Monday, May 16, 2011

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Tennessee Senate Dials Back Election Reform, Kansas Senators "Spank" the Secretary of State

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CT: Senate Approves Balloting Reform Bill -

Responding to last November's highly publicized Election Day problems in municipalities including Bridgeport, where a shortage of paper ballots contributed to a days-long delay in the declaration of a new governor, the Senate has approved a bill establishing standards to ensure local registrars buy enough ballots. The 34-0 vote Thursday sent the bill to the House for action in coming weeks. The bill says local voter registrars must certify to the secretary of the state that they have ordered enough ballots for each polling place. They also would need to show that they have considered all relevant factors in determining how many they need. Unless registrars clear their plans with the secretary of the state, they would have to order one ballot for each registered voter. The bill also would require registrars to "create an emergency contingency plan for elections," covering potential problems including ballot shortages, a shortage or absence of poll workers, a loss of power, a fire or an alarm sounding in a polling place, voting-machine malfunctions, the need to remove a poll worker or moderator, and "disorder in and around the polling place." Read More

KS: Lawmakers Spank Kobach On Elections Bill - Politics News Story - KCTV Kansas City

Kansas legislators are refusing to move up the starting date for a proof-of-citizenship requirement for people registering to vote for the first time or to give Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office new power to prosecute election fraud cases. The rejection of those proposals Wednesday by a bipartisan majority in the state Senate is a political defeat for the Republican secretary of state, who took office in January. It came after he successfully pushed for a law designed to combat election fraud, one he touted as model legislation for other states. That law requires voters to show photo identification at the polls, starting next year, and says anyone registering for the first time must provide a birth certificate, passport or other proof of citizenship to election officials, starting in 2013, though a Kansas driver’s license will be sufficient for many. Kobach had hoped the proof-of-citizenship rule would take effect next year and that his office would gain the power to file and prosecute election cases in state courts — and didn’t stop pushing even after Republican Gov. Sam Brownback signed a compromise version of Kobach’s proposed Secure and Fair Elections Act. The vote Wednesday in the Senate was 23-15 against a bill revising the election law enacted earlier this year. Some critics renewed longstanding arguments that election fraud is nowhere near as serious a problem as Kobach says it is, while others resented his efforts to revise a law that had strong bipartisan support. “You don’t unravel the deal after it’s finished,” said Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat. “And he needs to learn that.” Kobach didn’t return messages left on his cellphone and his office did not issue a statement. Read More

KS: Senate rejects attempt to toughen voter ID bill; Schodorf says she feels guilty about ever voting for it | Wichita Eagle

A cantankerous debate to move up by a year a requirement for new voters to provide proof of citizenship failed Wednesday on the Senate floor, with one senator saying she was embarrassed for Secretary of State Kris Kobach and another admitting she felt guilty for ever voting for the state’s voter ID bill. Legislators defeated a last-minute maneuver to concur with the House on a substitute for Senate Bill 129 15-23. That means people registering to vote won’t have to provide a birth certificate, passport or other citizenship proof until 2013. It also means that Kobach won’t get the authority he sought to independently prosecute allegations of voter fraud. Sen. Kelly Kultala, D-Kansas City, said she was “starting to get embarrassed” for Kobach, who made voter fraud a big part of his campaign. Other legislators said they were offended an effort to push up the implementation date was coming up so late in the session, which traditionally ends on the 90th day. The 90th day is today. Sen. Jean Schodorf, R-Wichita, said “I am sorry this has been brought to be concurred because I believe that we already have a system that is able to investigate reports of voter (fraud) and decide whether those cases will be charged.” She said she regretted ever voting for the voter ID bill. She called it “chilling,” especially against people of color. “I have felt guilty for voting on it all the weeks that we’ve been here I’d not believe there is voter fraud in this state,” Schodorf said, admitting she was getting emotional about the issue. Read More

KS: Secretary of State Kris Kobach won't end push to get voter ID requirements in place by 2012 /

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said Thursday that he's not giving up on having a proof-of-citizenship requirement for new voters in place ahead of next year's elections, despite the state Senate's rejection of the idea. State law already says that people who are registering to vote for the first time in Kansas will have to provide a birth certificate, passport, or other proof of U.S. citizenship to election officials. The rule was enacted this year at Kobach's urging but doesn't take effect until January 2013, a year later than he wanted. The same law also will require voters to show photo identification at the polls, starting next year. Kobach wanted the proof-of-citizenship requirement to take effect at the same time and authority for his office to file and prosecute election fraud cases in state courts. But senators had insisted on the later start date for the proof-of-citizenship requirement and had removed the new prosecutorial power for Kobach's office before the legislation passed. The Republican secretary of state praised the compromise version of the new law as a historic step toward combatting election fraud and as a model for other states. But he also didn't stop pushing for the stronger version, and on Wednesday, the Senate rejected a tougher bill on a 23-15 vote. Read More

MD: Glenarden absentee ballot complaints spur hearing -

A Ward 3 candidate denies allegations that she offered to drop off and pick up absentee ballots for Glenarden residents and a hearing has been scheduled for next week to investigate election complaints which, if verified, could change the results of the mayoral race and land the candidate in trouble with state law. The meeting will be held 5 p.m. May 18 before the city’s Board of Elections Chairwoman Geraldine Langford to discuss issues such as a note on Ward 3 candidate Judy Diggs’ website that states residents can do “early voting” from April 8 to April 29. The city never established an early voting date separate from the May 2 election day. The city’s Board of Elections held a closed meeting Monday night with City Attorney Suellen Ferguson prior to the regular City Council meeting to discuss the complaints before scheduling the May 18 meeting. On April 29, prior to the election, Ward 3 incumbent Jennifer Jenkins filed a complaint with Langford stating residents told her that Diggs offered to drop off and pick up absentee ballots for them. Diggs eventually lost to Jenkins by a count of 116 votes to 51. The night of election day, May 2, mayoral candidate Donjuan Williams, Ward 1 candidate Marsha Peeks, Ward 2 candidate Elaine Carter and Jenkins filed a complaint challenging the validity of the absentee ballots. Read More

NY: New York Must Defend Its Count of Double Votes (Fusion Voting) | Courthouse News Service

Smaller political parties can sue over a New York state law that they say is robbing them of votes because it lets candidates appear on the ballot for multiple parties, a federal judge ruled. Last September, the Conservative Party of New York State and the Working Families Party sued the commissioners of the New York State Board of Elections over its practice of counting votes when a ballot is marked multiple times. "Fusion voting" lets candidates run on multiple platforms, but if a voter chooses a candidate on a two platforms, only the "first" party gets the vote. "In other words, if a 2006 voter voted for (Elliot) Spitzer on both the Democratic and Independence lines, the Democrats were credited with the vote, and if the voter voted for John Faso on both the Republican and Conservative lines, the Republicans were credited with the vote," according to the original complaint. "The Board simply ignores the fact that the voter has expressed her intent to support a minor party." Since a political party needs 50,000 votes to qualify for a subsequent gubernatorial election, the lost votes can have a significant effect, the plaintiffs claim. Read More

NC: House panel moves to cut early voting |

On a party-line vote, the House Elections committee voted today to shorten the early voting period from 18 days to 11 days. Early or “one-stop” voting has become increasingly popular over the past few years. A recent study by Catawba College professor Dr. Michael Bitzer found that 60% of the ballots cast in NC’s 2008 general election were cast before Election Day, up from 30% in 2004. Bitzer also found Democrats were more likely to use early voting than Republicans. The NC Free Enterprise Foundation has a nice writeup here. “We’re not trying to do away with early voting in any way,” H658 sponsor Bert Jones, U-Rockingham, told the committee. “The question is, how many election days should we have in North Carolina?” Jones said data shows most early voting takes place within the final 9 days of early voting. He says cutting the first week of early voting would save local election boards “approximately 2000 dollars a day per site.” It would also save candidates money on campaign advertising, Jones said. Rep. Deborah Ross, D-Wake, said the extra week helps lessen long lines at sites in urban areas like Wake County. “Elections are about voters, not about politicians,” Ross said. “This is just another way of cutting down on the number of people who vote,” said Rep. Mickey Michaux, D-Durham. Read More

