Friday, July 31, 2009

7/31 Voting News.Aspen election audit battle continues, Voting Rights Act underutilized, Absentee ballot tracking bill passes House

The US House passed a bill that authorizes reimbursements to States that offer absentee ballot tracking services. Aspen Colorado activists hoping to audit a recent electon are still fighting for access to ballots after the city attorney said the ballots were not public information. In North Carolina, lawmakers consider a bill to allow teens to pre-register to vote. The city of Irving Texas is being sued based on claim that at-large districts diluted Latino residents' voting power. The American Constitution Society Blog reminds us that fully enforcing the National Voter Registration Act "remains an underutilized but powerful tool for the expansion of our democracy." Project Vote, a powerful voter's rights organization has temporarily suspended their daily news clippings, but you can still get regular updates at their blog Voting Matters. Online Voter Registration is the buzz now, can we secure it, and who does it help? Is it enough? Don't forget, you can visit the Voting News blog online to post comments.

CO. Aspen: Ballots are exempt from state open records law
July 31, 2009 Citizens seeking to conduct an independent review of Aspen's last municipal election have run into a road block at city hall, where officials are refusing to release key documents into the public domain.

Democrat election buff Harvie Branscomb has teamed up with former Republican Aspen mayoral candidate Marilyn Marks to analyze the voting methods and software in the city's last election, including the use of instant runoff voting. To audit the vote, Branscomb's team needs copies of April's ballots plus data generated by vote-counting machines, which the City Council asserts aren't public records under state law.

NC. Teens could get jump on voting, Also,public hearings before IRV considered.
07/30/09 One impending change approved by the panel would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to "pre-register" to vote.

The teens' registration wouldn't take effect until they turn 18, at which point the state would mail them a postcard verifying their information. If they send in confirmation, they would be registered.

-It (the bill) requires counties and cities that want to do instant runoff voting - as only Cary and Hendersonville have done - to hold a public hearing first.

TX Irving voting case plaintiff seeks almost $600,000
July 30, 2009 The attorneys for Manuel Benavidez successfully sued the city of Irving to change how its voters elect city officials. They had alleged the city's at-large voting system diluted Latino residents' voting power.

US. House acts to improve absentee ballot tracking
(AP) WASHINGTON — The government would help states track absentee ballots and verify to voters that their votes are actually received and counted under legislation that passed the House on Thursday.

The bill, passed by voice vote, directs the Election Assistance Commission to reimburse states for costs related to establishing absentee ballot tracking programs for federal elections. It does not require states to set up such systems.

US. Voter Registration Made Simple? American Constitution Society Blog on July 29.
As the debate swirls around “universal registration,” “automatic registration,” “internet registration,” and many other ambitious proposals, we would do well to remember that the NVRA remains an underutilized but powerful tool for the expansion of our democracy

Online Voter Registration Reaches Some Citizens, but Won’t Close the Electoral Gap
By: Erin Ferns- Project Vote. Thursday 30. of July 2009
...Using Nielsan and Census data, the report examines the limitations – and benefits – of online voter registration by describing the U.S. households that do not have internet access and comparing the findings to voter registration rates in those households based on race/ethnicity, age, educational attainment, and income. “In most cases, the demographic groups that are already less likely to be registered are also the least likely to have internet access in the home,”
...may open doors for one group that is notoriously plagued with voter access and participation issues: Youth.

US. An Outpouring of Support for Voter Registration Modernization
US. Citizens United, Stare Decisis, and Democracy
July 31, 2009 Robert M. Duncan/Jones Day Designated Professor of Law; Director, Election Law @ Moritz. Moritz College of Law ...the brief warns that, if Austin or McConnell is overruled, the impression may be that the mere change in membership on the Court—rather than any other development—is what caused the overruling.

Supplemental Amicus Briefs in Citizens United; Thoughts on BCRA Sponsors' Brief

U.S. Supreme Court Receives at Least 33 Amici Curiae Briefs in Citizens United Case July 31st, 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009

7/30 Voting News. Must Tennessee Election Officials pass political or religious test? US Voter Registration lags, Hawaii Vote By Mail?

A Tennessee Supreme Court may decide if election officials must pass a religious or political test. This comes after the May firing of 28 election directors Hawaii considering Vote by Mail as a way to increase voter turnout. Maybe because Honolulu's recent internet election was quite a dud with 6.5% turnout. Meanwhile, Michael Hamner (University of Maryland) says election reforms have little if any effect on turnout.
India is seeing a movement against paperless electronic voting. Happy Birthday to voting integrity group CTVotersCount, your work on behalf of election transparency is appreciated! A bill for public financing of US Congressional elections was heard in the House Administration Committee today. The US, with only 68% of eligible population registered, falls way behind countries such as Argentina and Belize, who register more than 95% of their eligible population - according to a report by the Brennan Ctr for Justice.

*Note we do not necessarily agree with the ideas put forth in various news articles.

CT. CTVotersCount is Two Years Old
July 29, 2009 Thursday marks the 2nd anniversary of CTVotesCount. is dedicated to fairness and confidence in democracy, that election results must accurately reflect the intentions of the voters.

HI. Voting by mail gets another look
Jul 26, 2009 Hawaii's consistently dismal voter turnout and a state election system in jeopardy because of a lack of funds has renewed interest in a vote-by-mail balloting..."The vote by mail as a cost saving (step) is not a panacea," Takahashi said. "You shouldn't look at it by saying you are going to save money."

IA. Iowa caucuses move to Saturday in '10
The Iowa Republican and Democratic parties together announced Tuesday that they will hold the state’s 2010 primary caucuses on a Saturday, a move that party leaders say is designed to increase turnout in a nonpresidential year.

NC. Wake County has 1 new member on their Board of Elections.
Congratulations to Aida Doss Havel.

TN. Supreme Court may hear election queries in October
July 29, 2009 Supreme Court justices could consider two questions about election administrators during their October or February sessions, the clerk said Wednesday.
...• Does the position of administrator of elections qualify as an “office of public trust” where no political or religious test shall be used as a qualification?
• Is the administrator of elections a county employee or a state employee?
The main issue is a Tennessee Attorney General opinion issued earlier this year, which said it is against state and federal law to fire an employee based on political affiliation, unless they are in a policy-making position and elections administrators are not policy-making posts.

RI. Change on voting rights for ex-convicts wins praise July 30, 2009

WI. **Note from Voting News reader: "The head of Wisconsin's GAB has not endorsed online voting. It is simply one of many possibilities being explored in the board's five-year election administration plan. Please see:

WI. Proceed cautiously with early voting
July 30, 2009 a far loftier and commendable goal for the Board would be to endorse and then work with the Legislature to enact a photo ID requirement for voting.

