California

Articles about voting issues in California.

California: Lawmakers Consider Deepfake Ban for Election Integrity | Andrew Sheller/San Luis Obispo Tribune

California lawmakers, citing election integrity, are moving to ban the distribution of “deepfake” video or audio clips aimed at damaging political candidates, drawing condemnation from First Amendment supporters. The move comes as lawmakers fear that sophisticated doctored clips, such as one falsely portraying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as slurring her words, could allow malicious parties to sabotage the election. Assembly Bill 730, sponsored by Assemblyman Marc Berman, D-Palo Alto, passed unanimously out of the Assembly and now is being considered by the Senate Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments. AB 730 specifically prohibits “a person committee or other entity from knowingly or recklessly distributing deceptive audio or visual media of a candidate with the intent to injure the candidate’s reputation or to deceive a voter into voting for or against the candidate within 60 days of an election at which a candidate for elective office will appear on the ballot,” according to that committee’s analysis of the bill.

Full Article: California Considers Deepfake Ban for Election Integrity.

California: Russian hackers haunt San Diego Electronic Poll Book | Matt Potter/San Diego Reader

It’s being pitched as the latest voting reform elixir, widely adopted by counties across the country, but a call for proposals to create and operate a so-called electronic voting book system for the San Diego County Registrar of Voters comes amidst rising questions about costs, reliability, and security against Russian hackers. “The Electronic Poll Book system eliminates manual voter lookup, promoting shorter check-in queues with better and immediate alerts for staff or voter guidance,” says the county’s June 26 request for proposals, kicking off a solicitation for services from would-be vendors set to close July 25. “The Electronic Poll Book system will decrease the time it takes to manually complete the election canvass while using fewer resources,” per the document. “As the voter roster increases, the Electronic Poll Book system shall scale up. This allows the County to meet a growing base without impacting the voting experience.” But as with all such outsourcing, the devil is in the details, heavily dependent on the good faith and integrity of vendors, and experiences elsewhere have flashed repeated warnings about the cutting-edge systems.

Full Article: Russian hackers haunt San Diego Electronic Poll Book | San Diego Reader.

California: Riverside County proposes spending millions to replace vote-counting systems by 2020 election | Sam Metz/Palm Springs Desert Sun

For the past 11 years, the Riverside County Registrar of Voters has used vote-counting machines that can take more than a month to finish counting ballots. It took 32 days before the registrar could count all the votes and certify the results of the 2018 midterm elections. But now, a threat from Secretary of State Alex Padilla to withdraw certification from counties with voting systems that don’t meet the 2015 California Voting Systems Standards is forcing Riverside County to spend millions on new vote-counting machines. “While county officials have worked diligently to keep equipment up and running, our democracy faces increasingly sophisticated threats from nefarious actors, both foreign and domestic,” Padilla said in February press release. “Some counties use machines that are so old that vendors no longer make replacement parts.” Riverside County’s 2019-2020 proposed county budget, which the supervisors begun reviewing this week, earmarks more than $2 million to buy a vote-sorting machine to process mail ballots and lease state-certified equipment that will bring them into compliance.

Full Article: Riverside Co. proposes spending millions to replace vote-counting systems by 2020 election.

California: California tech official rushed Motor Voter, despite testing issues | Bryan Anderson/The Sacramento Bee

The California government technology officials who developed an automatic voter registration program for the Department of Motor Vehicles last year raced to the finish line even though they acknowledged they should have slowed down. In April 2018, the state delayed the launch of its Motor Voter program by one week because of technical errors, inadequate testing and infrastructure concerns, according to records obtained by The Sacramento Bee. Amy Tong, director of the California Department of Technology, told colleagues working on the project the morning of the scheduled launch that, “In some strange way, this maybe (sic) a sign that we need to slow down in order to go fast again.” The one-week delay may not have been enough time.

Full Article: CA tech official rushed Motor Voter, despite testing issues | The Sacramento Bee.

California: Has Los Angeles County just reinvented voting? | NBC

The biggest voting district in the United States came up with an audacious answer to the growing national problem of aging, malfunctioning and hackable voting machines. It decided to build its own. Los Angeles County, which has more registered voters than 42 states, gave NBC News an exclusive national broadcast look at what may be the future of voting systems. The county’s 5.2 million registered voters will give the new system a test run in real time during California’s presidential primary next March. Built with open-source technology over 10 years for $100 million, and combined with a rethink of the voting process that lets locals cast ballots over 11 days instead of 13 hours, L.A. County officials believe their new machines will cut down on mechanical breakdowns and crowding and provide sophisticated protections against hacking. “We thought, ‘We can’t wait any longer,'” said the man in charge of the new system, L.A. County Registrar Dean Logan.

