Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Threat of Internet Voting Looms, Siegleman fraud case claims another victim, Twittering election officials

The threat of internet voting looms closer as the Defense Authorization bill (S1390), that allows for military email voting, is on the verge of passing from a conference committee. The dangerous idea of email/internet voting has spread to North Carolina: the popular NC paper, the Greensboro News and Record ran an OpEd that endorses having overseas military cast their ballots by email, over the internet. Insecure voting does not honor our troops one little bit. My blog on that is in this edition of news. Internet/email voting is a problem, not a solution. At this time, we should seek simple, cost-efficient and effective measures, not big expensive ineffective things like internet voting that carries multiple security risks with it. Then we can reassess the situation.

The Siegleman election fraud case claims another victim - whistle blower, Tamarah Grimes fired. The FEC is already making it easier for LLCs to influence elections.
Some less scary news: Bo Lipari is reporting on Day 2 of New York's voting machine exams.

Election issues and services are hitting twitter, Voting News, Verified Voting, Overseas Vote Foundation, even San Mateo County election office are tweeting. Check it out.

The news is short today because of the internet voting issue raised today in North Carolina. I'm in North Carolina and we now have a new issue to fight. Internet voting is also your problem because of the federal DOD bill which would serve as the trojan horse for internet voting nationwide. We'll catch up tomorrow on voting news. Meanwhile, Voting News is happy to publish your articles and blogs about e-voting when possible. Just send them to ncvoter (at) If we can use them we will. Thanks

CA. Tweet from smcvote: Election and voting news from the Office of Warren Slocum, Chief Elections Officer, San Mateo County, California: "We are currently performing functional testing of each piece of voting equipment for use in the Nov. election. It should take about 10 days"

GA. Siegleman Election Fraud Claims Another Victim
September 29, 2009 This is the case of election fraud in the reelection bid of Alabama Governor Don Seigelman. The 1st victims were the people of Alabama. Governor Seigelman was not reelected due to fraud in the election. The next victim was Don Seigelman..Most recently a whistle blower, Tamarah Grimes, sent Attorney General Eric Holder a letter detailing more misconduct in the case. Three days later Ms. Grimes was fired, becoming the latest victim..

NC North Carolina Internet Voting Whack-a-Mole,military vote by email not secure, not private
It is Internet Voting Whackamole Time - this time in North Carolina. The Greensboro News and Record is running an OpEd that endorses having overseas military cast their ballots by email, over the internet. Does anyone believe that if email/internet voting were allowed for overseas that it would not spread to the rest of our elections? Making military votes go over e-mail is unsafe in the first place.

NY. Day 2 of NYS Voting Machine Tests
September 29 2009 The second day of New York State’s Voting Machine Certification testing again focused on completing ballot programming on the Election Management System (EMS) systems for the Dominion ImageCast and ES&S DS200/Automark. While one team member reads through the steps of the test plan on a spreadsheet, the other performs that step. ...By the end of the day, ballot programming was wrapping up. Ballot programs were installed on the machines, and sample ballots were printed to verify that they were accurate before the PDF files were sent out to the printer.

NY. Military voters may be shut out in special election for N.Y.'s 23rd Congressional District *
September 29, 2009. Gov. David Paterson’s decision to call for a special election Nov. 3 in the 23rd Congressional District will likely disenfranchise thousands of military voters deployed overseas, a former top U.S. Justice Department official said Tuesday.The short 35-day window before the election makes it impossible for overseas ballots to be printed, mailed and returned in time to be counted, said Hans A. von Spakovsky, who enforced the federal Voting Rights Act at the Justice Department.

SC. South Carolina Green Party Files Strong Brief in 4th Circuit
September 29th, 2009. On September 28, the South Carolina Green Party filed this brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals, 4th circuit...Most states don’t permit fusion. And among the states that do permit it, none of the other fusion states have ever had a law like the South Carolina law at issue.

