National: Trump rants about fraud. But here’s the secret to keeping voting by mail secure. | Allan Smith/NBC

President Donald Trump insists there’s “NO WAY” an election with increased mail-in voting will be legitimate. But both Democratic and Republican officials overseeing that process say he’s dead wrong and in interviews with NBC News they outlined the steps they take — most importantly, signature verification — to ensure the integrity of the system, which is coming into more widespread use because of the coronavirus. Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman, a Republican, oversees the elections in one of the nation’s leading vote-by-mail states. “I think it’s good when the public questions any form of a voting system, but people should have confidence in it because election administrators are always trying to build in security measures that balance out that access,” she said. Like other states, Washington requires that voters sign their absentee ballot and that the signature matches the one on file with a voter’s registration. If the signatures don’t match, the voter will be contacted and alerted to the discrepancy.

National: With citizenship ceremonies postponed due to coronavirus, hundreds of thousands could miss chance to vote in November | Nick Miroff/The Washington Post

Hundreds of thousands of potential voters will be ineligible to cast ballots in November unless the Trump administration resumes citizenship ceremonies and clears a pandemic-related backlog of immigrants waiting to take the naturalization oath, according to rights groups and lawmakers from both parties. President Trump, who claims falsely that millions of immigrants vote illegally in U.S. elections, now has the ability to effectively deny a large number of foreign-born Americans from becoming legally eligible to register ahead of the next presidential election. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services administers the oath of citizenship to an average of about 63,000 applicants per month, according to the agency’s latest statistics. The in-person ceremonies are the final hurdle immigrants must clear before registering to vote as naturalized U.S. citizens.

National: Election officials gear up for single biggest day of voting during coronavirus, as Trump rails against vote by mail | Kendall Karson and Meg Cunningham/ABC

President Donald Trump’s recent tirade against mail voting was a defiant attempt at elevating his argument of voter fraud — without evidence — but it comes as the largest single day of voting since the onset of the coronavirus crisis is set to take place next week. Even as Trump seeks to turn the issue into a pitched battle, election officials in a number of states, including those run by Republicans, are expanding access to the voting alternative as part of their broader preparations amid the pandemic for the June 2 election. The president, who has often railed against mail voting by alleging it is ripe for fraud, stepped up his assault last week by targeting efforts in two battleground states — Michigan and Nevada — aimed at making it easier to obtain an absentee or mail-in ballot. He threatened to cut off federal funding to those states over what he claimed were “illegal” tactics. Election officials in both states refuted Trump’s attacks, with a spokesperson for Michigan’s Democratic secretary of state calling Trump’s tweet “false,” and Nevada’s Republican secretary of state saying the shift to a mail-in election was done “legally.”

National: While Trump tries to discredit mail voting, GOP officials move ahead with plans | Sarah Ewall-Wice/CBS

As President Trump continues to insist voting should be in-person and alleges voting by mail leads to fraud, some Republican officials are moving forward with preparations for an increase in mail-in voting, especially in the upcoming primaries across the country, as well as in the general election. It’s the latest sign that while Mr. Trump might be trying to discredit the mail-in process from the bully pulpit, a growing number of voters are indicating support for such options amid health concerns related to the coronavirus and the uncertainty about how safe it will be to vote in the weeks and months ahead. “There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent,” President Trump tweeted Tuesday, while taking aim at the plan by California’s governor to send absentee ballots to all registered voters for the November general election. “This will be a Rigged Election” he went on, despite having voted by mail himself in the Florida primary, and despite the victory of Republican Mike Garcia recently in the special election in California, where voters were sent mail-in ballots. And while the president pushes this narrative, without offering any proof to substantiate his accusations, in many cases, officials from his own party are promoting vote-by-mail options ahead of upcoming primaries across the country.

National: Twitter labels Trump’s false claims with warning for first time | Julia Carrie Wong and Sam Levine/The Guardian

Twitter for the first time took action against a series of tweets by Donald Trump, labeling them with a warning sign and providing a link to further information. Since ascending to the US presidency, Trump has used his Twitter account to threaten a world leader with war, amplify racist misinformation by British hate figures and, as recently as Tuesday morning, spread a lie about the 2001 death of a congressional aide in order to smear a cable news pundit. Throughout it all, Twitter has remained steadfast in its refusal to censor the head of state, even going so far as to write a new policy to allow itself to leave up tweets by “world leaders” that violate its rules. The company’s decision on Tuesday afternoon to affix labels to a series of Trump tweets about California’s election planning is the result of a new policy debuted on 11 May. They were applied – hours after the tweets initially went out – because Trump’s tweets violated Twitter’s “civic integrity policy”, a company spokeswoman confirmed, which bars users from “manipulating or interfering in elections or other civic processes”, such as by posting misleading information that could dissuade people from participating in an election.

