Monday, April 18, 2011

Prosser opposes "frivolous" recount

CO: Gessler says Saguache election not certified - Center Post Dispatch

Three Saguache residents met with Secretary of State Scott Gessler and his staff in Denver last week for an update on Gessler’s lawsuit against Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers and to discuss election-related issues. Former commissioner’s candidate, Republican Steve Carlson, Democrat Lisa Cyriacks, who served on the Saguache Canvass Board and Library District proponent Judy Page, also Aspen vote integrity advocate Marilyn Marks, met with Gessler for over two hours. In the course of conversation, Marks asked Gessler if the Saguache County election was ever certified, a question Gessler declined to answer at the town hall meeting held last month. Gessler told the group that the local election has not been certified but that for various reasons, no certification was necessary. Now citizens are wondering when the election contest period began and if it has ended yet, another question Gessler sidestepped at the March town hall meeting. Marks said that attorneys are currently discussing the implications of Gessler’s remark. Read More

NY: Why paper-ballot vote is best - The Observer

In the article headlined "New voting process a step backward" (March 19), the writer queries: "With the technology available, why not use a touch-screen computer? Really, who made this decision?" I did, along with the other people who showed up at a trade fair graciously hosted by Fredonia Place at 50 Howard St, Fredonia, on Dec. 6, 2006 in cooperation with the Chautauqua County Board of Elections. The fair had been publicized by The OBSERVER on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2006. Everyone who showed up had an opportunity to use the twelve or so different models on exhibit and assess each one with a rating sheet. The Election Commissioners tabulated these results and took them onward to the New York State Board of Elections. I personally rated most highly the paper-ballot counting model which has become standard throughout New York State since 2009. I voted in Miami-Dade County in November 2000 and subsequently formally trained as a Democratic Party Ballot Recount Inspector. My service was aborted when the Florida Supreme Court stopped the recount just before Thanksgiving Day. In a subsequent meeting with the Miami-Dade County Board of Elections staff at North Miami Beach City Hall in January 2001, I opposed their enthusiasm for computerized voting machines because of my long experience with computers. My experience is that computers are subject to unpredictable counting errors as well as breakdowns. The federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 requires paper ballots in U.S. elections. This Act did not finally come into effect in New York State until 2009. The reason for paper ballots is to permit a recount when an election is contested. Mechanical voting machines register votes only by upward ratcheting of a dial. Election inspectors read the dials at the close of voting. If a dial jams unknownst to the voter, that vote is lost. Read More

SC: Bipartisan support for paper trail voting in South Carolina -

It’s no secret that opposing political parties frequently disagree. But when it comes to voting machines currently used in their state, South Carolina Democrats and Republicans unite in demand for improvement. Distrust in the use of electronic voting machines is noted in the 2011 resolutions of both state parties. Both call for changes to include verification, if not complete replacement, by paper records. The Abbeville County Republican Party forwarded a resolution, recently passed at its county convention, to the state GOP calling for an end to use of all types of voting machines in the state, and recommending “use (of) paper ballots exclusively from this point forward(.)” This resolution will be voted on at the SCGOP 2011 convention, scheduled for May 7 in Columbia. Resolutions of the state Democratic Party will include similar terms, according to Susan Smith, a Georgetown County representative to the SCDP’s Executive Committee. A member of its subcommittee on resolutions, Smith says a 2011 resolution will call for a paper trail verification of votes. SCDP delegates will vote on all resolutions at its April 30 state convention. Read More

SD: Secretary of State announces appointments to Board of Elections - Radio 1380

South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant announced today the appointments of new and returning members of the South Dakota Board of Elections. Rapid City attorney and former state legislator Linda Lea M. Viken was re-appointed to the State Board of Elections by Senator Jason Frerichs (D – Wilmot). Viken has served on the Board of Elections since 1999, and is currently one of the longest serving members of the panel. Newly appointed to the board by Speaker of the House Val Rausch was Deuel County Auditor Pam Lynde. Lynde has been Deuel County Auditor for 16 years and was recently elected to her 5th term as Auditor. Prior to serving as Auditor, Lynde was the finance officer for the City of Clear Lake. Chaired by Secretary Gant, the South Dakota Board of Elections has four primary functions under state law. The board has rule-making authority to promulgate administrative rules dealing with aspects of election conduct. The board makes recommendations to the Secretary of State regarding desirable election law changes. The board is charged with resolving complaints filed under the Help America Vote Act. And the board certifies automated ballot tabulating systems before they may be used in South Dakota. Read More

