Monday, November 23, 2009

NY-23 election questions, Benton AR flirts with election disaster, E-vote secrecy hack

NY-23 E-Vote Failures Merit Full Hand-Count in Response, An update to the reports of an e-voting 'virus', and other failures, in New York's recent Special Election for the U.S. House...New Yorks CD-23 had a source code bug not virus, but questions remain...Hoffman to Decide About N.Y. 23 Challenge This Weekend...

HAVA chuckle in Nassau County, New York? A total of 17 votes were cast on $3.5 million worth of disabled accessible voting machines...

Aspen Colorado officials still not ready to make ballot image files public...Luther Weeks describes a breach of chain of custody in a Haddam, CT election...
North Carolina GOP contests Clay Aiken vote...VOOGLE: From Idea To Reality, Virginia Poling Place Information Gadget!...

International: Brazilian Breaks Secrecy of Brazil's E-Voting Machines With Van Eck Phreaking...Concerns about India's paperless e-voting and push for biometric ID...21 dead in bloodiest pre-election violence in Maguindanao, Mindanao...

AR: COMMENTARY: County Flirts With Disaster
Benton County is seriously considering going to all-electronic voting. At least their election commission chairman is.

This is a particularly terrible idea at a uniquely awful time.
37 percent of the county’s voters demanded paper ballots in the last election.

I’m sure the fiasco in 2006 contributed to that. I’m also sure, however, that long lines to the machines contributed to that too. Voting on paper was simply faster during the peak times.

I hate to see the issue of filling a legitimate need for moremachines get tangled up in what now could be perceived as a referendum on paperless voting.

AR: Paper option needed
November 21, 2009. LITTLE ROCK — I sense a bipartisan storm brewin’ in Benton County as election commissioners urge county government to save money by virtually abandoning paper ballots.

They favor purchasing an additional 200 used electronic voting machines for $360,000, but there appear to be both Democrats and Republicans who aren’t too keen on trusting the outcome of elections solely to electronic machines without also having the familiar and verifiable paper ballots.
This sort of thing just looks suspicious in a system that must rely on credibility, and no doubt it fuels debate with those who place their trust in paper ballots. In Benton County, that’s apparently no small number. No fewer than 37 of every 100 Benton County voters in the 2008 general election used paper ballots. I’d say it was a big mistake morally and politically to basically deny nearly four our of every 10 voters their voting preference to save an estimated (and debatable) $95,000.

If I were on the Quorum Court and was working with a new, well-intentioned but relatively inexperienced election commission, I’d be wanting to see proven facts about how much money would actually be saved by abandoning paper ballots and purchasing hundreds of used machines. Then I’d be weighing that estimate against the public’s will and desire.

CA: November 3rd election, scanning in progress
Humboldt County Election Transparency Project
We've started scanning ballots from the November 3rd election. Due to the horribly light turnout, we're almost done.

This election is using Hart ballots and equipment, rather than Diebold/Premier.
more on the project at

CO: Eection dispute, lawsuit, squabbling continue in Aspen
11/23/09 If often takes a while for things to settle down in a small town after an election. But Aspenites are taking things to extremes. They’re still arguing about their recent city election— the one they held in May.

CO: Aspen Election Review - May 5 2009 (IRV single ballot audit unit)
Links to media- discussion of ballot release and election review

CO: Election commissioners’ terms not in line with charter
November 23, 2009

CT: Courant: Ballot Access Should Require Two People Of Opposing Parties
November 23, 2009 We believe that ballots cannot be trusted unless there is a strong chain of custody, one critical part of that is that all access should be by at least two people and of opposing parties, and opposing interests in primaries. The Courant is right on in their editorial covering the Haddam situation
The issue goes beyond a documented instance of two people from the same party accessing the ballots. The issue includes the risks of single individuals having access to a single key needed to access the ballots – leaving them vulnerable to unauthorized access.

OH: Montgomery County to cut number of polling places from 360 to 220
Consolidation would save money, make average precinct size about 1,000 voters

MA: The Ghost in the Voting Machine
The UC election confirms that electronic voting can’t be trusted
November 23, 2009 Last week’s close Undergraduate Council election ended with a bang: The Election Commission voted to decertify the results...
Election officials were also confused about how the software worked, and the email bearing the VP’s signature implied that Hysen’s ability to access the database meant he could also change the results unnoticed. Although there appears to be no evidence of tampering, the suspicion will be tough to dispel.

