Thursday, November 12, 2009

Georgia Court: E-vote at your own risk, some NY votes up in air, Diebold miscount in Santa Barbara

Internet voting whack-a-mole and its inherent security risks and privacy loss - done on the backs of our troops: National voter groups urge MA Gov Deval Patrick to ask Legislature to remove dangerous e-mail voting provision from veterans bill, a Michigan bill would have military vote by email....Aspen CO seeks dismissal of suit for ballot images of May election...How To NOT Instill Confidence In Election Integrity (in Connecticut)...Georgia Court: E-Vote at Your Own Risk... Coin Toss Decides Whitsett NC Town Council Race...Activist security concerns - "New York counties don’t have the money to secure the ballots or verify the scanners."...Port Chester NY's new election system confusing...Ohio Ballot Access Bill Advances...GOP 1, TVCA 0 ...Misplaced election reform priorities in Washington?...Verified Voting's national newsletter is available online now!...

All this and more in today's voting news below...

AL: Calera finally has six new council members
November 10, 2009. More than a year after voters originally headed to the polls, Calera has six new council members.
City officials submitted a new voting plan in July that called for six at-large council seats instead of the five districts used in the 2008 election.

Justice Department officials approved the new plan in September. The plan "reflects a good faith effort to effectively remedy the concerns raised in our objection," according to a letter that Loretta King, acting assistant attorney general, sent to the city's attorneys.

CA: Recount Called for City Election * Voting Machine Malfunctioned
(Premier/Diebold Accu-Vote ES 2000 and ES&S Automark)
November 11, 2009
Santa Barbara City election officials will be conducting a complete recount of all ballots cast in last week’s election, because one of the vote-counting machines failed to adequately count all the votes cast on the “B” side of the ballot.
it could affect the final outcomes of the city council races as well as Measures D and E.
The discrepancy in ballots counted is in the range of five percent to 15 percent. After counting 800 ballots by hand, city election officials concluded there was a problem...

CO: City seeks dismissal of Marks suit (city does not want to release ballot images)
November 12, 2009 The city of Aspen has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Marilyn Marks, who is trying to force the city to release ballot images from the May election.

CT: How To NOT Instill Confidence In Election Integrity * (photo copy ballots, "extra ballots")
Waterbury Republican: Ex-first selectman has lawyer probe Middlebury voting
...St. John, who ran as a write-in candidate, raised concerns immediately following the election after he learned one of the voting machines had broken down Tuesday evening, forcing poll workers to switch to a separate machine to count the remaining ballots. Some of the ballots had been photocopied because election officials believed they had run out of the official ballots. It was later revealed that officials had more than 1,000 unused ballots locked in the registrar of voters’ office.
[Thank you Luther Weeks and here is article Luther linked to
MIDDLEBURY — Former First Selectman Edward B. St. John has hired an attorney to investigate ballot irregularities in the Nov. 3 election. ]

CT: In RTM race: Recount flip-flops winner
12 November 2009 Poll workers Stanley Olzewski, Carol Sabato, and Cathy Lesta examine a ballot to determine if it needs to be recounted by hand as part of the District 5 Representative Town Meeting recount. — Ken Borsuk photo
A loss by the thinnest of margins has now turned into a win by the thinnest of margins for Representative Town Meeting (RTM) member James Daine.

CT: Morehead alleges voter fraud
Ward 22 alderman to accuse opponent of tampering with absentee ballots
November 10, 2009. Ward 22 Alderman-elect Greg Morehead is expected to file a complaint with the state government today accusing one of his opponents in last Tuesday’s election of voter fraud
Morehead said he has received statements from two New Haven senior citizens, both of whom he said approached him with concerns about their absentee votes. The residents claimed Hopkins told them all they had to do was sign their ballots before she would mail them, Morehead said. Hopkins then took the blank and unsealed ballots from them, Morehead added.

FL: Venice ballot review brings ray of sunshine
...Meaningful spot checks like this should be part of every election. Equipment can break down, software can fail, election workers can make mistakes. Random audits of ballots vs. voting equipment right after the close of the election can keep voters, election workers, and equipment manufacturers on their toes.

