Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Can Internet Voting withstand public test? Can S. Carolina 'count on machines?'

DC allowed a public test of their internet voting system and shut it down after computer scientists took over the system. Other states that allow email or internet balloting for overseas voters should see if their systems can withstand a public test too..Sarasota FL's controversial Election Sup Kathy Dent may not run again...India e-voting researcher Hari Prasad is 1 of the winners of 2010 EFF Pioneer award...Afghanistan tosses out thousands of votes..866-OUR-VOTE wants volunteers...

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

*Editor's correction. I mis-spelled Illinois Green Party Gubernatorial Candidate's name in Sunday's voting news. Unfortunately I can't blame the voting vendor. The correct spelling is Rich WhitNey, not Whitley.

AL: Official: 71 voters received ‘bad’ ballots
http://www.sandmountainreporter.com/news/local/article_f7864c5e-daf7-11df-bd53-001cc4c03286.html Mistakes on absentee ballots may cause citizens to cast the wrong vote...On Oct. 9, a letter was sent to the 71 voters explaining the mistake along with a new, corrected ballot. Those voters are asked to fill out the entire “good” ballot and return both the “bad” and the “good” ballots.

AR: Voting Machines Cause Problems In Benton County*
BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Those who vote early will likely come across electronic voting machines, but those machines were the source a major problem that could have seriously affected the election schedule in Benton County.
They all need a device called a PEB, or a personal electronic ballot in order to work correctly. They’re used to test voting machines before Election Day to make sure there aren’t any errors with their programming.
But just a few days ago, Benton County officials realized those PEBs hadn’t come in the mail yet, and they might not be ready for early voting, which started on Monday.

CA: Fresno Co. candidate levels voting rights charges
Fresno County cuts polling sites in half
The county is reducing the number of precincts from 405 in June to 205 next month because of budget cuts,

CO: Black-box issue sheds light

CT: Vote With a Click?
Candidates for Secretary of the State say they want to make voting easier, perhaps online. http://westport.patch.com/articles/vote-with-a-click-2
"Because elections must be free of the possibility of fraud, every method of voting must have a "paper trail", where, even if initially tabulated by a computer, there is still an actual paper ballot to examine if there is a question of fraud," Farrell said in the Patch Voter Guide.

DC: Flaws in D.C.'s online voting system should serve as a warning to all states*
Verified Voting, a nonprofit that works to ensure reliable elections, called the District's experiment "a visceral demonstration of just how serious the threats really are." (cross posted in Internet Voting Watch)

FL: Elections supervisor Kathy Dent may not run again
Dent has had a challenging fall. She was criticized for allegedly influencing a county charter review board candidate to not seek a recount in an August primary that was decided by just 151 votes. The candidate, Kathy Bolam, has since sued Dent.

Then weeks later Dent drew the ire of Democrats and some Republican candidates for unexpectedly moving up the day to send out absentee ballots to voters with little notice to candidates.
Dent is no stranger to criticism. In 2006 she was a frequent target and was ultimately sued because of the hotly contested congressional race that had 18,000 undervotes and made Sarasota County a national symbol for problems with touch-screen voting systems.


GUAM: Overseas Service Members Can Email or Download Absentee Ballot for Delegate Race http://www.pacificnewscenter.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8693:election-commission-files-&catid=45:guam-news&Itemid=156

IL: Handful of Illinois counties miss military ballot deadline, GOP threatens lawsuit

IL: Ballots will be fixed to read 'Whitney' instead of 'Whitey' *
http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2010/10/ballots-will-be-fixed-to-read-whitney-instead-of-whitey.html Chicago election officials say crews will work overtime to reprogram thousands of electronic voting machines that mistakenly list a gubernatorial candidate's name as "Rich Whitey" instead of Rich Whitney.

Chicago elections board chairman Langdon Neal said 530 machines being used for early voting and an additional 4,200 destined for the Nov. 2 election will be reprogrammed and retested.

IL: It’s Expensive to Fix ‘Rich Whitey’ on Chicago Ballots*
A computer programmer’s glitch left the Chicago Board of Elections with an embarrassing ballot problem — and a big headache to get it fixed.

Early voters in Chicago found that Green Party candidate for governor, Rich Whitney, appeared as “R. Whitey” on the electronic voting machine’s screen that asked them to review all the candidates they had picked before pressing a button to cast their ballot.
Now the board has to reprogram and test some 4,200 voting machines in the 1,400 precincts. The effort is expected to cost tens of thousands of dollars, a sum that Election Board spokesman Jim Allen says the board will try to recover from the the company that set up the machines, Dominion Voting Systems.

KS: Another error found on ballot*
4344c1776149232.txt http://tinyurl.com/35ea48d In resetting the electronic voting machines recently to correct a minor omission from the ballot for the Nov. 2 general election, the Cowley County clerk’s office lost some of its earlier work, including the italics on a key portion of a special question.

MA: Supreme Court rejects Massachusetts felons' voting rights challenge
Three Massachusetts felons alleged that the commonwealth violated the Voting Rights Act when it passed a referendum stripping incarcerated felons of the right to vote.

NY: More Widespread Voting Machine Problems

NY: Constantia town judge candidate cancels voter registration after story reveals he lives in the wrong county http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2010/10/constantia_town_judge_candidat.html
Felice, a private investigator who says aliens rescued him from the Pacific Ocean
30 years ago, will remain on the ballot as the Democratic candidate for Constantia town judge, Wart said. State law requires only that on Election Day a candidate live in the district that includes the seat for which he’s running, Wart said.