Yet, just because no fraud seemed to occurr doesn’t make it impossible. No networked system can be fully secure, and modern computers are running so much code written by so many people that a backdoor could exist at any level. Even without malicious attacks, tabulation systems that employ sophisticated verification mechanisms can behave in mysterious ways, which compounds the general problem in computing that no one can fully trust code they did not author...

NC: GOP contests Aiken vote
RALEIGH -- The Wake County Republican Party on Friday challenged pop singer Clay Aiken's vote in this fall's school board elections, prompting a hearing that could strip him of his registration.

The "American Idol" runner-up and graduate of Leesville Road High in Raleigh last week lambasted the victorious GOP-backed school board candidates as "selfish idiots."
"It smacks of politics and sour grapes and sore winners," he said. "You guys won. Really? It is within their purview to challenge any voter, but I'm hard-pressed to imagine they would have done so if he hadn't expressed his opinion." ...

NY: Hoffman to Decide About N.Y. 23 Challenge This Weekend
Hoffman conceded to Bill Owens (D) after election night returns on Nov. 4 showed a comfortable margin for the latter. Owens has since been sworn in to Congress

NY: NY-23 E-Vote Failures Merit Full Hand-Count in Response
An update to the reports of an e-voting 'virus', and other failures, in New York's recent Special Election for the U.S. House
...As we averred over the weekend, there are now certainly more than enough problems and questions concerning the electronic tabulation of ballots in the election, that a full, district-wide manual count should be publicly performed to remove any doubts, if possible, concerning the accuracy of the final results.
is no longer up to the voters or offficials or courts of New York to determine the "winner" of the House seat. Rather, the matter is now wholly up to the whims of the Democratic-majority Congress as The BRAD BLOG pointed out a week or so ago in an article we filed on NY-23, written as tabulation failures in the race were beginning to emerge...

NY: NY-23 and the E-Voting 'Virus'
Recent allegations from the Right of malware on voting machines in New York's November Special Election may be overblown, but the long-overdue general concerns are right on point...

NY: NY CD-23: Questions Remain About "Pilot" Federal Election *
We have written previously about New York's reckless rollout of uncertified voting systems in real elections. Letters from good-government groups to the US Dept. of Justice, the NY State Attorney General and the NY State Board of Elections have also expressed these concerns. The only response from these officials has been to stay the course.
Today we have received reports that BMDs configured using the Bridge Tool, incorrectly printed what was supposed to be a two-sided ballot. In one county, out of 58 ballots printed, one ballot had the races on the front duplicated on the back, omitting the proposals that should have been on the back. On another ballot, only the front side printed, again omitting proposals on the back....
New York has no procedure to independently inspect the contents of scanner memory cards, a service performed by the University of Connecticut at the request of their Secretary of the State. New York has not adopted the rigorous procedures reportedly followed in the State of California to attempt to ensure that its voting machines and Election Management System PCs used to configure them are free of malware...

NY: Yes New York, There Is No Virus In NY-23

NY: Voting Machines Used Were Not Certified
20 November 2009 GOUVERNEUR, NY - The Dominion ImageCast voting machines used in this year's Nov. 3rd election, both in the 23rd Congressional Special Election and in the local elections around the state have not been certified for use by the State Board of Elections.

Reports of bugs in the programming code, known security flaws, outright failures, and concerns over the potential for tampering have not prevented the State from calling the pilot program "very successful."
A spokesman for Dominion maintains that the "virus" reports from Hamilton County were really a source code "bug" instead, one that required reprogramming of the source code in the days prior to the election. Dominion indicates that their technicians "created a workaround" for some bad code that was causing the machines to freeze-up in certain types of elections.

NY: Statement from the Board of Elections on the 23rd Congressional District

NY: HAVA chuckle in Nassau
November 20, 2009 The federal Help American Vote Act, a 2002 law meant to help localities modernize their election systems, draws some bipartisan derision at the Nassau County Board of Elections, where workers are sorting through the absentee ballots to decide key county elections.

