Thursday, October 8, 2009

Maryland paper ballots on track, saving the Military vote, Open Source Momentum

U.S. House Passes Military and Overseas Voter Act...Verified Voting comments on voting system guidelines...Disenfranchised prisoners used to gerrymander districts... Maryland's new voting machines on track...Post election audits proposed for Massachusetts...Minneapolis explains ranked choice voting process...New York's 23rd Absentee ballots missing Congress candidates..Voting glitch in Franklin Co Tenn...Courts best resort for Tennessee paper ballot law?....Should Judicial Elections Be Abolished?...Verified Voting Oct 09 Newsletter...

AL. Defeated primary candidate claims election fraud
October 08, 2009 MONTGOMERY — A candidate for the state House of Representatives who lost a primary election last month by margin of 80 percent to 20 percent has asked officials to investigate what he contends was a conspiracy to steal the election.
Ozelle Hubert sent letters alleging election fraud to everyone from Clarke County's probate judge to the president of the United States.

CA. Pelosi Adds Voice to Open Source Voting Systems Momentum
“Everywhere I go, no matter what else people have to say, they ultimately ask one question: ‘Why should we work our hearts out if the fix is already in?’” Pelosi said during a keynote speech at a fundraiser last week held to benefit Open Voting Consortium (OVC). “When we look at the elections and look at how close everything is, you know that there’s something happening in that machine that we need to know about.”...momentum is now building to replace proprietary systems with open source systems. Los Angeles County is OVC’s most promising prospect and is considering using OVC’s system by 2012, he said.

CA. Mistake delays mailing of county's absentee ballots *
Posted: 10/08/2009 A mistake in the Humboldt County Elections Office has officials scurrying to re-send some of the county's sample ballots and to get absentee ballots in the mail in advance of the Nov. 3 election... Crnich said elections staff made the mistake of only listing candidates for the Eureka City Schools board race on sample and absentee ballots for voters in the city's 1st Ward, when the board members are actually elected at large. ”We're working with a brand new voter registration and elections management systems, and a brand new voting system, and we just built that one portion of the data base incorrectly,” Crnich said.
Crnich said her office will be sending Eureka voters new, clearly marked sample ballots on colored paper so they stand out.

IA. The Prison Town Advantage
Inmates who can't vote nevertheless add to the power of the politicians who don't represent them.
October 08, 2009 Young's Ward 2, fewer than 100 of those residents were eligible to run for the Council seat, or even to vote. That's because the ward is dominated by Anamosa State Penitentiary, a maximum-security prison where about 1,300 men are incarcerated...They are, however, counted by the U.S. Census Bureau for data used to draw congressional, state and municipal legislative districts...Counting disenfranchised prisoners to draw up legislative districts "makes no sense," Wagner said, "and is actually offensive to our notion of democracy."
It also bears, in the words of Boston-based voting rights attorney Brenda Wright, an "uncomfortable resemblance" to the "three-fifths" compromise between Southern and Northern states written into the U.S. Constitution in 1787.

IA. Audit questions use of voting machine funds *
A new audit is raising questions about how the Iowa Secretary of State's office spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal funds aimed at updating voting technology.
The audit, which covered the years 2003 to 2008, said the secretary of state's office lacked adequate documentation for some expenses, spent $1.2 million on no-bid contracts and spent another $389,000 to make voting stations handicapped accessible without first getting federal approval.
The secretary of state's office disputed several of the findings but said it is working to resolve outstanding issues.

ID Final Briefs Filed in U.S. District Court in Idaho Ballot Access Case
October 8th, 2009 All the briefs have now been filed in Daien v Ysursa, in U.S. District Court in Idaho. The case challenges Idaho’s ban on out-of-state petition circulators. It also challenges Idaho’s law that requires an independent presidential candidate to collect six times as many signatures as are needed for a statewide independent candidate for office other than president

MA. Kaufman sponsors proposal to audit election results
..Proposals include enabling potential voters to register to vote on the day of an election, allowing voters to cast early ballots up to a week before Election Day, allowing military or overseas voters to receive absentee ballots by email, auditing a sample of precinct results to ensure no systemic irregularities, requiring closed captioning of campaign commercials paid for by the campaigns and allowing absentee voting for any reason...Kaufman, sponsor of the proposal to audit election results and set in motion a recount process if irregularities are discovered, said, "You cannot have a democracy absent the sanctity of the ballot box."

