Sunday, November 7, 2010

CA has 1 M uncounted mail ballots. AK to hand count write ins. CT gets bad advice

Alaska to hand count 83,000 write-in votes...CA still has est 1-1.4 Million mail ballots to count....Newspaper-Listening to voting vendor, suggests unsafe sophisticated voting system to Connecticut...ES&S apologizes to Alabama probate judges for problems arising when ES&S sent pencils instead of pens to polling places...Georgia’s Tammy Adkins Becomes the New Alvin Greene...Mississippi's dis-functional elections...Hand recount called in a NY Assembly Seat..Recount sought in Texas 27th CD-can it be done?

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

AL: Marking pens to return for future elections in Etowah County*
Voters who didn’t like using pencils to mark their ballots Tuesday will be pleased to know pens will return for the 2012 elections, according to Etowah County Probate Judge Bobby Junkins.

Junkins said Friday that Election Systems and Software, the election supplies vendor, included pencils in supply packets because of a shortage of pens.
Junkins said the pencils were not “as sensitive” as the pens and that resulted in more spoiled ballots. Some machines also rejected the pencil-marked ballots and voters had to remark their ballots, which took time.
[some states that have ES&S optical scanners mark ballots with black Bic stick pens which cost under $4.00 a dozen]

AK: Murkowski account to help pay for vote count
The legal fight will shift next week to Juneau, where more than 83,000 write-in ballots -- most, presumably, for Murkowski -- must be counted by hand. The write-in vote total is ahead of Miller's by 13,439 votes. More than 37,800 absentee, early and questioned ballots remain to be counted as well, beginning Tuesday.

AK: "GOP'S MILLER SAYS SPELLING SHOULD COUNT IN ALASKA VOTE" However, the WSJ article writes that "On Friday, [Division of Elections Director] Ms. Fenumiai pointed to two previous Alaska cases in which ballots were counted for a candidate when voter intent was clear, even if the ballot wasn't filled out correctly."

AZ: Changes needed so early voting works properly
Far too many voters, both here in Yuma County and throughout the state, are not returning their early ballots early, as intended. Instead, they turn them in at the polling places on Election Day.

That is a big problem because they have to be counted separately and it can delay final results for days.

CA: Elections officials: Ballot-counting takes time

As of Friday, 1.9 million ballots remained to be counted in California, including more than 1.4 million vote-by-mail ballots and another 451,056 provisional ballots.

CA: Cooley's lead in attorney general widens Sunday The lead in the attorney general’s race has see-sawed between the two candidates since election night, and with considerably more than 1 million ballots remaining to count, could easily reverse again.

CA: Registrar: Mail-in ballots counted (Riverside County) 2,000 damaged, 28,800 provisional ballots remain

Nearly 2,000 ballots that were damaged had to be duplicated and were expected to be counted by early today.

CA: Voters complain about vote-by-mail ballots* (absentee by mail)
One Oceano voter said she showed up to cast her ballot yesterday, only to be told she was registered to vote by mail instead of at the polls.

She says she saw others there with the same problem and that they were given special ballots called provisional ballots

CO: Kathleen Curry Wins Lawsuit Over Counting Write-in Votes

On November 5, a Colorado state district court ruled that votes for write-in candidates in which the voter forgot, or didn’t know, to also fill in the oval next to the write-in line should be counted.
As a result of the ruling, there will be such a human-eye count. It is possible the Secretary of State will appeal this decision to the State Supreme Court, however.

CT: Toward an end to long lines at the polls, miscounts and other election fouls

..."The time is now for Internet voting. Seventy-seven percent of us have Internet access, and the figure is constantly climbing. Those who don't have it at home can either access it at work or a library...
Paul Degregorio, former chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, is convinced that Internet voting can and should be used in more elections."

CT: Bridgeport Newspaper up too late? Listening to voting vendor, suggests unsafe sophisticated voting system to Connecticut
And where does the paper go for unbiased information?

