deceptive practices

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National: DNC loses appeal on Republican election tactics | Politico

A consent decree that limited Republican Party’s use of controversial poll-watching and ballot security efforts for more than three decades appears consigned to the scrap heap of history after a federal appeals court rebuffed a move by Democrats that could have led to restoration of the long-running court order. The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals turned down the Democratic National Committee’s attempt to reopen discovery aimed at proving that the Republican National Committee violated the order in 2016 as then-candidate Donald Trump pressed publicly for a crackdown on what he contended was likely election fraud. After the election, Trump famously claimed — without evidence — that millions of illegal immigrants cast ballots in the presidential contest. Despite Trump’s public calls for his supporters to keep a close eye on certain neighborhoods, the three-judge panel unanimously ruled Monday that Democrats had not made a sufficient showing that the depositions they wanted to take were likely to show that the RNC actually responded to Trump’s entreaties.

Full Article: DNC loses appeal on Republican election tactics - POLITICO.

Georgia: Brian Kemp had “no evidence” when he falsely accused Democrats of hacking voter database | Salon

Brian Kemp, Georgia’s Republican governor-elect, pushed a baseless claim alleging that Democrats hacked the state’s voter database days before the election he won by fewer than 60,000 votes, an investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has discovered. Three days before the November election, then-Secretary of State Kemp was tied with Democrat Stacey Abrams in the polls amid criticism that he had improperly purged hundreds of thousands of voters from the state’s rolls. With just 72 hours before the vote, it was discovered that Kemp’s office had left the state’s voter registration system exposed on the internet. Kemp responded by accusing the Georgia Democratic Party of trying to hack into the voter database to try to affect the election. The Journal-Constitution has now discovered, weeks after Kemp’s narrow electoral victory, that there was “no evidence” backing any of Kemp’s allegations at the time and “none has emerged in the six weeks since.” It “appears unlikely that any crime occurred,” the newspaper concluded.

Full Article: Georgia's Brian Kemp had "no evidence" when he falsely accused Dems of hacking voter database | Salon.com.

Georgia: The black-and-white cyber security debate behind that November surprise | The Atlanta Journal Constitution

Like any subset of society, the world of technology has its own culture, its own precepts of what separates good behavior from bad. Some people find certain aspects of that culture baffling – specifically, the topic of cyber security. And many of those people can be found in and around the state Capitol. Over the weekend, our AJC colleague Alan Judd posted a catch-up piece on one of Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s last actions in that office – his Nov. 3 decision to announce that he had placed the Democratic Party of Georgia under investigation for an alleged attempt to hack the state’s voter registration database. Never mind that Kemp was the GOP nominee for governor, and Election Day was 72 hours away. 

Full Article: The Jolt: The black-and-white cyber security debate behind that November....

National: Watch out for vote suppression, other tricks on Election Day | McClatchy

Don’t be surprised by mischief on Election Day. That’s the advice experts give about last-minute text messages, robocalls or emails purporting to instruct people (falsely) on where or when to vote. Bogus text messages have already popped up in Florida, one of many states afflicted by attempts to skew the vote in the run-up to Tuesday’s midterm elections. Early voting has been fraught with problems, including an investigation into alleged hacking of Georgia voter registration systems on Sunday and court battles in the state over who should be allowed on voter rolls, and snafus with antiquated voting machines in Texas. In Kansas, a federal judge upheld Dodge City’s decision to move the only polling place to what one resident called “the middle of nowhere” outside of town. There are tougher ID rules for voters in North Carolina and Kansas, passed by Republican office-holders who want to keep their majorities.. In North Dakota, where officials require a residential address in order to vote, thousands of Native Americans faced a scramble to obtain new state-issued or tribal IDs with street addresses, rather than P.O. boxes, even though their homes often lack numbers and their streets lack names.

Full Article: Watch out for vote suppression, other tricks on Election Day | McClatchy Washington Bureau.