WI. Wisconsin works to verify voter information
More than 100,000 Wisconsin residents will be getting letters from the Government Accountability Board asking them to verify their voter information.
The letters are required by state and federal law under the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002. The law requires the state to compare voter information in the Statewide Voter Registration System with driver license data as a way to find and correct errors, improving the quality of voter lists.

US. Hearing on Congressional Fair Elections Now Act in House Committee on Administration Today – 07/30/09 Introduced by Rep. Larson and Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), the Fair Elections Now Act (FENA) would allow congressional candidates to run for office with a mixture of small donations and public financing.

US. Sotomayor Closer To Sitting On Campaign Finance Case
The case, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, deals with how a political documentary on Hillary Clinton was funded and whether the film qualifies as campaign advertising that is restricted by federal law.

US. New York Times Highlights Failures in Voter Registration System
Election Protection Coalition partner The Brennan Center for Justice has released a study examining voter registration systems in sixteen different countries and four Canadian provinces. With only 68 percent, the United States fell far behind countries such as Argentina and Belize, which both register more than 95% of their eligible population. According to the Brennan Center's report, the major reason for the failure of the United States' registration system is that it places the full burden of registering on the individual.

US. Michael Hamner (University of Maryland) on EDR and Turnout
..."most election reforms, even election day registration, have relatively modest effects on turnout."

India. Experts also doubt integrity of EVM: RSS
"The recent spate of articles published in reputed computer engineering magazines and international press have raised doubts about the integrity of EVMs," Organiser, the mouthpiece of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has said in its latest issue.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

7/29 Voting News. Internet Voting for Wisconsin? NY audits enough? TN paper ballot law threatened

The head of Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board wants internet voting for the state. The claim is that this would increase voter turnout, but we know better after Honolulu's recent internet election with 6.5% turnout. Tennessee's paper ballot law still under threat and may end up back at the legislature. An Texas County proposes reducing polling places by 35% in order to pay for new voting machines. An Ohio county considers closing 14 polling places to help offset costs of accessible voting facilities.

In New York, Howard Stanislevic of the E-Voter Education Project and Teresa Hommel "Where's the Paper Save the Levers" release comments on New York's Proposed Election Auditing Regulations.

FL. Gerrymandered District 28 makes for confusion on early voting's first day
TREASURE COAST — The gerrymandered boundaries for state Senate District 28 caused some confusion as early voting for the Aug. 4 election kicked off Monday.

OH. Board may cut 14 voting precincts
FREMONT -- The Sandusky County Board of Elections might cut 14 voting precincts to save money and better comply with the American Disabilities Act.
...The board could apply for grant funding to install ramps and make other improvements make precincts comply with the law, she said.

MA. BlackBerries okay at polling places
Abington advocates of a tax over-ride did not violate election law by having BlackBerries at the polls Saturday... the devices were used to track who voted.
NC. North Carolina Board of Elections Will Ask Legislature for Tax Check-Off Liberalization On July 29, Gary Bartlett, Executive Director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections, said he will ask the state legislature to change the law on which parties are listed on the state income tax form

NY. Advocates to State Board of Elections: Audits Won't Find Wrong Winners of Elections Our Comments on New York's Proposed Election Auditing Regulations
By E-Voter Education Project and Teresa Hommel Where's the Paper Save the Levers. Chair, Task Force on Election Integrity,Community Church of New York Unitarian Universalist
"... even if the 3% audit did not find a single miscounted vote, the winners of many elections counted by computerized voting systems could still be wrong -- and no one would ever know."

OH. Elections official under scrutiny
Democrat upset at Republican's failure to share contents of e-mail sent to city council member

TN. Voting machine law in limbo - State and local leaders are pushing lawmakers to delay implementation of a new law that would require each county to buy new voting equipment, a move election officials say will be expensive and nearly impossible by the deadline.

TX Grayson Co. to apply for new countywide voting system
GRAYSON COUNTY, TX -- Another controversial topic on the Grayson County Commissioners' agenda Monday morning was polling locations.
Commissioners voted to apply for a new countywide polling system that would allow voters to cast their ballots anywhere in Grayson County, but the county would have to cut polling locations by about 35% in the first year.

WA. Eligible to Vote in Washington
On Sunday, Washington became the 20th state in recent years to ease voting restrictions for individuals with criminal convictions.

WI. Five year election plan may include online voting
A five-year plan to update Wisconsin’s election process could include voting by mail, or on the Internet. ..It also explores new things like voting by mail, which is now done only in Oregon and in Washington State outside the Seattle area. ...But director Kevin Kennedy of the Government Accountability Board said security is paramount and while the plan’s short on details now, he says the board would use all the tools it has to fight fraud.

WI. Voting by mail must precede phone, Internet options, state says
Madison - Wisconsin must first consider legalizing voting by mail, and then explore voting by phone and over the Internet, says the director of the state agency that administers elections.

WI. Possible instances of voter fraud sent to Brown County District Attorney
Green Bay clerk's office uncovers 3 suspected cases

US. Election Law Bills in Congress Continue Gaining Co-Sponsors July 29th, 2009
public funding for Congressional candidates, bipartisan commissions to draw U.S. House districts, popular vote, outlaw certain voting machine...

US. Amici Briefs Begin to be Filed in U.S. Supreme Court in Citizens United Case July 29th, 2009
The U.S. Supreme Court is holding a rare summer hearing in Citizens United v Federal Election Commission, 08-205, on September 9. Amicus curiae briefs on both sides are due July 31. Already at least two have been filed, both opposed to the McCain-Feingold law.

US. Clerk of U.S. House Publishes 2008 Election Returns July 29th, 2009
Ever since 1920, the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives has published a booklet entitled “Statistics of the Presidential and Congressional Election” after each presidential election. The Clerk has just published the 2008 booklet. It is 77 pages long and can be seen here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

7/28 Voting News. Aspen election to get independent audit, an election office's money woes, online registration, vote renting and illegal voting

Ballots so private you can't audit them: Colorado Voting Activist Harvie Brancomb leads a team conducting an independent audit of Aspen's recent instant runoff voting election. The town's attorney has denied a public info request to obtain the 2,600 ballots, citing that the ballots are "private". It is ironic that ballots have to be stored for 22 months after federal elections or 6 months otherwise, but then destroyed and never available as public records for the public to review.

Kansas citizens can register to vote online now. Electronic elections are becoming too costly: A Birmingham election office can't afford to deliver voting machines to the polls. (This is becoming more common, as we saw in Utah some counties switching to paper ballots to save money). Paper verses electronic voting issue went to a top court in India. Vote Renting in Iraq. Restoring ex felons' voting rights.

