Sunday, September 19, 2010

Paper Ballots, Common Sense. Teacher pay online vote fiasco. Afghan vote violence

Common Sense: The Indispensable Role Of Voter Verified Paper Ballots..(NOT)Counting Votes in Shelby CO Tennessee..Why No Central Database Of E-Voting Problems?..Internet voting fiasco: Spam filter prevents many Palm Beach Co teachers from casting online ballot on new contract...Unlimited Political Speech For Corporations That Don’t Say Pledge Of Allegiance...Violence and fraud mar Afghan election..Burma Excludes Thousands From Voting..

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

Editor's note: This voting news is dedicated to my nephew Nick who is on his first tour in Afghanistan, and to all of our troops here and overseas. Thanks also to Overseas Vote Foundation who helps our overseas military and families to get a ballot on time.

AL: Alaska teaches the nation about voter intent

CA: Whitman Tops Bloomberg’s Personal Spending ($119 Million)
Move aside, Michael Bloomberg. California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman has just surpassed your record in personal spending on an election.

After giving her campaign another $15 million Tuesday, the Republican former eBay Inc. chief executive has now spent $119 million in the Golden State race.

CA: Los Angeles Times Features Story on a Small California City which does Not Allow Free Elections

CA: State Sen. Roderick Wright indicted on voter fraud, perjury Wright listed as his residence a home in the district he wanted to represent, but county authorities allege that he did not live there.

CO: Aspen Election Commission: Votes will be shuffled
ASPEN — The Aspen Election Commission implemented measures Wednesday that it expects will prevent people from coupling data generated by municipal ballots with voter logs to find out how people voted.

The move was part of an investigation the group is conducting into the May 2009 election, which garnered controversy over alleged missteps in vote-counting procedures. Some say it is possible to determine how certain people voted, which goes against the Colorado Constitution.

FL: Teachers vote on $500 bonuses in Palm Beach County (internet voting)
Glitches reported by union as two days of voting commences *,0,3920795.story Computer glitches surfaced Thursday as Palm Beach County teachers began two days of contract ratification voting online.

FL: Voting For Teachers' Contract Extended* (internet voting)
Apparently, there was a glitch in spam filters at the District, which held up the user name and passwords and link, for teachers to vote.

So very few teachers got to vote yesterday, so the voting deadline is extended until 5 p.m. Monday.

FL: Thousands of felons and dead people still registered to vote in Florida Roberts also said she will work to change state law to allow the Division of Elections access to death records nationwide. Currently, the division receives death notices every two weeks but only for people who die in Florida.

"Clearly what you've uncovered is there is still a problem, and it needs to be addressed,'' said state Sen. Nan Rich, D- Weston, a member of the Ethics and Elections Committee. "Obviously, there is still an issue with the matching system.''

FL: Move to Amend Florida Tour (Podcasts)
Warren "Skip" Parish is a consultant in the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Project Agency mentor program for new science.
Kindra Muntz serves as president of the Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections.

HI: Election Officials Report Few Problems
HONOLULU -- Before the polls even opened volunteers at the election control center at the State Capitol began fielding calls pouring in from precincts across the island.
“We had our normal start-up issues, supplies didn’t get delivered on time,” said Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago

HI: Confusion mars election*
Some voters cross party lines while others struggle to find their polling place Some_confusion_reported_as_polls_open_for_voting.html
...At least four Oahu voting machines malfunctioned. Some voters tried to cross party lines. And others scrambled just to find the right place to cast their ballots.
Trisha Shipman-Lameier and her husband went to three polling stations before finding the right place to vote. "It's just been a nightmare," she said.
Larry Meacham, chairman of the polling station at Prince Jonah Kuhio Elementary School, said the most common problem was voter confusion over the ballot.
...When a voter failed to check a ballot properly, either by not checking the party or voting for more than one party, the machine rejected the ballot.

IN: Lawmakers to push for extension of vote center program in 3 Indiana counties

MD: 10,000 missing votes? Not likely.
The problem Tuesday night was that in several cases in Baltimore city and county, election judges failed to bring all of their cards to the board of elections.

