Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sarasota FL: ES&S is baack!, Lucas Co OH forgotten ballots, ACORN good and bad

Sarasota County officials thought they saw the last of ES&S after booting them out 2 years ago. Now, unless the Justice Dept intervenes, Sarasota officials will once again have to deal with a vendor they ditched thanks to ES&S' purchase of Diebold:
"I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt as much as I can," he said. "But I kind of feel like Charlie Brown with Lucy holding the football. How many times do you go to kick the ball and 'Swoosh!' through the air and end up on your derriere." ~County Commissioner Jon Thaxton

Absentee ballots and audits: "...most absentee ballots are not subject to the Connecticut Post-Election Audit Law – an opening for errors to go undetected and an opportunity for fraud." ~ Luther Weeks, CT Voters Count.

Meanwhile, Lucas Co Ohio forgot to count 166 absentee ballots.*
ACORN in North Carolina: "The negative costs so much aggravation, it almost takes away the good work [ACORN] did,"..."Because they registered a lot of people. But a few bad apples hurt the good work they did." ~Mike Ashe, Election Director, Durham County NC.

"A day as a poll worker": "After lending a helping hand within this election, I felt empowered as an African American and honored to continue the legacy which once was prohibited for Blacks in America." ~ Aisha Brown.
Workshop Aims to Establish Standards for Voting Machine Data

CT. Absentee Ballots Can Be Decisive – yet Unaudited
September 24, 2009 Story in ConnPost, Primary loser declines to challenge absentees...As we and others have pointed out, there are many issues and risks with any type of mail-in voting, including absentee voting.

FL. Trial lawyers group admits role in racially charged election flier
September 24, 2009 TALLAHASSEE — In a highly embarrassing mea culpa, Florida's powerful trial lawyer lobby admitted Wednesday that it was behind an ugly race-baiting flier in a recent North Florida Senate election.

FL. 3 years after vote furor, machine vendor is back (ES&S purchase of Diebold)
MERGER: ES&S, once again the provider in Sarasota, now dominates the field
September 24, 2009 Two years after being shown the door for its role in an election that local officials would just as soon forget, voting machine maker ES&S is once again overseeing the system Sarasota County residents will use to cast their votes.
...Opposition locally, though, is less legal and more emotional, stemming from the role of the ES&S iVotronic voting system in the disputed November 2006 election.

FL. Editorial: The votes are in the mail
September 24 Given the choice between a mail election and a special election that asks voters to go to the polls to decide on the proposed new Pensacola city charter, voting by mail is more likely to draw a higher turnout, which is needed on such a crucial decision...The City Council's committee of the whole approval of a mail ballot makes sense...But there are drawbacks.
Voting by mail is vulnerable to fraud. No one can know for sure who is filling out a mail ballot.

MN. Recount reveals need for state election reform
18 September 2009 ...First, Minnesota’s primary election needs to be moved earlier in the election year. If an election as close as the one between Norm Coleman and Al Franken occurs in a primary, under existing procedures, it could be April before a general election could be held... we recommend that a two-week early voting period be established.

NC. For a bogeyman, ACORN sure is small
In N.C., the group works on neighborhood issues—on a shoestring

NC. ACORN scandal taking toll on group's N. Carolina office
North Carolina's ACORN office has had to lay off all eight of its employees in the wake of a scandal that has rocked the national office of the grass-roots organizing group. Yet many workers have continued the past three weeks as unpaid volunteers for the nonprofit organization, reaching out to low- and moderate-income workers who might need help with issues ranging from landlord fights to high-priced mortgages

NV. NV receives grant to foster youth voter interest
09/24/2009 ... students who choose to participate will research campaign issues, view voting machine demonstrations and attend forums to interact with political candidates.

NY. Runoffs for Some But Not For Others? (suggests IRV )
September 24th, 2009 As New York City Democratic voters get ready to vote in the upcoming runoff election on Sept. 29 for their party’s nominees for comptroller and public advocate, you may be thinking, why do I have to vote again only in these two citywide races?

NY. Casting out votes
September 23...Gov. David Paterson, citing the potential cost and inconvenience, has essentially disenfranchised an entire portion of the population by vetoing a bill that would have required all polling places in the state to be accessible to disabled voters within six months...The six-month deadline, he says, "is simply too onerous," given the state's rules on competitive bidding, contracting and construction.

OH. Missing ballots cast doubt on Toledo City Council tally *malfeasance*
9/22. The Lucas County Board of Elections has 1,092 ballots that could be added to last week's Toledo primary election count, putting the final results for Toledo City Council in doubt.
The additional ballots include 166 absentee ballots accidentally left uncounted last Tuesday, Director Linda Howe said Monday.
...In addition to the 166 uncounted absentee votes, 545 provisional ballots were determined to be valid.

OH. Husted redistricting commission plan passes Senate, predicts court support on residency challenge
September 24,

PA. Oral Argument Set in Pennsylvania Federal Ballot Access Case
September 24th, 2009 ...The lawsuit, filed by the Constitution, Green and Libertarian Parties, challenges Pennsylvania’s unique system of charging candidates and parties for the costs of checking their petitions, if they fail to have enough valid signatures. It also challenges the careless way in which some counties count write-ins and others don’t


Workshop Aims to Establish Standards for Voting Machine Data
To facilitate audits of election results and making the election process more transparent, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will host a workshop next month to discuss creating a common digital “language” for the data produced by electronic voting systems. The Common Data Format Workshop, to be held Oct. 29 and 30 at NIST’s campus in Gaithersburg, Md.

Treasury Department Inspector General to Look Into IRS Oversight of ACORN, Other Groups
9/24 The announcement was made in response to a request from Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine -- the ranking Republicans on the House and Senate government oversight committees -- for the Treasury Department and other government agencies to review their ties to ACORN

The Voters... (humor)
2009/09/23 You know, I wish I had more confidence in my fellow voters

This week's Electlionline newsletter for Sept 24 (pdf)

Opinion. Like Hollywood, U.S. should update its voting system


India. Electronic Voting Machines- none of the above option
Chief election commissioner Navin Chawla on September 23 said the poll panel had recommended to the Union government to include ‘none of the above’ option — rejecting the candidates in an election — in electronic voting machines.

Voting News by Joyce McCloy.
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