When equipment errors are found, they should be corrected at the source, the machine manufacturer, for future elections, and voters should be notified how to deal with those problems in the current election. For example, when the blue ink problem occurred in the logic-and-accuracy test Oct. 14, absentee ballot requesters should have been immediately notified not to use blue ink.

or use this

GA: Georgia Court: E-Vote at Your Own Risk
By Matthew Cardinale, News Editor, The Atlanta Progressive News (November 12, 2009)

(APN) ATLANTA -- The Georgia Supreme Court, in their recent ruling against VoterGA upholding electronic voting in the State of Georgia, implicitly acknowledged that E-voting results cannot be independently audited. At the same time, they emphasized that it's the voter's choice to vote electronically, when paper ballots are available through the absentee process.

"In deciding to forego the privilege of voting early on a paper ballot, voters assume the risk of necessarily different procedures if a recount is required," Judge George Carley ruled, with all justices on the panel concurring, on September 28, 2009

HI: Hawaii Elections Chief Will Ask for Waiver of New Law Requiring Foreign Absentee Ballots to be Mailed Early
November 10th, 2009 According to this news story, Hawaii’s Elections Chief plans to ask the federal government for a waiver (for 2010 only) of the new federal law that requires states to mail foreign absentee ballots at least 45 days before an election

IL: Privacy Case Flunks 'Duck Test,' Court Says *
(CN) - The 7th Circuit dismissed an invasion-of-privacy class action filed by Illinois citizens who submitted voter registration forms at the state Department of Motor Vehicles.
A man named Peter Zelchenko allegedly obtained Lake's name, date of birth, sex, address, phone number and Social Security number by simply asking the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners for it.
Lake argued that this violated the Driver's Privacy Protection Act, which allows suits against anyone "who knowingly obtains, discloses or uses personal information, from a motor vehicle record" for illegal purposes.

or use this url

IL: Winfrey overhauls clerk's operations
Official accomplishes election reform, but complaints remain
Detroit -- Nearly lost amid the hoopla surrounding the city's Nov. 4 general election was City Clerk Janice Winfrey's dual victory.
...Winfrey has implemented a number of reforms since assuming the dysfunctional office, from requiring workers to return memory cards to the clerk's main office by 9 p.m. on election night to mandating 15 hours of training for poll workers and requiring them to wear uniforms.

MA: Mass. Patrick OKs expanded benefits for veterans
November 12, 2009 ...Several voting rights groups voiced opposition to the bill yesterday, saying e-mailing or faxing ballots was “high risk.’’

The groups - including Voter Action, Verified Voting, Common Cause, the Boston Bar Association, and the Latino civic organization Oiste - issued a joint statement urging the governor to return the bill to the Legislature with a recommendation that the e-mail voting provision be removed.

or use this

MA: Mass. voting advocates say veterans bill flawed
November 11, 2009 The measure was included in a veteran’s benefits bill approved by lawmakers on Tuesday.

John Bonifaz of the group Voter Action said he supports efforts to make it easier for soldiers to vote, but said there’s no way to guarantee e-mailed ballots aren’t lost or tampered with.

or use this

MI: Electronic Voting: One Step Closer (military to vote by email)
It’s too late for Election Day 2009 but Michigan House Bill #5279 should be ready in plenty of time for the important 2010 state elections.

Last week, the measure was adopted by a majority of members in the Michigan House of Representatives. As I have stated in previous blogs and WXYZ-TV editorials, the bill would let state residents serving in the military or working overseas vote via electronic mail instead of snail mail.

MN: Low-key mayoral contest depressed Minneapolis turnout, officials say
At 20 percent, turnout hit a low not seen since 1902. Results released Wednesday were good for incumbents.
November 11, 2009

NC: Coin Toss Decides Whitsett Town Council Race
November 10, 2009 GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. - Lee Greeson is one lucky man.

After battling incumbent Ken Jacobs to a 42-42 vote tie for a seat on the Whitsett Town Council, Greeson won a coin toss Tuesday and was declared the winner.
According to Gilbert, this is the first time in Guilford County recorded history that an election has been determined with a coin toss. He said he's seen races determined by a margin of one or two votes before, but never dead even.,0,3493058.story

NJ: Felten to speak on electronic voting
Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009, 4:30 p.m. · 16 Robertson Hall
Ed Felten, director of Princeton's Center for Information Technology Policy, will present a lecture titled "Electronic Voting: Danger and Opportunity" at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, in 16 Robertson Hall.

