Huge news: Tennessee SOS is issuing a request for proposal to vendors for paper ballot systems and in January 2010 the TN GOP speaker will seek to delay the Public Confidence (paper ballot) law through legislative remedy.
Aspen's non secret ballot election: "..if we don’t defend our constitutional rights we will lose them. I respect the fact that there are those in the community who disagree with me, and who prefer non-secret ballot elections."~ Millard Zimmet, an attorney in Aspen, Colorado.
Unique idea: "To fix democracy, start with the voters."
I-Report from Alameda Co polling place - no one willing to vote on DRE/touch-screen.
Lessons and more from Minnesota Recount: "The bottom line is, as much as it pains me to say it, we probably did this as well as it could be done,'' said Fritz Knaak, a Coleman attorney who fought the recount battle from the beginning until his man lost. "There's no crying need, coming from all of this, for massive reform — unless (the reform) is a runoff.''
A disgusted New York voter comments about both the new and old voting machines malfunctioning: "We need to be a good example for the world, not a joke. Fix the voting system."
Polling Data questioned: "There is a substantial possibility -- far from a certainty -- that much of Strategic Vision's polling over the past several years has been forged."~Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com
How does Germany vote, what do their ballots look like, WHY did their high court rule that the use of electronic voting machines like Nedap ESD1 and ESD2 is unconstitutional? “In a republic, elections are a matter for the entire people and a joint concern of all citizens. Consequently, the monitoring of the election procedure must also be a matter for and a task of the citizen. Each citizen must be able to comprehend and verify the central steps in the elections.”
CA. Some Local Access Voting Stories *
September 24th, 2009 Last night I got a call from a livid Alameda County voter who called me about 6:30 PM, after he was told that he couldn't vote on the Sequoia DRE unless they could find four other people to vote on the system. Note, our Sec. of State requires that five or more must vote voluntarily on the conditionally certified DREs. Completely oblivious to my friend's embarrassment, the pollworker actually went down the line of voters asking for volunteers to vote and saying something like, "so that blind guy can vote on the voting machine". No one was willing to vote on the DRE!
CO. Can they find out how you voted?
September 26...I recently filed a complaint asking the Aspen Election Commission to determine whether Aspen’s May 2009 election was a secret ballot election...Can they find out how you voted? Decide for yourself... The city’s election contractor, TrueBallot, scanned all the ballots. That scan created data (called the “strings”) showing how each ballot was voted. The city then publicly released the strings.
Unfortunately the city and TrueBallot didn’t “shuffle”, or otherwise randomize, the ballots or the strings..But to the local political elite...any inquiry into the May election is strictly off limits. And so they say the city will remember to shuffle next time and there’s no need to look into this move along nothing to see here move along; the election is over, and just because we are good progressives who might otherwise support organizations like the ACLU doesn’t mean we actually care about civil liberties here in Aspen and too bad so sad about your voting rights but thanks for playing.
IL. Money Problems Pile Up in Alexander County
Alexander County owes $35,000 dollars to Election Systems and Software. Without that computer the clerk and her one remaining staffer can't keep up with voter registrations.
It costs thousands of dollars to run polling places and sources say the county can't even afford to buy ballots.
MN.Overtime Chapter 4: In Minnesota's Coleman vs. Franken U.S. Senate race, the system worked. But here's how to make it better.
NY. Smart citizens should demand smart government *
Saturday, September 26, 2009 I went to vote in the Sept. 15 primary in Rensselaer County, only to find a 1950s vintage voting machine in pieces and men with hammers "repairing" it. Everyone there was concerned, some left disgusted and others used absentee ballots.
Meanwhile, the Times Union reported that some new voting machines in Albany County didn't work either ("Trial run took some patience," Sept. 16).
TN. Hargett hopes to acquire new voting machines by
September 25th, 2009
KINGSPORT — Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett said he’s moving forward — but not making promises — to meet a deadline to have new voting technology in place statewide by the November 2010 elections...Hargett told business leaders attending a Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce Fourth Friday breakfast held at the MeadowView Marriott that his office is sending vendors a request for proposals to buy the equipment.
“That’s what we’re bound to do,” Hargett said of issuing RFPs for the purchase, which he indicated could cost anywhere from $25 million to $35 million. “(But) if there is not a machine available, I don’t know how we can purchase something that is not available. We’ll have to use existing technology.”..Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, who attended the chamber breakfast, said another legislative move to delay the VCA will come up in early 2010.
