The Voting News

Kansas: Johnson County Primary Voting Saga Continues As ACLU Sues County Election Commissioner | KCUR

The ACLU of Kansas is now suing Johnson County Election Commissioner Ronnie Metsker to gain access to lists of 900 voters who filed provisional ballots and about 150 voters whose advance ballots were not counted in the August primary.  It’s the latest in an ongoing saga over the controversial Johnson County primary, which involved a serious delay in vote counting and a technical glitch in the county’s new, $10.5 million voting machines. The lawsuit is filed on behalf of Davis Hammet, president of Loud Light, a nonprofit working to increase voter turnout. He’s suing after being denied access to the lists, but more than that, he said, he’s concerned there are bigger issues in the county.  Read More

Wisconsin: Adams County clerk resigns following investigation into unauthorized computer access | WKOW

A meeting to hear charges against Cindy Phillippi was scheduled for Wednesday morning. But the hearing was canceled after Phillippi, through her attorney, submitted a 5-page resignation agreement to the Adams County Board during a closed door session Tuesday night. The resignation is effective Wednesday. The agreement does not include an admission of liability. Phillippi will be on paid leave through the end of the year. Board Chair John West said she will continue to provide consultation during the transition period. Read More

Malaysia: Cabinet decides to lower voting age from 21 to 18 | The Straits Times

The Malaysian Cabinet has decided to lower the voting age from 21 to 18. The decision was made at its weekly meeting on Wednesday (Sept 19), and work on amending the Federal Constitution will begin soon, said Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman. “One of the things to be done is to work closely with the youth wings of opposition parties as a two-thirds majority is needed for laws to be amended,” he told reporters. “By the next general election, 18-year-olds can cast their votes, that is for certain,” he added. Read More

Maldives: Opposition party raises alarm over fair conduct of presidential poll | Times of India

The Maldives’ opposition party Wednesday raised concerns over conduct of the presidential elections on Sunday in a free and fair manner by the country’s poll body, which it alleged has deployed activists of the ruling dispensation for the poll duty. President Abdulla Yameen, of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), is seeking a second five-year term in the Indian Ocean archipelago, a popular high-end tourist destination. Yemeen had imposed a state of emergency in February after the Supreme Court quashed the conviction of nine opposition leaders, including the country’s first democratically elected president Mohamed Nasheed. Nasheed, the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) leader, is currently in exile in Sri Lanka. He has been barred from contesting the Sunday’s polls. Read More

New Zealand: Plans for online voting at local govt elections ‘dangerous’ | Radio New Zealand

An Australian IT expert says New Zealand would be crazy to adopt online voting for local government elections and would be opening itself up to widespread electoral fraud. Nine councils including Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton and Tauranga want to use it at next year’s elections, despite there being few examples overseas of where it is being used successfully or safely. Online voting was first used at government elections in Estonia in 2005. Its take up by the rest of the world since then has been limited at best, in large part due to vulnerabilities in its systems that allowed hackers to cast fake votes and rig elections. Australian IT expert Vanessa Teague alerted authorities to faults in the 2015 New South Wales state elections, where a quarter of a million voted online. There were plenty of hackers worldwide happy to take money from a vested interest looking to manipulate an election in their favour, she said. Read More

Russia: Election in Russia’s Far East to be re-run after fraud scandal | Reuters

A regional election in Russia’s Far East will be re-run, the local election commission said on Thursday, dealing a rare blow to the Kremlin after allegations the vote had been rigged in its candidate’s favor. The ruling, in Russia’s Primorsky Region which includes the Pacific port of Vladivostok, 6,400 km (4,000 miles) east of Moscow, came a day after Russia’s top election official recommended that the election be re-run. Ella Pamfilova, head of the Central Election Commission, had not accused the Kremlin-backed candidate, Andrei Tarasenko, of orchestrating the vote-rigging, but had said that a raft of irregularities had been identified, including ballot stuffing and vote buying.  Read More

Sweden: IT sector advises Swedish government on elections and voting system | Computer Weekly

Swedish IT sector is helping the government make election systems more secure and reduce external influence. The security measures assembled and implemented around the 2018 election in Sweden were devised in consultation with leading actors within Sweden’s private IT sector. The primary role of the IT suppliers was to advise government panels, which included the national security service (Säpo), the National Police Board (Rikspolisstyrelsen), the National Civil Contingencies Agency and the National Election Authority. Säpo was at the head of a government-commissioned election taskforce that organised an IT-based protective shield around the voting process and implemented measures to minimise hostile external inference. Read More

National: The Cyberthreats That Most Worry Election Officials | Wall Street Journal

As Election Day gets closer, one issue looms large for voters and election officials alike: cybersecurity. Hoping to quell fears about foreign hackers and repel potential threats, many states and counties are beefing up their plans to deal with cyberattacks. They’re shoring up systems to protect their voter databases and hiring security experts to assess the strength of their defenses. They’re coordinating with social-media organizations to stamp out deliberately fraudulent messages that could mislead voters about how to cast a ballot. And they’re banding together to share information and simulating how to respond to potential emergencies. One simulation-based exercise, held by the Department of Homeland Security in mid-August, gathered officials from 44 states, the District of Columbia and multiple federal agencies, the DHS says. “There absolutely is more emphasis on contingency planning” since 2016, says J. Alex Halderman, a professor of computer science at the University of Michigan.  Read More

National: Election Equipment Vendors Play a Key, and Underexamined, Role in U.S. Democracy | Take Care

Every vote in the United States — for city council, state representative, or president — is cast using materials and equipment manufactured by third party vendors. There are vendors large and small, but the American election equipment industry is dominated by three vendors: ES&S, Hart, and Dominion. These vendors manufacture the machines that approximately 92% of eligible voters use on election day — and they wield extraordinary power with significant implications for our democracy. Because of this, it’s critical that elected officials and advocates pay attention to the role vendors play in the security and transparency of American election systems. Perhaps most concerning are vendor efforts to keep secret the technology upon which American elections rely while at the same time feteing state and local election officials with expensive trips and meals. Vendors have actively and increasingly pushed back on efforts to study and analyze the equipment that forms the basic foundation of our democratic processes. Read More

National: Symantec takes on election hacking by fighting copycat websites | CNET

Symantec is offering a free tool for US campaigns and election officials to fight fraudulent websites, the company announced Tuesday. The feature could help take away an important weapon in the election hacking arsenal: the spoof website. Lookalike websites could imitate official government sites and report false information about candidates or voting. What’s more, they’ve already been used to imitate a login page to trick campaign workers to enter their valuable usernames and passwords.  That approach, called phishing, was key to letting hackers gain access to the emails and internal documents of important Democratic Party organizations and key figures in Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, according to an indictment of the Russian hackers alleged to have stolen and leaked emails from the groups. Read More