The New York Times reported that NSA investigations of phone records and intercepted calls show that members of the Trump campaign had repeated contact with Russian intelligence operatives prior to the election contradicting the campaign’s claims. The calls between Mr. Trump’s associates and the Russians were initially captured as part of routine foreign surveillance, but subsequently the NSA was asked by the FBI to collect as much information as possible about the Russian operatives on the phone calls, and to search through troves of previous intercepted communications that had not been analyzed.
The Atlantic posted an extensive piece on efforts by House Administration Committee chairman Gregg Harper (R-MS) to eliminate the Election Assistance Commission. On a party-line vote, his bill to terminate the agency was the first piece of legislation approved by the Committee in the new Congress. Voting rights advocates worry that this version of the bill may actually get a floor vote. Supporters of the EAC argue that it would be especially foolhardy to get rid of it at a time of heightened concerns about the integrity of U.S. elections. “This is the time when we should be focusing on strengthening the only federal agency charged with making elections work for all Americans, not trying to eliminate it,” said Representative Robert Brady of Pennsylvania, the ranking Democrat on the committee.
Stanford computer scientist and Verified Voting founder David Dill wrote about the potential of foreign powers hacking American computerized voting systems and the importance of post-election audits in protecting the integrity of our elections. “We need to audit computers by manually examining randomly selected paper ballots and comparing the results with machine results. Audits require a voter-verified paper ballot, which the voter inspects to confirm that his or her selections have been correctly and indelibly recorded.”
As he blatantly lied on a series of talk shows last Sunday about the extent to which illegal voting occurs in American elections, White House aide Stephen Miller told George Stephanopoulos to “invite Kris Kobach onto your show, and he can walk you through some of the evidence of voter fraud in greater detail.” On Monday, three separate networks gave Kobach the chance to do just that. It did not go well for him. Leaders from both parties are defending New Hampshire’s electoral system in the wake of another unsubstantiated Trump claim that there’s massive voter fraud happening in the state. Republican strategist and former New Hampshire Attorney General Tom Rath wrote “Let me be as unequivocal as possible: allegations of voter fraud in NH are baseless, without any merit-it’s shameful to spread these fantasies.”
A pair of bills aimed at tightening Maine’s voter identification requirements were broadly panned as unconstitutional and unneeded Wednesday during daylong public hearings before the Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee. Massachusetts Auditor Susan Bump has determined that early voting in last year’s presidential election constituted a state mandate on cities and towns, and the state should pay for it and the North Carolina Supreme Court has restored a block on the legislature’s overhaul of the state elections board and ethics commission while Gov. Roy Cooper’s lawsuit awaits resolution.
The Dutch government will allow municipalities to use computers to tabulate the votes cast in upcoming elections, provided that they are not connected to the Internet. The voting itself is done on paper in pencil and the contents of the ballot boxes are counted by hand. The head of front-running French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron’s independent Onwards Party has said that they have been the target of hundreds if not thousands of Russian hacks and a fake news smear campaign.