Alaska wins election stickers race

For all of you in the U.S., no doubt your feeds are filling up with your friends showing off their "I Voted" stickers (and if they're not, uh, better get some new friends). But are their stickers as cool as the ones from Alaska?

Artist Pat Race of Juneau was hired to design these little "I Voted" beauties for the State of Alaska Division of Elections. Race's pro-voting animals not only appeared on the Land of the Midnight Sun's stickers but also on their Official Election Pamphlets.

At least one Alaskan is trying to collect all eight designs:

Prints of the designs are available directly from the artist. Prices start at $10.

image via Kyle Miller Read the rest

Ivanka Trump to get 16 new China trademarks, including one for 'voting machines'

Why does Ivanka Trump need trademarks for nursing homes, sausage casing, and *voting machines* in China? Or do we not want to know. Read the rest

Federal court thinks Georgia should count citizens' votes

Georgia voters are in a battle against their own Secretary of State for the right to vote. This week a Federal court tried to ensure citizens forced to provisional ballots are given the ability to confirm their vote, and to contest claims their signature was not their own.

Via USA Today:

"The court does not understand how assuring that all eligible voters are permitted to vote undermines integrity of the election process," May said. "To the contrary, it strengthens it."

"Permitting an absentee voter to resolve an alleged signature discrepancy ... has the very tangible benefit of avoiding disenfranchisement," said the judge, a nominee of President Barack Obama.

May gave lawyers until noon Thursday to comment on whether the language in her order is “confusing or will be unworkable.”

Her decision was applauded by Sophia Lakin, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney.

“This ruling protects the people of Georgia from those who seek to undermine their right to vote," Lakin said. "It’s a huge victory, especially with the midterms just days away."

Candice Broce, spokeswoman for the Georgia secretary of state’s office, declined to comment and referred all questions to the attorney general’s office.

Read the rest

Cute PSA on 'How to Vote'

Writer and comedian Demi Adejuyigbe (The Good Place, The Late Late Show) explains how and why folks should vote in this cute PSA video.

Vote. It's not a test. It's ok to look at your phone, or bring a cheat sheet, or just leave stuff blank... After all, it's a free country... for now.

[Pssst... Register to vote.]

(Daring Fireball) Read the rest

Maryland voter registration and online voting vendor financed by Russian oligarch

The State of Maryland got a bit of a surprise when the FBI informed state officials the contractor responsible for much of Maryland's voting infrastructure was, unbeknownst to Maryland, purchased by a Russian oligarch in 2015.

Via CBS News:

"We were briefed late yesterday, along with Governor Hogan, by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that the software vendor who maintains portions of the State Board of Elections voter registration platform was purchased by a Russian investor in 2015, without the knowledge of state officials," Maryland State Senate President Thomas Mike Miller, Jr. and Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch, said in a joint statement Friday.

State officials say they were told they were told their voter registration system, ByteGrid LLC, is financed by AltPoint Capital Partners, whose fund manager is "a Russian" and largest investor is Russian oligarch Vladimir Potanin. ByteGrid LLC performs a vast array of voting-related functions for the state, including voter registration, the state's online voter registration system, online ballot delivery and unofficial election night results.

"While the FBI did not indicate that there was a breach, we were concerned enough to ask Attorney General [Brian] Frosh to review the existing contractual obligation of the state, as well as asked for a review of the system to ensure there have been no breaches," Miller and Busch said.

We have also instructed the State Board of Elections to complete all due diligence to give the voters of Maryland confidence in the integrity of the election system. We are also asking the federal Department of Homeland Security Election Task Force to assist the State Board of Elections for any corrective action deemed necessary."

Read the rest

Voter registration deadlines for every state

This isn't a long post, but damn it's an important one. Read the rest

New York weekly newspaper's cover is a voter registration form

Ithaca's free alt-weekly The Ithaca Times printed a New York State voter registration form on their cover this week. The medium is the message.

