CNN: “One suburban Georgia county has become a flashpoint for concerns over voter suppression for rejecting hundreds of mail-in absentee ballots weeks before Election Day.”
Washington Post: “Nine months after President Trump was forced to dissolve a panel charged with investigating voter fraud, GOP officials across the country are cracking down on what they describe as threats to voting integrity — moves that critics see as attempts to keep some Americans from casting ballots in November’s elections.”
“Voting rights advocates said Republicans are seizing on sporadic voting problems in an effort to disenfranchise voters of color.”
“West Virginia is about to take a leap of faith in voting technology — but it could put people’s ballots at risk,” Politico reports.
“Next month, it will become the first state to deploy a smartphone app in a general election, allowing hundreds of overseas residents and members of the military stationed abroad to cast their ballots remotely. And the app will rely on blockchain, the same buzzy technology that underpins Bitcoin, in yet another Election Day first.”
“The Georgia NAACP is preparing to sue Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the Republican nominee for governor, in response to a report that Kemp’s office has put on hold tens of thousands of voter registration applications, most of them from African-Americans, ahead of the election,” Politico reports.
“The injunction would seek to reopen voter registration in Georgia to ensure that 53,000 registrants on hold in Kemp’s office… would be allowed to register for the upcoming election.”
CNN: “Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams’ campaign is calling on Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp to resign following a report his office is using a controversial verification law to effectively suppress the minority vote in their race to become the state’s next governor.”
“A Fairfax County focus group this summer found many college students who have gotten an absentee ballot simply fail to send it back because a U.S. Postal Service stamp seems to be a foreign concept to them,” WTOP reports.
Said Fairfax County official Lisa Connors: “One thing that came up, which I had heard from my own kids but I thought they were just nerdy, was that the students will go through the process of applying for a mail-in absentee ballot, they will fill out the ballot, and then, they don’t know where to get stamps.”
“A national group with close ties to the Koch Brothers, Freedom Partners, has thrown its support behind Amendment 4 on the Florida ballot — the proposal to restore voting rights to most convicted felons without hearings or delays,” the Tampa Bay Times reports.
From a statement: “We believe that when individuals have served their sentences and paid their debts to society as ordered by a judge, they should be eligible to vote.”
President Trump’s top national security adviser “said the president signed an executive order this week on election meddling to show he has ‘taken command’ of the matter. But this time, the White House broke from its practice of using such directives to make a public splash, instead keeping the event from the public and press,” Roll Call reports.
Said one former Obama White House official: “We’d frequently sign executive orders, but the ones we wanted attention for, we always would sign them publicly. That’s press 101. If you sign one quietly, you are sending the opposite message: Please don’t pay attention to this.”
“New York residents who go to the polls on Thursday will do so despite a number of obstacles, imposed by the state, that make it harder for people to vote. The lack of easy ballot access has essentially created a system of suppression in what’s considered one of the bluest states in the country,” the HuffPost reports.
“Thursday is the second primary election day New Yorkers have had this year. In June, they voted in primaries for federal contests. This week, they’re having their say in the races for governor and other state officials. Most states put all of their elections on one day.”
“New York’s confusing primary system is part of a larger set of voting laws and procedure critics say are among the worst in the country and that state lawmakers could easily fix, but haven’t.”
First Read: “Could New York state’s voting laws and rules be any more complicated? There’s no early voting. And many counties – outside of New York City – have polling places that don’t open until noon on Election Day. Talk about a state that discourages voter participation.”
“Mike Espy is running for the runoff — the sort of election that some African Americans have said for years is designed to keep them from winning,” McClatchy reports.
“The runoff is baked into Espy’s campaign strategy against Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and conservative firebrand Chris McDaniel, Republicans who he’ll face in a so-called ‘jungle’ primary special election Nov. 6 to finish the final two years of GOP Sen. Thad Cochran’s six-year term.”
