Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Why Rig Elections? Because it works. Diebold on EFFs TakeDown Hall of Shame

Diebold can't seem to get away from the bad publicity its disgraced election division keeps churning. The latest disgrace of many: EFF launches a "Takedown Hall of Shame" to fight censorship and - Diebold makes the list...Why Rig Elections? Because it Works....Low Tech, Computer Hack...Sens. McCain and Feingold defend campaign finance laws that Supreme Court threatens to roll back...President Obama Set to Sign Overseas Voter Act...Cool free online redistricting tool in preparation the 2010 Census!...Newspaper Condemns North Carolina Ballot Access Law...Big Week for Election Integrity in The Big Apple... 16 Va. localities fail to meet absentee-ballot deadline...Pilot is beginning of Wyoming County NY switch to electronic voting, officials incorrectly cite HAVA as requiring they ditch lever machines...Internet voting whack-a-mole in Canada: one Canadian city promises paperless online voting for 2010, another city rejects online voting as insecure...

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

CT: Low Tech, Computer Hack
October 28, 2009. Just a little reminder that we can have all the physical security, encryption, open source, and source disclosure in the world and there are still low tech ways to hack systems available to high school “D students”.

FL: Lake Park To Change Voting Method In 2010
Change Comes After Lawsuit Claimed Blacks Not Getting Fair Shot In Elections
..."In the consent decree, the town of Lake Park conceded that there is a factual and legal basis for concluding that the current at-large method of electing the town's commissioners results in an unfair dilution of the African-American vote," said U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Sloman. "

FL: Broward's Advancement Project Report
The Advancement Project and other 501c3 groups have been meeting with SOEs around the state discussing problems with provisional ballots, voter registrations, early voting etc. They are working to create legislation for 2010 to address the problematic issues uncovered in their public records requests from the November 2008 election. They did a comprehensive request to determine the cause of rejected provisional ballots and voter registration applications.

MD: Open meeting squabble in Prince George's leads to new policy
Elections administrator won't attend closed-door meetings with delegates

ME: Pilot Program Encourages Early Voting
AUGUSTA (NEWS CENTER) -- Nine communities are participating in an early voting pilot program in Maine. Early voting is not the same as absentee voting. Registered voters show up to a polling place, fill out a ballot and that ballot is immediately counted.

MN: Candidates, like city, slow to grasp instant-runoff voting
October 27, 2009
...Now the city that once made the world's fastest supercomputers expects to employ 100 election judges for eight weeks to conduct a full hand-count of next month's city election. Judging by their campaigns, candidates for city office haven't cottoned much faster to the new system.

NC: Nonpartisan voting issue brings Fox News to Kinston
October 26, 2009 KINSTON — The national media spotlight shone a little brighter on Kinston Monday as a crew from the Fox News Channel rolled into town to interview various local figures in the ongoing nonpartisan voting issue.

NC: Winston-Salem Journal Newspaper Condemns North Carolina Ballot Access Law
October 27th, 2009 The October 27 issue of the Winston-Salem Journal has
this editorial, criticizing the state’s ballot access law and calling on the legislature to improve it. Of course, if the pending Libertarian-Green ballot access lawsuit wins in the State Supreme Court, that is an alternate path to a better law

NC: Students subpoenaed for hearing
29 from ECSU to testify at election protests
October 27, 2009. Twenty-eight Elizabeth City State University students are among the 30 witnesses that Pasquotank County elections officials plan to subpoena for next week’s hearings on election protests filed by two unsuccessful 4th Ward City Council candidates.
The board also rejected Watts’ request that the students’ tuition costs be subpoenaed from the university

NC:Election Board hearings: Mike Easley is accused of pilfering campaign funds.
27 Oct 2009. Former Gov. Mike Easley, at the outset of hearings into possible violations of the state’s campaign finance laws, stands accused — by a friend — of being a petty grifter.

NC: Easley case highlights 'loophole'
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Advisers who once helped former Gov. Mike Easley on fundraising told state election officials Tuesday there was no scheme to funnel money the campaign raised for the state Democratic Party back to Easley's committee to avoid individual caps on giving.

NJ: County Puts New Technology In Place For Election
...Eight precincts in Berks County will have a new way to sign in on Tuesday, in addition to the traditional poll books. It's a test but could be the future for the entire county...

NV: ACORN, former official plead not guilty in Nevada
LAS VEGAS — Lawyers for the political advocacy group ACORN and a former voter registration supervisor pleaded not guilty Tuesday to illegally paying canvassers to register Nevada voters during last year's presidential campaign.

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: Democrats Go To Court In NY-23 »
The Democrats have beaten the Republicans to court in NY-23, obtaining an order to show cause that requires the impounding of voting machines for what is expected to be another tight congressional special election.
This order is pretty standard, except for one point of interest: It directs three counties - Essex, Clinton and Oneida - to let people who made the federal registration deadline but not the state and local deadline to vote on paper ballots, not affidavit ballots.

