Texas counties will be allowed only one drop-off location for mail-in ballots, state Supreme Court rules | Jolie McCullough/The Texas Tribune

In what’s expected to be the final ruling on the matter, the Texas Supreme Court has upheld Gov. Greg Abbott’s order limiting Texas counties to only one drop-off location for voters to hand deliver their absentee ballots during the pandemic. The ruling, issued Tuesday by the all-Republican court, is the final outcome in one of a handful of lawsuits in state and federal courts that challenged Abbott’s order from early this month. A federal appeals court also sided with the Republican governor in an earlier ruling, overturning a lower court’s decision. The state lawsuit argued that the governor doesn’t have authority under state law to limit absentee ballot hand-delivery locations, and that his order violates voters’ equal protection rights under the state constitution. The suit was filed in Travis County by a Texas-based Anti-Defamation League, a voting rights advocacy group and a voter. In their opinion, the justices wrote that Abbott’s order “provides Texas voters more ways to vote in the November 3 election than does the Election Code. It does not disenfranchise anyone.”

Full Article: Texas counties will have only one drop-off location for mail-in ballots | The Texas Tribune

Texas: Roughly one-third of Tarrant County’s mail-in ballots cause scanning issues due to defective barcodes | Alex Briseno/The Dallas Morning News

Roughly one-third of Tarrant County’s mail-in ballots are getting rejected by ballot scanners due to illegible barcodes by the printing company, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram first reported. Tarrant County Election Administrator Heider Garcia placed the blame on the printing vendor, as officials said the scanners are having trouble reading the barcode on the envelope to validate the ballot inside, which is causing the scanners to reject them. Garcia told the Tarrant County Commissioners Court Tuesday morning that the election board will have to manually recopy the mail-in ballots with illegible barcodes into new ballots under the election code, but that every valid vote ultimately will be counted properly. “What’s happening is we scan the ballots in, and the scanner says, ‘I don’t identify these documents, I can’t see the barcodes,’” Garcia told the board. “When the scanner doesn’t see the barcode, it might as well have been a newspaper that you scanned, it’s just not a ballot.” Garcia said they are having to scan the ballots in, separate the faulty barcodes and go through the same process the ballot board follows with overseas ballots. In that case, Garcia explained, overseas voters receive their ballot via email and print it out. Once the board receives that ballot, they copy it onto an official ballot.

Full Article: Roughly one-third of Tarrant County’s mail-in ballots cause scanning issues due to defective barcodes

Virginia computers targeted by Trickbot malware before election | Mike Valerio/WUSA

Only days before the November election, Microsoft turned to a federal judge in Alexandria, arguing a ransomware network run by Russian-speaking cyber criminals posed a growing threat to the integrity of the vote. The corporation asserted its computer code is illegally used to operate Trickbot ransomware, a virus weaponized to lock electronic networks and make computers inoperable. That is, until a ransom is paid to the hackers. “Defendants have directed malicious computer code at the computers of individual users located in Virginia and the Eastern District of Virginia,” lawyers for Microsoft wrote in an October 6 federal civil complaint. “Defendants have attempted to and, in fact, have infected such user’s computers with malicious computer code.” The court this month granted approval for Microsoft to disable Trickbot servers and IP addresses, as the Pentagon’s U.S. Cyber Command launched a parallel action to neutralize the global botnet.

Full Article: Trickbot malware targeted Virginia computers before election | wusa9.com

Wisconsin county clerks ask State Supreme Court to address ballot misprint | Patrick Marley/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Election clerks asked the state Supreme Court on Monday to issue an order that will allow them to make sure all votes are counted despite a misprint on thousands of ballots in northeastern Wisconsin. About 13,000 ballots in Outagamie and Calumet counties have a misprinted “timing mark” along their edges. Electronic tabulators use those marks to read the ballots, and they can’t count the ones with the errors on them. State law doesn’t provide a clear way to address the problem, and the clerks are asking the justices to help them figure out what to do. State law requires defective ballots to be remade by clerks so they can be fed into machines. Remaking the ballots would be time-consuming, and clerks fear they will miss a deadline that requires them to tally votes by 4 p.m. on the day after the election. Others have raised concerns about remaking ballots because they believe officials could make mistakes as they transcribe voters’ choices from one ballot to another.