National: Biden Campaign Names National Director for Voter Protection | Kat Stafford/Associated Press

Joe Biden has hired a national director for voter protection, a role his campaign says will focus broadly on voter rights, including the disenfranchisement of people of color amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign said Rachana Desai Martin will join its legal team, serving also as senior counsel. Martin, who has a strong background in voter protection work, previously worked as chief operating officer of the Democratic National Committee and as the DNC’s director of civic engagement and voter protection. The pandemic has disproportionately affected people of color, especially black Americans who represent an outsize number of infections and deaths. An Associated Press analysis last month found more than one-third of those who have died are African American. The push for voter protection rights has only intensified in recent weeks, after some primary elections, including Milwaukee’s on April 7, sparked concern that voters were forced to wait in long lines to cast their ballots. Some health officials have warned the coronavirus could spread at polling places.

National: If You Can’t Vote by Mail This Year, Don’t Panic | Gilad Adelman/WIRED

Your life or your vote: That’s how many observers and participants framed the decision whether to vote in person in last month’s Wisconsin primary. A mix of Democratic mismanagement and Republican cynicism dragged thousands of people to the polls who would rather have voted absentee. Thousands more were effectively disenfranchised. In one viral photo, a mask-wearing woman standing in a stretched-out line on a Milwaukee sidewalk held up a sign reading “This is ridiculous.” The New York Times captured the mood when it referred to the election as “a dangerous spectacle that forced voters to choose between participating in an important election and protecting their health.” It looked like the fuse was lit on a Covid-19 contagion bomb. And yet, more than a month later, it seems the explosion never came. One of the very few bright spots over the past few weeks is the growing evidence that some activities might not be as dangerous as we thought—sunbathing at the beach, hanging out in a park, letting young kids hug their grandparents, and most importantly, voting. In early April, it was not unreasonable to see in-person voting as a perilous gamble, and to worry that we’d be apocalyptically screwed unless every single ballot could be sent by mail. But the worst fears haven’t materialized, and in the meantime we’ve learned more about how the virus spreads. Research suggests that the risk of Covid-19 transmission is at its highest when people are in close, prolonged indoor contact, and cases of outdoor transmission appear to be very rare. From a public health perspective, voting in person may be more like getting takeout than attending a rock concert: not risk-free, but, with the right precautions in place, hardly Russian roulette.

National: Which Party Would Benefit Most From Voting by Mail? It’s Complicated. | Michael Wines/The New York Times

Not so many months ago, casting a ballot by mail was a topic reserved for conferences of election administrators, a matter of voting mechanics blander than a water cracker. In Republican Arizona and Democratic Oregon as well as many other states, vast numbers of citizens not only voted by mail, but also loved it. That was before the mail ballot became seen as an essential element for voting in a pandemic, and before President Trump weaponized mail voting with largely invented allegations that it would lead to massive voter fraud — despite being used for years in Democratic and Republican states without controversy. bRepublican opposition seemed driven by the conviction that an increase in mail voting would benefit Democrats, who have tended to use mail ballots less compared with Republicans. But, like a lot of assumptions about voting, the reality is far less clear.

National: Voter Registration Plummets Due To Pandemic, Reshaping 2020 Electorate | Pam Fessler/NPR

No door to door canvassing. Public gatherings are canceled. Motor vehicle offices are closed. Naturalization ceremonies are on hiatus. Almost every place where Americans usually register to vote has been out of reach since March and it’s led to a big drop in new registrations right before a presidential election that was expected to see record turnout. The consequences of that decline could reshape the electorate ahead of the November election, although it’s not yet clear how. Four years ago, organizers for the progressive group New Virginia Majority were able to register 120,000 new voters, who contributed to Hillary Clinton’s victory in the state and Democrats’ subsequent takeover of the state legislature. But this year, in the middle of a pandemic? “The rules of engagement have been completely upended,” said Tram Nguyen, New Virginia Majority’s co executive director. “We’re not able to walk the neighborhood streets. We’re not able to set up tables at community centers and places where it’s easy to reach people in community. So organizers have still continued to do the work around engaging folks. It looks a lot different,” she said.

