Monday, September 14, 2009

Diebold sale triggers Hart anti trust suit & Senator's request for DOJ probe

The Diebold sale to ES&S has hit the fan:
Senator Schumer seeks DOJ probe of Diebold’s sale of voting-machine business.
Hart Intercivic files antitrust suit against Diebold and ES&S. See "Your Once-Public Elections & Your Once-Public Elections on ES&S Monopoly Steroids" ~ Brad Friedman of Bradblog.
Again, why is "Citizens United v FEC" so important? "Campaign money and freedom of speech are two different things. When we speak our minds, we are expressing our opinions on the issues at hand. But when we give money to a politician, we are attempting to buy influence..." ~ Dave Hornstein, Detroit Natl Examiner.

Voters in Dauphin Co PA will have to jump through hoops to cast write in votes on Electec DREs. The State of New York just passed a bill requiring polling places to have the information needed to direct voters to their proper voting places:
“Far too many people have not had their vote count because they simply didn’t know the proper location of their polling place,” stated Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Some early voters in Maury County TN may have voted at the wrong place because of
"a change in the software at the election commission offices..."

Democrats and Republicans in Tarrant Co TX are divided over what to do about the polling place at Maplewood Baptist Fellowship. The church is known for its controversial marquee questioning the citizenship of the President of the United States.

The Wisconsin Gen Assembly to consider restoration of voting rights this Thursday.

More on push for internet voting in Canada, "Don't do it." says Hovav Shacham, the University of California professor. In Ireland, the minister responsible for the €60m e-voting debacle defended the botched electronic voting system and bizarrely suggested a similar system might be used in the future.

HI. Lawmakers To Examine State Elections Office Budget
9/13/09. HONOLULU -- The Senate Committee on Ways and Means on Tuesday will examine the plight of the Hawaii Office of Elections, which is straining under a tight budget a year before the 2010 statewide elections. Because of cuts in funding that were made by Gov. Linda Lingle's office, the agency cannot fill the vacant positions of four major posts, including the supervisor that oversees the preparation and transportation of ballots.

KY. Supreme Court campaign finance case may affect Kentucky
September 14, 2009 U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell ended his August recess Wednesday sitting in on U.S. Supreme Court arguments that could roll back some 30 years of Kentucky election law...McConnell's interest in the case is based on his belief that laws limiting contributions to political candidates violate the First Amendment, which guarantees the right to free speech. And corporations under U.S. law have traditionally been afforded the same First Amendment rights as individuals.
or use this url:

MA. Bill to link local, special elections. Polito seeks less confusion, lower costs
State Rep. Karyn E. Polito filed a bill yesterday that would allow communities to put local questions and candidates on the Jan. 19 election ballot to replace the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. Using the same ballot for Mr. Kennedy’s replacement and local issues would be less confusing for local voters and less costly to communities, proponents maintain.

MD. City steps up efforts to educate about new polling places
September 12, 2009
Frederick 's Board of Supervisors of Elections is doing what it can to make sure city voters make it to the correct polling place for Tuesday's primary...With schools not an option for polling places, the city had to find sites that are different from the locations where city voters usually cast ballots

NY. New York State Democratic Party Chair Hints He Wants to Abolish Fusion
September 13th, 2009
Jay Jacobs, who will soon take up his post as state chair of the New York Democratic Party, says he tends to want to make it illegal for two political parties to jointly nominate the same candidate, according to this Newsday article.

NY. Most election law cases can’t be investigated, Sedita acknowledges
September 11, 2009 Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III has reiterated what others in his position have said before — neither his office nor the state Board of Elections has the staff or resources to investigate most violations of election law...the whole situation underscores a system in which the State Legislature passes campaign finance laws without providing money to finance required investigations and subsequent prosecutions.

NY. NYC Never Sleeps! Village Independent Dems Opt Out of Op Scan (video)

NY. Scanners get a vote of confidence
Electronic balloting procedure set to debut throughout county
September 12, 2009 Out with the levers. In with the scanners.
A new era of voting begins this Primary Day when new electronic voting machines replace levers at polling places throughout Erie County, except the City of Buffalo, which will get the machines next year

NY. ELECTIONS: A vote toward change — new electronic machines
ROYALTON — Niagara County is beginning its journey to new electronic voting machines Tuesday with a primary election trial run in the Town of Royalton and then another on Nov. 3 in general elections in both Royalton and the Town of Hartland.

