Editorials: Amid coronavirus, give clerks support to conduct the November election | Tina Barton, Kammi Foote and Paddy McGuire/Detroit Free Press

COVID-19 comes 102 years after the Spanish Flu epidemic that coincided with 1918 midterm elections, during Woodrow Wilson’s second term as president. Technology and the political climate have changed drastically in the last century, but protective measures such as quarantines, are eerily similar to today. In 1918, our country managed to hold its November election during a pandemic, suspending quarantines to do so, but it wasn’t without great cost to the health and safety of our nation. We election officials have confidence that we can hold the November 2020 presidential election if this pandemic continues, but we are going to need to act quickly, and without partisanship, if we are going to be successful in that endeavor. Today, more than ever before, local and state election officials across this country have the capacity to provide safe and transparent elections to all voters. We are calling on Congress and States to act now to provide the funding and local autonomy needed to protect the sanctity of this November’s election.

North Carolina: Constitutional amendments: Judges say two proposals have misleading language | News & Observer

A panel of Superior Court judges on Tuesday blocked two North Carolina constitutional amendments from statewide ballots. The order from a three-judge panel said ballots should not be printed that ask voters to make changes in the state constitution on how state boards and commission members are appointed and how judges are selected to fill vacancies. The order said those ballot questions did not fully inform voters of the changes that would result if the measures passed. The court order gives Gov. Roy Cooper a victory, at least temporarily, in his lawsuit against legislative leaders. The order has no real effect since the judges last week ordered that no ballots be printed while the court cases and appeals continue. Attorneys representing Cooper, the state elections board and legislative leaders said at a hearing last week they would appeal the order if their side lost.

Editorials: Georgia’s Election System Can’t Be Trusted | Richard DeMillo/Bloomberg

It occurred to me earlier this month, as security guards muscled me away from the doors behind which North Fulton County election officials were downloading vote totals, that the reason I don’t trust Georgia’s election system is that the people who run it act like they have something to hide. Georgia’s aging, vulnerable, unverifiable, mismanaged, electronic voting machines are famously insecure. They’ve been hacked dozens of times, most recently at last summer’s DEFCON 25 Hacker convention in Las Vegas, where a group with little experience in voting technology gained complete control over how Georgia’s voting machines register and store votes. Even the tech center that manages state machines has been breached. It was discovered in March 2017 that sensitive voter data, passwords and software had been exposed to possibly millions of unauthorized users. Despite agreement among U.S. intelligence services that Russian hacking represents a severe threat, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp has shown little interest in election security, dismissing threats as “fake news.” Yet those aren’t the main reasons I mistrust the system.

North Carolina: House GOP tries again on overhaul of elections oversight | News & Observer

House Republicans are rushing a bill through the legislature that would aim to salvage last year’s attempt to take away control of elections boards from the political party of the governor. A law passed in a 2016 post-election special session and signed by former Gov. Pat McCrory would have consolidated the state elections and ethics boards and evenly divided membership of the new board between Republicans and Democrats. But a three-judge panel struck down that law last month as an unconstitutional encroachment on executive authority. The 2016 law would have altered a longstanding practice giving a governor the power to appoint three members from his party to preside over elections as well as two members from the other party. Instead, the governor would have appointed four members and legislative leaders would have appointed the other four. In December, incoming Gov. Roy Cooper sued over those provisions, which were aimed at shifting some of the governor’s authority to the state legislature.

Voting Blogs: We Need The PCEA More Than Ever | Election Academy

Over the weekend – a little more than three years after its initial release – the report of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration (PCEA), and the rest of its work, was no longer available online after the new Administration decided to remove it from its home at supportthevoter.gov. The removal of the PCEA materials comes at a time when the White House is increasingly signalling that it will take steps to re-examine the 2016 election for evidence of fraud, despite no credible evidence that such fraud existed anywhere other than isolated cases, if at all. That’s unfortunate, because the PCEA is the kind of wide-ranging, bipartisan and thorough effort that any attempt to understand the American voting system needs.

National: Donald Trump refuses to say if he will accept election result in final debate | The Guardian

Donald Trump used the final presidential debate with Hillary Clinton to declare he would keep the country “in suspense” over whether he would accept the outcome of November’s election. The Republican nominee’s refusal to endorse the results of the election, unheard of in American history, capped a fractious debate in which he clashed with Clinton over abortion, gun rights, immigration and foreign policy. In one of the final exchanges Trump called his rival for the White House “such a nasty woman” after she attacked his personal record on paying no income tax for years. However, it was Trump’s refusal to accept the outcome of an election he is currently projected to lose that will stand out from Wednesday night’s ill-tempered clash. “I will look at it at the time,” Trump said, when pressed by Fox News moderator Chris Wallace, who pointed out Trump was breaking with centuries of peaceful transition of power. “I will keep you in suspense,” Trump said.