Friday, April 29, 2011

The Democracy Theater of Online Voting, Tennessee Needs Paper Ballots

CT: Online voting is risky and expensive | The Connecticut Mirror

Online voting is an appealing option to speed voting for military and overseas voters. Yet it is actually "Democracy Theater", providing an expensive, risky illusion of supporting our troops. Technologists warn of the unsolved technical challenges, while experience shows that the risks are tangible and pervasive. There are safer, less expensive solutions available. This year, the Government Administration and Elections Committee held hearings on a bill for online voting for military voters. Later they approved a "technical bill", S.B. 939. Tucked at the end was a paragraph requiring that the Secretary of the State "shall, within available appropriations, establish a method to allow for on-line voting by military personnel stationed out of state." In 2008, over thirty computer scientists, security experts and technicians signed the "Computer Technologists' Statement on Internet Voting," listing five unsolved technical challenges and concluding: "[W]e believe it is necessary to warn policymakers and the public that secure internet voting is a very hard technical problem, and that we should proceed with internet voting schemes only after thorough consideration of the technical and non-technical issues in doing so." Read More

AZ: Awaiting Governor's decision, Tucson's mail-in elections hang in the balance -

Governor Jan Brewer has a lot on her plate this week, more than 100 bills to get through over the next few days. One of those bills is SB 1331 and it could prohibit Tucson from having mail ballot elections. Just this month the Tucson City Council decided all voters would get mail-in ballots for the next two elections in August and November of 2011. Shortly afterwards, State Representative Ted Vogt, from Tucson, added something to that senate bill that could stop the city in its tracks. However the City is saying, 'not so fast.' "What was Tucson's rush? Why are they changing the rules of how Tucsonans vote four months before the election," State Representative Ted Vogt said. Vogt added an amendment to 1331 only allowing mail-in elections for cities, towns and school districts with non-partisan elections. On a Tucson ballot, candidates are identified by political party. Read More

CO: Myers, clerks association present briefs in Gessler case - Center Post Dispatch

In her trial brief released last week opposing the injunction filed by Sec. of State Scott Gessler, County Clerk Melinda Myers focuses on the merits of the case, insisting that the injunction cannot be granted until the merits are examined. The Clerk contends that issuance of a preliminary injunction which grants the Secretary's request to take control of the ballots and the ability to review the same is not appropriate as that it would change the status quo on a permanent basis. The Clerk contends that any injunctive relief should not be granted until a final determination on the merits of the case is rendered. Read More

ID: Idaho Mountain Express: GOP legislatures legalize voting barriers to Democrats

Today's Republicans would never try to reinvent something so crude as the outlawed "poll tax," which mostly Southern states used, along with literacy tests, well into the 20th century to block voting by blacks, poor whites and Native Americans. Removal of these barriers firmly established every citizen's right under the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause and the beginning of widespread elections of minorities.
But wait. The modern GOP has come up with a new artifice: voter IDs to prevent citizens' showing up at the polls to commit fraud, even though voter fraud has never been a significant U.S. problem. The most widespread fraud has been by election officials' rigging ballots and voting machines and denying voters a chance to exercise their rights by moving polling places unannounced or closing them early. With large percentages of Democrat-voting low-income Americans, students and blacks without government-issued identification papers of any sort (21 million, according to the Brennan Center for Justice), the Republican laws are being branded the largest legislative effort to scale back voting rights in a century. Behind them is the business-financed American Legislative Exchange Council, which aims for slates of corporate-friendly, Republican elected state officials. Read More

IN: Judge won't halt Dems' challenge to White - The Indianapolis Star

A Marion County judge on Thursday denied Secretary of State Charlie White's request to halt a challenge by Democrats to his eligibility to hold office. The state Democratic Party claims White, who faces seven felony charges, including three of voter fraud, isn't eligible for office because he wasn't legally registered to vote when he declared his candidacy. White, a Republican, had asked the court to delay the challenge until the Hamilton County criminal case is resolved. But Marion Circuit Judge Louis Rosenberg said Thursday there's no guarantee that White's criminal trial will be held Aug. 8 as scheduled, so the civil challenge could be drawn out indefinitely if it hinged on the resolution of the criminal case. "The public interest is in resolving this matter," Rosenberg said, adding that uncertainty about White's eligibility is "impairing" the operation of his office. Read More

MN: Senate Republicans advance elections ID bill |

Hoping to boost what they view as flagging confidence in the state's election system, Senate Republicans approved a bill on Thursday that would require Minnesotans to present photo ID at the polls. The measure passed on a 37-26 party-line vote after two hours of debate. It would impose new identification requirements, eliminate vouching for most Election Day registrants and create new provisional ballots for voters whose eligibility is challenged. Minnesota law does not require voters to present ID to vote if they have already registered. Under the bill, people without an authorized ID could obtain a free voter identification card after proving their citizenship and providing a "photographic identity document." Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, the bill's sponsor, said the legislation would "bring integrity back to the state election system." DFL senators said the new provisions would create significant obstacles for seniors, blacks and college students -- groups less likely to have an authorized ID. "I believe [the bill] sets the state back," said Sen. Katie Sieben, DFL-Newport. "Sets the state back to the days of poll taxes and denying the right to vote to certain Minnesotans." The vote echoes similar efforts moving through GOP-controlled state legislatures across the country, with opponents characterizing the efforts as voter suppression. Nine states require voters to present photo ID to vote. Anticipating a possible veto from Gov. Mark Dayton, legislators have introduced a separate constitutional amendment proposal that would let voters decide the photo ID question in the 2012 election. Read More

MN: Voter photo ID bill unlikely to become law | St. Cloud Times

Minnesota voters would be required to show photo identification at the polls under a Republican bill the Senate passed Thursday on a party-line vote. But the photo ID bill — the subject of fierce partisan debates for the past five years — is unlikely to become law. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton last week said he, like Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Independence Party Gov. Jesse Ventura before him, would not sign any election-reform bill that doesn’t have bipartisan support. Democrats don’t support the photo ID legislation. Republicans, however, may try an end run around Dayton. Earlier this week, Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, proposed sending the photo ID issue directly to voters as a constitutional amendment on the 2012 ballot. Dayton couldn’t block that tactic. A simple majority of the Legislature can send a proposed amendment to voters without the governor’s approval. Read More

PA: Westmoreland County Pennsylvania buys more iVotronics - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Westmoreland County Election Bureau officials are trying to avoid a repeat of the long lines of voters who waited to cast ballots in the last presidential election. So the county has purchased 21 additional touch-screen computer voting machines to ease the crush of voters in the largest precincts. "In the larger elections, such as a presidential race, I feel we need more machines in some of our larger precincts," said bureau Director Jim Montini. The county has 306 precincts and some of the larger locations, such as Hempfield and Unity townships, and in Murrysville, have up to seven machines in place for voting. The additional machines will be used to alleviate waits in those precincts, Montini said. Read More

TN: Tennessee needs reliable paper ballots - The Tennessean

Now The Tennessean reports that this session of the state legislature may repeal the never-implemented Tennessee Voter Confidence Act (April 25). It was the fine work of an earlier session to give us this law. It is a reliable system of voting that requires the use of paper ballots for a possible real check on the accuracy of the electronic vote if and when it becomes necessary. This is quite impossible with the system that Tennessee has been using, which relies totally on electronic voting machines without paper ballots. These machines have been shown in many different places to be subject to large errors or even deliberate manipulation. There is no way to verify an election with these delicate machines. The present Tennessee law requiring a paper ballot record of every vote as counted by electronic counters was passed years ago. It had the strong support of most legislators, Republican and Democrat, but the law’s implementation has been deferred until the 2012 election. Some in this legislature are bent on repeal of the law, claiming that it will cost too much. But Tennessee for years has had money in the bank from the federal government which covers the full cost of the new equipment. Read More

WI: Editorial: Improve all aspects of voting process - Sheboygan Press

Instead of spending $2 million or more to implement a voter ID law in Wisconsin, the state should be spending that money on improving the overall voting process in the state. Lawmakers are getting ready to vote on a measure that would require everyone who wants to vote to show a valid identification card with a photo on it before he or she is given a ballot. The Republican sponsors of the measure, including Sen. Joe Leibham of Sheboygan, contend voter ID is necessary to ensure that fraudulent votes aren't cast. The bill's sponsors make these claims despite only a handful of voter fraud prosecutions in recent years. In order to pass constitutional muster and the ban on a poll tax, the measure provides for the issuance of free ID cards to those who don't already have an acceptable photo ID. The estimated cost of this provision is $2.7 million. The Government Accountability Board estimates another $2.1 million for computer upgrades and other costs to implement voter ID. These cost figures don't include the cost to local government to train poll workers and ensure there are enough people at the polling places when voter ID becomes law. Read More

