Sunday, August 29, 2010

AZ, FL, TN vote probs. Harris TX voting equip burned up. EVM expert bailed out

"With less than seven weeks before early voting starts for the general election, the clock is ticking for Tennessee's election officials' efforts to get it right." ~'s Disappearing Ink Before Election Day & Early Voting...MORE Lee Co FL ballot problems...Toast: Harris County Texas' 10,000 eSlate electronic voting machines...DOD denies 4 states military ballot law waiver..Australia's hung parliament...India EVM Security Researcher Released on Bail...

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

AL: More on Alaska and Australia: Is there a security issue in postmark states?

AZ: Vote-by-mail ballots just delivered now being verified* (day after election)
Pima County. Approximately 13,000 vote-by-mail ballots have been dropped off late at the polling locations and delivered by U.S. mail. These ballots are being signature verified this morning and will be transferred over to the Division of Elections for counting.

AZ: Late ballots being verified & counted * (KVOA Video available)
TUCSON - In Pima County, 13,500 mail in ballots were delivered this morning, and there are 3,500 Provisional ballots that still need to be verified.

The mail in ballots were supposed to be a part of "early voting." But Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez says, for some reason they didn't make it to the post office in time or were dropped off at the polling places.

CA: Lengthy ballot to cost voters time -- and money
Alameda County voters may want to delay diving into that next novel soon, because a long read is on its way this fall -- in the form of November's general-election ballot.
However, voters in Oakland, Berkeley and San Leandro are likely to see three pages because of the debut of ranked-choice voting, which eliminated the need for June primaries for those cities' local races.
A type of "voters' fatigue" or "voter roll-off" can set in if ballots are too long, said Robert Dudley, a professor at George Mason University in Virginia who studies elections.

CO: City Council gets it right
parentprofile=1061 The City Council properly deleted from the November ballot a referendum question on replacing instant runoff voting (IRV) with a winner-take-all election reform as a means of deciding both mayor and council contests, deciding instead to present to the voters a straightforward choice between IRV and the traditional runoff election technique.

FL: Audit This! Broward's Disappearing Ink Before Election Day & Early Voting*
All Federal and FL State Law require election records be held for 22 months. Broward's Poll Tapes are already beginning to disappear before Election Day!

FL: 2 Volusia races getting recounts A county judge's race is so close after a review of problem ballots that Volusia officials expect to need to recount the votes by hand, while a County Council race is close enough to warrant a second tally with voting machines.
A machine recount takes place when the margin is less than half of 1 percent. If that recount shows a difference of one-fourth of 1 percent or less, a manual recount is ordered

FL: Lee County judge race remains undecided; recount to continue tomorrow*
7:45 P.M. UPDATE — No decision will be made tonight in the race between Eric Feichthaler and Archie Hayward for county judge due to a mechanical error.

Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington said a flash drive containing all of the early voting ballots wouldn’t load.

There were more than 13,000 early voting ballots cast in the election.

FL: Glitch holds up results in Lee County judge race*
Officials will feed machines ballots again today in judge's race
But at about 7 p.m., a flash drive wouldn't load to read the results of early voting ballots.

"We don't know why," Harrington said. "It's a standard thumb drive that's used in all kinds of computers."

FL: Foul-ups prevent 2 eligible Fellsmere residents from voting in Tuesday's primary election in Indian River County * Supplies of paper ballots unexpectedly ran out about an hour before polls closed at 7 p.m. and extras couldn’t be printed and delivered to Precinct 102 in time for the two to vote. They left before the ballots arrived at 6:40 p.m.
Ultimately, Clem blames the Fellsmere ballot shortage on herself and trying to cut costs of ballot printing. The election involved 534 different ballot variations countywide because of special districts for portions of the county as well as party distinctions

GA: Feds' approval of voter verification program could impact future elections
WASHINGTON -- With the U.S. Department of Justice's approval, Georgia now has one of the toughest voter verification and ID systems in the country.