Full Article: Has Los Angeles County just reinvented voting?.

California: Inside Contra Costa County’s election cybersecurity scare | San Jose Mercury News

The email that showed up in an employee’s inbox at the Contra Costa County elections office last month appeared harmless enough: It looked like it had been sent by a member of her church group and contained the innocuously named attachment “Request3.doc.” But when the employee clicked on the attachment on a work computer, malware laced into the document attempted to contact a Russian IP address, sparking a weeklong scare over the possibility of a foreign attempt to access county election internet systems. Emails from the elections office obtained by the Bay Area News Group through a public records request shed new light on the incident, which occurred the same week that Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered his report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The suspicious email was investigated by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, and state and federal authorities ultimately concluded that no county data had been compromised. State and local officials said they believe the elections office was not specifically targeted for the attack and it may have been a typical cyber scam motivated by money.

Full Article: Inside Contra Costa County's election cybersecurity scare.

California: Hackers attacked California DMV voter registration system marred by bugs, glitches | Los Angeles Times

California has launched few government projects with higher stakes than its ambitious 2018 program for registering millions of new voters at the Department of Motor Vehicles, an effort with the potential to shape elections for years to come. Yet six days before the scheduled launch of the DMV’s new “motor voter” system last April, state computer security officials noticed something ominous: The department’s computer network was trying to connect to internet servers in Croatia. “This is pretty typical of a compromised device phoning home,” a California Department of Technology official wrote in an April 10, 2018, email obtained by The Times. “My Latin is a bit rusty, but I think Croatia translates to Hacker Heaven.” Although the email described the incident as the DMV system attempting “communication with foreign nations,” a department spokesperson later insisted voter information wasn’t at risk. The apparent hacking incident was the most glaring of several unexpected problems — never disclosed to the public — in rolling out a project that cost taxpayers close to $15 million. The Times conducted a four-month review of nearly 1,300 pages of documents and interviewed state employees and other individuals who worked on the project — most of whom declined to be identified for fear of reprisal. Neither the emails nor the interviews made clear who was ultimately responsible for the botched rollout, though an independent audit is expected to be released in the coming days.

Full Article: Hackers attacked California DMV voter registration system marred by bugs, glitches - Los Angeles Times.

California: Russian meddling and election integrity in California | Los Angeles Daily News

Now that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation “did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” we can all move on to fighting over whether those activities actually changed the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. Attorney General William Barr’s letter to Congress summarizing the Mueller report says the special counsel determined that there were two main Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election: “The first involved attempts by a Russian organization, the Internet Research Agency (IRA), to conduct disinformation and social media operations in the United States designed to sow social discord, eventually with the aim of interfering with the election. The second element involved the Russian government’s efforts to conduct computer hacking operations designed to gather and disseminate information to influence the election. The Special Counsel found that Russian government actors successfully hacked into computers and obtained emails from persons affiliated with the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party organizations, and publicly disseminated those materials through various intermediaries, including WikiLeaks.” Mueller has brought criminal charges against a number of Russian individuals, Russian military officers, and Russian companies or entities in connection with these activities. They’re never going to be in a U.S. courtroom, but the indictments tell us what happened.

Full Article: Russian meddling and election integrity in California – Daily News.

California: Contra Costa County elections detects attempted hacking into system | San Jose Mercury News

An unknown hacker recently tried to access Contra Costa County’s election internet system, according to an email sent by the county’s elections chief. The unsuccessful hacking attempt “fits a pattern of other attempts/attacks that trace back to foreign interests,” Clerk-Recorder and Registrar of Voters Joe Canciamilla wrote, in an internal email to county staff on Friday morning. He said the elections office notified the California Secretary of State’s office, as well as the Department of Homeland Security, about the “attempted intrusion.” “Our security protocols captured and isolated the threat almost immediately,” Canciamilla wrote in the email. It’s unclear when the attack took place. Elections spokesman Paul Burgarino said the investigation into the incident is still in its early stages, but preliminary information indicated the attempt was unsuccessful.

Full Article: Contra Costa elections detects attempted hacking into system.

