Uncategorized: After April’s election difficulties, would a vote-at-home system make more sense for Wisconsin? | Patricia McKnight/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Wisconsin’s April primary was problematic by any standard. Voters in some locations stood in line for hours in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, thousands of absentee ballots either weren’t sent out or ended up lost in the mail and others were returned too late to be counted. As a battleground state sure to draw national attention for its August primary and again during the presidential election in November, could a more robust vote-at-home system help more voters safely cast their ballots?  “I’m for whatever makes voting easy or convenient for the most amount of people,” said Milwaukee voter Jaime Wendt. “I think having vote-from-home is a good idea. It would be best if we had something like that with the option to vote in-person either on election day or vote early.” Implementing such a system so quickly would be difficult even if the state’s political leadership was willing to work together to make it happen. And there is ample evidence that Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and the state’s GOP leadership — Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald — have a hard time doing much of anything together.

Editorials: Voting By Mail in November—It’s Not a Matter of if, But How | Jason Abel, Evan Glassman and Daniel Podair/Bloomberg

Five states—Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah, and Washington—automatically send voting ballots to all registered voters, while another 29 states and Washington, D.C., provide no excuse mail-in ballots at a voter’s request. Steptoe & Johnson LLP attorneys suggest ways to ensure election integrity with mail-in voting and say that for most states, ensuring voter access to ballot boxes just means adjusting current rules, and not starting from square one. Following the recent election in Wisconsin, which led to a number of voters contracting Covid-19, there’s been an increasingly heated debate concerning how to provide safe ballot access in November. Various vote-by-mail proposals are being offered at both the state and federal levels. However, the debate over whether to vote-by-mail misses the larger picture. Most states already provide voters with access to a “no excuse required” vote-by-mail option.

Editorials: Whether our elections were hacked or not, New Jersey needs new voting machines, politician says | Brendan W. Gill/nj.com

As the election year of 2020 approaches, it is clear that technology has changed the world we live in. The overwhelming majority of the changes have been beneficial, but we must always remember that as time and technology progress, we must adapt accordingly. In the days, months, and years following our most recent presidential election, all of us have been bombarded with allegations and news coverage about the possibility that our elections were manipulated. I am compelled to express, emphatically, that protecting the accuracy and veracity of our election results is the most important issue that we need to address to protect our democracy. To that end, I wholeheartedly support Essex County purchasing voting machines that will employ the use of optical scanners and hand-written ballots. My decision to support the purchase and implementation of these voting machines is not driven by the results of the previous presidential election, or any election. There have been many occasions in which an entire segment of a given electorate has been disappointed with the outcome at the polls. However, we can all agree that the integrity of our voting process must be protected.

Uncategorized: Top Democrats press voting vendors over election security concerns | The Hill

Democratic senators sent a letter to three of the country’s top election system vendors on Tuesday, pressing them on what they will do to help secure the 2020 election from foreign attacks. The letter, sent to the heads of voting vendors Election Systems & Software LLC, Hart InterCivic Inc. and Dominion Voting Systems, requested that the companies inform Democratic leaders of efforts to improve their systems to guard against cyber vulnerabilities. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), the ranking member of the Senate Rules Committee, was joined on the letter by Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.), Senate Homeland Security Committee ranking member Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member Jack Reed (D-R.I.). “Despite the progress that has been made, election security experts and federal and state government officials continue to warn that more must be done to fortify our election systems,” the senators wrote. “Of particular concern is the fact that many of the machines that Americans use to vote have not been meaningfully updated in nearly two decades.”

National: U.S. vote authorities warned to be alert to Russian hacks faking fraud – officials | Reuters

U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials are warning that hackers with ties to Russia’s intelligence services could try to undermine the credibility of the presidential election by posting documents online purporting to show evidence of voter fraud. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said however, that the U.S. election system is so large, diffuse and antiquated that hackers would not be able to change the outcome of the Nov. 8 election. But hackers could post documents, some of which might be falsified, that are designed to create public perceptions of widespread voter fraud, the officials said. They said that they did not have specific evidence of such a plan, but state and local election authorities had been warned to be vigilant for hacking attempts. On Oct. 7, the U.S. government formally accused Russia for the first time of a campaign of cyber attacks against Democratic Party organizations to interfere with the election process. U.S. officials familiar with hacking directed against American voting systems said evidence indicates that suspected Russian government-backed hackers have so far tried to attack voter registration databases operated by more than 20 states. Tracing the attacks can be difficult but breaches of only two such databases have been confirmed, they said.

