Monday, May 9, 2011

An interview with California Secretary of State Debra Bowen

CO: Colorado Attorney General's office answers Saguache County Clerk - Valley Courier

Colorado Deputy Attorney General Maurice Knaizer issued a response last Friday to the recent brief filed by Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers and the Colorado County Clerk Association's (CCCA) amicus brief. The briefs were filed concerning the injunction entered against Myers by Secretary of State Scott Gessler in March to hand count ballots cast in the Saguache 2010 General Election. The injunction was sought after Myers refused to allow Gessler to review the ballots, protesting that this would violate the confidential nature of ballots cast. Knaizer's answer to the two briefs denied that the clerkТs office has the right to determine whether GesslerТs request is inappropriate or illegal, cited case law demonstrating the clerk must obey GesslerТs command and stated, the hand review is part and parcel of the review of the practices and procedures of the county with respect to the conduct of the 2010 primary and general elections in Saguache County. Read More

CA: An interview with California Secretary of State Debra Bowen - Daily Kos

Secretary Bowen has a reputation among California's online political community for her groundbreaking work on issues regarding the internet and election integrity (and for personally responding to Facebook messages and Twitter replies). I recently got the chance to catch up with Bowen in the district and talk to her about the election and her priorities. Please note that the publication of this interview here does not constitute an endorsement by Orange to Blue or DailyKos.

You’re the current Secretary of State, but you have a deep history in this district.

I represented about 90% of this district, either for my entire 14 years in the Legislature, or for the eight years that I served in the State Senate. I don’t need a GPS unit to know where I’m going in the district. And one of the things that struck me when I’m out doing events is how many people I know. It’s nice to see all the young people who were too young to be involved in politics in 1992 show up in droves and get involved along with all the people who are wearing bifocals.

You’ve been known for a long time among California bloggers for the work you’ve done on internet and voter integrity issues. What do you consider your legacy?

The first thing would be AB1624. It was going to be a minor bill to put the legislature’s bill analyses, bill texts and voting records out in public online so that anyone could have access 24/7. We take that for granted now, but in 1992, that access did not exist anywhere in the world. The City of Santa Monica had planning commission agendas on a dial-up bulletin board system, and that was it. And that was my model. But some guys from Silicon Valley told me they had a better model; they said the bill needs to say that the information would go out over the world’s largest non-proprietary network, which is that series of tubes we now know as the internet! And we worked very closely with techies and geeks to get that bill passed and signed. It was actually one of the hardest bills I’ve ever carried because it had so much underground opposition; we never saw it, we didn’t know what they were doing, and it’s hard to combat that sort of opposition. Read More

FL: Opponents blast election reform bill |

If you're planning on getting married and changing your name, or moving to another part of Florida, pay attention. The way you vote may be impacted. An election reform bill that sailed through the House and Senate, despite intense debate, is headed for Governor Scott's desk.It aims to change a number of things about Florida's election code, including a forty-year-old law that allows voters to change their address and/or name at the polls on election day. If signed into law, voters wishing to make those changes will have to vote by provisional ballot, which some fear may not be counted. "Not allowing address or name changes on Election Day will create an undue burden on eligible voters and will create tens of thousands of unnecessary provisional ballots," said Pinellas Co. Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark. "This will also result in long lines at the polls and discourage many voters from voting. Current state statutes effectively prevent widespread voter fraud in Florida. The proposed election reform bills contain provisions that frankly are trying to 'fix' problems that do not exist." Read More

NC: North Carolina Lawyers Challenge Section 5 of Voting Rights Act in D.C. Circuit - The BLT

Lawyers for a group of North Carolina residents who favor nonpartisan municipal elections in their city urged a federal appeals court in Washington today to strike down the federal law the U.S. Justice Department enforced to block a referendum to change the city's electoral scheme. The city of Kinston, N.C., sought permission from the Justice Department to amend the city’s electoral system to a nonpartisan ballot. In August 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. said the “elimination of party affiliation on the ballot will likely reduce the ability of blacks to elect candidates of their choice.” Kinston is more than 60% black. Kinston city officials that year declined to challenge Holder’s objection to the proposed electoral changes. The city’s decision raised questions of whether the plaintiffs have standing to pursue their own challenge of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Read More

WI: As voter ID bill heads toward passage, the only certainty is a high price tag - Wiscon State Journal

