Sunday, September 13, 2009

$100 a vote in KY fraud case, Jeers to ES&S, Pushing e-voting in Ireland

ES&S charged Vanderburg Co IN $120 for carboard boxes containing tape, forms, rubber bands and pens - Election workers could make this same "kit" for $1.00 each. Kinston City Council NC candidate offers hotdogs and handshakes to lure early voters.
A Illinois elections clerk writes: "A Dangerous Proposal for Voter Registration." In Kentucky, a guilty plea coming for old fashioned vote-buying case using 75 counter checks written out for $100.00 each. Will Justice Roberts "legislate" from the bench in Citizens United vs FEC? ACORN dropped by Census bureau.

Time to read between the lines? Ireland is still paying €800,000 a year to store e-voting machines deemed insecure, having spent €54.5m on the machines already. It would cost €28 million more to make the machines usable. So here comes a flurry of op/eds in Irish media supporting promoting e-voting and condemning Ireland's current system of hand counting ballots.
"Automated elections in the Philippines next year could fail due to potential threats from hackers and other technical vulnerabilities" according to officials and IT experts.

IL. A Dangerous Proposal for Voter Registration
Published by Champaign County Clerk under Elections
...Accurate voter registration rolls that reduce the burden for voters on election day are worth the efforts made by election officials.
Spend a week in our office and see how registrations are processed. You’ll see hundreds of forms that require decisions from trained staff in order to get the registration done correctly. Quite simply, no computer program can be created that can substitute for the sound and experienced judgement of election administration staff...To the third, I’d say that the Committee is attacking a symptom of a greater problem. There is no lack of registration opportunities for people...A system that reduces voter control, which this proposal clearly does, is a system that will reduce confidence and increase cynicism.

IN. Cheers, Jeers and Tears
September 12, 2009
jeers go this week to an old and extremely bothersome issue with Election Systems & Software, the company that manufactured and serviced the county's electronic voting system. The county is contesting some $112,000 it says the company owes it. One of the items on that list is $38,019 for precinct kits. The company charged Vanderburgh County about $120 each for these kits, supposedly designed to meet workers' needs at voting precincts. The kits consisted of cardboard boxes containing Scotch tape, paper election forms, rubber bands and pens. Local election workers found they could make their own for about $1 each.

KY. Guilty plea coming in vote-buying case
The former judge-executive of Perry County plans to plead guilty in a federal vote-buying case
Neace, 68, and Chester Jones, 65, another longtime county official, are charged with using $7,500 from the state Democratic Party to buy votes for themselves last November.
..According to the indictment, the state Democratic Party sent the local Democratic Party Executive Committee $7,500 to use in promoting voting. Jones was chairman of the local party executive committee.
Jones allegedly went to the bank where the party had its account and got 75 blank counter checks and filled them out for $100 apiece, leaving the payee line blank, the indictment said.
Jones and Neace split up the checks, giving some out themselves to buy votes and giving some to other people to buy votes for them, the indictment charged.

NC. Kinston City Council candidate offers free food to lure early voters
September 11, 2009 Election officials in Lenoir County are dealing with one of their most controversial voting matters. Their offices have been flooded with complaints. They center on one candidate’s move to get voters to urge citizens to early vote. Critics say it’s the same as buying votes. It also prompted an inquiry by the NC Board of Elections. While some political candidates put up signs. City Council candidate Hilary Greene came up with other ways to drive people to the polls: A hand shake and free food at Kinston’s busiest intersection... Deputy Elections director Johnnie McLean tells 9OYS what Hilary Greene is doing is not “voter fraud” and is no different than handing out campaign material—-other than it’s edible.

TX. Houston is Providing Easier Access to Voter Registration Forms
To minimize the number of problems on election days, many cities and states have been making efforts to improve the voter registration system and give participants in our electoral process fewer reasons to complain. Harris County, which is home to the great city of Houston, is trying to make the registration paperwork as accessible to its residents as possible.
...County Tax Assessor-Collector Leo Vasquez is working with organizations such as the Houston Apartment Association and the Texas Land Title Association to make sure that people receive voter forms amongst all of the other documents that one receives when moving into a new home. Major employers in the area, such as Continental Airlines and the Houston Independent School District, are also starting to include a voter registration form within the stack which already includes a W-4 form and the employee leave policy.

