Silvia Trigo/The New York Times

The election was the most tightly contested in decades: Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first Indigenous president, was running for a fourth term, facing an opposition that saw him as authoritarian and unwilling to relinquish power. As the preliminary vote count began, on Oct. 20, 2019, tensions ran high. When the tallying stopped — suddenly and without explanation — then resumed again a full day later, it showed Mr. Morales had just enough votes to eke out a victory. Amid suspicions of fraud, protests broke out across the country, and the international community turned to the Organization of American States, which had been invited to observe the elections, for its assessment. The organization’s statement, which cited “an inexplicable change” that “drastically modifies the fate of the election,” heightened doubts about the fairness of the vote and fueled a chain of events that changed the South American nation’s history. The opposition seized on the claim to escalate protests, gather international support, and push Mr. Morales from power with military support weeks later.

Iran: Hacking team accused of targeting US election campaign | Middle East Monitor

Iran has been named as one of the two countries to be running a state backed hacking operation, in an attempt to access sensitive information from the campaign teams of US President Donald Trump and the Presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. The other is China. Details of the hacking operation were uncovered by Google Threat Analysis Group (TAG). “Recently TAG saw China APT group targeting Biden campaign staff & Iran APT targeting Trump campaign staff with phishing,” tweeted Shane Huntley, director for Google’s Threat Analysis Group. He said that there was “no sign of compromise” and that both the affected users and federal law enforcement were notified. In a separate tweet, yesterday, Huntley explained APT31 was a Chinese backed hacking group and APT35 was an Iranian backed hacking group, both of which are said to be known to the threat analysis team for targeting government officials.

Kenya: Kenya’s long journey to electronic voting system | John Kamau/Daily Nation

When President Uhuru Kenyatta signed the controversial Election Laws (Amendment) Bill into law in January this year and allowed the use of a manual back-up in case the electronic system failed, the Opposition threatened to call for mass action. The law allowed the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to use “a complementary mechanism for identification of voters and transmission of election results” in case the gadgets failed. Although the commission’s CEO Ezra Chiloba said voters would be  identified electronically, and that the manual system would only be used in the event that the former failed, the Opposition claimed that a manual voting system would allow ghost voters to participate in the elections, and termed the laws a plot by Jubilee to rig. The circus on the kind of electoral system that Kenya should embrace has been windy and controversial. The Nasa presidential candidate wanted only an electronic system, with no manual back-up, and his lawyer Paul Mwangi went to court to compel IEBC to stop the plan.

National: Chaos in primary elections offers troubling signs for November | Joseph Marks/The Washington Post

Sometimes-chaotic primary elections across eight states and the District of Columbia foreshadowed challenges that could undermine the security and legitimacy of the general election in November. There were signs of dangerous shortcuts and workarounds, especially in the District where officials couldn’t get mail-in ballots out to everyone who requested them and resorted to accepting emailed ballots. Security experts warn such ballots are highly vulnerable to hacking because voters can’t verify they were recorded accurately. That was the biggest security concern on a night that was also marked by hours-long lines for in-person voting, last-minute extensions for absentee voting, and anxiety about going to the polls during the coronavirus pandemic and nationwide protests against police violence, which prompted curfews in some places including Washington and Philadelphia. The good news was that Department of Homeland Security officials said they hadn’t seen any signs of cyberattacks or significant disinformation campaigns from Russia or elsewhere as of a midday briefing. But they warned that disinformation attacks in particular might take more time to identify. Overall, the day produced a middling report card for election officials, with one big note: Needs improvement before November.

