Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The High Cost of High Tech Voting, AG Investigates Seguache Co. CO election, Touchscreen Voting Targetted in SC

CO: Saguache County election fraud case goes to a grand jury | Colorado Independent

A major dispute over a flawed election in south-central Colorado is going to a state grand jury. Subpoenas are being handed down to officials in Saguache County, where the incumbent county clerk and county commissioner initially lost on Nov. 2 only to see the results reversed three days later. Clerk Melinda Myers, who stands accused of more than 30 misdemeanors in the handling of her own election, has been ordered to testify before the grand jury on April 28 at the Denver City and County building. Other officials involved in the election also have been subpoenaed to explain what happened. After unofficial results showed Myers lost to Republican challenger Carla Gomez by 15 votes and fellow Democrat Linda Joseph was beaten by Republican challenger Stephen Carlson , Myers announced a software glitch had deleted absentee and early voting tallies from a largely Democratic precinct that includes Crestone. After re-running the ballots through an optical scanner on Nov. 5, Myers declared she edged out Gomez by just over 40 votes and Joseph defeated Carlson by 9 votes. Voters have been up in arms ever since. Read More

CO: Attorney General investigating Saguache County November 2010 election – The Crestone Eagle

The aftermath of accusations against the Saguache County Clerk for the handling of the 2010 election has many people wondering what happened. Now the Colorado State Attorney General has gotten involved to sort it out. In an attempt to understand what happened in the Saguache County 2010 election, the Secretary of State (S.O.S.) sent Division of Election representatives to investigate in November. Election laws and regulations are lengthy and can be confusing, so the Division of Elections was created in the S.O.S. office to provide experts for the election process. After issuing a report in December that summarized their take on the Saguache 2010 election, the S.O.S. has remained publicly silent. Complaints that were filed by individuals with the District Attorney, were, due to a possible conflict of interest, bumped up to the next level, to the Attorney General’s office. The Attorney General has initiated an ongoing investigation into the claims. Read More

FL: No compromise on felons’ rights after Bondi meets with ACLU, NAACP | Palm Beach Post

Attorney General Pam Bondi is not backing away from her proposal to do away with Florida’s limited automatic restoration of rights for nonviolent felons after meeting with civil rights advocates today. But she did say she supported uncoupling current employment restrictions that prevent convicted felons from getting certain occupational licenses unless their civil rights are restored, a lengthy process that could get even more cumbersome if Bondi gets her way. ACLU of Florida executive director Howard Simon and Dale Landry, vice president of NAACP Florida conference, met with Bondi for about an hour to discuss proposed clemency rule changes among other things. The meeting was friendly, Simon said, but Bondi refused to budge on her desire to force felons to wait three to five years to apply to have their rights restored. Read More

KS: Commentary: Kobach needs to produce voter fraud evidence -

Having persuaded 83 members of the Kansas House last week that the state has a serious problem with fraudulent voters, Secretary of State Kris Kobach now moves his crusade to the Senate. Before the Senate joins the House in requiring a photo ID to vote and proof of citizenship to register for the first time, senators at least should demand better evidence of voter fraud than Kobach has turned up so far. As a candidate last fall, Kobach cited the case of someone who had died in 1996 yet voted in August. But The Eagle found the Wichitan to be very much alive (“I don’t think this is heaven, not when I’m raking leaves,” the man said). Then to sell House Bill 2067, Kobach gave House lawmakers a list of “Known Reported Incidents of Election Crimes, 1997-2010.” But as described in Tuesday’s Eagle, the local incidents look more like honest mistakes than voter fraud — ballot applications signed by well-meaning relatives, mail-in ballots with signatures that didn’t match those on file, a parent trying to vote for a student off at college — and, in the end, the ballots went uncounted. One case that Kobach’s list termed “election bribery” isn’t a crime (paying someone in 2006 to transport voters to the polls). Read More

ME: Bill would require Maine voters to show photo ID | Sun Journal

Maine for years has made voting as easy and convenient as possible. But casting ballots could soon become harder for some people under a proposal to require voters to present photo identification at the polls. Supporters say requiring photo IDs is prudent to safeguard the state's election system. Twenty-seven other states have laws requiring voters to have identification to cast ballots. But critics say the bill creates a barrier to voting — particularly for the elderly, young voters, the handicapped and homeless people. The law isn't needed because Maine doesn't have a voter fraud problem, said Shenna Bellows, executive director of the Maine Civil Liberties Union. Read More

MD: The High Cost of High-Tech Voting - SAVE our Votes

This year, as in the past two years, a bill is making its way through Maryland's General Assembly that would delay the purchase of a new voting system until 2016. While the intention behind it is to save money, the legislation (SB21 and HB174) would accomplish exactly the opposite. At a 2009 hearing on a previous version of the bill, the Maryland Association of Election Officials (MAEO) turned out in full force, protesting that they couldn't afford to pay for a new voting system while they were still paying off the purchase loan on the current one. One election official from a small county testified that his county already was paying $50,000 and they could not afford to pay any more. "Does that include operating expenses?" asked a senator on the Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee hearing the bill. The man said that he didn't know. The senator then questioned the second election official on the panel, who admitted that he had no idea what his county was currently paying. Read More

