North Carolina: Details on stopping non-US citizens from North Carolina voting released | Greensboro News-Record

A concerted effort by North Carolina officials to prevent non-U.S. citizens from voting in last fall’s elections led to 11 people having their ballots rejected. The State Board of Elections released results of an audit of voter rolls in October that flagged 1,454 registered voters in 81 of the state’s 100 counties as potential non-citizens. Information on the rolls was matched up against data from the state Division of Motor Vehicles and the federal Department of Homeland Security. It’s illegal for a non-citizen to vote or register in North Carolina. More than 2.9 million registered voters voted last fall, or 44 percent of the 6.6 million registered.

National: Will other states delay use of SAVE for voter checks? | Miami Herald

Florida is one of a handful of states that signed agreements with the Department of Homeland Security to use SAVE to search for non-citizens on voter rolls. Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner announced Thursday that he was delaying his plan to start a new round of looking for non-citizen voters due to DHS revamping the SAVE website. DHS started changes to the website in February but may not finish the project until after the 2014 election however SAVE remains operational by agencies nationwide. So we wondered if any other agencies that use SAVE for voter registration purposes have also halted efforts as a result of the website changes.

Florida: State halts purge of noncitizens from voter rolls | Tampa Bay Times

Gov. Rick Scott’s chief elections official is suspending a politically charged election-year plan to purge noncitizens from Florida’s voter rolls, citing changes to a federal database used to verify citizenship. The about-face Thursday by Secretary of State Ken Detzner resolves a standoff with county elections supervisors, who resisted the purge and were suspicious of its timing. It also had given rise to Democratic charges of voter suppression aimed at minorities, including Hispanics crucial to Scott’s re-election hopes. Detzner told supervisors in a memo that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is redesigning its SAVE database, and it won’t be finished until 2015, so purging efforts, known as Project Integrity, should not proceed. “I have decided to postpone implementing Project Integrity until the federal SAVE program Phase Two is completed,” Detzner wrote.

Florida: Voter Purge 2.0 | Pensacola News Journal

Sparking howls from Democrats and the NAACP, Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner said last week that his office soon would begin Voter Purge 2.0, by sending local supervisors of elections the names of voters who might not be citizens. Who could disagree with the idea that only eligible citizens should vote? But there is more to the issue. First, the purge is a solution in search of a problem. The number of noncitizens registered to vote is minuscule, mostly because there is no incentive for intentional fraud. What immigrant would risk deportation for the small reward of casting one vote? In fact, “The Truth About Voter Fraud,” a 2007 report by Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School, stated: “We are not aware of any documented cases in which individual noncitizens have either intentionally registered to vote or voted while knowing that they were ineligible.”

Florida: Revamped voting roll scrub soon to begin | Tampa Tribune

The state will soon begin forwarding the names of suspected non-citizens on the voter rolls to local elections officials, formally kicking off the second version of Gov. Rick Scott’s controversial scrubbing program, Secretary of State Ken Detzner said Tuesday. “We’ll start shortly after the first of the year, on a case-by-case basis, reviewing files and then forwarding them down to the supervisors,” Detzner said after an event closing out the state’s recognition of the 500th anniversary of Juan Ponce de Leon’s landing in Florida. The state has been working to finalize a procedure for using a federal list to vet registered voters since 2012, when it first struck a deal with the Department of Homeland Security over the use of the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements, or SAVE, database. Now, the final steps of putting that process in place are close. Detzner’s office has sent a proposed template for a “memorandum of agreement” to the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections, the organization that represents county election chiefs. The organization is expected to respond to the state over the next week or two.

National: Federal Election Commission still in ‘significant’ danger of hacking | Center for Public Integrity

The Federal Election Commission’s computer and IT security continues to suffer from “significant deficiencies,” and the agency remains at “high risk,” according to a new audit of the agency’s operations. “FEC’s information and information systems have serious internal control vulnerabilities and have been penetrated at the highest levels of the agency, while FEC continues to remain at high risk for future network intrusions,” independent auditor Leon Snead & Company of Rockville, Md., writes. The audit, released today, comes less than two weeks after a Center for Public Integrity investigation that revealed Chinese hackers infiltrated the FEC’s IT systems during the initial days of October’s government shutdown — an incursion that the agency’s new leadership has vowed to swiftly address. The Chinese hacking attack is believed by FEC leaders and Department of Homeland Security officials to be the most serious act of sabotage in the agency’s 38-year history.