Defense Authorization bill (S1390) includes language to allow overseas military to cast voted ballots by email.
here's the Thomas link for the bill

Congressional Bills on Puerto Rico, and Public Funding, Gain Co-Sponsors
September 29th, 2009
In the last nine days, bills in the U.S. House of Representatives to provide for public funding of congressional candidates, and to provide for a plebescite on the political future of Puerto Rico, have continued gaining co-sponsors

FEC Opens a New Avenue for Weathy Donors
Sept 29. A decision by the Federal Election Commission on Monday makes it a whole lot easier for individuals to use LLCs to wage sophisticated political campaigns for or against candidates in next year’s midterm elections and beyond.
The decision is latest blow to the 2002 McCain-Feingold law and its attempts to reduce the influence of money in politics.

Computer Technologists' statement on internet voting - Verified Voting

Voting News by Joyce McCloy.
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Voter Action challenges Diebold sale, Tennessee 2 step, NJ worries over e-voting

The group Voter Action is challenging the merger of Election Systems and Software and Diebold. "This transaction threatens the democratic process itself," Voter Action's letter states. "The ES&S/Premier acquisition is absolutely unique in its potential for disturbing U.S. election processes and results." Meanwhile, Diebold is cutting jobs at touchscreen factory in Lexington NC. Could ES&S be ending the troubled Diebold voting machine line?

Indiana's voter ID law still stands for the November election although that law was struck down by a State Appeals Court.

Tennessee Two Step - Tennessee Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey will introduce a bill to delay implimenting paper ballot law, thus risking that will be the next state to have a Florida-style election nightmare. Meanwhile SOS Hargett plans to find voting machines compliant with the law in time for 2010.

Now that its the 21st Century, isn't it time to end the use of blended voting systems and give everyone a paper ballot? "Why should voters with disabilities continue to be forced to vote on segregated ballot systems that are far too complicated for the pollworkers to operate and that make us vulnerable to disenfranchisement because of poor machine reliability and inadequate training and/or poor attitudes on the part of the pollworkers?" ~ Noel Runyan, electrical engineer and computer scientist.

Citizens report: New York began end to end testing of voting machines yesterday - Bo Lipari gives a firsthand report with photos.

Meanwhile, the New York media whines about low turnout/high cost elections without accepting any responsibility of spurring voters' interest in interesting voters in the elections.

CA. Runner sues Attorney General over ballot wording (measure in favor of voter id)
Runner blasts 'biased' summary of his initiative to prevent voter fraud
September 28, 2009 SACRAMENTO • State Sen. George Runner is suing California Attorney General Jerry Brown for crafting what Runner calls an “overtly biased” summary of a ballot measure the senator created to prevent voter fraud.

CA. Riverside County supervisors may discuss to discuss registrar's response to audit
Sept 26. (podcast available) The audit, led by former District Attorney Grover Trask, said the election was successful but presented 36 recommendations for improvement. In her response, Dunmore says she has already heeded 31 of them and has partially implemented five.

CA. Collection of my Electronic Voting Experiences on the Sequoia Edge II
by Noel H. Runyan September 24th, 2009 ...the government should refuse to buy any more systems, unless they are completely redesigned and made reasonably useable...It took me 30 minutes to work my way through the ballot and make my selections. After that, I had quite a bit of trouble getting into the review mode, to get a full list of all my selections. When I did, it went on and on, for 23 minutes,

GA. ACLU Files Lawsuit Against Georgia Restriction on Absentee Voting
September 29th, 2009

GA. Georgia Supreme Court Rules that Unauditable Elections are A-OK
September 28, 2009 ...In our current world order, U.S. electoral management bodies (EMBs) have consciously chosen to ignore the science and rely on the electronic tally, preserving the ballots only for some potential future recount.

IN. Indiana voter ID law still stands for November election *
SOUTH BEND — Although the state Court of Appeals recently struck down an Indiana law requiring government-issued photo identification for voters, the law remains in effect for the Nov. 3 special election in St. Joseph County, said Linda Silcott, a member of the county’s voter registration board.