NC: Cut to early voting advances |

North Carolina residents would have one week less to cast ballots before state and local elections in legislation narrowly approved by a House Committee a on Wednesday. Supporters said the proposal would save money, but opponents argue it would discourage citizens — particularly Democrats — from voting. The House Elections Committee voted 16-14 to delay the start of early voting from the third Thursday before an election to the second Thursday, curbing what’s been a popular method for casting ballots begun with the 2000 elections. During the November 2008 election, more than 2.4 million voted at one-stop sites statewide, or 55 percent of all voters that fall. Those votes helped President Barack Obama become the first Democrat to win North Carolina’s electoral votes since Jimmy Carter in 1976.Rep. Bert Jones, the only unaffiliated member of the legislature and a primary bill sponsor, said the bill would save nearly $2ooo per one-stop voting site statewide and save more money for candidates who now must campaign to get people to the polls for up to 18 days. The bill would reduce that maximum to 11 days. He presented a chart showing relatively light turnout during the first current week of early voting since the 2008 primary. “This is not in any way a negative indictment on early voting,” said Jones, of Rockingham County. “The question is how many election days should we have in North Carolina.” Democratic Rep. Mickey Michaux of Durham said after the meeting that shortening the time period was designed to decrease turnout among Democrats and black voters, both of whom voted disproportionately during the 2008 election. It comes about a month after the same committee agreed to legislation that would require people who want to vote in person to show photo identification. Read More

OH: Bill would aid military in voting -

State Rep. Mike Dovilla was serving in Iraq four years ago when he attempted to obtain an absentee ballot to vote in that year’s municipal elections. The Cleveland-area Republican said he submitted the paperwork to the board of elections but later was told he didn’t include all of the required information. “Through no fault of my own, and despite a proactive effort to obtain a ballot, I was disenfranchised in that year in the municipal elections,” Dovilla said. “Since that time, I’ve vowed that if I were ever in a position to be able to address this public- policy challenge and prevent it from happening to others in the military service, I would do so." Dovilla made good on that promise Tuesday with the introduction of legislation that could help men and women serving in the military and Ohioans who are overseas cast their election ballots. The legislation would allow uniformed service members and overseas voters to apply for absentee ballots over the Internet or via email. The bill also would require county boards to process ballots cast by those others and to establish a process to enable voting when military or other emergencies arise. “While these brave individuals are protecting our country and our families around the globe, we have a duty to protect their ability to vote,” Dovilla said. The bill is a bipartisan effort: Democratic Rep. Michael Stinziano of Columbus is the other primary co-sponsor. He is a former board of elections director in Franklin County. “From an administrative perspective, we always knew there was more that should be done,” Stinziano said. “Often, it was not until deadlines were pressing that individuals like Rep. Dovilla would … contact the board of elections and raise the concern about their ability to cast a ballot.” He added, “It should not be difficult for any registered Ohioan to participate in our election process, regardless of their location.” The legislation is expected to move separately from a larger election-reform package moving through the Ohio House and Senate. Read More

TN: Senate Votes To Undo Voter Confidence Act Requirements |

The state Senate voted on Thursday to undo requirements of the Voter Confidence Act passed three years ago. Supporters said the action will ensure that more accurate voting machines would be implemented across the state as the legislature reversed requirements approved three years ago. “The strength of our political system lies in our citizens’ trust that their votes count,” Senator Roy Herron said. “Our current voting machines endanger that trust.” House Bill 386 as approved by the Senate would delete the requirement for more secure voting machines with a verifiable paper trail. The touch-screen voting machine system used in many Tennessee counties has been called by experts as “the least secure voting system” in the country. Numerous incidents of machine hacking and vote flipping by the machines have occurred throughout the country, officials said. In 2008, machines in Decatur County were reported to have changed votes in the presidential race. Read More

RI: Senate passes voter identification bill -

Voters would have to show identification at the polls starting next year under a bill passed Thursday by the Rhode Island Senate. A driver’s license, a passport, military ID or a voter identification card are among the forms of identification allowed under the proposal. The bill would require the state to provide free voter identification cards. Those without identification could cast provisional ballots. The requirements would go into effect for 2012 elections. Until 2014, voters could also use a birth certificate, Social Security card or Medicare card. The Senate voted 27-6 in favor of the legislation Thursday. The bill now moves to the House, where a voter ID bill has already been introduced. Similar legislative proposals have failed in recent years, though in 2009 a voter identification bill passed the House. This year the measure has won support from both political parties. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Harold Metts, D-Providence, said the proposal would prevent voter fraud and restore public confidence in elections. He said he began working on the bill after hearing complaints of alleged voter fraud in the 2010 primary election. ”My interest is in protecting and strengthening our elections,” he said. “No one will be denied the right to vote.” Read More

VI: Elections Board creates new committees | Virgin Islands Daily News

The V.I. Joint Board of Elections met Wednesday on St. John and created two new committees to deal with major issues, including legislative changes and the applications for supervisor and deputy supervisor of elections, said Board Chairman Rupert Ross Jr. But no report came out of the Election Reform Committee, which a number of people are watching and awaiting action on issues that played out in the last election cycle, Ross said. After the Joint Board voted against paying $75 stipends to board members who showed up at a series of contentious meetings that did not reach quorum in February, St. Croix Board Member Adelbert Bryan, who moved the motion, refused to provide a report on the Election Reform Committee, of which he is the chairman. Ross said reasons for voting against paying the stipends varied. When reached by phone, Bryan said that some board members who were present for the February meetings that failed to reach a quorum also voted against the payments. "Now, they say not to compensate the members who were there," he said. "All you need to do is visit the law and rules and regulations to see who's right." St. Thomas-St. John Board Member Alecia Wells said that most members felt the meetings "were not officially called." Read More

WI: City of Brookfield Ballot Bags Found "Wide Open" in Waukesha County, Wisconsin | Truthout

Five out of six bags of bal­lots from first batch to be co­un­ted out of the City of Brook­field in Waukes­ha Co­un­ty, Wis­consin today were dis­covered “al­most wide open” dur­ing Day 9 of the statewide Sup­reme Court elec­tion “re­count.” The bags were open and un­sealed, ac­cord­ing to both photog­raphic evi­d­ence and an eye-witnesses ac­count from the co­unt­ing room. “When the bal­lot bags were taken out and placed upon the co­unt­ing table, we were lit­eral­ly stun­ned,” one of the citiz­en ob­serv­ers, Mary Mag­nuson, a Klop­penburg volun­te­er, told The BRAD BLOG this morn­ing. “5 out of the 6 bal­lot bags were al­most lit­eral­ly wide open, and bal­lots could be clear­ly seen.” The bal­lots in those bags were among the 14,000 said to have been cast in the April 5th elec­tion, but left off of Waukes­ha Co­un­ty’s tally as re­por­ted to the media on Elec­tion Night. Ear­li­er this week we of­fered a de­tailed re­port on the status of the statewide “re­count,” highlight­ing a host of dis­turb­ing and out­right viola­tions of the chain of cus­tody of bal­lots, in­clud­ing un­num­bered and re­num­bered bal­lots bags (many of them from Waukes­ha Co­un­ty); bal­lots dis­covered un­secured and/or left out of the origin­al count all togeth­er; and ex­ceeding­ly slop­py record-keeping and re­port­ing of “re­count” re­sults by the state’s chief elec­tion agen­cy, the Wis­consin Govern­ment Ac­coun­tabil­ity Board (GAB). In sum, we de­scribed the state of the “re­count” of the con­tes­ted elec­tion bet­ween Re­pub­lican in­cum­bent Just­ice David Pro­ss­er and his in­depen­dent chal­leng­er Asst. AG JoAn­ne Klop­penburg, as “a mess.” Today, after the newest re­vela­tions from the Waukes­ha Co­un­ty co­unt­ing room, it got a lot mes­si­er. Read More

WI: Many Problems Observed in Milwaukee 'Recount' of WI Supreme Court Election - But No Media Reports! |The BRAD BLOG

I worked on the recount in Milwaukee County last Thursday, and it was quite a disturbing and stifling experience. I left there puzzled and frustrated, and have been searching for news on 'anomalies' there, but find next to nothing. News reports have only stated there have been "no major problems," and things are "going smoothly"...

