Thursday, February 10, 2011

Oscar eschews Internet voting; vote by mail proposed in CO; St. Paul, MN begins IRV preparations

Around the nation, the photo ID debate rages on. St. Paul, Minnesota begins a voter education effort following the City Council's approval of new rules for instant runoff voting. The Colorado Legislature is considering legislation to establish a uniform vote by mail system in state elections, and the Massachusetts House orders a new election for a vacant seat following a tie vote in the November election.

All this and more in today's Voting News. (Note: tonight's edition contains several stories we missed in the past week. Thanks to our readers for continuing to provide news tips - please send your suggestions to

CA: Registrar of voters heads to Riverside | heads, registrar, riverside - Victorville Daily Press

San Bernardino County is losing its top elections official to neighboring Riverside County. Read More

CA: In San Francisco, finishing third means you can win | Ken Garcia | Columnists | San Francisco Examiner

The San Francisco mayor race is looking a lot like Bay to Breakers — plenty of entrants, many characters and a few professional runners.

Yet given that the winner will be decided by the chaotic and confusing system called ranked-choice voting for the first time, the theme of the campaign is becoming clearer. Read More

CO: Saguache vote count never finalized - Colorado Springs Conservative |

Feb. 6: While Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers claims that the Nov. 2 election was conducted “with the highest integrity,” the facts known in the case from eyewitness testimony and video surveillance continue to tell a different tale. Read More

CO: House bill proposes mail-only ballots for all state elections - The Denver Post

A House committee today will consider a bill proposing dramatic changes to the way Coloradans cast their votes.

House Bill 1131 would require all elections in the state to be conducted by mail ballots only, replacing the traditional polling places in a move that advocates say would save millions of dollars across Colorado. Read More

CO: Editorial: All-mail revue for Colorado elections - The Denver Post

A legislative proposal to formally move the state to mail ballots is a good-government measure that would save money and align election practices with the wishes of a growing segment of voters.

Frankly, it wouldn't be a change for many, since some 70 percent of the state's active voters already have signed themselves up to get ballots in the mail.

And for those who still want that on-site voting experience or have a disability that requires such, House Bill 1131 provides for service centers where people can vote in person. Read More

DC: Instant Runoff Voting: Does It Make Sense? - DCist

Last night, interim At-Large Councilmember and special election candidate Sekou Biddle won the endorsement of D.C. for Democracy, a progressive activism group. That's the short version of the story: the long version involves a complex system of instant runoff voting, which some think is a better method of determining an election winner. Read More

FL: FBI: Buddy Johnson committed no federal crime - St. Petersburg Times

But the federal government, which investigated both matters, says Johnson committed no federal crime, according to a statement released this week by the FBI. Read More

HI: Ballot Access News » Blog Archive » Hawaii Bills for Instant Runoff Voting in Special Elections

Bills have been introduced in both houses of the Hawaii legislature to provide that special elections should be conducted using Instant Runoff Voting. The House bill, HB 638, was to have had a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on February 1, but that hearing has been postponed to February 15. The identical Senate bill, SB 667, doesn’t have a hearing date yet. Read More

IA: Le Mars Daily Sentinel: Local News: Voter photo ID requirement may prove costly (02/10/11)

"If it costs too much, I'm not interested in (passing the bill)," Feenstra said. "I do think there's got to be some basic education with the public on the new way of doing it -- that you need an ID and also how easy it would be to get an ID. But if that cost is exorbitant, I mean over $1 million, then we've got to look into something else."

Stacey Feldman, Plymouth County Auditor, will be attending an Iowa State Association of County Auditors (ISACA) meeting in Des Moines Friday to discuss the bill.

IN: No voting centers for Vigo until at least 2012, clerk says » News » News From Terre Haute, Indiana

New state legislation will allow counties to establish vote centers on Election Day, however, Vigo County voters should not expect changes, if any, until 2012, said Vigo County Clerk Patricia Mansard. Read More

KS: County clerk testifies for new voter registration law

Seward County Clerk Stacia Long testifies before a subcommittee in Topeka on behelf of a new law proposed by Secretary of State Kris Kobach as Seward County Deputy Elections clerk Crystal Clemens listens. The new law is designed to deter voter registration fraud. Photo from YouTube. to see video, click here.

KS: Kansas House hears concerns on voter ID bill -

Mott was one of several Kansans who spoke out against Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s idea to require more identification at the polls. The NAACP, ACLU, National Organization for Women, League of Women Voters and advocates for the blind told lawmakers that, while a voter ID bill might root out a few illegally cast ballots, it could pose problems for many more legal voters. Read More

KS: Opponents of voter ID bill testify it would disenfranchise thousands | Wichitopekington | Wichita Eagle Blogs

Kevin Myles, president of the Wichita and state branches of the NAACP, said the proposal by Secretary of State Kris Kobach would put potential voters in a position where they would probably decline to register rather than provide the citizenship documents that would be required under the bill. Read More

MA: New election ordered for tied sixth Worcester house race - Waltham, Massachusetts - Wicked Local Waltham

“Upon final examination of all available evidence, the special committee concludes that the election is a tie vote and that there was a failure to elect a Representative for the Sixth Worcester District,” according to the panel’s report. The panel members recommended that “the Speaker issue a precept giving notice that there was a failure to elect for the Sixth Worcester District and appointing a time for an election.” Read More

MD: Yes to voter ID

Opponents of voter ID requirements argue that having to possess and produce identification would tend to disenfranchise some voter groups, such as the elderly, the poor or immigrants.