NC. Diebold cutting approximately 100 jobs (the touchscreens and OS made in NC)
September 28, 2009 ATM and bank security manufacturer Diebold announced last week it would be cutting approximately 100 positions from its facility in the Lexington Business Center near the south side of the city. Title=Diebold-cutting-approximately-100-jobs
"The Diebold AccuVote-TSX touch screen and AccuVote-OS optical scan voting systems are manufactured in Lexington to ISO-9000 quality standards." scroll lower down the page for Diebold email

NY. Day 1 of NYS Voting Machine Tests
September 28 2009 • Categorized in: Certification, New York State, Testing
New York State kicked off a week of public voting machine certification testing today. The state is testing two systems, the Dominion ImageCast scanner/Ballot Marking Device and the ES&S DS200 scanner with the Automark BMD. The test plans seem to be quite comprehensive, and are designed to provide a full end to end test...There’s still a whole week to go...

NY. Ballot problems trigger lockdown in Troy *
Housing worker allegedly ordered to stay away from office and computer
September 29, 2009 City housing authority officials have sealed off the office of a longtime worker who allegedly helped obtain absentee applications from voters who said their information had been forged on election ballots filed in the Sept. 15 primary

OH. Diebold Inc.'s sale of voting machines unit doesn't quiet critics
In recent weeks, several parties have called for a Department of Justice investigation into the $5 million transaction, saying that it gives the buyer, Election Systems & Software Inc., too much control over too many elections, including those in 86 of 88 Ohio counties.
And today, a Washington, D.C., advocacy group called the Velvet Revolution asked Diebold to repay more than $100 million in California taxpayer money spent on faulty voting machines and software. Hart InterCivic Inc. of Austin, Texas,...has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Delaware against Diebold and ES&S... U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y... has asked the Justice Department to review the sale..

OH. Bipartisan board put forth to boost trust in elections
September 28, 2009 That's the conclusion of Jennifer Brunner, Ohio's current chief elections officer, in a new report that advocates starting a discussion about restructuring the job of secretary of state.

NJ. Electronic voting machines: Votes need verification
September 28, 2009 ...when the polls close and the votes are counted, can we trust the result? Sadly, we can’t be sure. Because New Jersey still doesn’t require its electronic voting machines to produce a paper record to verify their results.
Paper-ballot proponents are trying to get the law changed. They charge that elections without paper-verified ballots are unconstitutional and illegal, but their lawsuit — Gusciora vs. McGreevey — has dragged on in state court for five years.

NY. Runoff Elections Cost A Lot, Mean Little
Sept 28. It has been a bitter, protracted campaign ahead of Tuesday's runoff vote for public advocate and comptroller -- a special election that will cost the city millions of dollars but is expected to draw fewer than 10 percent of registered Democrats.

NY. Law School professor reshapes voting
September 28 The New York plan, called “Easy to Vote & Easy to Run,” aims to measure indicators such as the quantity of discarded ballots, the ease of voter registration and the time it takes to vote at different city polling locations. That data will then be used to improve and modernize the city’s voting infrastructure.

TN. Ron Ramsey seeks delay of voting machine law
September 28, 2009 KINGSPORT — Tennessee Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey said Friday a bill that would delay a law requiring a paper trail from voting machines will top his agenda for the next legislative session...Meanwhile, Secretary of State Tre Hargett says he's moving forward to have the new voting technology in place statewide in time for the November 2010 elections.

909280320/1009/NEWS01/Ron+Ramsey+seeks+delay+of+voting+machine+law or use this tiny url

ES&S Purchase of Diebold

Voter Action Challenges Merger of Election Systems and Software and Diebold
Complaint Filed with the US Justice Department Says Merger Violates Federal Anti-Trust Law September 29, 2009
Voting systems monopoly "threatens the democratic process itself"

Voter group challenges Diebold voting machine sale
Sept 29. WASHINGTON, D.C. — A voter advocacy organization asked the U.S. Justice Department Tuesday to undo the sale by Diebold Inc. of its voting machine business, saying the transaction promotes a monopoly.
Voter Action, based in Washington, D.C., said in a letter to the department's antitrust division that the transaction is a grab for market share. The sale creates monopoly power in violation of federal antitrust laws, the group said.

