National: Voting Machine Meltdowns Are Normal—That’s the Problem | WIRED

David Weiner counts himself lucky. Sure, he waited an hour to vote at the Brooklyn Public Library along with, he estimates, several hundred other New Yorkers Tuesday afternoon. But, hey, at least he arrived when the last ballot scanner officially broke. That meant he could just fill out his ballot and shove it in a box. The people in line in front of him, the ones who’d been waiting to use that last ballot scanner, said they’d been in line for twice as long. “The line snaked all the way around the lobby of the public library, which is extremely unusual,” says Weiner, a Brooklyn resident who runs a cannabis media company and has been voting at the same location for three years. “I took that as enthusiasm for voting, but I was sorely mistaken.” Instead, Weiner was just one of a still-unknown number of Americans who watched their country’s voting technology break down right in front of their eyes on Tuesday. Machine malfunctions caused hours-long lines and reports of voters giving up and going home at polling stations across the country. On an already tense Election Day, these technical issues exacerbated voters’ anxieties and concerns about voter suppression. And it’s true that in past election cycles, long lines have disproportionately impacted communities of color.

National: Voting Problems Surface as Americans Go to the Polls | The New York Times

From closed polling sites to malfunctioning machines, Election Day brought frustration for some voters in contests shadowed by questions about the security and fairness of the electoral system. In Gwinnett County, Ga., four precincts — out of 156 — suffered prolonged technical delays, while some voting machines in South Carolina lacked power or the devices needed to activate them. There was also some confusion in Allegheny County, Pa., which includes Pittsburgh, where at least four polling places were changed in the last two days. Voters who went to a polling place in Chandler, Ariz., a Phoenix suburb, found the doors locked and a legal notice announcing that the building had been closed overnight for failure to pay rent. (Officials later reopened the location.) In Houston, a worker was removed from a polling site and faced an assault charge amid a racially charged dispute with a voter, The Houston Chronicle reported.

National: Broken machines and user error are leading to hour-long lines at polling booths | Quartz

Texas resident Brianna Smith, who lives in Katy, a Houston suburb, turned up 15 minutes before the polls opened at 7 am to vote this morning (Nov. 6). She wasn’t able to do so for nearly two hours, because of problems with the machine that gives voters their tickets. The lines were “wrapped around the block,” she told Quartz, with some voters forced to leave to go to work or school. Across the country, ballot scanners on the blink and broken voting machines are contributing to massive lines. Experts say that these errors are normal, but the long waits might ultimately prevent some from casting their votes. The problems are being reported across the country, with many tips sent through to the ElectionLand project and verified by Quartz and other news outlets. In New York City, high voter turn-out combined with broken scanners caused mayhem throughout the city at dozens of polling places. At one station in Flatbush, Brooklyn, two of the four voting machines were broken, resulting in a backlog of well over 100 people. A mechanic was later dispatched to repair them, according to a Quartz reporter there.

National: The US midterms feature a major standoff between voting machines and the weather | Quartz

Americans voting in this year’s midterm elections face a range of obstacles, from long lines to concerns over voter suppression. Some US citizens are also dealing with more unexpected challenges around exercising their right to vote—for instance, the weather. Across Georgia, heavy rain is an added hurdle for voters, though it’s not altogether deterring them. And humidity—a far less visible weather issue—is having an even larger impact. North Carolina’s State Board of Election (SBOE) reports that some precincts in Wake County are having trouble feeding ballots through the voting machines. “Initial reports from county elections offices indicate this issue is caused by high humidity levels,” North Carolina’s SBOE said in a release. Why is a little extra water vapor in the air making such a big difference? Joseph Lorenzo Hall, chief technologist with the Washington, DC-based nonprofit Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) and an election technology and cybersecurity expert, explains that ballots are made of a thick stock paper, the specifics of which are determined by voting machine vendors. There are three main makers of voting machines in the US. Local election officials have to work with paper vendors to get paper supplies that will function correctly with the machines and have safety requirements such as watermarks.

