Thursday, March 4, 2010

KY $250K vote buy. TX Terrible Tues contd. DOJ may clear monopoly merger. ACORN update

My favorite quote from Texas Terrible Tuesday: "I thought the electronic voting machines were supposed to be more efficient." ~ John Muns, candidate for county judge...Postcards detailing CT voter's records spur complaints...FL blind decry bid to stall paper ballot...KY court hears testimony about vote rigging from 2002-2007: Former Clay clerk describes $100,000 worth of vote-buying in 2002 primary and $150,000 by the opposing group...A "glitch" in internet voting caused the University of S Florida to invalidate their 2010 presidential election... The Wall Street Journal says "Voting-Machine Deal to Be Cleared by U.S."...Murdoch's NYPost on ACORN Vids: 'Highly Edited Splice Job'...

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

AZ: Judge upholds law on Ward-only elections (Pima County)

CA: What Do Debra Bowen and The Clash Have in Common?

CA: Redistricting: Keeping California from reaching #1?

CO: Commissioners purchase voting system (ballot on demand printing)
Chaffee County...Purchase of the $52,565 Ballot Now voting system, was unanimously approved by county commissioners during their regular meeting Tuesday.

CT: Postcards detailing voting records spur complaints
Complaints were lodged with both Democrats and Republicans Tuesday after a group of residents received a postcard detailing the voting records of their neighbors.
“After the March 2nd special election, you will be mailed an updated chart. You and your neighbors will know who voted and who did not,” the card states

A group of blind residents is protesting a proposal in the Legislature to delay voting by paper ballot until 2016 for voters with physical disabilities.

FL: Election left in limbo (USF student govt internet election)
A computer glitch during the voting process in the Student Government elections has left officials wondering how to carry out the race.
The CEO of the business sponsoring USF Student Government (SG)’s online election ballots says the company takes “full responsibility” for the glitch that caused the invalidation of the 2010 presidential voting results.

FL: Bill Filed by Paula Dockery Targets Open Government, Records
Proposal, a major reform filed by Dockery and Ford, would streamline laws.
After years of almost annual legislative attempts to close parts of Florida's open government laws, public records advocates have something to cheer about in a bill...

GA: Voting precinct consolidation passes
And residents were not afraid to voice their opposition with consolidating 48 precincts down to 28.

IN: Court set to hear voter ID arguments
The politically charged issue has been embroiled in lawsuits since the adoption of the 2005 law, which requires voters to present a government-issued photo ID.

IN: Watch the Indiana Supreme Court Oral Arguments on the LWV v. Rokita Voter ID Case

KY: Former Clay clerk describes $100,000 worth of vote-buying in 2002 primary *
FRANKFORT — The loser in a knock-down race for Clay County clerk in 2002 sat in a courtroom with the winner Wednesday and said both sides bought votes hand over fist.

Former county Clerk Jennings B. White said he and two allies, then-state Rep. Barbara White Colter and Edd Jordan, sheriff at the time, pooled $100,000 to buy votes as a group.

There has been testimony that candidates in the slate opposing White's group pooled $150,000 or more to buy votes.

NJ: N.J. municipal employee admits voter fraud
In court Wednesday, 36-year-old Gianine Narvaez of Belleville, a data technician, admitted that she tampered with absentee ballots and voted absentee ballots on behalf of voters who did not receive them.

OR: Capitol Currents: Online Voter Registration Surges
More than 600 people signed up to vote online during the first 30 hours of online voter registration,

TX: Once More, With Feeling (possible recounts for several races )
According to the Texas Secretary of State's office, any race in which an electronic voting system was used may be subject to a recount.
Also triggering a recount: any race in which the margin of victory between the winner and loser is less than 10 percent of the votes the winner received.

TX: No runoffs in Tom Green Co.*(central counting meant no 2nd chance for voters)
Race still on for state justice
McKerley said an electronic scanning machine that checks ballots for stray marks wasn’t used at the early voting site. Had it been used, voters could have made changes to their ballots on site if any stray marks made their choices unclear.

Instead, the early ballots were run through e-scanners Tuesday night, and a number of stray marks had to be examined by the resolution committee...

TX: Officials examine glitches * ...Phillips said a polling site ran out of paper ballots and voters had to use electronic machines.
“Denton is growing so fast, we had to make some changes in a number of polling sites. We made an effort to let people know,” she said.

Officials sent out automated calls to 19,000 households to remind people of the changes.