National: Chinese hackers attacked Federal Election Commission website | CNN

Chinese hackers tapped into the Federal Election Commission’s website during the federal government shutdown in October, a report released Tuesday by an investigative news organization says. The report from the Center for Public Integrity, one of the country’s oldest and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative news organizations, indicates that hackers crashed the FEC’s computer systems, which compiles federal election campaign finance information like contributions to parties and candidates, and how those billions of dollars are spent in each election by candidates, political parties, and independent groups such as political action committees. The attack came as nearly all of the FEC’s employees, except for the presidential-appointed commissioners, were furloughed due to the government shutdown, with not even one staffer being deemed “necessary to the prevention of imminent threats” to federal property. And it came a few months after an independent auditor hired by the government warned that the FEC’s computer systems were at “high risk” to infiltration, a charge the commission disputed.

National: Federal Election Commission attacked by Chinese hackers during government shutdown |

The Federal Election Commission was hit by a massive cyberattack hours after the government shutdown began, according to a report from the Center for Public Integrity. The CPI report claimed the Chinese were behind “the worst act of sabotage” in the agency’s 38-year history. Three government officials involved in the investigation confirmed the attack to CPI, and the FEC acknowledged the incident in a statement. However, the CPI report did not explain why the officials believed China was involved, or provide any details of the network intrusion beyond the fact that attackers crashed several FEC computer systems. When asked for a statement, FEC referred Security Watch to the Department of Homeland Security and did not provide any information. The fact that an attack during the 16-day shutdown occurred should not be a big surprise, since many security experts had warned that attackers might take advantage of IT personnel being furloughed to launch an attack. With less people watching the networks, there was a lot of opportunity for attackers. In fact, the FEC had furloughed all 339 agency employees as none of its staff had been considered “necessary to the prevention of imminent threats” to federal property, according to CPI.

Editorials: How Washington starves its election watchdog | Center for Public Integrity

Just after the federal government shut down Oct. 1, and one of the government’s more dysfunctional agencies stopped functioning altogether, Chinese hackers picked their moment to attack. They waylaid the Federal Election Commission’s networks. They crashed computer systems that publicly disclose how billions of dollars are raised and spent each election cycle by candidates, parties and political action committees. As minutes turned to hours, the FEC found itself largely defenseless against what may be the worst act of sabotage in its 38-year history. The government had furloughed all 339 agency employees, save for the presidentially appointed commissioners, and not even one staffer had been deemed “necessary to the prevention of imminent threats” to federal property, the minimum measure for keeping someone on the job.

Florida: Elections Supervisors Key to Any Florida Voter Purge Effort | Sunshine State News

As the state readies to launch a new effort to scrub suspected noncitizens from the voter rolls, one key question remains: How many county supervisors of elections will join the effort after they essentially torpedoed a similar purge last year? Speaking to the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee on Monday, Secretary of State Ken Detzner said the process this time would be helped along because it uses the Department of Homeland Security’s Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements, or SAVE, database. SAVE is comprised of data from several federal agencies including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Coast Guard, and state officials say it will be more reliable than last year’s attempt based largely on data from driver’s licenses. “SAVE has really been a game-changer when it comes to list maintenance,” Detzner said.

Florida: Detzner says voter-rolls purge will be done right this time | The Florida Current

Secretary of State Ken Detzner said Monday the coming purge of noncitizens from Florida voter-registration rolls will be “case-management work,” double-checked by at least two Division of Elections workers before verification with a federal database. Detzner told reporters at the Capitol he has no starting date for the statewide search for ineligible voters — which has drawn harsh criticism from Florida Democrats, who call it a thinly disguised attempt at “suppressing” minority voters. An attempt at purging the rolls last year, directed by Gov. Rick Scott, fizzled amid the same partisan accusations. This time, Detzner said, the state will work with a federal Department of Homeland Security database known as “SAVE” that was not made available to the state last year. SAVE stands for “Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements,” and Detzner said county elections supervisors are working with his department on details for security clearances so their staff can tap into the system. “I don’t really have a time schedule. This is case-management work, so you manage one case at a time,” Detzner said.

