The Voting News Weekly: The Voting News Weekly for April 24-30 2017

The Guardian reported that in December former MI6 officer Christopher Steele provided the UK Government alleging extensive contacts and collusion between the the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Court papers say Steele decided to pass on the information he had collected because it was “of considerable importance in relation to alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election”, that it “had implications for the national security of the US and the UK” and “needed to [be] analysed and further investigated/verified”.

The House Intelligence Committee investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election has agreed on a witness list of between 36 and 48 people, including Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser; Roger Stone, a Trump confidant; Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser; and Carter Page, an early Trump campaign adviser. Already last week, the committee had announced thatit had invited three former officials with knowledge of Russia’s interference — former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former CIA Director John Brennan, and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

The Maine House rejected a bill that would have required voters to present photo identification at their polling places in order to cast a ballot. The bill will likely still receive a vote in the state Senate, but it appears all but dead for 2017 with the House’s rejection. Meanwhile, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum signed legislation amending the state’s voter identification laws Monday, April 24, despite warnings it doesn’t comply with a federal judge’s ruling. Last year, a federal judge ruled previous changes to the state’s voter ID laws have placed an “undue burden” on Native Americans and others.

In North Carolina, judges voted 2-1 to stop a new law from taking effect that would curtail the new Democratic Governor Roy Cooper’s control over state and local elections. Earlier in the week, Republicans lawmakers overrode the governor’s veto of the bill but the judge’s majority decision ruling said Cooper was likely to succeed in challenging the law, which dilutes the ability governors have had for more than a century to pick election board majorities.

Since March 10, federal judges issued three consecutive rulings against Texas’ legislative redistricting, each finding that the state had drawn the maps with the intent to discriminate against minority voters.“It’s the third strike against Texas in a matter of weeks,” said Nina Perales, vice president of litigation for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and a lead counsel for the Latino organizations in the redistricting case. “[The laws have] been found not just to have discriminated as a side effect, but these are three decisions finding that Texas intentionally racially discriminated against minority voters.”

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that he had broken the record for restoring voting rights to convicted felons, calling it his “proudest achievement” as governor. McAuliffe said he had individually restored rights to 156,221 Virginians, surpassing the previous record-holder by a nose. As governor of Florida from 2007 to 2011, Charlie Crist restored voting rights to 155,315 felons, according to figures that McAuliffe’s office obtained from Florida.

The campaign of the French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron has been targeted by what appear to be the same Russian operatives responsible for hacks of Democratic campaign officials before last year’s American presidential election, a cybersecurity firm warns in a new report. The report has heightened concerns that Russia may turn its playbook on France in an effort to harm Mr. Macron’s candidacy and bolster that of Mr. Macron’s rival, the National Front leader Marine Le Pen, in the final weeks of the French presidential campaign.

In response to the Indian Election Commission’s electronic voting machine challenge, a group of engineers and computer scientists have urged chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi to allow them an opportunity participate in the exercise fully and fairly to assess the security strengths and weaknesses in the security of the machines. Poorvi L. Vora, professor of computer science at the George Washington University and a member of the group, wrote in an article that “the Election Commission should allow experts a reasonable amount of time to examine machines whose entire design has been secret for so many years. The experts should be able to work in a laboratory space of their choosing, with the freedom to fully explore the system and its vulnerabilities, including physical tampering, as any attacker with some access to a single storage locker might have.”

Turkey’s main opposition party announced it will challenge President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s April 16 referendum victory to replace the country’s parliamentary democracy with an all-powerful “presidential system.” The opposition will ask the European Court of Human Rights to render judgment, a day after Turkey’s top administrative court ruled it lacked jurisdiction over the electoral body whose oversight of the voting has sparked daily nationwide protests.

Comments are closed.