HI: Party ballots used in some races, not others, in primary

HI: Feds Threaten Lawsuit Over Hawaii Elections
Hawaii Can't Meet 45-Day Rule For Overseas Voters

KY: Federal prosecutor: part of vote buying convictions for two in Clay County should be set aside
The Lexington Herald reports the motion affects county clerk Freddy Thompson and former election commissioner Charles Wayne Jones.

MD: Early voting: Fear vs. the facts The electronic poll books are constantly updated, Torre said. You can go to any of the five early voting sites in the county. But if you vote in, say, Glen Burnie, you can't drive to Annapolis and vote again.

MI: Clerk asks for probe of Tea Party
Oakland County Clerk Ruth Johnson on Tuesday requested the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office investigate filings involving three candidates from the group Tea Party, which is seeking political party status on the November ballot.

NC: Buncombe may see first instant runoff voting

NY: Your Ballot Designs, a Final Look
During the past week, after The Times’s City Critic reviewed New York’s new voting machines, City Room invited readers to reinvent the ballots and submit ideas for a better design.

PA: Third Parties Want Ballot Laws Changed
Sen. Folmer’s Bill Would Set Standard Access For All Parties

TN: Lakewood claims fraud in 1-vote loss of charter*
The city of Lakewood filed a lawsuit Friday claiming voter fraud and irregularities changed the outcome of an election that approved dissolving the city’s charter by one vote.
The lawsuit, filed in Chancery Court for Davidson County, claims more than a dozen people voted illegally in the Aug. 5 election that ended in a 400-399 tally to dissolve the charter and be governed by Metro.

TN: Voters demand accuracy that TVCA offered

All Ten nesseans know we deserve fair and accu rate elec tions. The Tennessee Voter Confi­dence would have given them to us. Instead, we are forced to vote on machines that make us sure of only one thing: that we are unsure about the accu racy of our elections.

TN: Ten Candidates File Suit as 'Massive Improprieties, Tampering' Seen in Shelby County, TN Election

TN: Irregularities mar August vote *
New party control just brings new problems
• Rutherford County's early voting was closed on one Saturday when they were required to be open at least three hours.

• Several Maury County candidates' vote totals dropped after polls had closed on Aug. 5.

• There was a break-in in Hardin County in West Tennessee and a computer glitch in Hawkins County in East Tennessee.

• Worst by far, Shelby County's problems on Aug. 5 have spurred a Chancery Court lawsuit. There appears to be a discrepancy of nearly 7,000 between the Election Commission's count of participating voters and the certified vote count. In addition, there were complaints of wrong candidates' names appearing on touch-screen voting machines; missing vote batches; mishandling of provisional ballots; and allegations that election workers may have tried to remove computers with voter files on the machines five days after the election.

TN: Fired election administrator's attorney demands 'due process' from commission (Rutherford CO)

TN: Error-free votes outweighed a few human mistakes (TN Election Coordinator Mark Goins blaming human error)

TX: Election officials stay optimistic, even after fire destroys Harris Co. voting equipment (video report, 10,000 eSlate destroyed)
HOUSTON – Even though more than 10,000 pieces of voting equipment were destroyed in a three-alarm fire at the Harris County Election Technology Center Friday morning, officials said voters should have nothing to worry about when the elections begin in a few months.
The warehouse, located on Canino at Downey, caught fire around 4:20 a.m. Friday, causing an estimated $40 million in damages.

TX: BREAKING: Fire Destroys All 10,000 E-Vote Machines in Houston, Harris County, TX
Update: Accident or Arson? Paper or Plastic?... The early work into determining the cause of the 3-alarm blaze, whether or not it was an accident or arson, is underway...along with determining the plan for how the county will proceed with the upcoming elections in the wake of the loss of $30 million dollars worth of unverifiable electronic voting machines..
And again, our suggested "recovery plan": Pen, paper, translucent plastic boxes, eyeballs of the citizenry to count all of the ballots, in front of everyone at the polling place.

TX: Warehouse blaze still a mystery
Officials still investigating cause of fire that destroyed voting devices
Harris County Commissioners Court will meet in an emergency session Monday to receive the county clerk's proposed recovery plan.

