State

Arizona: Judge won’t order immediate address updates of Arizona’s voter registration list | Arizona Daily Star

A federal judge has refused to order Secretary of State Michele Reagan to immediately update voter registration addresses of 384,000 Arizonans who moved since the last election. But the ruling leaves the door open to further court action to ensure that Reagan — or whoever succeeds her — finally brings the state into compliance with federal voting laws. Judge James Teilborg acknowledged Wednesday the system operated by the Motor Vehicle Division for address changes for driver’s licenses requires people to affirmatively “opt-in” to also having their voter information updated. And the judge did not dispute the National Voter Registration Act requires these forms to make registration changes automatic unless people opt out. Read More

Florida: State rejects tens of thousands of mail ballots | Miami Herald

A study of Florida’s past two presidential elections finds that mail ballots were 10 times more likely to be rejected than votes cast at early voting sites or on election day. The study also found that mail ballots cast by youngest voters, blacks and Hispanics were much more likely to be rejected than mail ballots cast by white voters, and that those voters are less likely to cure problems with their ballots when notified by election supervisors than other voters. The study also shows that rejection rates vary widely across the state. The report was produced by Daniel Smith, chairman of the political science department at the University of Florida, on behalf of the ACLU of Florida, whose director, Howard Simon, cited the state’s “uncertain history in election administration” in a conference call with reporters. Read More

Georgia: Georgia district ordered to redo primary after voting errors | CNN

A judge said he will order a Georgia Legislature district to redo a primary election between two Republicans because errors in voter data called the results into question. The announcement came in response to a lawsuit filed by state Rep. Dan Gasaway that challenged the legitimacy of the election he lost by 67 votes to businessman Chris Erwin in May. Following his loss, Gasaway personally examined voter rolls and determined that “cross-contamination” in his district’s voter information had led to at least 67 people voting in the wrong district, according to his lawsuit. Read More

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

Georgia: This Judge Just Cast More Doubt on Elections Security Right Before Midterms | InsideSources

Right before midterms, a United States District Court judge found that Georgia’s electronic voting machines are extremely vulnerable to hacking and foreign meddling — including from Russia — but ruled against changing the state’s elections systems to avoid voter confusion and chaos. But by simply highlighting the vulnerability of Georgia’s electronic voting machines, the judge may have already undermined voter confidence just weeks before the midterms. The new ruling from Judge Amy Totenberg in Curling v. Kemp found that Georgia’s electronic voting machines are so easily hacked that it is irresponsible for a locality or state to use them without a paper audit trail. Georgia’s machines do not have paper audit trails. Totenberg admonished the state of Georgia for not properly addressing election security issues in time for the 2018 midterm elections, reminding them that “2020 elections are around the corner” and that “if a new balloting system is to be launched in Georgia in an effective manner, it should address democracy’s critical need for transparent, fair, accurate, and verifiable election processes that guarantee each citizen’s fundamental right to cast an accountable vote.” Read More

Georgia: Judge: Georgia has stalled in face of voting system risks | Associated Press

As Georgia’s top elections official runs for governor, a federal judge said the state has stalled too long in the face of “a mounting tide of evidence of the inadequacy and security risks” of its voting system. Secretary of State Brian Kemp, a Republican, is in the midst of a closely watched race against Democrat Stacey Abrams, a former state House minority leader who’s trying to become the country’s first black, female governor. He has repeatedly insisted that Georgia’s current voting system is secure. Voting integrity advocates sued last year, arguing that the touchscreen voting machines Georgia has used since 2002 are vulnerable to hacking and provide no way to confirm that votes have been recorded correctly because there’s no paper trail. They sought an immediate change to paper ballots for the midterm elections while the case is pending. U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg declined to grant that request Monday, saying that although voting integrity advocates have demonstrated “the threat of real harms to their constitutional interests,” she worried about the “massive scrambling” required for a last-minute change to paper ballots. Early voting starts Oct. 15 for the Nov. 6 midterm elections. Read More

Kansas: ACLU sues for Johnson County voters’ names whose ballots were rejected | The Kansas City Star

The American Civil Liberties Union is suing to get the names of Johnson County voters who cast provisional ballots in the August primary. The ACLU also wants a list of voters in the county who cast advance mail ballots that were rejected because their signature didn’t match their voter record. The lawsuit comes after a tumultuous Republican primary election for gov rnor that exposed sometimes-subjective vote counting. Some Kansas counties counted ballots that would have been tossed out in others in a race between Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Gov. Jeff Colyer that was decided by fewer than 350 votes. “We aren’t asking to see who they voted for or any private information,” said Lauren Bonds, the ACLU of Kansas’ legal director, in a statement. “That information should be afforded the utmost privacy. However, people should know whether their vote counted or if people faced any unnecessary barriers to voting. The public interest here is just transparency.” Read More

Kentucky: Why is the Kentucky State Board of Elections in chaos? | Lexington Herald Leader

It’s 49 days until Election Day and the Kentucky State Board of Elections is mired in chaos. At issue is a power struggle between the staff of the State Board of Elections and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes over control of Kentucky’s election system. Grimes, a Democrat, argues that her role as chairwoman of the board of elections requires her staff to have access to Kentucky’s voter registration database and oversight of the day-to-day operations of the State Board of Elections. Jared Dearing, executive director of the State Board of Elections, filed a complaint last month with the board, the executive branch ethics commission and the state personnel board, alleging Grimes had overstepped her authority by eliminating the independence of the board’s staff, asking her staffers to access the voter database, and creating a hostile work environment. Read More

New Jersey: New mail-in ballot law could cause confusion at the polls | NJTV

County workers are stuffing envelopes with mail-in ballots, and they’re stuffing a lot of envelopes. Thanks to a new state law, every voter who got a mail-in ballot in 2016 will automatically get one this year, unless they opt out in writing. So where Monmouth County expected to send out up to 20,000 mail-in ballots, it will now have to send out more than 30,000. “That part of the law, that new change, has been difficult to implement in such a short time period because vote by mail ballots start going out Sept. 22. It’s not like we have until November to implement a law that was enacted in August. We basically had a month,” said Monmouth County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon. Gov. Phil Murphy signed the law in August, arguing that expanding mail-in voting, or what used to be known as an absentee ballot, would expand voter participation. County clerks, however, say they had just weeks to comply with the law, without additional resources to do so. Read More