VA. Scott County buying electronic polling books for all precincts
Published September 11th, 2009 GATE CITY — The Scott County Registrar’s Office is taking advantage of a special offer by the commonwealth of Virginia to purchase 43 electronic polling books for use at all of the county’s voting precincts. ..Edwards said the county would be able to purchase the books for around $4,300 — roughly $100 each — through the state’s Government Furnished Equipment Program.'


Census Bureau Drops Acorn From 2010 Effort
September 11, 2009
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Census Bureau on Friday severed its ties with Acorn, a community organization that Republicans have accused of voter-registration fraud.
“It is clear that Acorn’s affiliation with the 2010 census promotion has caused sufficient concern in the general public, has indeed become a distraction from our mission, and may even become a discouragement to public cooperation, negatively impacting 2010 census efforts,” Mr. Groves wrote.

Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission

Op-Ed Contributor
The Trial of John Roberts
JEFFREY ROSEN September 12, 2009
FOUR years ago, when John Roberts became chief justice of the United States, he said that he hoped to emulate the modesty and unanimity of his greatest predecessor, John Marshall. But if Chief Justice Roberts presides over a broad, ideologically divided ruling in a campaign finance case the court heard last week, he risks being remembered instead as a conservative Earl Warren... Now he can support a narrow, restrained campaign finance decision that Republicans and Democrats can embrace, or he can hand down a broad, activist decision that turns our political system upside down. John Marshall or Earl Warren: the choice is his.

A Times Editorial
1st Amendment, precedent collide
September 12, 2009
The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week in a highly consequential case that could invalidate laws designed to keep corporations from directly spending money to influence elections. A majority of justices on this conservative court sound inclined to overturn the decades-old ban when a much narrower approach would be sufficient...The court should narrowly rule for Citizens United without establishing new First Amendment rights for all for-profit corporations and tossing out long-established precedent...To exploit the unusual circumstances of this case to pursue a much broader goal and allow corporate money to drown out the voices of individual citizens in the electoral process would be activism at its worst.


E-voting far more secure, insists Cullen
...The recent report to which Mr Cullen was referring was coverage of a paper presented on the closing day of the British Festival of Science in Guildford last week, which noted that the paper-based voting system in which we put our trust is open to fraud and manipulation... A report from the Comptroller and Auditor General on Friday revealed the taxpayer is liable for leased storage of some e-voting machines up until 2029.

Ireland. Electronic voting the only way to protect against fraud, conference told
THE IRISH electorate rejected the idea of electronic voting, but the paper-based system we put our trust in is completely open to fraud and manipulation. Only properly designed systems based on electronics including the encoding and concealment your ballot can offer any chance of security.
Dr James Heather, of Surrey University’s department of computing within the school of electronics and physical sciences, dismissed the current paper balloting done in Britain and by extension Ireland. He was speaking yesterday during a session on the closing day of the British Festival of Science in Guildford.
Ballot boxes can be stuffed with fake votes and ballot papers can be tampered with, he said. “We have no protection against anything like that. I don’t have any confidence that the system as it stands is secure.” He and colleagues in Birmingham and Luxembourg are currently developing a new electronic or e-voting system that can’t be tricked, will give the voter a receipt, and also a way to confirm his vote was used by checking it over the internet.

Ireland. C&AG: E-voting
Friday, 11 September 2009 17:29
Almost €54.5m has been spent on the electronic voting system since 2003, according to a report on the accounts of the public services.
The latest report of the Comptroller and Auditor General shows that over €3m has now been spent on storage of the abandoned voting machines since 2003

Netherlands. "Magic Vote" and The Adventures of Citizen Michael C. Robertson (Cartoon) Posted at the website for the group
"We do not trust voting computers"

Automated polls face risks: Experts
Monday, September 14, 2009
...The Philippines, seeking to overhaul an election process in which winners are declared months after the actual vote and allegations of fraud abound, will introduce a poll automation system that has never been tested anywhere in the world.
“It’s vulnerable to attacks,” Virtus Gil, a retired general and head of the government’s cybersecurity agency, said, though he said there was no fool-proof electronic voting system in the world.

Voting News by Joyce McCloy.
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