TX: Houston Votes group: No voter fraud, just human mistakes being exploited by "partisan" Harris County Voter Registrar

VT: Tabulation shows Shumlin as winner, but Racine wants a recount

WA: Washington gets waiver for overseas ballots
Federal officials say it's OK for Washington to send ballots to overseas and military voters one month before the general election, instead of the normally required 45 days.
There are only nine business days between final certification of the primary election and the 45-day deadline. State officials say that’s not enough time to prepare about 60,000 overseas ballots.

If the idea is to save money, they should go back to polling places. Sam Reed predicts that only 38% of the state's voters will vote this primary, meaning that the remaining 62% of 3.59 million registered voters will toss their ballots into the recycling. 2.2 million packets of wasted paper, ink, glue and outbound postage must cost a horrendous amount of money, with or without the extra flap.

WI: Wisconsin denied military ballot law waiver
Not being able to meet the 45-day requirement under the law isn't that big of an issue because all states can e-mail ballots to voters, said Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, president and of the Overseas Vote Foundation, a nonprofit group that assists overseas and military voters.

Internet Voting Watch

Verified Voting: One Solution – Delivering Blank Ballots via Internet So there is a way to use the Internet to vastly improve access to blank ballots. The next part of the problem, returning voted ballots, has several solutions, including the MOVE requirement that states allow a 45 day period for ballot return. But as to the question of whether we can safely use the Internet for voted ballot return, security experts say that without changing the way the Internet currently works – no way, no how.


DOD denies 4 states military ballot law waiver

Not getting the waiver calls into question how the affected states — Wisconsin, Hawaii, Alaska and Colorado — will comply with deadlines for counting all votes cast for the Nov. 2 election by members of the military and other Americans living overseas.
The Defense Department granted Delaware, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Washington the waivers.
States that won waivers provided "thorough and comprehensive plans to protect the voting opportunities for military and overseas voters," Bob Carey, director of the Federal Voting Assistance Program, said in a statement.


Report on the Fourth International Conference on Electronic Voting 2010

Australia: New Election Risk for Australia?
Opposition refusal to cooperate in negotiations over Australia's hung parliament could take Australia back to the polls.

Australia: Technology opens up voting possibilities
Australians will be able to enrol online after the Federal Court ruled in favour of GetUp!'s case against the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC). GetUp! had taken the AEC to the court, challenging electoral laws that prevented voters from enrolling online.

India. Good News: Security Researcher Released on Bail
...According to the Indian news agency PTI, the magistrate who released Prasad on bail noted that "no offence was disclosed with Hari Prasad's arrest and even if it was assumed that [the electronic voting machine] was stolen it appears that there was no dishonest intention on his part...he was trying to show how [electronic voting] machines can be tampered with."

The court reportedly also asked the Election Commission of India to confirm or disprove Prasad's claim that the country's electronic voting machines can be compromised. If Prasad's claims are false, action could be taken against him, the magistrate said.

India: Hari is out of jail! Earlier this year, I worked on a scientific study showing that the Electronic Voting Machines used in India weren’t secure. My co-author Hari Prasad was arrested a week ago, on charges of having had possession of a real voting machine and refusing to say where it came from.
This all follows rather bizarre developments yesterday during which newspapers, among which the Times of India, reported that the government was apparently looking into our research work as some kind of “plot to destabilize the country”.

India: Study to ‘expose’ EVMs
Hari Prasad, who was arrested last week for stealing electronic voting machines and released on Saturday, will present a controversial paper on how EVMs used in Indian elections can be tampered with at a conference on computer and communication safety.

India: Unsafe electronic voting machines: Shooting the messenger (Comment)
It is past time for India to open up EVM security to serious scientific scrutiny, on an urgent basis. In the process, the ECI should apologise to Hari K. Prasad and his team, and appoint them as consultants in beefing us security for electronic voting.

India: Congress leader gave EVM to scientist, says lawyer Hari Prasad, the Hyderabad-based researcher arrested for the alleged theft of an EVM, has apparently claimed that a Maharashtra Congress leader had helped him procure the machine from the collector’s office in Mumba

UK: Holyrood results 'could face delay' amid poll clash
SNP claims Westminster referendum count will take precedence over next year's Scottish elections.

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