TN. Senate Speaker seeks to delay voting machines law
9/26/2009 Tennessee Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey says a bill that would delay a state law requiring a paper trail from voting machines will top his agenda the next legislative session
TN. Without Delay, TN Voters Will Cast Ballots By Paper In November 2010 (title misleading)
September 25, 2009 Tennessee’s current voting machines could soon make way for the return of paper ballots. In 2008, lawmakers overwhelmingly passed the “Tennessee Voter Confidence Act.“ It requires all counties to buy new voting machines (that scan paper ballots) in time for the November 2010 election. Tennessee lawmakers will likely cast their own votes on this matter when the legislature reconvenes in January.
ES&S purchase of Diebold
Monopoly on elections? Not so fast.....
Call it a fait accompli that may not be. A federal judge in Camden, NJ., agreed late Friday to hear a request for an emergency injunction that could halt Election Systems & Software's Sept. 2 announced acquisition of Diebold Inc.'s Premier Election Solutions.
The quietly arranged shotgun wedding between voting-machine giants would give ES&S control of election systems in use in almost 70 percent of the nation's voting precincts. Federal Judge Robert Kugler agreed to hear Tuesday the request for immediate injunction brought by a small competitor Hart InterCivic Inc.
ES&S for Dummies, 2009: Did Obama really win in 2008? Or did Obama win really, really big? ES&S incompetence or intent?
...However, when one considers ES&S' reckless performance as an election provider the real issue is much more basic. Should we even do business with these people? What do you do when a vendor loses your data? What do you do when your vendor sells you inferior products?
Strategic Vision Polls Exhibit Unusual Patterns, Possibly Indicating Fraud*
Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.com
One of the questions, in light of Strategic Vision LLC's repeated failure to disclose even basic details about its polling methodology, is whether the firm is in fact conducting polling at all, or rather, is creating fake but plausible-looking results in order to increase traffic and attention to its core business as a PR and literary firm
Uniform Law Commission Continues Work on Electoral College Proposal
September 26th, 2009 This year the Uniform Law Commission has been working on a model state law that would force presidential electors to vote for their own party’s nominee for president, when those electors vote in the electoral college. The committee working on this has set a public meeting in Chicago for December 4-5, 2009.
Premiere issue of NCSL's Legislative Action Bulletin, an update on state election legislation from The Canvass.
September 23, 2009 LAB
Legislative Action Bulletins (LABs) are a new publication offered by The Canvass. Published on a regular basis and distributed via email, LABs offer a brief, timely snapshot of what state legislatures have been up to in the arena of elections. Each issue includes statistics on the status of election bills in the current legislative session, and brief summaries of items of interest, including links to newly enacted election legislation. The current issue and all future LABs can be found on
Open Source Digital Voting Foundation
September 21, 2009 One of the signal failures of digital technology in recent years has been e-voting. Practically every high-profile attempt to switch from quaint analogue technologies to swish new digital ones has proved a complete and utter disaster..."it is the hope and intent of OSDV to advance the cause of digital voting technology and where appropriate, to partner with makers of digital voting products."
I've suggested before how score- and approval-voting could make primaries unnecessary, but after reading about this poll, it occurred to me that they could also make term limits unnecessary (or at least redundant).
Philippines. Early voting proposed in Philippines
An interesting story about early voting in the Philippines came across today’s wire.
Reference is made to successful early voting in the United States, New Zealand, Canada, Germany, and Switzerland.
Canada. To fix democracy, start with the voters
The highly entertaining Maclean’s/CPAC “Our Democracy is Broken: How Do We Fix It” show was mostly about what’s wrong with political institutions...It’s all important stuff, but misses, in my opinion, a deeper problem: our citizens know less about politics than they used to and are less inclined to vote. In particular, young people tend to be poorly informed and politically inert, and it’s getting worse.
This is hardly a problem unique to Canada... the most pressing problem in Canadian democracy is political illiteracy and lethargy.
Germany. Federal elections in Germany
September 25 (How Germany votes, see paper ballots, and court ruling on e-voting)
The German electoral system is based on slightly modified, so-called personalized, proportional representation. Each voter has two votes, the first of which is for a candidate in his or her constituency, the second for a state list of candidates put up by a particular party. The number of seats a party holds in the Bundestag is determined by the number of valid second votes it receives.
On March 3rd 2009 the highest German Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht, Federal Constitutional Court) ruled that electronic voting machines like Nedap ESD1 and ESD2 are not permissible in Germany...Btw. countries that use hand counted paper ballots only have one contest on the entire ballot. That is why their elections often are counted quickly and accurately, in most cases.
Voting News by Joyce McCloy.
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