Full Article: County clerks ask Wisconsin Supreme Court to address ballot misprint

Wisconsin: With All Eyes on Wisconsin, Partisan Gridlock at State Elections Commission Frustrates Voters and Local Officials | Vanessa Swales/ProPublica

As ballots began pouring in by mail after Wisconsin’s April 7 primary, local election officials became increasingly perplexed over which ones to count. A federal judge had ordered that ballots arriving as many as six days after the election should be accepted, but the U.S. Supreme Court narrowed that window, ruling that ballots should be counted only if they were postmarked by Election Day. The trouble was that many ballots were arriving without postmarks, or the marks were unreadable. Other mail ballots were lost or delayed, threatening to disenfranchise thousands of voters. Desperate for guidance, the 1,850 municipal clerks who run Wisconsin’s elections turned to the state agency tasked with helping them: the Wisconsin Elections Commission. Three days after the primary, the commission’s three Democrats and three Republicans wrangled over the issue for two and a half hours in a virtual meeting. The Democrats wanted all ballots received in the mail by April 8 — postmarked or not — to be accepted; the Republicans pushed to reject all ballots with missing or illegible postmarks.

Full Article: With All Eyes on Wisconsin, Partisan Gridlock at State Elections Commission Frustrates Voters and Local Officials — ProPublica

Supreme Court Won’t Extend Wisconsin’s Deadline for Mailed Ballots | Adam Liptak/The New York Times

The Supreme Court refused on Monday to revive a trial court ruling that would have extended Wisconsin’s deadline for receiving absentee ballots to six days after the election.The vote was 5 to 3, with the court’s more conservative justices in the majority. As is typical, the court’s brief, unsigned order gave no reasons. But several justices filed concurring and dissenting opinions that spanned 35 pages and revealed a stark divide in their understanding of the role of the courts in protecting the right to vote during a pandemic. The ruling was considered a victory for Republicans in a crucial swing state, which polls have shown Mr. Trump trailing in after winning by about 23,000 votes in 2016.The Democratic Party of Wisconsin immediately announced a voter education project to alert voters that absentee ballots have to be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3. “We’re dialing up a huge voter education campaign,” Ben Wikler, the state party chairman, said on Twitter. The U.S. Postal Service has recommended that voters mail their ballots by Oct. 27 to ensure that they are counted.

‘Just like propaganda’: the three men enabling Trump’s voter fraud lies | Sam Levine and Spenser Mestel/The Guardian

One night in late February 2017, Hans von Spakovsky, a lawyer at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative thinktank in Washington DC, fired off an email.The White House was creating a commission to investigate voter fraud, an issue von Spakovsky had long pursued. But he was concerned the Trump administration was considering Democrats and moderate Republicans for the panel, and “astonished” no one had bothered to consult with him or J Christian Adams, a friend and fellow conservative lawyer.

“There are only a handful of real experts on the conservative side on this issue and not a single one of them (including Christian and me) have been called other than Kris Kobach, secretary of state of Kansas. And we are told that some consider him too ‘controversial’ to be on the commission,” he wrote. “If they are picking mainstream Republican officials and/or academics to man this commission it will be an abject failure because there aren’t any that know anything about this or who have paid any attention to this issue over the years.”

The email eventually made its way to Jeff Sessions, then US attorney general. A few months later, Kobach, von Spakovsky and Adams were appointed to Donald Trump’s commission.

It seemed inevitable. For years, all three men had used their positions both inside and outside of government to peddle the myth that American elections are vulnerable to fraud. Though this idea has been debunked repeatedly, and despite the ultimate failure of Trump’s commission, these men continued to promote the idea that widespread voter fraud justified stricter voting regulations.

“We’ve seen this going on for the last few decades,” said Richard Hasen, a law professor and election expert at the University of California, Irvine. “These ideas have moved from the fringes to the center of many Republican arguments about reasons for making it harder to vote.”

National: Police Struggle to Protect Voters and Avoid Intimidation at Polls | Joe Barrett and Zusha Elinson/Wall Street Journal

States and cities across the U.S. are wrestling with a delicate task as they gear up for the possibility of violence on Election Day: how to keep voters safe without deploying a police presence that could intimidate some voters. So far, authorities have taken different approaches. Michigan has moved to ban firearms at the polls after armed protests took place at the state capitol. Police in New York City plan to boost their presence in and around polling sites. While a number of states ban police at the polls unless they are asked to help with a particular situation by election officials, some are encouraging officers to be nearby, but not at, election sites. The concern among law-enforcement officials is that efforts to protect voters put them in the position of policing the polls, a practice that historically has been discouraged or even forbidden by law. “The last thing we want are the police in the polling stations,” said Robert Stevenson, executive director of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police.