# # #

AL. Birmingham employees will deliver voting machines
County has no funds for the task
City of Birmingham employees will deliver voting machines to polling places for next month's municipal elections because Jefferson County cannot afford to perform many of its usual election-related duties, officials from both governments said Monday.
CO. Aspen's May election under review
Independent group conducting audit of Instant Runoff Voting results
ASPEN — A small group of Instant Runoff Voting junkies plan to do an independent review of Aspen's May election...Part of that information includes Marks' Colorado Open Record Act request for all, or a portion of, the 2,600 ballots casts by Aspen voters....City attorney John Worcester has denied that request, arguing that voters' ballots should be private, per the city's home rule charter and the council's intent to keep them from public review.

Branscomb told the council Tuesday that he plans to challenge that position because in order to do a full audit of the election, his team must start from the beginning, which are the paper ballots. Individuals' votes ought to be checked against how the scanning machines interpreted them, he argues.

KS. Online voter registration launched in Kansas
Kansas officials have created an online system to help residents register to vote from the convenience of their computers.
The system links the secretary of state’s voter registration process with the Department of Revenue’s driver’s license database. Residents submit their application, which is verified with information already in the state system.

NY. Removed From Ballot --- For a Typo?
July 25, 2009 New York City’s election laws are notoriously unfair, and few events make that point as well as what happened on Thursday to City Councilman Bill de Blasio...Mr. de Blasio’s name was removed from the Democratic Party line on the ballot by the New York City Board of Elections. The reason? A cover page on his packet of signatures said that there were 131 folders when there were actually 132.

NY. UPDATE. de Blasio Back On The Ballot
This just in from the city Board of Elections: Councilman Bill de Blasio has been restored to the ballot in the public advocate race.

NY. Here's a vote for progress
Counties preparing to use new electronic ballot machines this fall
Schenectady County election officials joke that it's "the trash can" -- the new electronic voting machine that'll be at some polling places for the Sept. 15 primary.
The county's new machine, which looks like a laptop computer atop a black trash can, is the culmination of seven years of federal pressure to get New York into compliance with the 2002 Help America Vote Act.... Eighteen counties will use the electronic machines at all polling places

WA. Illegal voting is found in Washington, but rarely
Just one person was convicted of voter fraud in the 2008 election
Susan Risenhoover of Camano Island wanted badly to vote for Barack Obama but couldn’t because she wasn’t a registered voter.
So when a ballot arrived in the mail for her son, then living in Texas, she filled it out, signed his name and sent it in.
It never got counted. Island County election officials saw the signature differed from the one on her son’s voter registration card.

US. Feingold, Conyers Continue Effort to Restore Voting Rights for Millions of Americans
..Feingold and Conyers reintroduced the Democracy Restoration Act, legislation that would reinstate the right to vote in federal elections for millions of Americans with a conviction in their past who are out of prison, living in the community. In America today, more than five million citizens are unable to vote due a felony conviction, nearly three-quarters of whom are no longer in prison.

US. The Vote and the Draft. Brennan Center for Justice
NEW YORK - July 27 - The voting problems military and overseas voters face can be solved by a relatively simple fix to the voter registration system, two new reports released today by the Brennan Center for Justice show.

US. U.S. Court of Appeals Won’t Re-Hear Nader Case Against Democratic National Committee

US. EAC Newsline 2009 # 30 ( 7-28-09 ) Certifications and registering of vendors. The EAC Standards Board will meet August 6-7 in Phoenix, Arizona. For more information, click here.
The second voting system to be certified by EAC is ES&S Unity The latest voting system manufacturer to register with EAC is Everyone Counts, Inc. See updated lists of registered manufacturers, certification applications, test reports and new correspondence here. EAC's decision on a request for interpretation of VVPAT accessibility is posted here. EAC seeks public comments on draft revisions to the 2005 Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG). Click here to get started. For more information about the program, go to Voting System Center.

US. On July 29, 2009 The Heritage Foundation is holding a presentation on
Voting Rights - And Wrongs:
The Elusive Quest for Racially Fair Elections
The speaker will be Abigail Thernstrom Adjunct Scholar,American Enterprise Institute and Vice Chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The host is Hans A. von SpakovskyLegal Scholar,

NIST Workshop on a Common Data Format for Electronic Voting Systems
The goal of this two-day workshop is to identify and agree upon a set of
requirements for a common data format for voting systems.

India. Top court refuses to entertain plea against electronic voting machine
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) questioning continued use of Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) for holding elections in the country

Iran. Vote Renting
A problem for democracies has long been the tendency of politicians to raise payments to pensioners just before elections. Critics denounce such moves as vote buying, and say that it leaves the government with an ongoing obligation.
....Those payments have since been reduced, according to the Fararu Web site, a development that could further endanger the president politically.

Iran. Breaking: Saffar Harandi resigns, Ahmadinejad’s cabinet no longer official
Just eight days before inauguration, Ahmadinejad’s cabinet becomes illegal and requires a parliamentary vote of confidence to continue working.
...Update: According to Fars News Agency, Ahmadinejad refused to accept Harandi’s resignation in order to avoid having to seek a vote of confidence.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

EAC approves Internet Voting Company as a registered vendor - will Internet Voting be far behind?

The Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) just approved Everyone Counts, an Internet Voting Company to participate in the EAC Voting System Testing and Certification Program. E1C now joins several other EAC registered voting vendors. The whack-a-mole attacks on election transparency have stepped up a level.

In a letter to Everyone Counts, dated July 21, 2009, the EAC states

On behalf of our Commissioners and our Executive Director, let me take this opportunity to welcome Everyone Counts, Inc. to the EAC’s Voting System Testing and Certification Program. We have reviewed your registration package and have found that it meets all of the requirements noted in our Program Manual. As such, this letter is official acknowledgement that Everyone Counts, Inc. is now officially registered and may participate in the EAC’s Voting System Testing & Certification Program.

In addition, Everyone Counts, Inc. will now be included in the EAC’s listing of registered voting system manufacturers publicly available at

Everyone Counts (E1C) now has achieved more legitimacy by becoming an EAC approved vendor. This will lend their other products, like Internet voting - some bit of creditability through association.

Is it a conflict of interest for the EAC to register a voting vendor whose COO is a former EAC Chairman? Everyone Counts lists former U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) chair Paul DeGregorio as their Chief Operating Officer? And isn't it a conflict of interest for a (former) top nations elections officials to go through the revolving door of Election official/voting vendor? See Virtually Voting: Bush's U.S. EAC Chair Cashes In to Head Company Running 'All-Digital' Elections by Brad Friedman of BradBlog.

E1C conducted the 2008 primary for "Democrats Abroad" and also an online election for the city of Honolulu Hawaii. While the Democrats Abroad election was touted as a success, there is no way to ensure the integrity of that election.