Citizens United v FEC

READER OPINION: The best government that money can buy, by Charles F. Weed
September 27, 2009 We may soon be confronting the consequences of a Supreme Court decision in a case heard last week.
In Citizen’s United vs. the Federal Election Commission — the controversial case would allow corporations to use their immense wealth to loudly promote or attack candidates through unlimited expenditures on ads...To suddenly decide that those voices should be drowned out by the massive accumulated money of a single “corporate person” runs counter to the very ideals of a representative democracy. Perhaps this will be proof that contributors get the best government they can buy, and we can stop fooling ourselves about democracy.


'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Monday, September 28, 2009
transcript. Interview with Former U.S. attorney David Iglesias about ACORN
Maddow: "ACORN was and remains a flawed but legitimate organization which helps register low-income Americans to vote." On frequency of voter fraud cases, IGLESIAS:
"It‘s incredibly infrequent. In fact, the numbers I recall from my Senate testimony from 2008 is something in the order of 14 in the past several years. So, out of the many hundreds of thousands of cases the Justice Department prosecuted during that period of time, 14."

Gone nuts over ACORN, but for the wrong reason
September 29, 2009 ...Yet the recent criticism contains one point of truth: ACORN should not be both a strident advocate for left-wing policy positions and a government contractor providing services in a neutral way.
or use this tiny url

PASS ID Act Fails to Fix REAL ID
September 29, 2009 A broad coalition of civil rights organizations is opposing the PASS ID Act, which was introduced in Congress in June in an effort to soften the REAL ID Act, a law that has drawn fierce criticism since it was enacted in 2005.
...Civil rights groups argue that PASS ID would continue to violate basic laws of privacy, security, and to discriminate against religious minorities and immigrants.
In addition, nearly half of the states have already refused to comply with REAL ID because of the high cost of implementing its requirements.

New NASS report on maintenance of state voter lists

ElectionlineWeekly--September 24, 2009 Sep 24, 2009 - Checking in with the 111th U.S. Congress.


Australia. How the Pirate Party could win seats at the next Australian Election
The Pirate Party of Australia has been getting its act together of late, with a draft constitution published and a call for office bearers as part of the path towards registration as an official party with the Australian Election Commission (AEC.)

Voting News by Joyce McCloy.
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Monday, September 28, 2009

GA Court rules e-voting OK, Where's the paper, EAC?, NY Levers, Internet voting in Halifax

Georgia's State Supreme Court threw out the e-voting case because the voters could not prove fraud on the paperless voting machines. What a pity. After all, the whole point is that we voters should be able to prove that our election results are legitimate, but without a tangible record of the vote we cannot do so.

Where's the paper in EAC's new voting system guidelines? ACCURATE comments on the US EAC's Voluntary Voting System Guidelines: "Most notably omitted is any requirement for software independence, which would require systems to be designed so that undetected flaws in the voting system software could not cause undetectable changes in the vote count."~Joseph Lorenzo Hall ACCURATE.

Internet whack-a-mole in Canada: Halifax Nova Scotia's recent municipal election was held over the internet.
E-voting push for London: Leo Boland, chief executive of London City Hall says city is seeking e-voting proposals whether the Electoral Commission gives go ahead or not.

WHY Citizens United Matters: If Citizens United v FEC unleashes corp money into elections, the outcome could stifle the voices of youth voters.
"While our political idealism and passion run deep, our pockets generally do not. We do give what and when we can, but we certainly cannot afford to match the kind of massive expenditures corporations and unions can make. " ~ Nate Frentz

GA. GA High Court Rules Electronic Voting OK (audio available)
In 2006, a group of Georgian voters sued the state complaining that touch screens didn't provide enough protection against voter fraud.
They argued without tangible records that could be recounted, it'd be too easy to manipulate election results.
Today, the state supreme court voted unanimously to throw out the lawsuit.
WABE legal analyst and Atlanta trial lawyer,
Page Pate says it was a simple case because the group of voters had no real evidence of voter fraud.

or use this smaller URL:

NJ. Will early voting change campaigns? (Has it done so already?)
A story in today’s NJ Courier-Post speculates about the change that will occur in NJ politics as a result of the new permanent absentee balloting law.

