Election Integrity Weekly Newsletter | WhoWhatWhy

WhoWhatWhy has been a leader in covering election integrity. That makes us uniquely qualified to inform our readers about the threats to US democracy from within and from abroad.

With arguably the most consequential election in recent US history underway, our weekly election integrity newsletter keeps you informed of who wants to undermine US democracy, what they are planning, why they are doing it — and what you can do about it.

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March 30, 2020

Coronavirus and the 2020 Election — an Update

There are a lot of moving parts at the moment, but election officials are scrambling to keep elections going amid the coronavirus. Here’s what happened this past week: Congress included $400 million for elections in its emergency $2 trillion stimulus package last week. It’s a step in the right direction, but a drop in the bucket, say voting rights and election security groups. (read the Brennan Center’s cost estimate here) At least 10 states and one territory have rescheduled their presidential primaries: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Puerto Rico. (find new election...

March 23, 2020

An Opportunity Presents Itself

Seven states — Louisiana, Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, Maryland, Connecticut, and Indiana — have postponed their presidential primaries. Wyoming canceled its in-person caucuses and urged everyone to vote by mail. In fact, a growing number of people are pointing out that mail-in voting could be the best way to keep voters safe without disrupting turnout this November. The editorial board of the New York Times called on the federal government yesterday to mandate that every state offer mail-in voting in the general election. A few states already conduct most or all of their elections through mail-in voting: Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah,...

March 16, 2020

What to Know About the Coronavirus

What to Know About the Coronavirus: Democrats in Congress have introduced emergency legislation to fund mail-in voting and help poll workers purchase cleaning supplies in the event that 25 percent of all states declare a state of emergency, but it remains unclear whether it will pass. (read more) Not all states have taken steps to balance access to voting and protecting public health, either. Louisiana and Georgia, two states already grappling with a poor record of election security, have postponed their presidential primary elections. Wyoming canceled its in-person voting and will implement a vote-by-mail and ballot drop-off system. (read more) In...

March 9, 2020

Investigation Refutes Kemp Bogus Hacking Claim

Days before the 2018 election, WhoWhatWhy exclusively reported that there were serious security vulnerabilities in a voter database in Georgia. Then-Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R), who was running for governor, accused Georgia Democrats of a failed hacking attempt just hours later. Nearly a year and a half later, investigators have found no evidence backing up Kemp’s claims. Attention is now turning toward Kemp’s successor, Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who is accused of repeating Kemp’s retaliatory tactics against critics of state officials and of Georgia’s new election equipment. Marilyn Marks, executive director of the Coalition for Good Governance, is...

March 2, 2020

2020 Dems Speak at Selma

Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) were the only presidential candidates to speak last night at the Selma Presidential Forum, moderated by MSNBC’s Joy Reid and Rev. Mark Thompson. “I want people to be shocked by the fact that one of the two major political parties in this country plans to win, and they’re pretty open about it, by keeping African Americans from voting,” Warren said. “We need to get out there and start arguing for a constitutional amendment to protect the right for every American citizen to vote and to get that vote counted… put some federal...

February 24, 2020

Report Alleges Voter Suppression in Alabama

Since the Supreme Court gutted a key part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Alabama lawmakers have taken a string of actions that disproportionately disenfranchise African American voters, according to a recent report by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The report states that the Republican-controlled state legislature implemented a voter ID law that targets minorities, closed polling places in predominantly minority communities, and made little effort to educate voters about a new felon re-enfranchisement law. “Alabama’s political leaders have instead promoted the myth of voter fraud, particularly in-person voter fraud — despite numerous studies finding that such fraud is virtually...

February 17, 2020

The Fight for Fair Maps Continues

When getting a say on the issue of partisan gerrymandering, voters across the country have spoken loud and clear: They are tired of it. In recent years, several ballot initiatives have passed with broad support that would result in the creation of fair maps. The latest example of this is Illinois: Fair maps advocates filed a proposed amendment to the state constitution. The proposal, known as the Fair Maps Amendment, would create an independent redistricting commission and allow public comment on a final map for 30 days. (read more) The Battle for Fair Maps: Ballot initiatives are an important tool for...

February 10, 2020

Navigating the Digital World

You might have heard about internet trolls “clogging” the precinct reporting hotline for the Iowa Democratic Party (IDP) on caucus night. But, what really caused the massive delay in determining a winner was the apparent rush to implement a mobile app that the IDP asked precincts to use for reporting results. Backlash Continues in Iowa Over Mobile App: The goal was to streamline reporting the results because there are more than 1,000 precincts in Iowa. But there were a host of cybersecurity risks: precinct captains had to download the app onto their personal phones, and the app itself was riddled with coding mistakes. A cybersecurity...

February 3, 2020

Let the horse race (officially) begin

Georgia’s primary election is still a few weeks away, but it looks like it may be another mess in the Peach State. Once again, Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is under scrutiny for the state’s new touchscreen voting machines. Raffensperger reportedly has repeated that paper ballots would be given “a physical recount,” but a proposed election rule will bar hand recounts and require any recount to be done through a machine. (read more) ICYMI: Last week, we learned that a cybersecurity expert found evidence that suggests the state’s central election server was hacked as recently as 2014. (read...

January 27, 2020

Felon Voting Rights and Vulnerable Voting Machines

High school students in Illinois that are eligible to vote will be allowed a two-hour excused absence to cast a ballot during the 2020 election. (read more) It’s a novel idea that came from high school students themselves, and Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed the bill last week. Efforts to expand voting rights has been a key issue for Democrats over the past few years. For example, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signed an executive order just days after his inauguration to automatically restore voting rights to felons once they finish their sentences. Meanwhile, in Georgia... A cybersecurity expert for the Coalition for Good Governance,...