National: The Unprecedented Effort to Secure Election Day | WIRED

After Russia’s misinformation campaign rattled the 2016 United States election season, scrutiny over this year’s midterms has been intense. And while foreign cybersecurity threats have so far been relatively muted, an unclassified government report obtained by The Boston Globe this week indicates more than 160 suspected election-related incidents since the beginning of August, ranging from suspicious login attempts to compromised municipal networks. Officials haven’t attributed most of it to an actor yet, but the situations include suspicious attempted logins on election systems like voter databases and municipal network compromises. Even in July, Microsoft said it had spotted four incidents of attempted campaign phishing. … The government won’t go it alone. Verified Voting, a group that promotes election system best practices, is part of the nonpartisan Election Protection coalition, which offers a hotline for voter information and issues. Verified Voting particularly specializes in fielding questions about technology issues related to voting. Some of those have already come up; in Texas and Georgia, outdated software and poor design features on paperless voting machines have caused a small but jarring number of incidents in which votes appear to be switched from a voter’s selection.

National: Vulnerable Voting Infrastructure and the Future of Election Security | Security Boulevard

It’s been two years since international interference sabotaged the United States’ election security, and still the vulnerability of our voting infrastructure remains a major problem. This past May, during Tennessee’s primary election, the Knox County election website fell prey to a DDoS attack. And just days ago, Texas voters experienced “ominous irregularities” from voting machines. In the lead up to the midterm elections, Radware surveyed Facebook users on the safety of U.S. elections, and the results paint a gloomy picture. The overwhelming majority (93.4 percent) of respondents believe that our election system is vulnerable to targeting and hacking—and they’re correct. What’s more, respondents were unable to suggest long-term tenable solutions when asked how the U.S. can improve its election safety (which is understandable, given the complexity of the issue). It is alarmingly quick and easy to hack into U.S. voting systems; just ask the 11-year-old boy who earlier this year demonstrated how he could hack into a replica of the Florida state election website and change voting results in under 10 minutes.

National: A dozen U.S. states see problems with voting machines: rights groups | Reuters

Voting rights activists successfully sued Georgia and Texas asking them to extend voting hours in some counties after problems with voting machines led to delays and long lines thanks to a big turnout in U.S. elections on Tuesday. A suit by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Arizona failed, the group said. But it won an extension in Fulton County, Georgia, one county in about a dozen U.S. states that experienced delays, largely in sites still using aging voting machines overwhelmed by the volume of voters, according to officials and rights groups. Other Georgia polling places extended hours without facing lawsuits. Two Texas civil rights groups won a lawsuit to secure longer voting hours in Harris County, Texas, after polling locations in the Houston area opened late due to equipment glitches and other issues. In Ohio, a court ordered the state to provide ballots to voters who were being held in pretrial detention in county jails, following a lawsuit filed the same day by two public interest groups.

National: Why America is using glitchy electronic voting machines | Mashable

It’s been 18 years and several thousand lifetimes since the contested Bush-Gore presidential elections of 2000. Yet “hanging chads” are still haunting us — but not in the way you might think. Since states began introducing electronic voting machines and other technology in the voting process, digitizing various aspects of voting has been a boon for democracy in many ways. Online voter registration has supercharged get-out-the-vote efforts. ID scanning at check-ins helps reduce lines. And, of course, ballots submitted digitally allow for near instantaneous returns. But on Tuesday, there were reports in states across the country that problems with electronic voting machines were causing massive delays. “There are about a dozen states in which problems have been reported, specifically with electronic voting systems,” said Marian Schneider, president of the elections integrity organization Verified Voting. “The problems we’re seeing are diffuse. They don’t seem to be systemic. But in the localities that they’re happening, they’re impactful.” … “Our election administration is woefully underfunded,” said Schneider. “When we have problems on election day, you can trace it right back to resources.”

