The Voting News Weekly: The Voting News Weekly for April 2-8 2018

Verified Voting Technology Fellow Alex Halderman teamed up with the New York Times to demonstrate the vulnerability of direct recording electronic voting machines in a powerful video. McClatchy reflected on the decade-long process that left the nation with over a dozen states continuing to use these voting machines that have been repeatedly demonstrated to be vulnerable to hacking and software error.

17 States, 7 Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors have filed a a lawsuit against the Census Bureau and Commerce Department to seeking to remove a new citizenship question from the 2020 census questionnaire. The lawsuit argues that adding the citizenship demand to the 2020 census questionnaire was arbitrary and will “fatally undermine the accuracy of the population count.”

Gov. Rick Scott and the state’s three Cabinet members are appealing a federal judge’s ruling that they must overhaul Florida’s system for restoring felons’ voting rights and come up with a remedy by April 26. According to the Tampa Bay Times “the state’s appeal all but ensures that a new restoration system won’t be in place by the November election, when Scott, Putnam and Patronis are all expected to be on the ballot. An estimated 1.5 million Floridians have been permanently disenfranchised because of felony convictions.”

The Portland Press-Herald reports that “[a] last-minute attempt by Maine lawmakers to resolve some of the issues surrounding ranked-choice voting failed Thursday, leaving it up to the courts to decide the fate of the first-in-the-nation system. A 17-17 vote on a joint order in the Maine Senate scuttled attempts by Democrats to resolve concerns that Republicans had raised about the ballot-box law adopted in a statewide referendum with 52 percent of the vote in 2016.”

For the eighth year running Nebraska’s unicameral legislature defeated a proposal to require phot identification at the polls. Stripped of the id requirement, the bill that passed included provisions for the use of electronic pollbooks.

A Federal judge has granted summary judgment to a group of voters who argued that the voter registration measures of Texas’ online driver’s license registration system are unconstitutional under “motor voter” provisions of the 1993 National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). The Texas Civil Rights Project filed suit in 2016 on behalf of four Texans who said they were denied the opportunity to cast a ballot because their voter registration had not been updated.

Statescoop posted a revealing article profiling the venture capitalist who is paying for West Virginia to offer a small group of voters the ability to cast their ballots over the internet, using software that runs on blockchain. University of South Carolina computer scientist warns that this project is yet another “instance of faith-based voting,” which transfers authority from government elections officials to software firms with proprietary code. Buell continued “[a] vote without a paper trail also makes it difficult to challenge potentially corrupted ballots, or for voters accused of corruption to defend themselves. And a successful hack could potentially influence thousands of ballots in an instant.”

South Korea’s government has officially distanced itself from a firm providing electronic voting machines to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where tensions are running high ahead of a presidential poll in December. A South Korea firm called Miru Systems Co Ltd is providing the machines for the December 23 poll, which also combines legislative and local elections.

Mexican news site Nacion321 has reported last month that between September 2017 and the beginning of March, 58 political figures, including mayors, deputies, and candidates, were killed. Now Bishop Salvador Rangel, who has a record of reaching out to drug kingpins in hopes of curbing violence, has negotiated a deal with gangs of Mexican drug traffickers, who have agreed to end their murder spree targeting political candidates ahead of the July 1 elections.

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