Friday, October 2, 2009

Hawaii election chief postpones problems,Diebold ES&S a "worst case scenario", Georgians need paper ballots

John Oxendine, GOP rival of Georgia SOS Karen Handel did not like the Georgia Supreme Court's decision to uphold the use of the paperless voting machines. Oxendine's reaction: ”With all due respect and appreciation for the Supreme Court of Georgia, I am deeply disappointed in the decision today to reject the challenge to touch-screen electronic voting machines.….[M]any Georgians will suggest, and I agree, that the 2000 presidential election demonstrates the exact need for a back-up paper system to establish the integrity of the voting process.”

SPLOST? Then vote twice. Fayette County, GA is warning voters that they need to vote in two different polling places to cast votes in both the muni elections and county referendum this November.

Hawaii's troubled election chief has issued an addendum to the state's RFP for voting machines. The addendum seems to keep the RFP alive with the objectionable language intact, with postponed deadlines.
Allen County, Indiana considers feasibility of cutting 2/3 of polling places for Vote Centers. The move would also increase dependency on technology.

A losing candidate for Amesbury, MA mayoral race filed election complaint about the results but neglected to request a manual recount.

I-Report: Bo Lipari reports on Day 4 of New York voting system testing.

The Diebold ES&S merger: "Election reformers in and out of government have for years advocated for full public control of elections and strict transparency as the only way to run legitimate elections. This new merger is perhaps a worst-case scenario, giving one company control of much of the nation's election infrastructure." ~ Progressive States.

GA. Your morning jolt: Al Gore’s champion in Republican ranks
September 29, 2009 Within hours of a Georgia Supreme Court decision upholding the use of touch-screen voting machines, Secretary of State Karen Handel celebrated with a press release. “Georgia has the most secure elections in the nation due to our four levels of security testing on touch-screen voting machines,” crowed the Republican candidate for governor. But if Handel is fer it, then GOP rival John Oxendine must be agin it.

GA. County to warn 9,000 voters of precinct two-step for SPLOST *
Tue, 09/29/2009 - More than 9,000 Fayette voters will be forced to travel to two different voting precincts in November, at least if they want to vote in their municipal election and also on the countywide SPLOST referendum.
But those voters will get a postcard notice in the mail from the county’s elections department notifying them of the issue. Some on the Fayette County Commission initially balked at the idea several weeks ago because the postcards could be construed as “promoting the SPLOST,” a violation of Georgia law.

HI. Office of elections takes baby step to appease the judge
Hawaii’s Office of Elections has finally responded to Judge Joseph Cardoza’s order handed down orally in May. An addendum was added to the RFP for voting machines, posted on the Office of Elections website, and emailed to all legislators today:

IN. Feasibility Of Vote Centers To Be Studied In Allen County
Oct 1. FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Can Allen County conduct elections with less than one-third the number of voting precincts that it operates now?
...Because anyone could vote in any of the designated centers, you'd need technology upgrades to prevent people from voting more than once.
Beth Dlug/Allen County Director of Elections: " We have to have all of the locations connected into one database, so that we can ensure that we have live updates of who has voted where."
The switch to vote centers could not take place yet under current Indiana law.

KY. Clay County vote-fraud trial to be held in Frankfort
By Bill Estep - Eight Clay County residents charged in an alleged vote-fraud scheme will be tried in Frankfort, not at the federal courthouse in London, which is closest to their home county, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

MA. Voting machines cost win, Thivierge says in complaint
AMESBURY — Former mayoral candidate James Thivierge has filed a complaint with the Massachusetts secretary of state regarding the results of the preliminary election held on Sept. 15, in which he claimed possible voting machine irregularities are to blame for his failed bid to become mayor.
This is the second complaint Thivierge has filed with the state in the past two years and stems from fears over the accuracy of the town's electronic voting machines, which he said produced similar results for him in the 2007 and 2009 elections.

MN. Ranked Choice Voting official in Mpls starting Nov. 3
9/30/2009 New process eliminates need for primary elections
Despite the criticism or uncertainties of a new voting system, Ranked Choice Voting is the law in Minneapolis, says state lawmaker Jeff Hayden. Minneapolis voters in 2006 approved the new voting system, called Ranked Choice Voting (RCV), and it first will be used in this year’s general election on November 3.
“I think it is convenient to say that [RCV] is going to confuse people, but this became the law [in 2006],” State Representative Jeff Hayden says.