Editorials: Florida voter purge will repeat mistakes | Robert M. Brandon/Orlando Sentinel

Secretary of State Ken Detzner’s attempt to establish confidence in Florida’s upcoming purge of voters has raised more questions than it answers. Rather than providing information on how this round of purges protects the integrity of the voter rolls, his so-called Project Integrity tour has proved that this voter-list-maintenance process lacks transparency, support and validity. Throughout his meetings with supervisors of elections and the public, Detzner and his staff did not answer many important questions on how the state plans to remove suspected noncitizens from the voter rolls while not repeating the same mistakes of the past. Despite Project Integrity’s façade of explaining the purge process and touting its validity, several supervisors of elections expressed concern with the use of the Department of Homeland Security’s SAVE database and the process of carrying out this purge. Many questions remained unanswered, such as what the potential cost will be and what the procedure will be to correct wrongly targeted voters.

Florida: Voter purging in Florida and Virginia leads to lawsuits | Facing South

We’re a little under a month away from Election Day, which for some means time to prepare for early voting. For others, it means time to start purging names from voter rolls. Two Southern states, Florida and Virginia, are facing lawsuits after launching (or in Florida’s case, relaunching) controversial programs that could lead to thousands of voters’ names getting stripped from voting lists. In Virginia, the purging has already started. Voters from these states who may have failed to update their voter registration information — or who ended up on the purge lists by mistake — might show up at the polls during early voting or Election Day only to find that they can’t vote. This was a problem last year in Florida that civil rights advocates thought they had resolved. Gov. Rick Scott and Secretary of State Ken Detzner started a purge program last summer. They tried to use the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) database, which tracks welfare benefits for immigrants, but DHS would not allow it. So instead they turned to state driving records.

Florida: New voter purge, new questions | Sun Sentinel

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner is bringing his mea-culpa roadshow to South Florida today, part of a five-city effort to convince county elections supervisors that in combing the voter rolls for people who shouldn’t be there, this time his office will get it right. Detzner has a lot to prove in reviving the state’s voter-roll purge. Last year his Division of Elections claimed to have identified 182,000 noncitizens who’d registered to vote. But after a steady stream of targeted Americans came forward to prove their citizenship, the number dramatically dropped to 198, at which point county elections supervisors threw up their hands and suspended the effort.

Editorials: Why Florida’s renewed purge effort should stop | Tallahassee Democrat

The United States prides itself for its egalitarian democracy, a democracy inwhich the weight of one’s vote is the same whether you’re young or old, rich or poor, and regardless of race. No right is more fundamental to American citizenship than the right to vote. Yet if voting is a right for all eligible citizens, then it should not have to be earned, and re-earned, over and over again. This is exactly what Florida risks, however, with Gov. Rick Scott’s renewed call for categorically removing alleged noncitizens from its voter rolls. Secretary of State Ken Detzner is creating a new list of suspected noncitizen voters by cross-checking the Department of Homeland Security System Alien Verification for Entitlements Program (SAVE) database with the state voter data. Given the long lines of citizens waiting to vote, Florida officials should know by now that voting is taken very seriously here. Yet this renewed call for another purge of alleged noncitizens shows the rest of the country that Florida is where rights become privileges.