TX: ‘A win is a win,' but it still could change
Miles’ squeaker over Edwards won’t be official before next week
Birnberg, who has litigated local election disputes as an attorney, said that in an age of electronic voting, a traditional recount may not have much impact, but such a close margin of victory easily could find its way into court.

TX: Late election results from Angelina County caused by two voting systems *
County leaders will now discuss moving to electronic-only voting.
(Election official says it would make her job easier but some voters oppose)

TX: Shortage of ballots slows Brown election count *(not enough ballots printed)
...The emergency ballots could not be run through the county’s optical scanners, like the regular ballots were, and had to be counted by hand.

TX: One incumbent JP ousted, machine malfunctions force hand count in second JP race in Gonzales County primaries* The machines fouled up and weren't reading the ballots. So they were hand counted," said county clerk Lee Riedel.

TX: Hidalgo County verifies votes manually after human error causes confusion *
EDINBURG — Hidalgo County Elections Department employees on Wednesday manually verified the total ballots cast in Tuesday’s primary elections after a misstep in the vote-tallying procedure sparked late-night confusion in countywide races.

TX: Defeated candidates question vote counting errors*
“First they told us we won by a 1,000 votes, then they told us we lost,” said Cain Casares, her ex-husband and close friend. “How can anyone have faith in a system like that?”

But Alma Garza, a 54-year-old criminal defense attorney, took the strongest stance Wednesday, hovering over elections office staff until 1:30 a.m. and questioning what exactly went wrong. The final vote tally showed her losing to the incumbent Guerra by a smaller margin of 16 points, or slightly more than 6,000 votes.

She has since called for outside review of the vote totals by filing a formal complaint with state authorities

TX: Twice as many voters as expected snarled Collin County polls*
"Surely, they can handle that many votes," said John Muns, who lost to incumbent Keith Self in the county judge race. "I thought the electronic voting machines were supposed to be more efficient."
At some polls, voters waited more than an hour to cast ballots, he said. And some polls still had voters standing in line at 7 p.m. when polls were to close. They were allowed to vote. (This county uses Diebold touchscreens)


Voting-Machine Deal to Be Cleared by U.S.
(Wall Street Journal)

Merger gets new scrutiny
Voting machine control at issue.

Is a Voting Machine Merger Too Big to Stand?
Justice Dept. probes voting machine merger as midterm elections loom and questions multiply
The Justice Department's antitrust division is doing a post-merger review that could result in the government's trying to persuade ES&S to sell off some of its assets or face a court suit to force a sell-off. An announcement could come soon.

BREAKING: ACORN Strikes Back! Launches Media Accountability Campaign
Demands Media Corrections for 'Pimp' Hoax Stories

O'Keefe, Giles, and Breitbart 'Buried the Truth' About Their ACORN 'Pimp' Hoax Video Tapes
So we don't wish to get too deep into the weeds demonstrating just how deceptive the tapes were, even as Rupert Murdoch's own New York Post has now reported that the Brooklyn D.A. calls the work of O'Keefe a "'highly edited' splice job ... with seemingly crime-encouraging answers...taken out of context so as to appear more sinister".

RSA: Experts Say U.S. Cyber Threat Is Real
Clarke said that U.S. networks are continually under attack, citing last year's logic bomb hack on the U.S. electrical grid. Clarke said that the attack indicated the likelihood of future assaults on U.S. infrastructure. "That's not cyber espionage, that's preparation for warfare," he said.

White House Cyber Czar: ‘There Is No Cyberwar’
His stance contradicts Michael McConnell, the former director of national intelligence who made headlines last week when he testified to Congress that the country was already in the midst of a cyberwar — and was losing it.

Mock Election grant application deadline nears
Applications for EAC's Mock Election grant program are due March 9, 2010. Learn more about the grant, including answers to frequently asked questions.


Canada: Mistrust of politicians primary reason behind voter decline: professor
But even with easy voting access and education, it still all comes back to disillusioned electorate.

Canada: Voting 21st-century style (Stratford)
City residents will cast their votes in the next municipal and school board elections either by phone or the Internet.
City council passed a bylaw at its regular meeting last week approving the alternative voting method, which will replace the traditional paper ballot process.
In response to a question from Coun. Karen Smythe, Thomson explained every resident will be sent a letter in the mail explaining the new voting system, as well as an individual PIN number they will have to use.

Iraq: Deadly Attacks Mar Early Voting in Iraqi Elections

Netherlands: The Netherlands’ municipal election... democracy as a journey
(a Nigerian blogger contrasts an election he witnessed in the Netherlands with similiar level Nigerian elections.)

Philippines: The First Philippine Automated Election of 2010

Voting News by Joyce McCloy.
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