Kloppenburg stated at her recount request press conference:

There are legitimate and widespread questions about the conduct of this election – most visibly in Waukesha County, but also in counties around the state...We are aware of widespread anomalies that occurred...: an undervote in the cities of Milwaukee and Racine; the Waukesha situation; reports of long lines and photocopied ballots in several counties including Fond du Lac; significant changes in the vote totals in Winnebago County.

People have wondered if Waukesha County 'irregularities' were perhaps a red herring, and that maybe we should be looking more closely at what's happening in other counties around the state. I really think so. I've compiled some information on the recount problems in Milwaukee County, many of which I witnessed. Read More

WI: Voter ID Changes Will Force Training For Poll Workers - WISN Milwaukee

Republicans who control the Wisconsin state Assembly and have passed a bill that will require voters to show photo identification at the polls are promising a smooth transition."When you hand that photo ID with your name on there that information will be quickly and accurately conveyed to the poll workers, it will speed up the process, it will make our election system work better," Republican state Rep. Jeff Stone said.But two Milwaukee County officials told 12 News' Mike Anderson that the transition may come with some complications for voters and poll workers initially."We'll have to train our poll workers on what's allowable, how to handle provisional voting, and of course, they have to sign the poll books," said Sue Edman, of the Milwaukee Election Commission. "Everyone will be required to sign the poll book before they come in, before they get their ballot, so there are a lot of things that we're going to have to cover."Sandy Wesolowski, city clerk for Franklin, said, "I think people just need to be informed of what the process is and when I say people, I do mean the public and the election workers, it's an equal education thing." Read More


Congressman seeks to eliminate Election Assitance Commission | The Daily Caller

With America facing a debt crisis, legislatures have gone spelunking for areas of government to cut. Mississippi Republican Rep. Gregg Harper has surfaced with a proposal to eliminate what Ronald Reagan once quipped was the nearest thing to eternal life: a government agency. Harper’s bill would terminate the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), which Congress created in 2002 to implement the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). The act was passed primarily to distribute funds to update equipment, a job which Harper says is essentially complete. He is not the only one that believes that. Last year, the National Association of Secretaries of State reaffirmed a 2005 resolution requesting that Congress eliminate the EAC since the body had “served its purpose.” Harper estimates that getting rid of EAC would save taxpayers an estimated $14 million annually. “You have more than fifty percent of the budget going to administration, a little over 30 percent is going to programs,” Harper told TheDC, pointing out that within three years the agency doubled their staff without adding new responsibilities. “[EAC was] only designed to be there for a few years.” The bill is pending in the House subcommittee on Elections and currently has 21 co-sponsors. The subcommittee is expected to be mark up the bill this month. Read More


India: AGP blames machine manipulation for defeat - Hindustan Times

Assam's beleaguered main opposition Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) on Friday blamed "manipulation of electronic voting machines (EVM) by the ruling Congress party" for its rout in the assembly elections even as the Congress got a decisive mandate for a third successive term. “We knew the Congress would do something and they did so by manipulating the EVMs. Otherwise such a result would not have come," former two-time chief minister and senior AGP leader Prafulla Kumar Mahanta told reporters. Mahanta lost in Samaguri, one of the two seats he contested, to forest minister Rockybul Hussain, but won the Barhampur seat defeating the Congress candidate. "EVMs were manipulated by the government machinery at the instance of the Congress," former AGP president Brindaban Goswami said. Goswami, who won the Tezpur seat for the last four terms, lost this time to the Congress nominee. Read More

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Waukesha gets an extension, The cost of Voter ID proposals

WI: Waukesha County Gets May 26 Recount Extension - Menomonee Falls, WI Patch

Waukesha County will have until May 26 to finish its hand recount of the state Supreme Court race that sharply divided the state's electorate, a judge has ruled. Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess agreed this morning to extend today's deadline for completion of the historic recount of the race between incumbent Justice David Prosser and challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg. Waukesha County Corporation Counsel Tom Farley participated in the hearing via telephone conference. The county will check in with the judge at 11:30 a.m. Friday to report its progress. "Hopefully we will be done sooner" than May 26, said Ellen Nowak, chief of staff for Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas. All counties except Waukesha were expected to finish their recounts by today. Prosser has a margin of victory of about 7,000 votes in his bid to serve another 10-year term on the state's high court. Read More

CA: Local voting change could be costly - Chico Enterprise Record

A June 2012 ballot could cost Chico $130,000 versus a November election price tag of $57,000, according to a Butte County Registrar of Voters estimate. The city could pay about $73,000 more per council election, which occur every two years. Because the city would be sharing the June election with just the county rather than about 17 jurisdictions who appeared in the November 2010 ballot, the election would likely cost more, said Laurie Cassady, assistant county registrar of voters. Measure A supporters had enough signatures to put the initiative on the June 7 special municipal election ballot. During a debate last week, proponents said the election month change would not cost more money. "There is no extra cost to taxpayers by combining city elections with the existing county elections," proponent Stephanie Taber said in the voter's booklet. "Our current taxes cover the costs of every scheduled election." Chico city manager Dave Burkland said election money comes from the general fund, which can be spent on almost anything including public safety and roads. Sales taxes and property taxes, among others, feed into the general fund. "I'm concerned about paying more for something that, frankly, has been in place for many years," Burkland said. Read MoreThough Measure A proponents claim moving the Chico City Council elections from November to June would not cost taxpayers more money, the Registrar of Voters Office says different.

CO: Moffat County tweaking election format to vote by mail | Craig Daily Press

Moffat County Elections Supervisor Stephanie Beckett said Moffat County has been behind the curve by not conducting coordinated elections by mail-in ballot only. “Most of the state already does that,” Beckett said. “We were one of four counties last year in the election that did not have an all-mail ballot election, and it just seems like voters are leaning that way, to have their ballots mailed to them.” At Tuesday’s regular Moffat County Commission meeting, commissioners Tom Gray and Tom Mathers approved a resolution to have this year’s November coordinated election done by mail ballot only. Commissioner Audrey Danner was absent. Beckett said a coordinated election happens every two years and deals with non-partisan matters such as tax questions and when applicable, electing school board officials. In even-numbered general election years, voting will continue to be done by both mail and polling place because of state law, she said. Read More

CT: Merrill selects precincts for audit -

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill today joined Connecticut voting rights advocates for a public drawing to randomly select three precincts that will have election results audited following the May 2, 2011 municipal elections that took place in 14 Connecticut communities. The three precincts selected are West Side Middle School District 2 and William Seely School district 4 in Groton and the Stonington Fire House in Stonington. Two alternate precincts were also chosen to be ready to audit results if necessary: Center School district 3 in Woodbridge and Griswold Town Hall in Griswold. “On May 2nd voters went to the polls across Connecticut to choose public servants to fill very important roles in local government,” said Secretary Merrill. “No matter how big or small the election, our audit law exists to hold our election process accountable and reassure the public to have continued confidence that all votes were recorded accurately.” As required by Public Act 07-194, An Act Concerning the Integrity and Security of the Voting Process, 10% percent of the polling precincts used in the election are subject to an audit. Secretary Merrill directed that a pool of 24 precincts from the towns and boroughs that held municipal elections May 2nd, not counting precincts that required a recount or counted ballots by hand instead of using the optical scan voting machines in the selection. To comply with the law, three precincts were chosen to have their election results audited. The alternate precinct will only face an audit if one of the selected precincts cannot perform an audit. All audits may not begin before May 17, 2011 and must be completed no later than May 31, 2011. Read More

