National: Republicans Aid Kanye West’s Bid to Get on the 2020 Ballot | Danny Hakim and Maggie Haberman/The New York Times

At least four people who have been active in Republican politics are linked to Kanye West’s attempt to get on the presidential ballot this year. The connection raises questions about the aims of the entertainer’s effort and whether it is regarded within the G.O.P. as a spoiler campaign that could aid President Trump, even as those close to Mr. West have expressed concerns about his mental health as he enters the political arena. One operative, Mark Jacoby, is an executive at a company called Let the Voters Decide, which has been collecting signatures for the West campaign in three states. Mr. Jacoby was arrested on voter fraud charges in 2008 while he was doing work for the California Republican Party, and he later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. Mr. Jacoby, in a statement, said his company was nonpartisan and worked for all political parties. “We do not comment on any current clients, but like all Americans, anyone who is qualified to stand for election has the right to run,” he said. New York Magazine reported Monday evening on the campaign’s links to two other people with partisan ties. One is Gregg Keller, the former executive director of the American Conservative Union, who has been listed as a contact for the campaign in Arkansas. Mr. Keller, who did not respond to a message seeking comment, is a Missouri-based strategist. He was under consideration to be Mr. Trump’s campaign manager in 2015, a role that was ultimately filled by Corey Lewandowski, according to a former campaign official.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.”

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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…

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.

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.

Pennsylvania: ‘Rigged?’ Republican elected official circulates fake meme about online voting in Pennsylvania | BillyPenn

After weeks of Republican candidate Donald Trump warning that Pennsylvania’s — and the nation’s — election would be rigged, one Western Pennsylvania Republican official circulated an image claiming Pennsylvanians can vote online for Hillary Clinton. The official, according to a screenshot of a Facebook post, is Murrysville City Councilman Joshua Lorenz. Lorenz, a Republican, was most recently elected in 2015 and his term runs through 2019. He also works for the Meyer Unkovic Scott law firm in Pittsburgh and is the vice president of the Murrysville City Council. The image features an American flag with the phrase “You can vote at home comfortably online!” in big lettering. It then instructs voters to type “Hillary” with the hashtag #PresidentialElection to vote online on November 8. The bottom left corner features a similar but inaccurate logo resembling the Democrats’ election motto of “Change That Matters.” Big problem here: Pennsylvanians can’t vote online. For that matter, neither can voters in any state.

Indiana: State Police investigating local voter registration forms | Herald Bulletin

More than 250 Madison County voter registration forms have been secured by the Indiana State Police as part of a statewide investigation that some registrations may be fraudulent. ISP detectives visited the Madison County Voter Registration Office on Wednesday after being contacted by Joe Spencer, the Democratic Party representative of the office. The ISP investigation was initiated when the Hendricks County Clerk’s Office raised concerns about 10 voter registration forms received through the Indiana Voter Registration Project through Patriot Majority. Spencer said the Madison County office received 13 voter registration forms that were questioned. Some of them had Indianapolis ZIP codes and at least one with a Pendleton address on a numbered street. “There are no numbered streets in Pendleton,” he said. As directed by Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, the Madison County office contacted the state police about the registrations.

Virginia: Amid voter ID fight and ‘misleading’ mailings, voting to begin in battleground Virginia | The Washington Post

Voters begin going to the polls Friday in this battleground state, where Republicans and Democrats continue wrangling over voter ID laws, and elections officials were warning Virginians to ignore “misleading” letters about their registration status. Voters who cannot make it to the polls on Election Day may cast their ballots in person at their local elections offices starting Friday. In-person absentee voting continues through Nov. 5. Virginia does not offer early voting to all voters, as some other states do. But it allows people to vote absentee — with mail-in ballots or in person — if they fit certain categories. Those include voters who will be away at college or on business trips and vacations, who have long commutes or religious obligations, are first responders or active-duty members of the military or are in jail awaiting trial. … Earlier this week, state elections officials warned that some voters may have received mailings that suggested their voter registration status was in question. Edgardo Cortés, the state’s elections commissioner, said the mailings came from at least two organizations, America’s Future and the Voter Participation Center.

