Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hawaii Elections Uh-O? Court: NO to voter caging, Experts on open source code

Experts David Dill, Jeremy Epstein and Joe Hall weigh in on Sequoia's source code disclosure....
...LA County has a report on efficacy of eliminating polling places for Vote By Mail...Hawaii election chief resigns, elections dept might not have funds or planning to implement 2010 elections...Scotts Co Iowa studying accuracy and efficiency of e-poll books....IRV poll of Hendersonville NC voters out, apathy? 15% polled would be upset if they didn't use IRV for council or mayor in future elections, 35% would NOT be upset and 39% didn't care at all....

New York is in the news for: the pilot program, a new voting method that to help hispanic voters in Port Chester, (as soon as they devise a plan on how to educate voters), on eliminating runoff elections, and a state lawmaker is purged from voter rolls.
False Vote Counts in Four Counties in NY-23...

...ACORN/Ohio lawsuit means that Ohio will now enforce Section 7 of the NVRA, that is, govt agencies will now offer voter registration to their clients...Bad ideas for election reform: Internet voting spreads in Canada as areas gain broadband access...Mexican cartels sinking drug money into political campaigns...

CA: L.A. Clerk says vote-by-mail could bring dramatic boost in turnout -- and costs
December 3, 2009 Switching to vote-by-mail citywide elections in Los Angeles -- and doing away with traditional polling places -- could increase voter participation but be costly and pose a threat to the integrity of elections, a report by the Los Angeles City Clerk concluded today.
Link to the study:

HI: Resignation intensifies worries about elections
Four county clerks say that planning for 2010 is "significantly behind schedule"
Dec 03, 2009 Voter advocates were outraged by Cronin's last major decision to close nearly one-third of the state's voting sites.
The resignation of Chief Election Officer Kevin Cronin is renewing concerns about whether there is enough money, manpower and time to plan successful elections next year.

or use this url

IA: Electronic Pollbooks Continue to Show Impressive Results
During the 2009 municipal elections the Auditor’s Office expanded its experiment with the electronic poll book (e-poll book) to a total of five precincts. Our objective is to evaluate how much e-poll books will increase accuracy and efficiency in the polling place, and save costs in after election processing of voter history.
The cost savings for post-election processing promises to be very significant. In the five precincts using the e-poll books we processed history for 1080 voter records in 26 minutes. A comparable number of records in three precincts processed by hand took 182 minutes.

NC: New Data Support Use Of Instant Run-Off Voting (data contradicts title)
Cobb also cautions that, while voters support IRV, their support is not strong. When voters were presented with a list of reasons cited by advocates to defend IRV, a majority of voters polled did not personally agree with any of them. “Voters seemed indifferent to these traditional justifications for using IRV and simply liked or disliked the experience of ranking for their own reasons,” Cobb says.
[Only 15% agreed that they would be upset if they didn't use IRV for council or mayor in future elections. 35% would NOT be upset and 39% didn't care]

NY: Spring Valley lawmaker kicked off voter rolls
NEW CITY — County Legislator Jacques Michel, D-Spring Valley, has been kicked off the voter registration rolls following an investigation by the Rockland Board of
The move has put Michel's status as an elected official in question because the County Charter, which governs county government, requires county legislators to be registered voters and to be living in their election district.
For example, just 27 percent of voters surveyed who preferred ranking also agreed that they would be upset if they would not be allowed to rank candidates in the future.

NY: False Vote Counts in Four Counties in NY-23
Richard Hayes Phillips, Ph.D.
02 December 2009 CANTON, NY – It is now widely known that zero votes were initially reported for Doug Hoffman in numerous election districts in New York’s 23rd Congressional District. What has not been previously reported is that these votes were shifted to other candidates. While most of these counts were corrected during recanvassing, they never should have been reported in the first place.

NY: Letter to the Editor on NY-23 Results
Richard Hayes Phillips, Ph.D. Monday, 30 November 2009
It was reported last week that the St. Lawrence County Board of Elections had certified impossible numbers for the special election in New York’s 23rd Congressional District.
The author has since learned that only the cumulative results for each contest, not the results for each election district, are actually certified to the State. Thus it is not strictly correct that these negative numbers appeared in the certified results. But they did appear in the district (precinct) totals from which the certified cumulative results were derived.

NY: Senate considers nixing runoff votes (one bill to end runoffs, another to suggest instant runoff voting)
Sen. Joe Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) drafted a bill that would eliminate runoff elections altogether, while Sen. Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) proposes implementing simultaneous runoff elections, allowing voters to rank their candidate preferences rather than picking just one.
Such a system isn’t possible with the voting system New York currently uses, but next year the state plans to replace the lever machines with “optical scan” voting machines.
The state Board of Elections is deciding between two kinds of new machines, and Krueger said either would enable IRVs.