TN: GOP majority revising state elections - Knoxville News Sentinel

Mandating photo identification for voting is just one part of a reshaping of Tennessee election laws by the Legislature's Republican majority that also includes resolution of a three-year dispute over installing new voting machines statewide. In a compromise last week, Republicans backed off of bills to repeal outright the Voter Confidence Act of 2008, which mandated use of $37 million in federal funds to place machines providing a paper trail for ballots in all 95 Tennessee counties. The compromise, approved as an amendment to SB1202 by the Senate State and Local Government Committee, basically allows each county election commission to decide when, and if, current machines will be replaced. State Election Coordinator Mark Goins said the federal funding can be held for use as needed - perhaps for the next 10 years. Dick Williams, chairman of Common Cause in Tennessee and longtime advocate of paper trail ballots, called the move "a friendly amendment to an unfriendly bill by a friendly sponsor," the latter being Sen. Ken Yager, R-Harriman. Read More

WA: Pierce County's polls are closed, scanners sent packing - The News Tribune

There’ll be no last hurrah for Pierce County’s optical-scanner voting machines. No red-white-and-blue farewell to the last traditional polling places in Washington. No one-last-chance for 85-year-old Erika Cranmer of Lakewood to exercise the democracy she cherishes so by helping conduct an election at her neighborhood polling place; nor for 90-year-old Morry Kenton of Gig Harbor to make his 70th in-person trip to a traditional voting station. We all knew the Legislature approved statewide all-mail voting last month, forcing Pierce County – the only holdout – to fall in line with the state’s other 38 counties. Close your polls, legislators said. All-mail elections are more cost-effective. Gov. Chris Gregoire signed Senate Bill 5124 into law two weeks ago, making Washington the second state behind its southern neighbor to implement vote-by-mail. Read More

WI: Prosser urges against a "frivolous" recount -

Wisconsin Supreme Court justice David Prosser said Monday that he’s won a “decisive” victory in his race for a 10-year term on the court and that a request from his opponent for a state-funded recount would be “frivolous.” “The result of the election is not in doubt,” the conservative judge said Monday at a press conference in the state capitol in Madison, referring to the tight margin by which he leads challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg. “A funny thing happened to me on the way to my concession speech: The people of Wisconsin told me to tear it up and go back to work.” Prosser declared victory on Friday after the state released final vote totals that put him up by 7,316 votes out of nearly 1.5 million cast. Kloppenburg has until the end of the day Wednesday to decide whether she will request a recount. Her campaign said Monday that she hasn’t made a decision yet, the Associated Press reported. Prosser’s attorney Jim Troupis warned against a recount, saying the campaign “will take every and any step to prevent this frivolous matter going forward.” And a spokesman for Prosser, Brian Schimming, said the justice notched “a strong enough win” that for Kloppenburg “to ask for a recount in any form will be enormously costly to the voters of this state.” Schimming also cautioned that there is “no evidence there to suggest that a recount is going to change the outcome.” Read More

WV: Voting machines: Costly, risky contracts - Charleston Gazette

Sometimes, it seems that government has lost its capacity to run elections. Consider the double-edged sword of electronic voting machines: In some ways, new optical scan or touch-screen machines are more convenient. They certainly tabulate faster than former machines or humans counting paper ballots. They're also expensive. In 2005, then-Secretary of State Betty Ireland entered West Virginia into a single-source contract with Election Systems & Software. Whether counties choose touch-screen or optical scan machines, all 55 must buy their equipment, paper and other supplies and pay regular programming and maintenance fees to ES&S. Not surprisingly, the price of a single-source, no-bid contract is pretty high. Kanawha County Clerk Vera McCormick estimates future maintenance costs of Kanawha's machines will be at least $66,000 a year. That's not counting programming fees. Read More


India: Election Commission gives in on paper-trails in EVMs? - Real Time News India

After coming under fire from transparency activists, including Anna Hazare, the Election Commission of India seems to have given in to the demand for paper-backed election instead of purely electronic recording of votes. The Election Commission had come under fire after Hari Prasad, an activist was arrested for securing an EVM from Mumbai in his efforts to prove that the machines can be compromised. Several political parties, including the main opposition, BJP, have been requesting for paper trail EVMs which would make it difficult for the stored 'vote values' to be manipulated after the votes are cast and the EVMs are under safe-keeping. For example, the Kerala elections were over on April 13, but the EVMs will be opened only on May 13. In a new statement, the Election Commission said it has discussed the possibility of introducing paper trails -- which act as a back-up in case of disputes -- into the EVM system. Read More

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