NY: HEARING tomorrow (11/12) on NY voting system–and a new scandal
"Unfortunately, “verifiable” is a placebo, unless actual verification takes place. New York counties don’t have the money to secure the ballots or verify the scanners.

Due to our fiscal crisis, New York counties won’t have “excellent security.”
Implementing paper ballots and scanners on the cheap will create inevitable opportunities for errors that are not discovered, as well as opportunity and temptation for malicious persons to commit fraud."

NY: Voters express displeasure with new optical voting machines
11-12-2009. Oswego County’s new voting machines were supposed to be a vast improvement over the older lever machines and provide more privacy. Following the Nov. 3 election, county legislators have many concerns.

NY: The “dark art” of redistricting?
November 12, 2009 The Times discusses redistricting reform in New York

NY: Did Hoffman Concede Too Soon? It appears the special election race in New York's 23rd congressional district is not yet over.
Syracuse Post-Standard reports that a recanvassing shows that Owens' lead has narrowed to just 3,026 votes over Hoffman. And in Oswego County, "where Hoffman was reported to lead by only 500 votes with 93 percent of the vote counted election night, inspectors found Hoffman actually won by 1,748 votes.""The new vote totals mean the race will be decided by absentee ballots, of which about 10,200 were distributed...

NY: Johnson City vote may not be settled until next week
Past dissolutions in N.Y. offer guide to Town of Union, county officials
...The Broome County Board of Elections will count 174 absentee ballots Thursday, including four cast by military personnel. An additional 13 military absentee ballots were sent out, but they were not returned as of Tuesday. The last day military ballots can be received is Monday,

or use this

NY: Election ballots recounted in Lima *
November 10th, 2009 LIVINGSTON COUNTY, NY — The Board of Elections’ review of Nov. 3 ballots has revealed that totals in the Lima election were reported incorrectly, according to Election Commissioner Susan Guenther.
“When the election inspectors sent the information in to us on Tuesday evening, they had made an error in their totals,” Guenther elaborated.
“It was a human error. When the inspectors were reading the numbers from the paper from the back of the voting machine, they didn’t read them correctly,” Guenther advised.

NY: Port Chester's new election system confuses many
November 10, 2009 PORT CHESTER — The village's new election system will clearly take some getting used to.
Voters will elect six trustees in June under a court-imposed system called cumulative voting, replacing a system that was deemed unfair to Hispanics. Some of the new rules are counterintuitive — namely, the ability to cast more than one vote for the same candidate. No other community in New York uses the system.
or use this url

NY: Port Chester hires expert to help develop new voting system
November 11, 2009 PORT CHESTER — The village will hire the Maryland-based organization FairVote to help develop its new election system and draft an agreement with the U.S.
FairVote helped advocate for that system instead of the remedy favored by the Justice Department, to have trustees run in six districts.
or use this url

NY: New York: con-Fusion Voting (see photo of this ballot)
Lesson to be learned by outsiders on Hoffman's loss in New York's U.S. Congressional District 23: don't ever allow "Fusion Voting" in your state!
...So how in the world does a non-candidate get listed TWICE, your opponent get listed TWICE, but your name is listed once? Welcome to the world of fusion voting where political parties get power not candidates.

NY: What Are the Odds of 0 Doug Hoffman Votes in Three Different Polling Places?

OH: Voting overhaul bill advances; House will vote next week
House Bill 260 covers early voting, voter registration, voter identification, overseas and military voting and other issues.
or use this url

OH: Ohio Ballot Access Bill Advances
A bill that would considerably improve ballot access for Independent and Third Party candidates survived a crucial vote earlier this week.

On a 7-6 party line vote, HB 260 passed the House Elections Committee Tuesday.

HB 260 is a far-reaching election reform bill that includes provisions making it easier for a new political party to get on the ballot.

OH: Confessions of a Poll Worker
To paraphrase Tom Berenger's character in Platoon: "If the machine breaks down, we break down." Well, when speaking of elections, that quote is precisely true in this day and age. UWeekly recently talked to Joe, a poll worker around OSU campus area.