National: States plead for cybersecurity funds as hacking threat surges | Maggie Miller/The Hill

Cash-short state and local governments are pleading with Congress to send them funds to shore up their cybersecurity as hackers look to exploit the crisis by targeting overwhelmed government offices. Members of Congress have taken notice of cyber threats at the state and local level, both before and during the pandemic, and efforts are underway to address the challenges, though how much will be provided is uncertain amid a fight over the amount of additional coronavirus stimulus. For Atlanta’s top cybersecurity official, any funds cannot come soon enough. “We would love and welcome more funding from the federal government as our digital infrastructure is just expanding and it’s going to expand even more because of this,” Gary Brantley, the chief information officer for the city of Atlanta, told The Hill. Brantley said that coronavirus-related attacks have become an issue for his office, particularly those targeted at his office through malicious phishing emails. “We are seeing a lot more malicious activity, especially a lot of activity related to COVID-19,” Brantley said. “I know our phishing attacks are up tremendously across the city and attempts to confuse our user base are high.”

National: Trump is trying to make mail voting a partisan issue. It’s not in many states. | Joseph Marks/The Washington Post

President Trump has slammed voting by mail as a Democratic ploy to fix elections and attacked Democratic leaders who want to expand the practice in swing states such as Michigan. But many of the states that are making the greatest strides on increasing voting by mail during the pandemic are unlikely to play a significant role in deciding the winner of the 2020 presidential election – and are doing it without much partisan angst. Massachusetts, where a Republican presidential candidate hasn’t won since Ronald Reagan in 1984, is a case in point. The state’s moderate Republican Gov. Charlie Baker is broadly supportive of Democratic-led efforts to expand voting by mail and has already signed a bill aimed at dramatically expanding the practice through elections in June. It’s Democratic Secretary of State William Galvin, meanwhile, who is pushing back against the most ambitious mail-in voting plans from Democratic state legislators, warning that if the state tries to go too far it could damage the integrity of the election.

National: Trump Sows Doubt on Voting. It Keeps Some People Up at Night. | Reid J. Epstein/The New York Times

In October, President Trump declares a state of emergency in major cities in battleground states, like Milwaukee and Detroit, banning polling places from opening. A week before the election, Attorney General William P. Barr announces a criminal investigation into the Democratic presidential nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr. After Mr. Biden wins a narrow Electoral College victory, Mr. Trump refuses to accept the results, won’t leave the White House and declines to allow the Biden transition team customary access to agencies before the Jan. 20 inauguration. Far-fetched conspiracy theories? Not to a group of worst-case scenario planners — mostly Democrats, but some anti-Trump Republicans as well — who have been gaming out various doomsday options for the 2020 presidential election. Outraged by Mr. Trump and fearful that he might try to disrupt the campaign before, during and after Election Day, they are engaged in a process that began in the realm of science fiction but has nudged closer to reality as Mr. Trump and his administration abandon longstanding political norms. The anxiety has intensified in recent weeks as the president continues to attack the integrity of mail voting and insinuate that the election system is rigged, while his Republican allies ramp up efforts to control who can vote and how. Just last week, Mr. Trump threatened to withhold funding from states that defy his wishes on expanding mail voting, while also amplifying unfounded claims of voter fraud in battleground states.

National: Voting by Mail in November? States Need to Prepare Now | Alexa Corse and Robert McMillan/Wall Street Journal

Americans are expected to vote by mail in record numbers in November, but authorities are running out of time to secure the vast number of ballots and ballot-processing machines needed to ensure a smooth process, election and industry officials say. Many Americans will likely want or need to avoid polling stations in the fall because of the coronavirus pandemic. A Department of Homeland Security-led working group said weeks ago that local governments should have started preparing in April if they want to ready their vote-by-mail systems for the November election. Many haven’t begun, and some states also still need to ease legal restrictions to even allow widespread mail-balloting. Carrying out such voting faces potential choke points even for states that have already started preparing, such as printing enough ballots and deploying sufficient scanners to quickly count those votes, election procedure experts say. Runbeck Election Services Inc., one of the country’s largest mail-ballot printers, is already getting order inquiries for November surpassing what it could handle, company President and Chief Operating Officer Jeff Ellington said. To prepare, the Phoenix-based company in March bought 11 new machines that can insert thousands of ballots into envelopes per hour, tripling its capacity so it can produce about 20 million ballots by November. Even that, he said, may not be sufficient.