WI: JoAnne Kloppenburg says anomalies were widespread during the state Supreme Court race - PolitiFact Wisconsin

Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg declared victory on election night when preliminary, unofficial returns put her 204 votes ahead of Justice David Prosser. Fifteen days later, she sought a statewide recount after the official county-by-county returns showed her trailing by more than 7,300 votes out of 1.5 million cast. In explaining her decision, Kloppenburg told reporters that a recount may not get her over the top, but would shine a light on "an election that right now seems to so many people to be suspect." She also went on the offensive, raising questions about the legitimacy of the vote count around the state. "There are legitimate and widespread anomalies," said Kloppenburg, a state Justice Department attorney, "and widespread questions about the conduct of this election, most visibly in Waukesha County, but also in counties around the state." The Waukesha County problems are well known: A vote-tallying glitch belatedly boosted Prosser’s total in the official count by almost 7,600. County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus, a Republican in a GOP stronghold, didn’t report her error for more than a day after the election. Given the outrage over the Waukesha incident, Kloppenburg seems on solid ground suggesting that there are "widespread questions" about the election. But are there "widespread anomalies" in the statewide count? Read More


Electionline Weekly: 2011 Legislative Update

With summer on the way, many state legislative sessions are beginning to wrap-up for the year with some already finished. It’s been a busy year for election administration legislation across the country with many pieces of legislation inspired by party changes in state houses. The following is a snapshot of what states have done so far and what is still on the books and needs to be approved before sessions end. Download the Electionline Weekly (pdf)

Thomas Bates: Why Photo ID Laws Are Not the Answer - Huffington Post

We hear it all the time: How can you be against making voters show a photo ID when they vote? You need an ID to do almost anything in today's society -- buying beer, driving a car, getting on an airplane, going to an R-rated movie -- so why shouldn't you have to show a government-issued photo ID to vote? It sure sounds like common sense, and it is a sentiment, coupled with the specter of voter fraud, that has driven more than 30 state legislatures this year to consider requiring limited forms of government-issued photo ID at the polls, prompting the Washington Post and New York Times to question why the country is fighting what is essentially a war on voting. The rub: Strict photo ID laws result in disenfranchisement, unnecessary costs, and unequal treatment of voters and simply are not a proportionate response to any legitimate concerns about potential voter fraud. What may seem like common sense is actually a real barrier for those who want to participate, and a significant expense to all of us. Our voting system badly needs to improve to meet 21st century standards. Yet here we are fighting to stop politicians from turning back the clock and making it harder for people to vote. It is distracting and disappointing to see proposed laws that use tomorrow's money to solve yesterday's alleged problems when real problems are staring us in the face. Let's put this issue to rest and move on to envisioning a real 21st century system. Read More

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

And the Recount Begins

WI: And the recount begins | ThirdCoast Digest

If you’re expecting to see images reminiscent of Florida 2000, you’re out of luck. The first day of the Wisconsin Supreme Count election recount began and ended quietly in Milwaukee County with no protesters, a few citizen observers and about 50 Kloppenburg and Prosser operatives. No hanging chads – just election canvassers sorting through the paper scan sheets each voter filled out on April 5, putting them into piles designated for Justice David Prosser or Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg. An occasional question as to the marking of an arrow on the ballot brought over county election commission officials, who listened to polite challenges from the observers. Only one magnifying glass was noticed on a table next to a Kloppenburg worker. Milwaukee County is holding its recount at the county’s sports complex in Franklin. The 55,000 square foot building is large enough to hold canvassers from the 19 municipalities, but that isn’t the practice being used. Instead, Wednesday started with the cities of Milwaukee and West Allis and the village of Shorewood counting ballots. As municipalities finish their counts, others will arrive. A pair of canvassers - one Republican and one Democratic – seated at 30 tables began counting Wednesday morning. Each pair is responsible for a single ward through the entire recount process; when complete they are given a new ward to count. The ballots are secured in large bins and guarded by Milwaukee County Sheriff’s deputies. Each ward’s ballots are enclosed in a rip-resistant plastic bag and sealed with zip ties. An election commission official verifies the ward number with paperwork supplied by the Government Accountability Board, then breaks the seal on the bag. Milwaukee County is completing a hand recount, since most of the municipalities use older vote scanning machines. These machines would require their existing memory cartridges to be erased in order to re-run the ballots — thus destroying an original record of the count from election night. Since the original election counts must be preserved during a recount and the machines are unable to save those counts, a Dane County judge ordered and the candidates agreed to the hand count process. Votes that were cast on the electronic screen voting machines will also be hand recounted. The machine keeps a paper record of each vote, which will be recounted in the same manner as the regular ballots. Read More

AZ: Ruling on Arizona voter law to be reconsidered -

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has agreed to reconsider its decision to strike down Arizona's requirement that residents provide proof of citizenship when they register to vote. A three-judge panel of the Appeals Court ruled in October that the National Voter Registration Act pre-empts Arizona's Proposition 200, which was passed by voters in 2004 and requires residents to show proof of citizenship when registering to vote and voters to show proof of identity at the polls on Election Day. On Wednesday, the court agreed to rehear the case "en banc" before an 11-judge panel of the court. A hearing date has not been scheduled. "The previous decision by the 9th Circuit was an outrage, and I thought was a slap in the face to Arizonans who are concerned about the integrity of our elections," Secretary of State Ken Bennett, who oversees the state's elections, said in a statement. "Opposition to the simple act of providing proof that you are legally eligible to participate in our elections is incomprehensible." Read More

AZ: Appeals court to hear Arizona voter ID case - YumaSun

State officials will get another chance to argue they have a legal right to require would-be voters to prove they are citizens. In a brief order Wednesday, the full 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to a request by attorneys for Arizona to reconsider a 2010 ruling by a three-judge panel that the requirement, mandated by voters in 2004, runs afoul of the federal National Voter Registration Act. That law spells out what states can and cannot require for someone to vote in federal elections.
Secretary of State Ken Bennett said he's pleased with the decision. He thinks there is a good chance that a full 11-judge panel would reach a different conclusion. Bennett pointed out that a different three-judge panel, looking at the exact same issue in 2007, came to the exact opposite conclusion. And he pointed out that the dissent in last year's ruling was written by Alex Kozinski, the chief judge of the court. But Nina Perales, attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, said she sees the decision by the full court to revisit the issue as good news. She said it provides the opportunity for the full court to issue a definitive ruling to reconcile the two conflicting ones. And Perales said she remains convinced that the full court will find the more recent decision -- the one that went in her favor -- persuasive. Whatever happens at the hearing later this year is unlikely to be the final word: Whoever loses will seek review by the U.S. Supreme Court. Read More

GA: Advisory panel hears calls to open up election system -

Georgia's election law should be changed to allow more third-party candidates, voting machines with paper records and vetting of presidential hopefuls, according to witnesses who spoke at Wednesday's initial meeting of the Georgia Election Advisory Council. Secretary of State Brian Kemp, whose office oversees elections, conceived the council and appointed its 15 members. When he first announced it, Kemp said its goal is to find ways to save money and improve efficiency. The 19 witnesses who testified said they are looking for more substantive changes. "A lot of these things are going to depend on the will of the legislature," Kemp said. Ray Boyd, a real estate developer who tried to run for governor last year as a Republican and then as an independent, dismissed the whole commission as a sham designed for appearances rather than action. Read More

IN: Democrats Will Gain Secretary of State's Office If White Is Disqualified - 93.1 WIBC Indianapolis

Republicans are backing off a proposal to ensure Governor Daniels picks the next Secretary of State if Charlie White is forced from office. White is facing seven felony counts linked to his use of his ex-wife's address on his voter registration. Daniels already gets to replace White if he resigns or is convicted of a felony. But Democrats are arguing White's flawed registration makes him ineligible to have run in the first place. If the Indiana Recount Commission agrees, current law would make Democratic nominee Vop Osili the winner by default. The Senate had voted to give Daniels the appointment power across the board. But Noblesville Representative Kathy Richardson says she's uncomfortable with intervening in a pending court case. She's rewritten that clause to apply only to future statewide elections, not to White. The bill still faces further negotiations over other provisions, but Democratic Senator Tim Lanane says he's satisfied with that solution to the White issue. The bill still would eliminate the possibility of Republicans losing their major-party status if White is disqualified. Read More