SC: Vote panel defied in Atlantic Beach (residency of candidates challenged)
...The election commission will have a hearing at 10 a.m. today at the Atlantic Beach Community Center to discuss protests by Town Council incumbents ousted last week by two write-in candidates, Windy Price and Carolyn Cole. It was scheduled for Saturday, but was postponed because the commission's attorney could not attend the hearing.

Paul Curry and incumbent councilwomen Charlene Taylor and Josephine Isom have said that Price and Cole are not residents of Atlantic Beach and did not follow proper procedures in declaring their candidacy and in campaigning...

SC: Royston mayor going to court over one-vote loss in election (1 vote diff, issue over provisional ballot)
November 11, 2009 “One of the things was with the provisional vote. We didn't think it was carried out right. That's all I can say right now because we will be going to court on it,” Stewart said.

by Flyer Staff. Let's not kid ourselves, as most of the direct participants have, about the outcome of the showdown over the 2008 Tennessee Voter Confidence Act. When Nashville chancellor Russell Perkins declined last week to issue the injunction sought by plaintiffs trying to force the hand of stonewalling state election authorities, he in effect foreclosed on a guarantee that the act can be enforced in 2010.
Although in theory the TVCA should be neutral in its implications, it has come to be identified with the Democrats' more expansive view of the franchise and has suffered the consequences. Republicans — and, yes, that includes Hargett and Goins — have organized against it. They may posture and fume about their belief, specifically discredited by Perkins, that 2002-vintage optical-scan machines are insufficient to fulfill the requirements of the TVCA. But it seems obvious that an overriding motive is to forestall vote challenges during an election year in which state Republicans can hold on to enough legislative seats to control redistricting for the decade which follows.

TN: Nearly 70 Sullivan voters registered in wrong precinct
November 10th, 2009 BLOUNTVILLE — For the past few years, several dozen Sullivan County voters have been registered in the wrong precinct — and listed as voters in the wrong Sullivan County commissioner and constable districts — Sullivan County Administrator of Elections Jason Booher said Tuesday.

The situation came to light because one of those residents had indicated he was considering a run for a County Commission seat in the 10th Commission District, Booher said — and the man actually lives in the 11th District

TX: State elections official fired after poking fun at Spanish-speaking voters
Secretary of State Andrade says official's remarks are not reflective of state policy.
Thursday, November 12, 2009

or use this

WA: Misplaced election reform priorities
11/11/2009. These things don’t happen in a vacuum, and so it is not surprising to see Gov. Chris Gregoire joining the chorus of establishment voices demanding that the ballot deadline be changed from postmarked on election day to received by election day
the governor has yet to say a word about the real scandal in last Tuesday’s election: the forty-some thousand King County voters who were disenfranchised due to our state’s wholly inadequate ballot design and review procedures.


What happens when your campaign is the target of Chinese hackers?
November 11, 2009 The Post reports on what happened when Chinese hackers pursued the Obama and McCain presidential campaigns in 2008.

November 03, 2009
Baltimore, Maryland - Diebold Information and Security Systems, LLC, (Diebold-ISS), a Utah-based provider of computer repair services, has agreed to pay $850,000 to settle potential claims against the company under the False Claims Act that it failed to submit required suitability documentation to the Social Security Administration (SSA) for a substantial number of subcontractor personnel performing services under a five-year maintenance and repair contract, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.

Verified Voting Newsletter, Issue 4 November 11, 2009 (available online)
The latest election integrity news from the team at Verified Voting.

electionlineWeekly--November 12, 2009
Nov 12, 2009 - Common data format could streamline elections
Stakeholders agree consensus needed, disagreee on how it will happen

Gerrymandering: Pure and Corrupt
Why do we continue to allow legislators to redraw their own districts?
Prisoners are used as “phantom voters” to inflate the populations of the districts where they are held, and because they can’t vote, skew the numbers in favor of one party over another.With so many viable alternatives, now is the time to stand up to legislators to demand a stop to partisan redistricting before we are left with another ten years of gerrymandered districts. To learn more about redistricting, visit
The Redistricting Game website...

Voting News by Joyce McCloy.
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