The election in Honolulu had the low low voter turnout of a mere 6.3%, killing the claims that Internet voting increases voter turnout.
Low turnout mars Hawaii's digital vote
Poor turnout in Hawaii election clouds use of digital voting technology
HERBERT A. SAMPLE AP News May 28, 2009

They built a new digital voting system, but the voters didn't come.

There was some disagreement Wednesday over why only 6.3 percent of eligible voters used a new, first-in-the-nation digital voting procedure to cast ballots for Honolulu neighborhood board seats via the Internet or by touch-tone phone.
"Kevin Poulsen, senior editor at Wired News asks the question "is internet voting safe" and has a poll at the end of the article. Poulson's background as a former black hat hacker should give added weight his message :

Is Internet Voting Safe? Vote Here
..."Threat Level can imagine someone writing a bot that infects unpatched PCs en masse, watches for interactions with the voting website, then changes the votes in the PDF to whatever the malware writer wants. Reading and interpreting the ballot would require some skillful engineering, but no more than what hackers have already shown in breaking CAPTCHAs like peanut shells, among other things. Conficker's author could code this in his sleep...."

The threat that internet voting poses to our democracy is so great that computer scientists from all over the country have endorsed a resolution opposing it over at VerifiedVoting

Computer Technologists' statement on internet voting
September 11th, 2008

Because of the increasing frequency of proposals to allow remote voting over the internet, we believe it is necessary to warn policymakers and the public that secure internet voting is a very hard technical problem, and that we should proceed with internet voting schemes only after thorough consideration of the technical and non-technical issues in doing so. Please read our statement, and, if you are a "computer expert", consider endorsing it.

Computer scientists, voters rights and election transparency advocates have their work cut out for them now. It will be even harder to defend our elections against the non transparent, insecure internet voting that is being pushed more and more insidiously.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

7/27 Voting News: Ditching New York's levers costly, stringent audits needed, EAC approves Internet Voting Company as Vendor, TN still in the news

Concerns are raised about New York's Pilot program that allows the use of uncertified computerized vote counting machines. This month citizens learned that a statewide switch from levers to optical scan will cost $200 million, with only $50 million covered by federal funds. Howard Stanislevic of the E-Voter Education Project warns that the increased risk "requires rigorous audits..."and NY Verified Voting urges the NY State Board of Elections to implement "risk-limiting audits as an essential element of public confidence in elections."

Ditching levers will be expensive - it will cost New York $200 million to trade levers for optical scan machines across the state. Only $50 million will be covered by federal funding. The EAC has approved an Internet Voting Company as a registered vendor, which means the threat of internet voting grows larger. The Federal Government still hasn't published the 2008 election returns. Tennessee still in the news. The Latino community pushes nationwide for fairer local election rules.

MS. GOP to stage push for voter ID laws
Mississippi Republicans hope to use a ballot initiative to enact voter identification laws, the source of bitter political fighting with Democrats for years...“We had voter ID,” the Democrats’ statement said. “There was a voter ID bill in the Legislature and Republicans killed it. They are trying to get voter ID on the ballot. It is clear that for them it is nothing but a political game. If they really want voter ID, it was done in the Legislature.”

NC. North Carolina Tax Department Will Honor Taxpayer Requests to Help Libertarian Party

NY. Computer tallies can't be trusted
Software-based vote counting is fraught with potential for error, wildly more so than our lever voting system now in danger of being discarded. This immense yet subtle potential for error requires rigorous audits designed to find miscounted votes -- with the paper ballots under continuous observation. Without such auditing and observation, there can be no confidence in election results.

NY. Uncertified machines do not serve voters
How many candidates running for office this fall know that the votes that will decide their fate will be counted by an uncertified computer program?
And how many of those candidates know that only a small fraction of those votes will be hand counted after the fact to see if that uncertified computer program (which also has not yet proved to be accurate, reliable or tamper-proof) worked as it was intended to and was not hacked into?
"A limited recount."

NY. Critics question integrity of new voting system
NEW YORK CITY--A group of election experts, including Columbia County Election Commissioner Virginia Martin(D), met earlier this month at St. Mark’s Church in the East Village to discuss their concerns about the state’s impending switch to new optical scanner voting machines....that changeover to the new machines is costing $200 million statewide, of which $50 million comes from federal funding.

NY. New Yorkers for Verified Voting has released a commentary on the proposed
New York State auditing regulations.
"New Yorkers for Verified Voting (NYVV) supports risk-limiting audits designed to use auditing resources efficiently and effectively to confirm – or, if necessary, to correct – election outcomes. The 3% audit samples prescribed in New York State Election Law Section 9-211 and the proposed amendment to Part 6210.18 should suffice to confirm election outcomes in most statewide contests, but in many state Senate and Assembly races an audit of this size could easily overlook miscounts large enough to alter the outcome of a competitive contest."
Document is here:
The proposed regulations issued by the State Board of Elections can be found

NY cost for ES&S's new optical scanner. ES&S is sellling the DS 200 to New York for $7744, which includes plastic ballot box, start-up kit, jump drive, shipping and 5-year warranty.
The Florida Fair Elections Center's report on the problems FL experienced with the DS 200:
Examining Florida’s High Invalid Vote Rate in the 2008 General Election
Part I: How Voting System Design Flaws Led to Lost Votes
TN. Arguments continue over voting machines for next year's elections

US. New voting report supports federal election reform

US. EAC approves Internet Voting Company as a registered vendor - will Internet Voting be far behind?
The Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) just approved Everyone Counts, an Internet Voting Company to participate in the EAC Voting System Testing and Certification Program. E1C now joins several other EAC registered voting vendors. The whack-a-mole attacks on election transparency have stepped up a level...

US. Latino Activists Seize on Texas Ruling to Boost Voting Power
Latino activists are seeking to gain political clout by forcing electoral changes in communities nationwide, using a recent federal court decision in Irving, Texas, as a template.
...Latino advocates respond that they deserve a voice in policy making and will insist on districts and election rules that make that possible.

US. Joyner Addresses Voter’ Issues on Capitol Hill
Radio personality Tom Joyner called for national, uniform standards for voting including getting rid of the voter identification requirement, providing better trained poll workers and ensuring that voting machines work properly and that backup paper ballots are on hand in case of emergency.

US. Federal Government Still Hasn’t Published 2008 Election Returns

Thursday, July 23, 2009

7/24 Voting News. Cost of Ditching Levers, Texas Vote Centers, Internet Voting, Better Way to Register Voters

Levers, Vote Centers, Voter Registration and Internet Voting in the news today. Voters Unite has a new report on the costs of replacing lever machines with optical scanners. The report finds that the HAVA funds will not cover the first year costs of switching to the Sequoia/Dominion ImageCast. The New York Times has an article about better ways to register voters. Collin County, Texas looks at eliminating 50% of neighborhood polling places -- replacing them with "Vote Centers" . Meanwhile, an Arizona judge said there is a legitimate question of whether voting machines there are accurately counting votes. Internet voting pilot for Canada may happen.