“The thinking about runoffs goes like this: A black candidate in the South could easily win a multi-candidate primary, as long as they get most of the black vote, which could be as high as the mid-to-low 30s. But in a one-on-one contest, the potential to add to that total is diminished.”
Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA)” is hunkered down in the midst of a strange campaign scandal involving forged signatures on petitions to get a competing candidate into the race,” the Washington Post reports.
“Taylor has been subpoenaed to a court hearing Wednesday in Richmond to determine his role and whether that third candidate is improperly on the ballot, while a special prosecutor separately investigates possible campaign law violations.”
“The controversy has boosted his Democratic opponent, Elaine Luria, in a race with national implications. The 2nd District… went for Trump in 2016 but backed Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam last year. It’s a race targeted by Democrats as a possible flip in their quest to regain control of the House of Representatives.”
“The state of Georgia has blocked all foreign internet traffic to its online voter registration site, BuzzFeed News has learned, a move that would do little to deter hackers but blocks absentee voters. The site, registertovote.sos.ga.gov, is accessible only to U.S. IP addresses.”
“The decision has outraged technologists and voting groups. In theory, it’s meant as a security measure, based on the idea that a person visiting the site is more likely to be a foreign hacker. But in practice, it has the opposite effect: Georgians abroad who don’t know how to reroute their internet traffic with tools like virtual private networks or Tor will be prevented from registering to vote.”
“In a meeting that lasted less than 60 seconds, a Georgia board of elections voted down a plan Friday to close seven of a majority-black county’s nine polling places ahead of November’s midterm elections,” CNN reports.
“Critics had said the plan to consolidate polling places in Randolph County, Georgia, was a brazen attempt to suppress the black vote in Georgia’s governor race, which pits former Georgia House minority leader Stacey Abrams, who is black, against Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who is white.”
“A bill that would have significantly bolstered the nation’s defenses against electoral interference has been held up in the Senate at the behest of the White House, which opposed the proposed legislation,” Yahoo News reports.
“As it currently stands, the legislation would grant every state’s top election official security clearance to receive threat information. It would also formalize the practice of information-sharing between the federal government—in particular, the Department of Homeland Security—and states regarding threats to electoral infrastructure. A technical advisory board would establish best practices related to election cybersecurity.”
“Perhaps most significantly, the law would mandate that every state conduct a statistically significant audit following a federal election. It would also incentivize the purchase of voting machines that leave a paper record of votes cast, as opposed to some all-electronic models that do not. This would signify a marked shift away from all-electronic voting, which was encouraged with the passage of the Help Americans Vote Act in 2002.”
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) “has reaped the political whirlwind in the 10 days since he proclaimed that Russian hackers had ‘penetrated’ some of his state’s county voting systems,” NBC News reports.
“The Republican governor of Florida, who happens to be running against Nelson for his U.S. Senate seat this fall, has blasted his claim as irresponsible. The top Florida elections official, also a Republican, said he had seen no indication it’s true. And the Washington Post weighed in Friday with a 2,717-word fact check that all but accused Nelson — without evidence — of making it up.”
“However, three people familiar with the intelligence tell NBC News that there is a classified basis for Nelson’s assertion, which he made at a public event after being given information from the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee. The extent and seriousness of the threat remains unclear, shrouded for reasons of national security.”
Boston Globe: “Hundreds of thousands of new voters could join the state’s rolls in the coming years after Gov. Charlie Baker (R) signed legislation that adopts automatic voter registration — one in a flurry of bills that became law Thursday with a few flicks of the Republican’s pen.”
“The voting measure, which registers eligible residents when they get their driver’s licenses or health insurance through the state, was one of more than 50 pieces of legislation Baker signed that touch on everything from the state’s opioid crisis and animal abuse to climate change and renewable energy.”
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s (R) lead over Gov. Jeff Colyer (R) in the Republican primary has shrunk to only 91 votes after election officials discovered a mistake in the listing for one county’s results in the state’s tally of votes, the Kansas City Star reports.
Associated Press: “The lead is minuscule when compared with the 311,000 votes cast.”