Friday, January 14, 2011

Internet voting debated on Canadian editorial pages; UT discusses voter registration modernization; voter ID bill moves in SC

There are several noteworthy Internet voting stories today. In Canada, two opinion pieces demonstrate increasing knowledge of the challenges of Internet voting: the Vancouver Sun acknowledges the security and ballot-anonymity issues and concludes that both Internet voting and the successful resolution of its challenges are inevitable; in the Globe and Mail, journalist Robert Matas notes the same complexities and points to the ambiguous data on the effect that Internet voting has had upon voter turnout. The European Consortium for Political Research has issued a call for papers on Internet voting for a panel to be held at its August 2011 conference.

In other news, voter ID advances in South Carolina Senate committee; and in California, Indiana, Michigan, Louisiana, and West Virginia, election costs spur discussion of diverse solutions including precinct consolidation, vote by mail, and vote centers.

All this and more in today's Voting News below.

AK: AP Interview: Miller would back election law shift: AP Alaska |

Joe Miller said he would support a voter intent standard in Alaska election law so long as the state no longer has discretion to determine which votes should count. Read More

Senator Ted Gaines, R—Roseville, today announced that he has introduced a bill that will help cut the cost of special elections in smaller California counties. Senate Bill 109 will give counties with populations under 400,000 the option to hold solely vote-by-mail elections in situations where a special election is called. Read More

CA: Placer County facing $3.25 million in special election costs this year - Granite Bay

The price tag for elections is sky-high in Placer County in 2011.

Estimates are that as many as four special elections could take place before the start of summer and cost the county nearly $3.25 million.

County Clerk-Registrar of Voters Jim McCauley pays the bills when an election occurs in Placer County. This year, with one special election for state Senate District 1 already on the books and costing $600,000 to $650,000, three more could be in the offing for voters by the end of the spring. Read More

CT: The Republican-American Reassurance on state voting

Last week, in one of her first official acts, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, Connecticut's chief elections official, convened a panel to study Connecticut's voting system and recommend changes if necessary. Ms. Merrill's decision to convene this forum was a direct result of the chaos surrounding voting in Bridgeport during the election last Nov. 2. Read More

DC: 3 special elections loom in D.C. - Washington Times

An unusual turn of events means D.C. voters will hit the polls for an unprecedented three special elections this spring, but the consequences run beyond who wins or loses in the three races.

In play as well are the cost of the elections, the failure of Mayor Vincent C. Gray to nominate a third member to the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics (BOEE) and whom Republicans will field as candidates. Read More

IL: Candidates to face ballot challenges » Local News » The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

A late summer change to Illinois election law has caught some Vermilion County village clerks off guard and will cause some municipalities to have no candidates listed on their ballots in the April 5 consolidated election. Read More

IN: Vote centers offer state large savings | | Palladium-Item

Three Indiana counties -- Tippecanoe, Wayne and Cass -- have used vote centers, including early and satellite voting, over the course of the last three election cycles. This pilot program authorized by the General Assembly was an experiment to test whether vote centers in Indiana are feasible. Read More

LA: Eliminating special elections could save millions, La. secretary of state says | | The Town Talk

Louisiana could save millions of dollars by getting rid of special elections, Secretary of State Tom Schedler said Wednesday in Alexandria. Read More

MD: 2010's best and worst awards, Part II

State officials scrub new $20 million "paper trail" voting machines, but approve $200 million for 15,000 new slot machines. Read More

MI: Election consolidation, participation urged by officials - News - Source Newspapers

"These off-year elections virtually guarantee a low voter turnout and a city council elected by 11 percent of the voters," Smith said.

He's looking to change that - and he's not alone. The Sterling Heights City Council on Jan. 4 continued to urge legislators to mandate that school board elections take place on the even- or odd-year November date, and that election dates be limited to August or November. Read More

MN: Voters to decide on ranked-choice in 2012 referendum | The Republican Eagle | Red Wing, Minnesota

Voters -- not elected officials -- should decide whether to overhaul Red Wing's traditional election system in favor of ranked-choice voting, the City Council determined Monday. Read More

MN: House Republicans announce push for voter ID |

Barely a week into the legislative session, House Republicans introduced a plan Thursday that is likely to draw battle lines with the DFL minority – requiring photo identification for Minnesota’s voters. Read More

OH: Board of Elections further debates potentially fraudulent ballots in Ohio race |

The Board of Elections has indicated that they have considered each ballot and done intensive investigations into the matter, and they are now left with about 145 - 200 ballots that are still in question regarding their validity for various reasons. Read More

OH: Hamilton County Vote Counting Decision Likely to Be Appealed - :: Cincinnati news story :: LOCAL 12 WKRC-TV in Cincinnati

An appeal of a decision to whether to recount votes for a Hamilton County Court judge race will likely be filed.