AZ. Legitimacy of touch-screen voting gets new legal airing
Judge Philip Hall, writing for the court, said it is proper for courts to consider the issue of whether the machines comply with Arizona law.

Potentially more significant, Hall said there is a legitimate question of whether the machines are accurately counting votes.

ME. (correction, we first listed the state as Oregon, our apologies) Commissioners eye voting rights for non-citizens
PORTLAND — Several members of the city's Charter Commission want to grant non-U.S. citizens the right to vote in city elections.

MN. State supreme court tosses out voting lawsuit
The Minnesota Supreme Court has thrown out a lawsuit filed in late May by the Minnesota Majority, a coalition of conservative legislators and others who claimed that the state's voter registration system has not been updated adequately.

NY. Report: Lever Replacement Costs: Case Study of a Small New York County (County X)
The NY City report was first posted in May. With a recently revised cover sheet, the report is here:

TX. Public hearing scheduled for Countywide Vote Center plan in Collin County
...The site selection committee will have less than a month to write a plan that will potentially eliminate 50% of neighborhood polling places -- replacing them with "Vote Centers" where any voter in the county can vote. Detailed plans must be submitted to the Secretary of State before August 15.

US. The Right Way to Register Voters
...Many of the countries and provinces in the study with the highest registration rates sign people up by using data borrowed from other government agencies....In the American system, state and local officials, who have the primary responsibility in this area, have overwhelmingly failed to put in place the sort of system needed to bring eligible voters into the electorate.

US. Absentee voter reform approved by Senate
A long-sought overhaul of the absentee voting process for service members was approved Thursday by the Senate and appears well on its way to becoming law.

The Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, or MOVE Act, would require states that accept federal funds to support elections to set up a streamlined process for service members to register to vote and to request, receive and return absentee ballots.

CA. Elections Canada pushes online votingStudy shows change would increase voter turnout, but observers question security
If everything goes according to Elections Canada's plans, voters will soon be able to cast their ballots online -- even from the comfort of their own beds.With Parliament's approval, the federal body is aiming to test online voting before 2013 in a byelection.

University of British Columbia computer privacy expert Richard Rosenberg ...."The system can be compromised by clever hackers, disgruntled government employees or even employees of the voting machine companies," said Rosenberg. "Hacking can be done without leaving a trace. So test runs must be done on a regular basis before the machines are to be used."

Voting News 7/23 Hawaii Elections Office is broke, Major advocacy groups release report on 2008 election, election bills gain sponsors

Hawaii's top election official may need to borrow money to hold elections in 2010 because of state budget restrictions. Lots of US news. Is there a better alternative to election day registration? Several election bills add new co sponsors as there is a big push for electoral reform by 2010. US. Voter Action, NAACP National Voter Fund, and Advancement Project are releasing a joint report today on voting rights concerns emerging from the 2008 election.

If you have voting news, or we missed something, please email us at joyce at and we will add it to tomorrows news. If you have a blog dedicated to voting issues, we'd love to hear about it.

CT. Is Early Voting A Good Idea For Connecticut?

HW. Top Elections Official Sounds Alarm
Hawaii’s Chief Elections Officer Kevin Cronin says budget restrictions have severely hampered his ability to plan for the 2010 elections..Cronin told members of the Hawaii Elections Commission Wednesday his office has only $14,440 to complete necessary tasks... Of the $981,014 that was left to fund the Office of Elections, $113,346 was restricted by Gov. Lingle as part of her plan to balance the state budget.

LA. Gretna violating voting laws, suit says Annexation dilutes districting, it says A group that successfully sued the city of Gretna to force the creation of a majority-black council district 25 years ago is suing the city again, claiming that the Timberlane Estates annexation dilutes minority voting strength.

ME. (correction, we first listed the state as Oregon, our apologies) Commissioners eye voting rights for non-citizens
PORTLAND — Several members of the city's Charter Commission want to grant non-U.S. citizens the right to vote in city elections.

US. A Better Alternative To Election Day Registration?

US. Some Election Bills in U.S. House Continue Gaining Co-Sponsors During the last nine days, several election law bills of interest have added new co-sponsors.

US. Advocates to push for electoral reforms prior to 2010 midterms
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Armed with anecdotal evidence from thousands of calls placed to voter hotlines last year, a group of voting rights advocates will lobby Congress Thursday for changes to the federal laws relating to the nation's election administration systems.

US. Voter Action, NAACP National Voter Fund, and Advancement Project are releasing a joint report today on voting rights concerns emerging from the 2008 election. The report relies on nearly 70,000 problem calls received by two national voter hotlines (CNN and MYVOTE1 hotlines) and recommends that Congress adopt immediate measures to help protect voters in the 2010 election.
A direct link to the report itself is here

US. Press release. Holt Praises Civil Rights Groups upon Release of Report Calling for Voter-Marked Paper Ballots and Elections Audits.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

7/22 Voting News. New York voting machines roll, Tennessee ballot pleas, Voting Rights in Wisconsin, IRV in news in 2 cities

The Ohio Secretary of State has just certified the new ES&S's optical scanner, the DS200 and it is already heading to Cuyahoga County. The DS200 was just certified by the EAC to the 2002 Voting System Standards, the most current in effect by the EAC.

Voter Action's lawsuit over Arizona's touchscreen machines is back in the news.

Instant Runoff Voting is in the news as one city, Aspen Colorado considers ditching it, and as another, Minneapolis Minnesota prepares for an IRV election that will involve 22 contests.

Some New York counties roll out new optical scan machines under the guise of a "pilot", which is a politically correct way of evading current voting machine standards.

Oregon's gov signs a bill that helps third party voters.
Acorn files a federal suit against Pennsylvania's State Attorney General

AZ. Voter Action Case. Appeals court OKs group's challenge to touch-screen voting
PHOENIX — Critics who contend that touch-screen voting machines are
not reliable will get a chance to make their case in court.
here's the decision:

CO. Aspen voters to vote on how they vote — again
The Aspen City Council on Tuesday agreed to put an advisory question to voters on the fall ballot on whether the IRV election method — a system never tried before in Aspen until this past May — should be scrapped or kept in place.

CO. Instant runoff voting going back to voters
Aspen voters will most likely see a question on this November’s ballot to gauge support of instant runoff voting.
...Aspen’s IRV election also suffered an after-the-fact setback when it was discovered that a glitch in the software used to count the votes resulted in 16 fewer votes going to Mick Ireland than should have.