MO: Missouri lawmakers approve ballot measure on voter ID -

If Missouri voters say “yes” at the polls in 2012, they will have to show a photo ID when they cast ballots in 2014. But they also will have the option to vote during an 11-day period before Election Day. Lawmakers on Tuesday approved enabling legislation that will put voter-identification requirements and early-voting procedures into effect — if voters approve the proposed constitutional amendment lawmakers passed on Monday. The proposed amendment gives lawmakers the authority to pass laws requiring voters to show a photo ID and allowing early voting. The measure must be approved by voters before any such laws can go into effect. It will appear on the ballot in 2012. The bill passed Tuesday actually contains those laws. The Senate approved it on a 25-9 vote, after the House signed off on it last week. If signed by Gov. Jay Nixon it will become law, but would not become effective unless voters approved the accompanying amendment. Read More

NM: Legislation allows voting centers in New Mexico | Quay County Sun

Quay County Clerk Ellen White expressed excitement Monday over new state legislation that allows the county to consolidate voting precincts. “In November we have to establish our polling places and precincts for the next general election and primary election cycle, so what this enables us to do is to locate a facility that is centrally located and that has a good broadband Internet connection, and by doing that we'll eliminate all the voting precincts within the City of Tucumcari and everybody will vote in one location. I’m really excited about being able to do that,” White said. White said she plans on keeping voting centers in Logan and San Jon, while House, Nara Visa and Forest precincts will not have voting centers. Residents of these smaller precincts will be able to submit their ballots by mail or cast their ballots at one of the county voting centers. Read More

NY: New software to help avoid ballot-printing errors in Jefferson County New York | Watertown Daily Times

A new software system will help the Jefferson County Board of Elections avoid costly errors in printing ballots. The E-Suite Election Management Software will enable the board to link incoming election candidate petitions to the voter-registrant database. That ensures the candidate's name and address will be spelled correctly and limits human error. A misspelled name that forces a ballot reprinting could cost the county thousands of dollars, Republican Elections Commissioner Jerry O. Eaton said. "It could be one letter out of thousands, but it would need to be changed," he said. Read More

PA: Taxpayers will cover costs of IDs under proposed voting law -

An effort to fight voting fraud could cost state taxpayers millions, though it's a price some lawmakers are willing to pay. New requirements intended to cut down on fraudulent voters were passed by the House State Government Committee on Monday morning and will head to the House for a final vote. The bill would require voters to show official photo identification each time they go to their polling place to cast a ballot. Voters now have to provide identification only the first time they vote at a specific polling place. The new requirement would not take effect until the primary elections in the spring of 2012, unless there is a special election scheduled for earlier in 2012. An amendment added to the bill Monday would allow any voter who did not have a valid photo ID to get one from the state Department of Transportation at no charge. Instead, the state would pick up the tab on the identification cards to allow all voters to comply with the new law. Absentee ballots would be counted without the identification requirement, as long as the signature on the ballot's envelop matches the signature on the voter rolls and the county board of election certifies that the voter did not cast more than one ballot. Based on a preliminary fiscal evaluation, Democrats said the provision would cost more than $10 million, not including the expenses incurred by the state to advertise the new rules so all voters are aware of the requirements. Read More

TN: Tennessee considers proof of citizenship for voter registration |

It's a big deal in town, signs scattered all over Pigeon Forge as voters take up the issue of liquor by the drink and a few city commission spots. "I think we may get 1,000 people to vote today, total," Tony Rast, whose son is running for one of those commission seats said. Even with all the hype, Rast's guess of 1,000 would be just slightly better than one in seven Pigeon Forge residents who have actually gone through the process of registering and then actually showing up to vote on election day. "Oh, just walk in. Real easy," Rast said. Now, a bill up for a full house and senate vote Wednesday could change the way we register in Tennessee. It requires some form of legal proof, like a birth certificate, that the voter is a United States citizen. "I think you need to have some sort of verifiable proof that you are a citizen of the United States" Deborah Rast of Pigeon Forge said. Read More


U.S. Supreme Court Advances one Election Law Case that has Long been Stalled - Ballot Access News

On May 11, the U.S. Supreme Court revealed that it has placed Dallas County v Texas Democratic Party, 10-755, on its May 26 conference. The conference will probably decide whether to hear the case. The issue is whether Dallas County’s new rules concerning its vote-counting machines should have been submitted to the Voting Rights Section of the Justice Department. The Texas Democratic Party doesn’t like the Dallas County vote-counting machines, because the machines have a tendency to trick some voters into voting just for a single candidate, even though the voter believes he or she has activated the straight-ticket device and has voted for all partisan office. The case had also been on the March 18 conference, but the Court had not then decided whether to hear the case, nor had it rescheduled it immediately for another conference, as is customary. Read More


India: Tamil Nadu : Each reading on EVMs will be videographed | The Hindu

Each reading on electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the 91 counting centres will be captured on video and votes polled entered both manually and using computers, to avoid discrepancies in the counting of votes for the 234 assembly constituencies on May 13, said Chief Electoral Officer Praveen Kumar on Wednesday. After All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) general secretary Jayalalithaa wrote to the Chief Election Commissioner on the need to allow counting agents to monitor data entries in Form 20, the CEO, at a press conference, said that data entry operators were directly being monitored by the returning officers as they usually sat near them in counting halls. Even if they were sitting across the hall, the tally of votes would have to match the data entered manually and using computers. In her letter, Ms. Jayalalithaa had stated that the votes polled in favour of AIADMK candidate R.S. Raja Kannappan were entered in favour of Congress candidate P. Chidambaram during the counting of Alangudi Assembly segment that helped the latter win Sivaganga Parliamentary constituency in the last Lok Sabha elections. Her ally, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) had also sought the presence of the chief agent or one of the counting agents to sit with the data entry operators. Mr. Kumar said that the results of each round of counting would be displayed on the board in the counting hall and announced over mike. The candidates as well as media would be given prints of each round of result. Read More

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Online voting: An open invitation to voting fraud, Florida LWV: "legislature has declared war on voters"

Canada: Online voting: An open invitation to voting fraud - Vancouver Sun

The Internet voting system approved by Vancouver city council promises unprecedented and untraceable voter fraud if it is allowed to proceed. We can only hope the provincial government will have the good sense to reject the city's plan. On the face of it, the system would allow voters to cast their ballots from the comfort of their own home. The idea sounds attractive and inevitable. After all, isn't everything going online? Proponents suggest Internet voting will increase voter participation and will be secure. They are wrong on both counts. Internet systems are secure enough for banking, so you might think Internet voting systems are up to the task of collecting and counting votes. Unfortunately voting systems are different from online banking. Banking systems have audit trails that link the identity and conduct of a user. A voting system cannot link your name to your vote because the ballot must be secret. There is no way to determine whether a fraud has occurred or who committed it. This means that a candidate is deprived of the right to challenge results and have a recount. Internet voting systems presume that everything and everyone involved is beyond reproach. Banking systems accept a level of fraud. If a banking customer observes a fraud the transaction can be reversed. A voting system does not offer the voter the ability to posthumously examine a vote and does not afford officials the option of correcting an error. Read More

FL: Collier, state League of Women Voters to stop voter registrations, consider legal action due to election bill -
Naples Daily News

