May 2018

Cronkite News Examines Challenges for Native American Voters

Arizona PBS’ Cronkite News has a new story that examines some of the challenges that face Native Americans when they seek to cast their ballots. It’s an excellent glimpse into the work that must be done- and remains – to ensure full access to all voters in those communities.

Harvard Kennedy School Hosts Event on “Getting to 80 Percent”

I had the good fortune to join a meeting last week at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government focused on improving voter turnout – to unprecedented levels. Entitled “Getting to 80 Percent”, the meeting brought together folks from across the country to talk about what it would take for the country to undertake what organizers called a “moonshot” goal of 80% participation – which is especially significant given survey data showing the strong recent uptick in interest in elections among many sectors of the American public.

Senate Intelligence Committee Issues Election Security Guidelines

The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee is continuing its work on election security, and yesterday released a report that includes a list of guidelines for states and localities on measures they can take to harden their systems. It’s a solid list, and the overall tenor – that states and localities need to look for ways to protect their systems, and the federal government should offer assistance and resources to make that possible – is spot on. Here’s hoping that these guidelines mean that the Committee, and Congress generally, are prepared to offer more funds to state and local election officials for the long haul.

Louisiana SoS Tom Schedler Resigns

Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler, facing allegations of sexual harassment by a former employee, resigned effective yesterday. Schedler had already announced earlier that he would not seek re-election and planned to finish out his term through 2019 but ultimately decided on May 1 to leave office due to the ongoing controversy. His interim replacement now faces the challenging task of planning for three statewide elections in the next three years.

Now What? Rapides, LA Considers Options After Error Mars Tax Election

Rapides Parish (Alexandria), LA is considering its options after a recent tax election was marred by the erroneous exclusion of two precincts. The local official can’t explain what happened but she’s owning the problem and vowing to fix it; what she learns could have an impact on how a new election is conducted – and who gets to vote.

DDoS Attack Hits Knox County, TN Results Reporting Site on Election Night

Knox County, TN will have a security firm review its system after an distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack took down its results reporting site on Election Night last week. Knox County’s experience should serve as a wake-up call that not all cyberattacks are designed to infiltrate a system; they can also “crowd” the site so that no one else can use it. I’ll be curious to see what folks in the field have to say about one official’s argument that “there nothing you can do” to prevent DDoS – especially now since the Knox County experience has taught that such an attack can be successful in delaying results.

electionlineWeekly Looks at Phishing, New Election Officials Survey

This week’s electionline newsletter folds two important stories into one: an announcement of a new survey of election officials by the Democracy Fund – and a primer on “phishing attacks” with CDT’s Joe Hall inspired by the effort to assure survey recipients that the request is genuine.

Latest EAC “Deep Dive” Looks at Election Technology

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s latest “Deep Dive” using Election Administration and Voting Survey (EAVS) data looks at election technology across the nation. It tracks the changing landscape of voting technology, including e-pollbooks – and the rapid expansion of OVR nationwide.

Humphrey “To The Cyber-Barricades” Event Today!

I’m on the road and up early today in Minneapolis for an event at the Humphrey School with my colleague Larry Jacobs looking at the growing cyberthreats to the American voting system and what the election community is doing to respond.