National: Coronavirus cases are surging again. These states have refused to loosen rules on who can vote by mail. | Elise Viebeck and Arelis R. Hernández/The Washington Post

Coronavirus cases are rising again in Texas, but most voters fearful of infection are not allowed to cast ballots by mail. For the limited number who qualify with a separate excuse, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott restricted drop-off locations to one per county. And when the Democratic stronghold of Harris County took steps to make voting easier, GOP leaders sued local officials. Texas is one of five red states that emerged as conspicuous holdouts this year as the rest of the country rushed to loosen voting rules because of the coronavirus pandemic. Most of the roughly 30 million registered voters who live there, and in Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee have no choice but to cast ballots in person this fall, even as the rate of coronavirus in the United States approaches its third peak. The situation underscores how the nation’s decentralized election systems and Republican opposition to mail voting this year are translating into vastly different voting experiences for Americans, depending on where they live. Legal challenges to the voting limits have foundered in some courts, rejected by a federal judiciary that has shifted rightward under President Trump.

National: How battleground states process mail ballots – and why it may mean delayed results | Quinn Scanlan/ABC

Every American would be wise to take the mantra “patience is a virtue” to heart as the results start coming in on election night this November because it may be a lot slower than they’ve become accustomed to. Because of the pandemic, more voters are opting to cast their ballots by mail this year. While the expanded access and increased use of mail-in voting is good for voters, it does create hardships for already strained election officials in many states, including key battlegrounds. And every ballot — or nearly every ballot — may need to be counted in the states where the presidential contest is expected to be the closest before anyone can responsibly make a projection on who won the state. There are battleground states that were better equipped to handle the expected influx in mail-in ballots. Arizona and Florida, for example, already had a significant portion of the electorate that voted by mail prior to this year, and their state laws reflected that — giving officials more time to process those ballots ahead of Election Day.

National: Missing From Supreme Court’s Election Cases: Reasons for Its Rulings | Adam Liptak/The New York Times

At least nine times since April, the Supreme Court has issued rulings in election disputes. Or perhaps “rulings” is too generous a word for those unsigned orders, which addressed matters as consequential as absentee voting during the pandemic in Alabama, South Carolina and Texas, and the potential disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of people with felony convictions in Florida.Most of the orders, issued on what scholars call the court’s “shadow docket,” did not bother to supply even a whisper of reasoning. “This idea of unexplained, unreasoned court orders seems so contrary to what courts are supposed to be all about,” said Nicholas Stephanopoulos, a law professor at Harvard. “If courts don’t have to defend their decisions, then they’re just acts of will, of power. They’re not even pretending to be legal decisions.” The orders were responses to emergency applications, and they were issued quickly, without full briefing or oral arguments (hence the “shadow docket”). Compare the shadow docket with the court’s regular docket, the one with real briefs, arguments and elaborate signed opinions. On that docket — the “merits docket” — the court ordinarily agrees to hear about 1 percent of the petitions asking it to intercede. In its last term, it decided just 53 merits cases.

National Cities Gird for Election Day Unrest | Danielle Moran , Laura Bliss , and Sarah Holder/Bloomberg

Fears of voter intimidation and civil unrest have prompted authorities in large urban centers to announce unprecedented steps meant to avoid clashes on Election Day and beyond.Chicago, Philadelphia and New York are among cities that have revealed plans to prevent violence on Nov. 3, when election observers worry polling sites could be targeted, or in the weeks that follow if historic levels of mail-in ballots preclude the declaration of an immediate winner. What’s less known is how smaller communities are preparing, even those that have seen some of the most intense violence by armed vigilantes during racial justice demonstrations — either because authorities have made no special preparations or don’t want to show their hand. Unfounded assertions of fraud by President Donald Trump and his supporters had raised the specter of such unrest even before 14 men were recently charged with plotting to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, and overthrow the state’s government. “We have concerns that these same groups might decide that they need to take it upon themselves to go to polls and protect against a fraudulent or rigged election,” said Mary McCord, legal director of Georgetown University’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, at a press conference earlier this month. McCord has been advising cities, state attorneys general, and law enforcement about laws criminalizing private militia activity and how to enforce them.