A national organization aimed at encouraging participation in government has said it will no longer register Floridians to vote after state lawmakers approved a sweeping overhaul to the state’s election code. Lydia Galton, president of the League of Women Voters of Collier County and director of the state board, said Monday that the Florida association decided to immediately stop voter registration efforts across the state after passage of House Bill 1355. “While the league remains committed to empowering an active and informed citizenry, we cannot and will not place thousands of volunteers at risk, subjecting them to a process in which one late form could result in their facing financial and civil penalties,” she said. “By passing House Bill 1355, the legislature has declared war on voters.” Galton said the decision to stop registering voters is a statewide initiative, and will be discussed at the state board meeting later this week. The League of Women Voters of Florida is “exploring legal remedies” to restore voter rights, she said. The bill, passed last week and yet to be signed by Gov. Rick Scott, requires groups that sign up new voters register with the state, file regular reports and turn in completed voter-registration forms within 48 hours. Read More

IN: Rokita calls White's release of report a mistake -

Former Secretary of State Todd Rokita believes Secretary of State Charlie White erred in making public Rokita's investigation of White's voting history. On Thursday, White released the "Rokita Report," a 238-page compilation of public records that the report says shows "apparent, albeit rebuttable" intent by White to deliberately vote in the wrong precinct in the May 2010 GOP primary election. The report is partially the basis for seven felony charges, including three counts of voter fraud, pending against White in Hamilton County. Rokita, a Munster native, told The Times on Monday that White's decision to release the report could jeopardize future investigations. "If witnesses knew every time they came to the secretary of state's office their reports were going to be made public, you wouldn't have any witnesses," Rokita said. Read More

IA: 18 more counties want Cerro Gordo election software- Globe Gazette

The computer software developed by Cerro Gordo County continues to draw interest from counties throughout the state. The Precinct Atlas program, developed under the direction of Auditor Ken Kline, provides precinct election officials with step-by-step instructions on how to properly administer elections. Supervisors approved memorandums of understanding with 18 more counties Monday, bring the total to 24 this month that have expressed interest. The documentation allows the counties to contract with Cerro Gordo County for software maintenance and related functions. Read More

ME: Critics: GOP bill would disenfranchise Maine voters | The Portland Press Herald

A proposal aimed at easing the burden on municipal clerks around Election Day was opposed Monday by several groups that said eliminating same-day voter registration would disenfranchise Maine voters. L.D. 1376, sponsored by House Speaker Bob Nutting, R-Oakland, and supported by Secretary of State Charlie Summers, would ban absentee voting during the two business days before Election Day for most voters, and eliminate registration for most voters during the same period and on Election Day. "The rapid increase in absentee voting in the last decade has created new challenges for our municipalities," Nutting said during a public hearing before the Legislature's Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee. The Maine Town and City Clerks Association testified in support of the proposal, but said it would favor an amendment to remove the restrictions on voter registration. "I am a little bit concerned about disenfranchising voters. I'd much prefer to continue with the process we have in place," said Patti Dubois, Bangor's city clerk. Read More

ME: New Voting System Debated in Legislature

Diane Russell's goal is to enable Mainers to vote for their favorite gubernatorial candidate, rather than against their least favorite. "We want to make sure that the person elected to run our state shares the values of the vast majority of this state," said Russell. Her bill would enable voters to list candidates in order of preference - something that she feels would make the process more democratic if none of them get more than 50 percent of the vote, as often happens. In the case of no clear winner, a so-called "instant run-off" takes place, whereby the weakest candidate is eliminated, and his or her votes are re-distributed using the voters' second choice candidates. This process continues until one of them has more than 50 percent of the vote. This system, she says, gives voters more choice, enabling them to go for the candidate they like the most rather than having to vote strategically. "We're Americans we love choice. You got 3 different choices for ice cream, you want to go in and say 'I would love some chocolate ice cream'. 'You know what, we're fresh out.' 'Well, do you have vanilla?' Yeah we got vanilla.' 'Great I'll take vanilla.' Choice is all-American, the distinction is that we want to make sure we embrace that choice in the elections without spoiling the race," Russell said. Russell also argued it would make for more civilized political debate, and less mud-slinging, or negative campaigning. That, she says, is because a candidate would be less inclined to launch personal attacks against a rival, as this may alienate the rivals' supporters, who in turn would be less inclined to put that candidate as their second choice. Read More

PA: Measure to require voter ID at polling places moves ahead - Pittsburgh Post Gazette

A measure that would require voters to show photo identification when they go to cast their ballot now awaits consideration by the state House of Representatives, following a lengthy committee debate this morning. The bill from Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Cranberry and chair of the State Government Committee, passed the panel on a party-lines vote of 15-9. Under the proposal, voters would be required to show a photo identification card issued by either the state or federal government. Pennsylvania voters currently are only required to show an ID during their first time at a polling site. If a voter does not have an ID card, the state Department of Transportation would issue one at no cost. That provision, added during this morning's meeting, was criticized by Democrats as potentially expensive. Mr. Metcalfe said an estimate of the cost has been requested, but was not yet available. Other changes in the amendment from Mr. Metcalfe would make the measure effective in January 2012, and would allow those who live in the same building as their polling place, such as those in an assisted-living facility, to only show ID if it is their first time at the polling location. More than a dozen other amendments from Democratic lawmakers, to expand the types of identification that would be accepted and provide exemptions to the requirement, were all rejected during the 2 1/2-hour meeting. Read More

TX: Restrictions on out-of-state voter registration pass as amendment |

An elections bill by Rep. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, has a very broad caption - "relating to certain election procedures and practices" - and is subsequently beginning to look like a Christmas tree. For legislative lingo novices, that means lots of bills that haven't made it to the floor yet are being hung on the bill as amendments. "This should have never happened," said Rep. Marc Veasy, D-Fort Worth, a member of the House Elections Committee who helped kill some of them in committee, after the bill passed with no fewer than 17 bills/amendments, some of which had gotten no hearing. As an illustration of how the bill had become weighted down by other bills, when the debate was over, Rep. Dennis Bonnen said, "Christmas is over." One that failed: Rep. Rolando Gutierrez, D-San Antonio, tried to pass an amendment that would require elected officials who want to change parties step down from office and run again. He said those who won election in November and then switched parties in December were "committing fraud" on the electorate who had just voted for them over the candidate from the other party. Read More

TX: Voter ID appears to be headed to governor to become law | The Dallas Morning News

Legislation that would require Texans to show a photo ID before voting was given final approval by the Senate on Monday, with the House expected to sign on later and send the bill to the governor. Senators approved the measure 19-12 along partisan lines, signaling the apparent victory in a long effort by Republicans to require voters to prove their identity before casting a ballot. Democrats had managed to defeat the proposal in the last few legislative sessions, relying on parliamentary maneuvers and a large number of House Democrats. But that changed after last fall’s elections, when Republicans emerged with a supermajority in the House. The measure will still have to be reviewed by the U.S. Justice Department under the federal Voting Rights Act, designed to protect minority voting rights in several southern states. And Democrats in the House and Senate have laid the groundwork to contest the proposal when it comes up for review. Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, author of the bill, said he is confident it will pass legal muster and noted that a similar photo ID requirement has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. “All people will be able to comply with the requirement and will be able to vote,” Fraser said. But Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, predicted the justice department will frown on the barriers to voting erected by the new law. Democrats have maintained that the bill discriminates against senior citizens and lower income residents who are more likely to lack a photo ID and therefore may be denied their right to vote. Read More

WI: GOP moves quickly on voter ID bill - JSOnline

The fast pace of a bill requiring photo ID at the polls is the latest sign Republicans are moving quickly on their legislative agenda in the face of likely recall elections. The Joint Finance Committee approved the bill 12-2 Monday on party lines, despite fierce objections from Democrats that the bill was taken up when a key opponent of the bill couldn't attend for medical reasons. Rep. Robin Vos (R-Rochester), co-chairman of the committee, said the group had to meet Monday because Democrats will likely slow it down when it gets to the floor of the Assembly on Wednesday. To vote, people would have to show Wisconsin driver's licenses, state-issued ID cards, military IDs, passports, naturalization certificates, IDs issued by Wisconsin-based tribes or certain student IDs. Those living in nursing homes and the like would be exempt from the law, as would victims of stalking and those opposed to having their photos taken on religious grounds. The student IDs would be acceptable if they came from accredited colleges and universities in Wisconsin, included signatures, and expired within two years of being issued. Those showing college IDs would have to establish they are current students. People would be asked to show their IDs at elections later this year but would still be allowed to vote if they didn't have IDs with them. They would be told that the law is changing and that photo IDs would be required to vote in 2012. Read More

