Friday, January 1, 2010

Military voting rights, Aspen's bad example, Secret ballot waiver

Good by 2009, hello 2010! Happy new year! Best wishes to all readers.

In Georgia, "Group calls on Perdue to appoint independent as interim Secretary of State"...New York Daily News reports on $ spent by voting vendors: Dominion spent $64,000 this year and ES&S has spent $193,000...

It almost didn't happen: The Department of Defense will act as a voter registration agency thanks to some major arm twisting. Stars and Stripe reports - "That's a big deal, and not just for military voting rights. Earlier this year Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, placed a hold on the president's nomination for under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness (Clifford Stanley) until the issue was resolved."

Secret ballot waiver: Take a look at a fax ballot form from Marion Co. Oregon. The voter must sign a waiver giving up the right to a secret ballot....

Is internet voting a good idea? Verified Voting's statement on internet voting at their website. What could go wrong? Read Wired News article "The Decade’s 10 Most Dastardly Cybercrimes" and then think about it.

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

AZ: Counties, supervisors sued over Diebold voting machines

12/29/2009 ...The controversy stems from the computer touch-screen machines that have become prevalent throughout the country.

Four Arizona residents, backed by the group Voter Action, a non-profit advocacy group, filed a lawsuit in 2006 against then Secretary of State Jan Brewer and 13 of the 15 county election officers. That suit is still ongoing and now county supervisors are individually named in the suit.

CA: Long Beach school board election had only 6 percent turnout
12/30/2009 LONG BEACH - Tuesday's school board election - wedged between the Christmas and New Year's weekends - resulted in the lowest voter turnout in recent Long Beach history, City Clerk Larry Herrera said Wednesday.
Herrera noted that 77 percent of the ballots were sent in by mail.

CA: California Voter Foundation Releases Study of What Information States Ask For on Voter Registration Forms

CO: Aspen's bad example (LTE)
...Transparency in elections is the foundation to our democracy. The recent withholding of ballot images from the public, after they had been displayed publicly, does the Aspen community great harm.

GA: Group calls on Perdue to appoint independent as interim Secretary of State
December 30, 2009... The group, Voters Organized for Trusted Election Results in Georgia, is a diverse, non-partisan, technology neutral, coalition of Georgia voters and organizations. They contend that the new secretary “should be independent of both major political parties” and “have no direct or indirect ties with the voting machine vendor lobbyist, Massey and Bowers.”

NY: How political lobbyists are rocking the vote in New York City
December 31st 2009 ...Each firm has spent lavishly on lobbyists. Dominion has paid $64,000 this year to Stanley Schlein, an ex-chairman of the Civil Service Commission with a client list that includes top Bronx Democrats. ES&S has spent $193,000 on a bevy of lobbyists including Hank Sheinkopf, Norman Levy and powerhouse firm Davidoff, Malito & Hutcher.
Under questioning, it turned out the company had publicly claimed its selection would create 200 jobs in Brooklyn alone - a gross exaggeration, the Dominion employee finally acknowledged. ES&S, which has 73% of the nationwide markets, has only 350 full-time employees.

NY: Addabbo Applauds State Election Bd.’s Certification Of Optical Scan Voting Machines

OH: Important changes brewing in Ohio election administration
Legislation moving through the Ohio Senate (SB8) could signal come major changes in the way that elections are conducted in Ohio. Much of the legislation is in response to election anomalies and controversies during 2008.

OR: Interesting idea to boost voter registration?
A local publication, the Portland Mercury, has reportedly created a front cover that is a valid voter registration form. The deadline for an upcoming referral election on two tax measures is early next week.

OR: Facsimile Vote Secret Ballot Waiver Form (pdf form)
Marion County Oregon 12 09
I, (print name) acknowledge that by casting my voted ballot using a facsimile machine I have waived my right to a secret ballot. All information provided by me on this form is true to the best of my knowledge.

SC: US court orders review of SC school board voting
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- A federal appeals court has ordered a review of two elections for a local South Carolina school board as it considers the district's election method.

The State reported the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., is considering whether the at-large election of the seven members of the Lexington District 3 school board is racially discriminatory


Military voters can now register for elections at any base
December 30th, 2009 Earlier this month, at the urging of lawmakers, Pentagon officials agreed to designate all military installations as federal voter registration agencies. The move is designed to give servicemembers more chances to update addresses, receive ballots, change their state registration and -- hopefully -- successfully cast a vote.

That's a big deal, and not just for military voting rights. Earlier this year Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, placed a hold on the president's nomination for under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness (Clifford Stanley) until the issue was resolved.

Service Member Voting Laws Reflect Changes
A service member can go online and find the necessary voting forms and fill them out right there. "Down the line we will also have an online ballot system

Open source: How e-voting should be done InfoWorld, 12/31/09 An open source approach to open voting systems is essential to the integrity of our electoral process. Here's a technical blueprint for securing the vote

The Decade’s 10 Most Dastardly Cybercrimes
By Kevin Poulsen December 31, 2009 ... Now that the zero days are behind us, it’s time to reflect on the most ingenious, destructive or groundbreaking cybercrimes of the first 10 years of the new millennium

Computer Technologists’ Statement on Internet Voting

Closing the Polls: How Switching to All Vote-By-Mail Elections Affects Efficacy and Turnout (paper in pdf )

our results suggest that many polling place voters were opposed to the transition to mail balloting and many voters raised questions about government accountability under such a system


Philippines: Months Before Elections, Probe Of Philippine Election Body's Competence Sought

Voting News by Joyce McCloy.
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