Thursday, April 7, 2011

Wisconsin Recount, Internet Voting rejected in Australia, Pilot Program in Switzerland

CO: Saguache County clerk tells court ballots should be kept secret, even from state - The Denver Post

Voted ballots should be kept secret, secure and off-limits for public inspection — even if the person asking is Colorado's top election official, the Saguache County clerk and recorder has argued in a court filing. Melinda Myers said Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler doesn't have the authority to conduct a "hand review" of voted ballots from the county's 2010 general election. Allowing such a review "would violate the confidentiality historically afforded a voted ballot in Colorado," Saguache County attorney Benjamin Gibbons wrote in response to a lawsuit filed against Myers by Gessler's office last month. Gessler had planned for his staff to publicly inspect ballots from the election, which was riddled with so many problems that the Colorado attorney general's office has launched a criminal investigation. Less than two days before the scheduled inspection, however, Myers told Gessler that she wouldn't hand over the ballots without a court order. The case has opened a new debate over whether ballots should be available for public review in Colorado. Read More

CO: Voters say no to ranked voting | The Coloradoan

Fort Collins voters are not interested in changing how the city runs its elections. Voters on Tuesday rejected a ballot proposal that would have had the city adopt a ranked-choice voting system in municipal elections designed to ensure that winning candidates enjoy the support of a majority of those casting ballots. The proposal, which was endorsed by several local politicians and political organizations, fell well short of getting a majority of support, failing with 38.63 percent of voters in favor and 61.37 percent opposed. Supporters gathered at office space rented by Fort Collins Ranked Voting on Tuesday evening appeared somewhat stunned by the results and the wide margin of defeat. But Eric Fried, an organizer with the campaign, said supporters might come back in two years and try again. Change takes time, he said. Read More

IL: Your vote cost about $10 in Rockford and Winnebago County - Rockford Register Star

A single vote Tuesday cost taxpayers about $10 in Rockford and Winnebago County. That’s roughly the price of a movie ticket and, thanks to low voter turnout, substantially higher than the cost per vote of previous elections dating back to at least 1987. Election costs include judges’ pay, polling place rental, truck rental, equipment, publications, support service and other miscellaneous expenses. “No matter what the turnout, good, bad or otherwise, we still have the expense to pay for all the extras that go along with the election,” said Winnebago County Clerk Margie Mullins. The cost per vote Tuesday was about $10.49 in Rockford, where 12,521 ballots were cast. Voter turnout was just 14.5 percent in the city. The election cost an estimated $131,300. The cost per vote was $9.89 in Winnebago County, which recorded 10,392 ballots cast in an election that cost roughly $103,000. Compare that with the November 2008 presidential election, when Winnebago County voters cast 67,591 ballots. Despite the higher costs of that election, about $261,000, each vote cost about $3.86. Voter turnout was 11.13 percent Tuesday in Winnebago County. No previous April consolidated election, dating back to at least 1987, had less than 14 percent turnout. The county clerk’s office had records available Wednesday that date back to 1987; older data is stored at an off-site facility. Read More

IL: Electronic voting machines still down as polls close in Hinsdale - Burr Ridge Suburban Life

Election judges at KLM Lodge in Hinsdale decided to stick with paper ballots after electronic touch screen voting failed to work this morning. Election judge Mary Marchese said other polling places in Hinsdale were experiencing the same problem throughout the day. According to Marchese, the machine wasn’t taking the card given to voters and the screen went blank. “We’ve used it in the past and never had a problem,” Marchese said. Election judge Bud Abate said that two technologists had come out and were going to send another machine but he and the other election judges decided to stick with the paper ballots. “It’s not something that’s going to get in our way,” he said. While voting was slow before 2 p.m., Abate said that it picked up in the later evening hours. “We are getting a much higher rate of voters,” he said.

IN: Judge to decide White's status Thursday - WISH.TV

A Marion County judge will decide Thursday if Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White’s election was unqualified to have his name on the ballot last November. Indiana Democrats have sued, seeking to have White removed from his post and replaced by Democrat Vop Osili, who lost to White in November’s election. Attorneys for the Democrats went to court Wednesday to argue that White lied on his voter registration form and therefore was ineligible to run for secretary of state. White’s attorney, Jim Bopp, argued that White met requirements to be on the ballot because he was registered to vote. There is no requirement to be "legally" registered, he said. When asked if he was trying to win on a technicality, Bopp said: "Well, technicalities are what the law's about." The Democrats’ attorney Karen Celestino-Horseman balked at Bopp’s argument. "There is no other case in law that I'm aware of where anyone's held that you can satisfy a legal requirement by taking illegal action," she said. White, who has been indicted on seven felony counts, including voter fraud, did not attend Wednesday’s hearing. Read More
Further Analysis Here