Editorials: I Know Voting Feels Inadequate Right Now – Just hear me out. | Stacey Abrams/The New York Times

Voting feels inadequate in our darkest moments. I recognize that. When you’re watching a man’s death on a video loop, hearing him say “I can’t breathe.” When those words echo what another man said in his last moments, his life also taken by the police. When a woman who saved lives is shot dead in her home in a botched police raid. When a black man is murdered for jogging, his killers left free to celebrate. When you know there is a list of deaths so long that most people can’t keep all the names in their head. To say that the answer is to go cast a ballot feels not just inadequate, but disrespectful. “Go vote” sounds like a slogan, not a solution. Because millions of us have voted. And too many still die. The moment requires many things of each one of us. What I am focused on is the work of showing people, in concrete ways, what voting gets us. And being honest about how much work voting requires.

National: Presidential Campaigns Targeted by Suspected Chinese, Iranian Hackers | Robert McMillan/Wall Street Journal

Campaign staffers working on the presidential campaigns of Donald Trump and Joe Biden have been targeted with online attacks coming from Iran and China respectively, Google said, in a sign that the meddling four years ago in the U.S. presidential election by Russia could be pursued more widely this time. Google said Thursday that the staffers were targeted with so-called phishing attacks that often are an attempt to gain access to online email accounts. They raise the specter of a repeat of the 2016 campaign, during which Russian hackers stole information from Democratic staffers and posted them online. While neither China nor Iran are thought to have previously engaged in the kind of hacking and public dumping of emails that disrupted Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign four years ago, some cybersecurity experts believe that Russia’s success in 2016 may spur copycat activity. The fact that the attacks targeted campaign staff should put campaigns on alert for a possible attempt to hack and dump information, said Graham Brookie, director of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab. “It should be a major red flag.”

National: Senate panel approves legislation requiring campaigns to report foreign election help | Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb/CNN

The Senate Intelligence Committee quietly approved on Wednesday a measure that would require presidential campaigns to report offers of foreign election influence to federal authorities, a move taken in response to Russian election interference in 2016 and one that could draw the attention of President Donald Trump, committee sources say. Senate Republicans, however, are preparing to remove the provision from the bill when it heads to the Senate floor. The committee adopted the measure behind closed doors in a classified setting, adding it to the Intelligence Authorization Act, a bill setting policy for the intelligence community. The amendment was offered by Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the committee’s top Democrat and the author of the standalone legislation, and GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. It passed 8-7, with Collins joining the panel’s seven Democrats.

National: Confusion, long lines at some poll sites as eight U.S. states vote during coronavirus pandemic | John Whitesides and Jarrett Renshaw/Reuters

Confusion, complaints of missing mail-in ballots and long lines at some polling centers marred primary elections on Tuesday in eight states and the District of Columbia, the biggest test yet of voting during the coronavirus outbreak. The most extensive balloting since the pandemic sparked lockdowns in mid-March served as a dry run for the Nov. 3 general election. It offered a glimpse of the challenges ahead on a national scale if that vote is conducted under a lingering threat from COVID-19. All of the states voting on Tuesday encouraged or expanded mail-in balloting as a safe alternative during the outbreak, and most sharply reduced the number of in-person polling places as officials struggled to recruit workers to run them. That led to record numbers of mail-in ballots requested and cast in many states, along with complaints over not receiving requested ballots and questions about where to vote after polling places were consolidated. Pennsylvania and three of the other states voting – Indiana, Maryland and Rhode Island – had delayed their nominating contests from earlier in the year to avoid the worst of the coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 106,000 people in the United States. Iowa, Montana, New Mexico, South Dakota and the District of Columbia also voted on Tuesday.

National: Google: Biden and Trump campaigns targeted by separate spearphishing campaigns | Shannon Vavra/CyberScoop

Hackers linked with China and Iran have been sending malicious spearphishing emails to staff on Joe Biden and President Donald Trump’s campaigns respectively, according to a researcher with Google’s Threat Analysis Group. Chinese government-linked hackers have been targeting Biden’s staffers, whereas Iranian government-linked hackers have been targeting Trump’s campaign, according to Shane Huntley, the Director of Google’s Threat Analysis Group. There is no evidence that the hacking attempts have resulted in compromises, Huntley said. This is just the latest warning from security researchers and the U.S. intelligence community that foreign government-backed hackers are interested in targeting various U.S. presidential campaigns during the 2020 election cycle, in what is turning out to be a tumultuous year for American citizens amid economic turmoil, the coronavirus pandemic, and mass protests about racism. “The Trump campaign has been briefed that foreign actors unsuccessfully attempted to breach the technology of our staff,” the Trump campaign told CyberScoop in a statement. “We are vigilant about cybersecurity and do not discuss any of our precautions.”

