California

Articles about voting issues in California.

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.

California: Primary season cyberattacks illuminate campaign vulnerabilities | The Hill

The spotlight on cyber vulnerabilities of political campaigns has grown brighter after three Democratic campaigns in California were hacked during the state’s primary elections. The campaigns of Bryan Caforio, Hans Keirstead and David Min all fell victim to cyber intrusions this year, underscoring a shortcoming that applies to political operations of various sizes: insufficient protections to guard against cyberattacks. The problem is particularly acute for smaller-scale campaigns, which often have fewer resources to ensure their technology and communications are secure, while incumbents can draw from bigger campaign accounts. But having more cash on hand doesn’t always mean it’ll be used to beef up protections. A recent McClatchy analysis of Federal Election Commission filings found that only six candidates running for seats in the House and Senate this election cycle have spent more than $1,000 on cybersecurity measures.

Full Article: Primary season cyberattacks illuminate campaign vulnerabilities | TheHill.

California: State bans bots secretly trying to sway elections | CNET

California has declared open season on the use of bots to try to secretly influence elections. Legislation signed by California Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday makes it illegal to use automated online programs, or bots, to try to influence voters’ opinions during an election without revealing the source’s artificial nature. The law also applies to bots trying to sell merchandise or services. Bots are everywhere in technology, ranging from search engine spiders that crawl the internet looking for new web pages, to malicious bots that come with a virus. They’ve also been traced to Russian attempts to sow the seeds of discontent among Americans by spreading false or deceptive information during the 2016 election.

Full Article: California bans bots secretly trying to sway elections - CNET.

California: Los Angeles County Supervisors Approve Investigation For Voter Registration ‘Errors’ | KHTS

The board unanimously approved a motion by Supervisor Kathryn Barger calling for an investigation into voter registration errors as a result of the new “motor voter” program managed by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Created by the Motor Voter Act of 2015 and implemented in April 2018, the program automatically registers any eligible voters who apply for a driver’s license or identification card and transmits this data to the county where that person lives unless the individual specifically declines to participate. The state reported that 23,000 instances of voter registration errors occurred between mid-April and early August. The “motor voter” program has experienced other implementation issues as well, with 77,000 voter records allegedly being misreported in May by the DMV, according to officials.

Full Article: Los Angeles County Supervisors Approve Investigation For Voter Registration ‘Errors’.

California: Taking A Page From UPS, State To Allow Voters To Track Mail-In Ballots | KPBS

A bill recently signed by Gov. Brown designates the California Secretary of State to come up with the tracking system that will be optional for counties, including San Diego, to use. San Diego County Registrar of Voters Michael Vu said infrastructure would need to be built to use the vote by mail tracking system locally. Vu said the county will consider it. Vu added that already voters can check online when their ballot was issued and received. This new tracking system would allow voters to get a text or email about their ballot. Notifications would come when ballots are sent in the mail and once they have been picked up and officially counted. The system must be in place by 2020, and the bill designates the secretary of state to create it.

Full Article: Taking A Page From UPS, State To Allow Voters To Track Mail-In Ballots | KPBS.

California: State Launches New Effort To Fight Election Disinformation | NPR

California election officials are launching a new effort to fight the kind of disinformation campaigns that plagued the 2016 elections — an effort that comes with thorny legal and political questions. The state’s new Office of Elections Cybersecurity will focus on combating social media campaigns that try to confuse voters or discourage them from casting ballots. During the 2016 election, in addition to hacking email accounts and attacking voting systems, Russian agents used social media to plant disinformation intended to drive down voter turnout.

Full Article: California Launches New Effort To Fight Election Disinformation : NPR.

California: Democrat hit with DDoS attacks during failed primary bid: report | The Hill

The campaign website of a Democratic congressional candidate in California was taken down by cyberattacks several times during the primary election season, according to cybersecurity experts. Rolling Stone reported on Thursday that cybersecurity experts who reviewed forensic server data and emails concluded that the website for Bryan Caforio, who finished third in the June primary, was hit with distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks while he was campaigning. The attacks, which amount to artificially heavy website traffic that forces hosting companies to shut down or slow website services, were not advanced enough to access any data on the campaign site, but they succeeded in blocking access to bryancaforio.com four times before the primary, including during a crucial debate and in the week before the election.

