Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Acorn, Citizens United on Comedy Central, Bogus election maps in Maurin Co OH, DREs cost overruns

Comedy Central in the voting news: When Jon Stewart makes fun of you, you're in trouble and last night he made fun of the Acorn video scandal. Stephen Colbert comments on "Citizens United v FEC". Videos of both.
DRES and cost overruns: The Kane County Illinois elections Clerk requests additional $1million to run elections but says county will "save about $1 million over 10 years" in paper costs thanks to switching to electronic voting machines (Hart Intercivic DREs).

Mapquest: Officials in Maurin County Ohio are asking who re-drew the maps prior to the 2007 municipal election causing confusion during the 2007 election?
In New York, a panel discussed the pros and cons of computerized vote counting, paper ballots, and lever machines and the Village Dems endorsed resolution in favor of keeping levers. (video)

"Centralization is no panacea for expanding best practices or for resolving funding problems."~Mark Sheldon,Champaign County Clerk IL.
The Aspen Colorado Election Commission has asked the State Bar to advise what the commission's authority is in handling issues arising from the May 5 IRV election.

To Elect or not to Elect, that is the question: Sandra Day O'Connor: End judge elections in state of Washington. *Would this same argument apply to congress or other elected offices?
Hello: has anyone noticed the pending ES&S monopoly of voting systems in US?

Voter turnout: The DOJ ordered Kinston NC to hold partisan elections..then only 1,745voters turned out for the Democratic primary at cost of $20K. Meanwhile, Washington Co Arkansas had record turnout due to property tax increase proposal on the ballot. Voters were offered paper ballots as an option in order to speed up voting.

AL. Ex-councilwoman convicted in Greensboro voter fraud, had forged affidavit of absentee voter
September 14, 2009 MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A former Greensboro City councilwoman has pleaded guilty to voter fraud and will serve two years of probation.,0,7549485.story

AR. Record Early Voting Numbers
September 14, 2009 Early voting ended Monday at 4:30 p.m. During the last week, more than 1,820 arrived at the Washington County Court house to vote. Out of those voters, more than 1,730 voted on the 4.9-mill increase in property tax...In order to make things easier and faster for the voters, the County Clerk's office offered both electronic and paper ballots. "A lot of people are just dead set against electronic, others want to save paper, so we offer both," said Pritchard,0,4440839.story

CA. Whitman gives GOP $250,000 for voter registration
09/15/2009...Californians registered as Republicans has fallen from 39 percent in 1990 to 31 percent.

CA. Bill to Lower Voter Registration Age Heads to Governor
The legislation would allow any 17-year-old to pre-register
09.14.2009 The California legislature on Thursday approved Assembly Bill 30, a bill lowering the voter registration age to 17...AB 30 would create an option for young people who are 17 years or older to pre-register to vote (sometimes known as “advance” registration). When they turn 18, their registration will automatically become active.

or use this smaller url:

CO. City off to the bar (association)
two members of the city's election commission, who were ultimately shot down Monday on their monetary request for an outside attorney to determine what their authority is...
The commission must deal with several issues relating to May's election, including:

FL. Jacksonville early voting sites a budget victim
Elections supervisor says he'll have to consolidate some precincts, eliminate voting on Sundays

To deal with budget cuts, Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland is eliminating 10 precincts and scaling back early-voting hours.

IL. Kane clerk needs almost $1M for elections, raises
Sept 15. The Kane County Clerk's office is expected to need about $950,000 more in the budget for 2010 to cover costs for two elections and salary raises...Cunningham estimated that the county saved about $1.4 million because of the early voting and will save about $1 million over 10 years because in paper costs because of the implementation of electronic voting machines (
Hart Intercivic Direct Record Electronic),Kane-elections-budget_au091409.article

MA. Massachusetts Legislative Committees Begin Voting on Bill to Fill U.S. Senate Vacancies Quickly
September 15th, 2009
The Election Law Committees of both houses of the Massachusetts legislature are now voting on HB 656, which would let the Governor appoint someone to fill a vacant U.S. Senate seat. Current law says there should be a special election approximately five months after the vacancy occurs

MA and NY. Justice Department To Monitor Elections In Massachusetts and New York
WASHINGTON, Sept. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Justice Department today
announced that it will monitor the Sept. 15, 2009, municipal elections in
Springfield, Mass., and Newburgh, N.Y., to ensure compliance with the Voting
Rights Act of 1965.

MN. Forums teach Mpls. voters 'ranked choice voting'
September 15, 2009 MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Voters in Minneapolis have the chance to learn about the city's new system of voting at a series of educational forums.
This fall, Minneapolis will institute "ranked choice voting" for its city elections.

MN. Joe Soucheray: Instant runoff voting promises instant headaches
09/12/2009 As it continues to be a solution for which there is no problem, a couple of restaurants, I was reading the other day, have decided to get into the instant runoff voting business. Diners, or drinkers, at the establishments that cheerfully allowed themselves to be duped into promoting IRV, will rank their favorite meals or beers.

NC. Mayoral candidates focused on issues, not registration
September 14, 2009 ...Responding to news of increased black voter registration in Elizabeth City, all three candidates for mayor say they’re focused on issues that affect people rather than registration numbers.

