Facing at least seven legal challenges, the President’s voter fraud commission held it’s first public meeting this week. The commission is widely recognized as a forum set up to validate the President’s unsubstantiated claims that millions of illegal immigrants voted in the 2016 election. The most recent lawsuits comes from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, alleging among other things that with Trump’s creation of the commission by executive order in May, he “appointed a commission stacked with biased members to undertake an investigation into unfounded allegations of voter fraud.” The complaint also points to the “virulently racist rhetoric” of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, a group associated with two of the commission’s members, Hans von Spakovsky and J. Christian Adams.
The New York Times Editorial Board warned that the commission’s efforts to disenfranchise citizens has been reinforced by the significantly more powerful Justice Department, which sent a letter to 44 states demanding extensive information on how they keep their voter rolls up-to-date. As the Times notes “[t]he letter doesn’t ask whether states are complying with the parts of the law that expand opportunities to register. Instead it focuses on the sections related to maintaining the lists. That’s a prelude to voter purging.”
A single member of the commission Judge Alan King of Jefferson County, Alabama, observed that he’d never seen a single instance of voter fraud in all his years as an election official and instead emphasized the issue of outdated voting technology. As quoted in WIRED, King remarked “[t]hese voting machines are outdated. There’s no money there. Counties don’t have money. States don’t have money. We need money,” King said. “We can discuss a lot of things about voting, but … unless the technology is keeping up with voting, then we’re not using our time very wisely in my opinion.” In a USA Today editorial Jason Smith highlighted the vulnerability of the America’s aging and outdated voting equipment and insecure election infrastructure.
The state of Colorado announced that election security firm Free & Fair will design auditing software to help ensure that electronic vote tallies are accurate. The software will allow state and local election officials to conduct “risk-limiting audits,” a method that checks election outcomes by comparing a random sample of paper ballots to the accompanying digital versions.
In the waning days of the legislative session, a Maine lawmaker has introduced a bill that would allow ranked-choice voting for party primaries only. Over 51% of voters last November approved a ballot initiative calling for ranked choice voting in all elections. Earlier this year the state Supreme Court ruled that the initiative was unconstitutional but an effort to repeal the law in its entirety failed last month.
The North Carolina Supreme Court agreed to take up a case filed by Governor Roy Cooper, challenging a law adopted by the General Assembly this spring calling for the merger of the state Board of Elections and the state Ethics Commission. The court froze any further action on the merger pending the outcome of the Governor’s lawsuit, leaving the state’s election process in an ambiguous state ahead of municipal elections this Fall.
In a post-election report, the South Carolina Election Commission disclosed that on election day 2016, its firewalls blocked nearly 150,000 attempts to access the state’s voter registration database. According to the report it is likely that most of the hacking attempts came from automated computer bots.
In a striking contrast to the previous Administration’s actions, the current Justice Department filed a brief that argues Texas should be allowed to fix its voter ID rules without federal intervention or oversight. The filing also argues that the courts should simply trust Texas to educate voters on the voter ID law, despite widespread criticism of Texas’ voter education efforts ahead of the 2016 election.
The Moldovan parliament’s electoral overhaul, including a move to a first-past-the-post system has been met with strong opposition. Opponents say the new system would disadvantage smaller parties and benefit the two main political players.
The leader of Papua New Guinea’s National Party has accused the electoral commissioner of election fraud. They accuse the Electoral Commission of creating nearly 300,000 ‘ghost voters‘ in electorates controlled by the ruling party, allowing for double voting and ballot fraud.