Friday, August 20, 2010

Shelby CO TN certifies flawed election. Are election audits worth it? Pac-Man II

Bell, CA may give ballot control to county after investigation into massive corruption and election fraud...CTVoter answers question: "Greenwich Audit: Is it worth $1,200?"...Shelby Co Tennessee election board voted 5-0 to certify flawed election after blaming all problems on a single "human error". Some lawsuits in the works and TBI is investigating...Moreon impact of Citizens United -see "Pay 2 Play - Democracy's high stakes"..Probe into Philippine's May poll irregularities ongoing...No tamper seals were broken in programming the AVC Edge voting machine to run Pac-Man...

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

CA: Bell council discusses reforms as residents continue angry protests *
(absentee ballot fraud),0,1083036.story
City must roll back property tax hike that the state controller says was illegal and cut its 'retirement tax.' Amid alleged election fraud, council also considers giving ballot control to the county.
The potential for fraud in Bell is heightened because of of low voter participation in the largely immigrant town of 40,000. Fewer than 400 voters cast ballots in a 2005 special election that cleared the way for council members to significantly increase their salaries, for example. More than half were absentee ballots.

CT: Greenwich Audit: Is it worth $1,200?
Greenwich registrars and Secretary of the State debate value of audit and random selection of Greenwich

CT: Ballots from 2 polling places to be recounted Overall, 73 or 722 voting precincts -- 10 percent of all polling precincts statewide -- from the Aug. 10 primary election will have ballots hand-counted and matched against machine totals to ensure the integrity of voting, and comply with the Act Concerning the Integrity and Security of the Voting Process, according to the Secretary of the State's Office.

FL: 200+ Absentee Ballots Disqualified * (absentee ballots)
Absentee Voting Down, But Early Voting Up 20% Over 2006
JACKSONVILLE, Fla...Channel 4 has learned that nearly 250 of absentee ballots have been thrown out, mostly because they lack signatures, or the signature doesn't match the one on file at the Supervisor of Elections Office.

NC: ‘Instant runoff’ injects more mystery into judicial elections It’s yet another electoral process that I’m unfamiliar with. And in a system where there are ridiculous things called hanging chads that can lead to court battles, I really hope that this instant runoff thing doesn’t exacerbate the problem that voters don’t know Judge X from Judge Y.

NJ: Atlantic City vote fraud suspects seek dismissal of charges
Most of the defendants were indicted on nine counts, including conspiracy and four counts of election fraud. Small and three others were also accused of lying to law enforcement in an effort to cover up their crimes.
In October, Ronald Harris, 24, of Atlantic City, admitted he and others conspired to submit false documents involving messenger ballots in the primary. Harris, a registered Democrat, later told a reporter he only pleaded guilty out of fear.

NY: Design a Better Ballot
This is where you come in. City Room, in partnership with the New York chapter of the AIGA, the professional association for design, invites you to imagine a better format, or to just have fun completely reinventing it.

OH: County to debate to take voting machine settlement or go it alone Butler County is seeking roughly $5 million in damages, which is about what the county paid for the machines.

OH: Stow ballot issues in doubt STOW: An apparent glitch in the ballot language for two proposed Stow charter amendments could mean the mayor and law director can run for re-election despite hitting term limits.

OH: Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason says elections board should not cave to Justice Department on bilingual ballots

TN: Aug. 5 election results certified, but unfinished business remains * ...With the 5-0 vote, the commission cleared the way for those elected candidates to take office, commission chairman Bill Giannini said.
Also, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is inspecting the election process, but it's uncertain when their results will be made public.

TN: Official defends election system
Glitches mostly result of 'human error,' Goins says
NASHVILLE - Multiple problems in the first statewide voting since Republicans took control of Tennessee's election apparatus were mostly the result of simple "human error," state Election Coordinator Mark Goins said Wednesday.

TN: Election Commission Rules "Human Error" Caused Glitch, Clears Way for Certification
The causative mistake, documented in a report prepared jointly by Meyers and Johnson, was a freely acknowledged one by the commission’s I T director, Dennis Boyce, a civil servant, who told commission director Rich Holden on the morning of election day, Thursday, August 5, that “he had made an error in selecting one of the data files” that were loaded into the Electronic Poll Book (EPM) used for voting that day.

TN: Ill will brews in Nashville election office
A dispute between two Davidson County Election Commission employees has raised questions about the day-to-day involvement of the commission chairman, and whether he is offering favoritism to a friend he helped get hired.

WA: Voter Apathy by Mail?
The statewide average is about 30 percent, which means more than two-thirds of registered voters did not mail in their ballots. Allison Feher, president of the League of Women Voters of Seattle, says some believe changing the primary date from September to August has had a negative effect on voting.
The state Elections Division says the primary date was moved in 2007 to ensure that military and overseas voters got their ballots on time


Pay 2 Play - Democracy's high stakes
PAY 2 PLAY follows the cycle of money and corruption in politics, examining how the cost of running for office invites big-money influence and breeds corruption, shutting out concerned citizens and empowering those running for the wrong reasons.
[ John Wellington Ennis filmmaker (Free For All documentary and Video The Vote) has new movie that covers Citizens United and campaign finance with a big focus on Ohio footage.]

Design Recommendations (ballot design checklist)
The authors and task force reviewed dozens of ballots from electoral jurisdictions across America and identified 13 general categories of design problems that most frequently interfered with clarity and usability.

PAC-MAN on the Sequoia AVC-Edge DRE voting machine
In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the iconic arcade game, we reprogrammed the AVC Edge to run Pac-Man. It uses MAME to emulate the original hardware. (We own the electronics from a real Pac-Man machine.) We could have reprogrammed it to steal votes, but that's been done before, and Pac-Man is more fun!
[No tamper seals were harmed in the filming of this video.]

How Polling Places Can Affect Your Vote
Researchers argue the physical location of the polls not only affects how many people vote; it may also influence last-minute decisions regarding which box to mark or lever to pull.
. J.G. Gimpel of the University of Maryland found that “for each 1-mile increase in proximity to the polling place, turnout jumps by 0.453 percent, or nearly half a point.”


Australia: Get the Australian 2010 Elections Guide free
((((( Voting is compulsory for Australian citizens ))))

Philippines: DOJ asked to hasten probe on ‘Hello Nico’, Susano CF cards The government’s poll body on Friday asked the Justice Department to expedite its probe on two cases related to the May 2010 elections: one involving a lawmaker’s possession of compact flash (CF) cards from the last elections, and the alleged involvement of an election official with poll irregularities.

Voting News by Joyce McCloy.Archives here at
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