Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Kloppenburg Files for Recount in Wisconsin

MN: Voter ID heads to vote -- or a ballot -

GOP backers of a plan to require photo IDs at the polls are considering an effort to seek a constitutional amendment if the bill is thwarted by a veto. The controversial voter ID bill is nearing a floor vote after months of hearings and while Gov. Mark Dayton said Tuesday he is willing to look at the bill, he added he is a "long ways from supporting it." But GOP legislators leaving the Capitol for an Easter break are touting the measure as one of their signature policy proposals of the session, explaining why some lawmakers are crafting legislation that could put it on the ballot in 2012. It faces strong opposition from groups who say it could hinder some Minnesotans from voting. The so-called "voter ID" bill would require registered voters to show Minnesota photo identification to vote and would eliminate vouching as a method for Election Day registration. Read More

NC: Is that ID on the up and up? -

There was a lively discussion on our letters blog today about the proposed Voter ID bill. Supporters of the measure simply can't understand why anyone would see a problem with requiring voters to show a photo ID at the polls. Joyce McCloy of the N.C. Coalition for Verified Voting didn't weigh in there, but she forwarded some email correspondence she's had with legislators. One question she asked was what mechanism the bill creates for election officials to verify whether the ID presented is legitimate. After all, the fake ID industry is thriving. Today, at the behest of Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, she received a reply from Kara A. McCraw, staff attorney and legislative analyst for the General Assembly's Research Division. It said: "HB 351 requires the voter to present a photo ID to the local election official assigned to check registration when the voter enters the voting enclosure. Voters are currently required to state their name and address, and HB 351 would add the additional requirement that the voter present one of the forms of photo ID listed in the statute. The bill does not address the issue of "fake" IDs, specify a verification process by the election official, or require other agencies to share databases for verification of IDs. So Ms. McCloy is correct that the bill does not include a system or funding for verification of the IDs, and as a result the remaining questions (computer system for ID verification, electronic pollbooks , cost of such a system, security, etc.) are not addressed in the bill. "In reviewing the laws of the other 8 states which require photo ID, none appear to have established a process or system to verify whether an ID is fake or not at the polling site. The challenge procedure in current NC law established under G.S. 163-87 for challenges on election day could still be used to challenge a voter on any of the grounds included in that statute, such as the person is not who they represent themselves to be, even if that voter has presented identification." What does this mean? For one thing, election workers will have a much tougher assignment without clear guidelines. Because many of us have driver's license photos of questionable quality, or that don't really resemble us, election officials might challenge more voters, which will trigger additional investigation and expense. Responsible election administration might demand that pollworkers undergo training in how to scrutinize IDs, much as bank tellers have to learn how to tell real currency from fake. Yet, they're also trying to keep voting lines moving. Read More

TN: Integrity of the ballot box is crucial - The Tennessean

If Rep. Debra Maggart is really concerned about voter fraud, she should work to implement the 2008 Tennessee Voter Confidence Act, requiring verifiable paper ballots. Without a paper trail, there is no chance of a meaningful recount in the event of close or questionable elections. Electronic voting machines can easily be hacked and election results changed without a trace. That real fraud cannot happen when there is a paper trail following. Instead, Maggart is working to pass legislation that will disenfranchise voters, such as requiring photo IDs to cast ballots, in the name of fighting fraud. But New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice commissioned a nationwide study into alleged voter fraud, and found it virtually doesn’t exist, including here in Tennessee. It found most cases of reported voter fraud were actually the result of human error, not an intent to mislead and cast an ineligible ballot. And in cases where actual irregularities were found, photo ID would not have stopped the fraud, as most happened in collusion with election officials. Read More

WI: Wisconsin Supreme Court challenger files for recount -

Charging that voting “anomalies” were “widespread,” the liberal challenger in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race filed papers Wednesday afternoon requesting a recount in the close election that has her trailing a conservative incumbent by less than 0.5 percent. JoAnne Kloppenburg arrived at the state Government Accountability Board’s office in Madison barely an hour before the 5 p.m. local time deadline by which she had to ask for a recount or concede defeat. According to the vote count finalized by the state last week, she trails Justice David Prosser by 7,316 votes out of nearly 1.5 million cast in the April 5 election. “Today, my campaign is asking the Government Accountability Board to conduct a statewide recount,” Kloppenburg said at a news conference. The announcement was met with applause and cheers of “thank you.” She’s requesting the recount “in part to determine what the proper outcome of the election will be and to ensure that elections form this point forward will be fair. Read More