NY. Martin favors lever machines
September 26, 2009 As part of a continuing campaign to keep lever voting machines in use in Columbia County and New York State, Democratic election commissioner Virginia Martin held her ground last week as a member of a panel concerning the machines and their use, speaking at the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC).
“Two of the counties said their budget had tripled because of this,” Martin said.
...“I actually love the technology of the optical scanners,” McGivney ( Doug McGivney, D-Kinderhook) said. “But their safety has not been proven, certified, or in any way assured. As expensive as they are, they are cheaply made and nowhere near the security of an ATM machine. And we need the same quality for voting as we do for handling our money.”


ACCURATE Comment on VVSG v1.1
28 Sep 2009.
A Center for Correct, Usable, Reliable, Auditable and Transparent Elections (ACCURATE) submitted public comment today to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission on their draft Voluntary Voting System Guidelines, version 1.1 (VVSG v1.1). The VVSG provides national certification requirements and testing protocols for voting systems against which many states require their voting systems to be certified.

Citizens United V FEC

Campaign Finance: Add Generational Warfare to the Mix
September 28, 2009

Protect young voters -- save campaign finance reform
The Supreme Court may gut laws that were intended to keep corporations from dominating elections with their cash
Sept. 28, 2009 Salon Younger voters -- those in the under-30 crowd like me -- invested an incredible amount of energy and enthusiasm in the 2008 elections.


Canada Sep 28, 2009 08:00 ETOnline Voting Results in Record Number of Voters Participating in Halifax By-Election (Vendor press release/promotion)
HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwire - Sept. 28, 2009) - It appears a lot of voters like the convenience of electronic voting. More voters cast ballots in the September 19th by-election for the new District 6 - East Dartmouth -The Lakes Councillor for Halifax Regional Municipality's Council than in any of the other 12 by-elections since the Halifax Regional Municipality was amalgamated in 1996, and almost 75% of those votes were cast online using the internet or the telephone.

UK. Despite not getting the go ahead from the Electoral Commission, the GLA is set to start the tendering process for a company to run electronic voting in the capital.
28 Sep 2009 The Greater London Authority (GLA) is set to launch the tendering process for an electronic voting system before it has been given the go ahead from the Electoral Commission.
The electronic vote counting raised concerns in the last mayoral race in 2008 from both civil liberties groups, the Returning Officer for Greater London and the Electoral Commission. As a result, the GLA was asked to conduct an analysis to decide whether the electronic process was acceptable

Voting News by Joyce McCloy.
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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Machine Gun Fundraiser in SC, Military ballots failure rate? Diebold return our money

Diebold return our money: group says Diebold should refund $100 million to California taxpayers.
Extreme fundraising? South Carolina politician holds a "Machine Gun Social" to raise funds.
Unintended consequences? The House legislation meant to defund ACORN may apply to a wide range of organizations and corporations.
Mass. fills seat left by death of Senator Edward Kennedy.

Boulder County adds more stringent testing for voting machines and ballots this year.

Unethical polling: Polling company Strategic Vision LLC failed to disclose methadology and basic polling data violates basic principles of scientific research.

Bo Lipari of NY Verified Voting fame has launched a new blog on how modern technology impacts elections, and what readers can do to..."Bo admonishes readers, "’s up to you to pay attention, and above all, to get involved."

What is the solution?
An overwhelming majority of military and overseas voters did not return ballots to the United States in 2006... 660,000 of 990,000 military ballots not returned.

CA. Diebold Return Our Money.
As A Result Of The California Secretary Of State's Findings and Diebold/Premier's Own Admissions That Its Voting Systems Do Not Meet Federal Standards, Velvet Revolution Calls on the Company to Return the Well Over $100 Million in Taxpayer Funds Spent by Californians on Failed, Faulty Voting System Hardware and Software
California officials recently revealed that ALL of Diebold/Premier's voting systems violate federal certifications guidelines!...Send an email to Diebold/Premier, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen and California Attorney General Jerry Brown.