National: Election Officials Warn of Widespread Suspicious Email Campaign | Robert McMillan and Dustin Volz/Wall Street Journal

Local U.S. election officials have been receiving suspicious emails that appear to be part of a widespread and potentially malicious campaign targeting several states, according to a private alert about the activity. In some of the emails, the sender impersonated state election directors and asked that the voting officials click on a link to receive special two-factor authentication hardware, the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center, an information sharing group for election officials, said in the alert Friday. While tricking users into clicking malicious links is a technique commonly used to hack into computer systems, the group, known as the EI-ISAC, didn’t find malicious links or attachments in most of the email samples it analyzed. Other emails deemed suspicious by the EI-ISAC purported to be from people with disabilities looking for ways to vote from home. “Some of these emails were designed to mimic standard correspondence that election officials would expect to receive…which increases the risk that an official might click a malicious link,” the alert said.”

National: The Real Threat of Foreign Interference Comes After Election Day – Americans Are Primed to Accept Their Adversaries’ Narrative of Doubt | Laura Rosenberger/Foreign Affairs

With just days to go before the U.S. presidential election, Americans are once again scrolling through news feeds full of stories about foreign operations that seek to undermine their country’s electoral process. Some of the reports raise questions about whether the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump is politicizing these concerns—and the president himself has cast doubt on the integrity of the election. Americans are left wondering what to make of all the noise. The good news is that the United States is better prepared to address many such threats than it was four years ago: its intelligence community, private companies, and independent researchers have met interference attempts with early detection, exposure, and countermeasures, and they have acted particularly effectively to secure U.S. election infrastructure. But Americans should be prepared for foreign actors to take some of their most significant actions in the days and weeks after Election Day—when the country may actually be most vulnerable.

National: Early voting could hit record-smashing 100 million by Election Day | Allan Smith/NBC

With eight days to go until Election Day, 62 million voters have cast ballots early, surpassing the total number in 2016 by more than 12 million, according to NBC News Decision Desk/Target Smart. The number of early voters could hit 90 million to 100 million before Nov. 3 — about twice the 50 million who voted early in 2016, the Decision Desks projects. TargetSmart is a Democratic political data firm that provides voting data to NBC News. In critical swing states, expanded early voting and vote-by-mail options have led to a large increase in pre-election voting. In battleground Pennsylvania, about 1.4 million people have cast early or absentee votes so far, an increase of more than 1.2 million from all of the early votes cast there in 2016. The narrative is echoed in swing states Michigan and Wisconsin, where this year’s early voting totals have already nearly doubled the total of early votes cast in all of 2016. President Donald Trump’s narrow victories in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin allowed him to win the White House in 2016.

Georgia: Ransomware hit Hall County. That didn’t stop its ballot counting. | Kevin Collier/NBC

A Georgia county has reverted to matching some absentee ballot signatures to paper backups, rather than an online system, after a ransomware infection spread to part of its election department. Poll workers in Hall County have since caught up on a backlog of absentee ballots, state officials said, and said there’s no danger of the ransomware extending to systems used to cast or count votes. But the infection is the first known example in the 2020 general election of opportunistic criminal hackers incidentally slowing the broader election process, something that federal cybersecurity officials have warned is a strong possibility.But the attack does not indicate any broad effort to tamper with U.S. voting or show systemic vulnerabilities to the U.S. election system. “They switched over to their paper backups, which is required of them,” said Jordan Fuchs, Georgia’s deputy secretary of state. “It took a little bit of work on their part — I think they had 11 days of catch-up to do — and they completed their task,” she said. A spokesperson for the county, Katie Crumley, said in an email, “For security purposes, we are not commenting on any specifics related to the ransomware attack.”

Indiana: Court says only election officials can request polling extensions | Johnny Magdaleno/Indianapolis Star

Court says only Indiana election officials can request polling extensions | Johnny Magdaleno/Indianapolis StarHoosiers will not be able to request that their polling places stay open longer on Nov. 3 after a federal appeals court upheld an Indiana election law that gives county election officials the sole power to make those requests. A three-judge panel on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that the election law, which was signed into effect by Gov. Eric Holcomb in 2019, does not infringe on Hoosiers’ right to vote.The ruling also said that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana executed poor judgment in its original ruling in September against the election law because the court acted too close to the Nov. 3 elections.  “Just like voters had many months since the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic ensued in this country this March to adjust to the election rules, plaintiff had more than a year to challenge these amendments,” wrote the judges, referring to voting rights group Common Cause Indiana. “The problems plaintiff alleges with the amendments are not new, yet plaintiff asks that these duly enacted statutes be suspended on the eve of the election.”

