Revealed: Georgia Republicans use power of state to suppress minority vote

“Top Georgia Republicans continue to use the power of the state to investigate political rivals, executing a strategy that voting rights activists say is designed to intimidate voting rights organizations and activists serving minority communities.

Brad Raffensperger, the secretary of state, and David Emadi, executive secretary of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, are investigating and issuing subpoenas to political opponents, without publicly showing evidence there was wrongdoing by those parties…”

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The Guardian

NC certifies barcode ballot voting systems despite security concerns

“Amid threats of litigation from all sides, the North Carolina State Board of Elections voted 3-2 Friday afternoon to certify a voting system that experts say is insecure, voting rights groups advocated against and many public comments opposed.

Chairman Damon Circosta, a Democrat, in his first meeting after being appointed by Gov. Roy Cooper, voted against a motion to make voting system certification requirements more stringent. The board’s two Republican members, David Black and Kenneth Raymond, voted with Circosta…”

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Carolina Public Press

Vote security on the line in NC Board of Elections meeting

“When the NC Board of Elections meets Friday, it will make decisions about voting equipment for 2020 elections that could determine the security of the state’s election process and how much confidence voters can have that the system records and tabulates their votes as they intended.

Security experts, federal research agencies and the US Senate agree on best practices for secure election equipment. They recommend that most voters use hand-marked paper ballots, count the ballots using digital scanners and audit the paper ballots for correctness before election results are made official.

Most North Carolinians already vote this way.

However, 23 of the state’s 100 counties use touch screens to cast their ballots, a system that experts consider insecure and outdated because it cannot be effectively audited…”

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Carolina Public Press

A Misogynistic Joke May Save the Integrity of Your 2020 Ballot

“A misogynistic joke—and the resignation it triggered last week—may have saved a last-minute update to  State Board of Elections requirements for voting systems that blocked machines from the controversial vendor Elections Systems and Software, or ES&S. 

Last Monday, just before the SBE was set to certify three voting systems for the 2020 election, Stella Anderson, one of three Democrats on the five-member board, offered a motion to add a new certification requirement—the production and tabulation of “human-readable marks on a paper ballot”—that would ultimately keep ES&S’s new voting machines out of North Carolina. It passed, 3–2, and not along party lines. The motion required a second meeting and vote to take effect, but the voting security activists in the audience cheered: “We won.”

As it turns out, not quite…”

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Indy Week

‘The selling of an election’: how private firms compromised midterms security

“Private companies had near-complete control over Georgia’s elections for the 2018 midterms and posed a serious security risk, according to testimony and documents revealed during a federal court case challenging the constitutionality of Georgia’s elections.

The most maligned components of Georgia’s election systems – voting machines and online voter registration – were almost entirely managed by private companies, prompting concerns from election security experts…”

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The Guardian

Disabled voters left behind in push to amp up 2020 security, advocates say

“Russian attacks on American democracy in 2016, carried out over the internet, have triggered a national debate over the use of technology in the United States’ upcoming 2020 elections.

But some of the best ways to beef up the security of the voting process and fight off future cyber-attacks could have an unintended consequence: limiting access to the vote for people with disabilities…”

Full story at
The Guardian

‘A risk to democracy’: North Carolina law may be violating secrecy of the ballot

North Carolina may be violating state and federal constitutional protections for the secret ballot in the US by tracing some of its citizens’ votes.

The situation has arisen because North Carolina has a state law that demands absentee voting – which includes early, in-person voting as well as postal voting – is required to use ballots that can be traced back to the voter…”

Full story at
The Guardian

‘They think they are above the law’: the firms that own America’s voting system

Maryland congressman Jamie Raskin is a newcomer to the cause of reforming America’s vote-counting machines, welcomed through baptism by fire. In 2015, Maryland’s main election system vendor was bought by a parent company with ties to a Russian oligarch. The state’s election officials did not know about the purchase until July 2018, when the FBI notified them of the potential conflict.

The FBI investigated and did not find any evidence of tampering or sharing of voter data. But the incident was a giant red flag as to the potential vulnerabilities of American democracy – especially as many states have outsourced vote-counting to the private sector. After all, the purchase happened while Russian agents were mounting multiple disinformation and cybersecurity campaigns to interfere with America’s 2016 general election.

“To say that they don’t have any evidence of any wrongdoing is not to say that nothing untoward happened,” Raskin said. “It’s simply to say that we don’t have the evidence of it.”

The fact is that democracy in the United States is now largely a secretive and privately-run affair conducted out of the public eye with little oversight. …

Full story at
The Guardian

America’s new voting machines bring new fears of election tampering

By design, tens of millions of votes are cast across America on machines that cannot be audited, where the votes cannot be verified, and there is no meaningful paper trail to catch problems – such as a major error or a hack.

For almost 17 years, states and counties around the country have conducted elections on machines that have been repeatedly shown to be vulnerable to hacking, errors and breakdowns, and that leave behind no proof that the votes counted actually match the votes that were cast.

Now, in a climate of fear and suspicion over attacks to America’s voting system sparked by Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections, states and counties across the country are working to replace these outdated machines with new ones. The goal is to make the 2020 elections secure. …

Full story at
The Guardian

Georgia Lawsuit May Allow Rare Glimpse Into Its Elections

The big-ticket races in Georgia, which drew national attention, have been decided — but the battle over the controversial way the state runs its elections rages on. A lawsuit contesting the outcome of the lieutenant governor’s race could provide a rare glimpse into the Peach State’s elections infrastructure and an opportunity to audit its non-transparent voting machines.

The lawsuit, filed by an election integrity group and three Georgia citizens Friday night, will attempt to prove that there were enough irregularities “as to place doubt in the result,” as state law requires for an election contest. At issue are unusual election results that the lawsuit says can only be explained by voting machine malfunctions. To prove that something is wrong, the plaintiffs will need to conduct detailed reviews of the internal memory and programming of DRE voting machines, a level of access that has never been allowed in Georgia…

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