WI: Amended voter ID bill would take effect before recall elections - Wisconsin State Journal

Voters would be asked for a photo ID in the upcoming recall elections but would still be allowed to vote without one. They would then be informed that a photo ID would be mandatory beginning with the spring 2012 Primary. The Legislature's Joint Finance Committee passed an amended version of the photo ID bill Monday, removing a provision that required student IDs to carry correct addresses and moving up the date of implementation to immediately after the bill passes. "We were all wondering why there's such a rush on this bill — now we know," said state Rep. Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse. "It's about the recall elections. You feel the rules need to be changed right in the middle of the game." Six Republicans and three Democrats face Senate recalls this summer. Republicans hold a 19-14 majority, so a net victory of three seats would give the Democrats control. The first elections are scheduled for July 12. Photo ID has long been a divisive issue in Wisconsin, with Republicans championing the measure and Democrats saying it would suppress turnout among seniors, minorities, the disabled and college students — voter populations that lean heavily in their favor. Read More


Egypt: Imported voting machines can’t be trusted: CEC | Financial Express

After the revolution in Tahrir Square, Egyptian authorities consulted India’s Election Commission for help in conducting parliamentary polls in the country, only to get cautious advice from chief election commissioner (CEC) SY Quraishi. He asked his Egyptian counterpart to not import electronic voting machines (EVMs) from anywhere and get these manufactured domestically. Imported machines, however faultless they are, could be deemed suspect, he warned. “The validity of any election lies in the fairness of the process, if the machine is imported from somewhere, there is always a possibility that the election will be questioned as being rigged through the machines,” he said, in an interview to FE. The recent campaign against the use of EVMs in Indian elections, Quraishi said, hinges on the chip, “which is manufactured outside the country and is therefore supposed to be suspect”. “I was very clear that our process was very fair, but the indigenisation of manufacturing would make their elections invulnerable to such charges. I told anti-EVM campaigners as well, set up units which manufacture the chip in India, and we’ll talk,” he added. Read More

Ireland: Confining e-voting to the scrap heap - Connaugh Telegraph

The ill-conceived electronic voting system imposed on us by the former Government has cost us, the taxpayers, €58 million, a loss a bankrupt country can do without.
Environment Minister Phil Hogan has decided to pull the plug on e-voting and have a fire sale of the 7,504 machines held in storage at warehouses all over the country. A tender process is being prepared for international publication, which will detail the amount of memory and the software specifications in the machines in the hope some technology firm may be able to harvest some value from them before they are finally scrapped. The e-voting saga has proved an expensive lesson for this country. The concept was not sought nor wanted by the electorate. The unwanted units have been in storage since their purchase in 2002. One lease was signed for 15 years, the remainder for 10 to 15 years. Fewer than 1,000 machines were used on a pilot basis in Meath, Dublin West and Dublin North in the 2002 general election.
But controversy over the lack of a paper trail of the votes cast threw a shadow over their effectiveness. Read More

Voting News archives here at at Twitter to Voting News at this link: =============================================The Voting News is a free service made possible by the Verified Voting Foundation. You can help support the Voting News by sending a check to Verified Voting Foundation, PO Box 4104, Carlsbad, CA 92018. Be sure to note "for Voting News" in the memo line of your check! Your contribution is tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.Donate online at this link: Articles and commentary included in "Voting News" do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors of Voting News,or its allied organizations. Articles are selected for inclusion to inform subscribers'ability to draw their own conclusions based on noteworthy and credible news,research, legislation, and debate bearing on the integrity of elections.

Monday, May 9, 2011

An interview with California Secretary of State Debra Bowen

CO: Colorado Attorney General's office answers Saguache County Clerk - Valley Courier

Colorado Deputy Attorney General Maurice Knaizer issued a response last Friday to the recent brief filed by Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers and the Colorado County Clerk Association's (CCCA) amicus brief. The briefs were filed concerning the injunction entered against Myers by Secretary of State Scott Gessler in March to hand count ballots cast in the Saguache 2010 General Election. The injunction was sought after Myers refused to allow Gessler to review the ballots, protesting that this would violate the confidential nature of ballots cast. Knaizer's answer to the two briefs denied that the clerkТs office has the right to determine whether GesslerТs request is inappropriate or illegal, cited case law demonstrating the clerk must obey GesslerТs command and stated, the hand review is part and parcel of the review of the practices and procedures of the county with respect to the conduct of the 2010 primary and general elections in Saguache County. Read More

CA: An interview with California Secretary of State Debra Bowen - Daily Kos

Secretary Bowen has a reputation among California's online political community for her groundbreaking work on issues regarding the internet and election integrity (and for personally responding to Facebook messages and Twitter replies). I recently got the chance to catch up with Bowen in the district and talk to her about the election and her priorities. Please note that the publication of this interview here does not constitute an endorsement by Orange to Blue or DailyKos.

You’re the current Secretary of State, but you have a deep history in this district.

I represented about 90% of this district, either for my entire 14 years in the Legislature, or for the eight years that I served in the State Senate. I don’t need a GPS unit to know where I’m going in the district. And one of the things that struck me when I’m out doing events is how many people I know. It’s nice to see all the young people who were too young to be involved in politics in 1992 show up in droves and get involved along with all the people who are wearing bifocals.

You’ve been known for a long time among California bloggers for the work you’ve done on internet and voter integrity issues. What do you consider your legacy?

The first thing would be AB1624. It was going to be a minor bill to put the legislature’s bill analyses, bill texts and voting records out in public online so that anyone could have access 24/7. We take that for granted now, but in 1992, that access did not exist anywhere in the world. The City of Santa Monica had planning commission agendas on a dial-up bulletin board system, and that was it. And that was my model. But some guys from Silicon Valley told me they had a better model; they said the bill needs to say that the information would go out over the world’s largest non-proprietary network, which is that series of tubes we now know as the internet! And we worked very closely with techies and geeks to get that bill passed and signed. It was actually one of the hardest bills I’ve ever carried because it had so much underground opposition; we never saw it, we didn’t know what they were doing, and it’s hard to combat that sort of opposition. Read More

FL: Opponents blast election reform bill |

If you're planning on getting married and changing your name, or moving to another part of Florida, pay attention. The way you vote may be impacted. An election reform bill that sailed through the House and Senate, despite intense debate, is headed for Governor Scott's desk.It aims to change a number of things about Florida's election code, including a forty-year-old law that allows voters to change their address and/or name at the polls on election day. If signed into law, voters wishing to make those changes will have to vote by provisional ballot, which some fear may not be counted. "Not allowing address or name changes on Election Day will create an undue burden on eligible voters and will create tens of thousands of unnecessary provisional ballots," said Pinellas Co. Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark. "This will also result in long lines at the polls and discourage many voters from voting. Current state statutes effectively prevent widespread voter fraud in Florida. The proposed election reform bills contain provisions that frankly are trying to 'fix' problems that do not exist." Read More

NC: North Carolina Lawyers Challenge Section 5 of Voting Rights Act in D.C. Circuit - The BLT

Lawyers for a group of North Carolina residents who favor nonpartisan municipal elections in their city urged a federal appeals court in Washington today to strike down the federal law the U.S. Justice Department enforced to block a referendum to change the city's electoral scheme. The city of Kinston, N.C., sought permission from the Justice Department to amend the city’s electoral system to a nonpartisan ballot. In August 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. said the “elimination of party affiliation on the ballot will likely reduce the ability of blacks to elect candidates of their choice.” Kinston is more than 60% black. Kinston city officials that year declined to challenge Holder’s objection to the proposed electoral changes. The city’s decision raised questions of whether the plaintiffs have standing to pursue their own challenge of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Read More