Degregorio is director of elections for Every Vote Counts, a California-based Internet voting firm.

As CTVotersCount readers are aware, computer scientists, security experts, and voting integrity advocates have long opposed Internet voting based on the theoretical impossibility of making it safe...

CT: Lawmakers will try to fix ballot problem in Conn.
Connecticut lawmakers are mulling over potential changes to state election law in the wake of last week's ballot shortage in Bridgeport that led to confusion over who won the governor's race.

FL: Ten years later, infamous 2000 election ballot recount still defines Palm Beach County to many

FL: Palm Beach County faces ever-increasing glare - but is that fair?

GA: Georgia’s Tammy Adkins Becomes the New Alvin Greene ATLANTA, GA – Georgia’s unverifiable statewide voting equipment has just produced results remarkably similar to the infamous Alvin Greene victory during the June, U.S. Senate primary in South Carolina.

In the November 2010, non-partisan, Georgia Supreme Court election, Tammy Adkins won a run-off spot against incumbent David Nahmias by garnering 36% of the vote compared to 48% for the incumbent and 16% for the primary challenger, Matt Wilson. That may sound normal until realizing that the run-off challenger was a virtual recluse.

Tammy Adkins, a family lawyer, did not campaign, did not have a web site, did not accept donations, did not respond to surveys, did not advertise, had no published profile, did not register phone or Email contact data and refused all media requests.

GA: Ga. Supreme Court race headed for runoff
But Lawrenceville lawyer Tamela Adkins managed to land a spot in the runoff by getting 35 percent — more than 725,000 votes — without launching any visible campaign.
Adkins, 47, finished third in a 2008 Court of Appeals race with the backing of several prominent attorneys. But this time around she skipped campaign events, rarely talked to the media and didn’t set up a website.

GUAM: GEC recounts ballots today: Decision unanimous; certification awaits results

MN: Hennepin County Ballot Security Press Conference. Video from the Uptake

MS: Voting: Really no excuses for foulups* In Madison County, there were long waits at some polling places because there weren't enough voting machines.

In Ridgeland, the wrong list of registered voters was sent to a polling place, requiring voters to return later if they wanted to vote. Some who did return found only one of three voting machines operational.

In Hinds County, arguments among a divided Election Commission created a public display of dysfunction. Electricity went out at one polling place, requiring voting by paper ballot by flashlight.

In Rankin County, party designations were not listed in voting machines, a problem written off as a "snafu."

NC: Editorial - Though unintentional, ballot mix-up hurt the democratic process
Whoever was responsible for making sure the precinct judges got the correct ballots did not do his or her job. But beyond that, who trained the judges? Shouldn’t they have known which candidates should be on the ballot? And shouldn’t they have checked the paper ballots before opening the doors?

NC: Election results could change (Richmond County)
Meanwhile, it appears the state’s pilot Instant Run-Off Voting program may have confused some voters, further necessitating a recount of Browder Park’s 890 votes.
County elections officials expressed concern the new voting method could confuse voters, which did bear out on election day by ballots being returned to voters as over-votes.

“If not all, I can say that the majority of over-votes were in the Court of Appeals judicial race,” Kelly said Friday.

Following an over-vote, the voter was asked whether they wanted to keep the ballot with the error or fill out a new ballot.

This process was interrupted at Browder Park, however, when voting equipment malfunctioned and 19 votes had to be hand-counted as well as some stored in an auxiliary machine that didn’t count the vote right away.

NY: UPDATE: After Losquadro Claims 892-Vote Lead for Assembly Seat, Alessi Calls for Hand Recount (Suffolk County)
Democratic incumbent Assemblyman Marc Alessi says he's never seen such wide margins between Election Day and recanvassing — a manual check of voting machines.

NY: New York House Race Up for Grabs After Vote Error Found*

Board of Elections Commissioner Wayne Rogers told the Associated Press the original numbers came in by telephone on election night and "must have been transcribed incorrectly" and fed into the computer system as figures were relayed through the system by intermediaries. The error turned up in a routine check of voting machine memory cards.