California: Amendment would lower California voting age from 18 to 17 | The Sacramento Bee

A state lawmaker from the Silicon Valley has reintroduced a constitutional amendment that would lower the California voting age to 17, betting that a larger Democratic majority in the Legislature this year will help his proposal reach the ballot. An amendment requires the approval of two-thirds of the state Assembly and Senate, and the approval of voters. Last year, a similar proposal from Democratic Assemblyman Evan Low of Campbell failed to reach the necessary margin of 46-24. This time around, there are more Democrats in the Assembly, Low spokeswoman Maya Polon said, adding that the legislation enjoys bipartisan support.

Full Article: Amendment would lower California voting age from 18 to 17 | The Sacramento Bee.

California: L.A. County and state to purge 1.5 million inactive voters from rolls | Los Angeles Daily News

California and Los Angeles County have agreed to purge as many as 1.5 million inactive voter registrations across the state as part of a court settlement finalized Wednesday with Judicial Watch, a conservative activist group. Judicial Watch sued the county and state voter-registration agencies in Los Angeles federal court, arguing that the state was not complying with a federal law requiring the removal of inactive registrations that remain after two general elections, or two to four years. Inactive voter registrations usually occur when voters move to another country or state or pass away but remain on the rolls. The lawsuit alleged that Los Angeles County, with more than 10 million residents, has more voter registrations than it has citizens old enough to register with a registration rate of 112 percent of its adult citizen population. The lawsuit also uncovered that neither California nor Los Angeles County had been removing inactive voters from the voter registration rolls for the past 20 years, according to Judicial Watch.

Full Article: L.A. County and state to purge 1.5 million inactive voters from rolls – Daily News.

California: State probing whether DMV’s delay of voter registration applications affected election | San Francisco Chronicle

Hundreds of voter registration applications were delayed last fall at California’s trouble-plagued Department of Motor Vehicles, and the state is trying to determine whether any election results were affected, officials said Tuesday. The DMV acknowledged that it had received 589 registration applications that it failed to forward to Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s office before the deadline for the Nov. 6 election. Of that number, 329 were from people who had not previously registered to vote, and the other 260 had moved to a different county and were trying to re-register. It’s not known yet how many of those voters tried to cast ballots and were either turned away or failed to have their votes counted. But in papers filed in a San Francisco federal court, which is overseeing the settlement of a suit by voting-rights advocates against the DMV, Padilla agreed to make sure every vote was counted if the application was properly submitted by the Oct. 22 registration deadline, and to determine whether any election outcomes would be affected.

Full Article: California probing whether DMV’s delay of voter registration applications affected election - SFChronicle.com.

California: California Voting Rights Act survives legal challenge, but it’s not over | San Francisco Chronicle

A federal judge has rejected a challenge to the California Voting Rights Act, which has required numerous local governments to switch from at-large to district elections to empower their minority populations. But the conservative who won a U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down a key section of the federal voting-rights law says the California case is headed for higher courts. “We are disappointed with the ruling. We have every intention of seeking an appeal (in) the Ninth Circuit (Court of Appeals), and beyond if necessary,” Edward Blum, president of the nonprofit Project on Fair Representation, said Tuesday. The California law, passed in 2002, requires local governments and districts that hold at-large elections, drawing all candidates from the entire area, to change to district elections if a local minority group can show that voting in the community favors the majority because of racial polarization. That requires proof that a majority racial group has historically voted as a bloc to elect its own candidates or to pass race-related ballot measures opposed by minorities.

Full Article: California Voting Rights Act survives legal challenge, but it’s not over - SFChronicle.com.

California: Election officials said DMV wasn’t ready to launch Motor Voter. California went ahead anyway | The Sacramento Bee

As California prepared to launch its new Motor Voter program last year, top elections officials say they asked Secretary of State Alex Padilla to hold off on the roll-out. The plan called for the Department of Motor Vehicles to automatically register people who came into its offices, one of several efforts by Democrats controlling California politics to make it easier for more people to vote. With the June 2018 primary approaching, election officials said they warned that the department that manages car registration and boat licenses was not yet prepared to register voters. “There wasn’t the appropriate readiness to go forward in April, and that was brought to the Secretary of State,” said Dean Logan, registrar for Los Angeles County, adding that he “definitely expressed concern” to the Secretary of State’s Office, as well as Padilla himself.

Full Article: CA elections officials warned against Motor Voter launch | The Sacramento Bee.