IN: Russian visitor sees vote centers - Palladium-Item

A voting concept that has roots in Wayne County is getting an international upgrade as part of a legislative fellows program that brought a Russian man to Indiana this month. Leonid Volkov was in Richmond on Wednesday meeting with Wayne County Clerk Jo Ann Stewart to discuss vote centers. Wayne, Tippecanoe and Cass counties were all trial counties for vote centers in Indiana, and all three saw favorable results from the project, prompting the Indiana General Assembly and Gov. Mitch Daniels to sign into law a bill that gives all Indiana counties the option of using vote centers.Volkov, a native of Ekaterinburg, Russia, is one of 33 individuals from Russia, Georgia and Ukraine visiting the U.S. this spring as part of a legislative fellows program. As part of his program, he visited all three counties and sat down with election officials to gather information as he prepares to help the state create a set of guidelines for counties to use as they prepare to implement the centers. Read More

MN: GOP proposing amendments to avert possible veto on legislation -

Republicans who newly control the Legislature appear to be adopting a fresh strategy for putting a GOP stamp on high-profile Minnesota policies: Offering constitutional amendments that DFL Gov. Mark Dayton can't stop. On Tuesday it was same-sex marriage. On Wednesday, Republicans hauled out a proposal to put voter identification on the 2012 ballot. Republican activists -- and the lawmakers they sent to St. Paul -- heartily support both moves. They know the ballot measures could drive Republicans to the polls in 2012, when the GOP legislative majority will be up for grabs and the presidency will top the ticket. "The voters very strongly want this," Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, said of the voter identification measure she proposed on Wednesday. DFLers called the moves a distraction from the real work of the session -- balancing a state budget with a $5 billion hole. Read More

NV: Secretary of State Miller still reviewing special election process - Reno Gazette-Journal

Democratic Secretary of State Ross Miller said he was going to meet with Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval on the special election process today and that no date for the election had been set. Miller said Wednesday that he has not yet issued an interpretation of the law for holding a special election for a replacement for U.S. Rep. Dean Heller, R-Carson City, a spokeswoman said. “He is in the process of reviewing all available information,” said Pam duPre, spokeswoman for the Secretary of State’s office. “He is going to work closely with the governor and will announce how a special election will proceed once the governor announces the date of the special election.” Read More

WI: Hearing for controversial Voter ID bill draws younger audience - The Badger Herald

Despite the voter ID bill’s author’s statements to the contrary, the hearing held Wednesday on the controversial measure saw members of the voting public testify that requiring photo identification at the polls would disenfranchise many vulnerable citizens across Wisconsin. Rep. Jeff Stone, R-Greendale, testifying with Sen. Joe Leibham, R-Sheboygan, before the Assembly Elections Committee, said his bill would be a reasonable check to ensure the person obtaining a ballot on election today is really the person they claim to be. “The types of IDs mentioned are possessed by almost all the citizens of Wisconsin currently,” Stone said. “Those who do not possess this and are unable to obtain one because they are indigent … it will be provided for them under this legislation.” Leibham told the committee the Legislature is serious about passing the voter ID bill and said the public should begin planning for the change. Under Stone’s bill, voters would be required to show a Wisconsin driver’s license, state issued identification card, passport, naturalization certificate or identification from the uniformed services, like a military ID. Read More

WI: Dozens testify opposing Voter ID Bill - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI

Dozens turned out to the Capitol Wednesday to voice their concerns over legislation that would require voters to show ID at the polls. The Assembly Committee on Election and Campaign Reform held a public hearing on the issue. The committee took testimony for nearly six hours Wednesday. Republicans say requiring ID at the polls will ensure all voters are eligible Wisconsin residents, but Democrats are afraid the bill will keep people from voting. Analiese Eicher of Madison testified and asked the committee, "Please include student ID's. Every other state has them." Opponents of the Voter ID bill testified one after another some were clerks concerned the bill would increase their workload. Others told the Assembly committee they're afraid this legislation will disenfranchise voters. Andrea Kaminski, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of WI, says, "It closes some voters out of the process, and it does not improve elections." Read More


Bangladesh: Khaleda rejects idea of e-voting -

Electronic voting in parliamentary elections is completely unacceptable, says the BNP chairperson. "E-voting will not be accepted and a neutral Election Commission is a must," Khaleda Zia told a discussion with Mymensingh agriculture university teachers at the party's Gulshan office on Thursday. She demanded that next general elections be held under caretaker governments only to ensure free and fair polls. "There is autocracy in the country, no democracy." She complained that a neo-Baksal had taken over the country. "To overcome the situation, a mid-term general election is needed," she said. She alleged that the government was trying to go back to the Baksal-style rule through the constitution review. "The constitution review is just an eyewash." Khaleda said that this government was destroying the country and that they had failed in every aspect. Earlier on Mar 1, election commissioner Muhammad Sakhawat Hussain said that the commission had decided to go for e-voting in every constituency or to the extent possible in the next general election to ensure free and fair polls. Read More

UK: How both sides of the AV referendum campaign have got it wrong - Birmingham Post

Oh dear! It was supposed to be so very different. A referendum on a proportional alternative voting system for the House of Commons, promised the manifesto. Probably the one chance in my lifetime for ordinary voters to change fundamentally how we do politics in Britain. An informed public debate about genuinely differing ways of electing MPs, organising Parliament, and making policy. Instead, we have a bad-tempered, personality-dominated, celebrity-driven, seriously deceitful, voter-insulting slanging match. Whatever the outcome, we surely deserved better. And I do believe it might have been better, had that quoted manifesto pledge been honoured. It came, in fact, from New Labour in 1997, with the emphasis firmly on that word “proportional”. An independent commission would recommend a more proportional system than First-Past-the-Post (FPTP), and we would choose between the two in a referendum. The 1998 commission, chaired by Lord Jenkins, proposed a mixed system, similar to those that will be used on May 5 to elect the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly. It was called Alternative Vote Plus (AV+). Most MPs would still be elected from single-member constituencies, but by the Alternative Vote, enabling voters to rank candidates in order of preference. But the crucial Plus, that made Jenkins’ system entirely different from straight AV, was that voters would have a second vote, for a party – actually for a regional list of candidates selected by each party. About a sixth of MPs would be elected as ‘Top-up’ members from those lists, in a way that would correct some of the imbalance between votes and seats produced by both FPTP and AV. Read More

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The Voting News is a free service made possible by the Verified Voting Foundation. You can help support the Voting News by sending a check to Verified Voting Foundation, PO Box 4104, Carlsbad, CA 92018. Be sure to note "for Voting News" in the memo line of your check! Your contribution is tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.
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Disclaimer: Articles and commentary included in "Voting News" do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors of Voting News,or its allied organizations. Articles are selected for inclusion to inform subscribers'ability to draw their own conclusions based on noteworthy and credible news,research, legislation, and debate bearing on the integrity of elections.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Recount reasonable — just ask a Republican, Recounting in Wisconsin

WI: Recount reasonable — just ask a Republican -

Candidates in close races who find themselves contemplating whether to seek a recount of the ballots — and the resolution of related questions about the quality and character of the initial count — need to have some standard for determining when it is reasonable to make the demand. Certainly, if the difference is a handful of votes, no one would argue with seeking a recount. But what about when the margin is larger, such as the 7,316-vote difference between Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg and Justice David Prosser in the hotly contested race for state Supreme Court? Was it unreasonable for Kloppenburg to seek a recount? Not if you ask a Republican.

Back in 1960, when the closest presidential race in modern American history was decided for Democrat John Kennedy, the Republican National Committee and state Republican parties sought recounts in 11 states, including Texas. Kennedy’s advantage over Republican Richard Nixon in Texas in the initial count was 46,000 votes. While Democrats objected that Kennedy’s margin was too large to be overturned, Republicans argued that allegations of voting irregularities in a number of Texas counties justified the demand. Similarly, in the 1976 presidential race, after Democrat Jimmy Carter beat Republican Gerald Ford in Ohio by more than 9,000, Republicans sought a recount of the votes in that state. And just last year in Minnesota’s gubernatorial race, Democrat Mark Dayton led Republican Tom Emmer by a little less than 9,000 votes. A hand recount of the state’s ballots confirmed Dayton’s winning margin was 8,770 votes. Emmer’s campaign and the state Republican Party continued to wage court fights and challenge ballots until more than a month after the election, when Emmer finally conceded. In all three cases, Republicans made reasonable requests for recounts, even if those requests failed to overturn the results.