NY. Election reform measure will direct voters to proper polling place
ALBANY - State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D/WF–35) says her legislation, Senate bill 2443-B, was unanimously approved by the Senate during Friday’s Special Senate Session. The bill, requires polling places to have on hand the information necessary to direct voters to their proper voting places.
“Far too many people have not had their vote count because they simply didn’t know the proper location of their polling place,” stated Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins

PA. Machines could be a problem for Reed (Dauphin County uses is the Electec 1242B )
Sept 14. Outdated technology would make voters jump through hoops to cast a write-in vote for the incumbent, whose name isn't on the ballot.
Harrisburg Mayor Stephen R. Reed recently conceded it's difficult to win an election when your name doesn't appear on the ballot.

PA. Pennsylvania Federal Ballot Access Case Moves Ahead
September 11th. A U.S. District Court in Reading, Pennsylvania, will hold a pre-trial conference in Constitution Party v Cortes on September 22. Here is the latest brief filed by the three minor parties in the case; it was filed September 10.
The case challenges the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s unique system of requiring petitioning candidates to pay the costs of checking their signatures, if their petitions are found to lack enough valid signatures.

TN. Election board to investigate complaint
The Maury County Election Commission will meet at 8 a.m. Monday to investigate a change in ward lines during the last election.
In 2007 a week into early voting, Election Administrator Todd Baxter moved the line between Wards 2 and 3, affecting more than 50 voters. He said a change in the software at the election commission offices resulted in the wrong map being used for the city wards.

TX. Polling place tiff erupts in Texas over church sign questioning Obama's citizenship
Sep. 12, 2009 FORT WORTH, Texas -- Democrats and Republicans are divided over what to do about Maplewood Baptist Fellowship.
The North Richland Hills, Texas, church has operated as a polling place for more than 15 years but has recently drawn attention for a sign questioning President Barack Obama's citizenship.

UT. Paper ballots are available
09/11/2009 People who do not want to cast their ballots on the touch-screen voting machines being used in the City Hall election may opt for a paper ballot.
Cindy LoPiccolo, City Hall's elections officer, said, though, they must request a paper ballot from a poll worker if they do not want to use the touch screen machine

WI. Thursday - vote on bill to restore right to vote
Next Thursday, the Assembly Committee will be holding an Executive Session to vote on Assembly Bill 353
Relating to: restoring the right to vote to certain persons barred from voting as a result of a felony conviction and changing the information required on voter registration forms.
Thursday, September 17, 2009 9:15 AM225 Northwest State Capitol


Lawyers' Committee Partners with ACLU and Sentencing Project to File Felony Disenfranchisement Petition
September 09, 2009 The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has partnered with the American Civil Liberties Union and the Sentencing Project to request that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights carry out a comprehensive review of the effect of felony disenfranchisement laws on racial and ethnic minorities in the United States and other countries in the Americas

Driver’s Licenses Inaccurate
Published by
Champaign County Clerk at 8:59 am under Elections
The Committee to Modernize Voter Registration would like policy makers to believe that automatically updating voter registrations through government agencies will somehow miraculously make the voter rolls more accurate.
In truth, relying on the driver’s license is no panacea for clean voter files.
study by the Center for Election Integrity at Cleveland State University estimates that in the State of Ohio hundreds of thousands of people would be disenfranchised by such a system.

Diebold sale to ES&S

US Senator requests DOJ probe of Diebold’s sale of voting-machine business
Schumer urges justice dept. to probe Diebold’s proposed sale of election machine business to its biggest competitor; says deal could have ‘adverse consequences’ for how America votes
Senator Charles E. Schumer Contact: Brian Fallon (Schumer), 202-224-7433
September 14th, 2009. U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), the Chairman of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee and a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, raised alarm bells Monday over Diebold’s proposed sale of its voting machine business to its biggest competitor and urged a full Justice Department review of the deal, saying it could have “adverse implications on how our country votes.”