Louisiana: Judge rules against Jeff Landry in suit against Zuckerberg-backed nonprofit over free election money | Sam Karlin/The New Orleans Advocate

A judge has sided against Attorney General Jeff Landry in his lawsuit seeking to block millions of dollars in free grants to local election officials, which were offered up by a nonprofit backed by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg with the stated goal of helping local leaders run elections in a pandemic. Judge Lewis Pitman, of the 16th Judicial District in St. Martin Parish, ruled against Landry in the lawsuit last week. Landry said in an interview he would appeal the ruling. Landry spokesman Cory Dennis added the attorney general expects there to be a hearing in the 16th Judicial District Court in the lawsuit against one of the plaintiffs, the Center for Tech and Civic Life, regardless of the appeal. Local election officials across the state last month applied for the grant money, offered by the Center for Tech and Civic Life, after Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin told the clerks and registrars about the opportunity. Zuckerberg had funded the grants with a $300 million donation to the nonprofit, and followed it up with another $100 million earlier this month after receiving a “far greater response” than anticipated, Zuckerberg said on Facebook.

Michigan poll workers shouldn’t be allowed to keep poll challengers 6 feet away, lawsuit says | Taylor DesOrmeau/MLive.com

A candidate for a state House of Representatives seat is suing Michigan for requiring poll challengers to stay six feet from poll workers on Election Day – although state officials dispute the lawsuit, saying challengers are allowed within 6 feet. Republican House candidate Steve Carra, of Three Rivers, filed the lawsuit with the Michigan Court of Claims on Friday, Oct. 23, against Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Director of the Michigan Bureau of Elections Jonathan Brater. He’s asking the court to strike down Benson’s guidance that poll challengers and poll watchers must observe social distancing on Nov. 3. “Requiring an election challenger to maintain six feet of distance from election workers significantly impedes, frustrates, and in some instances makes impossible the full exercise of the challenger’s rights and duties,” the lawsuit alleges. But state officials say poll challengers are allowed within six feet. “This frivolous lawsuit is nothing more than an attempt to gain media attention and falsely attack the integrity of Michigan elections,” Michigan Department of State spokesperson Jake Rollow said in a statement. “The guidance issued by the Bureau of Elections allows challengers to temporarily stand within six feet of election workers to issue challenges and view the poll book.”

Mississippi: Voting while Black: The hurdles have changed, but never gone away | Tim Sullivan/Associated Press

The old civil rights worker was sure the struggle would be over by now.He’d fought so hard back in the ’60s. He’d seen the wreckage of burned churches, and the injuries of people who had been beaten. He’d seen men in white hoods. At its worst, he’d mourned three young men who were fighting for Black Mississippians to gain the right to vote, and who were kidnapped and executed on a country road just north of here. But Charles Johnson, sitting inside the neat brick church in Meridian where he’s been pastor for over 60 years, worries that Mississippi is drifting into its past. “I would never have thought we’d be where we’re at now, with Blacks still fighting for the vote,” said Johnson, 83, who was close to two of the murdered men. “I would have never believed it.” The opposition to Black votes in Mississippi has changed since the 1960s, but it hasn’t ended. There are no poll taxes anymore, no tests on the state constitution. But on the eve of the most divisive presidential election in decades, voters face obstacles such as state-mandated ID laws that mostly affect poor and minority communities and the disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of former prisoners. And despite Mississippi having the largest percentage of Black people of any state in the nation, a Black person hasn’t been elected to statewide office in 130 years.

Missouri Voting Rights Advocates Suffer Another Setback Days Before Election | Dan Margolies/St. Louis Public Radio

Missourians who vote by mail must return their ballots by mail and not in person following a federal appeals court’s order. A coalition of civil rights groups last month sued Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft and local election officials, including the Jackson County Election Board, arguing Missouri’s rules for absentee and mail-in voting are “burdensome and unjustified.” Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes agreed that not allowing mail-in ballots to be dropped off in person or by a relative risked disenfranchising voters, and he blocked the requirement. But Ashcroft appealed Wimes’ ruling, and on Thursday the 8 th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis stayed the ruling until it can decide the matter. Because the appeals court hasn’t scheduled a briefing for the case and Election Day is little more than a week away, it’s almost certain it won’t issue its decision before then. That would leave its stay in place, effectively leaving the Missouri vote-by-mail requirement intact.