National: How the Election Assistance Commission Came Not to Care So Much About Election Security | ProPublica

In a rush of preparation for this year’s midterm elections, scores of state and local governments have been working to safeguard their election systems from being hacked or otherwise compromised. At the same time, according to interviews with more than a dozen national, state and local election officials, the federal commission responsible for providing assistance to them has either been missing in action or working to thwart their efforts. The Election Assistance Commission has ceded its leadership role in providing security training, state and local officials say, forcing them to rely on the help of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which lacks the same level of experience in the issues confronting the country’s voting systems. One of the EAC’s commissioners has dismissed the threat of foreign governments undermining American elections in private meetings with state election officials, and often personally appealed to individual officials not to waste their time on the idea that election systems might be vulnerable to outside meddling.

National: New technologies could actually eliminate common voting controversies in the U.S. | Salon

As voting in 2018’s midterms ends on Tuesday, November 6, there will be contests with surprising results, races separated by the slimmest of margins, or even ties. How will voters know what to believe without falling prey to partisan angst and conspiracies? What if, as Dean Logan, Los Angeles County’s voting chief, retweeted this week, “the weakest link in election security is confidence”in the reported results? The factual answers lie in the voting system technology used and the transparency — or its lack — in the vote counting, count auditing and recount process. These steps all fall before outcomes are certified and the election is legally over. … In the past decade, two differing approaches to answering that question have emerged and evolved. The first to surface is what’s called a risk-limiting audit (RLA). Jerome Lovato, now an election technology specialist with the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, was present at the start of developing and implementing RLAs a decade ago when Colorado hired him to improve their audit process. Colorado had been sued for a lack of transparency surrounding its testing and certification after buying new machines in 2006. Back then, Colorado — like many states today — grabbed and examined hundreds of ballots after every election to see if they matched the announced winners.

National: Dozens of states tighten election security — by going back to paper | UPI

As key midterm elections approach, U.S. authorities are taking measures to make sure the balloting is secure and free of foreign influence. For years, a number of polling places have gone more high-tech with electronic voting machines. Fears about vulnerabilities in the systems, however, are turning eyes to a strikingly low-tech option — paper ballots. The United States largely moved away from paper ballots after the 2004 Help America Vote Act replaced lever and punch-card voting machines with Direct Recording Electronic, or DRE, systems. The reform was a direct result of the notoriously contested 2000 presidential election, which triggered weeks of recounts and multiple complaints about paper ballots in Florida. … The committee said many of the electronic voting systems are now outdated, and recommended all states go back to paper ballots — or, at least mandate that electronic machines produce a paper hard copy that can be audited.

National: Hackers are using malware to find vulnerabilities in U.S. swing states. Expect cyberattacks. | The Washington Post

The Pentagon has launched a preemptive strike against the Russian hackers who may have attacked the 2016 presidential election with social media influence campaigns. Numerous initiatives, including Harvard University’s Defending Digital Democracy Project, have educated officials on how to fortify elections against cyberattacks and encouraged social media companies to take down fake accounts. Despite these efforts, 67 percent of Americans consider that a foreign influence campaign, either by Russia or other governments, during the midterm elections is “very or somewhat” plausible. Their worry might have some basis. There’s another threat that few have worked to defend against: malware, or malicious software, designed to steal, deny or alter information. And our research strongly suggests that these attacks are underway in U.S. swing states, as we explain below.

National: Complaints Allege Cruz, Kemp Benefitting from Faulty Voting Machines That Change Dem Ballots to GOP | Law & Crime

Early voters submitting ballots for hotly contested races in Texas and Georgia claim that their states’ paperless voting machines are changing their votes for Democratic candidates to Republican, or deleting them altogether. According to Politico, individuals, as well as civil rights groups, have filed complaints alleging that glitches are resulting in votes for Republican Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) instead of his Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke. There have also been complaints that votes have gone to Georgia’s Republican candidate for governor, Brian Kemp, instead of his Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams. Voting technology experts have said that this is not the result of foul play, but outdated, faulty systems that don’t even leave a paper trail of what happened. Kemp, who is currently the Georgia Secretary of State, has resisted past calls for the state to change voting systems. His state has used the same system since 2002. Texas only uses electronic machines in some counties, but there have been reports of ballots that were intended to be “straight ticket” votes for one party were changed to the other party.