Steven Prieve saw a lot of interesting things in his 10 years of running a polling place in Madison. The 59-year-old retired repairman watched as groups of Hmong immigrants arrived with translators in tow. He witnessed droves of students vote in their first elections. And he helped many elderly take part in some of their last. But despite the thousands of people he helped over the years, Prieve never witnessed someone voting twice or trying to vote under a fake name. "I just don't see the fraud," he said. "Not around here." This week the state Legislature will debate a controversial measure requiring voters to show a photo identification before they can cast a ballot. The legislation, which proponents say will prevent people from voting illegally, would give Wisconsin arguably the most restrictive voter identification law in the country. Proponents say combating voter fraud, no matter how rare, is a good thing. And they say it is reasonable to expect the same level of scrutiny for voting as for cashing checks, renting cars or using credit cards. But critics say the measure is a solution without a problem. They say fears of voter fraud are overblown, and photo ID laws discourage many people from voting, especially college students, seniors, minorities and people with disabilities. Read More

SD: Sioux Falls Election to Use New E-Poll Book Voting System - Dakota Voice

Secretary of State Jason Gant announced today that the Sioux Falls School District will join the Yankton School District on Tuesday, May 24th to be the first two local elections in the state to utilize the State Election Reporting Systems for their local races. And, for the Sioux Falls School District, the election will also represent the implementation of a measure sponsored by Gant during his last year in the State Senate to allow a school district to conduct an election using voting centers and electronic records. In 2010, then State Senator Gant sponsored and passed Senate Bill 101, an act to authorize certain school districts to conduct school board elections during 2011 using voting centers and electronic poll books. This measure created a variance in State Law to allow certain school districts the ability to use voting centers in lieu of establishing precincts for the election, and to utilize electronic poll books interlinked across the school district.Secretary Gant noted “I’m very excited that as Secretary of State, I get to implement one of the bills I sponsored as a legislator. Sioux Falls will act as a pilot project for some of the newest innovations in election technology. Instead of designated precincts, voters will be able to cast their ballot at any voting center located through out the city for the election. The key to the process are the electronic poll books, which are interlinked. Once a person is recorded as having voted in one location, they are marked as having voted in all of them, preventing anyone from voting more than once.” Read More

WI: Recount moves along, but not without questions - Inter-County Leader

The recount in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race may take some extra time. Also, the campaign of challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg is raising questions about the recount process. Currently, the recount is about 75-percent complete. Waukesha County is one of more than a dozen counties that hasn't finished its work yet. On Thursday, May 5, at the county courthouse, people working at several tables poured through ballots from the City of Brookfield, votes that the Waukesha County Clerk says she neglected to add in on Election Night but later did, giving about a 7,000 vote lead to incumbent justice David Prosser. Read More


Albania holds local elections amid unrest - CBS News

Albanians cast ballots Sunday to elect the local authorities amid reports of incidents among political rivals following an election campaign marred by violence. The main focus of the poll is the capital, Tirana, where the leader of the opposition and three-time Mayor Edi Rama is running for re-election against former Interior Minister Lulzim Basha of the governing Democratic Party. The first preliminary results are expected Monday, according to election officials. During the monthlong electoral campaign, police reported about 60 violent incidents, including explosions, several stabbing, beatings and threats that have led to about a dozen arrests. In January, political violence peaked with riots in which four opposition Socialists supporters were shot dead. More than 5,000 police officers were deployed to protect polling stations Sunday, and authorities and the local media reported a spate of incidents, including clashes between rival voting commission members as well as voters. A private national television station said one of its cameras was stolen. Read More

Canada: Internet voting fraud inevitable, says expert -

It's become an all too commonplace occurrence at Vancouver city council – a staff report is filed as 'late distribution' and posted on the website a day before it is to be voted upon. In this case it was about whether the City of Vancouver approves the adoption of internet voting in time for the 2011 election. The staff report was brief and to the point. Internet voting has been tried in other (smaller) Canadian jurisdictions, and anecdotally at least there has been no reported abuse. Therefore it is recommended by staff that Vancouver takes a leap of faith and tries it out during advanced polls this fall. Oh, and it won't add any additional cost to how we vote. Those who have watched Vision Vancouver with a critical eye know to never take anything from the minds of their party strategists at face value. Unfortunately, that's exactly what appears to have happened when it came to coverage of this topic. If you are to believe what was reported, this was simply an effort to move toward modernity and increase voter participation. Risks? Pah! Only Councillor Suzanne Anton voted against the proposal, and during the council meeting her concerns about possible voter fraud and the risks associated with technology were dismissed as mere narrow-mindedness by others on council. Read More

Nigerian Presidential Vote ‘Rigged,’ Says Opposition Official | VOAnews

The general secretary of Nigeria’s main opposition Congress for Progressive Change [CPC] says his party is legally challenging the outcome of the April 16 presidential elections, saying they were marred by “irregularities.” Buba Galadima says his party can sufficiently document the alleged irregularities, which according to him, took place in both the north and the south. “We have more than enough evidence to prove that [there was rigging]. It is left for the Nigeria judiciary to accept our view,” he says. The party, says Galadima, will dispel the popular view that the election was “peaceful, credible and transparent.” The Congress for Progressive Change party is asking a court to throw out certain election results and order new polls in some areas. Read More

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