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Trump suggests paper voting system to combat meddling

Donald Trump.
Donald Trump. Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images

President Trump offered his own solution to prevent Russia meddling in the 2018 midterm elections saying, "it's called paper." He suggested a "paper backup system" for voting when asked about how to combat Russia's meddling at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Stefan Löfven of Sweden.

The reality: Trump isn't wrong that many states have a paper trail of votes — but not every state has a paper trail of votes right now. That means they are unable to verify with a 100% guarantee that the result of an election is exactly how voters cast their ballots. 5 states lack a paper trail in their voting systems and use solely electronic voting machines.

Why it matters: Once states have a paper trail of votes, it is possible to conduct a post-election audit to determine if electronic machines are accurately counting cast ballots. Without a paper trail, this is impossible to do.

  • To be clear: A paper ballot would not necessarily prevent meddling from taking place, it would however, provide an opportunity to determine if votes were not accurately being counted. It's about verification, not prevention necessarily.

The big picture: Russia is already in the process of potentially meddling in the U.S. elections this year, according to intelligence officials. Trump said Tuesday he was not worried about Russia trying to meddle "because we’ll counteract whatever they do. We’ll counteract it very strongly.”

  • Trump added that he thinks the Russians had no impact on the vote. The intelligence community has not assessed whether the meddling impacted the outcome of the election.

Go deeper: The state-by-state breakdown on efforts to update election systems

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D.C.'s March for our Lives: "The voters are coming"

Protestor at D.C.'s March for our Lives.
Protestor at D.C.'s March for our Lives. Photo: Axios' Stef Kight.

D.C.'s March for our Lives event is expected to see more than half a million participants.

Why it matters: While D.C. is the primary march, there are hundreds of others around the world and across the country. Led by students, the march is "to demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address" gun issues, per the organization's mission statement.

Haley Britzky 3 hours ago
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DOJ eyeing tool to allow access to encrypted data on smartphones

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Photo: Win McNamee / Getty Images

The Justice Department is in "a preliminary stage" of discussions about requiring tech companies building "tools into smartphones and other devices" that would allow law enforcement investigators to access encrypted data, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: This has been on the FBI's mind since 2010, and last month the White House "circulated a memo...outlining ways to think about solving the problem," officials told the Times. Both FBI Director Christopher Wray, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, support finding ways for law enforcement to access data without compromising devices security.