National: Voting Machine Manual Instructed Election Officials to Use Weak Passwords | Motherboard

States and counties have had two years since the 2016 presidential election to educate themselves about security best practices and to fix security vulnerabilities in their election systems and processes. But despite widespread concerns about election interference from state-sponsored hackers in Russia and elsewhere, apparently not everyone received the memo about security, or read it. An election security expert who has done risk-assessments in several states since 2016 recently found a reference manual that appears to have been created by one voting machine vendor for county election officials and that lists critical usernames and passwords for the vendor’s tabulation system. The passwords, including a system administrator and root password, are trivial and easy to crack, including one composed from the vendor’s name. And although the document indicates that customers will be prompted periodically by the system to change the passwords, the document instructs customers to re-use passwords in some cases—alternating between two of them—and in other cases to simply change a number appended to the end of some passwords to change them. Harri Hursti, founder of Nordic Innovation Labs and a longtime election security expert, told me he and his colleagues were conducting a risk-assessment in a county when they found the binder containing loose-leaf pages in an election office. The vendor, California-based Unisyn Voting Solutions, makes an optical-scan system called OpenElect Voting System for use in both precincts and central election offices.

National: How to Hack an Election | GQ

There is a voting machine in J. Alex Halderman’s office, not a particularly large one, just an oversize computer tablet set into a plastic frame balanced on tubular legs. But Halderman’s office isn’t especially large, either, so the machine takes up an inordinate, almost clumsy, amount of space. The machine is a Diebold AccuVote-TSX. In the jargon of election machinery, it is a DRE, which is short for direct recording electronic: Voters touch the screen to make their choices, which are then logged in the AccuVote’s memory. This is not exotic technology. DREs have been used in American elections for three decades, and the AccuVote and similar machines are being used in some 30 states this fall, when voters are determining, among other things, which party will control one or both houses of the United States Congress and whether there will be any reasonable checks on the current administration. Halderman got his AccuVote-TSX on eBay. It cost him $94.90 from a seller in North Canton, Ohio, who by last spring had sold at least 40 other used AccuVote-TSXs and had at least 10 more for sale (by the last week of October, he either had sold out or gone out of business, as his listing was gone). Because Halderman is a computer scientist at the University of Michigan, he programmed his AccuVote to tally a two-candidate election for “greatest university” between Michigan and, of course, Ohio State.

National: What to Do When Voting Machines Fail | Electronic Frontier Foundation

With Election Day just hours away, we are seeing reports across the country that electronic voting machines are already inaccurately recording votes and questions are being raised about potential foreign interference after 2016. While the responsibility to deal with these issues falls to state election officials, here is a quick guide for how to respond to some issues on Election Day, along with a handy resource from our friends at Verified Voting indicating what equipment is used in each polling place across the nation. 866-OUR-VOTE: If you experience voter machine glitches, see voters being turned away from the poll, or run into other issues, report them to the nonpartisan Election Protection network. This is the only way that we can spot patterns, put pressure on election officials to respond and, in the long run, make the case for paper ballots and risk limiting audits. Since the first electronic voting machines were introduced, security experts have warned that they pose a risk of interference or simple malfunction that cannot be easily detected or corrected. If someone hacks the machines, they hack the vote. If the machines fail, the vote is wrong. The fix is clear: all elections must include paper backups and a settled-on process for real risk limiting audits. If voting machines are down, you should ask for an emergency paper ballot. Do not simply accept that you cannot vote—broken machines should not result in disenfranchisement.

National: The cyber-hardened voting booth | The Fifth Domian

Protecting our elections from cyber meddling is a long-term effort; there is no silver-bullet answer. Yet the security of the 2018 midterm elections has practically made more headlines than the candidates have. A report from the the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in partnership with Raytheon, found that since the 2016 elections, 40 states have invested more than $75 million to improve election security. The center compiled the report from multiple sources and a survey it conducted with its network of cybersecurity experts. Robert “Bob” Kolasky, National Risk Management Center director at the Department of Homeland Security, expressed his confidence in the security of our election systems at an event ahead of the midterms elections. The event was hosted by CSIS on Oct. 30, in Washington, D.C.