WI: As voter ID bill heads toward passage, the only certainty is a high price tag - Wiscon State Journal

Steven Prieve saw a lot of interesting things in his 10 years of running a polling place in Madison. The 59-year-old retired repairman watched as groups of Hmong immigrants arrived with translators in tow. He witnessed droves of students vote in their first elections. And he helped many elderly take part in some of their last. But despite the thousands of people he helped over the years, Prieve never witnessed someone voting twice or trying to vote under a fake name. "I just don't see the fraud," he said. "Not around here." This week the state Legislature will debate a controversial measure requiring voters to show a photo identification before they can cast a ballot. The legislation, which proponents say will prevent people from voting illegally, would give Wisconsin arguably the most restrictive voter identification law in the country. Proponents say combating voter fraud, no matter how rare, is a good thing. And they say it is reasonable to expect the same level of scrutiny for voting as for cashing checks, renting cars or using credit cards. But critics say the measure is a solution without a problem. They say fears of voter fraud are overblown, and photo ID laws discourage many people from voting, especially college students, seniors, minorities and people with disabilities. Read More

SD: Sioux Falls Election to Use New E-Poll Book Voting System - Dakota Voice

Secretary of State Jason Gant announced today that the Sioux Falls School District will join the Yankton School District on Tuesday, May 24th to be the first two local elections in the state to utilize the State Election Reporting Systems for their local races. And, for the Sioux Falls School District, the election will also represent the implementation of a measure sponsored by Gant during his last year in the State Senate to allow a school district to conduct an election using voting centers and electronic records. In 2010, then State Senator Gant sponsored and passed Senate Bill 101, an act to authorize certain school districts to conduct school board elections during 2011 using voting centers and electronic poll books. This measure created a variance in State Law to allow certain school districts the ability to use voting centers in lieu of establishing precincts for the election, and to utilize electronic poll books interlinked across the school district.Secretary Gant noted “I’m very excited that as Secretary of State, I get to implement one of the bills I sponsored as a legislator. Sioux Falls will act as a pilot project for some of the newest innovations in election technology. Instead of designated precincts, voters will be able to cast their ballot at any voting center located through out the city for the election. The key to the process are the electronic poll books, which are interlinked. Once a person is recorded as having voted in one location, they are marked as having voted in all of them, preventing anyone from voting more than once.” Read More

WI: Recount moves along, but not without questions - Inter-County Leader

The recount in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race may take some extra time. Also, the campaign of challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg is raising questions about the recount process. Currently, the recount is about 75-percent complete. Waukesha County is one of more than a dozen counties that hasn't finished its work yet. On Thursday, May 5, at the county courthouse, people working at several tables poured through ballots from the City of Brookfield, votes that the Waukesha County Clerk says she neglected to add in on Election Night but later did, giving about a 7,000 vote lead to incumbent justice David Prosser. Read More


Albania holds local elections amid unrest - CBS News

Albanians cast ballots Sunday to elect the local authorities amid reports of incidents among political rivals following an election campaign marred by violence. The main focus of the poll is the capital, Tirana, where the leader of the opposition and three-time Mayor Edi Rama is running for re-election against former Interior Minister Lulzim Basha of the governing Democratic Party. The first preliminary results are expected Monday, according to election officials. During the monthlong electoral campaign, police reported about 60 violent incidents, including explosions, several stabbing, beatings and threats that have led to about a dozen arrests. In January, political violence peaked with riots in which four opposition Socialists supporters were shot dead. More than 5,000 police officers were deployed to protect polling stations Sunday, and authorities and the local media reported a spate of incidents, including clashes between rival voting commission members as well as voters. A private national television station said one of its cameras was stolen. Read More

Canada: Internet voting fraud inevitable, says expert -

It's become an all too commonplace occurrence at Vancouver city council – a staff report is filed as 'late distribution' and posted on the website a day before it is to be voted upon. In this case it was about whether the City of Vancouver approves the adoption of internet voting in time for the 2011 election. The staff report was brief and to the point. Internet voting has been tried in other (smaller) Canadian jurisdictions, and anecdotally at least there has been no reported abuse. Therefore it is recommended by staff that Vancouver takes a leap of faith and tries it out during advanced polls this fall. Oh, and it won't add any additional cost to how we vote. Those who have watched Vision Vancouver with a critical eye know to never take anything from the minds of their party strategists at face value. Unfortunately, that's exactly what appears to have happened when it came to coverage of this topic. If you are to believe what was reported, this was simply an effort to move toward modernity and increase voter participation. Risks? Pah! Only Councillor Suzanne Anton voted against the proposal, and during the council meeting her concerns about possible voter fraud and the risks associated with technology were dismissed as mere narrow-mindedness by others on council. Read More

Nigerian Presidential Vote ‘Rigged,’ Says Opposition Official | VOAnews

The general secretary of Nigeria’s main opposition Congress for Progressive Change [CPC] says his party is legally challenging the outcome of the April 16 presidential elections, saying they were marred by “irregularities.” Buba Galadima says his party can sufficiently document the alleged irregularities, which according to him, took place in both the north and the south. “We have more than enough evidence to prove that [there was rigging]. It is left for the Nigeria judiciary to accept our view,” he says. The party, says Galadima, will dispel the popular view that the election was “peaceful, credible and transparent.” The Congress for Progressive Change party is asking a court to throw out certain election results and order new polls in some areas. Read More

Voting News archives here at
Also at Twitter
Subscribe to Voting News at this link:
The Voting News is a free service made possible by the Verified Voting Foundation. You can help support the Voting News by sending a check to Verified Voting Foundation, PO Box 4104, Carlsbad, CA 92018. Be sure to note "for Voting News" in the memo line of your check! Your contribution is tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.
Donate online at this link:

Disclaimer: Articles and commentary included in "Voting News" do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors of Voting News,or its allied organizations. Articles are selected for inclusion to inform subscribers'ability to draw their own conclusions based on noteworthy and credible news,research, legislation, and debate bearing on the integrity of elections.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Florida Senate passes election law overhaul, Alternative Vote Crushed in UK

FL: Charles Zelden: Changes in election law remind us of another era |

Recent events remind us that Florida truly is a Southern state. Legislation that would radically revise Florida's election laws was passed Thursday by the Senate (SB 1355) and now is headed back to the House for likely fast-tracked approval. These changes include:

Removing provisions in place since the 1970s that allow registered voters to change their names and addresses in elections records on Election Day and still vote using a regular ballot.
Allowing poll watchers to challenge the legitimacy of voters, which would automatically require those voters to fill out provisional ballots, which are less likely to be counted than standard ballots.
Severely restricting the ability of grass-roots groups to register new voters by enacting new restrictions and fines.