MN. New instant-runoff voting could factor in 22 Minneapolis races
Candidates filing for office on last day include man who sued over IRV

MN. A colorful political season ahead in Minneapolis
For mayor alone, they'll have to sort through 11 names and creative party labels, including "Is Awesome," "Social Entrepreneurship" and "New Dignity."

NY. New Voting Process Is Easy As 1-2-3
County Board Of Elections Unveils New Machines
Chautauqua County is one of 16 counties - and only two in Western New York - to be using the optical scan paper ballot voting machines as part of a pilot program.

OH. Press release. Secretary Brunner Certifies New voting System for Ohio.
This current level of testing meets the 2002 Voting System Standards which are the most current in effect by the EAC...The upgraded system that includes the new equipment, especially the new DS200 - a precinct optical scan unit...

OH. Cuyahoga County gets 1,200 new digital ballot scanners
Among the advantages of the new gear: A 12-inch LCD screen shows an image of each ballot and points out any voter errors. The old optical scanners notified voters only if their ballots contained too many marks.
Platten said the machines also are easier for poll workers to set up and take down after an election.

OR. Governor Signs Sen. Metsger's Bill Restoring Voting Rights to 430,000 Oregonians
With the implementation of SB 326, a voter now has the ability to participate in the nomination of candidates outside of the two major parties while still retaining their right and ability to vote upon all issues in the primary election.

PA. ACORN challenges law against voter registration quotas
The national community organizing group ACORN today filed a federal lawsuit against the state attorney general and Allegheny County district attorney, claiming that a Pennsylvania statute that prohibits paying workers to collect a certain number of new voter registrations is unconstitutional.

TN. Odom Demands Hargett Purchase New Voting Machines

TN. Editorial: Voter certainty on the line
Voters of all persuasions would benefit from an expeditious transition to paper ballots...Republican, Democratic and independent voters alike, we believe, would be well-served by an expeditious transition to optical scan voting systems.

TN. Letter to Editor. End the delay for the TVCA
..While I do not want to believe that the real motive for delaying implementation is partisan politics, it is a sure thing that more election results will be contested because of our ideological and partisan division. Therefore election officials had better be able to show (both to the candidates and the general public) that election results are indeed accurate and true. Otherwise, confidence in the election process will be irreparably lost.

WV. Supporters, opponents raise issues on satellite early voting
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Supporters and opponents both have raised issues with proposed rules for enacting satellite early voting locations, in public comments filed with the secretary of state's office.
Carper said requiring the satellite locations to maintain the same hours of operation as the courthouse will make the new law too expensive for most counties to implement.

WI. Voting Rights Restoration Finds New Allies in Wisconsin
Last week, Wisconsin State Representative Tamara Grigsby and Senator Lena Taylor introduced the Wisconsin Democracy Restoration Act, a bill that seeks to restore voting rights to over 41,000 Wisconsin citizens who are out of prison, living in the community.

US. Broad Coalition Formed to Promote Benefits and Adoption of Open Source Software in Government
Group includes diverse cross-section of technology industry leaders, associations, non-governmental organizations, communities and academic/research institutions

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Protecting Tennessee's vote:Rebutting Giannini's "Optical Scan Voting Insanity" rhetoric

The facts are NOT on the side of partisan election official Chairman Bill Giannini of Shelby County Tennessee. Mr. Giannini uses the same misinformation and inflammatory rhetoric that we in North Carolina had to disprove when special interests tried to thwart our paper ballot law.
Jul 21, 2009 Optical Scan Voting "Insanity," Says Election Commission Head
The Voter Confidence Act passed by the Tennessee General Assembly in 2008 is a creation of "the liberal wing of the liberal party" and a "bad idea," according to Bill Giannini ...The paper costs by themselves would be “astronomical,” said Giannini, who argued further that to carry out the mandate next year requires state-of-the-art optical-scanning devices certified by both the state and federal governments and that” no such animal” exists.

Here are several points for Tennessee voters to consider:

1. The top state election officials is a partsian and is elected by the system that he overseas, this is a conflict of interest. Elections should be overseen by non partisan officials.

2. Mr. Giannini may be a nice person and good administrator, but he clearly has an overtly partisan background and should not be overeaing elections for "the people". There are many qualified people to run elections, and they should always be servants of all of the people, not 50% or fewer.

3. Mr. Giannini is using rhetoric that is easily disproved - using paper ballots is NOT insanity.If you treat elections as you would treat business transactions, then you would expect to have a paper backup in the event of computer failure or else fraud.

It is crazy to have democracy depend on paperless voting machines.....North Carolina saw one voting machine lose 4,400 votes in the Nov 2004 election. This caused the outcome of a statewide contest to be undecided. It took about 1 year to get that contest settled, and it was thanks to one candidate dropping out.
If North Carolina had paper ballots (as used with optical scan) that contest would have been decided in a matter of days.

4. Mr. Giannini misleads the public in saying that paper ballot elections would cost too much. The truth is that Mr. Giannini's paperless DRE/touchscreen machines are far more expensive to own and operate than the paper ballot system. (The reason is that with the touchscreens, you need one voting machine per voter while voting, and this means needing multiple machines per polling place.)
The NC Coalition for Verified Voting, in 2005 - completed a study of annual expenditures of the election departments of four North Carolina counties. The study covered a 6 year period. We found that the cost of using touch screen voting or direct recording machines in Guilford and Mecklenburg county was about 30-40% higher than the cost of using optical scan equipment in Wake and Durham county. This means that not only are touch screens more expensive to acquire, they are also more expensive to operate year after year.

One factor that may explain why having touch screens cost so much more than optical scanners is because the county has to own and maintain so many more machines. We estimate that one optical scanner can count handle six voter?s votes a minute (or 360 per hour) as they are cast but because it takes a voter at least three minutes to vote with touch screens, it would take 20 touch screens to perform per hour as well as optical scanners. Additionally, touch screen machines use thermal paper ballots - both require special handling and climate controlled storage. Justin Moore, of Duke University Computer Science Department found that counties using touch screen machines required 20% more poll workers, and about 10% more precincts.
A true cost comparison of voting machines cannot focus just on ballot printing costs. All of the Boards of Elections costs must be considered. This includes staff salaries, staff benefits, training expenditures, equipment programming, maintenance, storage, advertising, printing costs, postage and storage.

See the cost per voter per year comparison for a 6 year period report here
5. The argument about the voting system standards is a matter of opinion and I believe a distortion of the intent of the lawmakers.

6. North Carolina implemented its paper ballot law within 8 months of passing the law. This included certifying voting systems, inviting RFPs, evaluating those RFPs, reviewing bids, accepting bid and vendor's bond plus CEO affadavit, bringing new voting system to central location for testing, then sending machines to counties for further acceptance testing. Law passed end of August 2005, new machines used in Primary in April 2006.