But Wisconsinites know that recounts can alter results. Read More

CT: Lawmakers want to eviscerate clean-elections program -

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy used the Citizens' Election Program to great advantage in his winning race for governor last year. Strange, then, that he would preside over the destruction of the landmark program and its host agency, the venerable state Elections Enforcement Commission. That's what will happen if the state budget as currently written becomes law. Mr. Malloy had been a strong supporter of Connecticut's voluntary program to publicly finance state elections since it was created by statute in 2005. But a handful of lawmakers' terrible decision to eviscerate the enforcement commission, scatter its parts and place administration of the public financing of elections in a partisan elective office — the secretary of the state — will undermine public trust in the Citizens' Election Program. Read More

FL: Politics behind GOP's voting changes |

If anyone needs a clue as to why the state's Republican-dominated Legislature is making proposals that puts early voting in its cross hairs, one place to look might be Time magazine's Oct. 30, 2008 issue. In it was a piece titled "How Early Voting Could Cost McCain Florida." It detailed how early-voting Democrats, many of them energized by the candidacy of Barack Obama, were outnumbering Republicans at early voting sites by more than 20 percentage points. One professor talked about how early voting rewards campaigns that are better organized because it requires more refined voter-mobilization efforts, and how it makes it easier for everyday people, such as hourly workers, to participate without having to worry about taking time off on Election Day. Indeed, McCain lost Florida. Another presidential election is around the corner. The GOP doesn't want to risk a repeat of 2008, it seems. That's the only plausible explanation why lawmakers would concoct laws that are aimed at improving their political fortunes, but not at improving the fortunes of Floridians who are struggling to find jobs in an atmosphere of double-digit unemployment. And it's shameful. If the Legislature gets its way, the state's early voting period would be whittled from two weeks to one. It also wants to shorten from 10 days to two days the time in which groups holding voter registration drives can submit new paperwork to the state, and it wants to change a four-decade-old law that allows people who changed their name or address by updating their information at the polls on Election Day. That law makes it easier for college students, as well as poor people who move around a lot in search of jobs and affordable housing to vote. But election supervisors say that the change proposed by the Legislature would leave them inundated with provisional ballots, something that could lead to longer wait times for counting ballots and other problems. Clay County Elections Supervisor Chris Chambliss told The Times-Union that he's baffled by that proposal, especially since there is a statewide voter database available to track where a person last voted. Read More

GA: Georgia election changes suggested - The Augusta Chronicle

Georgia’s election law should be changed to allow more third-party candidates, voting machines with paper records and vetting of presidential hopefuls, according to 19 witnesses at Wednesday’s initial meeting of the Georgia Election Advisory Council. Secretary of State Brian Kemp, whose office oversees elections, conceived the council and appointed it 15 members of legislators, academics and elections officials. When he first announced it, he said its goal would be to find ideas to save money and improve efficiency. The witnesses said they were looking for more substantive changes. “A lot of these things are going to depend on the will of the legislature,” Kemp said. A handful of witnesses railed against the state’s electronic voting machines because they don’t have a paper record that can be audited in a recount. While they have often raised the same complaint in various forums since the machines were first used 10 years ago, they may get more attention from the commission this year, according to commission member Mike Jablonski, attorney for the Democratic Party of Georgia. That’s because the machines are going to be close to the end of their useful life, and the commission could make recommendations on their replacements for when the state budget allows the upgrade, he said. Read More

IN: White wants judge to stop civil challenge to his eligibility - The Indianapolis Star

Charlie White is asking a Marion County judge to temporarily stop Democrats’ challenge to his eligibility to serve as secretary of state. If his request is granted, Democrats’ plan to oust White through a civil complaint could be derailed. They claim he wasn’t legally registered to vote at the time he declared his candidacy and wasn’t eligible to run. In a motion filed today, White says the civil challenge should be stopped until a criminal case pending in Hamilton County is resolved. White faces seven felony charges, including three counts of voter fraud. Since both cases involve the legality of his voter registration, allowing the civil case to proceed could jeopardize White’s right to not incriminate himself, according to the motion. If the judge declines to wait until the criminal case is resolved, White is asking that the civil complaint be stopped at least until the Indiana Court of Appeals can hear his appeal in the civil case. Read More

NV: More on Nevada’s coming special election for CD2 - Las Vegas Sun

Nevada’s special election law passed in 2003 asked the secretary of state to promulgate regulations, which were never enacted by then SOS Dean Heller, whose impending appointment to the U.S. Senate will spark the first such balloting in state annals. That’s just one of the many twists in the coming chaos, which will have the nation focused on Nevada as the first test for the House matrix going into 2012. I have already given you some of the background here: CD2special The bill, passed in 2003, is here: TEXT AB344 You can see that the process is relatively clear – a free-for-all, not using the party committees – but Section 7 is important: "The Secretary of State shall adopt such regulations as are necessary for conducting elections pursuant to the provisions of sections 2 to 7, inclusive, of this act." That was never done, so here we are, with other statutes calling for the party committees to be involved in vacancies, although – and I’m no lawyer – this one is specific to House vacancies. Read More

NV: Campaign Finance And Election Reform Bills Win Approval In Assembly By Deadline - Nevada News Bureau

Two bills that would close loopholes and increase transparency in Nevada’s election and campaign finance laws won approval in the Assembly today with no time to spare. Secretary of State Ross Miller is seeking the bills restricting the use of multiple political action committees to bypass campaign contribution limits and requiring electronic filing of campaign contribution and expense reports by most candidates. Today was the deadline for the bills to win Assembly approval or see no further consideration in the 2011 legislative session. They will now be considered by the Senate. Assembly Bill 452 contains the provisions requiring most candidates for public office to file their campaign reports electronically so the data can be entered into a searchable database. The bill also requires the reports to be filed before early voting so voters can see who gave money to candidates and where they spent their funds. Assembly Bill 81 contains a provision restricting the creation of political action committees to circumvent limits on how much money can be contributed to a campaign as is now being reviewed in Rory Reid’s failed gubernatorial bid. Read More

NC: GOP proposal would cut a week from early voting -

Heading into a presidential election in which North Carolina could be pivotal, a new Republican-backed bill would curtail early voting in the state and bar new voters from registering at the polls. The Senate bill introduced last week would shrink the early-voting period by at least a week, end it on Sundays and stop so-called "same-day registration." "We were just trying to minimize the time early voting polls were open ... so the expense is not so great for local election boards," Sen. Jim Davis, a Macon County Republican who sponsored the bill, said Monday. "Everybody who wants to vote still can vote." It's unclear how much support the bill has, even among Republicans. The bill is still in a Senate committee and has a long way to go before it could become law. Read More

WI: Nickolaus recuses herself from court recount - JSOnline

Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus has recused herself from overseeing the Supreme Court recount set to begin statewide Wednesday. Nickolaus requested to be replaced from overseeing the recount in a letter to County Executive Dan Vrakas, chief of staff Ellen Nowak said. Vrakas appointed retired Circuit Court Judge Robert Mawdsley to oversee the recount. Nickolaus came under fire after disclosing that she failed to report votes from the City of Brookfield on election night. The campaign of JoAnne Kloppenburg requested a recount after the official tally shows Kloppenburg lost to Justice David Prosser by 7,316 votes - less than 0.5% of the 1.5 million votes cast in the race. The election initially appeared much closer, with Kloppenburg up by 204 votes, before Nickolaus announced her initial, unofficial tally failed to include the 14,315 votes from the City of Brookfield. Nowak said Nickolaus participated in Monday's planning meeting with the Government Accountability Board, a teleconference held with county clerks, and submitted her letter afterward. Read More

WI: Certainty is worth cost of recount - Wisconsin Law Journal

The recount of the votes in the recent Wisconsin Supreme Court race is the right thing to do. Challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg, who trails incumbent Justice David Prosser by 7,316 votes, requested the statewide recount recently. “Wisconsin residents must have full confidence that these election results are legitimate and that this election was fair,” she said. She’s absolutely correct. It’s easy to say that Kloppenburg is motivated by sour grapes and that taxpayers should not have to pay for a recount that could cost more than $1 million and in all likelihood not change the outcome of the race. Even Prosser jumped on that bandwagon by releasing a statement that accused Kloppenburg of “wasting taxpayers’ hard-earned money.”