Florida: Democrats say Scott’s latest voter purge driven by politics | Miami Herald

Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant said it was pure politics that was driving Gov. Rick Scott to push for a second purge of non-citizens from voter rolls. “What I say to Rick Scott is if your victory depends on a voter purge, then you’re not fit to govern and you don’t deserve a second term,” Wasserman Schultz said. “This is all about suppressing minority voters and shows how out of touch he is,” Tant said. The comments were made during a Thursday morning conference call with reporters about two hours before Scott’s Secretary of State, Ken Detzner, held the first of five public meetings with supervisors of elections and voters from around the state to discuss how the next purge will be conducted. A first attempt to remove non-citizens last year was impaired by faulty data that disqualified some eligible voters while identifying few actual non-citizens. The state’s list of suspected non-citizens shrank from 182,000 to 198 before supervisors suspended their searches, blaming shoddy data.

Kansas: State won’t require citizenship proof for driver’s license renewals | Topeka Capital-Journal

Kansas no longer plans to require people renewing driver’s licenses to produce proof that they are living in the U.S. legally, Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan said Monday, confirming a policy shift with implications for the state’s administration of a separate proof-of-citizenship requirement for new voters. Jordan said in an interview with The Associated Press that the Department of Revenue, which oversees licensing, will develop a program in coming months in which drivers renewing their licenses can voluntarily present birth certificates, passports or other citizenship documents and have it noted on their licenses. Kansas law already requires people obtaining a new license to provide proof of their lawful residency. State officials previously had planned for such a requirement to be extended to all license renewals under a 2005 federal anti-terrorism law designed to make states’ licenses more secure. But federal officials recently declared that Kansas is among 20 states complying with the federal statute, even without requiring proof of legal residency to renew a driver’s license.

Florida: Scott’s Voter Purge Part II hits the road in October | Miami Herald

Gov. Rick Scott promised that he would once again hunt for non-citizens on state voter rolls, and on Wednesday afternoon, his top elections officials released public details about taking the first steps toward another pruning effort. Secretary of State Ken Detzner announced in a statement that he would begin a roundtable discussion with the state’s 67 supervisor of elections in a series of five public meetings across the state in October. (Sorry Tampa Bay and Miami-Dade, the closest meetings are in Sarasota and Ft. Lauderdale.) Called “Project Integrity”, the meetings will be an opportunity for Detzner to hear from supervisors about how to conduct another purge. “I am embarking on the Project Integrity roundtable tour to collaborate with Supervisors to protect the integrity of our voter rolls,” Detzner said in the statement. He’s creating a new list of suspected noncitizen voters by cross-checking state voter data with a federal database managed by the Department of Homeland Security.

Florida: Election chief wants support for voter purge | Associated Press

Florida’s top election official, stung by criticism that the state previously relied on flawed data, wants to win support from skeptical election supervisors about a coming effort to remove non-U.S. citizens from the state’s voter rolls. Secretary of State Ken Detzner announced Wednesday that he will hold five meetings with county election officials in October on what he’s calling a “Project Integrity Tour.” Some critics have charged that Florida’s voter purge is an effort by Republicans to intimidate naturalized citizens who are likely minorities. But Detzner made it clear in a statement that Florida has no plans to back away from its already announced plans to identify potential non-U.S. citizens and remove them. This time around, though, state officials want to discuss the process they will use prior to distributing any lists of potentially ineligible voters to county officials. County election supervisors are the only ones with power to remove a voter. “We can ensure the continued integrity of our voter rolls while protecting the voting rights of eligible voters from those who may cast an illegal vote,” Detzner said. “Our elections process must uphold the integrity of local voter rolls.”

Iowa: Activists Ask Judge To Block Rule Allowing Voter Purge ‘Scare Letters’ | TPM

The Iowa chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and the League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa have sued Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz (R) over a rule that aims to remove names from voter rolls if a federal immigration database suggests they are not authorized to vote. The ACLU and the LULAC filed a legal motion in Iowa’s Polk County on Wednesday asking the judge to issue a ruling in the lawsuit, originally filed last year, and permanently block Schultz’s rule. Schultz was given tentative permission to use the rule Aug. 14. If the judge approves the request, the activists will have successfully stopped the proposed voter roll purge. The rule in question allows Schultz’s office to cross reference self-identified non-citizens on voter registration rolls with the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) program, which the Department of Homeland Security operates. The SAVE program retains information on immigrants in the country on a temporary visa. If a non-citizen on the SAVE list is also listed as a registered voter a letter is sent to the registrant telling him or her that he or she might be illegally registered to vote. If the voter does not respond to that first letter, a second letter is sent reminding “the individual that registering to vote without citizenship is a felony,” according to Schultz’s office. After the second letter a voter might have to appear before a hearing to present evidence on voter eligibility.

