Tuesday, July 28, 2009

7/28 Voting News. Aspen election to get independent audit, an election office's money woes, online registration, vote renting and illegal voting

Ballots so private you can't audit them: Colorado Voting Activist Harvie Brancomb leads a team conducting an independent audit of Aspen's recent instant runoff voting election. The town's attorney has denied a public info request to obtain the 2,600 ballots, citing that the ballots are "private". It is ironic that ballots have to be stored for 22 months after federal elections or 6 months otherwise, but then destroyed and never available as public records for the public to review.

Kansas citizens can register to vote online now. Electronic elections are becoming too costly: A Birmingham election office can't afford to deliver voting machines to the polls. (This is becoming more common, as we saw in Utah some counties switching to paper ballots to save money). Paper verses electronic voting issue went to a top court in India. Vote Renting in Iraq. Restoring ex felons' voting rights.

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AL. Birmingham employees will deliver voting machines
County has no funds for the task
City of Birmingham employees will deliver voting machines to polling places for next month's municipal elections because Jefferson County cannot afford to perform many of its usual election-related duties, officials from both governments said Monday.
CO. Aspen's May election under review
Independent group conducting audit of Instant Runoff Voting results
ASPEN — A small group of Instant Runoff Voting junkies plan to do an independent review of Aspen's May election...Part of that information includes Marks' Colorado Open Record Act request for all, or a portion of, the 2,600 ballots casts by Aspen voters....City attorney John Worcester has denied that request, arguing that voters' ballots should be private, per the city's home rule charter and the council's intent to keep them from public review.

Branscomb told the council Tuesday that he plans to challenge that position because in order to do a full audit of the election, his team must start from the beginning, which are the paper ballots. Individuals' votes ought to be checked against how the scanning machines interpreted them, he argues.

KS. Online voter registration launched in Kansas
Kansas officials have created an online system to help residents register to vote from the convenience of their computers.
The system links the secretary of state’s voter registration process with the Department of Revenue’s driver’s license database. Residents submit their application, which is verified with information already in the state system.

NY. Removed From Ballot --- For a Typo?
July 25, 2009 New York City’s election laws are notoriously unfair, and few events make that point as well as what happened on Thursday to City Councilman Bill de Blasio...Mr. de Blasio’s name was removed from the Democratic Party line on the ballot by the New York City Board of Elections. The reason? A cover page on his packet of signatures said that there were 131 folders when there were actually 132.

NY. UPDATE. de Blasio Back On The Ballot
This just in from the city Board of Elections: Councilman Bill de Blasio has been restored to the ballot in the public advocate race. http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2009/07/de-blasio-back-on-the-ballot.html#ixzz0MbtoxMDB

NY. Here's a vote for progress
Counties preparing to use new electronic ballot machines this fall
Schenectady County election officials joke that it's "the trash can" -- the new electronic voting machine that'll be at some polling places for the Sept. 15 primary.
The county's new machine, which looks like a laptop computer atop a black trash can, is the culmination of seven years of federal pressure to get New York into compliance with the 2002 Help America Vote Act.... Eighteen counties will use the electronic machines at all polling places

WA. Illegal voting is found in Washington, but rarely
Just one person was convicted of voter fraud in the 2008 election
Susan Risenhoover of Camano Island wanted badly to vote for Barack Obama but couldn’t because she wasn’t a registered voter.
So when a ballot arrived in the mail for her son, then living in Texas, she filled it out, signed his name and sent it in.
It never got counted. Island County election officials saw the signature differed from the one on her son’s voter registration card.

US. Feingold, Conyers Continue Effort to Restore Voting Rights for Millions of Americans
..Feingold and Conyers reintroduced the Democracy Restoration Act, legislation that would reinstate the right to vote in federal elections for millions of Americans with a conviction in their past who are out of prison, living in the community. In America today, more than five million citizens are unable to vote due a felony conviction, nearly three-quarters of whom are no longer in prison. http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2009/07/27-3

US. The Vote and the Draft. Brennan Center for Justice
NEW YORK - July 27 - The voting problems military and overseas voters face can be solved by a relatively simple fix to the voter registration system, two new reports released today by the Brennan Center for Justice show.

US. U.S. Court of Appeals Won’t Re-Hear Nader Case Against Democratic National Committee

US. EAC Newsline 2009 # 30 ( 7-28-09 ) Certifications and registering of vendors. The EAC Standards Board will meet August 6-7 in Phoenix, Arizona. For more information, click here.
The second voting system to be certified by EAC is ES&S Unity The latest voting system manufacturer to register with EAC is Everyone Counts, Inc. See updated lists of registered manufacturers, certification applications, test reports and new correspondence here. EAC's decision on a request for interpretation of VVPAT accessibility is posted here. EAC seeks public comments on draft revisions to the 2005 Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG). Click here to get started. For more information about the program, go to Voting System Center.

US. On July 29, 2009 The Heritage Foundation is holding a presentation on
Voting Rights - And Wrongs:
The Elusive Quest for Racially Fair Elections
The speaker will be Abigail Thernstrom Adjunct Scholar,American Enterprise Institute and Vice Chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The host is Hans A. von SpakovskyLegal Scholar,

NIST Workshop on a Common Data Format for Electronic Voting Systems
The goal of this two-day workshop is to identify and agree upon a set of
requirements for a common data format for voting systems.

India. Top court refuses to entertain plea against electronic voting machine
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) questioning continued use of Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) for holding elections in the country

Iran. Vote Renting
A problem for democracies has long been the tendency of politicians to raise payments to pensioners just before elections. Critics denounce such moves as vote buying, and say that it leaves the government with an ongoing obligation.
....Those payments have since been reduced, according to the Fararu Web site, a development that could further endanger the president politically.

Iran. Breaking: Saffar Harandi resigns, Ahmadinejad’s cabinet no longer official
Just eight days before inauguration, Ahmadinejad’s cabinet becomes illegal and requires a parliamentary vote of confidence to continue working.
...Update: According to Fars News Agency, Ahmadinejad refused to accept Harandi’s resignation in order to avoid having to seek a vote of confidence.

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