Thursday, March 10, 2011

Students can vote for now in NH, IN SoS White MIA?, Flaw revealed in Estonian Internet Voting

CA: San Francisco ranked-choice voting confusing, poll says - San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco is heading into its first competitive mayor's race using ranked-choice voting with a majority of voters who don't understand how the system works, according to a poll to be released today. Despite ranked-choice voting being introduced for Board of Supervisors races in 2004 and used in every city election since, 55 percent of respondents to a recent poll commissioned by the Chamber of Commerce said they didn't know whether their vote counted once their first-, second- or third-choice candidate had been eliminated. In that scenario, their vote would not affect the outcome of the race, although 29 percent of respondents thought that their vote would be counted. Only 15 percent of the respondents said that their vote would not be counted, according to the poll, which was conducted by David Binder Research and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points. Read More

FL: Florida’s Clemency Board Approves Secret Plan To Further Restrict Voting Rights In State With Troubled Voting History | American Civil Liberties Union

The Florida Board of Executive Clemency voted today to change its rules to require Floridians with past felony convictions to endure harsh mandatory waiting periods of up to seven years before being eligible to apply to have their civil rights, including their right to vote, reinstated. The unanimously approved change of clemency rules will potentially affect more than a million voters in Florida, a state which already has a troubling history of voter disenfranchisement. The new plan stands to harm communities where people with past criminal convictions are attempting to reenter society. The board did not make the proposal public until today’s hearing – providing copies of the 24-page plan to speakers and members of the media within minutes of the vote. The board voted unanimously to approve the plan even though some members publicly admitted they had not yet reviewed it. Read More

IN: Where is Secretary of State Charlie White? - WISH TV

Days after Secretary of State Charlie White was indicted for felony voter fraud charges, he was hard to find at his office. The door was open, the lights were on and coats hung on the rack White’s office. 24-Hour News 8 went there to talk to White, but he wasn’t there. His staff said they would not give out any information about where White was — only that every question had to go through White’s director of communications. “I understand you’re working on a story about Secretary White’s schedule. Secretary White is working at the Statehouse and the Indiana Government Center. Unfortunately, due to his schedule – which includes legislative matters, meetings and other agenda items – Secretary White will be unavailable for media interviews,” Jason Thomas, Director of Communications wrote in an e-mail. Read More

ME: Maine Lawmaker Presses for State Election Changes -

In Maine, the gubernatorial candidate who gets the most votes wins. So both Govs. John Baldacci and Paul LePage were able to win with just a plurality of votes. But a new legislative proposal would change the state Constitution to require that the victor carry more than 50 percent of the vote. "My personal feeling is that it's time for us to say we truly have a majority governor," says state Sen. Tom Saviello, a Republican of Wilton. Saviello told the Legislature's State and Local Government Committee that a majority governor would have a mandate to carry out their agenda. "I think you have a mandate with 50 plus 1, versus 25, 38, whatever it is," he said. "And if you're going to make significant changes to the system--and you can look at every one of those governors, they did make significant changes in their own ways." Saviello says he's been contemplating such an amendment to the state Constitution for years, and stressed that his bill had nothing to do with Gov. LePage, who won with about 39 percent of the vote. Read More

NH: New Hampshire college students can still vote in state, for now - Washington Post

A controversial move by New Hampshire Republicans to prohibit voting by many of the state's college students appears to be dead - at least for now. The measure gained national notice, thanks in part to a YouTube video of the state's new GOP House speaker declaring students "foolish" because they are "liberal" and "just vote their feelings." The sponsor of the measure went further in his denunciations of college students, declaring that they turn out in college towns on Election Day and cancel out other voters, motivated by a "dearth of experience and a plethora of the easy self-confidence that only ignorance and inexperience can produce." Read More

NH: Voting-Rights Victories Occur in NH, but Fight Is Not Yet Over - Campus Progress

A committee in New Hampshire voted down two bills last night that would have severely restricted students’ right to vote in the state. The New Hampshire Election Law Committee voted against both HB 223, which would end same-day registration, and HB 176, which would prohibit out of state students and members of the military from voting. The committee has not yet posted its vote tally online. But according to Melissa Bernardin, NH Political Director for America Votes who was in the room at the time, HB 223 was voted “inexpedient to legislate” by a unanimous 18-0 vote which means the legislation is effectively killed. The committee also held two votes on HB 176. The first would have temporarily held the bill for modification. This vote failed, 5-13, with the committee chairman and four other Republicans voting in favor. The second vote, which killed the legislation altogether, passed by a bipartisan vote of 13-5. However, several of the members who were convinced to vote against the current legislation were assured that this issue would still be addressed by the committee at a later point. Read More

