Thanks to Richard Winger of Ballot Access News for this post. On March 20th, the Tenth Circuit handed down a Decision in Utah Republican Party v Cox, 16-4091. The issue was the State Law that says Parties that want to have their Labels on the General ...


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Utah Republican Party Loses Over Methods to Obtain Republican Nomination

Thanks to Richard Winger of Ballot Access News for this post.

On March 20th, the Tenth Circuit handed down a Decision in Utah Republican Party v Cox, 16-4091. The issue was the State Law that says Parties that want to have their Labels on the General Election Ballot, next to the Names of their Nominees, must allow Individuals to Petition onto that Party’s Primary Ballot.

The Republican Party does not want anyone to be allowed to Petition onto its Primary Ballot. Instead, it wants All Individuals who want its Nomination to show Substantial Support at a Party Convention.

The Republican Party doesn’t object to having a Primary, but it wants Only Individuals who showed Strength at a Convention to be on the Primary Ballot.

Judge David Ebel, a Reagan Appointee, upheld the State Law, just as the U.S. District Court had done.

Judge Carlos Lucero, a Clinton Appointee, agreed. Judge Timothy Tymkovich, a Bush Jr. Appointee, dissented and would have held that Freedom of Association allows the Republican Party to Exclude Primary Petitioning Candidates.

All Three Judges agreed that the Number of Signatures needed to get on the Republican Primary Ballot for Legislature is not Unconstitutional, even though they are very high: 2,000 for State Senate and 1,000 for State Representative.

Although they felt the Petitions are perhaps Unreasonably Difficult, they said that doesn’t matter, because there is another way to get on to the Primary Ballot, showing Strength at a Party Convention.

Also they said that the Party isn’t Injured by those difficult Petitions Requirements.

They left the door open to the Possibility that a Petitioning Candidate might Prevail.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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SSCI Offered Recommendations for Securing American Elections


The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) has examined evidence of Russian attempts to Target Election Infrastructure during the 2016 U.S. Elections.

The Committee has Reviewed the Steps State and Local Election Officials take to ensure the Integrity of our Elections and agrees that U.S. Election Infrastructure is fundamentally Resilient. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), State and Local Governments, and other groups have already taken beneficial steps toward addressing the Vulnerabilities exposed during the 2016 Election Cycle, including some of the Measures listed below, but more needs to be done.

The Committee recommends the following steps to better Defend against a hostile Nation-State who may seek to undermine our Democracy:

1. Reinforce States’ Primacy in Running Elections: States should remain firmly in the lead on Running Elections, and the Federal Government should ensure they receive the necessary Resources and Information.

2. Part I - Build a Stronger Defense, Create Effective Deterrence: The U.S. Government should clearly Communicate to Adversaries that an Attack on our Election Infrastructure is a Hostile Act, and we will respond accordingly. The Federal Government, in particular the State Department and Defense Department, should engage Allies and Partners to establish New International Cyber Norms.

3. Part II - Build a Stronger Defense, Improve Information Sharing on Threats: The Intelligence Community should put a High Priority on attributing Cyber Attacks both Quickly and Accurately. Similarly, Policymakers should make plans to operate prior to Attribution. DHS must create clear Channels of Communication between the Federal Government and appropriate Officials at the State and Local Levels. We recommend that State and Local Governments reciprocate that Communication. Election Experts, Security Officials, Cybersecurity Experts, and the Media should Develop a Common Set of Precise and well-defined Election Security Terms to improve Communication. DHS should expedite Security Clearances for appropriate State and Local Officials. The Intelligence Community should work to Declassify information quickly, whenever possible, to provide Warning to appropriate State and Local Officials.

4. Part III - Build a Stronger Defense, Secure Election-Related Systems: Cybersecurity should be a High Priority for those managing Election-related systems. Basic but crucial Security steps like Two-Factor Authentication for those logging into Voter Databases can improve the overall Election Security posture. States and Localities should also take advantage of DHS offerings, to include DHS’s Network Monitoring capabilities.

The Committee recommends DHS take the following steps:

- Working closely with Election Experts, develop a Risk Management Framework that can be used in engagements with State and Local Election Infrastructure Owners to Document and Mitigate Risks to all Components of the Electoral Process.

- Create Voluntary Guidelines on Cybersecurity Best Practices and a Public Awareness Campaign to promote Election Security Awareness, working through the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), and the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED).

- Expand capacity to reduce Wait Times for DHS Cybersecurity Services.

- Work with GSA to establish a List of Credible Private Sector Vendors who can provide Services similar to those provided by DHS.

5. Part IV - Build a Stronger Defense, Take Steps to Secure the Vote Itself: States should rapidly Replace Outdated and Vulnerable Voting systems. At a minimum, any Machine purchased going forward should have a Voter-Verified Paper Trail and No WiFi capability. If use of Paper Ballots becomes more widespread, Election Officials should re-examine current Practices for Securing the Chain of Custody of all Paper Ballots and Verify No Opportunities exist for the introduction of Fraudulent Votes. States should consider implementing more Widespread, Statistically Sound Audits of Election Results. DHS should work with Vendors to Educate them about the Vulnerabilities of both the Machines and the Supply Chains.