While there may be something to that, there are ways to mitigate that concern. Afzali's bill permits those who do not have a valid voter photo ID to get one from the state at no charge. Read More

MD: Second Opinion: Phantom menace - Baltimore Sun opinion and editorial board debates on politics and other issues -

Genuine voter fraud where someone knowingly uses a false identity is uncommon not because the existing system can’t be breached by an enterprising crook (photo IDs can be faked, too, incidentally) but because the risk is not worth the puny reward. The crime is a felony punishable by prison time. But more to the point, all that effort and danger secures the perpetrator just one extra vote. Even in the closest of national, statewide or even citywide elections, it would an army of highly motivated evil-doers to even hope to sway the results by a hair. Read More

MN: Editorial: Spendy voter technology provision unnecessary - | News, Sports, Jobs, Community Info. - Marshall Independent

State and county election officials work every year to avoid fraud and make the voting process as efficient and as smooth as possible, but no system is perfect and no election goes off without a hitch here or there. Still, it's hardly worth spending thousands of dollars on technology to fix a problem that barely exists (election officials have said the electronic poll books would run about $800 apiece. If each precinct needed its own poll book it would cost Lyon County more than $26,000. Read More

MN: St. Paul shapes new voting system |

City Council President Kathy Lantry wasn't supportive of ranked-choice voting, but wants to ensure it's done right. "I don't think it's hard, but it's different so people need to know what it looks like at the polls," she said.

Supporters say ranked-choice voting, also known as instant-runoff, is a way to get a winner with majority backing, no matter how many candidates are running. Proponents say it allows people to vote for their favorite candidate without fear of helping to elect their least favorite. A voter can rank several candidates, with lower choices counting only if that voter's first pick is cast out. Read More

NE: Probe sought into voter fraud -

Douglas County election officials turned over information Wednesday to law enforcement about five alleged cases of voter fraud from the Jan. 25 recall election, as well as the November 2010 general election. Read More

NY: Elections officials: County not set up for instantaneous results - Utica, NY - The Observer-Dispatch, Utica, New York

The Oneida County Board of Elections is not set up to produce accurate, instantaneous results from the state’s electronic voting machines, county elections commissioners told the county Internal Affairs Committee Wednesday night. Read More

TN: The Expositor - Sparta Tennessee > News > Contested Senate race reviewed Feb. 10

A state senate committee will begin reviewing the contested re-election of Senator Charlotte Burks on Feb. 10, 2011, as the group looks into the challenge filed by Republican Gary Steakley.

Steakley, a native of Cookeville, lost his bid for 15th District State Senator by less than 200 votes during the Nov. 2, 2010, election. He officially filed a contest of election with the state. The documentation reportedly claimed voting machines had been tampered with and therefore affected the outcome of the race.
Read More

WA: Added ballots fail to change outcomes in Valley elections | Yakima Herald-Republic

Additional ballot counting Wednesday failed to change the initial results of Yakima's strong-mayor proposal. Read More

WI: Voter ID bill sparks concerns | | Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune

A proposal that would require Wisconsin voters to present identification before casting their ballots could hurt eligible voters, local officials say. Read More


One-third of overseas voters still disenfranchised, study finds -- Government Computer News

New requirements for the delivery of ballots to military and overseas voters led to modest improvements in participation in the 2010 election, but a post-election survey by the Overseas Vote Foundation found that many absentee voters remain effectively disenfranchised. Read More

Report: One-third of overseas voters couldn’t cast a ballot last fall - News - Stripes

Nearly one-third of overseas voters surveyed by a voting rights advocacy group could not cast a ballot in last November’s election, but officials say that’s actually an improvement from previous election cycles. Read More

Internet Voting Watch

Oscar Ballots Mailed, Tom Sherak Talks: Online Ballots, Franco and Hathaway, Top Ten, Date Move - Thompson on Hollywood

Feb. 3: But the Oscars are a fat juicy target. “I’ve yet to be convinced that you couldn’t find someone to hack into it,” Sherak says. “Nobody has said to me, ‘you can’t get in.’ The Academy is as pure as the driven snow.” Until Sherak is convinced that no one could influence the voting by hacking into an online voting system, he’s sticking with paper ballots. It’s safer. “They can hack into the Pentagon!” he says. “The chances of getting online ballots are slim to none.” Read More


Estonia: Launch of Electronic Identity for Mobile Phone Use

The mobile-ID can also be used for electronic voting in elections. To do so, it is required to have a mobile-ID SIM card with PIN codes and certificates, a computer with Internet connection and a mobile phone. Read More

Ghana: Political parties call for some electoral reforms ::: Breaking News | News in Ghana | elections

Party Chairman Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey however told Joy News they are not happy the EC has ruled out the application of an electronic voting system for the 2012 elections. Read More

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