Consider if the roles were reversed. What if Prosser had won by a narrow margin and a Democratic county clerk with a history of state political connections and a questionable track record of counting ballots suddenly announced she forgot to count more than 14,000 votes and Kloppenburg emerged as the victor? Would everyone still feel the same about whether the recount was needed? Prosser’s campaign spokesman Brian Nemoir stated that the only thing Kloppenburg will accomplish by the recount is to challenge and disenfranchise thousands of Wisconsin’s citizens. He’s wrong because the opposite may indeed occur. If we do not, through a painstaking recount process, ensure our citizens that we can trust our ballot process, then that will disenfranchise our citizens. Read More

WI: Supreme Court recount gets wobbly start in Waukesha County - JSOnline

The state Supreme Court recount got off to a wobbly start here Wednesday. After more than a half-hour of meticulous instructions and ground rules relayed by Waukesha County's chief canvasser, retired Judge Robert G. Mawdsley, questions were raised about the very first bag of ballots to be counted, from the Town of Brookfield. As canvassers and tabulators compared a numbered seal on a bag with the number recorded for that bag by a town election inspector who prepared the paperwork on election night, the numbers didn't match. "What a great way to start," one official tabulator said. Observers from the campaigns of Justice David Prosser and JoAnne Kloppenburg both agreed, however, that the error seemed to be in the inspector's use of a "2" instead of a "3." Numbers on the sealing tag and on the bag did match. Both sides and the Board of Canvassers agreed that the bag should be opened and the votes counted. Mawdsley, who retired in 2009 as a judge after 21 years on the bench and now does mediation work, was tapped last Friday to sit in as chairman of the canvass board for the recount after Nickolaus recused herself. In her letter announcing the decision to County Executive Dan Vrakas, Nickolaus said that the state's elections chief, Kevin Kennedy of the Government Accountability Board, "reminded me of the appropriateness of this method under the current circumstances." The state board is investigating Nickolaus' election collecting and reporting procedures after her 14,000-vote mix-up and will report findings within 60 days. Read More

WI: Dane County clerk doubtful recount will be done by deadline -

The third statewide election recount in Wisconsin history began Wednesday morning with Dane County's clerk expressing doubt that she will have time to tabulate the county's more than 182,000 ballots by the May 9 deadline. "We only have 13 days, and I believe ours will take longer," said clerk Karen Peters. Each of the state's 72 counties is recounting ballots in the April 5 state Supreme Court election, which saw Justice David Prosser defeat challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg by less than half of 1 percent of the 1.5 million votes cast. Kloppenburg said last week when she asked for the recount that there were widespread reports of "anomalies" in the election and she wanted to make sure that votes were counted fairly. Prosser's camp has said that his 7,316-vote margin of victory was too great to overcome. In Dane County, Peters said the county Board of Canvassers will work from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. today, and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day thereafter until the job is done. The state Government Accountability Board, which oversees elections, set the deadline but left open the possibility that it could be extended for some counties. Read More


The Republican Threat to Voting -

Less than a year before the 2012 presidential voting begins, Republican legislatures and governors across the country are rewriting voting laws to make it much harder for the young, the poor and African-Americans — groups that typically vote Democratic — to cast a ballot. Spreading fear of a nonexistent flood of voter fraud, they are demanding that citizens be required to show a government-issued identification before they are allowed to vote. Republicans have been pushing these changes for years, but now more than two-thirds of the states have adopted or are considering such laws. The Advancement Project, an advocacy group of civil rights lawyers, correctly describes the push as “the largest legislative effort to scale back voting rights in a century.” Anyone who has stood on the long lines at a motor vehicle office knows that it isn’t easy to get such documents. For working people, it could mean giving up a day’s wages. A survey by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law found that 11 percent of citizens, 21 million people, do not have a current photo ID. That fraction increases to 15 percent of low-income voting-age citizens, 18 percent of young eligible voters and 25 percent of black eligible voters. Those demographic groups tend to vote Democratic, and Republicans are imposing requirements that they know many will be unable to meet. Read More

The GOP's 2012 Campaign Plan: Disqualify Eligible Voters - AlterNet

Across the country, Republican lawmakers are resurrecting one of their party's favorite but most cowardly tactics to quote, win elections. They are seeking to create new barriers to voting by passing stricter voter ID laws intended to prevent the very electoral segments who helped to elect President Obama in 2008 from receiving ballots in 2012, particularly the young, poor and elderly, according to voting rights groups. "Touted under the guise of addressing so-called 'voter fraud,' the proposals are part of a quiet but coordinated effort to reduce the voting strength of minority voters who saw greater turnout in 2008," reads the Advancement Project's new report, "What's Wrong With This Picture: New Voter ID Proposals Part of a National Push to Turn back the Clock on Voting Rights." "The 2008 elections saw record turnout by black and brown voters, offering a glimpse of what a more equitable voter participation might look like. The photo ID proposals are part of a concerted effort to turn back the clock on voting rights." The Advancement Project, a non-profit voting right law firm, said there were bills or new laws in 32 states requiring voters to present specific forms of government-issued photo IDs to get a ballot. Most states now require voters to show ID to vote, but those can range from driver's license to bank statements to utility bills. In contrast, the proposed or just-passed bills--in Texas, Missouri, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Carolina, Minnesota and Ohio -- would only accept non-expired photo IDs from the federal government or state in which they vote. Read More

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wisconsin Recount to Begin Wednesday

FL: Proposed bills would make voting harder for many Floridians - Sun Sentinel

College students seeking to vote at their campus precinct will find it harder to do. So will women who've changed their name but not re-registered before an election. The time for early voting would be cut from 14 days to six. Groups like the League of Women Voters will find it tougher to register voters. And citizens attempting to amend the constitution will have to gather more than 600,000 signatures in two years instead of four. All these changes are in Republican-backed bills steaming through the Florida Legislature, despite vigorous opposition from county supervisors of elections as well as Democrats, who've labeled them GOP attempts at "voter suppression." The election supervisors worry that the changes — after two relatively problem-free elections — will inconvenience and frustrate voters. "If there's something we don't want to happen, it's that registered voters lose confidence in the process if they're faced with obstacles when they try to exercise their right to vote," said Evelyn Perez-Verdia, spokeswoman for the Broward County Supervisor of Elections Office. Read More

IN: Judge orders recount panel to explain lag in Secretary of State White case - The Indianapolis Star

A Marion County judge has ordered the Indiana Recount Commission and the State Republican chairman to explain why they haven’t moved quickly to resolve Democrats’ challenge to Charlie White’s eligibility to serve as secretary of state. On April 7, Marion Circuit Court Judge Louis F. Rosenberg ruled the Democrats’ challenge is valid and told the Recount Commission to move forward with it quickly. Attorneys for the Democrats filed a motion today to urge Rosenberg to resolve the matter in his court or to set a schedule the commission must follow to resolve the complaint. Read More

MN: Voter ID issue advances at Capitol, but facts continue to get in the way - MinnPost

A funny thing happened recently to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on its way to nailing an alleged illegal voter. Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigative arm found that clerical mistakes are sometimes made and that people can be accused of trying to vote illegally when they actually didn't. The investigators, with the aid of Hennepin County elections officials, learned that clerks at the state Department of Vehicle Services can wrongly check off boxes and that workers at voting locations can incorrectly mark a voter roster. We mention this as the "Voter ID" movement pushes ahead again Tuesday with its bill, sponsored by Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, in the Senate Finance Committee. It's the companion of House File 210, backed by former Secretary of State and current Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake. It's a bill that assumes that people regularly attempt to impersonate others on Election Day and that convicted felons can be halted from voting with the use of some newfangled Voter ID card. Wrong assumptions, indeed. The Voter ID effort in Minnesota is, as Gov. Mark Dayton has said, "largely a solution in search of a problem." After sitting through testimony at an earlier hearing, I think it's obvious any Voter ID rule would mostly help to disenfranchise a variety of subsets of voters, such as senior citizens, citizens with disabilities and students. It's even possible these groups lean towards voting Democratic, but that's not the issue. Is it? Read More

TN: Editorial: Reliable returns - The Commercial Appeal

The Tennessee General Assembly had the right idea in 2008 with passage of the aptly named Tennessee Voter Confidence Act. Voters should be able to be completely confident in the electoral process or the government loses credibility. Requiring county election commissions to replace voting machines with optical scanners that read ballots that have been marked by hand is not something that commission members are eager to do. But it could avert a possible electoral catastrophe in the future and in the meantime give voters the comforting assurance that the ballots they cast won't get swallowed up by a malfunctioning -- or, worse yet, manipulated -- machine. Read More