NY: Big Week for Election Integrity in The Big Apple
...New York City Councilmember Helen D. Foster will introduce a Resolution to keep the City's 7,300 lever voting machines which, contrary to popular belief, the Help America Vote Act does not require to be replaced.

OH: Improving Ohio's elections a continuing process
By Lawrence Norden • Guest Columnist • October 27, 2009
...The Enhancements Bill addresses a number of issues that need immediate attention.

For instance, the Statewide Voter Registration Database and system need to be improved so that counties and the state have more accurate voter information to ensure that all registered voters can vote and have their votes counted; early voting procedures need to be refined so that ministerial mistakes on forms do not lead to voided ballots; and provisional voting and voter ID laws can be simplified to make so that they are easily understood by poll workers and explained to voters.

One non-controversial way to maintain the accuracy of the registration database, for example, is to ensure that the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles complies with the National Voting Rights Act (NVRA)...

or use this tiny url

VA: 16 Va. localities fail to meet absentee-ballot deadline
Despite court prodding and changes in state election laws, 16 Virginia localities have failed to meet a deadline to allow absentee ballots of military personnel serving overseas to be counted on time.

Nancy Rodriques, secretary of the State Board of Elections, said she did not know how many ballots will not be counted.
This year's election is next Tuesday. Most of the 16 registrars who failed to get the ballots out on time blamed the State Board of Elections' computer system.
or use this tiny url

NY: County auditor races to replace misprinted ballots *
EVERETT — A husband and wife were surprised when they received their ballots at their Everett home and found different races listed for next week's general election.

When the husband reported the discrepancy on Monday, the Snohomish County Auditor's Office found 112 mismatched ballots, Auditor Carolyn Weikel said. Elections staff worked with the printing company to identify errors related to the front and back sides of the ballots being printed out of sequence
The problem stemmed from a human error at K & H Printers in Everett, she said. When one printer jammed, a worker entered the wrong information into another machine to restart the process. That led to fronts and backs getting out of sequence. Though many fronts and backs happened to line up for long stretches of the printing process, the two sides would get mixed up whenever the style of ballot changed to accommodate different local races.


Why Rig Elections? Because it Works.
Electionupdates Blog.
The Economist has an article this week on why people rig elections. The answer is, because it works really well. As the summary report of the key findings notes:

Redistricting the Nation
Cool free online redistricting tool launched by the company Avencia in preparation the 2010 Census!

More on Redistricting
With 2009 elections approaching, the 2010 Census on the horizon, and America's midterm elections only a year away, now is the time to take a few minutes to understand what it means to redraw our district lines. Here are a few useful and fun learning tools.

President Obama Set to Sign Overseas Voter Act on October

28 October 28th, 2009 President Obama is scheduled to sign S.1390 on Wednesday, October 28. This is the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, contained within the Defense Authorization Bill. The Voter Empowerment Act tells states that in federal elections, they must mail overseas absentee ballots no later than 45 days before the election.

Sens. McCain and Feingold on Citizens United v. FEC
October 27, 2009 Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), primary sponsors of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act in 2002, eloquently defend the campaign finance laws that the court is threatening in the YouTube videos below.

Statement of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold on Citizens United v. FEC (full text and vid)

EFF Launches "Takedown Hall of Shame" on Tuesday October 27

EFF fights 'censorship' with Takedown Hall of Shame
The Electronic Frontier Foundation today has aimed a demonstrably potent weapon -- the spotlight of public shame -- at those corporations and individuals who abuse copyright claims to stifle free speech.


Canada - Nova Scotia. Cobourg. Town considers paperless 2010 election
A completely paperless system may be used when town residents vote for their municipal council and school board representatives next year.
As in the last municipal election, Intelivote Systems Inc. of Nova Scotia would provide the electronic voting service, which can be used over the telephone or Internet. Each person would be given a personal identification number with which to vote and, once used to complete the entire voting choices, it cannot be used again. Also as in 2006, people can start their voting on the telephone and complete it at a later time, or use the Internet, or vice versa

Canada. Clarington to move back to traditional voting methods (says no to internet voting)
Council abandons mail-in system in favour of 'supervised' vote
Oct 28, 2009 CLARINGTON -- Instead of driving voters down the information superhighway, Clarington councillors have decided they'll backtrack to the traditional method of voting for the 2010 municipal election.

After three elections in which mail-in voting was used, the Municipal clerk's department had suggested going one step further in making voting more accessible, by using Internet voting.

But after hearing from a number of residents concerned about the "unsupervised" nature of both mail-in and online voting, council voted by a slim majority to eschew technology altogether, opting to go back to the pencil-and-paper ballot system.

Voting News by Joyce McCloy.
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