WI: Wisconsin court race heads for recount - Reuters

Wisconsin's election oversight agency said on Wednesday that the challenger in the close race for a seat on the state Supreme Court has asked for a recount. The April 5 high court contest was widely seen as a referendum on the state's new Republican leadership and the curbs they have imposed on public sector collective bargaining, which drew national attention as other states weighed similar moves. In a statement, the Government Accountability Board said it was "prepared to move forward with a statewide recount of votes for Supreme Court Justice, as requested by the Kloppenburg campaign today." The announcement came just minutes before JoAnne Kloppenburg, who trails incumbent David Prosser by just 7,316 of the nearly 1.5 million votes in the closely watched race, was scheduled to hold a press conference in Madison outlining her plans. Wednesday was the deadline for her to request a recount. Read More

WI: Kloppenburg Files for Statewide 'Recount' in WI Supreme Court Election - BradBlog

Wisconsin's Asst. Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg has filed paperwork for a statewide, state-sponsored "recount" in the controversial April 5th State Supreme Court election. Speaking to supporters at a press conference moments ago in Madison, Kloppenburg pointed to a number of reported irregularities around the state, including in Waukesha County, as well as Racine and Milwaukee and a number of other areas, that led to her decision to ask for such a count. She also mentioned unusually high undervote rates in a number of areas that the campaign had examined. "I've asked for a recount to determine what the right count is, and also to preserve confidence in the electoral process," she said in response to a question from reporters. Kloppenburg stated that her campaign would be asking for a hand count of ballots in a number of districts, and will work with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.), the state's top election agency, to determine which areas should be hand counted. State recount procedures allow for a machine recount of paper ballots unless hand examination is ordered by a court. Referring to critics of such a post-election examination of results, Kloppenburg was unflinching in her response, saying they've called it "a drama and a circus. Actually, it's called American Democracy." During her remarks, she also called for a special investigator for controversial Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus, the focus of a number of anomalies that have appeared in election results since Election Night. "The recount will reveal if there were discrepancies in the Waukesha vote count, but going forward, an independent investigation needs to determine what the clerk did there and why," she explained, while pointing to a number of still-unanswered questions about post-election vote tallies in Waukesha, including why it is that "conservative bloggers" were told about those adjustments before they were announced publicly. Read More

WI: Waukesha County Vote Tallies are Correct, State Elections Review Finds - Port Washington-Saukville, WI Patch

State elections officials said today they found no errors in the Waukesha County Board of Canvassers' certified vote tallies in the state Supreme Court race. The votes reported by the county's approximately three dozen cities, villages and towns match the numbers sent by the Board of Canvassers to the state, according to a statement by the Government Accountability Board. State officials spent four days in Waukesha County reviewing the votes after Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus announced two days after the election that she had failed to include the entire City of Brookfield votes in her countywide tally on election night. The Brookfield votes, however, were detailed in a Brookfield Patch story posted on election night with information provided by the city clerk after the polls closed. Read More

WI: Waukesha canvass gets OK - JSOnline

The state's top election watchdog agency announced Tuesday that it has satisfied itself that results certified by Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus for the April 5 election are consistent with totals reported by municipalities, though "a few anomalies" were found in a four-day investigation. Those discrepancies involved only a handful of votes. "After completing the review of the election materials from Waukesha County, there were some discrepancies found in the Government Accountability Board's evaluation of the Waukesha County election returns that could not be explained based upon the documentation reviewed," the board staff said in a statement. "I am pleased that the Government Accountability Board has concluded that a correction of the canvass is not warranted due to the fact that they found no major discrepancies in our official canvass report," Nickolaus said in an email response. "I have been, and will continue to be, cooperative with the Government Accountability Board throughout this entire process." Although all 72 counties, including Waukesha, certified their results last week, state elections staff reviewed Nickolaus' records and interviewed Nickolaus. The investigation began after Nickolaus announced at a news conference two days after the election that she had erroneously given unofficial election night totals that did not include Brookfield's 14,315 votes. She said she had failed to save the vote totals on her computer, so they weren't tallied in an unofficial summary. The full Waukesha County results ended up reversing the reported outcome, putting incumbent Justice David Prosser more than 7,000 votes ahead of challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg, who initially appeared on top by 204 votes statewide. Read More