National: Trump escalates fight against mail-in voting | Brett Samuels/The Hill

President Trump this week ratcheted up his attacks on mail-in voting as more states move to increase absentee ballot access due to coronavirus uncertainties. The president has levied unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud dating back to the 2016 election and has continued to do so even though he was victorious. But he took his complaints a step further in threatening to withhold federal funding from Michigan and Nevada, two potential swing states, as they took different steps to allow residents to vote by mail. “To really vote, and without fraud, you have to go and you have to vote at the polling place,” Trump said Thursday at a Ford factory in Michigan, arguing that mail-in voting is “wrought with fraud and abuse.” The president has targeted Democrat-run states over their efforts to expand mail-in voting to ensure safety during the pandemic, lashing out in recent weeks at Wisconsin, Michigan, Nevada and California. GOP-led states such as Nebraska, West Virginia and Georgia have made similar plans to offer applications for absentee ballots but have not drawn sharp rebukes from the Oval Office. Experts note there is minimal evidence of meaningful fraud in mail-in voting, and some see Trump’s latest round of attacks as an effort to restrict ballot access and preemptively cast suspicion on the 2020 election results should he lose.

National: Postal Service’s financial stress might hurt its ability to handle large volume of mail-in ballots | Yelena Dzhanova/CNBC

As the coronavirus pandemic forces adjustments in 2020 races, some states worry that financial disruptions at the U.S. Postal Service may lead to decreased voter turnout in the general election.  More than a dozen states are already preparing for the November election, with the anticipation that more voters will choose mail-in ballots over in-person voting. If the USPS continues to endure financial stress, there are concerns that it may not be able to effectively carry out the expected onslaught of mail-in ballots for the election. “The Office of the Secretary of State has become increasingly concerned about the declining revenue of the United States Postal Service,” said Kylee Zabel, communications director at the Washington state election agency. “If the USPS diminishes, or interruptions in mail service occur, every single state will have to mitigate the impacts to their by-mail voters.” Washington state is one of five that conduct voting entirely by mail.

National: Mail-in voting will suppress Native Americans’ votes in November | Thea Sebastian/The Guardian

Native communities have spent centuries battling for voting rights. Indigeneous Americans couldn’t formally vote in every state until 1957, more than three decades after securing full US citizenship. The campaign against this community persists, including discriminatory policies like voter ID laws and lack of polling locations on reservations. But this November, as lawmakers adapt voting to the Covid-19 pandemic, Native voters face a new hurdle: the reforms that best balance public health and democratic access will disproportionately suppress Native voting. Especially when it comes to vote-by-mail. Households on Native American reservations, like many households in rural America, disproportionately lack mail delivery. In Arizona, only 18% of Native Americans receive mail at home – white voters have a rate that is 350% higher. As Elouise Brown, a Navajo activist and grazing officer, said bluntly: “This vote-by-mail is not going to work. Not for us.”

National: States Cannot Waver in Election Security Efforts | Matt Parnofiello/StateTech Magazine

Election security concerns for state and local governments have not gone away during the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, they’ve only grown more urgent. Those concerns are mounting as states argue they do not have enough leeway to use the $400 million Congress appropriated for election security this spring, and “a coalition of more than 200 public-interest groups are pushing hard for Congress to include $3.6 billion for the 2020 election cycle in the next coronavirus relief bill,” as The New York Times Magazine reports. Some states are considering moving to online voting because of concerns about having residents congregate at polling places. However, that move is something security experts are strongly cautioning against because of cybersecurity vulnerabilities. The Guardian reports the Department of Homeland Security opposed such moves in a draft guidance, warning that casting ballots over the internet is “a ‘high-risk’ endeavor that would allow attackers to alter votes and results ‘at scale’ and compromise the integrity of elections.”  The challenges posed by the pandemic are making a complicated security picture even more complex for state and local election officials. They need to remember all of the election security concerns that existed in January are still out there and are now more difficult to tackle — and they include malicious actors spreading disinformation and attackers targeting voting databases. All of those concerns need to be addressed between now and November.