While technically neutral in their intent and effect, the proposed "reforms" hark back to a dark era in Florida's history. For most of the 20th century, Florida — like the rest of the South — tried to deny the right to vote to black citizens. Reasons ran the gamut; from race-specific vote denials to technically race-neutral rules that just happened to have the effect of excluding black voters. Read More

FL: Florida legislature OKs elections-law overhaul -

After dueling allegations that it was either a "protection against voting fraud" or a "disenfranchisement act," Florida lawmakers on Thursday approved a 157-page overhaul of the state's elections code. The House voted 77-38 along party lines to pass the bill (HB 1355); the Senate had voted 25-13 earlier in the day. Paula Dockery of Lakeland and Mike Fasano of New Port Richey were the only Senate Republicans to break ranks and vote against it. The measure now goes to Gov. Rick Scott, who is expected to sign it into law. Among other provisions, the bill reduces early voting time to one week and requires groups that sign up voters to register with the state. Immediately after the vote, Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson asked Scott to veto the bill. If Scott signs it, Nelson said he'll ask the Justice Department to look into whether it violates federal voting-rights law. "There are just too many questions about whether this measure would disenfranchise an untold number of Floridians," Nelson said. No matter their party affiliation, Floridians still smart over their state's reputation from 2000, made famous by butterfly ballots, hanging chads and an aborted presidential-election recount. Rep. Franklin Sands, a Weston Democrat, summed up the view of his colleagues in the House: "This is a mean-spirited attempt to disenfranchise Democratic-leaning voters and no more." Read More

IN: Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White Releases Rokita Report

Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White’s office today released a report compiled by then Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita at the request of the Indiana State Democratic Party. Rokita had petitioned to have the report exempt from public record requests, and the move by White comes after final approval from the Indiana Inspector General regarding its release.
Earlier today, the Indiana Inspector General issued a report clearing Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White of any wrongdoing regarding access to the report prepared by his predecessor. Prosecutors had alleged Secretary White had wrongfully accessed the report, yet the report indicates nothing improper. Furthermore, the Inspector General cleared the way to release the Rokita report per the request of Secretary White almost two months ago. Rokita had previously made the report inaccessible by public records request. In pushing transparency within the office, White’s administration had promised to release the report pending approval from the Indiana Attorney General, the Indiana Public Access Counselor and the Indiana Inspector General. With the Inspector General being the last to sign off as of this morning, the report is being prepared for public access. “As promised almost two months ago, we are providing the report in its entirety to allow Hoosiers an opportunity to see the facts for what they are,” White spokesman AJ Feeney-Ruiz said. “We continue to push for transparency and we applaud the Inspector General for allowing us to do so.” Read More

MN: Voter ID-card bill clears House |

A controversial GOP-sponsored elections bill requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls is nearing the governor’s desk after clearing the Minnesota House Thursday. The measure passed on a 73-to-59 largely party-line vote after the Senate approved a similar bill last week. The unified show of Republican support is just the latest signal that the issue has become a top GOP priority. Anticipating a likely veto from Gov. Mark Dayton, Republican lawmakers have already introduced a constitutional amendment proposal that would bypass the governor and put the issue on the ballot in 2012. “Minnesotans are yearning for a voting system in Minnesota that removes the uncertainty that we’ve seen in the past few elections” said Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa. The bill would also eliminate vouching for Election Day registrants and create a new system of provisional balloting. The state would begin doling out free voter identification to people without an appropriate ID if they could prove their citizenship and provide a “photographic identity document.” Read More

NC: Budget puts North Carolina's elections at risk -

North Carolina currently ranks high in election integrity, but it wasn’t always so. Prior to 2000, we had no uniform standards for voting systems and election administration. Our 100 counties used 18 different types of voting machines, some nearly 40 years old. Four suppliers of the machines were no longer in business, maintenance was limited, vendor support was sparse and security was a joke. Training for poll workers and election staff was disjointed and incomplete. All counties did their own thing with ballot printing, and few complied with federal laws and standards. So, in 2004, we had a Florida-style meltdown, with the loss of nearly 5,000 votes in Carteret County, machines crashing, votes missing or counted twice by accident, etc. These were largely systemic problems that came from not having or complying with standards for election integrity. After the meltdown, the General Assembly formed a special committee, which took weeks of testimony from experts. The resulting Public Confidence in Elections Act passed with unanimous bipartisan support and became law in August 2005. That law created statewide standards administered by the State Board of Elections. Every county must have machines, software, ballot designs, etc., that must be tested, certified and maintained as a system. The law also required post-election audits and collection and publication of election data for improving future elections. That law transformed us from a Florida-style laughingstock in 2004 to being ranked No. 1 in 2006 on our ability to count votes and audit elections, as well as being ranked as one of the top eight states in readiness for the 2008 general election. Funding from the Help America Vote Act helped get us there. We got a share of $3.8 billion distributed to all states for equipment replacement and other maintenance/upgrades, allocated by Congress in 2002. Read More

SD: Sioux Falls Election to Use New E-Poll Book Voting System - Dakota Voice

Secretary of State Jason Gant announced today that the Sioux Falls School District will join the Yankton School District on Tuesday, May 24th to be the first two local elections in the state to utilize the State Election Reporting Systems for their local races. And, for the Sioux Falls School District, the election will also represent the implementation of a measure sponsored by Gant during his last year in the State Senate to allow a school district to conduct an election using voting centers and electronic records. In 2010, then State Senator Gant sponsored and passed Senate Bill 101, an act to authorize certain school districts to conduct school board elections during 2011 using voting centers and electronic poll books. This measure created a variance in State Law to allow certain school districts the ability to use voting centers in lieu of establishing precincts for the election, and to utilize electronic poll books interlinked across the school district.Secretary Gant noted “I’m very excited that as Secretary of State, I get to implement one of the bills I sponsored as a legislator. Sioux Falls will act as a pilot project for some of the newest innovations in election technology. Instead of designated precincts, voters will be able to cast their ballot at any voting center located through out the city for the election. The key to the process are the electronic poll books, which are interlinked. Once a person is recorded as having voted in one location, they are marked as having voted in all of them, preventing anyone from voting more than once.” After the election is conducted, the Sioux Falls School District will be required to submit a report to the Secretary of State and the State Legislature by September 1, 2011, including the estimated cost savings achieved as a result of the voting center approach, any challenges, problems, or benefits that resulted from using the voting center approach, and any other relevant information related to the election. “The use of voting centers will help remove the confusion that some people experience when trying to figure out what polling location they’re supposed to use, because under this pilot project, they can access their ballot from all school district voting locations,” Gant said. Secretary Gant will be directly on-hand during much of the testing and implementation of the voting center approach, since if it is successful, it could represent the next step in election technology for South Dakota voters. Secretary Gant said “If we have a successful test, it represents an incredible improvement in how election officials deliver services.” Read More


Voter ID - an idea worse than it seems |

"I think it's a privilege. It's not a right," Minnesota GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers said about voting during an Easter recess radio interview. He soon backtracked, as opponents of a GOP-sponsored change in voting requirements pounced on his words. Zellers did well to recant. No other individual right is as clearly guaranteed in the state and federal constitutions to all citizens of eligible age and residency. This state's nation-leading voter turnout attests to how deeply Minnesotans value that promise. Yet whether intentional or not, Zellers' misstatement aptly describes the consequences of a GOP initiative that's likely to land on the 2012 ballot as a proposed constitutional amendment. It would make voting harder for thousands of Minnesotans -- those who are already underrepresented at the polls. GOP legislators here and around the country are making a concerted push to require voters to present a government-issued photo ID card at the polls before registering to vote or receiving a ballot. Election Day registration using utility bills or the sworn voucher of a neighbor to prove residency, allowed since 1974, would be eliminated. Those who cannot produce a valid ID card on Election Day would be allowed to cast a provisional ballot, then would need to appear at a government office within one week with the requisite ID in order for the ballot to be counted. Read More


UK: 10 reasons the AV referendum was lost |

No one ever claimed that Guardian readers were representative of the wider population, but compare the referendum result with the views you expressed in our own survey a couple of years ago, and you could be forgiven for thinking that planet Guardian exists in an entirely different universe. At the height of the expenses crisis, 5,000 of you gave your views on a new politics, and by a country mile you said that the top priority had to be fixing the voting system. Well, the nation has now had its say on electoral reform of a type, and has decisively flipped its thumbs down. But this is not, in fact, a case of a chasm between those branded the chattering classes by their detractors, and the wider population. A year ago, opinion polls were suggesting strong support for the general idea of reform, and even recording double-digit leads for the particular option of the alternative vote, which has now been so squarely rejected. So there was a chance for change, but that chance was blown. Here is a quick top 10 of the reasons why. As with the hit parade, we will work our way up from the bottom, until we reach the top spot in the blame game. Read More

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Disclaimer: Articles and commentary included in "Voting News" do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors of Voting News,or its allied organizations. Articles are selected for inclusion to inform subscribers'ability to draw their own conclusions based on noteworthy and credible news,research, legislation, and debate bearing on the integrity of elections.