Iowa: ACLU renews suit over voting rules | Associated Press

Civil liberties groups have renewed their court battle with Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz in their effort to stop him from using a federal immigration database to try to find voters registered in Iowa who might not be citizens. The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa and the League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa filed documents on Aug. 26 asking a judge to rule on a lawsuit they filed last year or to at least issue a temporary order to keep Schultz from using the data until the lawsuit can be decided. The lawsuit revolves around a voter removal rule Schultz proposed that went into effect March 27. The rule sets up a process to remove voters from registration rolls if Schultz cannot confirm their citizenship by comparing state records with a federal immigration database. After months of negotiations, Schultz obtained permission from the federal government Aug. 14 to get access to the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements program, called SAVE. It’s administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a division of the Department of Homeland Security and used to confirm immigrant citizenship status to determine eligibility for certain federal benefits.

Iowa: Secretary of State’s office gains access to federal database for voter fraud investigation | Des Moines Register

After months of negotiations and paperwork, Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz said Wednesday his office will gain access to a federal immigration database it can use to investigate potential voter fraud. Schultz, a Republican, released a signed memorandum of understanding between his office and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that will allow him to tap the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements, or SAVE, Program, which tracks the legal status of immigrants. “While there are still many logistics to work out in this process that may take some time, I want to thank the Federal government for finally granting my office access to the federal SAVE program,” Schultz said in a statement. “Ensuring election integrity without voter suppression has been our goal throughout this process. This is a step in the right direction for all Iowans that care about integrity in the election process.”

Iowa: State gains federal access to investigate voter fraud | The Des Moines Register

After months of negotiations and paperwork, Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz said Wednesday his office will gain access to a federal immigration database it can use to investigate potential voter fraud. Schultz, a Republican, released a signed memorandum of understanding between his office and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that will allow him to tap the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements, or SAVE, Program, which tracks the legal status of immigrants. “While there are still many logistics to work out in this process that may take some time, I want to thank the Federal government for finally granting my office access to the federal SAVE program,” Schultz said in a statement. “Ensuring election integrity without voter suppression has been our goal throughout this process. This is a step in the right direction for all Iowans that care about integrity in the election process.”

Iowa: Controversial Iowa voting rule goes into effect | Quad City Times

A new rule that allows election officials to remove people from voter registration lists if their citizenship is questioned took effect Wednesday. The rule was backed by Secretary of State Matt Schultz, a Republican. He says the change is needed to reduce voter fraud, which he’s made his key issue since taking office in 2011. But critics have challenged him calling the rule a witch hunt, voter suppression, and a solution in search of a problem. The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa has been fighting Schultz in court to stop the rule and plans to launch a new legal challenge now that the rule has taken effect. The group says Schultz does not have the authority under Iowa law to enact the rule and that it will erroneously deprive qualified citizens of Iowa their right to vote.

Editorials: Internet voting for overseas military puts election security at risk | Pamela Smith/Hartford Courant

Connecticut lawmakers are considering legislation to allow military voters to cast ballots over the Internet. The intention of this legislation is well-meaning — Connecticut does need to improve the voting process for military voters — but Internet voting is not the answer. Every day, headlines reveal just how vulnerable and insecure any online network really is, and how sophisticated, tenacious and skilled today’s attackers are. Just last week, we learned that the U.S. has already experienced our first-ever documented attack on an election system, when a grand jury report revealed that someone hacked into the Miami-Dade primary elections system in August 2012. A chilling account in The Washington Post recently reported that most government entities in Washington, including congressional offices, federal agencies, government contractors, embassies, news organizations, think tanks and law firms, have been penetrated by Chinese hackers. They join a long list that includes the CIA, FBI, Department of Defense, Bank of America, and on and on. These organizations have huge cybersecurity budgets and the most robust security tools available, and they have been unable to prevent hacking. Contrary to popular belief, online voting systems would not be any more secure.

