While the the House Intelligence Committee negotiated an agreement with the nation’s intelligence agencies for full access to sensitive information gathered on interference in last year’s election, Democratic Senators used a confirmation hearing for Deputy Attorney General to urge the selection of a special prosecutor to examine the Trump administration’s potential ties to Russia. In the face of repeated requests, the nominee Rod Rosenstein refused to make any commitment.
In an NPR piece, Pam Fessler notes that although there has been little progress on the Administration’s investigation of voter fraud and states have found scant evidence of illegal voting in the 2016 election this has not deterred Republican legislators in many states from promoting voter id and other restrictive voting requirements.
One Democratic Senator joined the entire Republican caucus in the Arkansas Senate to reach by a one vote margin the two-thirds majority vote needed for passage of photo identification requirement. The day before the Senate had approved a proposed that cleared the way for a constitutional amendment to be placed on the November 2018 ballot. After hours of often contentious debate, the Iowa House passed a similar voter ID requirement on a typical party line vote and changes are being proposed to a voter id bill passed last year in the West Virginia legislature.
The FBI is investigating an alleged data breach in Georgia at the Center for Election Systems at Kennesaw State University, The KSU Election Center is responsible for ensuring the integrity of the voting systems and developing and implementing security procedures for the election management software installed in all county election offices and voting systems. With closely-watched special elections scheduled in the coming months, it is than a bit troubling that closely-watched special elections scheduled for the coming months in Georgia will be held using DREs and e-pollbooks maintained and programmed by the KSU Center at the same time the center is subject to a criminal investigation.
A panel of federal judges ruled that a several of Texas congressional districts drawn by the Republican-dominated state Legislature in 2011 discriminated against black and Hispanic voters and violated the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution. Richard Hasen has suggested that the ruling may provide a path for Texas to once again face ongoing federal supervision under the Voting Rights Act.
A group of academic experts has raised concerns about the security of an internet voting system proposed for use in Western Australia that uses a proxy service to provides protection against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, by placing itself between voters and the actual server.
The French government announced that it was cancelling plans to allow citizens abroad to vote over the Internet in legislative elections this June and the Netherlands is abandoning electronic vote counting ahead of their March 15 general election. Officials in both countries cited concerns over cybersecurity and foreign interference as reasons for abandoning electronic voting.
In a unanimous ruling, South Korea’s Constitutional Court formally removed impeached President Park Geun-hye from office over a corruption scandal. Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn has led the government as acting leader since Park’s impeachment and he will continue to do so until South Korea elects new president by May.