MA. Quincy residents file complaints, say non-residents are on voter rolls Wed Oct 07, 2009 QUINCY - Four Quincy residents have filed complaints with the city challenging the residency of three people registered to vote in Quincy, according to a press release from former Mayor William Phelan’s campaign.

MD. New voting machines still on track
Touch screens will be replaced
Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009 ANNAPOLIS — A technical change in state law has tightened the timeline for the procurement of new optical-scan voting machines that will be used statewide for the first time in next year's elections...Bids were received in August and are being evaluated before being brought to the Board of Public Works for approval by late this year or early next year, Goldstein said. The new machines will be financed through a capital lease and is expected to cost around $12 million.
...The winning bidder would supply roughly 2,100 optical-scan units...The state is reducing its inventory of roughly 20,000 electronic machines by about 75 percent...The touch-screen machines, which cost $80 million..

MI. Clerk's Office unveils election reminder service
October 07, 2009 - Oakland County has debuted a new online service that will remind voters who register for it to vote in upcoming elections, according to Oakland County Clerk/Register of Deeds Ruth Johnson.
"We are very excited about it. This is sort of an electronic Post-it note — but instead of putting it on your refrigerator, we'll send an e-mail to your home or office reminding you about upcoming elections," she said

MN. News - Ranked Choice Voting Minneapolis
Ranked Choice Voting Minneapolis is an outreach and education effort by the City of Minneapolis. (Details on counting, when where the ballots will be counted how long it will take, who.

update: link corrected 10/09

MO. Grant funds Western elections program
October 7, 2009 Missouri Western State University is one of 13 institutions to receive funding to boost the number of students working at area polls on election days.
The $74,800 grant, one of the largest awards granted by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, will also allow Missouri Western to develop a curriculum on election law and how to run an election. The university will have the responsibility of sharing the curriculum with other schools in Missouri.

NC. Taxpayers' Tuesday tab: $29.22 per vote
Unofficially speaking, 5,988 Durham voters exercised their franchise in yesterday's municipal election. Unofficially then, the election cost Durham taxpayers $29.23 per vote. "Unofficially," since the results won't be official until the Board of Elections completes its canvass next Tuesday. But, getting back to the point, according to elections Director Mike Ashe, it costs about $175,000 to hold a city election...Early this year, the elections board modestly suggested that the city change its election process to get rid of primaries and just use a winner-take all single election for mayor and City Council seats..The council opted to keep the system as it was,

NY. Absentee ballots printed without Congress candidates *
October 7, 2009 The 11 counties in New York's 23rd Congressional District have already printed absentee ballots, but the candidates for the congressional special election are not on them...Conklin said the counties will have to print separate ballots for the special election after the deadline...
This election will by the first one in New York in which military voters can apply for absentee ballots by fax or online. Before, this could only be done by mail. Voting, however, must be done by mail, and the ballots still need to be postmarked by Nov. 3 to be counted.

TN. Voting Problems? Let me know *glitch (uses Microvote Infinity and MV-464)
10/7. Franklin Co TN. Skinner tells me that one of his supporters tried to vote for him today. However, the voting machine displayed another candidate’s name. The supporter called an election worker over and notified him of the problem...The “misvote” was removed from the machine, Skinner said. That said, they filed a complaint /

TN. Adjudicate It!
Memphis Flyer. Opinion.
In 2008, with almost no dissent and with voting across party lines, the Tennessee legislature overwhelmingly approved the Voter Confidence Act, which mandates, among other things, the universal statewide use by 2010 of optical-scan voting machines capable of electronically recording citizens' ballots and providing a paper trail of those votes in event of challenge...Accordingly, we welcome the suit filed against state officials this week by Common Cause in Davidson County's Chancery Court. The issue clearly needs to be resolved by the judiciary and not by politicians of whatever stripe.