National: Can States Go Beyond Federal Law On Voter Registration? | NPR

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Monday in a case that could upend the federal effort to spur and streamline voter registration. At issue is an Arizona law that requires prospective voters to provide proof of citizenship when they register to vote. A federal appeals court ruled last year that the state law must fall because it conflicts with federal law. The 1993 National Voter Registration Act, known as the NVRA, allows voters to register by mail using a federal form on a postcard. The form asks, among other things: Are you a citizen of the United States? Prospective voters must check yes or no and sign the form under penalty of perjury. The federal law also requires state officials to “accept and use” the federal registration form for federal elections. The question in this case is whether the state of Arizona may place further conditions on registration, beyond what is required by federal law.

National: Online Voting For Academy Awards Must Not Become Model For Public Elections, Cyber Security & Voting Rights Experts Warn | Paramus Post

A group of concerned cyber security experts and voting rights advocates released a statement today warning that Internet voting for this year’s Academy Awards must not become a model for public elections. The group includes advocacy organizations Common Cause and Verified Voting and some of the most renowned figures in computer science including Ron Rivest, co-founder of RSA and Verisign and recipient of the Turing Award;[1] and Dr. Barbara Simons, former President of ACM and author of Broken Ballots: Will Your Vote Count? “When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that it would be using an online voting system to help its members choose this year’s Oscar nominees and finalists, thereby adding to the “credibility” of online voting, we found ourselves compelled to remind the general public that it is dangerous to deploy voting by email, efax, or through internet portals in public governmental elections at this time,” the experts said. “Public elections run by municipal, local and state governments should not be compared to elections like the one run by the Academy.”

Kentucky: Military voting proposal raises fraud concerns in Kentucky | The Courier-Journal

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes’ proposal to make it easier for members of the military to vote has been hailed by legislators of both parties and even given the honorific designation as Senate Bill 1 for this year’s legislative session. But the proposal drew opposition Wednesday from groups that say a key provision allowing electronic voting from overseas makes votes vulnerable to fraud. “We agree with almost all of the recommendations,” Richard Beliles, chairman of Common Cause of Kentucky, said in a letter he delivered to Grimes’ office Wednesday. “However, we strongly recommend against allowing ballots to be cast online via email, efax, or through Internet portals.” The letter, also endorsed by an official of a California-based public interest group called Verified Voting Foundation, argues, “Online voting presents a direct threat to the integrity of elections in Kentucky because it is not sufficiently secure against fraud or malfunction. Cyber security experts with the Department of Homeland Security have publicly warned against Internet voting.”

National: Senate committee debates if voter-ID, early voting effectively curbed voter fraud | TribLIVE

Senate Democrats and Republicans sparred on Wednesday over whether voter ID laws, attempts to purge voter rolls and restrictions on early voting were legitimate efforts to stop fraud or were Republican strategies to hold down Democratic votes. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and former Gov. Charlie Crist — a onetime Republican who recently turned Democrat — said Florida Republicans aimed their efforts at Hispanics and blacks. They cited as one example the elimination of early voting on the Sunday before the Nov. 6 election. He said members of those groups historically vote after church services.

Florida: Governor Rick Scott’s voter purge efforts start anew | Tampa Bay Times

Florida’s noncitizen voter purge efforts surged back to life Wednesday as Gov. Rick Scott’s elections office produced a new list of 198 potentially ineligible voters, including 39 who voted in past elections. The list was compiled from data maintained by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that the state calls highly reliable, and is headed to county election supervisors, who must give anyone listed 30 days to respond. Any noncitizen who registered illegally could face criminal charges. The decision to revive the controversial program 41 days before Election Day in the nation’s biggest battleground state is stirring new controversy, even though some names on the new list were on a previous — and flawed — list of nearly 2,700 suspected noncitizens released in May. “We are doing absolutely the right thing,” Scott said recently in defending the state’s efforts to remove noncitizens from the rolls. “We believe in honest, fair elections.”