Full Article: California Dem hit with DDoS attacks during failed primary bid: report | TheHill.

California: State Launches New Effort To Fight Election Disinformation | Capitol Radio

California election officials are launching a new effort to fight the kind of disinformation campaigns that plagued the 2016 elections — an effort that comes with thorny legal and political questions. The state’s new Office of Election Cybersecurity will focus on social media efforts to discourage or confuse voters into not casting a ballot. During the 2016 election, in addition to hacking email accounts and attacking voting systems, Russian agents used social media also planted disinformation intended to drive down voter turnout.

Full Article: California Launches New Effort To Fight Election Disinformation - capradio.org.

California: Can DMV be trusted to register voters after 23,000 botched registrations? | San Jose Mercury News

The California Department of Motor Vehicles’ acknowledgement this week that it botched 23,000 voter registrations is raising new questions about whether it can be trusted to register voters at a time when election integrity is under renewed scrutiny nationwide. The DMV said the errors are being corrected and that new safeguards — put in place after the mistakes surfaced — seem to be working. But the registration mistakes come at a time when the DMV is already under fire over massive backlogs in processing new federally compliant IDs, known as Real IDs. “Waiting in line is one thing, but having your voter registration tampered with without your knowledge or consent is a very disturbing development,” Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, said Thursday. “This touches on the very security and honestly the sacredness of a person’s registration and votes. This calls into question the ability of the DMV to manage voter registration.”

Full Article: Can DMV be trusted to register voters after 23,000 botched registrations?.

California: DMV mishandled thousands of voter registrations | The Sacramento Bee

The California Department of Motor Vehicles on Wednesday said it has discovered it sent the Secretary of State’s Office 23,000 erroneous voter registrations. The agency said the errors occurred within the state’s Motor Voter program — which allows eligible applicants getting a driver license to be automatically registered to vote. The DMV said the errors stem from technicians toggling between multiple screens and registration information being improperly merged. According to the agency, 1,600 residents did not complete a voter registration affidavit and had their information sent to the secretary of state, which maintains the state’s list of registered voters. The DMV said none of the applicants were undocumented immigrants. “We are committed to getting this right and are working closely with the Secretary of State’s office to correct the errors that occurred,” DMV Director Jean Shiomoto said in a statement.

Full Article: California DMV processed 23,000 voter registration errors | The Sacramento Bee.

California: Los Angeles County’s new ‘open source’ vote tallying system isn’t open source just yet | Statescoop

Election officials in Los Angeles County are touting the state’s approval of a new system of tallying absentee votes, one they say will allow the county to distribute redesigned mail-in ballots in time for the Nov. 6 general election. The system runs on technology owned by the county, rather than a private vendor, and in what officials say is a first for California, it’s an open source platform. “With security on the minds of elections officials and the public, open source technology has the potential to further modernize election administration, security, and transparency,” California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who certified the new system on Tuesday, said in a press release. The one catch? The new system might not count as “open source” just yet, as the agency that created it hasn’t shared the underlying code with the wider programming community.

Full Article: Los Angeles County's new 'open source' vote tallying system isn't open source just yet.

California: No, You Can’t Vote Through Twitter: California’s Unprecedented Plan to Tackle Fake Election News | Governing

With less than three months to the midterm elections, American voters remain vulnerable to the same type of information warfare that Russia used to interfere with the 2016 presidential race. Election officials say voting systems are better protected against hackers than they were two years ago, but intelligence experts say the federal government hasn’t tackled the threat of foreign-created disinformation on social media. The risk endures after Russian nationals used hundreds of fake social media accounts to stoke political discord in the U.S. in 2016, according to an indictment earlier this year by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. “The spreading of misinformation and disinformation is one of the single greatest threats to our democratic process,” says National Association of Secretaries of State President Jim Condos, a Democrat who is also Vermont’s Secretary of State. “As we saw in 2016, our foreign adversaries used these tactics to sow doubt with voters and weaken voter confidence in the integrity of our elections.” Now the nation’s most populous state is pushing back, launching an unprecedented effort to address the issue.

Full Article: No, You Can't Vote Through Twitter: California's Unprecedented Plan to Tackle Fake Election News.

