Thursday, September 17, 2009

Indiana Strikes Down Voter ID, NY voting machine malfunctions, How about pilot for paper ballots?

An Indiana appellate court threw out the law on voter ID that the US Supreme Court had said was constitutional, saying that it violated Indiana's constitution.
A federal lawsuit Demands More Equal Population for U.S. House Districts
The United States is one of few democratic nations that place the entire burden of registering to vote on individual citizens, and registration numbers reflect that.
Connecticut voting activist Luther Weeks gives first hand account of election recanvass.
Nebraska lawmakers to consider use of grocery stores and other non traditional locations as polling places.
NY Primary problems with both new voting machines being piloted and levers machines.
Speaking of election pilots, how about a pilot for hand counted paper ballots in LA county? ~ Brad Friedman asks. (Why not?)
No ballots,no barristers for Aspen Colorado with concerns r/e May election at this time. Aspen awaiting decision by state bar on whether they need independent council.

AK. Victory for Merit Selection in Alaska
09/17/09 On Friday, a federal judge threw out a lawsuit mounted by Indiana attorney James Bopp Jr. that challenged how Alaska chooses its judges... Alaska has a merit-based system for the selection of judges. As such, it empowers the Alaska Judicial Council to screen applicants and come up with a list of possible nominees for judicial openings; the list is forwarded to the governor, who then appoints the nominee of his or her choice.

CA. Technology, Diversity, Democracy: The Future of Voting Systems in Los Angeles County (symposium)

CA. L.A. County Puts 'Technology' Before 'Democracy' (all-day symposium)
Brad Friedman suggests a pilot of hand counted paper ballots for LA.
While others in my particular break-out session seemed to treat the notion of hand-counting paper ballots at the polling place --- which, as I've recently pointed out, is "Democracy's Gold Standard" --- like an idea that just landed from the planet Mars, the conversation has begun... "We need to think about transparency and auditability as the key components to accuracy and security," ~ LA County's Election Tally Systems Manager Ken Bennett

CO. Election commission questions will linger
September 17, 2009 The ethics committee of the Colorado Bar Association will take at least a few months to weigh in on the question of whether Aspen City Attorney John Worcester would have a conflict of interest in advising the city’s election commission on its powers and jurisdiction, according to a Colorado Bar Association staffer.
The election commission, a three-member panel called for in the city charter and state statute to oversee elections, has asked for a legal opinion on what it can and can’t do before it wades into any issues surrounding the May municipal election.

CO. Council denies election commission's request
Aspen's elected officials on Monday night voted to deny the city election commission's request to hire an outside attorney to determine its authority before it addresses a citizen's claim that his voting rights were violated in the May election. Officials also denied another resident's request to release all of the election's ballot images so they can be reviewed independently.

CO. Guest Opinion: Instant runoff election a model of transparency and verifiability

CT. A Day At The Recanvass
Luther Weeks of CTVote describes in detail the recanvass of the municipal primary elections.
...this whole process took about one hour and fourty-five minutes. For integrity purposes I would add one official to the hand counting team. Added time in counting more carefully would likely be saved in reduced rework. Judging from the time it took to feed ballots into the scanner, print scanner tapes, and hand count 91 ballots, doing a full manual recount instead would have added about fourty-five minutes to an hour to the day. Well worth the extra effort in my opinion.

IN.Indiana Court Strikes Down Voter ID Law

New York Times.
September 17, 2009 An Indiana appellate court on Thursday struck down a state law requiring voters to show identification — a law that the United States Supreme Court declared constitutional just last year.
The court said the law violated the Indiana constitution by not treating all voters impartially...Professor Hasen said the decision, and a similar case in Missouri in 2006, suggests that the federal courts, once a bastion of voters’ rights, could be taking a back seat to more liberal state courts as the Supreme Court hardens along conservative lines.

IN. Two Indiana Law Professors Find Over 900 Indiana Voters in November 2008 Who Weren’t Able to Vote Because of Voter ID Law *voter disenfranchisement* November 2008, 1,039 Indiana voters showed up at the polls but were not permitted to cast a normal ballot because they lacked government photo-ID. These 1,039 voters did cast a provisional ballot, but only 137 of those provisional ballots were counted. Ballot Access News

MA. Galvin rejects Phelan request for state monitors for Quincy election
Sep 15, 2009 Secretary of State William Galvin’s office rejected a request from two Quincy lawyers for independent monitors for the upcoming mayoral election to ensure residents from other towns do not vote in Quincy... a city employee and three of Mayor Thomas Koch’s family members voted in the 2007 election despite living outside the city.

NE. Democracy in Aisle 3? Maybe
LINCOLN — Partisan bickering three years ago killed a proposal to let Nebraska voters cast early ballots at grocery stores, libraries and other nontraditional locations. Now officials are making another run at the idea.
If all goes well, Hall County voters could become the guinea pigs for “satellite voting” next year.