Editorials: Bill Barr’s strategy to undermine confidence in the 2020 election | Perry Grossman/Slate

We are in the midst of a lethal pandemic. There are also unprecedented protests against police brutality and curfews in place. And the attorney general of the United States is using his time to actively undermine confidence in the integrity of the November elections by floating nonsense conspiracy theories about counterfeit absentee ballots. Republican attempts at voter suppression are nothing new. What’s new is the chaos element that Barr’s remarks inject into the 2020 election cycle. It’s an attempt to foment a climate in which Trumpian authoritarianism can take center stage over liberal democracy. For decades, Republicans have used false claims of voter fraud to justify voter suppression efforts. For example, in the 1981 race for governor of New Jersey, the Republican National Committee and the state party executed a voter-caging scheme by mailing out letters targeting thousands of primarily Black and Latinx New Jersey voters using an outdated voter registration list. They then used the bounced-back mail to try to purge those voters from the rolls. That same year, Republicans deployed a group of off-duty police officers wearing armbands identifying themselves as members of the “National Ballot Security Task Force,” armed and carrying walkie-talkies, to patrol polling places in minority neighborhoods on Election Day. They posted signs reading: “WARNING THIS AREA IS BEING PATROLLED BY THE NATIONAL BALLOT SECURITY TASK FORCE.” These tactics resulted in a consent decree against the RNC’s “ballot security” programs that remained in place for the next 25 years, but Democrats lost that 1981 gubernatorial race by fewer than 2,000 votes.

Editorials: Will We Actually Get To Vote in November? | Sue Halpern/The New Yorker

I’ve kept a copy of Timothy Snyder’s book “On Tyranny” on my desk since it was published, in 2017. It’s a small volume—the cover is about the size of an index card. Most of the time, it’s buried under stacks of paper from stories I’ve been working on. Snyder is a historian of the Holocaust and of fascism, at Yale, and this book, subtitled “Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century,” is a claxon rung to get our attention. “Listen up,” Snyder seems to be saying to Americans. “Tyranny, fascism, authoritarianism could happen here, too.” The juxtaposition of those two things—Snyder’s book, which was published shortly after Donald Trump took office, and my stack of papers, which focus mostly on aspects of American democracy—has not been lost on me. If it were simply a contest of words, and the contest were confined to my desk, democracy would be winning. But we know this is not the case. American democracy is imperilled, and not just because of Trump and Trumpism but because of an ingrained and widely shared belief that the Founders of this country insulated us from the excesses of government with the power of the ballot. We heard it the other day from Representative John Lewis, the civil-rights leader and icon. “To the rioters here in Atlanta and across the country,” Lewis said, “I see you, and I hear you. I know your pain, your rage, your sense of despair and hopelessness. Justice has, indeed, been denied for far too long. Rioting, looting, and burning is not the way. Organize. Demonstrate. Sit in. Stand up. Vote. Be constructive, not destructive.” These are vital words, earned words, wise words. But they also come from an abiding trust that, no matter what, the electoral system many of us were born into, and others, like Lewis, had to bleed for, will prevail.