New York: Some ballot requests may be affected by Chenango County cyber attack | Associated Press

A hacker attack against an upstate New York county’s computer system raised concern that some emailed absentee ballot applications may not be processed, but the state Board of Elections said voting won’t be affected overall. The cyber attack on Oct. 18 encrypted about 200 computers operated by Chenango County and hackers demanded ransom of $450 per computer to unlock the files, Herman Ericksen, the county’s information technology director, said Monday. “We are not paying the ransom,” he said. Last week, the county board of elections released a public statement urging anyone who had sent an absentee ballot application by email since Oct. 15 to call the board to verify it had been received. The statement said the cyber attack would not otherwise impact voting because “the board has redundancies in place that will allow the secure and effective administration of the general election.”

Pennsylvania: GOP files second request for Supreme Court to block mail-in ballot extension | John Kruzel/The Hill

Pennsylvania Republicans have returned to the Supreme Court in another effort to roll back the state’s mail-in ballot extension, filing their second such attempt just ahead of the imminent confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett and days after the court deadlocked on the issue. The Pennsylvania GOP asked the justices on Friday night to fast-track a formal review of a major ruling by the state Supreme Court, which held that mailed ballots sent by Election Day and received up to three days later must be counted. The Keystone State is a crucial battleground in the 2020 election after President Trump won it in 2016 by fewer than 45,000 votes. Both Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden campaigned in Pennsylvania on Monday. If successful, the GOP’s long-shot bid could disenfranchise a number of mail-in voters, with the harm likely to fall disproportionately on Biden supporters, who are considered about twice as likely as Trump backers to vote by mail. Republicans’ latest request comes less than a week after the Supreme Court left intact Pennsylvania’s mail-ballot extension with a 4-4 deadlock. The tie vote last Monday broke largely along ideological lines, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the court’s three liberals in denying the GOP’s request to halt the state court ruling, while the court’s four most conservative justices indicated they would have granted it.

Washington: Despite more threats voting system not breached, elections officials say | Jim Camden/The Spokesman-Review

Although attempts to disrupt the U.S. elections have increased, Washington’s voting system is safer than it was in 2016 and has withstood any attacks, state and local elections officials said Monday. Those findings dovetail with news that nearly half of all ballots sent out have been returned in an unprecedented early vote. The state’s Elections Security Operations Center has been monitoring the VoteWA system and the 39 counties’ elections systems for any attacks, Secretary of State Kim Wyman said. “We’re confident that our system has not had any breaches, has not been compromised in any way and that it is operating fully secure,” she said. Using some $20 million in federal funds for cybersecurity, the state built strong firewalls around the system and ways to monitor the traffic going in and out of VoteWa. “We have a much higher confidence level than we did, even two years ago, with the cybersecurity of our system,” Wyman said.

Wisconsin can’t count mail-in ballots received after election day, supreme court rules | Maanvi Singh/The Guardian

The US supreme court has sided with Republicans to prevent Wisconsin from counting mail-in ballots that are received after election day.In a 5-3 ruling, the justices on Monday refused to reinstate a lower court order that called for mailed ballots to be counted if they are received up to six days after the 3 November election. A federal appeals court had already put that order on hold.The ruling awards a victory for Republicans in their crusade against expanding voting rights and access. It also came just moments before the Republican-controlled Senate voted to confirm Amy Coney Barrett, a victory for the right that locks in a conservative majority on the nation’s highest court for years to come. The three liberal justices dissented. John Roberts, the chief justice, last week joined the liberals to preserve a Pennsylvania state court order extending the absentee ballot deadline but voted the other way in the Wisconsin case, which has moved through federal courts. “Different bodies of law and different precedents govern these two situations and require, in these particular circumstances, that we allow the modification of election rules in Pennsylvania but not Wisconsin,” Roberts wrote.

National: Officials stress security of election systems after U.S. reveals new Iranian and Russian efforts | Amy Gardner, Isaac Stanley-Becker and Elise Viebeck/The Washington Post

State and local officials hastened to reassure Americans this week that the nation’s election systems are secure after the country’s top intelligence official accused Iran of sending threatening emails to voters in several states and the United States said Russia obtained voter information from at least one county. U.S. officials and cybersecurity experts said the activity did not appear to include penetration of voting systems or access to voter registration databases, or the hacking of equipment that could be tampered with to alter election results. Arizona’s voter registration database remains secure,” said C. Murphy Hebert, a spokeswoman for the secretary of state’s office in Arizona, one of the states where Democratic voters reported receiving the threatening emails. “Some information in the voter record is publicly available in Arizona through a public record request, including party registration and, up until recently, emails. We are vigilantly monitoring all election systems. ”Federal and state officials said they have fortified election systems since 2016, when Russian hackers scanned election-related websites and software nationwide for vulnerabilities.