MD: How the votes are counted (editorial trusts e-voting) Our view: Election night glitches reignite anxiety over electronic voting, but failsafe mechanisms make missing votes unlikely

MI: Elections officials: software can handle November's large ballot (uncertified?)
politics/doc4c9420b027c9f830796106.txt “It is our understanding that there is a new version of the software before the Election Assistance Commission,” Chesney said. “It has been with them since 2009. It’s our understanding that ES&S has fixed the files and sent them to Oakland County.

MN: Mark Ritchie unveils new online 'peace of mind' tool for absentee ballots unveils_new_online_peace_of_mind_tool_for_absentee_ballots Secretary of State Mark Ritchie unveiled an online "Absentee Ballot Lookup" service this morning.

MO: League of Women Voters hosts panel on Supreme Court decision This year’s event, the fourth annual, was: "If You Prick Them, Do They Bleed? Corporations as Persons."

NC: Study calls NC best among 10 at protecting voters

NY: New York Primary Election Day: Op-Scan Round-up

NY: Election Watchdogs: Humans, Not Machines, Caused Primary Day Problems * Optical scanning machines definitely broke down, but when that happened, poll workers made mistakes. They told voters to wait for the machines to be fixed, or to come back later. Larry Norden of the Brennan Center for Justice says that defeated the whole purpose of the new system.

"When the machines break down, people can still vote," says Norden. "People can still be given their ballot. They can fill them out, and they can be put in an auxiliary bin, so the fact that poll workers didn't know enough and the people running the polls didn't know enough to take advantage of that benefit is very troubling."

NY: An election the voters lost*
The primary elections across New York were a referendum on the state's new voting machines -- electronic scanners, paper ballots and all. Too often, they didn't work properly.
Turns out that there was a write-in bubble beneath the name of every candidate on the primary ballot, which appears to have prompted some voters to fill in that oval instead of the correct one. Adding to that likelihood is the fact that the vast majority of those who cast what are being called write-in votes didn't actually write in anyone. They thought, it seems, that they had voted for one of the candidates listed above the write-in bubbles they filled out instead.

NY: The Day: Voting Machine Blues

NY: A Voter Critiques the New Machines
"Since I don’t understand how the machine can record the votes regardless of whether the ballot is inserted facing up or down, I did not feel confident this was true."

NY: Voting machine contract gets Justice Dept. review
The Justice Department is scrutinizing the actions of the nation's largest voting machine company, according to court records and sources.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating the awarding of a $50 million contract by New York City in January to Election Systems & Software, according to sources familiar with the probe.

OK: Oklahoma ballot measure would require voter identification
Voters would have to show government issued identification card or registration card. Voters without proper identification could cast a provisional ballot that would be counted when their identity is confirmed.

PA: Pa. Voters Must Register By October 4 For The November General Election

TN: Counting Votes in Shelby County*
Shelby County's August election shows evidence of tampering and no way to guarantee the results
When inspectors arrived to see election records, they found over 6,000 more votes than signed-in voters, this after days of stalling by a pit-bull attorney who kept them from computers and machines that could validate the results.

Once logs, sign-in sheets, and other records were turned over to inspectors, it became apparent that data was missing, inconsistent, and possibly manipulated. Signed machine receipts, the only physical record of the election, were found in trash bags. Logs the pit-bull attorney tried to claim were proprietary revealed that data had been overridden and updated a week after the election. Timestamps show that while inspectors were captive in an office listening to an election official read statutes, someone was accessing the computer that tallies Shelby County’s votes.

WA: McKenna, Reed challenge felon voting decision
McKenna told reporters there is a “very sound legal basis” for denying felons the right to vote while they’re behind bars or on commujnity supervision.

Internet Voting Watch

Hackers meet in 'geeks' paradise'
Governments are waking up to the idea that hacking is going to play an important role in coming wars. Bruce Schneier...says a cyber attack to shut down power grids, communications systems, and water supplies could well be used before ...