NJ.Experts: NJ voting buffer zone ruling won't stand
Oct 2. TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- A court decision that bars exit polling within 100 feet of New Jersey polling places is unlikely to stand because federal courts around the country have consistently rejected such restrictions, according to legal and polling experts.
New Jersey is the only state to keep exit pollsters and journalists from approaching voters within 100 feet of a polling place.

NY. Minor party vote at issue
Supervisor candidate in Bethlehem files lawsuit over absentee ballots
October 2, 2009 BETHLEHEM -- Operatives and candidates in the Democratic and Republican parties covet third-party lines. Winning a third-party primary guarantees a major party candidate a second slot on the ballot.And in small communities where only a handful of people are enrolled in those third parties, it doesn't take much to take over a party.
In a state Supreme Court lawsuit filed against Cunningham and the Albany County Board of Elections, Messina alleges several people walked into the county office with new voter registration cards and walked out with absentee ballots. Messina contends the voters' identities were never verified before allowing them to cast their ballots.

NY. Day 4 of NYS Voting Machine Tests
October 2 2009 •The fourth day of New York State’s Voting Machine Certification testing started with marking of the test ballots. Because of the nature of this testing, the votes on the ballots are predetermined and marked accordingly.

OH. Judge will not halt early votes in Portage McClafferty suit for mayor bid continues
Oct 1. It appears Streetsboro’s youngest candidate to seek the mayor’s office can’t stop early voting in Portage County, but he still may have a shot at becoming the city’s highest elected official.
A federal court judge issued a ruling on a motion late Wednesday afternoon in Brett McClafferty’s case against the city, in which he is fighting a 2007 charter amendment that set the minimum age for mayor and council members at 23.

VA. Louisa woman indicted in voter fraud *
October 1, 2009 A Louisa County woman was indicted last month on charges of voter fraud during the 2008 General Election.
...Authorities allege Nicholson knowingly falsified her voter registration application saying either she had not been convicted of a felony, or if she was convicted of a felony, her voting rights were restored. She then allegedly cast her vote with the knowledge that she was disqualified from doing so.
If convicted, Nicholson faces a maximum of 21 years in prison.


electionline Weekly --October 1, 2009

End-to-End Voting Systems Workshop
October 13-14, 2009 CALL FOR PARTICIPATION
The George Washington University , Washington DC
The goal of this workshop is to understand the security and usability properties of end-to-end voting systems, one type of next-generation system of interest. The last few years have witnessed the emergence of end-to-end voting systems, which enable voter-verification of election outcome.
Program details and panelists (reads like a who's who)

Voting Machine Merger Threatens Integrity of Elections
...ES&S currently controls 50% of the voting machine market in the US and the acquisition of Premier will add another 33%, giving the company control of over 80% of the market. The sale was not announced prior to completion and has raised serious concerns among voting integrity advocates and lawmakers.


CA. 'Voter apathy' or satisfaction?
Oct 2. "Low turnout is a sign that people are satisfied with the way the government is doing its business,"...Low voter turnout, the lack of interest in politics among young Canadians, and bad behaviour in the House of Commons (or provincial legislatures) are all regularly cited as signs that democracy in Canada is going to Hades in a handcart...Seniors vote in very large numbers, young people in relatively small numbers. It's a constant issue in most democracies and one that cannot be fixed by gimmicks like Internet voting...The moral of the story: governments defeat themselves, and for incumbents, a low turnout is not always a bad thing.
Lisa Keenan of Saint John is a lawyer and the former president of the New Brunswick Progressive Conservative Party

CA. Montreal to hire workers for election ballot count
Last Updated: Thursday, October 1, 2009 10:34 AM ET Comments2Recommend1CBC News
The City of Montreal plans to hire thousands of people to work on the municipal election this fall because electronic voting machines won't be used to tally results.
...The city has decided not to use electronic voting systems in the 2009 election because of problems in the 2005 election. The electronic system used in 2005 was full of bugs, and caused several errors..

UK. Counting the cost – electronically
It's meant to be faster and cheaper, but e-counting has been heavily criticised – though that hasn't stopped the London Assembly choosing it
You discover there are two alternative solutions for doing the count. Both will take about the same time; both can be verified by checking back; but one is done by humans and one is done largely by machines. Which do you pick?
If your instinct is to go for the cheaper one you're not thinking like the Greater London Assembly, which indicated last week that it will go with electronic counting systems for the May 2012 elections. This is despite having a cost-benefit analysis prepared by its own returning officers, (who preside over ballot counts) which calculates that manual counting will cost £3.6m, and e-counting £5.1m – making it 42%more expensive

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