Australia: Police drop investigation into election day Medicare text messages | The Guardian

Australian federal police have dropped their investigation into Queensland Labor’s election day “Mediscare” text messages, saying they could not identify any commonwealth offences. The prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, had blamed part of his shock election result on the belief that many voters had been misled by text messages sent by Labor’s Queensland branch on election day, purporting to be from Medicare. He accused Labor, during his election-night speech, of running “some of the most systematic, well-funded lies ever peddled in Australian politics”.

New Hampshire: ‘Voter-Shaming’ Mailer That Made Noise in Iowa Shows Up in New Hampshire | The New York Times

A controversial voter-turnout tactic employed by Senator Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign in Iowa is cropping up in New Hampshire, this time by way of a mysterious organization about which few public details are available. Voters in New Hampshire received envelopes in the mail this week claiming to contain “important taxpayer information,” according to Christopher Crawford, who received one of the mailers and posted pictures of it on Twitter. Mr. Crawford, who recently moved to Washington, was visiting his parents at their home in Nashua, N.H., this week when he opened an envelope addressed to him only to find a chart showing the names and voting history of several of his parents’ neighbors.

Editorials: Ted Cruz’s Iowa Mailers Are More Fraudulent Than Everyone Thinks | Ryan Lizza/The New Yorker

… On Saturday, Twitter came alive with pictures from voters in the state who received mailers from the Cruz campaign. At the top of the mailers, in a bold red box, are the words “VOTING VIOLATION.” Below that warning is an explanation:

You are receiving this election notice because of low expected voter turnout in your area. Your individual voting history as well as your neighbors’ are public record. Their scores are published below, and many of them will see your score as well. CAUCUS ON MONDAY TO IMPROVE YOUR SCORE and please encourage your neighbors to caucus as well. A follow-up notice may be issued following Monday’s caucuses.

Below that, a chart appears with the names of the recipient of the mailing as well as his neighbors and their voting “grade” and “score.”

… After looking at several mailers posted online, I was more curious about how the Cruz campaign came up with its scores. On all the mailers I saw, every voter listed had only one of three possible scores: fifty-five per cent, sixty-five per cent, or seventy-five per cent, which translate to F, D, and C grades, respectively. Iowans take voting pretty seriously. Why was it that nobody had a higher grade?

Maine: Intimidating Maine voters, from the shadows | The Portland Press Herald

Before Election Day, many Mainers received an ominous postcard in the mail that claimed to show whether their friends and neighbors had voted in past elections, and included a veiled threat that they too could be exposed if they didn’t do their civic duty and vote. The threatening mailers angered some Mainers, but exactly who sent them remains a mystery. It also is a mystery – even to state elections officials – how the group apparently got hold of the state’s confidential voter database, access to which is limited by law. “It certainly had a pungent odor to it,” said Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, whose office received dozens of complaints about the letter, mostly from registered Republicans, who appear to be the primary recipients. “You can tell that whoever did this did not want people to know who they are, and for obvious reasons.”

Florida: Seattle man admits to voter fraud, intimidation in Palm Beach County | WPTV

Justice will soon be served for hundreds of Florida voters, after a man from Washington state admitted that he tried to keep local Republicans from turning out in the 2012 presidential election. That man could soon be headed to prison. State and federal agencies first started looking into possible voter fraud in Palm Beach County in the fall of 2012. Investigators say Bob Hiering of Delray Beach, a Republican, was one of the targets. “When I got that letter, I was like ‘Are you kidding me?’,” he said of a letter received just before the 2012 presidential election – with a postmark from Seattle, Washington. “I got a letter in the mail questioning my citizenship and my ability to vote,” said Hiering.

Indonesia: Presidential election hit by ‘black campaign’ | World Bulletin

One month before the world’s largest Muslim democracy, chooses a new president, pollsters say an Indonesian tabloid’s “black campaign” is evidence of a concerted effort to discredit the leading candidate. Independent pollster Politicawave has found that Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and running mate Jusuf Kalla had been the subject of 94.9 percent of slander, while rivals Prabowo Subianto and Hatta Rajasa were the subject of a minimal amount. In the past few months, questions have been raised in the nation’s press about Jokowi’s ethnicity, race and religion, along with allegations of corruption. One report even went as far as to claim Jokowi had died.