Tuesday, August 10, 2010

TN Election fiasco. Internet voting? 'Pleash just help me inshert..key in the lock'

Election fiascos pile up in Tennessee, hint at more to come in November...Cali AG Brown sets up voter fraud hotline in Bell CA...Broward Co FL mulls $22M facility but $0 for ada voting equipt...Georgia voter registration rules oppressive...Cuyahoga OH CC told to print bilingual ballots or be sued...Can this be true? Media reports Carroll Cnty MD will use paper ballots nxt election...“What are best practices for internet voting?” to me sounds like “Pleash jush help me inshert the key in the lock, (hic), and I’ll be on my way…” ~Prof. Ron Rivest (MIT)presentation at NIST's UOCAVA workshop...Debate over India EVMS boils over in Washington...

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

Editor Note - voting news for Aug 9 & 10

AR: County Changing Vote Tally
The Sebastian County Election Commission voted Thursday to change the way it counts votes, giving the voting public a precinct-by-precinct look at election results.

Calif. probe spotlights absentee ballot abuse
http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/08/09/4851054-calif-probe-spotlights-absentee-ballot-abuse- Do absentee ballots increase the potential for vote fraud and corruption?
A case that might help shed light on that question is now unfolding in California’s Bell city, a low-income Latino municipality of 37,000 where fewer than 400 people voted in a 2005 election that opened the way for city officials to arrange huge increases in their own compensation.
Former city manager Robert Rizzo was paid more than $1.5 million a year in salary and benefits.
The case resembles one in 2003 in East Chicago, Indiana, where widespread fraud using absentee ballots led to several convictions.

CA: AG Brown sets up voter fraud hotline in Bell

CO: D.A. ducks out of oversight role
The real score brought to you by your D.A. is a significant loss for all citizens. The Beeson memo tells us shocking news: Various seemingly applicable laws and election rules comfortingly mentioned in the Aspen code are seen by our authorities as unenforceable.

CT: Connecticut Senate Overrides Veto of Public Funding Bill; House Vote Set for
Friday Aug 13 http://www.ballot-access.org/2010/08/09/connecticut-senate-overrides-veto-of-public-funding-bill-house-vote-set-for-friday-august-13/

CT: Blumenthal Finds Improper Use Of Bysiewicz Office Database; Probe Concludes With Report, Referral To Chief Prosecutor

FL: Aug. 10. Broward Commission Meeting. Important Issues and Public Hearing
the $22 million allocated for the new Supervisor of Elections Facility with no public hearings...SOE gets new facility and county claims it has no funds for ADA Ballot Marking devices

FL: If County Commission provides bucks, Broward could get more early voting in November http://weblogs.sun-sentinel.com/news/politics/broward/blog/2010/08/if_county_commission_provides.html
Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes said she’d like to add two early voting sites for the November elections – but can only do so if the County Commission comes up with about $130,000 to pay for them.

FL: Sticky absentee ballot issue is fixed in Brevard
Absentee ballot postage question is cleared up
NEWS01/Sticky+absentee+ballot+issue+is+fixed+in+Brevard http://tinyurl.com/3x87mnr
"Subsequent mailings have a sticker inside, telling them that it's 61 cents," Scott said.

FL: Some early voters find ballot confusing
http://www.dailycommercial.com/localnews/story/080610earlyvoting "We lay the ballot out according to the Florida statute and we never identify the incumbent."

GA: The Truth About Karen Handel and Voting Machines (video)

GA: Georgia voter registration rules called too difficult
“Nobody makes it more difficult to register to vote than we do,” said Ken Ellinger, a professor of political science at Dalton State College. “We say we want (voters) to participate, but I’m not sure we really do because, if we did, we’d make it easier.”

IL: U.S. Senator Roland Burris Challenges U.S. District Court Decision on Who Should be on Ballot in Special U.S. Senate Election

MD: 2010 ELECTION CENTRAL: Carroll County Commissioners
The primary election will be held Tuesday, Sept. 14...
The 2010 elections will see the return of paper ballots and optical scanning machines, combining of county voting precincts and early voting. Electronic voting booths will still be available for those with disabilities.

MI: What to expect when you cast your ballot

MN: Lots of Absentee Ballots in Minnesota
Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie reports 26,211 absentee ballots so far for Tuesday's primary, the most in 20 years

MN: Voting absentee? Better have a witness address*
Statewide, at least 10 percent of absentee ballots cast in advance of the Aug. 10 primary were rejected on first pass. Some counties neared a 20 percent initial rejection rate.