California: State Certifies Los Angeles County’s New Open-Source Vote Tally System | MyNewsLA

Los Angeles County’s open-source vote tally system was certified by the secretary of state Tuesday, clearing the way for redesigned vote-by-mail ballots to be used in the November election. “With security on the minds of elections officials and the public, open-source technology has the potential to further modernize election administration, security and transparency,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. “Los Angeles County’s VSAP vote tally system is now California’s first certified election system to use open-source technology. This publicly-owned technology represents a significant step in the future of elections in California and across the country.”

Full Article: State Certifies LA County's New Open-Source Vote Tally System - MyNewsLA.com.

California: FBI probing cyber attack on congressional campaign in California – sources | Reuters

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating a cyber attack on the congressional campaign of a Democratic candidate in California, according to three people close to the campaign. The hackers successfully infiltrated the election campaign computer of David Min, a Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives who was later defeated in the June primary for California’s 45th Congressional district. The incident, which has not been previously reported, follows an article in Rolling Stone earlier this week that the FBI has also been investigating a cyber attack against Hans Keirstead, a California Democrat. He was defeated in a primary in the 48th Congressional district, neighboring Min’s. Paige Hutchinson, Min’s former campaign manager, declined to comment. An FBI spokeswoman said the bureau cannot confirm or deny an investigation.

Full Article: Exclusive: FBI probing cyber attack on congressional campaign in California - sources | Reuters.

California: Documents Reveal Successful Cyberattack in California Congressional Race | Rolling Stone

FBI agents in California and Washington, D.C., have investigated a series of cyberattacks over the past year that targeted a Democratic opponent of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA). Rohrabacher is a 15-term incumbent who is widely seen as the most pro-Russia and pro-Putin member of Congress and is a staunch supporter of President Trump. The hacking attempts and the FBI’s involvement are described in dozens of emails and forensic records obtained by Rolling Stone. The target of these attacks, Dr. Hans Keirstead, a stem-cell scientist and the CEO of a biomedical research company, finished third in California’s nonpartisan “top-two” primary on June 5th, falling 125 votes short of advancing to the general election in one of the narrowest margins of any congressional primary this year. He has since endorsed Harley Rouda, the Democrat who finished in second place and will face Rohrabacher in the November election.

Full Article: Documents Reveal Successful Cyberattack in California Congressional Race – Rolling Stone.

California: Legislature approves new Office of Elections Cybersecurity to repel attacks and combat disinformation | StateScoop

California is poised to officially create an Office of Elections Cybersecurity, a new bureau dedicated to combating cyberattacks directed at the state’s voting systems and correcting disinformation directed at voters. The new agency, which will be housed under the secretary of state’s office, was approved this week by both houses of the state legislature. The Office of Elections Cybersecurity will be responsible for disseminating information on cyberthreats against voting systems to county- and city-level elections officials. It is also designed to be a point of contact for federal officials to coordinate responses and to oversee cybersecurity training for local boards of elections, which are often less equipped than larger government agencies to fend off threats from foreign intelligence agencies. Federal officials have said that Russian hackers attempted to penetrate voter registration systems in at least 21 states — including California — during the 2016 presidential race, and have said this year that Kremlin-backed actors continue to target U.S. election infrastructure.

Full Article: California legislature approves new Office of Elections Cybersecurity to repel attacks and combat disinformation.

California: Voting Machines Aren’t the Only Vectors for Attack, California Election Officials Say | Government Technology

California election officials are guarding their voting machines and registration lists against Russian hackers — although no one has spotted any. “I operate under the assumption that hacking is actually happening and California is a target,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla says. “This year, there’s a big focus on several congressional races that could determine the House majority. The stakes in California have national implications.” But would the Russians actually try to change election outcomes? “I have no doubt that if they could, they would,” says Padilla, a Democrat who’s heavily favored to win reelection in November. Hacking into California’s voting system and altering votes, however, is considered by most experts to be practically impossible. That’s because voting machines aren’t hooked up to the internet. State law forbids it. A hacker might attack one machine but couldn’t reach into the entire vote-collecting system.

Full Article: Voting Machines Aren’t the Only Vectors for Attack, California Election Officials Say.