Read the rest

'Too Late to Protect 2018 Elections,' says Alex Stamos, former Facebook CSO

The latest read from Alex Stamos bears an appropriately grim title. Read the rest

"The efficiency gap": understanding the math behind a crucial Supreme Court gerrymandering case

Last October, the Supreme Court heard argument in Gill v. Whitford, a Wisconsin gerrymandering case that has far-reaching implications for the November midterms in 2018; the court is expected to rule next June. Read the rest

Defcon vote-hacking village shows that "secure" voting machines can be broken in minutes

Since the 2000 Bush-Gore election crisis and the hanging-chad controversy, voting machine vendors have been offering touchscreen voting machines as a solution to America's voting woes -- and security researchers have been pointing out that the products on offer were seriously, gravely defective. Read the rest

The 2016 elections taught us to watch for attacks that undermine the legitimacy of elections

Princeton computer scientist and former White House Deputy CTO Ed Felten (previously) writes about the security lessons of the 2016 election: first, that other nation-states are more aggressive than generally supposed, and second, that you don't need to hack the vote-totals to effect devastation on an adversary -- it's sufficient to undermine the election's legitimacy by messing with voter rolls, "so there is uncertainty about whether the correct people were allowed to vote." Read the rest

Letter to my black daughter under a Trump presidency

Hi Kid,

On Election Night, you went to bed crying, and this time, I couldn't fix it. Like half the country, you thought you would be going to bed with your candidate as the president-elect. I wiped away a big, globby tear from the end of your nose, proud of you for caring so deeply about your country. I said it was going to be OK. I explained that, "politics goes back and forth, and this year it just wasn't our turn. Remember when I was for Obama and you were for Hillary, and she lost the primary, but you ended up liking Obama?" Your thirteen year-old defiance broke through your tears, as you declared, "No, this is different!"

You then spouted off a litany of things I didn't know you thought much about:

"It's different because Donald Trump doesn't have the basic morals of everything our country stands for. He doesn't even have the morals of a normal Republican. It's not that the other side won. It's that the person who won is literally against half of the people in the country. He doesn't like Muslims, Mexicans, anyone who is LGBT, he definitely doesn't like women, or people of color. He doesn't like ME. It seems like he only likes people like himself -- white males. How can he be our president?"

He's our president because people voted for him and he won the election. I will be raising you under a Donald Trump presidency until you go to college in four years. Read the rest

Canadians: you have until Oct 7 to weigh in on using voting machines in national elections

"Canadians have until October 7, 2016 to provide their feedback to the Parliamentary Special Committee on Electoral Reform, which is studying the possibility of national online voting, along with having consultations about using electronic voting machines in national elections." Read the rest

When Today's Teens Run for Office

Today we try to figure out what happens when our future presidential candidates have thousands of Tweets and Tumblr posts and Instagrams in their online record.

Flash Forward: RSS | iTunes | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Patreon | Reddit

What happens, when today’s teens start running for office? When their entire internet history is there, searchable, for us to read? What if these teens Tweet something at 15 that they might regret at 45? Do we learn to accept that their opinions have changed? Or do we go through every candidate's entire social media history to find dirt on them? Does that tactic still work in the future? Or do we all just throw up our hands and admit that teens have bad opinions and that hopefully those opinions have changed?

▹▹ Full show notes Read the rest

"Tellin The World" 1972 voting PSA aimed at 18-25 y/o working-class voters

Amy Sloper writes, "This is a really timely (while still feeling dated) voting PSA about the importance of tellin' the world your opinion by voting." Read the rest

Snapchat is fighting for your right to take selfies in the voting booth

You know how people like to go vote, then walk around for the rest of the day/week/forever with an “I Voted” sticker on their lapel? Millions of people like to Snapchat their lives online, and they'd like to snapchat “I Voted” with voting booth selfies. Just one problem. Taking pictures of your ballot is illegal in many states. Read the rest

How to teach gerrymandering and its many subtle, hard problems

Ben Kraft teaches a unit on gerrymandering -- rigging electoral districts to ensure that one party always wins -- to high school kids in his open MIT Educational Studies Program course. As he describes the problem and his teaching methodology, I learned that district-boundaries have a lot more subtlety and complexity than I'd imagined at first, and that there are some really chewy math and computer science problems lurking in there. Read the rest

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