The Voting News

Editorials: What happened in North Carolina wasn’t voter fraud. Voters were the victims. | Harry Enten/CNN

President Donald Trump and others have long claimed, without evidence, that there is widespread “voter fraud” in America. Some have pointed to the mounting evidence of fraud in North Carolina as proof that voter fraud is a real problem. Yet, I would argue that the situation in North Carolina proves nothing of the sort. There, a political operative who was working for a consulting firm hired by the Republican candidate is accused of directing an illegal scheme involving absentee ballots. What occurred in the Tarheel State wasn’t voter fraud. It was election fraud. And unlike allegations made by the President about voter fraud, there’s actual evidence that election fraud may have occurred in North Carolina. Read More

Wisconsin: New limits on early voting resemble ones judge threw out | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Gov. Scott Walker and other Republicans are claiming lame-duck legislation would make early voting uniform across the state — a contention that was rejected by a federal judge two years ago. That same judge is expected to weigh in on the matter again if Walker signs the early voting restrictions in the coming weeks. Republican lawmakers included the early-voting limits in lame-duck legislation they sent to Walker last week that would also curb the powers of Walker’s Democratic successor, Tony Evers, and incoming Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul. Wisconsin had a record round of early voting for a midterm election last month, helping Democrats win every statewide office. The legislation would limit early voting to a maximum of two weeks. Read More

Bangladesh: Two killed in pre-election clashes | Al Jazeera

Two people have been killed in pre-election violence in Bangladesh, according to police, as clashes between armed rivals left dozens injured. More than 100 people have been hurt in violence on the campaign trail since Monday, when candidates from the two major parties began campaigning ahead of the December 30 poll. Police on Wednesday said two supporters from the Awami League, the ruling party headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, died from injuries sustained in brawls with opposition rivals late on Tuesday. Mobs armed with knives and batons faced off at a rally in Noakhali, a southern district, where a pro-government demonstrator was seriously injured. Read More

Congo: Tensions rise as arsonists burn 7,000 voting machines ahead of Congo election | The Guardian

A fire has destroyed much of an election commission warehouse in Kinshasa as tensions rise in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with just 10 days to go before historic presidential elections which could see the country’s first-ever democratic transition of power or bring further instability and violence. The fire damaged thousands of controversial new voting machines and has stoked fears the poll will be undermined by logistic challenges and fraud. Barnabé Kikaya bin Karubi, a presidential adviser, blamed unidentified “criminals“ for the blaze, which destroyed about 7,000 of the 10,000 voting machines due to be used in the capital, Kinshasa, but said preparations for the 23 December election were continuing. Kikaya said police guarding the warehouse – located in the upscale and usually secure Gombe riverside area of Kinshasa – had been arrested but made no further comment on what or who might have caused the blaze. Opposition supporters claimed the fire was the result of arson and accused Joseph Kabila, in power since 2001, of seeking an excuse to postpone the poll. Read More

Ireland: Opposition rules out election due to Brexit turmoil | Financial Times

Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s prime minister, has received a timely boost after the opposition party that keeps his minority government in power pledged not to force an election because of the turmoil over Brexit. The move by Fianna Fáil will bolster Mr Varadkar in talks over a “backstop” on the Irish border, one of the most contentious elements of the EU withdrawal agreement that UK prime minister Theresa May is fighting to get through the British parliament. It underscores the depth of anxiety in Dublin about the threat of damage to the country’s economy and Northern Ireland’s peace settlement from a disorderly no-deal Brexit. Mrs May was forced to cancel emergency talks with Mr Varadkar planned for Wednesday as she battled a confidence motion from her own Conservative party. Read More

New Zealand: Online voting ‘no silver bullet’ for low turnout, study finds | Stuff.co.nz

