Monday, August 24, 2009

Smartmatic must reveal source code, WVA touchscreens easily hacked,Aspen ballot battle continues

"Why does U.S. seemingly insist on electronic voting machines?" asks an IT professional in Japan. Indeed. The Philippines calls for review of Smartmatic source code. Good reason not to require voters to dip fingers in ink: Afghan election observers report finger amputations. West Virginia lawmakers hear expert testimony that their ES&S ivotronic touchscreens have "serious security vulnerabilities". A Denver Colorado attorney says Aspen's May 5 IRV ballots are subject to open records request.
Are some candidates for California's top offices "Too big to vote"?
Economics affect elections again: Budget crunch may eliminate early voting in Evansville IN in next GE. Should there be fewer polling places in primaries? While some US states struggle to get paper ballots, a Ghana oped proposes electronic voting and biometric id as solution to vote rigging problems. Intimidation and Fraud Observed in Afghan Election. Afghans turn to the Twitterverse.

CA. Too big to vote?
Sunday, August 23, 2009
How do you run for California's top political offices when you often have failed to vote yourself and have no political experience? ...Some big names in the GOP have rallied behind former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina as she eyes a run against Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman as she prepares to run for governor...But both former CEOs have a boardroom-size problem: They have shoddy voting records.

CA. Proposed constitutional convention is a big con
08/22/2009 The most interesting thing about the New America Foundation think tank's recent Sacramento seminar on replacing the California state constitution with something unknown and unpredictable was that even the foundation's designated election law expert had to admit the "Pandora's Box" problem

CO. Links to media- discussion of ballot release and election review
The two Aspen Colorado papers and one state-wide blog have been covering the topic of the Aspen May 5 IRV election and the upcoming Aspen Election Independent Review and numerous letters to editor. Here is a perhaps not complete collection of them:

CO. More calls for release of ballots
August 24, 2009 ....Sources from across the state and the political spectrum called into question the city of Aspen’s reasoning for not making citizens’ ballots from the May election public...
...Thomas Kelley, a Denver attorney who specializes in open records law, said he has studied the issue before and concluded that ballots are subject to open records requests, as long as the ballots don’t identify the voter.

CT. Should There Be Fewer Polling Places For Primaries?
...When we think of a large cities such as Hartford, New Haven, and Bridgeport its easy to see how reducing polling places could reduce turn-out and locations could easily change the result

IN. Sunday Soapbox (budget dispute about early voting)
August 22, 2009
Due to a budget dispute, that service may not be available during next year's general election. County Clerk Susan Kirk says she would need $60,000 in 2010 to pay part-time workers to man the voting centers

NY. City Council campaigns use social media
August 23, 2009 ..They can track who clicks on their ads, match that to voter registration lists and see who has a history of voting in primaries. Working the voter lists is common practice in campaigning,

NY. Safe & Secure Voting in Broome County
Starting with September's primary, Electronic machines will process votes in Broome County.

PA. OpinionMore voters would cure Monroe’s election problems
August 23, 2009 The real problem with how Monroe County voters elect our judges is that too few people bother to vote. Of the roughly 165,000 people living in Monroe County, nearly 114,000 are registered to vote. But only 11,448 people actually voted in the spring judicial primary election this year — that's only 10 percent of our registered voters.

TN. Vines: Voting changes studied
...Individuals like to go back to small, home precincts. That also was the same logic used for early voting,"

TN. GOP could be flipped to top of Tenn. ballots
8/23/2009 Tennessee Republicans could start being listed first on ballots next year under changes being considered by the Secretary of State's office.

VA. State’s Proposed Voting Rules in Need of Some Work
August 23, 2009 ...The proposed new rules will be sent to the State Board of Elections, which can accept, modify or reject them. One of the task force members raised a good reason for rejecting the rule that allows students or other voters to claim their home is wherever they say it is. Tracy Howard, Radford’s voter registrar, said the proposed regulations would allow people to “float their vote” and to do so frequently.
WA. Suit fights Pierce County ballot language
Amendments: Term limits, voting are at issue
08/22/09 ..Sherry Bockwinkel, a term-limit supporter, and Kelly Haughton, a supporter of ranked choice voting, filed a lawsuit late Thursday in Pierce County Superior Court. The lawsuit seeks to prohibit the county auditor and prosecuting attorney from publishing ballots and the voters pamphlet with the current language.

WVA. August 22, 2009
Electronic voting machines easily hacked, researchers say

..Earlier this month during interim legislative meetings, state lawmakers heard from a University of Pennsylvania researcher who believes the machines can be easily hacked..The researcher, Micah Sherr, says the ES&S machines West Virginia uses -- called iVotronic -- have "serious security vulnerabilities" that could let poll workers or other election officials take control of the equipment...Gary Zuckett, executive director of
West Virginia Citizen Action Group, called the research alarming. His group wants to phase out electronic voting machines.

Afghan election observers report finger amputations
There are reports of two voters in Kandahar being attacked and their ink-stained fingers cut off by the Taliban, which issued the threat before the vote. A third apparent case is being investigated.,0,1689966.story

AFghanistan. Intimidation and Fraud Observed in Afghan Election

Afghanistan. Afghan Election Marred by Fraud, Karzai Opponent Says
U.S. Anxiously Awaiting Results as War With Taliban Rages
KABUL, Afghanistan, Aug. 23, 2009
President Hamid Karzai's chief competitor today accused the incumbent of "widespread rigging," while the body that judges electoral complaints admitted fraud could alter the results in Afghanistan's second ever presidential election.

Afghans Turn to the Twitterverse for Election
August 24, 2009 While far smaller than the response after the Iran vote, the online activity in Afghanistan was an amazing contrast to the last presidential election in 2004, when the country was only a few years removed from Taliban rule that banned many types of technology, including TV and the Internet. Afghans now have cell phones even in remote areas.

GHANA. Let Us Consider Electronic Voting
Aug 23...In my humble opinion, investing in electronic voting will be the best way forward in ensuring free, fair and transparent general elections that will lead to a more lasting and credible democratic dispensation in this country.

Japan. 2009-08-23
U.S. election officials, how about OCRing paper ballots instead of electronic voting machines? This Science Friday Story on a voting machine hacking reminds me of my long standing question. Why does U.S. seemingly insist on electronic voting machines? How about collecting paper ballots at voting stations in the very old fashioned way and counting them using optical character recognition (OCR) machines?

Philippines. Call for poll machines source code review mounts
08/24/2009 MANILA - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday said it will release the source code of the Smartmatic-TIM Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines for review to political parties as well as an internationally accredited body chosen by the poll body....The commissioner said the poll body is still waiting for Smartmatic-TIM to turn over the source code so that it could be opened for review....Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said IT experts would need at least two to three months to conduct a proper source code audit.

"The source code has to be reviewed now. If there is a defect, we cannot use it. If we find say, a line of code that says for every 100 votes for candidate A, put it to candidate B, that cannot be - dapat may changes. If we can't fix it in time, what will happen to the elections?" he asked.

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