July 2017

UMN Election Academy to Add Undergraduate Certificate

Starting this fall, the Certificate in Election Administration program has received University approval to launch an undergraduate certificate (alongside our existing graduate program) for anyone seeking to deepen and broaden their understanding of election administration.

Colorado to Become First State to Require Regular Risk-Limiting Audits

Yesterday, Colorado announced that it would implement regular risk-limiting audits for its elections, starting this November. The plan could offer a more cost-effective and straightforward way to assess election outcomes – and the state plans to make its tools available to other states who wish to follow suit.

We Need You On That Firewall: South Carolina Reports Nearly 150,000 Hacking Attempts on Election Day 2016

South Carolina’s state election commission disclosed in a recent report on Election Day 2016 that outsiders attempted to access the state’s voter registration system nearly 150,000 times. It’s a reminder that voter data can be at risk from outside threats – and whatever the debates about who should work together and/or be in charge, that work needs to start RIGHT. NOW.

(Not) Voting with Their Feet: electionlineWeekly on Voters Asking to Un-Register

electionlineWeekly’s Mindy Moretti has a must-read piece this week on a troubling new phenomenon: voters asking to cancel their voter registrations because of personal privacy concerns related to the federal request to share voter rolls. It’s a painful reminder that hacking fears can have as much to do with compromise of individuals’ personal information as wider concerns about altered outcomes.

Stuck: County Election Boards in NC Caught in Dispute Over Appointment Power

The ongoing battle between North Carolina’s newly-elected Democratic Governor and the GOP-controlled legislature over appointment of election boards has left numerous counties unable to function for lack of quorum. Specifically, policymakers’ inability and/or unwillingness to set aside partisanship is starting to have an effect on the ability to administer elections at the county level.

Alphabet Soup Can Be Good For You: New EAC “CI Scoop” Looks at ISACs, MS-ISAC, and ISAOs

As you probably already know, cybersecurity is a hot topic in the elections world these days as it has been in many others for a while. What you may not know is that a whole new ecosystem of information sharing has sprung up around cybersecurity – an ecosystem that’s making its way into elections. A new blog post by the EAC’s Mark Listes helps election officials understand the full “alphabet soup” of entities that can be involved.

Threat Modeling: What it Is, How to Do It – And Why It’s Important

Despite all the recent attention to election cybersecurity, the discussion has been largely focused on how different levels of government can cooperate to share information on possible threats to the voting process. A new article by Sean Gallagher in Ars Technica, however, is a nice primer for individuals on both why and how to create “threat models” to identify potential threats and develop plans to protect against them.

Pew Research Poll Examines American Attitudes on Voting

A recent survey by The Pew Research Center illuminates both Americans’ deep commitment to the idea of voting and increasingly divergent views on how it should work in practice. It’s further evidence of the divide on whether voting is a right or a privilege, with splits between parties, races and even age groups – meaning that the current fights aren’t just “inside baseball” but actually represent differences of opinion in the country itself.