National: States push millions of people toward absentee voting amid pandemic | Reid Wilson/The Hill

State and local election administrators are pushing millions of voters to cast their ballots by mail in upcoming elections amidst a pandemic that could spread widely where people gather. The applications raise the prospect of a massive surge of ballots pouring into election administration offices in the days leading up to the presidential election. They have also raised the ire of President Trump, who on Wednesday accused two states of acting illegally and raised the prospects of punishing those states by withholding funding. At least 32 million people have already received or will soon receive absentee ballot applications in the mail, either for upcoming primary elections or November’s general elections. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) said Tuesday her office would mail an absentee ballot application to all 7.7 million registered voters in her state. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) and Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate (R) said last month they would send applications to every active voter in their states, too. “The safety of voters while casting their ballots is our top priority,” Pate said when he announced the mailings. “The safest way to vote will be by mail.”

National: The mail voting debate gets more confounding | David Weigel/The Washington Post

On Tuesday, as he celebrated the arrival of two new Republican colleagues, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was asked whether he really had a problem with mail-in voting. Rep. Mike Garcia of California had won an election that relied heavily on mail-in ballots, and so had Rep. Tom Tiffany of Wisconsin. So, what was the problem? “We don’t have a problem if someone votes by mail,” McCarthy said. “The problem we have is if you try to federalize the election.” One day later, President Trump attacked Democrats in Nevada and Michigan for expanding vote-by-mail. In one tweet, he threatened to “hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path,” and in another he threatened the same if Nevada sent out “illegal vote by mail ballots, creating a great Voter Fraud scenario.” Since the start of the pandemic, vote-by-mail has been expanded in multiple states. The debate over that expansion has grown increasingly surreal and politically contradictory. As they ramp up their own absentee ballot programs, aimed at their base, state and national Republican committees have sued to stop states from making vote-by-mail easier, conducted polling to suggest that voters want limits on the process, and highlighted stories about the difficulty of quickly implementing all-mail elections.

National: Trump threatens funding for Michigan, Nevada over absentee, mail-in voting plans | Amy Gardner, Josh Dawsey, Jeff Stein and John Wagner/The Washington Post

President Trump on Wednesday escalated his campaign to discredit the integrity of mail balloting, threatening to “hold up” federal funding to Michigan and Nevada in response to the states’ plans to increase voting by mail to reduce the public’s exposure to the coronavirus. Without evidence, Trump called the two states’ plans “illegal,” and he incorrectly claimed that Michigan’s “rogue” secretary of state is planning to mail ballots to all voters. The state is planning to send applications for mail-in ballots to all voters — not ballots themselves. “This was done illegally and without authorization by a rogue Secretary of State,” Trump tweeted about Michigan. “I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!” Trump later corrected the error and suggested he would not need to withhold federal money, but he did not retreat from his claim that both states are taking steps that will encourage voter fraud. A spokesman for the Trump campaign asserted that the Michigan secretary of state did not have legal authority to send ballot applications to all voters, a claim that she disputed.

National: Trump’s mail voting attacks put him at odds with GOP election officials | Joseph Marks/The Washington Post

President Trump’s attacks on voting by mail during the pandemic are putting him increasingly at odds with Republican election officials. The president’s harshest salvo to date threatened in a pair of tweets to withhold federal funding from Michigan and Nevada over their efforts to increase voting by mail. He falsely claimed the states, which have Democratic governors, were violating the law by sending absentee ballot applications to all registered voters. But the president’s attacks come as Republican officeholders in at least 16 states that don’t have all-mail elections have encouraged residents to vote absentee due to coronavirus. Republican-led states – including Georgia, Iowa, Nebraska and West Virginia – have also implemented the same system that Trump just attacked in Michigan and Nevada. And Nevada’s own secretary of state, who runs the elections there, is a Republican. The attacks are increasingly leaving Trump — who voted by mail himself in Florida this year — exposed as Republican election officials ignore his warnings given the anticipated public health risks of in-person voting during a pandemic.

National: As Trump Rails Against Voting by Mail, States Open the Door for It | Michael Wines/The New York Times

By threatening on Wednesday to withhold federal grants to Michigan and Nevada if those states send absentee ballots or applications to voters, President Trump has taken his latest stand against what is increasingly viewed as a necessary option for voting amid a pandemic. What he has not done is stop anyone from getting an absentee ballot. In the face of a pandemic, what was already limited opposition to letting voters mail in their ballots has withered. Eleven 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 upcoming primary elections — and in some cases, in November as well. Another state, Texas, is fighting a court order to do so. Four of those 11 states are mailing ballot applications to registered voters, just as Michigan and Nevada are doing. And that does not count 34 other states and the District of Columbia that already allow anyone to cast an absentee ballot, including five states in which voting by mail is the preferred method by law. “Every once in a while you get the president of the United States popping up and screaming against vote-by-mail, but states and both political parties are organizing their people for it,” said Michael Waldman, the president of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University. “It’s a bizarre cognitive dissonance.”