National: U.S. Girds for Possible Russian Meddling on Election Day | Wall Street Journal

Two years ago, Rob Silvers arrived at a nondescript federal building in the Virginia suburbs of Washington on election day, afraid America was about to be hit by a catastrophic cyberattack. An alleged Russian operation to hack Democratic emails and peddle divisive disinformation was months in the making; election systems across the country had been probed by suspected Russian hackers; and one state—Illinois—had seen its voter registration database breached. “There was no playbook,” said Mr. Silvers, then a senior official at the Department of Homeland Security, now a partner at the law firm Paul Hastings. “We were writing the playbook as we were executing it.“ His worst fears never materialized, but Russia’s alleged actions convinced officials that cybersecurity would be a critical aspect of any future election. This year, voters will be casting ballots in what experts say will be the most secure U.S. election since the birth of the internet, thanks to steps taken since 2016. “States all across the country are more prepared,” said Wayne Williams, the Republican secretary of state of Colorado, who has been among the most active in adopting electoral cybersecurity measures.

National: Legal fights over voting rights tighten already-close races | The Hill

Legal battles over voting laws are poised to play a decisive role Tuesday in some states with tight races. Controversial statutes in Arizona and North Dakota have been challenged in federal court in recent months, with judges handing down rulings that are expected to keep thousands of voters from casting a ballot on Election Day. And while voting rights groups were able to get relief for Georgia voters in high-profile disputes over the state’s “exact match” registration verification process, the courtroom drama has catapulted a hotly contested gubernatorial race into the national spotlight. If elected, Stacey Abrams (D) would become the first black female governor in U.S. history. Edward Foley, director of the Election Law program at Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law, said voting procedures perceived to be hostile to minority voters have backfired in the past. “It can actually increase turnout among groups that are purportedly targeted,” he said.

National: File-Sharing Software on State Election Servers Could Expose Them to Intruders | ProPublica

As recently as Monday, computer servers that powered Kentucky’s online voter registration and Wisconsin’s reporting of election results ran software that could potentially expose information to hackers or enable access to sensitive files without a password. The insecure service run by Wisconsin could be reached from internet addresses based in Russia, which has become notorious for seeking to influence U.S. elections. Kentucky’s was accessible from other Eastern European countries. The service, known as FTP, provides public access to files — sometimes anonymously and without encryption. As a result, security experts say, it could act as a gateway for hackers to acquire key details of a server’s operating system and exploit its vulnerabilities. Some corporations and other institutions have dropped FTP in favor of more secure alternatives. Officials in both states said that voter-registration data has not been compromised and that their states’ infrastructure was protected against infiltration. Still, Wisconsin said it turned off its FTP service following ProPublica’s inquiries. Kentucky left its password-free service running and said ProPublica didn’t understand its approach to security.

National: Private Equity Controls the Gatekeepers of American Democracy | Bloomberg

Millions of Americans will cast votes in Tuesday’s midterm elections, some on machines that experts say use outdated software or are vulnerable to hacking. If there are glitches or some races are too close to call — or evidence emerges of more meddling attempts by Russia — voters may wake up on Wednesday and wonder: Can we trust the outcome? Meet, then, the gatekeepers of American democracy: Three obscure, private equity-backed companies control an estimated $300 million U.S. voting-machine industry. Though most of their revenue comes from taxpayers, and they play an indispensable role in determining the balance of power in America, the companies largely function in secret. Devices made by Election Systems & Software LLC, Dominion Voting Systems and Hart InterCivic Inc. will process about nine of every ten ballots next week. Each of the companies is privately held and at least partially controlled by private equity firms. Beyond that, little is known about how they operate or to whom they answer. They don’t disclose financial results and aren’t subject to federal regulation. While the companies say their technology is secure and up-to-date, security experts for years have raised concerns that older, sometimes poorly engineered, equipment can jeopardize the integrity of elections and, more importantly, erode public trust.