NC: ON PAPER (staff editorial)
http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/08/10/621703/on-paper.html Does North Carolina need a new system of printing ballots? The votes aren't all in yet, and the current system may need only tweaking, rather than another fresh start.

NC: Ballot printer denies having an unfair edge

NC: North Carolina Legislature Eliminates Discriminatory Public Funding Law
http://www.ballot-access.org/2010/08/05/north-carolina-legislature-eliminates-discriminatory-public-funding-law/ Ballot Access News has just learned that on July 17, 2010, the North Carolina Governor signed SB 1177. It eliminates a law that said a qualified political party could not be listed on the state income tax form unless it has registration of at least 1% of the state total.

NC: Editorial: One in, two still to go
For elections to fill a judicial vacancy when there’s no time to hold a primary, a 2006 state law creates “instant runoff voting” in case there are more than two candidates and none receives a majority of the vote. Under this scheme, voters are asked to rank their top three choices in order of preference, and a second round of counting determines the winner.

...It would be better if the law allowed the governor to appoint a replacement to serve until the next election, when candidates then could run on a normal schedule. That’s what would happen if this vacancy occurred after Sept. 3.

NJ: Judge hears testimony to determine if Elizabeth election had invalid results
ELIZABETH — Two Elizabeth council candidates who claim voting irregularities cost them victories in June’s Democratic primary want a Superior Court judge to invalidate the election results

NY: A Vote For Big Changes At The NYC Board Of Elections?

...the board facing a $19 million shortfall and primary elections coming in September with the use of new electronic voting machines that are as-yet untested in any city election.

NY: Essex County Board of Elections goes full time

Essex County's two election commissioners are going full time to keep from being swamped by the new requirements of electronic voting.

OH: Cuyahoga County Board of Elections told to print bilingual ballots or be sued
He did not know if the Justice Department's demand came on the heels of complaints from disenfranchised voters, but said the representatives offered anecdotal evidence of people discouraged from votin

OR: Kate Brown to Post Office: Don't kill Saturday delivery
She says it will hurt Oregon's vote-by-mail election system. Her testimony, dated yesterday, is also an interesting brief on the merits of vote-by-mail generally.

OR: SOS testimony on Saturday Deliver and Vote by Mail

PA: Pennsylvania Green Party Statewide Petition Challenged

TN: Commission requests 'independent' review of Aug. 5 Shelby election *
http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2010/aug/09/commission-requests-independent-review-aug-5-shelb/ The Shelby County Election Commission on Monday asked Shelby County Dist. Atty. Gen. Bill Gibbons to "refer an independent agency to review the Aug. 5 election."

And Shelby County Democratic Party chairman Van Turner said attorneys for the commission have reached an agreement to allow plaintiffs in a lawsuit to inspect voting equipment prior to final certification of the elections.
The commission said the problem occurred because a database of early voters for the May primaries was incorrectly loaded into electronic polling books, rather than the database of early voters from the Aug. 5 election. Therefore, some voters were told the computers showed that they had already voted.

TN: Voting glitch affects as many as 5,000 (Shelby)
May election information entered into electronic polling books instead of July

TN: Maury County officials don't know what caused vote tally problem, say count is accurate * http://www.whnt.com/news/sns-ap-tn--votingproblem,0,5359127.story
The Daily Herald reports that shortly after the polls closed a precinct update caused the vote totals for several county and state candidates to drop. The problem was first spotted by a Daily Herald reporte

TN: Crossover voting law muddies primary waters
http://www.tennessean.com/article/20100805/NEWS0201/8050337/Crossover-voting-law-muddies-primary-waters Tennessee's party primaries are open to all comers, creating openings for opposition-party maneuvering that could skew results and scramble the state's political landscape.

TX: Vote Centers: Expert's report and public hearing today
vote_centers_expert_s_report_and_public_ http://tinyurl.com/37jyuak
At the Commissioners court meeting today, the court will hear Dr. Robert Stein of Rice University present his report on the use of Vote Center in the November, 2009 election.
Collin County's use of a much larger number of 'super precincts' could help mitigate much of the issues that would wreak havoc (and have done so) in a more traditional Vote Center... that is IF the voters can find a parking place, and IF the VoteSafe software performs as promised.

TX: SOS: County Elections showed no sign of irregularities
A claim that Montgomery County election officials run “an illegally sloppy operation” was not substantiated by a review conducted by the Texas Secretary of State’s Office

UT: Postage-stamp politics: GOP looking for a lead
Salt Lake County Republican Party Chairman Thomas Wright smiles, skims several vote-by-mail applications from the top to show the signatures and says he’ll be back in a week with several thousand more just like them.