7. Paper ballots/optical scanners produced a lower residual rate for President than did DRE/touchscreens in the Nov 2008 election according to this study of vote data:

So voters and taxpayers both are better off with paper ballots optically scanned.
Getting the law implemented boils down to obeying the will of the people and also to the competency of TN election officials..

North Carolina has highly competent and skilled election officials. Does Tennessee?

Monday, July 20, 2009

7/21 Voting News. New Mexico SOS can't protect assets, Arizona's voting machine suit in court, Tennessee paper fight rages, EAC certification

Can New Mexico's Secretary of State protect elections? The New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office doesn’t have the technical capability to manage information technology projects, or "protect the assets of the SOS and the people of the State of New Mexico." according to a Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) evaluation.
The EAC announces several certifications of software and voting systems.
An Arizona lawsuit over voting machines goes back to trial,
Tennessee in the news again as a partisan election official calls Optical Scan voting "Insanity". I rebut his claims.
US voter turnout in 2008 increased by 5 million over 2004.

AL. Trial date scheduled in Alabama judge's ethics case
The Alabama Court of the Judiciary has scheduled a trial July 29 on the judicial ethics charges against Hale County Circuit Judge Marvin Wiggins.
The state Judicial Inquiry Commission accused Wiggins in May of violating the state's ethical standards for judges in his handling of a voter fraud investigation involving three of his relatives.

AR. Arkansas Greens Will Sue Over Definition of “Political Party”
...The party was removed from the ballot in November 2008 because it polled under 3% for president. However, it polled over 20% for U.S. Senate, and its three U.S. House candidates averaged over 19%.

AZ Voting machine case goes back to trial judge
Some individuals who claim that touch screen voting machines are not reliable will get a chance to make their case in court.
...Tuesday’s ruling, unless overturned by the Arizona Supreme Court, sends the case back to a trial judge who three years ago threw the case out of court.

CA. Special Congressional Election in California Will be 5-Party Race
The California special election to fill the vacant 10th district U.S. House seat on November 3 will be a race between members of five political parties. The Green, American Independent, and Peace & Freedom Parties all will be represented.

NM. Legislative review: N.M. Secretary of State’s Office lacks technical ability to manage IT projects.
.."The SOS IT capability is significantly lacking in staffing and technical skills. Expectations are far greater than the ability of the people resources to deliver the results required and to provide the necessary and required processes to protect the assets of the SOS and the people of the State of New Mexico."

TN. Optical Scan Voting "Insanity," Says Election Commission Head
The Voter Confidence Act passed by the Tennessee General Assembly in 2008 is a creation of “the liberal wing of the liberal party” and a “bad idea,” according to Bill Giannini, the chairman of the Shelby County Election Commission.

Protecting Tennessee's vote: Rebutting Giannini's "Optical Scan Voting Insanity" rhetoric
The facts are NOT on the side of partisan election official Chairman Bill Giannini of Shelby County Tennessee.

US. "Obama Campaign Returning Foreign Contributions"
President Obama's campaign committee wants your money — but only if you happen to be an American citizen. But even those who can't vote and don't live in the U.S. seem intent on handing him money.

US. Voter Turnout Increases by 5 Million in 2008 Presidential Election, U.S. Census Bureau Reports
Data Show Significant Increases Among Hispanic, Black and Young Voters
About 131 million people reported voting in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, an increase of 5 million from 2004, according to a new table package released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

EAC Certifies ES&S Unity Voting System
By EAC Media Release July 21, 2009
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) today certified the Unity optical scan voting system by Election Systems & Software to the 2002 Voting System Standards. It is the second voting system to achieve federal certification under the EAC Voting System Testing and Certification Program.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Are Tennessee Election Officials Competent Enough to Implement Paper Ballot Law?

Is the Tennessee Secretary of State afraid that he isn't competent enough to enact Tennessee's new paper ballot law in time for the 2010 election? Could it be that he doesn't have what it takes to get the job done, so he has to keep making excuses to cover his inadequacies?

County may have to use paper ballots in 2010 Voting machines may not be up to standard in timeBy MARK HICKS • The Leaf-Chronicle • July 18, 2009 Montgomery County residents might be using paper ballots in the 2010 elections, unless the state Senate votes in January to delay the use of new voting machines until the 2012 elections. Secretary of State Tre Hargett said the reason for delaying implementation of the Tennessee Voter Confidence Act is no optical scan voting systems are available from vendors to place in each of the state's 95 counties.The SOS's new big scary threat...

[SCARE TACTICS]. OMG OMG if you don't amend the law to delay implementation, then - GASP - we will have to count paper ballots by hand! Shriek!

Citizens, E-voting activists, let me tell you from experience here in North Carolina, the SOS knows that this threat of hand counting paper ballots scares politicians more than anything! They associate HCPB with fraud and ballot box stuffing. They also tend to believe what election officials tell them (no matter how stupid).

So here comes SOS "Tre" Hargett creating a new excuse to try to kill or delay paper ballot law - if if TN doesn't amend the law to delay implementation, then - GASP - TN officials will have to count paper ballots by hand! Seems like he has a new excuse every day, its like whack-a-mole trying to correct his misinformation and trickery.

Tennesseans need to write letters to the editor, op/eds, write their County Commissioners and County Boards of Elections, and demand that they DO THEIR JOB and implement the law.

NC got the job done in less than 8 months, once we got the whining and the lawsuits done.

Aren't Tennessee's top election officials competent enough to do the job?

7/20/2009 War over paper in Tennessee, New Mexico may ditch ES&S, Undervotes in 08,

Tennessee has 5 different election cases pending in Federal Court, which may be more than any other state. Meanwhile, Tennessee lawmaker Gary Odom's oped today states that the law doesn't require 2005 system guidelines and Tennessee should use federal HAVA funds to purchase paper ballot/machines now. Meanwhile Tennessee SOS Hargett claims that the law requires 2005 standards and tries to scare officials with claim they'll have to hand count paper ballots in 2010. What excuse will SOS Hargett come up with next - the dog ate the paper ballots? New Mexico wants to ditch its new ES&S machines because of the exhorbitant maintenance costs the general unreliability. Yet another reason to ditch voting vendors. NM is thinking of leasing Diebold/Premiere to avoid being tied to either vendor permanently.
Paper ballots are back in style in some Utah cities in order to save money.
Also a Voter Turnout Report by state for the 2008 Presidential Election, how did your state do?

GA. Analysis: Georgia unlikely to end machine voting system
Attorney Walker Chandler wants the High Court to end Georgia's machine voting.
A decision is due in about three months.

