National: Trump’s election integrity panel won’t probe Russian infiltration of state election systems | Portland Press Herald

President Trump’s controversial Election Integrity Commission won’t be probing Russian infiltration of state election systems after all. At the commission’s inaugural meeting Wednesday in Washington – which the president briefly attended to push his evidence-free theory that the 2016 election was tainted widespread voter fraud – Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap raised the subject, but agreed with his colleagues to instead rely on any information a Senate probe into Russian interference in the election might provide. “The Senate Intelligence Committee will keep us apprised on what they find and we can work it into our report,” Dunlap told the Press Herald shortly after the meeting concluded. “We don’t have to do our separate investigations. I don’t think we are equipped to do that.” The substantive part of the meeting focused on what actions the commission should take now that most states have rejected its request for voter registration information, with commissioners brainstorming on what data the federal government already had in its possession and how it might be used to explore voter fraud concerns.

National: Election Security Is a Surprisingly Controversial Issue | WIRED

For all the uncertainty surrounding the Trump campaign’s associations with Russia, one thing remains clear: A foreign power interfered in the US presidential race, with hackers targeting the election systems of 21 states to do so. And yet the government has done precious little to keep it from happening again. The inaction stems not from laziness or ignorance but a deep, possibly unbridgeable divide between state and federal powers. So far this year, a handful of special elections in the US have gone smoothly, but the threat from Russia still looms, especially as the 2018 midterm races approach. France recently saw Kremlin-led meddling in its own presidential contest, and Germany has expressed fears over its upcoming election as well. Alarmism may not be productive, but states do have reason to worry. Local officials, though, have bristled at the Department of Homeland Security’s move to designate election systems as “critical infrastructure,” a move designed to unlock resources for system defense upgrades and improve state–federal communication. Everyone agrees that security matters; how to get there is another matter entirely.

Maine: Maine secretary of state pledges review of rules, stresses human error caused recount controversy | Bangor Daily News

After a recount error caused the wrong candidate to be temporarily seated in the Maine Senate, Secretary of State Matt Dunlap is pledging a full review of his office’s approach to election recounts. But Dunlap said Wednesday he’s pleased that the system in place for disputed elections ultimately yielded the right conclusion, despite weeks of controversy surrounding Senate District 25’s election, which stoked fears about election fraud. “It’s mortifying as all get out that there was an error at the recount, but the process worked itself out,” Dunlap said in an interview. “It also finally answers the question about who makes the decision about who gets seated: The voters do.”

Maine: Mystery ballots in state Senate race bring call for investigation | The Portland Press Herald

The Maine Democratic Party is calling for an investigation into ballot count discrepancies on Long Island that tipped the scales in favor of the Republican candidate in the Senate District 25 race in Portland’s northern suburbs. The party’s claim involves 21 ballots from the island town that appeared on Nov. 18, when the Secretary of State’s Office conducted a recount in the race between Republican Cathy Manchester of Gray and Democrat Cathy Breen of Falmouth. The ballots were not tabulated by Long Island officials on election night Nov. 4, and all 21 of them were cast for Manchester, according to a written statement Tuesday from Secretary of State Matt Dunlap. The 21 ballots, combined with ballots from other towns that had been missing or were changed in the recount, were enough to reverse the results of the election and give Manchester an 11-vote victory over Breen, 10,927 to 10,916. The unofficial election night results, before the recount, showed Breen beating Manchester by 32 votes, 10,930 to 10,898. The Maine Democratic Party did not accept the results of the recount, which means the Maine Senate will create a special committee to review the recount and recommend a winner to the full Senate. Republicans will control the Senate when it is sworn in Dec. 3 and will hold four of the seven seats on the committee, which has broad discretion to make a recommendation as it evaluates the recount results.