WI: Wisconsin Supreme Court Recount Progress will be Published Online - WBAY-TV

After tallying the vote totals three weeks ago, county clerks around the state learn the ins-and-outs of the state Supreme Court election recount that begins Wednesday. It's only the third statewide recount in Wisconsin history. The Government Accountability Board wrapped up a three-hour conference call with county clerks just after 4 o'clock Monday afternoon. It was a chance for county clerks to ask questions about the upcoming recount in the Supreme Court race between incumbent Justice David Prosser and assistant attorney general JoAnne Kloppenburg. County canvassing put Prosser 7,316 votes ahead of Kloppenburg, who requested a statewide recount last Wednesday. Since Prosser's lead is less than one-half of one percent -- nearly 1.5 million votes were cast -- the cost of the recount falls on the counties. Clerks asked a lot of questions, including how large their designated room for the recount needs to be, whether they're required to work weekends, and possibly adjourning a recount if they have a special election coming up. The board made suggestions and asked the clerks to thoroughly review all of the recount procedures when it comes to paper ballots, absentee ballots, poll lists, and electronic voting. Read More

WI: Wisconsin Supreme Court recount begins Wednesday, required to be done by May 9 -

The recount in the state Supreme Court race will begin Wednesday and barring a court-ordered extension, must be finished by May 9. Wisconsin's nonpartisan Government Accountability Board discussed the recount procedure Monday with local election officials from nearly all 72 counties. Given the rarity of a statewide recount, clerks on the conference call peppered board attorneys with questions about everything from what to do about challenged ballots to what to do with observers seen holding pens that could alter a vote. Challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg asked for the recount after results showed she lost to incumbent Justice David Prosser by 7,316 votes, roughly one-half of 1 percent of the 1.5 million votes cast in the April 5 election. The recount is the first in a race involving candidates since 1858. The only other one, in 1989, involved a referendum. Read More


Chad opposition boycotts presidential election - BBC News

The people of Chad are going to the polls to vote in presidential elections with incumbent President Idriss Deby expected to win a fourth term. The main opposition figures are boycotting after their demands for electoral reform were not met. There are concerns that the boycott could affect voters turnout. Three of Chad's more prominent opposition figures, Ngarlejy Yorongar, Saleh Kebzabo and Wadal Kamougue, pulled out of the race after a list of demands to improve the electoral process was not met. Most serious of these was a request to reprint voters cards, after Mr Kebzabo found a number of pre-dated cards on sale in N'Djamena's main market. Read More

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Disclaimer: Articles and commentary included in "Voting News" do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors of Voting News,or its allied organizations. Articles are selected for inclusion to inform subscribers'ability to draw their own conclusions based on noteworthy and credible news,research, legislation, and debate bearing on the integrity of elections.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Oak Ridge, spear phishing, and internet voting, Voter Files Altered in New Mexico

AZ: Tucson's mail-in election may violate state law -

Tucson city leaders voted two weeks ago to hold all mail elections. It was a way to save money for a cash starved city and increase voter turnout. But Republicans at the state legislature have different ideas. After the city vote, the lawmakers inserted language in SB 1331 which in essence says Tucson can't do that. Any other city in the state can hold mail in elections, just not Tucson. The reason is Tucson's appeals court victory earlier this week over the state legislature. The appeals court upheld Tucson's charter which calls for partisan elections. Tucson is the only city in Arizona which holds partisan elections. According to SB 1331, as long as Tucson holds partisan elections, they can't hold all mail elections. Tucson is the only city which fits the definition. Read More

CO: Are Denver's elections costing too much? - KWGN

Four candidates are running for Clerk & Recorder in Denver, and one of them, Jacob Werther, is claiming the all-mail ballot election is costing the City too much. “I’m thinking about four dollars a ballot,” said Werther. “When you factor in the paper and the labor involved in handling 290-thousand ballots it’s about 1.2 million dollars.” He says if the city would go to a full Ballot on-demand system, where ballots are printed out when voters show up at the polls, this election could have come in for about $600,000 and that includes 60 polling places with eight judges at each location. Common Cause, a voter watchdog group, has often questioned Denver elections, but this time they are in concert with the Division. Read More

FL: With presidential election looming, Florida election law rewrite moves forward |

With a fast-approaching presidential election expected to bring more than 8.5 million Floridians to the polls, the Legislature is battling over sweeping changes to nearly every aspect of state election law. Supporters tout the changes as fighting fraud. Opponents say they are disenfranchising. And the people charged with counting ballots wonder why lawmakers are trying to reinvent the wheel in the first place. Among the changes proposed are shortening the early-voting period for each election from 14 to six days and forcing groups that conduct voter-registration drives to provide the state with more information, in less time, and electronically. But the biggest rewrite scraps the four-decade-old law allowing address changes at the polls. Voters wanting to do so on election day would have to fill out a provisional ballot, generally used by more mobile populations and which require officials to research voter eligibility. During the 2008 presidential election, 48 percent of the 35,635 provisional ballots cast statewide were rejected, leading opponents to cast the proposed changes as targeting groups like college students and low-income populations. Read More

KS: Kansas law requiring proof of citizenship may be costly in more ways than one -

Voting rights advocates say that Kansas’ new law that requires a photo ID to cast a ballot is bad enough, but what’s worse is its requirement that to register to vote a person, must prove U.S. citizenship. “That part is actually far more troubling,” said Ernestine Krehbiel, president of the League of Women Voters of Kansas. The days of voter registration drives at picnics, nursing homes, grocery stores, county fairs and the Kansas State Fair may be near an end, she said. That’s because, effective Jan. 1, 2013, state law will require voter registration applicant to provide satisfactory evidence of U.S. citizenship. The provision applies only to new voter registration applications in Kansas. Read More

MD: State Approves $3.41M Settlement with Manufacturer Over Voting Machine Security Issues - Southern Maryland Headline News

Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler on Wednesday announced the settlement of a claim against Premier Elections Solutions, formerly known as Diebold. The settlement, negotiated by the Office of Attorney General, will be worth more than $3 million to the State. In 2008, the Attorney General, on behalf of the State Board of Elections, brought a claim against Diebold to recoup costs that the State incurred to remedy security issues that had arisen with the Diebold machines. “The problems with the Diebold machines were clearly evident during the 2006 election,” said Attorney General Gansler. “When I took office, I began to examine ways to hold the company accountable for its shortcomings. Today, I am proud that my office was able to reach this settlement and save the State of Maryland millions of dollars.” Read More

NM: Thousands of voter files altered; Bernalillo County clerk demands SOS restrict database access - Veritas

A few days after New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran notified all 33 county clerks that their biennial voter purge would be canceled this year, Deputy Bernalillo County Clerk Robert Adams made a disturbing discovery — 44,601 county files stored on the state’s voter registration database had been accessed and altered. Accustomed to spending long hours in front of his computer, Adams says he was shocked to learn informational “flags,” which are attached to voter files after mail is returned by the U.S. Postal Service as undeliverable, had simply vanished on Valentine’s Day. After securely logging on to the database, known as PowerProfile, Adam’s heart began beating a little faster as he started considering worst-case scenarios. He needed to know what happened before the Bernalillo County Board of Voter Registrations was convened the third Monday of March, the date required by state statute. Adams worried a criminal might have breached a government intranet connection with the goal of stealing voters’ social security and driver license numbers and other sensitive personal identification information, including voters’ dates of birth and addresses. Later the same chilly February morning, however, Adams determined the flags had been deleted by an unauthorized technician at Nebraska-based Elections Systems and Software (ES&S) without his, or County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver’s written or verbal permission. Read More

TN: GOP moves to repeal Tennessee paper ballot law - The Tennessean

A plan to require paper ballots in next year’s elections is on the verge of being repealed, the latest in a series of actions taken by Republicans in the state legislature to rewrite Tennessee election laws. State representatives are trying to reverse most of a 2008 law that called for the replacement of electronic voting machines across the state with paper ballots read by computerized scanners. The move would kill off a plan that supporters say would create a verifiable record of votes but opponents say will be costly and open to tampering. The measure is one of several bills moving through the legislature that deal with election laws that would shorten early voting periods, toughen identification requirements and give state election officials greater discretion to investigate fraud at the local level. Democrats say the changes will throw up unnecessary hurdles to voting that could keep voters from the polls and could open new alleys for manipulating election outcomes. Read More