Georgia: Here are the chilling tricks we’ve caught Georgia using to disqualify voters | The Washington Post

A young woman learned her name was no longer on the voter rolls in Georgia. Ironically, she discovered this while training as a canvasser for new voters. Since registering and casting her first ballot in 2008, she hadn’t returned to the polls, and under the new “use it or lose it” rule, the system purged her registration. A dentist in Macon received a letter from the secretary of state, warning him that he was at risk of being labeled an “inactive voter” for changing addresses, not voting or not responding to election-related mail. None of that was true, he said: He’d participated in every Georgia election in the past 40 years and had lived in his home for 30. A man was moved to a “pending” list of voters and told he had to prove his identity before he could cast a ballot, because the clerk registering him had missed the hyphen in his first name. It took a three-way phone call between him, a team of election lawyers and the Fulton County Board of Elections to secure his status as an eligible voter.

Full Article: Here are the chilling tricks we’ve caught Georgia using to disqualify voters - The Washington Post.

Kansas: Texts to voters purportedly from Trump roil Kansas election | Associated Press

Kansas election officials are reviewing text messages claiming to be from President Donald Trump and telling residents that their early votes hadn’t been recorded, as Democratic leaders were quick Thursday to worry that they were part of efforts to “steal” a close governor’s race. State Elections Director Bryan Caskey said the Kansas secretary of state’s office received 50 or 60 calls about the texts Wednesday, mostly from the northeastern part of the state. Caskey said the office is trying to determine whether the texts broke a law before determining what to do next. One text says “Your absentee ballot is ready. Remember to vote for Pres. Trump’s allies.” A follow-up text says, “This is President Trump. Your early vote has NOT been RECORDED on Kansas’s roster.” It urges the voter to confirm his or her polling place.

Full Article: Texts to voters purportedly from Trump roil Kansas election.

Indonesia: Ahead of 2019 Election, Indonesia, Media Battle Fake News | VoA News

As the third largest democracy in the world with a young, mobile-first population and low levels of digital literacy, Indonesia is highly susceptible to the spread of fake news and hoaxes. Government and media-led initiatives have sought to combat fake news, however with much of the misinformation spread via social media and WhatsApp, many fear the problem will only get worse in the lead up to national elections in April 2019. “Indonesia’s media landscape is quite diverse and there is enormous press freedom in the country compared to others in the region,” says Ross Tapsell, a media lecturer at the Australian National University’s College of Asia and the Pacific. “However, it’s increasingly manipulated and influenced by media owners who are linked to political parties … push[ing] out a more partisan version of political news.”

Full Article: Ahead of 2019 Election, Indonesia, Media Battle Fake News.

Missouri: Republican mailers with false info sent to Missouri voters | The Kansas City Star

The Missouri Republican Party sent mailers to 10,000 voters across the state with false information about when their absentee ballots are due, the party’s executive director acknowledged Friday. Ray Bozarth said the incorrect information was printed on postcards as the result of a miscommunication between the party and its vendor, which he declined to name. Bozarth also did not say how the miscommunication occurred. A photo of the mailer provided to the Star shows a red bar across the top that says “urgent notice” in all capital letters and encourages voters to return their mail-in ballots “today.”

Full Article: Republican mailers with false info sent to Missouri voters | The Kansas City Star.

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: 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.

Texas: Ted Cruz’s Campaign Marked a Fund-Raising Letter an Official ‘Summons.’ It Wasn’t Against the Rules. | The New York Times

Ted Cruz’s Senate re-election campaign has been sending voters in Texas a fund-raising letter in an envelope labeled “summons enclosed,” drawing criticism from some who called it misleading and raising questions about whether such a practice was legal. It is. That is according to Myles Martin, a spokesman for the Federal Election Commission, who said the salient question was whether a mailing contains a disclaimer saying that it came from a political campaign. And this one did. Aside from that, he said in an email, “the F.E.C.’s regulations don’t speak to how candidates may choose to word particular solicitations to potential contributors.”