California: Newsom orders new California in-person voting rules for November election | John Myers/Los Angeles Times

Gov. Gavin Newsom gave California counties permission on Wednesday to limit their in-person voting operations for the Nov. 3 election as protection against the spread of the coronavirus — but only if they also offer three days of early voting, a tradeoff some local officials said could be expensive and challenging. The decision, detailed in an executive order, came almost one month after Newsom instructed California counties to mail each of the state’s 20.6 million voters an absentee ballot for the upcoming election. In doing so, he noted that voting locations would still be provided, primarily for voters with disabilities and those seeking assistance in a language other than English. But Newsom’s earlier executive order, issued May 8, didn’t address where and when to set up voting sites, leaving elections officials in limbo on plans for the upcoming presidential election. The cost to implement the latest guidelines could be substantial, exceeding the federal dollars already earmarked for election assistance during the pandemic and further straining county government budgets stretched thin by public health and safety spending.

Verified Voting Blog: Verified Voting & California Voter Foundation’s Letter of Concern regarding California’s November election

The California Voter Foundation and Verified Voting are writing to express technological and security concerns about your bill, AB 860, which requires all counties to mail every registered voter a vote-bymail ballot for the November 3 Presidential Election. We appreciate all the hard work and negotiations that have gone into crafting both AB 860 and its companion bill, SB 423 and hope these comments help strengthen your proposal as well as planning for November.

Provisional voting and VoteCal

While we support the plan to mail every registered voter a ballot during this uncertain time, doing so may also result in widespread use of provisional voting in order to keep voters who received a mailed ballot from being able to cast an additional ballot.

Counties could minimize the need for provisional ballots if they have access to real-time connectivity from voting sites to VoteCal, California’s statewide voter registration database, and can verify the voter’s mailed ballot has not already been received and also cancel that ballot to prevent double-voting.

During the March Primary, VoteCal was inaccessible for periods during the morning and evening to several counties on Election Day, dramatically slowing down the voting process during those times. Los Angeles County’s technical issues, including problems syncing county voter data with VoteCal, contributed to long lines and hours-long wait times in some locations. If all counties will be depending on VoteCal for November to verify whether ballots have already been cast, it is imperative that this database be load- and stress-tested well in advance to ensure it can handle the amount of traffic that may occur when potentially thousands of voting sites across the state attempt to access the database in real time.

District of Columbia: D.C.’s use of email voting shows what could go wrong in November | Joseph Marks/The Washington Post

The District of Columbia’s last-minute decision to allow voting by email in this week’s primary is sounding warning bells for election security hawks. The practice puts election results at higher risk of hacking because there’s no way for voters to verify their votes were recorded accurately, they say. And the scramble is a disturbing preview of how election officials beset by challenges may bargain away security if they’re not better prepared by November. “Between now and November, the D.C. board and any other jurisdiction that’s paying attention to what happened [Tuesday] needs to be absolutely focusing their energies on ramping up voting by mail capacities,” Edward Perez, global director of technology development at OSET Institute, a nonprofit election technology organization, told me. “And they need to do it now, now, now. Not in July or August, and definitely not in September.”

Georgia: State gets fresh start on election security, but risks remain | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The security surrounding Georgia’s new voting system is code-named Project Beskar, a reference to impenetrable steel from “Star Wars.” Georgia election officials say the protections are strong enough to safeguard votes from hacking attempts or tampering, with upgraded voting equipment that adds a paper ballot for the first time in 18 years.But election security experts aren’t convinced. They say the system remains vulnerable because it still relies on electronics and retains a link to the internet. They fear computer-generated paper ballots will prove to be meaningless if most voters fail to check them for accuracy.Across Georgia, all voters who go to the polls to cast ballots in the June 9 primary will use the $104 million system, which features fresh touchscreens, printers, check-in tablets and tabulation servers. Old equipment has been put in storage, never to be touched by voters again. Gabriel Sterling, who oversaw the installation of the voting system, said it’s independent from any potential flaws in Georgia’s outdated electronic voting machines. Even if they had been compromised, Sterling said the old computers wouldn’t contaminate the new ones.