Not the least — but certainly not all — of that derision is aimed at the rows of 450 HAVA-mandated voting machines for the disabled, which cost some $3.5 million.
A total of 17 votes were cast on those machines on Nov. 3rd, and some of the ballots were cast by able people when the mechanical voting machine in a polling place was out of commission.

NY: Bard students unhappy with voting hassle (WITH VIDEO)
November 20, 2009 A STATE Supreme Court ruling that the votes of 12 Bard College students forced to file affidavit ballots on Election Day be counted without question has done little to quell concerns that college students were singled out by Republicans and others who want to prevent them from voting in local elections.

Jonathan Becker, an associate professor of political science at Bard, said on Thursday that the college intends to “explore all avenues” available to protect its students from being targeted for such voter abuse in the future...

PA: County recounting votes for Superior Court judge
November 18, 2009 The Indiana County commissioners have called in technicians from the county's election system consultant in Nebraska to comply with a state directive to recount the county's votes in the Nov. 3 balloting for judge of the Pennsylvania Superior Court.

The mandatory recount could cost the county about $13,000 and the state $1.3 million.

On Friday, Secretary of the Commonwealth Pedro Cort©s ordered the recount, the first statewide recount triggered by law in Pennsylvania history.

SC: Votes Lost & Found in Myrtle Beach
Nov 20th, 2009 technology expert Doug Jones:
..."This is an excellent example of a procedural error of the type that the voting systems could help defend against, but don’t. It would be possible to write specs that lead to automatic detection of machines believed to have been deployed for which no totals have been reported. Sadly, we haven’t got such behavior in our system specs, and as a result, we chalk such problems up to human error and let the voting system off the hook."

TX: Dallas County elections chief vows to correct mailing problems
November 18, 2009 ...County Commissioner John Wiley Price said this week that numerous voters had called his office to complain about not being notified in time of the proper voting locations during the Nov. 3 election.

Price said a printing company mailed out the notices late, affecting 80,000 voters in his district alone. Even though turnout was low, Price wondered if the problem could have affected a Dallas school board race in his district that ended in a runoff...
"People didn't know where to vote," she said. "They were mad, and they actually wanted me to file a complaint."

VA: VOOGLE: From Idea To Reality
November 23rd, 2009...Google (in partnership with Pew’s Voter Information Project) took heed of Mr. Ornstein’s challenge to create the Virginia Poling Place Information Gadget!

Washington’s road to women’s suffrage: 1854
November 23rd, 2009. Next year will mark the 100-year anniversary of women’s suffrage in Washington … something definitely worth celebrating.
In 1854, Arthur Denny proposed an amendment to the first territorial election law that would give women the vote. It was defeated in the Territorial House of Representatives by one vote, eight for and nine against. Almost 17 years would pass before the issue was raised in the Legislature again.


EAC public meeting is December 3, 2009
This meeting will be webcast live on the EAC Web site.


Brazil: Your Rights Online: Brazilian Breaks Secrecy of Brazil's E-Voting Machines With Van Eck Phreaking
November 21...a hacker has shown that the Linux-based voting machines aren't perfectly safe; he was able to eavesdrop on them

Canada: Voting by phone, Internet possible
Laurentian Valley - Ontario, Canada. Election results could be available within 15 minutes of polls closing if council opts to go with vote by phone and via the Internet for the 2010 municipal election.

India: India needs to correct its voting system.
It needs to get rid of the electronic voting system. Which is basically a short cut for voting malpractices. India is one of the poorest country in that region and cannot afford to have an electronic voting system and add another flaw to our system. India should revert back to the paper based voting system.
India also needs to get away from the idea of biometric ID etc, because such a ID would be misused and could lead to identity threats...

Mindanao. 21 dead in bloodiest pre-election violence in Maguindanao; 15 still unaccounted for
Monday, 23 November 2009. KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/23 November) – An undetermined number of armed men ambushed on Monday morning the wife of a gubernatorial bet, two female lawyers, nearly a dozen journalists and security personnel, in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao, en route to the provincial Commission on Elections office in Shariff Aguak, to file his certificate of candidacy

Voting News by Joyce McCloy.
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