National: Hackers targeting election networks across country in lead up to midterms | The Boston Globe

Hackers have ramped up their efforts to meddle with the country’s election infrastructure in the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s midterms, sparking a raft of investigations into election interference, internal intelligence documents show. The hackers have targeted voter registration databases, election officials, and networks across the country, from counties in the Southwest to a city government in the Midwest, according to Department of Homeland Security election threat reports reviewed by the Globe. The agency says publicly all the recent attempts have been prevented or mitigated, but internal documents show hackers have had “limited success.” The recent incidents, ranging from injections of malicious computer code to a massive number of bogus requests for voter registration forms, have not been publicly disclosed until now. Federal agencies have logged more than 160 reports of suspected meddling in US elections since Aug. 1, documents show. The pace of suspicious activity has picked up in recent weeks — up to 10 incidents each day — and officials are on high alert.

National: Ready or not, states are about to find out if their election security investments worked | StateScoop

Last month, election officials in Vermont disclosed that the state had notified the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that it had detected a computer with an internet protocol address leading back to Russia snooping around its voter registration database in August. While the state said no data was altered , the incidentwas a reminder that the foreign cyberthreatis still out there, nearly two years after it dominated the conversation about the 2016 campaign. This election cycle, state and local officials who supervise elections have scrambled to add cybersecurity to portfolios that long consisted mostly of registering voters and tabulating ballots. The inflectionpoint came in September 2017, when DHS said that Russian hackers attempted to penetrate the voter registration systems in at least 21 states in 2016 and did so successfully in Illinois. With all that in mind, those state officials have becomeactive partners with the federal government, whileupgrading computer systems, replacing equipment and sharing threat information.On Tuesday, they and their voters will find out if their efforts were worthwhile.

National: Concerns about voter access dominate final stretch before Election Day | The Washington Post

n Saturday, voting rights advocates alerted lawyers for the Georgia secretary of state, as well as the FBI, of a potential vulnerability in the state’s election system that they said could allow hackers to obtain and alter private voter information. On Sunday, Republican Brian Kemp, who as secretary of state controls the state’s election process even as he runs for governor, responded by accusing Democrats of possessing software that could have extracted personal voter data, and his office opened an investigation into what it described as “a failed attempt to hack the state’s voter registration system.” Kemp’s campaign called Democrats “power-hungry radicals” who should be held to account for “their criminal behavior.” Democrats called the probe “an abuse of power.”

National: ‘They Don’t Really Want Us to Vote’: How Republicans Made It Harder | The New York Times

Damon Johnson is a 19-year-old sophomore studying chemical engineering at historically black Prairie View A&M University. He’s learning a lot about voting, too. Mr. Johnson is one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed last month by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund alleging that rural Waller County has tried to disenfranchise students at the university over decades, most recently by curtailing early voting on campus. The polling station at the university’s student center was restricted to three days of early voting, compared with two weeks in some other parts of the county — and two weeks at majority-white Texas A&M in a nearby county. “I don’t want this to be the reason, but it looks like we’re PVAMU in a predominantly white area and they don’t really want us to vote,” Mr. Johnson said recently.

National: Watch out for vote suppression, other tricks on Election Day | McClatchy

Don’t be surprised by mischief on Election Day. That’s the advice experts give about last-minute text messages, robocalls or emails purporting to instruct people (falsely) on where or when to vote. Bogus text messages have already popped up in Florida, one of many states afflicted by attempts to skew the vote in the run-up to Tuesday’s midterm elections. Early voting has been fraught with problems, including an investigation into alleged hacking of Georgia voter registration systems on Sunday and court battles in the state over who should be allowed on voter rolls, and snafus with antiquated voting machines in Texas. In Kansas, a federal judge upheld Dodge City’s decision to move the only polling place to what one resident called “the middle of nowhere” outside of town. There are tougher ID rules for voters in North Carolina and Kansas, passed by Republican office-holders who want to keep their majorities.. In North Dakota, where officials require a residential address in order to vote, thousands of Native Americans faced a scramble to obtain new state-issued or tribal IDs with street addresses, rather than P.O. boxes, even though their homes often lack numbers and their streets lack names.