California: Bill Would Give Voting Rights to Parolees | Courthouse News

Nearly 50,000 Californians currently on parole could regain the right to vote under a voting rights bill introduced on Monday. A group of Democratic lawmakers are pushing for a state constitutional amendment already coined the Free the Vote Act and are hoping to restore parolees’ voting rights in an effort to cut down statewide recidivism rates. Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, wants California to build on momentum gained last November in Florida where voters overwhelmingly passed a measure that restored voting rights to most felons who have completed sentences.  He said that “roughly half of the states in the country are more progressive” than California in allowing felons and parolees the chance to vote, including Republican-led states like Maine, North Dakota and Utah. 

Full Article: California Bill Would Give Voting Rights to Parolees.

California: Explaining The Three New Landmark California Voting Laws | KXTV

Come New Year’s Day, three major voting bills will become law in California, changing the way voters use vote by mail ballots. Assembly Bill 216 and Assembly Bill 306, both introduced to the legislature by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher, will expand voting rights in the state and clarify certain aspects of vote by mail ballots to make voting easier for Californians. Assembly Bill 2218, which increases transparency of vote by mail ballots was also passed after being introduced by Assemblymember Marc Berman. AB 216 simplifies the use of vote by mail ballots—the elections official is required to deliver all supplies necessary for the use and return of the ballot, including an identification envelope with prepaid postage. Prepaid postage!

Full Article: California's new voting laws, explained | abc10.com.

California: Millions of California voters saw same-party races on November’s ballot and left the space blank | Los Angeles Times

As November’s election results become clear, so does a new California conundrum: Voters may like the top-two primary — which doesn’t guarantee any political party a spot on the fall ballot — but a lot of them skipped last month’s contests in which the only choices were candidates with the same party affiliation. It was not a lack of enthusiasm for the election. The percentage of registered voters who turned out was the highest for a regular gubernatorial election since 1982. Final results, expected later this week, will show about 12.7 million ballots cast statewide. But some races were left blank, in what elections officials call an “under-vote.” The reasons vary — some voters get confused or forget, and others simply don’t like either of the two contenders.

Full Article: Millions of California voters saw same-party races on November's ballot and left the space blank - Los Angeles Times.

California: California doesn’t need better voting machines — it needs better audits, experts say | The Peninsula Press

When voters in Alameda and Santa Clara County head to the polls on Nov. 6, about one percent will cast their ballots on electronic voting machines that have known security vulnerabilities. California has safeguards in place. In addition to requiring paper records for votes cast on electronic machines, California also manually audits one percent of all ballots cast, to make sure there’s no discrepancy in the numbers. Now, experts like David Dill, a computer science professor at Stanford and founder of Verified Voting, are saying that isn’t enough, and are pushing states like California to implement more rigorous auditing methods. “The problem of protecting machines is pretty unmanageable, even with the best and most modern hardware … so what you need to do is select a bunch of ballots at random and hand count them in order to make sure the electronic counts are accurate,” says Dill.

Full Article: California doesn’t need better voting machines — it needs better audits, experts say - Local: In The Peninsula.

California: FBI investigating cyberattacks targeting California Democrat: report | The Hill

The FBI has opened up an investigation into cyberattacks that targeted a California Democrat who eventually lost a tight House primary race earlier this year, according to Rolling Stone, citing a source close to the campaign. The inquiry centers on distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against the campaign website for Bryan Caforio, who finished third in the June primary. He was running in California’s 25th Congressional District, which is represented by Republican Rep. Steve Knight and is considered a seat that Democrats could flip in November. The attacks involved creating artificially heavy traffic on his website that forced the hosting company to block access to bryancaforio.com four times before the primary, including during a crucial debate and in the week before the primary. No website data was accessed from the site during the attacks.

Full Article: FBI investigating cyberattacks targeting California Dem: report | TheHill.

California: Secretary Of State Rips DMV For Voter Enrollment Error | Associated Press

Calling it unacceptable, Secretary of State Alex Padilla angrily criticized Department of Motor Vehicles officials Tuesday after they improperly registered about 1,500 people to vote in November’s election. Padilla did not mince words when it came to the error. “These mistakes from the DMV are totally unacceptable,” he told reporters. “It risks jeopardizing confidence in the electoral process which is why yesterday I called for an independent audit of the DMV’s technology and their practices…The DMV needs to get it together here real quick.” The focus is on the national Motor Voter Law that allows voters to register at DMV offices. Padilla said reports that all 1,500 people registered in error were non-citizens was not correct.

Full Article: California Secretary Of State Rips DMV For Voter Enrollment Error « CBS San Francisco.