NY: State extends overseas absentee-ballot deadline

NV: Univision shuts down 'Don't Vote' ad
The Spanish-language network Univision has refused to air an ad from a GOP-led Hispanic group telling Hispanic voters to sit out the race between Sharron Angle and Harry Reid.

OH: OE making sure your absentee ballot counts
But these workers could use your help too. As of today, more than 400 absentee ballots are in the challenged pile because they lack the correct information, which means they won't be counted unless their fixed

SC: Can we count on machines?
Electronic voting is easy, but critics question accuracy
South Carolina election officials insist the machines voters will use Nov. 2 will give an accurate tally, but a growing number of people are less sure.
"A lot of people have said we've had no problems, but no one can say we've had no problems because no one knows what the truth really was," Buell said.

SC: DOJ Vows To Protect Voters Rights To Cast Election Ballots

TX: Tea Party Group Accused of Voter Intimidation in Houston Early Voting
In a story that’s sure to draw comparisons to the New Black Panther Party member who brandished a nightstick at a Philadelphia polling place in 2008, a Tea Party group called the King Street Patriots has been accused of “1960s style” voter intimidation in primarily minority precincts on the first day of early voting in Texas.

TX: Democrats Sue Houston Area Tea Party Group (complaint linked)
http://www.texastribune.org/texas-politics/texas-political-news/democrats-sue-houston-area-tea-party-group/ The Texas Democratic Party added its name today to the list of parties suing the King Street Patriots for offenses connected to their pre-election activities in Harris County.

TX: Some Harris County early voters upset by poll watchers
Complaints coming mainly from minority precincts

VA: Va. Beach to forgo use of laptops at polls Nov. 2
Hampered by delays, defective batteries and too little room for storing and testing the machines, the city's board of elections decided to forgo electronic poll books this year.
Virginia Beach ordered 300 laptops in July 2009 but received only 236 working units, Harrington said. The most recent shipment of 121 computers included 18 that had to be returned because of battery problems or other hardware defects

Internet Voting Watch

Canada: Voting "hiccup" in Cobourgz8 *
COBOURG — A problem with one of 13 voting computer servers operated by Intelivote affected Internet and telephone municipal voting for about five minutes in Cobourg shortly after 10 a.m. Monday, Oct. 18, says company president Dean Smith.

The Nova Scotian company is handling municipal election voting at this time for 34 Ontario municipalities including Cobourg, Smith said in an interview. Monday was Cobourg's first day.

What happened to people attempting to use their PIN (personal identification number) to vote when the system "shut down" about 10:11 a.m. was to "spit them out:" with a message either stating on the computer screen or over the telephone that they were "experiencing technical problems" and to try again, he said. Attempting again would put them onto one of the other dozen servers and they could proceed to vote, Smith said.

DC: Flaws in D.C.'s online voting system should serve as a warning to all states*
Verified Voting, a nonprofit that works to ensure reliable elections, called the District's experiment "a visceral demonstration of just how serious the threats really are."
D.C. officials shouldn't be embarrassed, because their willingness to have a public test is an important wake-up call about the potential dangers of Internet voting. States rushing to implement online voting should pause, lest they put the nation's elections at risk.


India e-voting researcher Hari Prasad is 1 of the winners of 2010 EFF Pioneer award

Public Citizen Unveils Database to Track Record Amounts of Secret Money Being Funneled Into November Elections http://www.citizen.org/Page.aspx?pid=4542

10 years after Bush v. Gore, new concerns about voting

Electoral Coup d'Etats

The Risk of Voter Suppression
Are election fraud watchdogs crossing the line?

Americans still have time to vote


Online Ballots Can Help Overseas Votes Count
http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=61332 For anxious voters, an alternative to mailed ballots is a few mouse-clicks away. New York and Illinois ballots -- and those of 29 other states -- are available online at the voting assistance program’s website, http://www.fvap.gov.

STARS & STRIPES Guest Column They protect democracy. Let's protect their votes

Military and Overseas Voters Are Still Routinely Disenfranchised (Guest Voice)

ABC NEWS Absentee Ballots Mailed Late to Overseas Voters
Federal Government Cracking Down on States that Miss Ballot Deadlines

Election Protection is the country’s largest non-partisan coalition that includes the 866-OUR-VOTE and 888-Ve-Y-Vota national voter hotline, as well as a field program in critical locations. Volunteers must attend in-person a brief training session and are asked to sign up for a several hour shift. Volunteers are particularly needed for the first shift as most problems occur in the early morning. Materials will be provided. To volunteer, please sign-up directly at


WashPo: Felon voting rights expanded in 23 states


Afghanistan: Afghanistan tosses out thousands of votes amid fraud probe
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-afghanistan-vote-fraud-20101019,0,3296354.story Ballots from 10% of the nation's voting centers have been nullified as widespread complaints of vote irregularities are investigated. Preliminary results may be delayed again.

Canada: Chris Vander Doelen: Mail-in chaos
Did I sign my ballot?

India: Plea questioning reliability of voting machines dismissed

India: Why it is necessary to make ‘Paper Trail’ work for India’s EVMs?
The choice before the ECI is not whether the paper trail is feasible or not. The real question is how to make Indian elections transparent and verifiable. In my opinion, that ought to have been the terms of reference for the Expert Committee examining the “feasibility” of introducing voter verified paper audit trail.

Sweden: Hacking Sweden's election with pen and paper
While most people use pre-printed ballot papers to vote with, the country's election law dictates that you're allowed to write your vote out by hand, and one person appears to have attempted to take advantage of this, to use an SQL injection to destroy the database.

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