Electronic voting is widely regarded as insecure and might not do much to help improve voter turnout, a new study suggests. The study published by Auckland University of Technology said online voting was “superficially attractive” but international evidence suggested it was not a silver bullet for reversing declining voter turnout. A trial of electronic voting planned for next year’s local council elections was scrapped by Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) on Wednesday. But it is “never say die” for the trial’s backers who hope to have another crack in 2022 despite strong criticism of the idea from many  technology experts. LGNZ shelved its trial planned for nine council elections on cost grounds, rather than because of security concerns. It said it had found an unnamed vendor that satisfied all of its security and delivery requirements, but could not justify the $4.2 million cost of the trial. … The Auckland University of Technology study twists the knife, however. Read More

Togo: Concern mounts over elections after violence | Daily Times

International observers on Thursday raised concerns about violence in Togo before elections later this month, which the government has said will go ahead despite the unrest and an opposition boycott. The tiny west African country has seen a wave of opposition protests since last year calling for a limit to the number of presidential terms and a two-round voting system. Protestors have also called for the resignation of President Faure Gnassingbe, who has been in power since 2005 after taking over from his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema. On Thursday, the UN, European Union and the embassies of the United States, France and Germany said they were following the situation in Togo “with concern”. In a joint statement they said they “regret the deaths and violence” and “await the results of the investigations announced by the government” following the last protests. Read More

New Zealand: Supreme Court says ban on prisoner voting was lawful | NZ Herald

The Supreme Court says a blanket ban on prisoners voting was lawful. The court has today dismissed an appeal brought by jailhouse lawyer Arthur William Taylor asking them to declare a decision to ban all prisoners from voting was invalid. Taylor and the other appellants, represented by lawyer Richard Francois, have battled through the High Court, Court of Appeal and now the Supreme Court for a declaration that Parliament was wrong to impose a blanket ban on prisoners voting. But while the High Court agreed the ban was inconsistent with the Bill of Rights Act, it did not declare the ban invalid. That decision has now been backed by New Zealand’s highest court. Taylor argued the ban, brought about in the Amendment Act 2010, was invalid because a supermajority of 75 per cent of all the members of the House of Representatives was required to pass the amendment, which did not happen. Read More

North Carolina: Fraud Scandal Casts Shadow Over the Primary, Too | The New York Times

Democrats have been quick to argue that their losing candidate for Congress in North Carolina’s Ninth District may have been a victim of election fraud. But there might be a Republican victim as well. He is outgoing Representative Robert M. Pittenger, whose narrow loss to Mark Harris in the Republican primary in May is just about as studded with red flags suggesting absentee ballot fraud as the general election now under scrutiny. As with the November general election, most of the concerns about the primary center on Mr. Harris’s extraordinary success with absentee voters in Bladen County, a rural swath of southeastern North Carolina where L. McCrae Dowless Jr., a shadowy contractor with a history of suspect voter turnout efforts, worked for Mr. Harris’s campaign. In that primary against Mr. Pittenger, Mr. Harris won 437 of the 456 ballots cast through the mail in Bladen County; his overall margin of victory was only 828 votes. By contrast, in an earlier run against Mr. Pittinger in 2016, Mr. Harris won only four of 226 such ballots in the county. Mr. Dowless did not work for Mr. Harris in that campaign. Read More

National: Despite Inactivity During Midterm Elections, Hackers Are Likely To Ramp Up Attacks In 2020 | Wall Street Journal

Hackers were less active than security experts had anticipated during last month’s midterm elections, but the federal government should still continue its assistance to state and local election security, according to Judd Choate, director of the division of elections at Colorado’s department of state. “Many states need money, they need assistance,” Mr. Choate told security experts Tuesday at the WSJ Pro Cybersecurity Executive Forum in New York. Russian hackers’ dialed back their activity this year after attempting to interfere in the 2016 election and leaking stolen emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign, he said. Despite the lack of high-profile cyber threats around this year’s midterm elections, there are signs that hackers will use more sophisticated tactics to interfere in 2020, officials said. Robby Mook, campaign manager for Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 campaign, predicted that attackers will deploy so-called deep fake videos to sow confusion around the next presidential election, using artificial intelligence to create doctored videos and images that appear realistic. Read More