NJ: Another day without a verdict in Atlantic City voter-fraud trial -

The jurors in the Atlantic City voter-fraud trial ended their second day of deliberations without a verdict Wednesday. Atlantic City Councilman Marty Small and five others marked four months since their trial began on allegations that they conspired to steal the 2009 Democratic primary for mayor. Six others are expected to stand trial in the case later this year. Questions jurors sent to Superior Court Judge Raymond Batten indicated they are trying to understand the lengthy instruction sheet that they were read earlier this week. The 151 pages took Batten more than a day to read. The jury asked for a copy of the list, known as a charging document, but the state and defense could not agree whether the jury should be given that list. Read More

NY: Elections Changes Could Be Costly | WBNG-TV

New election mandates are forcing local governments to scramble for equipment. Officials in Owego saw the cost of their March 15 local election will nearly triple because of the changes that are requiring local governments to begin using electronic voting machines. But while village coffers could feel the effects, voters aren't likely to notice -- At least not for another year. Mandates requiring local elections to start using electronic voting machines were delayed last week for at least another year by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Some new requirements, needed to prepare for the upcoming changes, however, take effect this year. Read More

TN: House Republicans Advance Bill To Kill Voter Confidence Act -

House Republicans advanced a bill on Tuesday abolishing the “Tennessee Voter Confidence Act.” Some county election offices, including Hamilton County, have said the act would require the purchase of expensive new voting equipment. They said the current equipment is working well. Election officials in Marshall County estimated the cost of new equipment would be $75,000. They said they had already switched voting equipment three times in the last 10 years. But House Democrats hit the new legislation. “This bill was passed in response to Congressional action years ago,” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner (D-Old Hickory). “They’re simply refusing to follow through on making voting in this state more accurate …. Unbelievable.” Read More

WI: State election officials works on ballots for troops and civilians overseas | Appleton Post Crescent

Wisconsin election officials are negotiating with the U.S. Justice Department to try to ensure that American troops and civilians overseas are able to vote in the November midterm election, a spokesman for the state Government Accountability Board said Wednesday. The discussion comes after the Defense Department's denial Friday of the state's request for a waiver of a new law requiring ballots be sent to Wisconsin voters abroad 45 days before the Nov. 2 election. The state Government Accountability Board sought the exemption, saying there was no way the state could comply because of the Sept. 14 primary. Read More


Estonia: Student Finds Flaw in E-Voting, Seeks Nullification of Result - ERR

A university student claims to have found a fatal flaw in the online election software that could make it possible for a virus to block certain candidates without the voter ever knowing that tampering had occurred. "Those who are operating the system have unfortunately not done their work well as they have not explained these risks to the electoral committee and candidates," said Paavo Pihelgas, a student at the University of Tartu, who has sent the election committee a complaint seeking nullification of the election result. Pihelgas - who has no evidence that any intrusions occurred, only a potential security hole - said he started poring over the system earlier this year looking for flaws after hearing project manager Tarvi Martens say on TV that e-elections were more secure than old-fashioned paper voting. Read More

India: EC Appoints about 1000 Observers for Assemblies Elections

The Election Commission today held a briefing for about 1000 Observers who are being appointed for the General Elections to the Legislative Assemblies of Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamilnadu and West Bengal. These senior Officers drawn from All India Services were addressed by the Chief Election Commissioner Dr. S.Y. Quraishi and Election Commissioners Sh. V.S.Sampath and Sh. H.S. Brahma. The CEC drew the attention of the Observers to their crucial role in the conduct of elections, specially their vigilance and executive functions. Dr Quraishi complimented the Observers for having contributed to free and fair elections every time, and for being instrumental in rooting out evils like booth capturing and muscle power. Highlighting the total independence of the Election Commission, the CEC said, this has been possible due to the founders of the constitution and the unwavering support from judiciary, politicians, civil servants, the media and above all the people of India. Dr Quraishi underlined that election management in India has become an example for the world and several countries now wish to learn skills from ECI. Election Commissioners, Shri Sampath and Shri Brahma pointed out the specific areas that the Observers should be careful about while doing their duties in the elections. Officials of the Commission provided details of rules, regulation, ground situation, and the range of responsibilities that the Observers have to perform. Read More

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