NM: Duran won't release forms in probe of voter fraud - The Santa Fe New Mexican

Secretary of State Dianna Duran made a startling announcement last month during a legislative hearing on whether voters should be required to show photo identification at the polls. Duran said in cross-checking voter registrations with a state Motor Vehicle Division database, her office had found 117 foreign nationals who had registered to vote. All listed Social Security numbers on their voter registrations that didn't match up with their names. What's more, Duran said, at least 37 of those people had actually voted in state elections. So who are these people who might have committed voter fraud? The secretary of state won't say. Read More

NC: Voter ID bill moves to House Appropriations Committee -

A lot of statistics are being presented and there's still a lot of confusion about how necessary the voter ID bill is and whether it would make voting difficult for some. But that hasn't stopped Republicans from pushing the bill through. Wednesday afternoon the back and forth between right and left continued in committee. "Basically this bill is going to put out a bunch of little old ladies over a false claim of fraud," said Representative Deborah Ross, Democrat Wake County. "We are trying to increase the requirements to ensure people are who they say they are when they vote," Republican Representative Ric Killian of Mecklenburg County said. There was talk of compromise on the bill. Two weeks ago one of the bill's sponsors told ABC11 Eyewitness News student IDs and utility bills would be considered valid forms of identification at the polls. However, Wednesday ABC11 learned from another sponsor that they've gone back to the original bill. Read More

SC: House rejects early voting, pushes ID bill -

House Republicans squashed a Senate plan Wednesday to let voters cast ballots early and sent back to the Senate a bill requiring voters to present a photo ID at the polls. Under the bill approved by the Republican-controlled House, voters must bring a driver’s license, passport, military ID or other photo ID to the polls in order to cast a ballot. Under current law, voters only have to present a voter registration card that does not include a photo. About 178,000 voters in South Carolina don’t have driver’s licenses or DMV-issued photo IDs, according to the State Election Commission. The bill provides for free IDs for those who do not have them. House Democrats – along with several other groups, including the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, the AARP, League of Women Voters, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities – oppose the bill, saying it’s a step backward in voting rights and will create unnecessary burdens for the poor, disabled and others to acquire a photo ID. Read More

TX: Voter ID Goes to Conference Committee - Texas Observer

After passing both the House and Senate, the contentious Senate voter ID bill returned to the upper chamber with a variety of House amendments. Rather than accept the House's tweaks to the measure, the Senate sent the bill to conference committee, where five members of each chamber will iron out the differences between the versions. Despite the differences, either version would give Texas one of the toughest voter ID laws in the country. While there was little debate, the bill's author, Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay,said afterwards that he wasn't happy with some of the changes. “There were things on the bill that we would want to potentially take off,” Fraser said. He refused to get into specifics. “There is not anything set one way or another," he said. "I just want to understand why they put the amendments on.” The House added 24 amendments to the Senate bill, which requires voters to show a photo ID before they cast a ballot. While some of the changes made the bill more flexible, others added more stringency. Among the most contentious amendments was Rep. Dennis Bonnen's successful effort to eliminate a Senate provision exempting those over 70 from the ID requirement. Sen. Leticia Van De Putte, D-San Antonio, fought against the bill on the Senate floor and, as one of the five senators on the conference committee, says she will continue to fight for some of the more flexible House provisions. In particular, she supports a measure that would allow students to show a student ID as a backup when addresses don’t match up. Read More

WI: State Supreme Court race headed for likely recount - JSOnline

A recount is all but certain in the race for state Supreme Court, which would pose a host of legal questions, raise the political stakes in efforts to recall state senators, ignite a new bout of political fundraising and further fuel Wisconsin's ongoing battle over union bargaining. On Wednesday, nearly 20 hours after the polls closed, Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg claimed victory over Justice David Prosser after an unofficial tally showed her holding the thinnest of leads. According to an unofficial tally by The Associated Press, she was up 204 votes out of nearly 1.5 million cast - a margin of 1/100th of a percent. "Wisconsin voters have spoken, and I am grateful for, and humbled by, their confidence and trust," she said in a statement. Wisconsin is already a focus of national attention because of the fight over Gov. Scott Walker's collective bargaining measure, and now the state's election system will likely get unprecedented scrutiny under the first statewide recount in more than 20 years. Read More