TN: Sumner County leaders oppose possible paper ballot mandate - The Tennessean

Members of the Sumner County Commission recently voted to send a proposal to state legislators to either repeal or fund a bill currently being considered that mandates the use of paper ballots in local elections. "We just purchased new machines that are electronic, and if they mandate paper ballots we’ll have to go to a new system," County Executive Anthony Holt said. "It could be in the range of $300,000 to buy the new required scanning machines and have them stored. That's going to be a huge fiscal impact." The Voter's Confidence Act was originally considered in 2008, but it was postponed to see if the state was willing to support the costs of the project. An amendment calls for the bill to be passed only if the General Assembly agrees to a one-time appropriation of $7.6 million and then $4.1 million every two years after that to reimburse local entities for the costs. Read More

WI: Count on some chaos in state Supreme Court recount - JSOnline

This is what a recount looks like: An indoor sports arena is filled with poll workers from every municipality in Milwaukee County, each in their own area. At each station, poll workers examine and count ballots one by one. And as they count, campaign volunteers, attorneys and journalists watch their every move - with the campaign representatives sometimes challenging the poll workers' decisions - while sheriff's deputies stand guard. It could be the biggest show in Wisconsin. And, with a few variations, it opens next week in every county in the state. Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg sought the statewide recount after final results showed she lost the state Supreme Court race to incumbent Justice David Prosser by more than 7,300 votes. Under a deal reached Thursday in Dane County Circuit Court, ballots will be tallied by hand in all or part of 31 counties and by machine elsewhere. The hand recount was ordered for places where voting machines could not be used for the recount without erasing their election-night data. That includes pieces of some of Wisconsin's largest counties, among them Milwaukee, Dane, Waukesha, Brown, Racine and Outagamie. In Milwaukee County, hand recounts will be used for all of Milwaukee's 312 wards and for every suburb, except Bayside, Greendale, St. Francis and Wauwatosa. Read More


Oak Ridge, spear phishing, and internet voting - Freedom to Tinker

Oak Ridge National Labs (one of the US national energy labs, along with Sandia, Livermore, Los Alamos, etc) had a bunch of people fall for a spear phishing attack (see articles in Computerworld and many other descriptions). For those not familiar with the term, spear phishing is sending targeted emails at specific recipients, designed to have them do an action (e.g., click on a link) that will install some form of software (e.g., to allow stealing information from their computers). This is distinct from spam, where the goal is primarily to get you to purchase pharmaceuticals, or maybe install software, but in any case is widespread and not targeted at particular victims. Spear phishing is the same technique used in the Google Aurora (and related) cases last year, the RSA case earlier this year, Epsilon a few weeks ago, and doubtless many others that we haven't heard about. Targets of spear phishing might be particular people within an organization (e.g., executives, or people on a particular project). Read More


Nigeria: International Election Observer Declares Nigeria Presidential Vote Credible - VOA News

The leader of an observer mission at last weekend’s presidential election in Nigeria says the vote was largely free and fair. It was a significant improvement over the 2007 general elections, said Robin Carnahan of the U.S.-based National Democratic Institute [NDI], and the secretary of state of the U.S. state of Missouri. Most observers described those earlier polls as flawed. “The presidential and National Assembly elections represent a step forward from seriously flawed elections of the past,” said the NDI in a statement. It said they hold the promise of setting a new standard for integrity in Nigeria’s electoral process. “Our observation team went to a couple of hundred [polling stations] and there were other domestic and international observers [there],” said Carnahan. “And all of us, in the main, thought the process ran relatively smoothly. Obviously, there were imperfections in it, but it seems to [have] run smoothly.” Read More

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Florida GOP stacks the election deck, Minnesota House Speaker admits that voting is a right

FL: Florida Legislature passes dramatic overhaul of state election law - South Florida

Florida lawmakers passed a dramatic overhaul of state election law Thursday night, a move that GOP legislators say will bring integrity to the process and one that Democrats counter will disenfranchise voters across the state. The measure, a major rewrite to the laws that govern the state's elections, passed 79-37. Among other things, the measure (HB 1355) would limit voters' ability to change their address at the polls, change third-party voter registration rules and make it more difficult for citizen groups to put amendments on the ballot. It also sets up a committee that will decide when the state's 2012 presidential primary will take place. Read More

FL: Elections overhaul passes House -

The Florida House passed a sweeping overhaul of election laws Thursday that Republicans say will streamline voting machinery and Democrats say will make it harder for people to vote in the nation’s biggest battleground state in 2012. Passage on a 79-37 party-line vote followed two days of intensely partisan debate — a harbinger of next year’s presidential election when Florida’s newly increased 29 electoral votes and all 160 legislative seats will be at stake in a pivotal reapportionment year. But the closest that any Republican lawmaker came to stating the obvious — invoking President Barack Obama’s name — was a passing reference to preventing “the Chicago method” of voting more than once. In another sign of the muscle-flexing power of Republican supermajorities in both houses, the GOP is making changes to voting laws for the next election, and the vastly outnumbered Democrats are powerless to stop it. “This is a great country. Our vote is precious, and we’re going to protect it,” said Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, sponsor of the bill, HB 1355. Neither Florida’s election supervisors nor the secretary of state requested the most controversial changes, which are among the most hotly debated since the aftermath of the 2000 presidential recount. The House bill eliminates a four-decade-old provision that allows voters who have moved to update their legal addresses at the polls on Election Day. Unless those voters have moved within their home county, they must file provisional ballots that are reviewed after the election. Republicans said the change is needed to prevent people from voting twice, but Democrats say there’s no evidence of voter fraud and the change will hurt mobile college students and military personnel the most. Read More

FL: Florida GOP Pushes Controversial Changes To Voting Laws : NPR

It's still a year and a half until the presidential election, but members of Florida's Legislature are already jockeying over who will be able to vote and how. Republicans — who control both Florida's House and Senate — are sponsoring bills that would restrict the ability of third-party groups to conduct voter registration drives. Another measure would slash the number of days allotted for early voting. Democrats and independent voter groups say it's all about politics. Read More

FL: Election bills rap democracy: Public short-served by GOP legislation -

Time to stop calling the gang running Florida's government conservative. They're busy concocting a liberal dose of new regulations that would serve their fortunes first, and Floridians dead last. It amounts to their ripping apart election laws that have made it easier for Floridians to vote, and replacing them with laws that could stack the deck — election outcomes — in the Republicans' favor. Forget for the moment that Republicans already control two-thirds of the Legislature. And the governor's office. And the Cabinet. And 19 of Florida's 25 congressional seats. The Legislature has forgotten all of that. If Republican lawmakers manage to reconcile the House elections bill that passed on Thursday with the Senate elections bill that's expected to pass next week, they'll have pressed their advantage by giving Floridians… Far less time to vote. By most measures, the state's two-week early voting procedure has been fabulously successful, with about one-in-five voters opting for it. Read More

IN: Measure Would Allow Daniels To Appoint New Secretary of State - WFPL News

The Indiana Senate has approved a measure that would allow Republican Governor Mitch Daniels to appoint a new secretary of state if current officeholder Charlie White is found to be ineligible. Democrats are calling it a blatant power grab. White, a Republican, is under indictment on voter fraud charges. Democrats are now challenging his eligibility. Current state law requires runner-up Democrat Vop Osili to take office if White is ineligible. The Senate voted 33-17 today to instead allow the governor to pick a new elections chief if the winner is ineligible. The provision is part of a larger election bill that now goes to the House for consideration. The move drew a Senate floor protest from Democrat Greg Taylor, who says Republicans are trying to change the rules of the game while its being played. Read More

IN: Indiana elections chief appeals court ruling - Indianapolis Business Journal

Embattled Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White appealed a court ruling Thursday that sent a dispute about whether he committed voter fraud back to a state commission, with his attorney arguing that the board doesn't have the power to make such a decision. His lawyer, Jim Bopp, also argued that a judge improperly directed the Indiana Recount Commission to consider issues that are already being decided in separate criminal case. "That is asking the recount commission to make the same determination the criminal court is being asked to make," Bopp said. White, Indiana's top elections official, is accused of committing voter fraud by listing his ex-wife's address as his own on a voter registration form. White has previously acknowledged the voting error, chalking it up to his busy schedule and new marriage. Democrats argued that White wasn't legally registered to vote and shouldn't have been allowed to run for office in November. Democrats took the case to the commission, which dismissed the case in December. Marion Circuit Judge Louis Rosenberg ruled earlier this month that the commission's December dismissal "was not in accordance with law." Rosenberg remanded the case to the commission for proceedings "to be conducted as expeditiously as possible." Read More

