The Voting News

West Virginia: Secretary of State’s Office sends notices to outdated voter registrations | The Independent Herald

In an effort to keep the state’s voter registration rolls as up to date as possible, the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office on Aug. 9 mailed about 130,000 postcards to registered voters whose addresses have been flagged as outdated. By updating voter registrations, West Virginia Elections Director Donald Kersey said the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office is not only complying with the duties outlined in the National Voter Registration Act but is also ensuring the integrity of any election. … Kersey said the roughly 130,000 registered voters represent about 11 percent of the total population of registered voters. He added that by updating the state’s voter registration rolls, the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office is able to get an accurate picture of voter turnout. Read More

Germany: Russian-Germans in focus amid fears of Moscow propaganda | Reuters

German political parties campaigning for elections next month are competing to attract 2 million voters with roots in the former Soviet Union, amid concerns that Russian propaganda could sway votes in the community. The biggest push for votes has come from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which has six Russian-German candidates on its party slate, and whose leaders have had two meetings with the community in recent weeks. Including candidates for the Social Democrats, conservatives and other parties, a record number of Russian-German candidates are standing in the election on Sept. 24, after years of having just one representative there – Heinrich Zertik, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU). Zertik is one of about 3 million Germans with roots in Russia and the former Soviet Union, whose ancestors moved there hundreds of years ago, but who faced persecution, torture and exile after two world wars. Read More

Kenya: Opposition Leader Says He’ll Expose Election Fraud | The New York Times

The leader of Kenya’s opposition party said Wednesday he would challenge the results of last week’s presidential election in the Supreme Court, not in the hopes of overturning the outcome but as a way to expose evidence of widespread vote-rigging. “Whether the court rules in our favor or rules against us, we don’t really care,” the opposition leader, Raila Odinga, said in an interview after making the announcement in front of supporters and media. “We want this evidence to come out so that people can know how they did it and who did, so they know that it was stolen.” At the same time, he called on Kenyans to seek justice by practicing civil disobedience if the Supreme Court fails to give a fair ruling. “This is about the people of Kenya so that the Kenyans are justified to use civil disobedience means to seek justice if they don’t get it in a court of law,” Mr. Odinga said. “So we will use all constitutional means.” Read More

Nepal: EU, United Nations contribute additional 1.6 million euros for elections | Republica

The European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) have announced to provide an additional 1.6 million euros grant as part of their electoral assistance to Nepal to reinforce their cooperation with the Election Commission of Nepal. The grant will be used to provide needful electoral assistance to the EC through the UNDP-managed Electoral Support Project (ESP), according to a press statement issued jointly by UNDP  and EU Office in Kathmandu on Wednesday.  Read More

New Zealand: ‘Jailhouse lawyer’ Arthur Taylor loses appeal to allow prisoners to vote | New Zealand Herald

One of New Zealand’s longest-serving prisoners has lost an appeal to allow inmates to vote behind bars. Arthur William Taylor, who has spent about 40 years of his life in prison, and prisoners Hinemanu Ngaronoa and Sandra Wilde – brought their cases to the Court of Appeal, arguing it was discriminatory to ban prisoners from voting. The case was originally taken in 2013 by Taylor – a self-described “jailhouse lawyer”. He also sought and won a “declaration of inconsistency” in the High Court, saying a broad-sweeping ban on prisoners’ voting was an unjustified limitation on the right to vote. That decision was upheld on appeal this year, but does not mean Parliament must repeal the ban. Read More

National: In Ukraine, a Malware Expert Who Could Blow the Whistle on Russian Hacking | The New York Times

The hacker, known only by his online alias “Profexer,” kept a low profile. He wrote computer code alone in an apartment and quietly sold his handiwork on the anonymous portion of the internet known as the Dark Web. Last winter, he suddenly went dark entirely. Profexer’s posts, already accessible only to a small band of fellow hackers and cybercriminals looking for software tips, blinked out in January — just days after American intelligence agencies publicly identified a program he had written as one tool used in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee. But while Profexer’s online persona vanished, a flesh-and-blood person has emerged: a fearful man who the Ukrainian police said turned himself in early this year, and has now become a witness for the F.B.I. “I don’t know what will happen,” he wrote in one of his last messages posted on a restricted-access website before going to the police. “It won’t be pleasant. But I’m still alive.” It is the first known instance of a living witness emerging from the arid mass of technical detail that has so far shaped the investigation into the D.N.C. hack and the heated debate it has stirred. The Ukrainian police declined to divulge the man’s name or other details, other than that he is living in Ukraine and has not been arrested. There is no evidence that Profexer worked, at least knowingly, for Russia’s intelligence services, but his malware apparently did. Read More

Texas: Federal court invalidates part of Texas congressional map | The Texas Tribune

Federal judges invalidated two Texas congressional districts Tuesday, ruling that they must be fixed by either the Legislature or a federal court. A three-judge panel in San Antonio unanimously ruled that Congressional Districts 27 and 35 violate the U.S. Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act. The judges found that Hispanic voters in Congressional District 27, represented by U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi, were “intentionally deprived of their opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice.” Congressional District 35 — a Central Texas district represented by Democrat Lloyd Doggett of Austin — was deemed “an impermissible racial gerrymander” because lawmakers illegally used race as the predominant factor in drawing it, the judges wrote. Read More

National: The Voter Purge Crusade That Preceded Trump’s Sketchy Elections Commission | TPM

Vice President Mike Pence, leader of President Trump’s shady “Elections Integrity” commission kicked off its first meeting last month with a promise that it would have “no preconceived notions or preordained results.” But like many of its other members, commissioner J. Christian Adams has done little to hide what has been his end-game: bullying state and local election officials into aggressive voter registration purges that civil rights groups worry will end in eligible voters getting kicked off the rolls. Now he will be joining on the commission several other figures known for their efforts to make it harder — not easier – to vote in an endeavor that many in the voting rights community believe will be used to justify tougher voting laws, including measures that will prompt sloppy voter purges. For more than half a decade, Adams has been on his own private sector crusade to pressure election officials to agree to voter purge protocols beyond what are required by law. Read More

Editorials: Don’t suppress the vote, but keep track of voters | Los Angeles Times

Reversing the position it took during the Obama administration, the U.S. Department of Justice under President Trump last week asked the Supreme Court to uphold a procedure the state of Ohio wants to use to purge some voters from its election rolls — a practice that disproportionately disenfranchises poor and minority voters. The court should decline the invitation and rule that Ohio is violating the 1993 National Voter Registration Act. That landmark law prohibits states from purging registered voters from the rolls just because they failed to vote. Ohio argues that its procedure is justified by language added to federal law in 2002. But the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the state’s interpretation last year. The appeals court said that using a lack of voter activity as a “trigger” for beginning the purge process made a “paper tiger” of the law’s ban on purges for not voting. Read More

Editorials: Fine Lines: Partisan Gerrymandering and the Two Party State | Lexi Mealey/Harvard Political Review

The American experiment began with a revolution. At its core was fair representation, the idea that individuals should be able to exercise control over their government. The Declaration of Independence expresses this idea, with Thomas Jefferson writing, “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed-That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it.” Since the nation’s founding, equal representation has served as a crucial catalyst for social progress. The 15th Amendment that granted African American men the right to vote was based on this fundamental principle, and the 19th Amendment granting suffrage to women followed under the same premise. The idea that all individuals deserved fair representation, regardless of race and gender, later spurred the civil rights movement, and continues to influence modern political reform across the nation. Read More