Indiana: Republican state leaders may limit use of mail-in ballots for November general election | Dan Carden/NWITimes

Hoosiers who appreciated the convenience and safety of voting by mail in Tuesday’s primary election may nevertheless be forced to cast their ballot in-person, at a polling place, for the Nov. 3 general election. Gov. Eric Holcomb and Secretary of State Connie Lawson declined to say Wednesday whether mail-in voting will continue to be available to all Hoosiers in future elections, or if the opportunity to vote by mail again will be limited to only those with a specific excuse for being unable to vote in person. The Indiana Election Commission authorized no excuse mail-in voting for this year’s rescheduled primaries due to the coronavirus pandemic and based on the bipartisan recommendation of the leaders of Indiana’s Republican and Democratic parties. Since that time, however, Republican President Donald Trump repeatedly has called on states to scrap mail-in voting, by claiming — without evidence — the mail-in process, which Trump used to cast his own primary election ballot in Florida, is riddled with fraud.

Maryland: Another election, another call for Maryland administrator Linda H. Lamone to resign | Jean Marbella/Baltimore Sun

If Maryland elections administrator Linda H. Lamone seemed unperturbed by calls to resign in the wake of ballot errors and on-again, off-again reporting of returns from Tuesday’s primary election, it might be because she’s survived worse over the course of her 23-year tenure. The Democrat, appointed to the post in 1997, beat back attempts to oust her by the administration of the last Republican governor. Since then, she has been protected by legislation that came to be known as the “Linda Lamone for Life” bill that made future attempts to remove her even more difficult. But her defenders say it is Lamone’s competence rather than any law that has kept her in office through multiple administrations and massive changes in how we vote. Over the course of her career, Maryland has gone from paper to electronic and back to paper, introduced early voting and now, because of the coronavirus pandemic, shifted to a mostly vote-by-mail system. “I would want to be in a foxhole with her anytime,” said former state Del. Timothy F. Maloney, a Democrat and an attorney in private practice. Maloney represented Lamone in 2004 when the State Board of Elections suspended her and tried to have her removed from office, something he and Democratic officeholders charged was politically motivated.

Maryland: Officials Want to Remove State’s Top Elections Administrator. It’s Not So Easy | Bennett Leckrone/Maryland Matters

Maryland’s top elections administrator should retire in the wake of glitches and mishaps surrounding Tuesday’s primary election, Lt. Gov. Boyd K. Rutherford (R) said Wednesday. Late ballots, errors in results reporting and a slew of other issues have some officials fed up with longtime Maryland Elections Administrator Linda H. Lamone. Rutherford, along with Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot (D), called for new elections leadership during a Wednesday Board of Public Works meeting. “I hesitate to ask for anyone’s resignation, but I think it’s time for some retirements and new leadership,” Franchot said. “There’s something going on over there that is just completely unacceptable.” Franchot said he’d also like to see the Baltimore City elections administrator, Armstead B.C. Jones Sr., gone. Problems in Maryland’s first vote-by-mail primary began long before Tuesday, when a limited number of polling places opened. Ballots were delivered later than expected in parts of Baltimore City and Montgomery County, and many were deemed “undeliverable” by the United States Postal Service.

Michigan: Absentee voting push won’t cause mass election fraud, election experts say | Malachi Barrett/MLive

A push to promote absentee voting as a safer alternative during the coronavirus pandemic is not expected to produce widespread fraud, according to election experts, despite President Donald Trump’s recent attacks on mail-in voting in Michigan and other states. Concerns about the potential for COVID-19 to spread through polling places in the August and November elections motivated Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to mail every registered voter an application to obtain an absentee ballot. The president quickly condemned the decision in a series of statements linking no-reason absentee voting to partisan election interference, claims that are considered misleading and possibly harmful by election clerks and researchers in Michigan. Testifying before Congres Wednesday, Benson said there is little evidence of election fraud in Michigan, but “in the rare times it does occur, we catch it and we prosecute it.” Benson, a Democrat, said she anticipates more politicalized attempts to confuse voters about the process of absentee voting and cause residents to “doubt the sanctity of our elections and question the accuracy of the results.” The secretary of state said attempts to misinform Michigan voters about their right to vote by mail are “antithetical to our democracy.”