A panel led by former Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney campaign officials has released a slate of recommendations for future election operations to guard themselves against cyberattacks. The final report from Harvard’s Defending Digital Democracy project comes roughly a year after the 2016 November presidential election, ahead of which the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta were successfully targeted by cyberattacks. The U.S. intelligence community has tied the hacks to a broader campaign by Russia to interfere in the election. Robby Mook and Matt Rhoades, former campaign managers to Clinton and Romney, respectively, positioned the project as an effort to help future campaign operations be more secure against cyber threats, regardless of their party affiliation.
The Voting News
National: Judges question privacy watchdog’s right to sue Trump election commission | The Washington Post
Federal judges questioned Tuesday whether privacy advocates have the right to sue President Trump’s election-integrity commission to try to block its planned collection of millions of voter records. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit seemed skeptical of the specific harm to a privacy watchdog group trying to protect voter data the commission is seeking from 50 states and the District, including individual birth dates, political affiliations and partial Social Security numbers. Judge Stephen F. Williams asserted that the commission’s powers appeared limited to requesting — not demanding — the information from states and said its “potency seems very low.” Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg suggested the commission would have access only to publicly available voter data. “Isn’t this information already public?” he asked the attorney for the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC).
The Trump administration is leaning toward naming Thomas Brunell, a Texas professor with no government experience, to the top operational job at the U.S. Census Bureau, according to two people who have been briefed on the bureau’s plans. Brunell, a political science professor, has testified more than half a dozen times on behalf of Republican efforts to redraw congressional districts, and is the author of a 2008 book titled “Redistricting and Representation: Why Competitive Elections Are Bad for America.” The choice would mark the administration’s first major effort to shape the 2020 census, the nationwide count that determines which states lose and gain electoral votes and seats in the House of Representatives.
Editorials: With court cases looming, the fight over voting rights will only intensify | Carl P. Leubsdorf/Dallas Morning News
In the coming weeks, high federal courts will hear important cases challenging two ways Republicans have sought since Barack Obama’s election as president to restrict voting of Democratic-leaning groups. They come at a time when efforts initially focused on restrictive voter-identification laws in Texas and other GOP-controlled states have broadened to include purging voter rolls of people who hadn’t lately voted and limiting early voting in areas with large minority populations. In early December, a federal appeals court will hear the latest version of the long-pending Texas voter ID law. In January, the Supreme Court, which is already considering a Wisconsin case challenging political redistricting, will hear an Ohio case that could produce a crucial legal judgment on the ability of state officials to purge voter rolls.
Kansas: Kobach’s office reviewing security of Crosscheck database and possible cost of upgrades | Lawrence Journal World
The chief election officer in Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office said Tuesday that a multistate voter registration database that Kansas manages is being thoroughly reviewed for security concerns, but it is unknown whether Kansas will have to foot the bill to upgrade the system. “I legitimately do not know the answer to that yet,” Bryan Caskey said during a phone interview Tuesday. “We’re still evaluating all options, and one of the options is cost.” The Kansas secretary of state’s office manages a database known as the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, which contains voter registration information for millions of voters in more than 25 states. In some cases, those records include the last four digits of the voter’s Social Security number.
Ranked-choice voting supporters are embarking on a referendum do-over, seeking enough signatures for a vote to nullify a legislative delay and implement the system for the June primary elections. If their efforts are successful, the state would move forward with a dual-election system — ranked-choice voting for primaries and federal races but not for gubernatorial elections or legislative races — to avoid a conflict with the Maine Constitution. The Committee for Ranked Choice Voting said it’s already halfway to a goal of collecting 61,123 signatures from registered voters by Feb. 5 for a “People’s Veto” referendum. If enough votes are certified, then the legislative delay would be stayed.
Rhode Island: Providence County will be only site in nation for 2018 census test | Providence Journal
The U.S. Census Bureau will hire as many as 1,800 census takers and supervisors for a test-run in Rhode Island next year, in preparation for the next big U.S. Census in 2020. Providence County, R.I., will be the one-and-only testing ground in the nation — in 2018 — for the next big U.S. Census in 2020 that will determine, among other things, whether Rhode Island gets to keep its two seats in the House of Representatives. How Rhode Island got chosen as the sole location for this 2018 “end-to-end” census test is not fully clear.
More than 2,900 double votes were cast during municipal elections in York County due to a voting machine programming error. County officials said at first that the issue did not appear to affect the outcome of any races. But if vote tallies provided by the county are correct, the West York Borough Council contest might have been impacted. West York Councilwoman Shelley Metzler finished fifth of six candidates vying for four seats. But she might have placed fourth – and secured another term – if she had received enough of the 32 “over votes” cast in the council race, a closer review by WITF/Keystone Crossroads found.
Voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around, according to a voter education group. This seems to be the rally cry of the League of Women’s Voters of South Carolina, whose local members held an information meeting last Thursday at the Hartsville Memorial Library. The meeting went over the age-old problem of gerrymandering, where elected officials attempt to keep voting districts favorable to one side of party affiliation or the other. “Representative of both major political parties seek partisan advantage from gerrymandering,” said information from the meeting. “This is not a problem associated with one or another political party. Incumbent protection has also shaped South Carolina’s districts.”
Virginia: State again delays certification of elections, as Democrats file third lawsuit in disputed House race | The Washington Post
Democrats hoping to win control of Virginia’s House of Delegates filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday seeking to block the state Board of Elections from certifying a tight race that has been clouded by ballot mix-ups. The Virginia House Democratic Caucus filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Alexandria – the third complaint Democrats or their allies have filed over that key legislative race since the Nov. 7 election. All the lawsuits claim that voters had been disenfranchised for various reasons; the first two were dismissed. Late Tuesday, the elections board decided to postpone a Wednesday meeting to certify results in the 28th District and in the adjacent 88th District, said Edgardo Cortés, the state commissioner of elections.