NY: Cuomo bill doubles time for absentee ballots - The Queens Courier

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a bill that will amend New York’s Public Officers Law allowing officials enough time to finalize voting ballots of overseas military during special elections in compliance with federal law. All voters in the 26th Congressional District, a district for the United States House of Representatives, have the opportunity to cast legal ballots in special elections, an election held to fill a political office that has become vacant between regularly scheduled elections. The current law states that special elections are held 30 and 40 days from their announcement. Cuomo’s measure would double the length to 70 and 80 days. Read More

NY: DA says no election crimes committed in Putnam Co. 2010 election - Herald Citizen

"The integrity of the election was never compromised and the election results were valid in all respects." That is the conclusion of District Attorney Randy York about alleged irregularities in the Nov. 4, 2010, election. The DA has notified the Putnam Election Commission in writing of his findings, telling Election Administrator Debbie Steidl that his investigation found no "intent to violate the law" and no wrongdoing that would be "proper to prosecute." The election commission had asked York to investigate allegations that seals on voting machines had been broken and that some candidates or their representatives had improperly re-entered polling places after having voted. Read More

SC: Voting machines targeted | The Post and Courier

A day after engineering a "historic" vote by his fellow James Island Public Service District commissioners, Eugene Platt set his sights on a larger goal. Platt on Tuesday urged James Island Town Council to adopt a resolution calling for South Carolina to replace its electronic touch-screen voting machines. The iVotronic machines, Platt contends, have many problems and voters have little confidence in vote counts they produce. He told council the JIPSD was the first elected body in the state to urge replacement of the machines, and the town could become the first municipality to do so. "I hope you will do something similar and start and statewide trend and get the attention of the state legislature," Platt said. There was no immediate response from council members or Mayor Bill Woolsey. On Monday, the PSD commission gave unanimous approval to a resolution on "restoring voter confidence in elections." The resolution cites the machines' inability to produce "a paper trail that could facilitate unequivocal confirmation of election results." The commissioners on Monday heard from Frank Heindel of Mount Pleasant, who said he used the Freedom of Information Act to uncover numerous issues with the voting machines in the 2010 elections. With only a few counties scrutinized, Heindel said he documented a 10 percent "over vote" in Colleton County; 1,100 votes not counted in Richland County; and "19,000 missing digital ballot images in Charleston County." Read More

SC: Voting process must be simple and transparent | Charleston City Paper

For months, South Carolina's touchscreen voting machines have been the subject of ugly rumor and speculation. But it was only that — rumor and speculation. There were many anecdotal accounts of people pressing one name on the screen and another name lighting up. And, of course, there was the still unexplained business last June of Alvin Greene's stunning victory in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary. Through it all, the State Election Commission has defended its machines, repeatedly claiming that not one vote was ever lost or miscounted. There was no way to refute that claim until now. A group of citizens, in association with the S.C. League of Women Voters, has conducted an audit of Richland County voting machine results from last November, and the numbers don't lie. According to the LWV, more than 1,000 votes from various precincts were missing from the certified totals in November's General Election. Elsewhere in the county, the detailed vote image file did not provide confirmation for the 1,362 votes that were certified. Read More

TX: House committee takes up voter ID |

A controversial voter ID bill is up for consideration Tuesday by the House Select Committee on Voter Identification and Voter Fraud. The Republican-backed legislation would require Texans to present a photo ID before voting. House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, created this new committee after Gov. Rick Perry designated the issue an emergency at the beginning of the session. That designation would allow the bill to move quickly in the first 60 days of the session through the process to becoming law. The Texas Senate 19-11 approved the bill now before House members after around 40 amendments were offered among six hours of debate. "We're going to make sure anyone voting in the state of Texas when they show up at the polls they're going to have to be able to show who they are with a photo ID," said Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, the bill's sponsor. Read More


Bangladesh: E-voting in next general election -

The Election Commission has taken steps to introduce electronic voting system in the next parliamentary elections using local technology. Election commissioner Muhammad Sakhawat Hussain on Tuesday told that the commission had decided to launch e-voting in every constituency or as much as possible in the next general election to ensure free and fair polls. "As a preliminary step, BUET and BMTF have been asked to assess the feasibility of the project," he said. Election commissioners, working with a team from the Institute of Information and Communication Technology (IICT) of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), have already visited the Bangladesh Machine Tools Factory (BMTF) to launch the project. About their visit to the BMTF on Feb 14, the election commissioner said the IICT of BUET will provide programmes and supplementary equipment for electronic voting machines (EVMs), while the BMTF will provide assistance in making a portable structure of EVMs. Read More

Pakistan: ‘Electoral reforms needed before next elections’ – The Express Tribune

Scores of lawmakers, representatives of civil society and media persons stressed the need of electoral reforms before the next general elections. These reforms need to be aimed at empowering the masses, especially women. They expressed these views at a roundtable conference organised by the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT) on “Election Laws (Amendment) Bill 2011” in Islamabad on Tuesday. Majority of the participants felt that holding free, fair and transparent elections is not possible in the absence of effective electoral laws. >Deputy Chairman Senate, Mir Jan Muhammad Jamali, presided over the conference and said election rules should be made more stringent. Federal Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Babar Awan, said the parliament would consider all suggestions to improve the draft before approving it for review. Read More

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