National: Here’s the problem with mail-in ballots: They might not be counted. | Enrijeta Shino, Mara Suttmann-Lea and Daniel A. Smith/The Washington Post

State and local officials across the country are making difficult decisions about how to enable citizens to vote without jeopardizing their health. One widely discussed approach involves allowing more people to vote by mail, lowering the risk of spreading the novel coronavirus. Most Americans support that option for this November’s election. And for good reason: Those of us who study mail voting agree that it has little effect on election results because it has a marginal impact on turnout and doesn’t give either party an advantage. But voting by mail increases the number of ballots that are rejected — and not counted in the final tally. And ballots from younger, minority and first-time voters are most likely to be thrown out. Here’s how we know.

National: Trump Steps Up Attacks on Mail Vote, Making False Claims About Fraud | Reid J. Epstein, Nick Corasaniti and Annie Karni/The New York Times

President Trump on Wednesday escalated his assault against mail voting, falsely claiming that Michigan and Nevada were engaged in voter fraud and had acted illegally, and threatening to withhold federal funds to those states if they proceed in expanding vote-by-mail efforts. The president inaccurately accused Michigan of sending mail ballots to its residents. In fact, the secretary of state in Michigan sent applications for mail ballots, as election officials have done in other states, including those led by Republicans. In Nevada, where the Republican secretary of state declared the primary an all mail election, ballots are being sent to voters. The Twitter posts were the latest in a series of broadsides the president has aimed at a process that has become the primary vehicle for casting ballots in an electoral system transformed by the coronavirus pandemic. As most states largely abandon in-person voting because of health concerns, Mr. Trump, along with many of his Republican allies, have launched a series of false attacks to demonize mail voting as fraught with fraud and delivering an inherent advantage to Democratic candidates — despite there being scant evidence for either claim.

National: Two primaries underscore dueling paths to holding elections during coronavirus pandemic | Joseph Marks/The Washington Post

Voters got a split-screen view of pandemic-era elections yesterday in Oregon and Kentucky. Both states were scheduled to conduct their presidential primaries, but only Oregon, where voters cast ballots almost entirely by mail, carried it off. The state had tallied results from about 75 percent of 1.2 million ballots it received as of early this morning and declared winners in most major races. Former vice president Joe Biden, the last remaining Democratic presidential candidate, handily won the state’s presidential primary with about 70 percent of votes.  Kentucky, where just about 2 percent of voters cast their ballots by mail in 2018, delayed its primary until June 23. Now, the state is scrambling to rebuild its voting operations from the ground up in just a matter of months. The split demonstrates how some states are facing far greater challenges preparing for the primaries and general election during the pandemic — and how some voters are in greater danger of facing a choice between casting their votes and protecting their health.

National: Trump Is Threatening to Go Ukraine on Michigan Because They’ll Let People Vote By Mail During a Pandemic | Jack Holmes/Esquire

Just to recap a presidential abuse of power from 14 years—whoops, three months—ago, the president withheld vital aid to a United States ally, Ukraine, until the government of that country agreed to ratfuck the 2020 presidential election for his personal benefit. When he was impeached on the basis he’d misused the powers of his office in an attempt to extort a foreign country until it acted to undermine our democracy to help him get reelected, Pamela Karlan, a legal scholar from Stanford, testified in favor of his removal from office on those grounds. She also offered a future hypothetical. “Imagine living in a part of Louisiana or Texas that’s prone to devastating hurricanes and flooding. What would you think if you lived there and your governor asked for a meeting with the president to discuss getting disaster aid that Congress has provided. What would you think if that president said, ‘I would like you to do us a favor. I’ll meet with you, and I’ll send the disaster relief, once you brand my opponent a criminal.’ Wouldn’t you know in your gut that such a president had abused his office, that he had betrayed the national interest, and that he was trying to corrupt the electoral process?”