NC. Costly Kinston Primary
A $20,000 election for only 1,745 voters in Kinston? For some, those numbers don't add up....Up until August 17th, city officials were under the impression there wouldn't be partisan elections after a vote by the people to do away with them. But the U.S. Justice Department overruled the people's vote amid claims that minorities couldn't get a fair shake.

NY. NYC Never Sleeps! Village Independent Dems Opt Out of Op Scan (Updated and w/video)
Keep-the-Levers Resolution passes after informed public debate...The pros and cons of computerized vote counting, paper ballots, and lever machines were discussed..
After the forum on July 9th, the Village Independent Democrats joined over twenty counties, several labor unions, the Association of Towns of the State of New York, individual towns, villages, good government organizations and thousands of New Yorkers in passing resolutions in favor of retaining lever voting machines.

NY. Feds will monitor primary in Newburgh
September 15, 2009...Federal officials aren't saying why they're coming to Newburgh. They observed 114 elections in 24 states last year but expect to monitor fewer this year because it's an off year.

NY. Board of elections to have live unofficial voter returns tonight
MAYVILLE?- The Chautauqua County Board of Elections (BOE) will again provide live election night unofficial voter returns at for today's county primary elections. However, the BOE's election night software for the first time will be the Election Management System (EMS) that is paired with the county's new optical scan paper ballot voting machine called the Imagecast Voting System by Dominion Voting Systems of Toronto, Canada.

OH. Origin of bogus election map unknown
Maury County Election Commissioners Monday failed to find the source of a computer file that led to an erroneous change in Columbia ward lines but directed the election administrator to draft a policy to prevent future problems...The change caused confusion during the November 2007 election, Ward 2 Councilwoman Debbie Matthews said...‘It’s like an explosion went off in my ward’,” Matthews said.
...Baxter said there were two files with the same name but different creation dates.
The only county departments with the right program are Information Technology and Property Assessor, said IT Director Bill Wells...Commissioner Bill Anderson was more skeptical. He said there was no way of knowing where the file originated.
“We need to be very careful saying the problem is with the city. It may very well be with the county,” Anderson said.

OH. Concerns about Diebold sale
Nearly all Ohio counties now to be served by single voting-device company
September 14, 2009 ...Some experts as well as county elections officials are concerned about how the deal might affect service, as well as whether the loss of competition will mean higher prices and fewer voting-system choices.
or use this smaller url

OH. Early voting costing Lucas County thousands
Sept 15...when we went to the early voting location we counted about eight employees and only saw a couple polling booths occupied.

WA. Sandra Day O'Connor: End judge elections in Wash.

The first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court says there's a serious problem with the government in Washington and many other states: They elect their judges..."It's the flood of money coming into our courtrooms," O'Connor said. "You haven't suffered too much of this in Washington - but you will, if you don't think about this and change it."...It was only after President Andrew Jackson's election in 1828 that he persuaded states to begin adopting elections for judges.

WA. Washington State Decision on Petition Validity is Now Available
September 14th, 2009
As noted earlier, on September 9 a Washington state Superior Court ruled that initiative and referendum petitions need not bear the signatures of the circulator. Also, voters may sign such petitions even if they are not registered, and their signatures will be counted if they are registered by the time the Secretary of State’s office checks the signatures

Diebold sale to ES&S

Voting-machine company sues to block merger
9/15 Hart InterCivic Inc. said Tuesday it filed the suit to try to stop the sale of Ohio-based Diebold Inc.'s voting-machine business to Nebraska-based Election Systems & Software.

Monopoly Looms on Electronic Voting September 16, 2009
While we’ve been concentrating on the healthcare debate, the economy and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, another story important to American democracy has gotten inadequate attention: a single company is poised to monopolize the counting of over 75 percent of the nation’s votes.


Jon Stuart of Daily Show about the ACORN video scandal.*audio not suitable for work* Two kids with a video camera and their grandmother's chinchilla coat uncover ACORN's corruption.

Is Localism a Problem in Election Administration
Published by Champaign County Clerk at 7:36 am under Elections
In her book, The Democracy Index, Heather Gerken points to localism as one of the two obstacles to improving election administration in America.
...And once again, centralizing best practices offers little promise for local officials because there is widespread belief, often demonstrable, that those in central positions are just unaware of the challenges we are facing at a local level... Centralization is no panacea for expanding best practices or for resolving funding problems.

Citizens United v Federal Election Commission

Has Austin Been Overruled? (check website daily for answer)

Stephen Colbert comments on Citizens United v FEC -hat tip to Rick Hassen of

An Absolute Must-Read for those following Citizens United: the Untold Drafting History of Austin.
9/16 Electionlawblog

Hillary and the High Court
The Supreme Court considers the constitutional limits of corporate electioneering.
09/15/2009...Citizens United ran into problems when the Federal Election Commission, an independent regulatory agency that oversees the use of money in federal elections, determined that the movie was an “electioneering communication” that directly advocated Clinton’s defeat, and thus could not legally be paid for out of the general treasury fund of any corporation...Speaking very generally, Citizens United and their allies believe that federal laws limiting corporate spending on campaigns limit political speech and are therefore unconstitutional


Afghanistan. Preparations for new Afghanistan vote begin
Sept 16...The second round will take place in five weeks only if Karzai's share of the vote – which currently stands at 54% – falls to less than 50%.
With 10% of ballots currently under scrutiny, that scenario appears increasingly likely.

Voting News by Joyce McCloy.
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