The razor thin battle for the seat is still not decided more that two months after election day. Republican John Williams leads Democrat Tracy Hunter by 23 votes. A federal judge has ordered the board to count several hundred disputed votes which would likely give the race to Hunter. But the Ohio Supreme Court has ordered them not to. Read More

OH: Decision coming in judge race

The Hamilton County Board of Elections remains split about what to do about juvenile court judge race between John Williams and Tracie Hunter that should have been decided in November. Read More

OH: Watch elections board -- The Blade ~ Toledo Ohio

Ohio's new secretary of state, Republican Jon Husted, told The Blade editorial board during last year's campaign that he would monitor the activities of the Lucas County Board of Elections - one of the most dysfunctional parts of the dysfunctional county government. Read More

OH: Lucas County elections board yields provisional ballot data in commissioner race-- The Blade ~ Toledo Ohio

The Lucas County Board of Elections opted Thursday in a unanimous vote not to appeal a judge's order to turn over documents relating to more than 4,000 provisional ballots that were pivotal in Lucas County's board of commissioners race. Read More

OK: Election change | Tulsa World

As with the current system, the new machines will use a paper ballot, which the voter will mark and feed into an optical scanner. Such a system offers not only the speed of an electronic count, but the reliability of a paper ballot for election challenges.

For disabled voters, the new system will feature a new way of voting independently and privately at polling places, replacing a vote-by-phone method in the current system. Read More

SC: WCIV-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Charleston, SC - SC House panel advances voter ID

A judiciary panel advanced the bill Thursday on a party-line 3-2 vote. The meeting initially set for Tuesday was rescheduled after icy road conditions caused the first day of session to be delayed. Read More

TX: Ballot Access News » Blog Archive » U.S. Supreme Court Wants Texas Democratic Party to Respond in Voting Machine Case

On January 13, the U.S. Supreme Court requested the Texas Democratic Party to file a response in Dallas County v Texas Democratic Party, 10-755. Read More

UT: Utah Leads the Way in Voter Registration Modernization

Utah has been active in recent years in improving its voter registration system. The bipartisan Governor's Commission on Strengthening Utah's Democracy recommended last year that Utah repeal its current voter registration deadlines and institute Election Day registration and also recommended that the Lieutenant Governor's Office, which is in charge of election administration, use information submitted to other government agencies (such as driver’s licensing offices and public benefits agencies) to automatically register eligible voters and/or to update the voters’ records. The Commission also encouraged the state to implement online registration, which it has since done, to great success. Read More

UT: Utah To Modernize Voter Registration Statewide | Gov Monitor

The Pew Center on the States and the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics are hosting a conference Friday to discuss Pew’s partnership with the state to modernize voter registration in Utah. Read More

VA: Montgomery Co. registrar, electoral board called to Richmond on complaint -

State officials have summoned Montgomery County’s electoral board and registrar of elections to Richmond to address a voter’s demand that they be removed from office for incompetence.

The directive from the State Board of Elections went out about the same time the Montgomery County League of Women Voters announced it found "a history of mistakes" by local election officials and predicted more problems at the November General Election without changes. Read More

VA: Christiansburg delegate targets voting problems -

Nutter said that confidence was shaken by decisions that Montgomery County election officials made when they encountered problems with new electronic poll books in the November elections. The poll books are used to check in voters and confirm their registration and address information. Read More

WA: Whatcom County political party officers dislike court ruling on elections - Local News -

Whatcom County Auditor Shirley Forslof says a recent federal court ruling on the state's primary system could simplify primary election ballots for voters and election officials, if it means removing party precinct officials from those ballots.

But the leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties in Whatcom County agree: Direct election of those grass-roots party activists is healthy for the political system. Read More

WV: Loaf of bread and a vote? Super precincts may be future of elections » Columns » Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

County Clerk Verlin Moye said that the latest round of precinct consolidations can save the county up to $6,000 per election. If this had been done last year, the county could have saved about $24,000. In these times of tight finances for governments and citizens, that’s not a bad thing. Read More

WY: Laramie Boomerang | Laramie, Wyoming

A Senate committee has endorsed a proposed bill that would allow voters in certain elections to mail in their ballots. Read More

Internet Voting Watch

Canada: Surrey Leader - COLUMN: Computers and council

Surrey council will be meeting Monday to discuss the possibility of web- and telephone-based voting in municipal elections.

This is a welcome step forward. We use our computers to do many things in this era, from managing our bank accounts to checking out competing prices at various retailers. It is logical and sensible to examine whether computer-based voting can be set up in a safe, secure and efficient manner. If it can, it will likely save a considerable sum as well. Read More

Canada: Online voting problematic but compelling

As with Internet banking, the issues holding back Internet voting will be overcome. The advantages are too compelling to ignore. Until then, however, we need to tread carefully while still getting ready for the change we know is coming. Read More

Canada: Crosscheck - The Globe and Mail

On the issue of voter turnout, the research was inconclusive. The United Kingdom has not consistently noted increases in turnout in elections where online voting was an option, although Estonia and Geneva have.

In Canada, the results have also been mixed. Markham, Ont., was the first municipality in the country to introduce electronic voting in a bid to increase turnout. The option was available on a trial basis, for advance polls only. The turnout at advanced polls in Markham’s municipal election in 2003 rose significantly, but the overall turnout remained unchanged.

Similarly, online voting in advance polls had no noticeable effect on turnout in Peterborough, Ont., in 2006. However, more people voted in a municipal by-election in Halifax in 2009 that offered online voting. The research so far shows the political leaders may need more than online voting to bring people back into the democratic process. Read More

Panel Details - ECPR Reykjavik 2011 - The European Consortium for Political Research - ECPR General Conferences

[via Election Updates] This panel aims at bringing together the most recent papers on internet voting and its effects on politics. We would like to attract papers that have a strong theoretical background and are empirically measuring to what extent the introduction of internet based voting affects modern, liberal democracy. Read More

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