Thursday, October 29, 2009

Trust, Antitrust and Your Vote, GA. seeks voter id approval, VA. votes still at risk

Trust, Antitrust and Your Vote (or ES&S buys Diebold)...Your papers please: Georgia's State Board of Elections seeks DOJ approval of law requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote...Correction: Voting news should have said Wyoming County New York yesterday: Pilot is beginning of Wyoming County New York's switch to electronic voting, officials incorrectly cite HAVA as requiring they ditch lever machines...St Paul MN divided over instant runoff voting...NY City Council member sponsors resolution urges state lawmakers to keep the levers...Will every vote count? New optical scan voting machines to be tested in NY 23rd House race...Virginia runs risk in 2010 elections with mostly paperless voting...VA State BoE submits swine flu contingency plans to EAC..."President Obama signs Schumer bill to ease voting process for Military, overseas voters...Voting Gets Easier For Disabled, But Problems Remain...

All of that and more in today's Voting News below...

CA: Santa Barbara "Vote-By-Mail" Election Nears
There are nearly 47,000 registered voters in the city of Santa Barbara and with less than a week until the November 3, 2009 election, just 11,000 ballots have been received by the County Elections Office.

The election is the city's first ever "vote-by-mail" election, and there's concern that some registered voters may not return their ballots on time.

GA: Citizen Check For Voter Registration Moves Ahead
ATLANTA — The State Elections Board this week decided to take the first step to get approval for Senate Bill 86. Passed by state lawmakers earlier this year, it requires proof of citizenship when registering to vote in Georgia.

KY: Polling preparedness: Counties gear up for December special election
...At its meeting on Oct. 13, the court approved the purchase of 19 new eScan voting machines. A machine will be placed in each of the 17 precincts, one will be in the courthouse for absentee voting and one reserved in case of malfunctions.
On Dec. 8, voters will get their first chance to use the new machines. Judge-Executive Milward Dedman said this election offers a chance for voters and poll workers to get familiar with the new machines before the primaries in May.

MN: IRV: No, but we appreciate the debate
Pioneer Press Editorial 10/28/2009
...try as we might - and we tried pretty hard - we remain
unconvinced of the compelling need to change the way we elect the mayor
and members of the City Council. We view up-or-down, yes-no voting as
simpler and clearer, and IRV as an intriguing idea whose time has not
yet come in St. Paul.

MN:Don Fraser and George Latimer: The case for instant-runoff voting is clear
Name any common flaw in the current system, and IRV offers a solution.
October 29, 2009 ...Fortunately, St. Paul voters can do just that on Nov. 3 by adopting a proposal for instant-runoff voting -- also called ranked-choice voting -- in mayoral and City Council elections.

MN: More complicated, confusing and expensive

By Chuck Repke, Angie Kline, Kathy Lantry and Dave Thune
Pioneer Press Updated: 10/28/2009
St. Paul voters should learn from others' mistakes and not switch to an expensive, complicated and confusing election system. Free, fair elections are the hallmark of democracy and every voter deserves to be treated equally. Using IRV is far too likely to confuse and inhibit voting. IRV's voting system will leave too many voters without a vote in the final "round" of voting. Taxpayers will pay more to wait weeks for results. It seems to us like IRV is a damaging and expensive solution in search of a problem. Vote "no" on Nov. 3.

NC: TN EDITORIAL: New kind of voting is no threat
October 29, 2009 Another concern is that third and forth place votes in the 2007 election were not publicized because they were not needed or used. That should be
easily remedied.

The bottom line is that instant runoff voting is a fair and efficient
way to elect office-holders. Just because Hendersonville is the only
city in North Carolina using the system this year does not make it a bad

NY: Warsaw will be first Wyoming County town to use electronic voting machines (report mistakenly says HAVA requires replacement of levers)October 28, 2009 WARSAW -- As Warsaw goes, so will Wyoming County.The town is the first to switch over to the county's new electronic voting machines. They'll be used in Tuesday's elections....Like other counties statewide, Wyoming is switching to electronic machines as part of the federal Helping Americans Vote Act. The new units will ultimately replace the old-style lever machines used since the 1940s.

NY: No New Machines
October 28th, 2009. On the steps of City Hall this afternoon, council members Helen Foster, Robert Jackson, Simcha Felder and David Weprin urged the city to keep the lever machines instead of the electronic ones.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” said Jackson.

Foster has sponsored a resolution, which urges the state legislature and the state’s congressional delegation to “take all appropriate actions that may be necessary to enable New York counties to continue using lever voting machines supplemented by accessible voting technology for people with disabilities.”

NY: Will every vote count?
New voting machines in 23rd House race not fully certified in pilot program, officials say
Thursday, October 29, 2009 ALBANY -- What do Minnesota and New York's 23rd Congressional District have in common, aside from their proximity to Canada and hard winters? Two additional correct answers: Hotly contested elections, and voters choosing their candidates with paper ballots scanned through optical counting machines.

NY: N.Y. 23rd District Dems Head to Court
Democrats are going to court over New York's 23rd House District race, looking to have voting machines impounded on election night.

Parties usually seek to impound machines the day of so campaigns can watch ballots be double-checked.

VA: Voting Machines: State Has Long Way to Go
...The General Assembly has already decided that unverifiable direct-recording electronic (DRE) voting machines must be phased out -- and for good reason. Subtle bugs occur in all computer systems, and it is impossible to test for all of them. Report after report in recent years has uncovered new ways that purely electronic voting can be corrupted without detection -- or simply fail.
In neighboring North Carolina, in 2004, a paperless voting machine in Carteret County lost more than 4,000 votes, and threw a statewide election into chaos.
Virginia has had warnings and near-misses. We've taken incremental steps, but it is time to provide verifiable ballots for every voter. We should not wait for a "Carteret County" to do the right thing for Virginia's voters.

VA: Protesters push to have late absentee ballots counted
October 29, 2009 "Support our troops, let them vote," read a sign held by Jim Smyers, who helped organize the protest on behalf of the Richmond Liberty Alliance, an offshoot of the Tea Party movement.

or use this tiny url

VA: Virginia H1N1 plan is submitted to EAC clearinghouse
The Virginia State Board of Elections submitted the latest state H1N1 flu contingency plan. EAC has encouraged election officials to submit H1N1 flu season contingency plans to EAC's online clearinghouse. Read the Virginia plan here.


Trust, Antitrust and Your Vote
October 28, 2009 Editorial
...The new company would have enormous reach. Without meaningful competition, localities would have fewer choices when they bought voting machines. If something were to go wrong — an inadvertent failure in hardware or software or intentional tampering by a bad actor — it could have a disastrous effect on the entire nation’s vote.

How to Make Open Source Happen
Champaign County Clerk
...As in any public policy initiative, the case needs to be made to the policy makers. Unfortunately, they are often part of the problem as I noted earlier. But each impediment to open source that I mentioned yesterday can be addressed and needs to be.
GOSCON is an organization that has been formed to begin the process of developing open source solutions for government.

Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act signed
President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 yesterday (28 October 2009). One part of the act is the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, reproduced below.

Voting Gets Easier For Disabled, But Problems Remain
On Election Day last year, the Government Accountability Office sent investigators to 720 polling places around the country to see if people in wheelchairs, or who were blind deaf or had other disabilities, could easily cast a ballot.

The results were mixed. There was some barriers, from the parking lot to the voting booth, in more than two-thirds of the polling places.

Voting News by Joyce McCloy.
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