II. Federal-State Update
Top elections officials from around the country met this week to formalize the Government Coordinating Council that will formally communication with the Department of Homeland Security. According to the Washington Examiner, the move marks the first major step in the coming together between the National Association of Secretaries of State and DHS.
"The other importance of the coordinating council actually being formed, is that there is so much activity on the federal level regarding legislation, I think this will give us, hopefully, a venue to help us inform members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives that states are taking an active role and we are doing a lot to prepare ourselves for the 2018 elections and beyond," said NASS President and Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson.
Sen. Amy Klochubar (D-Minnesota) sent a letter to acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke expressing her concerns about cybersecurity vendor Kaspersky Lab and its connection to voting system. "The potential threat posed to our election infrastructure by the use of Kaspersky software appears to be significant and it is essential to ensure that future elections are safeguarded from foreign interference," Klochubar wrote according to FCW.
Klochubar, along Sens. Corey Booker (D-New Jersey) and Michael Bennet (D- Colorado), has also written to the U.S. Government Accountability Office asking the agency to examine the spending of the presidential election commission.
“We fear that the manner in which the (commission) is conducting its work will prevent the public from a full and transparent understanding of the commission’s conclusions and unnecessarily diminish confidence in our democratic process,” wrote the three lawmakers according to The Denver Post.
In other election commission news, Ronald Williams II, 37 of Suitland, Maryland was arrested after authorities found child pornography on his phone. Williams was a researcher for the presidential election commission. Williams was on assignment to the commission from the Office of the Special Counsel, an independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency. He has since been terminated.
Maine: Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, one of the Democrats serving on the presidential election commission old MSNBC that he has heard nothing from staff or anyone else on the commission in almost a month.
Texas: The League of Women Voters of Texas and the Texas NAACP, with the backing of the Brennan Center for Justice have filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State Rolando Pablos. The lawsuit was filed out of concern that Pablos’ releasing of Texas voter registration information to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity could potentially be harmful to voters.