WI: If There Is A Wisconsin Recount, What Happens Next? - The UpTake

The election battle seen as a proxy between Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and foes of his anti-union legislation may end or open a new chapter today. Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate JoAnne Kloppenberg has until 5pm today to request a recount in her very close race with incumbent Supreme Court Justice David Prosser. While the margin is close enough for the state of Wisconsin to pay for the recount, Kloppenberg still has to decide if she wants to put herself through what could be several months of legal action and whether she and her supporters have enough money to pay the legal bills of the lawyers that will be needed in the fight. Legal fees for the 2009 US Senate recount in Minnesota ran close to $10 Million for each side and the principle lawyers from that fight have been retained by Kloppenberg and Prosser for this fight. Should Kloppenberg decide to press ahead you’ll see a process somewhat like Minnesota’s recounts, but with some significant differences. Most of the work of the recount happens at the county level. Wisconsin has 72 counties. Each county has a canvassing board that will recount the votes. Unlike Minnesota, not all of the votes will be counted by hand. Only non-scannable paper ballots will be counted by hand. Ballots that were originally counted by optical scanners, will be counted that way again. Should the recount go ahead, the Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board which oversees elections is planning to go to court tomorrow to clear out the memory on the optical scanners or to conduct a Statewide hand count of all ballots in the recount. It is possible that either campaign may request the data from the optical scanners be preserved, which would mean a hand recount. Read More


Australia: E-voting should be open source - ZDnet

A consortium of university computer science departments has warned the Federal Government that all future computerised voting systems should be made open source to ensure that no votes will be miscast. In a submission (PDF) to the House of Representatives review into the 2010 Federal Election, the Computing Research and Education Association of Australia (CORE) said that it is crucial, if Australia is to move to electronic voting, that the principles of privacy, integrity, transparency and scrutiny of the electoral system be upheld. "There is no more reason for a secret, unscrutinised electronic voting process than there is for any other secret process that injects votes into the tally without adequate scrutiny," the association said. "Scrutiny improves security because it allows problems to be identified and rectified." The association recommended that — to ensure that this happens — all source code, documentation, reports and physical security procedures should be made available to the public. It also absolutely vital that votes should be private and verifiable by the voters, CORE added. Read More

Egypt: Egyptian companies will provide technology for electronic voting: minister - Ahram Online

Maged Osman, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, today denied reports Egypt is seeking technological support from abroad to conduct electronic voting in the country's upcoming elections. He stressed that the Egyptian government and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has full confidence in the ability of local companies to carry out the task, but admitted there may be teething problems when applying the new methods. "The decision to use electronic voting is linked to the confidence of Egyptian society in this new kind of voting, the cost associated with technological solutions, election duration and the consequences of the logistics,” Osman explained. Osman will meet tomorrow with S Y Qureshi, the chairman of the Election Commission of India and other members of Qureshi's group. "This meeting with the Indian side will give the Egyptian government a chance to learn about the international experience of electronic voting," Osman said. "It's important to hear of the maturity of the Indian experience of voting and the many similarities between the Egyptian and Indian situations, particularly in terms of population and social levels. Read More

India: Web cameras will keep an eye on May 13 counting - The Times of India

In a bid to ensure fair and free counting on May 13, the Election Commission, for the first time, will instal high resolution web cameras over each counting table to capture images of the counting process including the final figures that will appear in the electronic voting machines. Chief electoral officer Praveen Kumar said web cameras would be used in the counting centres across the state. "We will be installing web cameras over each table where counting takes place", he told TOI. There are 234 counting centres across the state, including three in Chennai. He said installation of web camera ensures that there would be no malpractices during counting. Explaining the process, Praveen Kumar said election officials will also record the images during the movement of EVMs from the strong room to the counting centres. He said for the first time the EC has kept the EVMs in a strong room that is few meters away from the counting centre. "This will avoid long transportation time," he said. He said for the first time one election observer, deployed for each constituency, will also be monitoring the counting process. "We have asked for more observers," he said. On the security aspect, he said that paramilitary forces will be deployed during counting day. "In addition to this, special state police will be pressed into service on the same day", he added.
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