National: Homeland Security’s biggest election concern is what comes after you vote | CNET

The biggest concern for election security isn’t about Election Day — it’s about the day after, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said. “My biggest concern is that a foreign entity will take the opportunity after the election, or the night of the election, to attempt to sow discord through social media by suggesting that something’s not working as it should in a particular area,” Nielsen said Friday morning at a Council on Foreign Relations event in New York. The conversation with Nielsen about comes just four days before Election Day and amid major DHS efforts to protect the US elections from foreign interference. That includes assisting election officials in all 50 states, creating its own center toprotect critical infrastructure, and attending Defcon to learn about voting machine flaws. While DHS is working to protect the machines and make sure voting officials are prepared, it’s that wave of disinformation on social media that’ll follow the election that Nielsen’s most worried about.

National: Could Hackers Give Us Another Bush v. Gore? | Washingtonian

The scenario would go like this. On Tuesday, November 6, Americans tune to television sets and radio broadcasts, unlock their phones and keep an eye on their desktop screens, all waiting for the same thing: A definitive account of who has won what in the midterm elections. Throughout the night, election numbers shoot across their screens—live, preliminary return data pumped in from congressional and Senate races across the country, and key gubernatorial races, too. Then, around 10 PM EST, CNN anchors announce the network’s call: The Democrats have taken control of the House, winning 31 of the necessary 24 seats to successfully wrest control from Republicans. On camera, Van Jones and Anderson Cooper waste no time as they begin discussing the implications of the victory and how the midterm results have placed the Trump presidency in a new chapter of turmoil. But there’s a problem. Fox News analysts have just announced the opposite result: In an extraordinary turn of events, Republicans have managed to hang on to their majority by a single seat, retaining control of the House. It’s a major political upset, says Bret Baier, and a replay of Trump’s surprise victory in 2016. And yet for clients of the newswire Reuters, the results are simply opaque—with political analysts there reporting that control of the House, and several nail-biter gubernatorial and Senate races, still remain too close to call.

National: Has US voter suppression become systematic? | Deutsche Welle

Audrey Calkins, a 33-year-old lawyer, had already voted in two elections in her county in the US state of Tennessee when she showed up to vote in the Republican presidential primary on March 1, 2016. That morning, she showed up at the polls bright and early, presented her ID and her voter registration card to the election official, who looked her up in the system. “They told me I wasn’t on the list,” Calkins said. “I said, ‘Check that you’re spelling my name right.'” The official turned his computer screen around so that Calkins could see he was spelling her name correctly, and indeed, she was not on the list. “They said I wasn’t a registered voter,” Calkins said. “I was blown away, because obviously I had just voted a couple of months before in both October and November.” Calkins was turned away from voting.

National: Voting machine errors already roil Texas and Georgia races | Politico

Glitchy paperless voting machines are affecting an untold number of early voting ballots in Texas and Georgia, raising the specter that two of the most closely watched races could be marred by questions about whether the vote count is accurate. Civil rights groups and voters in both states have filed complaints alleging that the ATM-style touchscreen machines inexplicably deleted some people’s votes for Democratic candidates or switched them to Republican votes. The errors — which experts have blamed on outdated software and old machines — would appear to work to the advantage of Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz over Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke, and that of Georgia GOP gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp over Democrat Stacey Abrams. It’s unclear how many times the errors have happened or whether they could be enough to change the outcome of either race, both of which appear to be tight. But the latest episodes come after at least a decade and a half of warnings from election security groups about the dangers of relying on voting machines that don’t produce a paper trail — saying they’re insecure and produce results that are impossible to audit.