FL: Teachers vote on $500 bonuses in Palm Beach County
Glitches reported by union as two days of voting commences,0,3920795.story
Computer glitches surfaced Thursday as Palm Beach County teachers began two days of contract ratification voting online.

FL: Voting For Teachers' Contract Extended* (internet voting)
Apparently, there was a glitch in spam filters at the District, which held up the user name and passwords and link, for teachers to vote.

So very few teachers got to vote yesterday, so the voting deadline is extended until 5 p.m. Monday.

WV: Online voting begins for military, overseas
PARKERSBURG..."We have sent out 10 applications so far that had already been...
"The absentee ballot applications are available on the website. The applications are mailed to Everyone Counts (the firm providing the software for the online vote system). The firm then e-mails the voter with a link to the website along with their user name and password to access the website," Rhodes said. "The user name is good through their casting the ballot online up until 7:30 p.m. election night."

Rhodes said county officials estimate the online system costs for Wood County will be about $7,000 this time, which will be reimbursed through the secretary of state's..

Money in Elections/Citizens United

House Panel to Bring Up Historic Legislation to Reduce Corporate-Financed Congressional Elections

Vote Set on Campaign Spending Measure

The Secret Election
That is the legal designation for the advocacy committees that are sucking in many millions of anonymous corporate dollars, making this the most secretive election cycle since the Watergate years.

Who is enforcing FEC law if the FEC isn’t?

Unlimited Political Speech For Corporations That Don’t Say Pledge Of Allegiance
(What’s up with that?)Many corporations are really ‘American’ in name only.

A choice: democracy, or government by and for the rich
The tsunami of the rich may hit in November. The United States may officially change from a democracy to a plutocracy -- government by the wealthy, for the wealthy. Is that what people want?

The Disclose Act isn't campaign finance reform
The writer is president of Citizens United.

De Blasio Secures JP Morgan Anti-Spending Pledge Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has managed to secure a promise from JP Morgan Chase saying that the company will not spend any money to directly influence political campaigns.

Obama's Saturday Address Slams Citzens United Decision (Video)


Common Sense: The Indispensable Role Of Voter Verified Paper Ballots
Beyond a different permanent media, so far, no safe alternative has been proposed which has withstood scrutiny.

Why Isn’t There A Central Database Of E-Voting Problems?

Justice Department Reaches Agreements to Protect Rights of Military and Overseas Voters from Colorado, District of Columbia, U.S. Virgin Islands and Hawaii

Supporters Rally to Restore Voting Rights to Ex-Felons



Fraud casts doubt over Afghan election

Attacks and irregularities in parliamentary elections
The bodies of three members of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) kidnapped Saturday in the course of legislation in Afghanistan were found Sunday, said the chairman of the CIS...The Committee said Saturday that 14 people had been killed during the election, that the Taliban had vowed to disrupt. The governor of Kandahar province in the south, a stronghold of the Taliban, said he had survived the explosion of a bomb in his vehicle as he visited the polling stations. Seven members of Afghan security forces were killed in an attack by the Taliban near a polling station in northern Afghanistan. In Khost province (south), a bomb exploded in a school that served as a polling station, injuring three people, including two Afghan observers.

Afghans vote despite attacks; turnout appears low
KABUL (AP) — Despite Taliban rocket strikes and bombings, Afghans voted for a new parliament, the first election since a fraud-marred presidential ballot last year cast doubt on the legitimacy of the embattled government.

As officials tally votes over the next few days, the real test begins: Afghans will have to decide whether to accept the results as legitimate despite a modest turnout and early evidence of fraud.

Burma Excludes Thousands From Voting in Elections
Burma's military government says it will not open polling stations in several eastern border townships for the November elections.

Burma's election commission says voting has been cancelled in several townships in Kachin, Kayin, Mon and Shan states, as well as townships in the Wa self-administered region.

Voting News by Joyce McCloy.
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