1. The real threats to election integrity have nothing to do with Voter ID
Three recent stories point to the alarming vulnerability of our election systems to attack.
First, the New York Times Magazine has an in-depth feature on "The Crisis of Election Security" which looks at the widespread problems with electronic voting systems in dozens of states:
The real problems were the machines used to cast and tally votes and the voter-registration databases the Russians had already shown interest in hacking. The entire system — a Rube Goldberg mix of poorly designed machinery, from websites and databases that registered and tracked voters, to electronic poll books that verified their eligibility, to the various black-box systems that recorded, tallied and reported results — was vulnerable.
Next, Politico reports on the findings of a study that shows that a "commonly used voting machine could tip an election":
Over several days in August, participants discovered dozens of new vulnerabilities, including one that allowed hackers to gain physical access to a machine used in 18 states in just two minutes — less time than most people take to vote.
If that sounds like tin-foil-hat conspiracy talk, feel free to watch this clip where Rachel Tobac demonstrates the hack in real time:
On the first day of the event, 39 children tried to hack into the site replicas and 35 were able to do so in under half an hour. The fastest exploit was completed in under 10 minutes by an 11-year-old boy. "It's not surprising that these precocious, bright kids would be able to do it because the websites that are on the internet are vulnerable, we know they are vulnerable," University of Pennsylvania Professor Matt Blaze, who helped organize the Voting Village, told PBS NewsHour. "What was interesting is just how utterly quickly they were able to do it."
Meanwhile, in places like Kansas and Texas and North Carolina, the top "security" issue of election officials appears to be carding 80- and 90-year-old black people before they vote.
2. New election laws in North Carolina lead to reduced early voting and polling place closures
Thanks to new election laws put in place by the GOP supermajority in the North Carolina state legislature, despite the veto by Governor Roy Cooper, voters in the Tar Heel state will have nearly 20 percent fewer early voting locations than there were in 2014.
In part because of the new law, Pro Publica reports that nearly half of North Carolina’s 100 counties are shutting down polling places.
All of this is in the name of "election integrity"…
3. How we got into this mess. Hint: Old white men in powdered wigs.
4. Maybe Russians interference really did make the difference in 2016
University of Pennsylvania's Kathleen Hall Jamison's latest book makes a compelling case that Russian election interference was enough to swing the outcome in 2016. Check out the New Yorker deep dive into her findings.
5. What's at stake in Florida's battle for felon voting rights
The New York Times Magazine takes a deep look at Desmond Meade and his fight to change the way Florida handles voting rights for former prisoners.
“Don’t put that ‘felon’ next to my name. I’m a returning citizen. I did my crime. I paid my time. Now let me move on. Say yes to second chances.”
An excellent read on one of the critical issues this fall.
6. Gerrymander Jewelry