WI: Conservative judge behind in Wisconsin -

A recount and possibly a lengthy legal battle may be necessary to decide the closely watched Wisconsin Supreme Court race in which an incumbent conservative judge trails a liberal challenger, but the fight over what it all means has already begun. Democrats hailed unofficial counts showing JoAnne Kloppenburg with a razor-thin 204-vote edge over Justice David Prosser as a repudiation of Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s attempt to reduce union collective bargaining power - and a pivot point that could fuel their party’s efforts heading into the 2012 elections. Republicans cautioned that the count was not official, suggested the possibility of voter fraud, and expressed confidence Prosser could win a recount. At the same time they asserted that should Kloppenburg prevail in the end, it would reflect nothing more than a strong effort by a union machine in a low-turnout election. Advocates for stricter election laws, meanwhile, bemoaned the record-setting amount of outside spending and nasty tone in the race, as well as the apparent likelihood of protracted litigation, which election law expert Rick Hasen predicted “could undermine public confidence in both the judiciary and Wisconsin’s electoral process.” Read More

WV: Harrison County to buy electonic poll books for November election - Greenfield Reporter

Harrison County Circuit Clerk Gayle Parker plans to replace the bulky poll books at each voting precinct with machines that resemble laptop computers. The Sun Herald reports Parker is getting estimates from two companies. She plans to use the electronic poll books in the November elections. Right now, when voters go to a precinct and give their names, a poll worker has to look up the name and address in a large book. There usually are two or more lines, divided based on voters' last names. Parker says the electronic books will have all the information and workers will be able to find it faster, making lines move more quickly. Parker hopes to buy about 100 machines for the county's 66 precincts. Supervisors have approved the expenditure. Read More


Australia: Queensland legislation holds e-voting at bay - Computerworld

The Electoral Commission of Queensland will forgo electronic voting for the next state election, sidelining plans to develop a system as a result of legislative restrictions in the state. The commission allocated $960,000 in funding late last year for research into technology to assist voting for the blind and vision impaired, following similar projects in NSW and Victoria ahead of their respective elections. However, the funding has so far remained unused. Electoral Commissioner for Queensland, David Kerslake, told Computerworld Australia that the project was dependent on changes in state legislation which, even if made this year, would not provide enough time for system development ahead of the next election sometime early in 2012. Read More

Nigeria: Botched Election Exposed PDP Rigging Strategies - This Day Live

Former Head of State and presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change,[CPC], Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) said the postponement of the rescheduled National Assembly Elections has exposed the very sophisticated rigging strategies of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party [PDP]. Addressing newsmen at the Benin Airport on his way to Onitsha in Anambra State in continuation of his nation-wide campaign, Buhari said the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega to postpone the general elections is a blessing in disguise as it shows that the PDP had arranged to rig the elections in favour of its candidates. He said during the botched National Assembly elections, there were instances of places where the total number of voters amounted to 1000 but INEC sent only 300 ballot papers there, adding that upon investigations it was discovered that it was INEC officials that withheld the papers. Read More

Switzerland: Five communities in Bern canton chosen for Internet Voting Pilot -

In May voters in the canton of Bern can cast their vote via the Internet for the first time. On 15 Issue of May, some 3100 of a total of about 12,000 Swiss abroad Berner their voice with the so-called E-voting may, as the State Chancellery announced on Thursday. The e-voting system to be used has been in use in the Canton of Geneva since 2003. The Swiss abroad from the five pilot municipalities may vote electronically from April 18 April to May 14 if they wish. The May 15 election will be a referendum on the new cantonal laws and on a national energy proposal. Read More (in German)

Turkey: Is digital voting possible in Turkey? - Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review

With election day approaching, it is the right time to discuss digital voting. Traditionally, millions of Turkish citizens go to a physical location where they stamp their votes on paper, enclose it within an envelope and drop it in a closed box, which is later opened and counted by previously assigned people. They also get their fingers painted with a permanent ink and go around with a stain for days. This type of voting causes hours of lost time, a nationwide expenditure on gasoline that is more than usual, a stain for a week and suspicion as to whether the ballots are really being counted correctly or not. It is a customary sight to find uncounted ballots in the garbage. Ideally, electronic voting would end all of these troubles if you trust your government. It has been tried in many different countries before and it functioned perfectly well in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada Estonia, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Venezuela, and the Philippines in a variety of forms. However, there were serious troubles with e-voting in the United States. Read More

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