Full Article: Ted Cruz’s Campaign Marked a Fund-Raising Letter an Official ‘Summons.’ It Wasn’t Against the Rules. - The New York Times.

Texas: O’Rourke campaign: “Impostor” responsible for texts about helping undocumented immigrants vote | The Texas Tribune

The campaign of Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, says an “impostor” was behind a text message that surfaced Wednesday asking voters to help people who are in the country illegally cast ballots. “Hi, it’s Patsy here w/ Beto for Texas,” reads the text, which was circulating on social media. “Our records indicate that you’re a supporter. We are in search of volunteers to help transport undocumented immigrants to polling booths so that they will be able vote. Would you be able to support this grassroots effort?” “That was not an approved message by the campaign,” said Chris Evans, O’Rourke’s communications director. “It was sent by an impostor. But we’re continuing to look into what happened.” Another apparently unauthorized text shared with the Tribune also said it was from “Patsy” and told readers that the campaign is “conducting an internal poll and would like to know your thoughts on the dangers of socialism.” It was not immediately clear how many unapproved texts went out and how many voters they reached.

Full Article: O'Rourke campaign: "Impostor" responsible for texts about helping undocumented immigrants vote | The Texas Tribune.

Virginia: Richmond judge finds ‘out-and-out fraud’ in effort by Rep. Scott Taylor staff to get independent on ballot | Richmond Times Dispatch

In a ruling with potentially serious ramifications for the re-election campaign of Rep. Scott Taylor, R-2nd, a judge on Wednesday found “out-and-out fraud” in signatures Taylor’s campaign staff gathered to help get an independent spoiler candidate on the ballot. Richmond Circuit Judge Gregory L. Rupe ruled that independent Shaun Brown should be removed from the 2nd Congressional District ballot. Campaign staffers for Taylor helped gather signatures required to get Brown on the ballot. Investigations by news media and the Democratic Party showed forged signatures, including from voters who had died or no longer lived in the congressional district. The judge’s ruling followed testimony in a civil lawsuit the Democratic Party of Virginia brought against state elections officials. Four Taylor staffers and a former campaign consultant signed affidavits invoking their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in response to a series of questions about what happened.

Full Article: Richmond judge finds 'out-and-out fraud' in effort by Rep. Scott Taylor staff to get independent on ballot | Virginia Politics | richmond.com.

Sweden: Social Democrats accused of election dirty tricks | Financial Times

Sweden’s main opposition party has complained to international election observers of dirty tricks by the ruling Social Democrat party. Several local candidates of the centre-left Social Democrats resigned or were suspended by the party after spreading lies about the centre-right Moderates and nationalist Sweden Democrats ahead of elections on September 9. Social media post by candidates in at least five Swedish cities included the false assertions that the two rightwing parties were accusing Muslim parents of crimes in order to take their children away, and that they wanted to remove citizenship from anybody who arrived in the country after 1970. “We have been preparing . . . [for] foreign powers trying to influence the Swedish election process. We would never have dreamt that the threat would have come from within the country and our main opponents,” Anders Edholm, deputy secretary-general of the Moderates, told the Financial Times.

Full Article: Sweden’s Social Democrats accused of election dirty tricks | Financial Times.

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.

Editorials: Intentionally deceiving voters should be a crime | Sean Morales-Doyle & Sidni Frederick/The Hill

Democrats in the House and Senate recently introduced the Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act, a bill that would prohibit the spread of false election information that’s specifically meant to prevent voters from casting ballots. (Full disclosure: Our organization, the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, helped draft earlier versions of this legislation.) The bills’ introduction came in a week that has seen an attempted hack of the emails of three 2018 Senate campaigns and revealed a trove of fake Facebook pages and accounts likely meant to stir chaos as we approach midterms – reminders that the integrity of our elections is increasingly fragile in the digital age.

Full Article: Intentionally deceiving voters should be a crime | TheHill.