NM. (Diebold alert!)New Mexico elections officials voice dissatisfaction over voting equipment
Jul 17, 2009 - ...state and county elections officials are so frustrated with the cost of maintaining New Mexico’s fleet of new voting tabulators and voting machines for the disabled that they’re considering scrapping the equipment in favor of leasing new machines....Trujillo mentioned Premier Elections as the firm that the state is contacting to see if it could supply such services.

PA. Seventh person to face trial in Pa. ACORN case
PITTSBURGH - A seventh person has been ordered to stand trial in connection with former ACORN workers charged with illegally filling out voter registration cards in the Pittsburgh area before the 2008 general election.
TN. Integrity on line in paper ballot brawl
Voting-machine controversies rage on as 2010 elections creep up

TN. Law doesn't insist on 2005 guidelines By state Rep. Gary Odom

TN. County may have to use paper ballots in 2010
Voting machines may not be up to standard in time

TN. Tennessee Has Five Election Cases Pending in Federal Court
Probably no other state has so much constitutional election law litigation now pending.
The minor party ballot access case...disenfranchisement of ex-felons...A case on whether county election administrators may be fired because they are Democrats

UT. Paper ballots back in style
FARMINGTON -- Many cities in Weber and Davis counties are choosing paper over progress in an attempt to lower election costs this fall in a tight economy....
Only five of the 15 cities in Davis County will use the electronic voting equipment used in the 2008 presidential election.

WA. Washington Supreme Court suit alleges secret ballot threatened, takes aim at bar codes

US. Voter Turnout by State. MN had highest voter participation in 2008 election
Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal

US. Looking Abroad For Answers On Voter Registration
Advocates Find Models For Reform From Australia To Peru, But The Public Remains Apathetic

RELEASE: New improved methods for post-election audit sampling
By The National Election Data Archive Park City, UT July 17, 2009

Honduras. Computerized Election Results With No Election
"In Honduras, according to breaking Catalan newspaper reports (translations available, USA Today mention), authorities have seized 45 computers containing certified election results for a constitutional election that never happened

India Electronic Voting Machines To Be Retained
The electronic voting machines of India will not be scrapped at any cost as they are fool proof..."There have been one Supreme Court and four high court judgments in the favour of EVMs. Our EVMs are adding machines with a unique software. We can only add. We cannot manipulate them,"

Philippines. Precinct clustering final; Binay frets
WISHING to make full use of the voting machines it will lease from Smartmatic-TIM Corp., the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has mandated the clustering of precincts—with each polling precinct seen to handle up to 1,000 voters in the May 2010 automated election—amid fears that change in the setup could disfranchise many voters.

Friday, July 17, 2009

July 17, 2009 Voting News.Tennessee votes at risk 2010? Wisconsin early vote? Vote By Mail in CA, Iran update,USENIX event

Tennessee still in the news. The Tennessean says the spat is “not what Tennessee voters want” and, “More than sufficient funds are in place to purchase and install the machines, if only the bickering will stop and officials will work in a bipartisan manner to make it happen.” New Hillsboro FL elections chief is a "double dipper" which does not inspire trust in that office. Wisconsin considers early voting, Bush v Gore dead, and Project Vote shows how states that enforce Voting Rights Act see dramatic improvements in voter registraton. I urge activists to work on voter registration issues in addition to voting machine issues. Bloggers rule the world!

CA Editorial: Mail-in elections save money, but at what cost?
While cost is important, it's not the only or even the most important consideration in the administration of elections.

FL Elections chief Lennard sworn in, becomes latest 'double dipper'
Earl Lennard officially became Hillsborough County elections supervisor in a 10 a.m. swearing-in ceremony today in the elections supervisor's office.
At the same time, Lennard also became a "double dipper," collecting a $132,000 salary as elections supervisor while continuing to collect his $167,468 annual pension from 41 years with the Hillsborough County school system.

NV High voter registration in Nevada
Nearly 80 percent of eligible Nevadans are now registered to vote, according to the secretary of state's office.

TN A debate over machine politics | In Session: Tennessee Politics
Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett and Rep. Gary Odom, D-Nashville, go at it over the state’s Voter Confidence Act on Sunday’s upcoming editorial page in The Tennessean.

TN What if Herenton v. Cohen is a Close Election?

WI Should Wisconsin allow more early voting?
The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) is asking for opinions from local election officials and the general public during a series of summer listening sessions about the possible implementation of early voting measures for the 2010 elections.

National. The Untimely Death of Bush v. Gore Richard L. Hasen - Loyola Law School, Los Angeles
"...the promise of election reform inspired by the case is now dead. Indeed, a case could come along some day reviving Bush v. Gore as precedent. Perhaps it is better to think of the case as dormant as a constitutional precedent."

National. Low-Income Voters Added to the Voting Rolls through Improved NVRA Implementation
When states have decided to prioritize compliance with the federal law, improvements have been startling.

National. New Project Vote Report Evaluates Fifteen Years of the NVRA
a comprehensive new report released today by Project Vote, The NVRA at Fifteen: A Report to Congress, voting rights attorney Estelle Rogers finds that lack of enforcement, failures of state and federal leadership, and restrictive court decisions have left the full potential of the NVRA unrealized

Ghana. "Adopt Open Registration Format"
The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO), on Thursday urged the Electoral Commission (EC) to adopt an open registration system to capture statistics for the compilation of the voters' register for future elections.
She (Professor Miranda Greenstreet, Co-Chair of CODEO) commended the EC for initiating plans to use Biometric Technology in future voter registration exercises.

Iran. TEHRAN -- Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has put forward a number of proposals to resolve the post-election problems and maintain unity in society and emphasized that everyone should abide by the law.

Montreal, Canada, August 10–11, 2009, for EVT/WOTE '09.
USENIX/ACCURATE Electronic Voting Technology Workshop (EVT
EVT/WOTE seeks to bring together researchers from a variety of disciplines, ranging from computer science and human-computer interaction experts through political scientists, legal experts, election administrators, and voting equipment vendors.

UCLA built Rube Goldberg Voting Machine Compared to Dominion ImageCast

Yes there really is a Goldbergian Voting Machine, and it was made by a Programming Media 2 class at UCLA. Is it more or less bizarre than New York's new Sequoia/Dominion ImageCast voting machines? A Rube Goldberg machine is a deliberately overengineered apparatus that performs a very simple task in a very complex fashion, usually using a chain reaction.
From the UCLA class website:

Rube Goldberg Machine above
From the UCLA class website
"THE VOTING MACHINE was an experiment in democracy carried out by a group of 20 students at UCLA's DesignMedia Arts school in the Spring of 2008. The students worked together for 8 weeks to produce a fully functional voting machine comprised of 20 individual modules." (posted on Saturday, June 21st, 2008 at 2:17 pm and is filed under UCLA DMA )

Sequoia/Dominion ImageCast below

Which is more complex? Or are they about the same?