MN: Voting is indeed a right, Zellers agrees after radio show error |

House Speaker Kurt Zellers found himself in a constitutional bind on Thursday after saying that voting was a privilege, not a right. The Maple Grove Republican made the comment Wednesday night during a local radio show, "The Late Debate." He recanted his words on Thursday, saying he had misspoken. The gaffe came amid a discussion of legislation that would require voters to show photo identification at the polls. That bill is nearing a vote after months of hearings. "When you go to even a Burger King or a McDonalds and use your debit card, they'll ask you to see your ID," Zellers said sometime after 11 p.m. "Should we have to do that when we vote, something that is one of the most sacred -- I think it's a privilege, it's not a right. Everybody doesn't get it, because if you go to jail or if you commit some heinous crime your rights are taken away. This is a privilege." The right to vote is explicitly referenced in several constitutional amendments, in addition to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. "I fully understand it's a right we all have," Zellers said on Thursday. "I probably should have said it a little bit better at that late hour at night." His comments drew a quick rebuke from DFLers, some of whom believe the voter ID legislation will hinder seniors and college students from voting. Read More

NV: Nevada's special election laws not so clear, probably will result in lawsuit - Las Vegas Sun

Secretary of State Ross Miller really can’t do anything until Gov. Brian Sandoval inevitably appoints Rep. Dean Heller to John Ensign’s soon-to-be vacant U.S. Senate seat. But after that happens on May 3, Miller will face an unprecedented situation that will leave him, just as inevitably, praised by some and criticized by others. History in other states shows that in these cases of first impressions, some unhappy would-be congressman will sue because the process isn’t what he or she would like. In Nevada, the problem is simple: The law is, as it sometimes is, clear as mud. And in this case, NRS 304.230 seems to take precedence, but other statutes could come into play. Read More

SC: Legislators reach agreement on voter ID bill - The Herald - Rock Hill, SC

South Carolina voters will need to have photographic identification to vote under a deal reached by a House and Senate conference committee Wednesday. Three House members signed off on the deal while two of three senators did so. The House and Senate will decide whether to accept the compromise next week and send it to the governor's desk. Republicans say the bill is about voter integrity. Democrats say it suppresses turnout by minority, disabled and elderly voters who lack a license and they argued educating people on the measure and supplying a free photo ID will be expensive. Democrats had been willing to go along in exchange for adding a new early voting process in South Carolina. But House Republicans, including state Rep. Alan Clemmons, insisted that the bill be stripped down to requiring photographic identification. "We will have cleaner elections. We will have solid elections coming out of this clean voter ID bill," said Clemmons, a Myrtle Beach Republican who lead the House negotiators. Sen. John Scott, a Columbia Democrat, said scuttling early voting took too much away from voters. Read More

WI: Recount to be by hand in 31 of Wisconsin's 72 counties - The Badger Herald

After announcing she would request a statewide recount in the Supreme Court election earlier this week, challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg and incumbent Justice David Prosser argued in court Thursday to reach a decision as to how the recount would be done. Dane County Circuit Court Judge Richard Ness approved a recount procedure that would include a hand recount in 31 counties and allow for electronic voting equipment for the rest of Wisconsin. Since declaring victory in the race Monday, Prosser’s campaign has been outspoken against having a recount. But Kloppenburg’s campaign manager Melissa Mulliken said she agreed with the judge’s decision. “We’re pleased the issue was resolved so quickly and believe it is a good outcome,” Mulliken said. “I don’t think any data has been or will be destroyed.” The Government Accountability Board, responsible for overseeing elections in Wisconsin, filed a petition Thursday morning with the circuit court to determine whether voting data in counties using electronic polling devices would have to be destroyed. The automated equipment saved voting data onto memory sticks, which Wisconsin law says cannot be erased until after a recount is finished. However, in order for recount officials to store recount polling data, GAB spokesperson Reid Magney said the memory sticks would have to be reused but not before they were erased first. A judge can grant permission to erase the memory sticks, but Ness instead allowed a hand recount to be done in those 31 counties that used Optech Eagle machines. The other 41 county recounts can be done using their existing electronic tabulating machines because those machines have replacement memory sticks available or have a different storage device all together, Mulliken said. Read More

WI: County Clerks Bear the Cost of Recall Elections - WBAY-TV Green Bay

Petitions are filed now to recall eight state senators so far -- five Republicans and three Democrats -- in the battle over the budget repair bill. The cost of holding recall elections will land on the shoulders of the county. Already facing two -- if not three -- potential recall elections, Fond du Lac County Clerk Lisa Freiberg has a budget that's about to see a dramatic shift. After having a $20,000 surplus last year, there's now the potential to end in the red. "I was looking at that 20,000 for the recall elections. The recount kind of slipped in here now, so I don't know if that 20,00 will be enough," Freiberg said. Freiberg said the cost of printing ballots, database programming, and paying poll workers won't be cheap. It's the same story in Winnebago County, where a special election wasn't in the budget. Read More


Editorial: Do You Think It’s Because They Liked Florida’s Election? -

House Republicans are seeking to abolish the federal Election Assistance Commission — as if the nation is fully recovered from the hanging-chad nightmare of 2000. The 9-year-old commission was created in bipartisan Congressional resolve to repair the nation’s crazy quilt of tattered election standards and faltering machinery. The commission was charged with upgrading the mechanics of voting by certifying electoral equipment, channeling needed federal aid and guidance to states, and developing a national mail-in voter registration system. After a slow start, it has made progress as the 2012 elections loom. But there is still a lot more that needs repairing. Representative Gregg Harper, a Mississippi Republican and the elections subcommittee chairman, nevertheless insists that the commission “is no longer essential” and is leading the drive to flat-line it for a savings of $18 million. Surreally, a related Republican bill would transfer the agency’s mandate to the Federal Election Commission — Washington’s nonpareil in agency dysfunction. That would only invite partisan standoff and voting scandal. The Election Assistance Commission should have been focused earlier on pushing all states to require a paper trail with their post-chad electronic voting machines. But it has tested voting systems for accuracy, and it oversees the special requirements of military and disabled voters. It could make more progress if turf-minded state officials were more open to its valuable studies on better ballot design. Far from going out of the business, the commission needs renewed support from Congress. For the sake of credible elections, the House gambit should be rebuffed.


Egypt: India to provide Electronic VotingMacines to Egypt - Hindustan Times

There may be lot of debate in India over efficacy of the Electronic Voting Machines but Egypt, which is holding elections after Hosni Mubarak’s ouster, is willing to try the “wonder machine --- the EVMs” --- in the country wide polls later this year. Egypt will not be the first country to use Indian Electronic Voting Machines. They have been successfully deployed in Afghanistan general elections. The Election Commission has also provided inputs to Nepal, Bhutan, Ethopia and Mexico on use of EVMs in making the election process more fair and transparent. Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi on Friday offered to provide EVMs to Egypt for conducting the elections. "India is glad to lend Egypt its machines since there is not enough time left before elections," PTI quoted Quraishi as telling reporters in Cairo. This was after his meeting with Egyptian Minister of Justice and Communication. Read More

Malaysia: Election Commission: Returning officer spot on in rejecting recount - BorneoPost Online

Returning Officer (RO) for N65 Senadin Chai Ko Het’s rejection of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR)’s request for a recount after the completion of the official addition of votes at the Centre for the Official Addition of Votes, was in accordance with the law. Chai was right when he acted in accordance with subregulation 23A (1), subregulation 25 (13) and subregulation 25D (5A) of the Elections (Conduct of Elections) Regulations 1981 (R81), said Sarawak Election Commission (EC) through a press statement signed by its director Datu Takun Sunggah yesterday. However the State EC advised that, any party who was still not satisfied with the decision of the RO could file an election petition in the High Court within 21 days of the date of the publication of the result of the election in the Gazette and in this case, the result of Senadin election which is won by Barisan Nasional (BN) Datuk Lee Kim Shin on the night of April 16. Read More

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Disclaimer: Articles and commentary included in "Voting News" do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors of Voting News,or its allied organizations. Articles are selected for inclusion to inform subscribers'ability to draw their own conclusions based on noteworthy and credible news,research, legislation, and debate bearing on the integrity of elections.