Editorials: Is Lying About an Election Free Speech or Fraud? | Matt Ford/The New Republic

In the weeks before the 2016 election, memes proliferated on Twitter bearing instructions on how to vote by phone or text message. The images were stylized to resemble Hillary Clinton’s campaign materials, and targeted her supporters in both English and Spanish. “Save time. Avoid the line. Vote from home,” they read. But no state allows either method for casting a ballot.  It’s unclear who crafted this low-budget bid at voter suppression. Far-right Twitter accounts helped spread them in an apparent attempt to reduce Clinton voters’ actual participation on Election Day. Similar ads on Facebook that falsely told voters they could vote by tweet were later found to be part of a Russian influence campaign that sought to damage Clinton’s candidacy. While their efficacy is uncertain, the ads and memes fit within a broader pattern of spreading false and misleading information to confuse and deter voters.

Full Article: Is Lying About an Election Free Speech or Fraud? | The New Republic.

National: Widespread problems reported to Election Protection hotline | The Louisiana Weekly

On Tuesday, Nov. 7, Election Protection, the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter-protection coalition, led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, provided live assistance to more than 1,000 voters through its 866-OUR-VOTE hotline. Voters reported complaints, some of which impacted systemic problems, or sought assistance with voting. Since 2001, Election Protection has been the go-to source for voters seeking assistance with navigating the voting process. The volume of calls into the hotline suggested increases in voter turnout relative to comparable election periods from years prior and expanded interest in local electoral contests such as district attorney races. The Lawyers’ Committee led-effort identified a number of problems including robo calls imparting false information to voters; poll workers providing false information regarding voter eligibility; police presence outside of polling sites, the proliferation of false information regarding the voting process on social media, and other deceptive and suppressive tactics as reported by voters around the country.

Full Article: Widespread problems reported to Election Protection hotline | New Orleans' Multicultural News Source | The Louisiana Weekly.

National: Pro-Trump Trolls Want You To Vote For Hillary Via Text (You Can’t) | Forbes

Ah yes, the alt-right trolls, back at it again with their meme warfare. Not content with destroying the GOP and the beloved Internet frog Pepe, these tee-hee-we’re-into-Trump-and-white-supremacy “pranksters” have been making fake Hillary Clinton ads again — this time, about being able to vote via text message. Except, unlike last week’s fake Hillary Clinton ads and the associated hashtag #DraftOurDaughters, these photoshopped images, that began circulating the evening of November 1st, may have been illegal. The very least, a violation of Twitter’s TOS on deceptive content and impersonation. Cohorts of the troll that originally spread the fake ads, the now suspended “Ricky Vaughn” whose former Twitter bio described himself as a “hero of the racist alt-right” and a “known white supremacist” (oh wow so trollsy), say the photoshopped images are just intended to be a joke, a parody.

Full Article: Pro-Trump Trolls Want You To Vote For Hillary Via Text (You Can't).

Pennsylvania: Murrysville councilman claims online voting post was joke; officials not laughing | WPXI

A Republican councilman said he deleted an online posting about casting presidential votes via Facebook and Twitter because people didn’t realize he intended it as a joke, but state officials are taking the matter seriously. No state allows voters to cast ballots via social media, and Pennsylvania’s election oversight agency warned voters not to be misled by posts claiming otherwise. The governor’s office also issued a statement that said efforts to disrupt the election would be prosecuted. Joshua Lorenz, a Pittsburgh attorney and councilman in Murrysville, told The Associated Press the meme — which said, “Vote Hillary November 8th” and “You can vote at home comfortably online” — was meant as a joke for his friends. He said he took down the post within a couple hours Saturday because “the person who had questioned it, who I thought was a friend, had apparently misconstrued it.” In sharing the image, Lorenz wrote that it was “more proof that the election process is rigged.” GOP nominee Donald Trump has made similar claims.

Full Article: Murrysville councilman claims online voting post was joke; officials not laughing | WPXI.