CO. Boulder County tests voting equipment
Clerk and recorder adds new procedures to the test
09/24/2009 ...Following last year's Boulder County election -- when it took election workers three days to get a final vote count -- the clerk and recorder has added extra testing procedures to this year's logic and accuracy tests, which will likely be completed this afternoon.
...This year, the ballots for the test have not only been folded, but they've also been run through the mail-processing machines at the post office.
There are 363 different combinations of ballots that will be voted in the county in November, and state law requires that at least one of each style be tested. Boulder County is testing 600.
But the biggest change to last year's logic and accuracy testing is the addition of procedures that will make sure the optical scanners are properly calibrated. A properly calibrated scanner -- one that has the correct device driver installed -- would not count a speck of paper dust as a vote, for example.

MA. Kirk Sworn In to Fill Kennedy’s Seat
September 25, 2009
Paul G. Kirk Jr. of Massachusetts was sworn in Friday to fill the Senate vacancy left by the death of Edward M. Kennedy, giving Democrats a crucial 60th vote heading toward a health care debate and becoming only the second person to hold that Senate seat in nearly half a century...Mr. Kirk is the sixth appointed senator to join the Senate this year, given deaths and resignations.

NC. Election boards wonder if military ballots are too costly?
September 26, 2009 GREENSBORO --- An overwhelming majority of military and overseas voters did not return ballots to the United States in 2006, costing local election offices staff time and money.
The cost is easily thousands of dollars in North Carolina. And the expense grows into the millions as that law is applied to election offices across the country.
The reason is Congress, prodded by the Department of Defense, which passed a law making local election offices automatically send ballots for two years when a military or overseas U.S. citizen requests an absentee ballot.
Nationwide in 2006, 660,000 of 990,000 ballots never made it back, according to the U.S. Department of Defense, which runs the Federal Voting Assistance Program.

NC. Answers lead to questions at Topsail election seminar
September 26, 2009 SURF CITY — It’s not exactly cut-and-dried.
An session for Topsail Island residents on voting laws provided general information but underscored the fact that some questions have no one, definitive answer.
...Residency was the primary voting issue discussed in depth. Election technician Rosemary Blizzard emphasized that residency rules are not put in place to prohibit voting but to help determine where one is eligible to vote.

NY. Bo Lipari – Essays and Images
News and Commentary on Election Integrity in the 21st Century reporting and commenting on issues and developments that affect the most fundamental act in a democracy – Elections. In particular, I’ll be focusing on how modern technology impacts our elections, and what readers can do to participate in an enormously important process that is happening right now – defining how we conduct elections in the 21st Century.

SC. Candidate Giveaways
September 27, 2009 in South Carolina
A South Carolina candidate is holding a drawing for an AK-47 as part of a campaign fundraising effort, according to this report.

SC. Candidate Uses AK-47 to Raise Cash
Semi-Automatic Weapon Given Away at 'Machine Gun Social'
...The event, called a “Machine Gun Social,” was held at Allen Arms Indoor Range on Poinsett Highway. For $25, donors were given a barbeque lunch and twenty shots with a machine gun. A free drawing determined the winner of the semi-automatic AK-47, valued at $700...Allen said he chose the unusual venue to show support for the Second Amendment, and to give people a chance to have fun.

TN. Hargett Seeks Bids to Follow Law That Ramsey Says Will Change
Secretary of State Tre Hargett has taken an official step toward complying with the Tennessee Voter Confidence Act of 2008, though he's repeatedly said that's not really possible or practical. Some Democrats have hotly disputed that Hargett's proposition...Related is a pending request from House Majority Leader Gary Odom for an "expedited" opinion on the TVAC and its implementation. Click below for Odom's as-yet-unanswered inquiry.

Citizens United v FEC

A Collection of Letters to the Editor on Corporate Personhood
September 27, 2009 In response to an earlier Times editorial, the paper printed several letters to the editor discussing how corporations should be treated under the law.