National: America Is Woefully Unprepared for a COVID-19 Election—And More Than a Million Votes Are at Stake | Ken Stern/Vanity Fair

On Monday advocates for minority voters and voters with disabilities filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to make sweeping changes in election practices in Wisconsin. After a shambolic primary, marked by clashes between the Democratic governor and the Republican-controlled legislature, last-minute court battles, and mail-ballot stumbles, the lawsuit argues that officials will need to make dramatic changes to rectify the failures of the April primary and comply with the requirements of the U.S. Constitution, the Voting Rights Act, and the Americans With Disabilities Act. (A spokesman for the Wisconsin Elections Commission declined ABC News’s request for comment.) Last month more than 1 million Wisconsin voters turned to mail voting, overwhelming state officials. Many towns couldn’t adequately staff polling places, as volunteers, many of them elderly, were hesitant to work. Only five voting locations were open in Milwaukee, with voters waiting up to two and a half hours to cast their votes. In a call with reporters last week, Senator Amy Klobuchar described images of voters wearing garbage bags as makeshift personal protective equipment, which she acidly contrasted with “the president of the United States [who] was able to vote in the luxury of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.” It could have been far worse. Wendy Weiser, an election expert at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, told me that Wisconsin is a “marker for all that can go wrong.” She noted that April 7 was only a lightly contested primary election, and that pitfalls would have been multiplied in a heavily trafficked general election. The specter haunting election officials across the country is a November repeat of Wisconsin 50 times over.

National: Coronavirus has made the 2020 election a perfect storm for voting rights lawsuits | Jon Ward/Yahoo News

The 2020 election is setting up a legal battle of historic proportions over voting rights, said the top Democratic attorney in the thick of the fight. “There’s been more voting rights litigation this election cycle already than there was in all of 2016, by a lot,” said Marc Elias, a D.C.-based lawyer with a long history in the political trenches. “There may be more voting rights litigation in 2020 already than there was in 2016 and 2012 combined. It is on an order of magnitude,” Elias said in an interview on “The Long Game,” a Yahoo News podcast. And the situation is being exacerbated by the coronavirus outbreak, which could require an unprecedented increase in mail-in voting this November. Elias, who was the top campaign lawyer for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, said he currently has 32 active lawsuits in 16 states, with about three-quarters of those suits having been filed since last November. Republicans are not sitting idly by either. The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee have budgeted $20 million for court fights over voting rights.

National: Democrats try again with sweeping mail voting requirements | Nicholas Riccardi/Associated Press

Despite an earlier failed attempt, Democrats tried again Friday to adopt a massive expansion of voting by mail during the coronavirus outbreak, including $3.6 billion in funding for states to adjust their election systems to deal with the pandemic. The money was included in a $3 trillion coronavirus response bill that was passed Friday by the Democratic-led House. But it has no chance of moving forward. The Republican-led Senate opposes the bill, and the White House has vowed to veto it. The most controversial aspect of the election funding section of the bill is another round of mandates that Democrats wish to place on states to ensure they have fair and safe elections at a time when crowded polling stations are a potential health risk. The bill would require states to end requirements that voters get a legal excuse to request an absentee ballot, mandate 15 days of early voting and order states to mail a ballot to every voter during emergencies. The Senate blocked similar requirements in a coronavirus relief bill in March.

National: The Cyberspace Solarium Commission Makes Its Case to Congress | William Ford/Lawfare

During a videoconference on May 13, the Cyberspace Solarium Commission made its case to Congress that the U.S. should adopt a strategy of layered cyber deterrence, a three-pronged plan to reduce the frequency of and the damage wrought by cyberattacks targeting America. The commission’s proposal follows 11 months of intense internal deliberation. During that time, the task force worked to answer the question Congress established it to address: What strategic approach should the federal government take to defending the United States in cyberspace? On March 11, the commission unveiled its vision in an exhaustive report detailing the concept of layered cyber deterrence. The commission’s members—two senators, two representatives, four executive branch officials and six private experts—packed the report with scores of policy recommendations, including 57 legislative proposals, which delineate exactly how to execute the novel cyber strategy. The report’s recommendations are designed to be turned into bills, ushered swiftly through Congress, and implemented. To that end, the commission transmitted its legislative proposals directly to the relevant House and Senate committees, some of which have begun the work of incorporating the commission’s ideas into legislation. But more than two months passed between the release of the commission’s report and the first time the task force got to discuss its proposals in public testimony before lawmakers.