6. Assistance for the States: The Committee recommends Congress urgently pass Legislation increasing Assistance and establishing a Voluntary Grant Program for the States:

- States should use Grant Funds to improve Cybersecurity by Hiring additional Information Technology Staff, Updating Software, and Contracting Vendors to provide Cybersecurity Services, among other steps.

- Funds should also be available to Defray the Costs of instituting Audits.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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ACLU Wins Voting Rights Act Section 2 Suit in Sumter County GA

A Federal Court in Albany Georgia agreed with the ACLU Voting Rights Project, the Law Office of Bryan L. Sells, and the ACLU of Georgia, that the Sumter County Board of Elections and Registration’s current School Board District Lines are Unfair to African-Americans, who are 54% of the County’s Population.

On Saturday, the Court Ruled that the current At-Large method of Voting for the County’s Public Education School Board Members disproportionately favored the White Majority Candidates over the Black Minority preferred Candidates.

Reverend Matt Wright, Jr., the Plaintiff, brought the Lawsuit against the County to change the At-Large Method of Voting so that the African American community would have a fair chance to Elect their Candidate of choice to a Seat on the Public Education School Board.

Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibits Voting Practices or Procedures that Discriminate on the basis of Race, Color, or Membership in one of the Minority Groups identified in Section 4(f)(2) of the Act.

CLICK HERE to read the 38 page (pdf) Ruling.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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Facebook Shareholders Sue Over Data Firm Tied To Trump

Facebook Investors hit the Social Media behemoth with a Stock-Drop Suit in California Federal Court Tuesday, alleging that it made Misleading Claims about its use of User Data, which blew up this month when its alleged Relationship to a Trump-linked Data Firm was made Public.

Shares of Facebook’s Stocks toppled more than $20 over two days earlier this week after The New York Times and The Observer of London reported that it did not tell Users that their Private Data was being harvested by Cambridge Analytica (CA).

Facebook banned CA from its Platform and announced it planned to Audit the Company to Verify if the Facebook Data had truly been Deleted, as CA had promised it had been years ago. There's now many Investigations being launched over the matter in the U.S. and the UK.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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AK Initiative Reins In Lobbyists and Foreign Influence on Elections

Do you think there is too much foreign influence in Government? Is more Accountability needed? Well, Alaskan Voters are doing something about it.

The Nonpartisan group, Alaskans for Integrity, is sponsoring an Initiative for the 2018 Ballot that would Limit Lawmakers’ Pay when they Fail to Pass a Budget on time, Restrict Lobbyist Gifts to Politicians, Increase Protections against Foreign Influence on Elections, and Strengthen Conflict of Interest Rules.

The Group announced that the Initiative, called The Alaska Government Accountability Act (Position ID: 17AKGA), has been Certified for the 2018 Ballot after it submitted 45,408 Petition Signatures in Support of its Provisions. “Independents, Democrats and Republicans support this initiative to make government more accountable and transparent,” said State Representative Jason Grenn (I-22nd District), Co-Chair for Alaskans for Integrity. “This initiative will bring some common-sense reforms to a broken system.”

According to Alaskans for Integrity, lawmakers received an average of $37,000 “in tax-free per diem” in 2017. “The no budget, no pay provision is what resonates for so many of us,” said Bonnie Jack, Republican Co-Chair of Alaskans for Integrity.

Here is a breakdown of the Initiative’s provisions:

- No Budget, No Pay: Legislators would no longer be Entitled to the Daily Per Diem Allowance if the Budget is not Passed by the End of the Regular Legislative Session. Lawmakers are currently entitled to a $295/day Allowance on Top of their $50,400 Base Annual Salary. This Allowance is offered every Day the Legislature is in Session and includes Extended and Special Sessions, even if a Budget is not Passed on Time.

- Restricts Lobbyist Gifts to Legislators: Closes Gift Rule Loopholes to Ban Lavish Meals and Alcoholic Beverages for Legislators paid for by Lobbyists.

- Strengthens Conflict of Interest Rules: Requires Legislators to Declare Conflicts of Interest before Voting and Excuse themselves from Voting when they or a Member of their Family has a Financial Conflict of Interest.

- Protects Alaska’s Elections from Foreign Influence: Corporations with significant Foreign Ownership would be Prohibited from Spending on Alaska’s State and Local Candidate Elections.

- Foreign Travel Restrictions: Legislators will no longer be able to Bill the State for International Travel unless they can show how the Trip Benefits Alaskans and Serves a Legislative Purpose.

Independents, Democrats, and Republicans support this Initiative to make Government more Accountable and Transparent.

The Alaska Government Accountability Act will appear on the Primary (August 21st) or General Election Ballot, depending on when the Legislature adjourns this year.

This Act would take effect July 1st, 2019.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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