NY: Court date Dec. 17 in Port Chester voting rights case
Port Chester will introduce cumulative voting to remedy an at-large system that was ruled discriminatory to Hispanic voters. Lawyers for the village, the U.S. Department of Justice and plaintiff Cesar Ruiz must reach an agreement on how to implement the new system and how to educate voters about it.

Under the new rules, each voter will have six votes to cast, one for each open seat on the village board. A voter may cast up to six votes for the same candidate or spread those votes among various candidates.
or use this url

OH: ACORN Lawsuit in OH a Victory for Democracy (Section 7 of Nat Voting Rights Act will now be enforced in Ohio)
Republican Secretary of State defied federal election law
Hundreds of thousands of voters likely to benefit from settlement...

OH: Pair fined in cases of voter fraud * (with absentee ballot)
December 3, 2009 Two Franklin County residents were convicted and fined Tuesday in separate voter-fraud cases from the 2008 election
Belli voted in both Fairfield and Franklin counties. Finney voted and also signed her son's absentee ballot, according to Schneider. Finney could not be reached Tuesday, and Belli declined to comment.
or use this url

PA: Special election costs taxpayers $175,000
Lieutenant governor says vote was necessary because of budget crisis at the time.
So what was the bill for the Sept. 29 special election to choose a state senator from the 24th District?

It totaled $174,545.72, according to figures from the Pennsylvania Department of State.,0,1173765.story


Court Denies GOP Effort to Re-Institute Voter Caging/Suppression

Rasmussen Poll on Partisan Identification
December 3rd, 2009 Rasmussen Poll releases results on how U.S. voters self-identify, every month.

Transparency: Machines as Part of the Problem?
Dec 1st, 2009 I need to correct two mis-impressions about the TrustTheVote Project that were presented to me by couple of election reform advocates.

Tinkering with Disclosed Source Voting Systems
By Joe Hall - Posted on December 2nd, 2009
As Ed pointed out in October, Sequoia Voting Systems, Inc. ("Sequoia") announced then that it intended to publish the source code of their voting system software, called "Frontier", currently under development. (Also see EKR's post: "Contrarianism on Sequoia's Disclosed Source Voting System".)
Sequoia refers to this move in it's release as "the first public disclosure of source code from a voting systems manufacturer". Carefully parsed, that's probably correct: there have been unintentional disclosures of source code (e.g., Diebold in 2003) and I know of two other voting industry companies that have disclosed source code (VoteHere, now out of business, and Everyone Counts), but these were either not "voting systems manufacturers" or the disclosures were not available publicly...

Sequoia opens kimono with e-voting code handout
'Completely reversed'
"They completely reversed their viewpoint from a viewpoint that was very much closed source to a viewpoint that is very much disclosed source," said Jeremy Epstein, a senior computer scientist at SRI International and an e-voting consultant.
That means the usual safeguards - manual audits, voter-verified paper trails, and election transparency - will still be necessary.

Said David Dill, a Stanford University computer science professor and a critic of electronic voting machines: "This [source disclosure] is not a substitute for those priorities, but I do think Sequoia's efforts will lead to higher quality software in the long run and a greater level of confidence in their systems."

"Citizens United, Corporate Personhood and the Constitution: CAC Releases Discussion Draft of New Report in Advance of Major Supreme Court Ruling"


Canada. Hot-button topics should increase voter turnout
Dec 03, 2009...
Cobourg is moving to a strictly Internet-based voting process in hopes of making it easier for residents - especially the apathetic under-40 crowd - and those too busy to visit polling stations. In Port Hope, they're moving to a hybrid system of Internet and paper ballots to hopefully make voting more attractive to its diverse population.
In order to raise those turnout numbers, the method of voting is inconsequential in east Northumberland. What will matter is the public's involvement in hot-button issues like Brighton's grade separation, Campbellford's proposed second bridge, and a possible gravel pit in Codrington.

Mexico cartels buying officials with campaign cash
MEXICO CITY — Mexican President Felipe Calderon said Wednesday that cartels are seeking to control territory by sinking drug money into political campaigns and buying off officials before they are even elected.

Carter Center Report on Biometric Registration in Bolivia
The Carter Center observation mission has been impressed by the dedication and commitment of the Bolivian electoral authorities to register voters in a short period of time using biometric technology for the first time.

Voting News by Joyce McCloy.
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