WA. PIERCE COUNTY: Exactly who is ‘rigging’ the system?
Opinion. 10/08/09 The message implies that voting for Propositions 1, 2 and 3 would be a vote to rig the system. “Rigging” meaning to deceive the voters, to mislead them or to obscure the truth from them.
The campaign to reject all three propositions is today’s classic example of how rigging (deception) really works...This is a masterfully deceptive piece of campaign slate work. (Moss is a former Pierce County Councilman and Tacoma mayor.)

WI. State representatives want public input on election reform
The state Assembly's committee on elections and campaign reform plans to hold a public meeting in Eau Claire on Thursday, October 15th


Verified Voting Newsletter, Issue 3 October 8, 2009
The latest election integrity news from the team at Verified Voting.
Includes these topics and more: Verified Voting Statement on the ES&S/Premier Merger, Where's the EAC Technical Guidelines Committee?, Researchers Meet in Montreal, Verified Voting in the Capitol and Legislation, Standards Development,Verified Voting on Tennessee Paper Ballot Law, Overseas and Military Voters Online Surveys..Federal Paper ballot legislation..

Public Comment on the Draft Voluntary Voting System Guidelines, Version 1.1
September 28th, 2009
Verified Voting Foundation is a non-partisan, non-profit organization promoting accessible, auditable, publicly verifiable voting systems and practices. We appreciate the opportunity to comment on the most recent iteration of the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (1.1). We understand that the goal is to move forward on specific elements from the prior draft which were widely supported. The exclusion of some key principles warrant great concern and if left out of any approved version going forward, will delay progress toward greater reliability of voting systems

Should Judicial Elections Be Abolished?
(Or: ATL chats with Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.)
October 6, 2009 Justice O’Connor would like to see judicial elections ended, to protect the independence of the third branch of government. “We need to encourage judges and justices, when they speak in public arenas, to talk about these matters, and to keep reminding Americans about the importance of an independent judiciary,” said O’Connor.
She thinks that if Americans were better informed about the judiciary, the need to abolish elections would be self-evident.

New rules aim to make overseas voting easier
Stars and Stripes October 7, 2009
Under the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act — which was folded into the defense funding bill — voters will be given the option to receive ballots via e-mail or fax from election officials in the 50 states and six U.S. territories. Due to security issues, the completed ballots will still have to be returned using standard mail.
Once signed by President Barack Obama, the new legislation would take effect in time for the 2010 mid-term elections...“It’s the most comprehensive [overseas voting] reform that we’ve ever seen,” said Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat of the Overseas Vote Foundation, a nonprofit voter advocacy group.

EAC Public Meeting Report for October 8, 2009
Commissioners received an update on the iBeta lab assessment report and held a panel discussion regarding voting accessibility.
Read presentations and testimony here. A Webcast will be available two days after the event. Also available are webcasts of previous meetings, and a tentative 2009 public meeting schedule. Reminder - EAC will host an October 13 roundtable discussion regarding accessible voting technologies. (sorry no link, this is from email update)

The Return Oriented Programming Hackers
The team have managed to demonstrate that an attacker could exploit vulnerabilities in one particular voting machine in order to install vote-stealing malware using a maliciously formatted memory cartridge. The important thing being that they have done this without replacing the system ROMs and starting out with "no source code, schematics, or nonpublic documentation." The whole attack-stealing code was produced in less than 16 man-months of labour and at a cost, if replicated in the private sector of around $100,000.


Dhaka City Corp Bangladesh. DCC poll to see e-voting, EC eyes one ward first
Election likely in Jan-Feb
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Dr ATM Shamsul Huda yesterday said that they would try to introduce e-voting, vote through electronic voting machine (EVM), at least in a ward during the election to Dhaka City Corporation...
The EC wants to move for e-voting as existing manual voting involves huge expenditure in arranging ballot papers and ballot boxes, apart from allegations of rigging.
Lutful Kabir earlier said that the IICT presented a working model for e-voting to the Election Commission for review. "It may cost a total of Tk 150 crore to introduce this system all over the country," Kabir said.

Voting News by Joyce McCloy.
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