A federal judge has struck down a Kansas voter citizenship law that Secretary of State Kris Kobach had personally defended. Judge Julie Robinson also ordered Kobach, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor, to take more hours of continuing legal education after he was found in contempt and was frequently chided during the trial over missteps. In an 118-page ruling Monday, Robinson ordered a halt to the state’s requirement that people provide proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. The decision holds the potential to make registration easier as the August and November elections approach. Robinson’s ruling amounted to a takedown of the law that Kobach had championed and lawmakers approved several years ago. She found that it “disproportionately impacts duly qualified registration applicants, while only nominally preventing noncitizen voter registration.”
The Voting News
As the midterm congressional primaries heat up amid fears of Russian hacking, roughly 1 in 5 Americans will cast ballots on machines that do not produce a paper record of their votes. That worries voting and cybersecurity experts, who say lack of a hard copy makes it difficult to double-check results for signs of manipulation. “In the current system, after the election, if people worry it has been hacked, the best officials can do is say, ‘Trust us,’” said Alex Halderman, a voting machine expert who is director of the University of Michigan’s Center for Computer Security and Society.
As key midterm elections approach, contests that could set off an enormous shift in Washington, D.C., U.S. authorities are taking measures to make sure they are 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 in an increasingly interconnected world, however, is now turning eyes to a strikingly original idea — 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 the paper ballots in Florida.
National: Politicians wary that hackers could swipe emails, upend their campaigns | The Sacramento Bee
A new reality has set in to political campaigns: Candidates must expect that their private email accounts will be hacked, and the contents splashed onto the internet, possibly squandering their chances of victory or exposing personal secrets. Email hacking is now an entrenched tactic for practitioners of political sabotage. “I think it’s here to stay. I don’t see it changing,” said Richard Ford, chief scientist at Forcepoint, an Austin, Texas, cybersecurity company. Whether politicians are swapping tales of town halls, dishing on their opponents or sharing intimacies with spouses — or others — they now know that a private conversation can explode on to the internet.
Editorials: If more states start using Ohio’s system, how many voters will be purged? | The Washington Post
On Monday, the Supreme Court upheld Ohio’s controversial voter purge program in the case Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute. Ohio removes occasional voters from the rolls if they: fail to vote in a general election; do not respond to a postcard asking them to confirm their address; then fail to vote in two more general elections. In a 5-to-4 decision, the court ruled that the purge does not violate the 1993 National Voter Registration Act. Given the Supreme Court’s ruling, other states may adopt Ohio’s Supplemental Process as an aggressive way of removing inactive voters from the rolls. If Ohio’s Supplemental Process were adopted nationwide, how many other infrequent voters could be removed from the voter registration rolls? We try to answer that question.
Alabama thrust itself into an intense partisan confrontation last month when it filed a lawsuit opposing the counting of undocumented immigrants for congressional reapportionment purposes in the 2020 U.S. Census. Critics believe Alabama, much like the federal government through its decision to back a citizenship question on the 2020 forms, is aiming to “weaponize” the program for political gain. But backers of the lawsuit filed by Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall and U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, argue that the state is testing legal waters in an attempt to salvage one of the state’s seven congressional seats and one of its nine electoral votes.
Gov. Rick Scott’s administration fired back in federal court Friday, seeking to undercut a League of Women Voters lawsuit over early voting on college campuses. The League last month sued Scott’s chief elections official, Secretary of State Ken Detzner, whose office in 2014 interpreted state law to exclude state university buildings from a list of sites available for early voting. Florida allows early voting at elections offices, city halls, libraries, fairgrounds, civic centers, courthouses, county commission buildings, stadiums, convention centers, government-owned senior centers and government-owned community centers. But buildings on state college and university campuses? No. Democrats tried to include them as early voting sites, but Republicans blocked the proposal.
Maine: Elections chief compares ranked-choice vote count to ‘trying to get through a burning barn in a gasoline suit’ | Bangor Daily News
State election workers forged new ground Friday when the process of counting ranked-choice voting kicked off with political observers hovering to ensure they do it right. In Augusta, workers loaded information from memory sticks to computers while others fed paper ballots through a tabulator capable of counting 300 ballots a minute. That process will continue until early next week, when all the ballot information is finally loaded into the system. Then, a keystroke or two on a single laptop computer will compute the first-round totals in a matter of moments.
Nevada’s elections officials say they will consider this summer whether the state will start taking a more aggressive, approach to maintaining its voter rolls as upheld this week by the U.S. Supreme Court. The court in a 5-4 ruling Monday affirmed Ohio’s practice of identifying voters for potential removal if they don’t vote in a federal election. That state removes voters from the rolls if they don’t return an address confirmation card or vote for the following four years.
The last time Republicans in the North Carolina Legislature enacted a law making it harder for some of the state’s residents to vote, a federal court said the statute targeted African-American voters “with almost surgical precision,” and threw it out. That was last year. Now the legislators are back with a new set of election proposals, and an unconventional plan to make them stick. Shortly before midnight on Wednesday, Republican senators unveiled legislation that would eliminate the final Saturday of early voting in state elections, a day that typically draws a large share of black voters to the polls. That followed a Republican proposal last week to place a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would require all voters to display a photo ID before casting votes.