Georgia: Appeals court halts order requiring paper pollbook backups | Kate Brumback/Associated Press

A federal appeals court on Saturday temporarily halted a lower court’s order that said every polling place in Georgia must have at least one updated paper backup of the electronic pollbooks that are used to check in voters.U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg last month issued the order requiring the backup and other measures amid the context of a broader lawsuit filed by voting integrity activists that challenges Georgia’s voting system. She called the order “a limited common sense remedy” to impediments voters have faced.The state appealed the order to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A three-judge panel of the appeals court voted 2-1 to stay Totenberg’s order while the appeal is pending.The voting integrity activists had asked Totenberg to order the paper backup. They had argued that malfunctioning electronic pollbooks created bottlenecks that resulted in voters waiting in long lines during the state’s primary election in June and runoff election in August.The KnowInk PollPads are part of the new election system the state bought last year from Dominion Voting Systems for more than $100 million.Totenberg’s ruling required Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the state’s top elections official, to generate and provide election superintendents in each county a list of electors updated at the close of the in-person early voting period to contain all the information in the electronic pollbook. The secretary of state was then to instruct the election superintendents to provide at least one paper backup at each polling place on Election Day.

National: Russian Hackers Break Into 2 County Systems, Stoking Election Security Fears | Philip Ewing and Miles Parks/NPR

Active Russian cyberattacks are targeting a wide swath of American government networks, including those involved with the ongoing election, federal authorities revealed Thursday. The focus of the effort include “U.S. state, local, territorial, and tribal government networks, as well as aviation networks,” according to a new bulletin from the FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.It continued: “As this recent malicious activity has been directed at … government networks, there may be some risk to elections information … However, the FBI and CISA have no evidence to date that integrity of elections data has been compromised. “U.S. officials said separately on Thursday afternoon that systems in two local government jurisdictions had been accessed, granting attackers admission to some limited data about voters.The announcement followed one day after an in-person briefing by Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and FBI Director Christopher Wray in which they warned about Russian interference as well as an Iranian scheme to intimidate voters with spoof emails.

National: ‘There is a voter-suppression wing’: An ugly American tradition clouds the 2020 presidential race | James Rainey/Los Angeles Times

A Memphis, Tenn., poll worker turned away people wearing Black Lives Matter T-shirts, saying they couldn’t vote. Robocalls warned thousands of Michigan residents that mail-in voting could put their personal information in the hands of debt collectors and police. In Georgia, officials cut polling places by nearly 10%, even as the number of voters surged by nearly 2 million. The long American tradition of threatening voting access — often for Black people and Latinos — has dramatically resurfaced in 2020, this time buttressed by a record-setting wave of litigation and an embattled president whose reelection campaign is built around a strategy of sowing doubt and confusion. Voting rights activists depict the fights against expanding voter access as a last-ditch effort by President Trump and his allies to disenfranchise citizens who tend to favor Democrats. The administration insists — despite no evidence of a widespread problem — that it must enforce restrictions to prevent voter fraud.“We have an incredibly polarized country and we have a political party whose leader thinks it’s to the party’s advantage to make it harder for people to register to vote and to vote,” said Richard L. Hasen, a UC Irvine law professor and authority on voting. “So that is where we are.”

National: When will your ballot be counted in the 2020 election? A look at what goes into the tallying process | Meredith Deliso/ABC

The last day to vote in the 2020 general election is Nov. 3. But ballots may not be counted for several days, if not weeks, after that date, experts said.Due to an anticipated record amount of mail-in voting this election season, combined with ballot counts that won’t start until Election Day in most states, election officials across the country could be overwhelmed in some cases. Deadlines for receiving mail-in ballots also extend past Nov. 3 in several states, all but making it a given that votes will be recorded in the days or even weeks after the election. The issue of mail-in ballot receipt deadlines is also fraught with legal challenges — some of which are still playing out in court with less than two weeks to go until the general election. And President Donald Trump has repeatedly attempted to sow doubt on mail-in voting through false and conspiratorial claims about voter fraud.