A new report suggests that several state voter registration files are available for sale on the “dark web”. This data may not have been stolen via a “hack” but rather represents a misuse of voter files by an unauthorized party; still, this threat – large files with voters’ personally identifiable information being offered for sale to individuals who may not respect state and local laws regarding what can (and cannot) be done with such information – is the kind of election cyberthreat (an attack on voters rather than outcomes) that worries me the most.
The weather has once again been a major player this election season, with hurricanes swamping the Carolinas, the Florida Panhandle and large swaths of the Southeast – but severe weather is also affecting voters in Arizona, where the combination of mail ballot delivery and torrential hurricane rain have resulted in soaked, unusable ballots. Election officials are moving swiftly to alert and assist voters with getting replacements.
Election Day is three weeks from tomorrow, and while the fight for control of Congress and governorships gets most of the play, Secretary of State races are also important to the nationwide election community. With that in mind, Governing Magazine’s Louis Jacobson has released updated ratings for the 27 state races in play this fall.
There has been a lot of attention to the candidates on the November 6 ballot – but in this week’s electionline newsletter, Mindy Moretti previews a number of state and local ballot questions addressing issues with the voting process. Most of these issues aren’t likely to generate the kind of partisan heat that many ballot questions bring; however, if enacted, each of them will constitute significant change in how the affected jurisdiction administers its elections.
With Election Day less than a month away, now is the time that election offices step up their efforts to let voters know what’s going to be on their ballots. But in Iowa’s Linn County (Cedar Rapids), several hundred voters mistook sample ballots for the real thing – actually voting and returning them. It illustrates the line election officials must walk in preparing voter education materials like sample ballots: wanting to ensure that they are sufficiently realistic and usable to be helpful to voters, but not so much so that there’s confusion about what’s real and what isn’t.
The U.S. Supreme Court has let stand for now a North Dakota law requiring voters to present an ID bearing their residential address, despite arguments from Native American voters that it will disproportionately affect them. Moreover, the Court declined to apply the so-called “Purcell principle” which suggests that courts stay out of election disputes this close to an election.
The State of Florida is preparing for landfall of Hurricane Michael – and the forecast is triggering an election storm as well as calls emerge for the state to extend its Tuesday voter registration deadline. If this dispute sounds familiar, it’s because it also happened in 2016, when a federal judge ordered the State of Florida to extend its deadline because of Hurricane Matthew. Here’s hoping that everyone in the storm’s path stays safe – but don’t be surprised to see litigation over this issue as Michael prepares to come ashore.
The latest electionlineWeekly finds Mindy Moretti talking to election officials across America where ballots are going to be extremely long on Election Day. These long ballots highlight the importance of voters “reading ahead” about what’s on their ballots so they aren’t surprised at the polls. In addition, these ballots will not only mean a slower voting experience for many but will likely slow results as well.
TurboVote has become one of the most popular vehicles for many Americans – especially young people – to register to vote and get information on the election process. Unfortunately, this year that growing popularity, and the “brand recognition” associated with it, has a downside: the emergence of scammers using TurboVote’s name and reputation to attempt to trick voters. Specifically. state election officials in several states are reporting that voters are receiving phone calls or text messages pretending to be TurboVote and asking voters to divulge personal information.
Today on Capitol Hill, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) is hosting the 2018 Election Readiness Summit bringing together state and local election officials, federal officials and members of the private sector to examine issues associated with the nation’s readiness for the 2018 general election.