Sunday, August 22, 2010

India E-voting expert arrested. TN voters deserve answers. Australia Bush v Gore?

CTVoter on India's arrest of Hari Prasad: "So as governments do to whistle blowers and those who bring uncomfortable facts, they have arrested the Indian member of the research team in an effort to determine the source of the voting machine and to intimidate."..Sarasota FL voting machine meltdown proves value of paper ballots, no thanks to Kathy Dent..LTE: "Tennessee needs to join the 21st century with the majority of the rest of country and move to a verifiable, auditable paper trail/ballot."..2010 Australian Election Results a Bush vs. Gore Repeat...

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

Editor's note: The PacMan Voting Machine story and video has become viral.
One voting news reader writes: "My hair exploded about the pac man program!!"

AZ: Maricopa County Elections Sued Over Alleged Voting Violations
A group of diverse individuals including Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Barry Hess, former Republican state Senator Karen Johnson, and voting activist John Brakey are suing Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell, alleging that Maricopa County Elections is involved in various voting shenanigans.

CA: California's online voter registration plan on hold,0,3294207.story
The start of the program has been pushed back to June 2014 as the secretary of state seeks a new contractor.
She (SOS Bowen) said other states' efforts are not comparable to California's. "There is no precedent in any other state for this, because California is enormous," she said.

CT: Greenwich picked - yet again - to audit primary results Six of the seven times since the state started mandating audits three years ago, the town has been picked for a recount, irking its two registrars of voters.
Despite the hassle of conducting frequent audits, DeCaro said it was much better than the alternative of no checks and balances.
(Fred DeCaro III, Stamford's Republican registrar).

FL: Early-voting machine malfunctions* (Sarasota - Dominion opscan machines) ...One of the inspectors noticed this week that the system count on the machine was different than the number of ballots that had been inputted.
But Joe Gruters, chairman of the Republican Party of Sarasota County, said he is concerned.

“This proves the need to have paper ballots, so there’s concrete evidence, so no one could question the outcome,” he said. “Two thousand votes could decide a race.”

Rita Ferrandino, chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Sarasota County, said issues such as this are why she has election observers watching every step of the process.

NV: The incredibly true, bizarre story of Tea Party candidate Scott Ashjian and $35 ...
Wrong. Colorado ain’t nothin’; in Nevada, Ashjian needed only need 250 signatures to get his name on the ballot for national office.

NY: Democracy, the Hard Way *
The new system compounds the shortcomings of print media with those of electronic media — and makes matters worse with hard-to-read, hard-to-understand instructions and a lot of extraneous nonsense.

OH: Cuyahoga County Board of Elections posts bilingual ballots
In response to a recent U.S. Department of Justice push for bilingual ballots, 70 precincts in council districts 2, 3, 4 and 7 will offer instructions, political parties and offices in both English and Spanish.

OH: The price is wrong
"We all expect judges to be accountable to the law rather than political supporters or special interests. But elected judges in many states are compelled to solicit money for their election campaigns, sometimes lawyers and parties appearing before them. Whether or not these contributions actually tilt the scales of justice, three out of four Americans believe that campaign contributions affect courtroom decisions.

TN: Any Election Review Should Benefit Voters
The problems voters experienced Aug. 5 were serious, although probably doesn’t change the beating the Democratic slate endured. Voters of all political persuasions appear to have been told they had already voted early when they hadn’t.

TN: EDITORIAL: Voting mistake hurts trust*
The Rutherford County Election Commission's failure to meet state guidelines for early voting guidelines is an embarrassing mistake, one the county can hardly afford to ensure elections are fair and balanced

TN: 'Hot Button' readers respond: Do you have faith in the elections system? *
I am 80 and have voted in pretty much every election. They finally gave me a paper ballot. Then I received a letter from Shelby County Election Commission administrator Richard Holden saying the vote could not be counted as I was not a registered voter. When I called him asking questions, he was hostile and told me the vote was counted. I later received a new voter card (I still have the previous one) but never got any explanation as to why my voter record vanished.

TN: Dems protesting election mistakes ...The mistakes come after Republicans replaced the Secretary of State, the state coordinator of elections and dozens of county election administrators after the GOP won control of the state House of Representatives in the 2008 elections. These election officials replaced long-serving Democrats who had more experience and were more even-handed, party officials say.

"It's either incompetence or some sort of plan," said Chip Forrester, the state Democratic Party chairman.

TN: Devaney Sees Democratic Plot in Election Protests
State Republican Chairman Chris Devaney suspects Democrats are protesting "a handful of errors" in the Aug. 5 elections to set the stage for challenges to the losses they anticipate in November, reports Chas Sisk.

UT: State to promote online voter registration in September

WA: Software glitch blamed for delay in primary results in Whatcom County, across state*

A software glitch confounded election watchers, including in Whatcom County, during the "top two" primary, causing the Secretary of State's website to crash when results began pouring in Tuesday night, Aug. 17.
State elections officials say a programming error accidentally sent most of the Web traffic to just one of the state's six servers at the digital archives in Cheney. While the other five sat essentially idle, the overload slowed and then overwhelmed the single server.

WA: Top 2 system produces some all-in-the-family races


Pac-Man Hacked Onto a Touch-Screen Voting Machine Without Breaking 'Tamper-Evident' Seals


2010 Australian Election Results a Bush vs. Gore Repeat

In what is clearly the closest election for Prime Minister in Australia in over 70, the results could take weeks to decipher.

So long as we are disposed to consider ourselves a great democracy, we should ensure that our secret ballot is in every respect a secret ballot; and not yield that secrecy to an ever increasing number of postal and declaration votes that cannot by any stretch of imagination be considered to be secret. ~ Dr. Amy McGrath, President H.S.Chapman Society

India: Electronic Voting Researcher Arrested Over Anonymous Source * By J. Alex Halderman - Posted on August 22nd, 2010
About four months ago, Ed Felten blogged about a research paper in which Hari Prasad, Rop Gonggrijp, and I detailed serious security flaws in India's electronic voting machines. Indian election authorities have repeatedly claimed that the machines are "tamperproof," but we demonstrated important vulnerabilities by studying a machine provided by an anonymous source.

The story took a disturbing turn a little over 24 hours ago, when my coauthor Hari Prasad was arrested by Indian authorities demanding to know the identity of that source.

India: Governments Hide Information; People Take Risks for Democracy

India: Indian e-voting expert Hari Prasad arrested for exposing flaws in a "stolen" voting machine *
Today, at wee hours Maharashtra police landed up at the residence of Hari Prasad in Hyderabad, a technologist and Technical coordinator of VeTA to arrest him. The arrest was made on the flimsy charge of ‘theft of EVM’ used for vulnerability demonstration by Hari Prasad and a team of security researchers that included Alex Halderman, professor of computer science, University of Michigan and Rop Gonggrijp, a security researcher from Netherlands along with a team of their colleagues
Over the past one year, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has been lying blatantly and willfully to ensure continued use of EVMs at all costs. It attributed all kinds of qualities to its EVMs: “totally tamper proof, perfect, fail safe and requiring no improvement” etc. etc. When Hari Prasad agreed to meet the ECI’s challenge to demonstrate tamperability of EVMs, the ECI backed out imposing silly, unscientific restrictions.

India: Naidu wants consensus on EVM ban
The Telugu Desam president, Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu, asked the Election Commission (EC) to convene an all-party meeting on banning the use of Electronic Voting Machines after doubts were raised by political parties.
Mr Naidu preferred use of traditional ballot papers in the elections. He also criticised the EC for the arrest of Mr Hariprasad, who had showed, on a stolen EVM, how the device can be manipulated

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