NY. Voting Machine Delays in Broome County *memory card issue*
Sept 16. The polls opened at noon, but some of the new voting machine were not ready for their debut...At the polling place at Seton Catholic High School, the machine was out of operation for the first hour.
There was an issue with the memory card synching up with the machine.
"With any kind of technology, things happen....There always is a back up plan." said Broome County Election Inspection Chair Marlene Lausen.
at the polling site at Davis College in Johnson City, this machine was not up and running in time for voters to use...There was a 15-minute delay until the machine rebooted and operated.

NY. New Voting Machines Experience Technical Difficulties *voting machine problem*
Broome County. Voters who showed up to the polls at Catholic Charities on Front Street had to wait a few extra minutes to cast their votes...wait for Broome County's new voting machines to warm Seton Catholic Central High School. The machine at that site wasn't up and running until around 1:00 -- an hour after polls were scheduled to open. "No one was denied their right to vote. We have emergency ballots .

NY. Despite Light Turnout, Some Voting Irregularities *wrong ballots, breakdowns*
...a few voting booths that had the wrong ballot, at least temporarily.
At one polling site — Public School 165, at 234 West 109 Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue — several voters in one election district cast ballots in the wrong races until the mistake was discovered and the problem fixed.
The same problem occurred at a polling site on Marlborough Road, south of Cortelyou Road in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, according to one voter, James E. Keenan.
...In other places in the city, the mechanical-lever voting machines, in use since 1962, broke down.
When Lynne Espy, a Manhattan resident, tried to vote at 317 East 50th Street, between First and Second Avenues, she found that she could vote for only one candidate — Comptroller William C. Thompson Jr. — in the Democratic mayoral primary.
...Ms. Doniger said she was forced to vote by paper ballot because the machine at her polling site — the Bishop Boardman Apartments, a home for the elderly in Park Slope, Brooklyn — was broken

NY. Trial run took some patience *voting machine problems
New voting machines needed a little TLC in Tuesday's primaries
September 16, 2009
Eight poll workers huddled around Albany County Board of Elections technician Joshua Rutnick as he fixed a brand-new electronic voting machine that made its debut at the First United Methodist Church in Delmar for Tuesday's primary.
The polls had been open for 25 minutes, and already two voters at the church had to cast their paper ballots without feeding them into the optical scan machine, which tallies the votes....The machine flap, which also popped up at a locations in Bethlehem and Colonie,

NY. New York City Primary Boosts Bill de Blasio, Near-Victim of Ballot Access Laws
September 16th, 2009 Ballot Access News
New York city held a primary on September 15. Bill de Blasio placed first in the Democratic primary for Public Advocate, with 33%

UT. Voters complain about demand for identification
09/15/2009 Poll workers said two people by midmorning Tuesday had complained about being required to show identification before being allowed to cast a vote in the Park City mayoral primary. In each of the cases the people produced the required identification, the poll workers said.


Lawsuit Demands More Equal Population for U.S. House Districts

September 17th, 2009 On September 17, a federal lawsuit was filed in the Northern District of Mississippi, charging that the extreme variation in U.S. House districts around the nation violates the 14th Amendment. Some U.S. House seats have almost twice as many inhabitants as certain other U.S. House seats.

Democracy's Gold Standard
Hand-Marked, Hand-Counted Paper Ballots, Publicly Tabulated at Every Polling Place in America...Last March, the country's highest court found that secret, computerized vote counting was unconstitutional. Unfortunately, the country was Germany, and the Constitution violated by e-voting systems was the one that the U.S. wrote and insisted Germans ratify as part of their terms of surrender following WWII.

"Voter Registration Around the World"
A report from the Brennan Center details voter registration systems in 16 other countries compared to the United States' system, gathering best practices and suggestions for reform of US registration methods.
Check out where the US falls when compared to other major countries on the scale of voter vs. government responsibility for registration!

Diebold sale to ES&S

EAC Information regarding ES&S purchase of Premier Election Systems
Election Systems and Software (ES&S) announced it has purchased Premier Election Systems. Both entities have registered under the EAC's Voting System Testing and Certification Program.

Austin-based Hart Intercivic sues over rivals' deal
September 16, 2009
Austin-based Hart Intercivic Inc. has sued its two largest competitors in the voting systems business, saying their proposed business combination would violate antitrust laws and "impair the integrity of the voting process in the United States."
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Delaware on Monday, stems from the Sept. 2 agreement by Election Systems & Software Inc., the largest maker of voting equipment, to buy the second-largest maker, Premier Election Solutions, and a Canadian affiliate from Diebold Inc.
Together, those two companies are the primary voting equipment vendors for more than two-thirds of the nation's election precincts.

Voting News by Joyce McCloy.
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