NY: Error in tally upends NY congressional election*
A congressional election on eastern Long Island that had appeared to end in victory for a four-term Democrat, U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop, is now up for grabs after authorities discovered they had misreported the result of the vote.
A routine check of voting machine memory cards showed that instead of leading by about 3,500 votes, Bishop was trailing Republican challenger Randy Altschuler by a little less than 400.
Bishop spokesman Jon Schneider called for all ballots to be recounted by hand to confirm the accuracy of the tally.

NY: Machine snafu inconveniences early voters
Election 2010  
 ‘Emergency’ ballots cast by voters at Center and Cobbetts Lane firehouses Although the polls opened at 6 a.m. as scheduled, voters in election districts 1 and 2 were not able to use new voting machines until about 8:45 a.m.

Two of the machines, which the Suffolk County Board of Elections designates for a specific polling place, were delivered to the wrong firehouses...

NY: Voting machine audit
Monroe County used nearly 800 of the new optical scanner voting machines this week and state law requires that three-percent -- or 24 machines -- be audited.

PA: Voting machines malfunction on Election Day*
About 20 touch-screen voting machines malfunctioned during Tuesday's general election, but Washington County's elections director said no incorrect votes resulted from the glitch.
Bob Woeber, a judge of elections at Peters precinct C-1, St. Benedict the Abbot Church, said the error was reported on two machines at that polling place, and both units were immediately taken out of service.

Woeber said if a voter tried to cast a straight-party Republican ticket, the next screen would come up with all the Democratic candidates checked.
But Elections Director Larry Spahr said the problem happened on machines in other precincts in both ways, when either party's straight-party vote was touched. He said machines at precincts in Union, Chartiers and Smith townships were among those affected. He said other precinct officials also reported that when voters on the affected machines tried to vote a straight-party ticket, the touch screen would begin "jumping" back and forth to the next page, or that they had difficulty getting to the vote summary screen.

PA: Recalibration Required On Voting Machines During Election
State’s Machines Do Not Print Out Vote Verification For Potential Recount

Poll workers across Pennsylvania had to deal with touch-screen voting machine “recalibration” on Election Day.

Officials in Cumberland, Lawrence and Lebanon Counties said problems were all addressed, and voting was able to resume, though in some cases on different machines.

SD: Codington County officials frustrated by glitch with ballots* (ballot print prob)
WATERTOWN — Codington County officials say small white lines that showed up on some election ballots caused headaches on Tuesday.
Election workers resorted to using black markers to cover the white lines. The operation took only about half an hour, but Brugman says it was frustrating.

TN: Glitch results in wrong election results* ($ subscription required) The errors that have plagued the November McMinn County elections have resulted in a reversal of fortune for two Calhoun City Commission candidates and has an Athens City Council candidate challenging the mayor to a coin toss.

TX: Ortiz calls for manual recount of ballots
U.S. Rep. Solomon Ortiz, trailing Republican challenger Blake Farenthold by 792 votes in the race for Texas’ 27th Congressional District, officially announced in a written statement late Friday afternoon that he would seek a manual recount, citing what he called “numerous voting irregularities.”


Immigrant Voter Fraud Fears Didn't Materialize


UK: Labour MP Phil Woolas loses seat over election lies Phil Woolas, the former immigration minister, has been thrown out of Parliament and the Labour Party after breaking electoral law by making up damaging allegations about his main general election opponent.
The result of the election in Oldham and Saddleworth — which Mr Woolas won by just 103 votes — had been challenged by Elwyn Watkins, the defeated Liberal Democrat who accused the MP of exploiting racial tensions in the area by falsely claiming Mr Watkins was courting Islamic extremists.

UK: Ex-con Tory in revolt over voting rights for prisoners David Cameron was under growing pressure last night to scrap his decision to give prisoners the vote after former Cabinet Minister Jonathan Aitken – once sentenced to 18 months’ jail for perjury – joined a Tory revolt over the issue.

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