Canada: Faltering Parti Québécois fears voters from outside province are trying to steal election | The Globe and Mail

The Parti Québécois is trying to bolster a faltering campaign with a new wedge issue on Quebec identity, accusing Ontarians and other Canadians from outside Quebec of trying to steal the provincial election. PQ Leader Pauline Marois went to a sugar shack and left the main campaign spotlight to three of her candidates Sunday. They held a news conference at PQ headquarters to demand an investigation over an influx of voters – frequently young anglophone university students – who are trying to register for the April 7 vote. “Will the Quebec election be stolen by people from Ontario and the rest of Canada?” said Bertrand St-Arnaud, the Justice Minister and PQ candidate in Chambly. “The coming week is crucial for democracy.”

Minnesota: First election-change bill would offer ‘no-excuse’ absentee voting | MinnPost

The raft of DFL-backed elections changes expected this session started trickling in Thursday as Rep. Steve Simon moved forward with a bill that would allow voters to cast an absentee ballot for any reason. Current state law requires people who vote by absentee to have an excuse for why they can’t show up at their polling place in person on Election Day. Simon’s bill would remove that provision and also permit voters to apply for ongoing or permanent absentee status, which would require the state to mail them an absentee ballot before each election. The measure marks a move toward some form of expanded early-voting procedures, which are currently employed by 32 states. Simon said Minnesota’s law is difficult to enforce right now.

Ohio: Complicated process for counting provisional ballots could decide the presidency | cleveland.com

After 7:30 p.m. today, it’s no longer about which candidate you voted for. It’s about which votes get counted. If today’s presidential election in Ohio is too close to call, the state’s complicated process for counting provisional ballots will likely face national scrutiny. The process will play out slowly and painstakingly over the next couple weeks, and in the end, Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted ultimately could be the person who decides which provisional ballots must be counted and which will be tossed. “That will get dicey,” said Edward Foley, director of Election Law @ Moritz, a program at the Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law. “That just shows a structural weakness in our system.”

Pennsylvania: Confusion at Pennsylvania polls with Voter ID | Philadelphia Inquirer

With a heavy turnout across the Philadelphia region, election officials were scrambling to instruct voters on the state’s most recent rules on photo identification but were giving out bad information. The Committee of Seventy election watchdog agency said one of the biggest problems in the city and suburban Philadelphia counties was poll workers telling voters that they needed to have voter ID before they could cast ballots. “There’s a lot of honest misunderstanding, and maybe some not so honest,” said Zack Stalberg, the committee’s CEO. “There’s a good deal of confusion.”

New Jersey: Displaced New Jersey Voters Allowed to Vote by Email | NBC New York

New Jersey election officials say they will allow registered voters to vote electronically and will also accept ballots paper through Monday, November 19th, as long as they are postmarked by election day, November 5. The directive is intended to help first responders whose recovery efforts may keep them away from home and their local polling place on election day, as well as those displaced by the storm. “To help alleviate pressure on polling places, we encourage voters to either use electronic voting or the extended hours at county offices to cast their vote,” said Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno.

Uncategorized: Ohio asks Supreme Court to overturn early-voting ruling | The Washington Post

Ohio asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday to overturn a federal appeals court’s ruling that the state must allow all voters to cast ballots on the weekend before the election, not just those in the military. A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit sided with state Democrats and President Obama’s reelection campaign last week and said the state had not shown why in-person voting during the Saturday-Monday period should be offered to only one group of voters. Ohio Secretary of State Jon A. Husted (R) called that an “unprecedented intrusion” by federal courts. “We are asking the Supreme Court to step in and allow Ohioans to run Ohio elections,” he said in a statement.

Uncategorized: Florida elections supervisors wonder how to deal with GOP voter registrations | Tampa Bay Times

With less than a week before the deadline to register to vote in the November election, Republican state leaders who had made voter fraud a top issue are offering little insight into how they are handling the increasing numbers of suspicious registration forms being found throughout Florida. Last week, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement began a review of Strategic Allied Consulting after the company turned in more than 100 botched voter registration forms in Palm Beach County on behalf of the Republican Party of Florida. Subsequently, 10 other counties — Bay, Charlotte, Duval, Escambia, Lee, Okaloosa, Pasco, Miami-Dade, Santa Rosa and Walton — have reported similar issues with registration forms linked to that firm. On Monday, a top elections official announced that the FDLE was investigating a second group, the National Council of La Raza, the largest Hispanic civil rights organization in the United States, for turning in three questionable registration forms in Miami-Dade County. The two cases, so far at least, are hardly equal in magnitude.