elections

When primary voters go to the polls in South Carolina on Saturday, they'll be the first in the nation to use all-new voting equipment. It's one of about a dozen states replacing all or most of their voting machines this year, in part because of security concerns after Russian interference in the 2016 election.

South Carolina officials are eager to emphasize the reliability of their state's equipment following the Iowa caucuses debacle, where a flawed app delayed the reporting of accurate results for weeks.

Puerto Ricans could be casting their ballots online only in the next eight years, according to a bill that is expected to pass this week.

Civil liberties advocates are ringing alarm bells over this plan to shift voting online, warning that the move threatens election security and voting rights.

Local governments across the United States could perform a simple upgrade to strengthen voters' confidence that they are what they say they are: use websites that end in .gov.

Federal officials control the keys to the ".gov" top-level domain, making it less likely that somebody could get one fraudulently and use it to fool people.

Domains that end in .com or .org, meanwhile, could be set up by attackers to try to intercept users seeking information from real sources.

Congress has allocated about $425 million in new funding for election security ahead of the 2020 presidential election, a Democratic congressional source confirmed to NPR on Monday.

The funding is part of a spending package expected to be passed by the end of the week.

Updated at on Dec. 17 at 2:30 p.m. ET

Congressional leaders unveiled two massive spending measures and touted key wins in the $1.3 trillion spending agreement to fund the government for the remainder of the 2020 fiscal year just days before a critical government shutdown deadline.

The House passed the spending bills with bipartisan support on Tuesday. The Senate is expected to approve both bills later this week and send them to the president for his signature.

Updated at 6:04 p.m. ET

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that his social media platform will stop running political ads, citing online ads' "significant risks to politics." Facebook has been criticized for allowing deceptive political ads.

"We've made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally. We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought," Dorsey tweeted late Wednesday afternoon.

He explained his reasons in a long thread of tweets.

Updated at 1:57 p.m. ET

Facing increased questions over whether Facebook can be trusted to protect its users, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told lawmakers Wednesday that the company will pull out of its controversial digital currency project if U.S. regulators don't approve it.

Zuckerberg said the social network would leave the nonprofit body governing the new currency, Libra, if other members decided to go ahead without regulatory approval.

Facebook announced new efforts Monday to curb the spread of false information on its platform ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

But, in an acknowledgement of the struggle the social network faces to stay ahead of groups intent on manipulating its users, Facebook said it had taken down another set of disinformation networks, this time tied to Iran and Russia. That adds to the more than 50 such networks the company said it has already removed in the past year.

While Congress mulls whether President Trump's phone call soliciting help from the president of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son is an impeachable offense, Trump's action raises another question. Did the president's requests violate campaign finance law?

Senators thawed a long-frozen dispute over election security this week with an agreement to provide more funding ahead of Election Day next year — but not as much as some Democrats and outside activists say is necessary.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., agreed to add $250 million for election security after having held up earlier legislation.

The money will be used by the federal government and the states, he said, and in a way that McConnell argues is appropriate for the federal system and without unreasonable new mandates from Congress.

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