The Denver Post - - NEWS - — Denver Post wire ser­vices

Of­fi­cials from both ma­jor po­lit­i­cal par­ties had a con­sis­tent an­swer last year when asked about the se­cu­rity of vot­ing sys­tems: U.S. elec­tions are so de­cen­tral­ized that it would be im­pos­si­ble for hack­ers to ma­nip­u­late bal­lot counts or voter rolls on a wide scale. But the voter fraud com­mis­sion es­tab­lished by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump could take away that bit of se­cu­rity.

The com­mis­sion has re­quested in­for­ma­tion on vot­ers from ev­ery state and re­cently won a fed­eral court chal­lenge to push ahead with the col­lec­tion, keep­ing it in one place.

By com­pil­ing a na­tional list of reg­is­tered vot­ers, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment could pro­vide one-stop shop­ping for hack­ers and hos­tile for­eign gov­ern­ments seek­ing to wreak havoc with elec­tions, crit­ics say. “Co­or­di­nat­ing a na­tional voter reg­is­tra­tion sys­tem lo­cated in the White House is akin to hand­ing a zip drive to Rus­sia,” said Ken­tucky Sec­re­tary of State Al­i­son Lun­der­gan Grimes, a Demo­crat who has re­fused to send data.

Hear­ing loss of U.S. diplo­mats in Cuba blamed on covert de­vice.

WASH­ING­TON» The U.S. di­plo­matic re­la­tion­ship with Cuba was roiled Wed­nes­day by what U.S. of­fi­cials say was a string of bizarre in­ci­dents that left a group of Amer­i­can diplo­mats in Ha­vana with se­vere hear­ing loss at­trib­uted to a covert sonic de­vice.

Last fall, a se­ries of U.S. diplo­mats be­gan suf­fer­ing un­ex­plained losses of hear­ing, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials with knowl­edge of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the case. Sev­eral of the diplo­mats were re­cent ar­rivals at the em­bassy, which re­opened in 2015 as part of the re-es­tab­lish­ment of di­plo­matic re­la­tions with Cuba.

Some of the diplo­mats’ symp­toms were so se­vere that they were forced to can­cel their tours early and re­turn to the United States, of­fi­cials said. Af­ter months of in­ves­ti­ga­tion, U.S. of­fi­cials con­cluded that the diplo­mats had been ex­posed to an ad­vanced de­vice that op­er­ated out­side the range of au­di­ble sound and had been de­ployed in­side or out­side their res­i­dences. It was not im­me­di­ately clear if the de­vice was a weapon used in a de­lib­er­ate at­tack or had some other pur­pose.

The U.S. of­fi­cials weren’t au­tho­rized to dis­cuss the in­ves­ti­ga­tion pub­licly and spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity.

State Depart­ment spokes­woman Heather Nauert said the U.S. re­tal­i­ated by ex­pelling two Cuban diplo­mats from their em­bassy in Wash­ing­ton on May 23. She did not say how many U.S. diplo­mats were af­fected or con­firm they had suf­fered hear­ing loss, say­ing only that they had “a va­ri­ety of phys­i­cal symp­toms.”

Aus­tralia to hold mail vote on same-sex mar­riage.

Aus­tralia will hold a vol­un­tary mail vote on whether to le­gal­ize same-sex mar­riage that may lead to the is­sue be­ing re­solved by the end of the year, Fi­nance Min­is­ter Mathias Cor­mann said. Should a ma­jor­ity of vot­ers in­di­cate sup­port for gay mar­riage, Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull’s gov­ern­ment ex­pects it to be leg­is­lated “quite quickly” af­ter polling closes on Nov. 15, Cor­mann told re­porters in Can­berra on Wed­nes­day.

At­lantic may spawn as many as 19 storms.

The At­lantic hurricane sea­son prob­a­bly will end with an above-av­er­age 14 to 19 named storms now that it is al­most cer­tain a sys­tem-de­ter­ring Pa­cific El Nino won’t ar­rive.

At least five to nine will be­come hur­ri­canes with two to five be­com­ing ma­jor sys­tems with winds of 111 mph or more, the Na­tional Oceanic and At­mo­spheric Ad­min­is­tra­tion said.

Scara­mucci to guest on “Late Show” next week.

An­thony Scara­mucci will be a guest on Stephen Col­bert’s latenight show next week. The net­work said Wed­nes­day that Scara­mucci will ap­pear on Col­bert’s “The Late Show” on Mon­day. The for­mer White House com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor lost his job with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion July 31, af­ter only 11 days in the job.

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