VA: Roanoke seeks 'bailout' from Voting Rights Act

The Roanoke Electoral Board wants to move some of its precincts, but the Voting Rights Act makes that costly.
Brenda Hale, president of the NAACP's Roanoke branch, said she sees both pros and cons of the proposal but wants to make sure the public gets a chance to weigh in.

Internet Vote Watch

Canada: BETTER BALLOTS Wednesday August 11 • Metro Hall
...We'll be directing people to existing campaigns such as VoteToronto, Fair Vote and iVote Toronto where they already exist, and we'll be creating new groups for options like term limits, lower voting age, online voting, ranked ballots (instant runoff), weekend voting, etc. where they don’t already exist.

Wikileaks Fiasco Exposes Gaping Holes in Cyber Domain

Is the Wikileaks fiasco the first defeat for the United States in the cyber warfare domain? Exploring this question shows just how little we have planned for, created doctrine for, and are ready, able and willing to respond to threats to the United States in the cyber domain.

US National Institute of Standards and Technology’s workshop in Washington DC on however overseas citizens should vote.

Prof. Ron Rivest (MIT):
Remote voting is trade-off between franchise and risk
The risks of “internet voting” more than negate any possible benefits from an increase in franchise

FVAP Views on Solutions & Challenges
NIST-EAC-FVAP Workshop on UOCAVA Voting Systems August 6th, 2010

“Recommendations for future electronic voting projects include:
working up to a large scale system starting with a small number of states or limiting

MD: New System Lets Md. Absentee Voters Print Out Their Ballots, Even Overseas http://baltimore.citybizlist.com/YourCityBizNews/detail.aspx?id=88552
[blank ballots only at this time]

UK: Cyberwar and other global risks
The Defence Secretary has told Parliament he will need to switch resources from conventional military tasks to tackling cyber threat
[presentation on cyber crime, cyber war, cyber fraud by Dr. Ian Brown of Cambridge U]


Voting Technology Research Gets In-Depth
As election systems technology in America is getting more advanced, is the real world catching up to the laboratory?

Shvartsman believes the problems with voting machines in general have occurred because vendors released flawed products prematurely. “We do not believe that they knew this stuff was not good, and they released it,” Shvartsman said. “I think they simply underestimated how tricky it is to get it done right and how important it is to perform really in-depth analysis and testing.”

Upcoming Primaries: Last Chance to Vote States
Wyoming August 17, Washington August 17 , Arizona August 24 , Vermont August 24
Florida August 24 , Alaska August 24
Did you request your ballot? Did you get it? It is not too late if you act RIGHT NOW.

Enforcing the Motor-Voter Law
Although many potential voters can be reached through DMV offices, agencies that administer food stamps, welfare, Medicaid, disability assistance and child health programs are able to target historically underrepresented populations, such as low-income individuals, people with disabilities, minority populations, and new military recruits. Unfortunately, enforcement among public assistance offices (until recently) has been lax.


Election funding transparency: Australia has a lot to learn
Australia votes in a fortnight but we won’t find out who made large election donations to the parties until early 2012.

India: Hot debate over Electronic Voting Machines
This week the debate on whether electronic voting machines (EVMs) in India are tamper-proof, reached boiling point in far-away Washington, as a representative of the Election Commission of India (ECI) and an American university professor clashed publicly over contradictory claims regarding the machines.
Mr. Halderman, who said that he and his colleagues had worked with Mr. Prasad to demonstrate the vulnerability of EVMs to tampering, pleaded with Mr. Shukla to call off efforts by the ECI to have the Indian police question Mr. Prasad.

Ireland: When will Gormley end electronic voting machine fiasco?
http://finegael.org/news/a/3620/article/ Fine Gael Deputy Environment Spokesperson, Deputy Terence Flanagan, has said the Government is still paying to store defunct electronic voting machines despite assurances from Environment Minister, John Gormley, 15 months ago that the machines would be scrapped.

UK: Prisoners' Voting Rights in the UK
http://electionlawblog.org/archives/016662.html The Guardian has this story on a UK Ministry of Justice report regarding the implementation -- and non-implementation -- of European Court of Human Rights judgments, focusing on one finding that the blanket disfranchisement of prisoners violated their human rights.

UK: Human rights: from Europe to the UK
Government report highlights vexed issue of implementation of European human rights judgments in domestic law

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