Hart files antitrust suit against Diebold and ES&S
Hart Intercivic Inc. v. Diebold Incorporated et al
Plaintiff: Hart Intercivic Inc.
Defendant: Diebold Incorporated and Election Systems & Software Inc.
Case Number: 1:2009cv00678
Filed: September 11, 2009


Your Once-Public Elections & Your Once-Public Elections on ES&S Monopoly Steroids
9/14/2009 ...As we recently noted in some detail, Diebold's election division (now calling themselves Premier Election Solutions) has been purchased by their larger rival ES&S who, as we described at the time, has a well-established record for being tops in the election industry, both in size, and when it comes to thuggish, mafioso-like business tactics...Take a look at these two startling maps --- showing control of U.S. elections, before and after the takeover

Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission

Will the Supreme Court allow more legalized bribery?
September 14,
Financing political campaigns has primarily become a corrupt system of legalized bribery and the U.S. Supreme Court, in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (FEC), may be preparing to open the floodgates for even more corruption...Campaign money and freedom of speech are two different things. When we speak our minds, we are expressing our opinions on the issues at hand. But when we give money to a politician, we are attempting to buy influence, whether it is a direct bribe or a campaign donation, and the more money we give, the bigger the influence and the more likely it is for purposes of corruption. This is why public campaign financing is needed and the Fair Elections Now Act would be a good start.

Did Thomas Jefferson Think Corporations Were People
Sept asking for reargument in that case, the Court invited the publisher of the movie to make the case that Congress did not have the authority to limit corporate political expenditure, even though as far back as 1902, and as recently as 2006, the Court had upheld that authority...In the oral arguments, newly arrived Justice Sotomayor raised openly from the bench, for the first time in decades, the question of whether the original corporate personhood cases like Santa Clara were rightly decided

Justice Scalia, Faux Judicial Restraint, and Real Judicial Restraint in Citizens United
Sept 13. Electionlawblog....If Justice Scalia were serious about real judicial restraint, he should consider application of the doctrine of constitutional avoidance to this case. and hold that video-on-demand is not covered by the McCain-Feingold law (thereby avoiding ruling on the constitutional issue).


Canada. Online voting
Casting a negative ballot
September 14, 2009 Elections Canada is hoping online voting will encourage a whole new generation of young people to cast their ballots at election time.
...The bottom line? Don't do it, says Hovav Shacham, the University of California professor...Those risks include everything from the potential for voter coercion, to finding out that your political preference, transmitted over a very public network, is now available to anyone with the skill and will to find it. Parties could, conceivably, use that knowledge to tamper with the site and render your vote null and void...

India. SILIGURI: Re-poll in one booth today
Siliguri, Sept. 13: Election to the Siliguri Municipal Corporation was peaceful today, except for some altercations and EVM malfunctioning.
Repolling will be held tomorrow in Booth II of Ward 41 where the EVM stopped functioning...“While nine EVMs had to be replaced in different booths, polling was cancelled in Booth II in Ward 41 because of a kaput voting machine,” said Gupta. “The booth has 1,064 voters and a re-poll will be held tomorrow.”

Ireland. Monday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - -
Sep 14, 2009 The Irish Independent reports that the minister responsible for the €60m e-voting debacle remained defiantly unapologetic last night for the most notorious example of the waste of taxpayers' money in the Celtic Tiger era.
Tourism Minister Martin Cullen defended the botched electronic voting system and bizarrely suggested a similar system might be used in the future.

Ireland. In The Papers 14 September
14-09-2009 The Irish Times says that Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism Martin Cullen has insisted that electronic voting is a far more secure system than the one currently in place. Cullen, who approved the e-voting project during his previous tenure as Minister for the Environment, told journalists that e-voting was tested twice here and "it was very successful". While "issues arose afterwards", he had read a recent report suggesting the only way forward for Ireland was to use e-voting. "It's a far more secure system than the system we use at present and it remains for others for the future to see what happens with it," he said.

Voting News by Joyce McCloy.
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