Congress Went After ACORN. Big Business Must Be Next!
September 27, 2009 ...We are the Yes Men, two guys who dress up as powerful businessmen, propose horrible things to audiences of actual powerful businesspeople and film them cheerfully applauding our most outrageous -- and often illegal -- ideas...the House legislation intended to defund ACORN is written so broadly that it would similarly cut off money to "any organization" indicted for various forms of lawbreaking, and any organization with employees or contractors who have been indicted on certain charges.

Election Commission Decisions Deadlocking on Party Lines
September 26, 2009
WASHINGTON — A recent stream of deadlocked decisions at the Federal Election Commission has caused some people who follow its work to say that they cannot remember seeing less common ground between the three Republican members and the three Democrats...“Right now, we don’t have an enforcement agency when it comes to campaign finance laws,” added Mr. Wertheimer, who has criticized the commission’s ability to enforce campaign finance regulations for years.

AAPOR Raises Objections to Actions by Atlanta-Based Strategic Vision LLC
...Strategic Vision LLC, an Atlanta-based company, repeatedly refused to release essential facts about polls it published prior to the 2008 presidential primaries in New Hampshire and Wisconsin. The AAPOR Executive Council announced today that this nondisclosure by Strategic Vision LLC was inconsistent with the association's Code of Professional Ethics and Practices ( ) and contrary to basic principles of scientific research.
... The AAPOR Executive Council now concludes that the repeated noncompliance by Strategic Vision LLC was a violation of the AAPOR Code.

Voting News by Joyce McCloy.
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Friday, September 25, 2009

ES&S Diebold heads to court, Tennessee seeks voting machine proposals, Election polling fraudulent?

ES&S Diebold shotgun wedding comes to a halt: Federal Judge Robert Kugler in Camden, NJ., agreed late Friday to hear a request for an emergency injunction that could halt Election Systems & Software's Sept. 2 announced acquisition of Diebold Inc.'s Premier Election Solutions. "...when one considers ES&S' reckless performance as an election provider the real issue is much more basic. Should we even do business with these people?" ~ Lani Massey Brown in "ES&S for Dummies, 2009.."
Huge news: Tennessee SOS is issuing a request for proposal to vendors for paper ballot systems and in January 2010 the TN GOP speaker will seek to delay the Public Confidence (paper ballot) law through legislative remedy.

Aspen's non secret ballot election: "..if we don’t defend our constitutional rights we will lose them. I respect the fact that there are those in the community who disagree with me, and who prefer non-secret ballot elections."~ Millard Zimmet, an attorney in Aspen, Colorado.

Unique idea: "To fix democracy, start with the voters."
I-Report from Alameda Co polling place - no one willing to vote on DRE/touch-screen.
Lessons and more from Minnesota Recount: "The bottom line is, as much as it pains me to say it, we probably did this as well as it could be done,'' said Fritz Knaak, a Coleman attorney who fought the recount battle from the beginning until his man lost. "There's no crying need, coming from all of this, for massive reform — unless (the reform) is a runoff.''

A disgusted New York voter comments about both the new and old voting machines malfunctioning:
"We need to be a good example for the world, not a joke. Fix the voting system."

Polling Data questioned: "There is a substantial possibility -- far from a certainty -- that much of Strategic Vision's polling over the past several years has been forged."~Nate Silver of

How does Germany vote, what do their ballots look like, WHY did their high court rule that the use of electronic voting machines like Nedap ESD1 and ESD2 is unconstitutional? “In a republic, elections are a matter for the entire people and a joint concern of all citizens. Consequently, the monitoring of the election procedure must also be a matter for and a task of the citizen. Each citizen must be able to comprehend and verify the central steps in the elections.”

CA. Some Local Access Voting Stories *
September 24th, 2009 Last night I got a call from a livid Alameda County voter who called me about 6:30 PM, after he was told that he couldn't vote on the Sequoia DRE unless they could find four other people to vote on the system. Note, our Sec. of State requires that five or more must vote voluntarily on the conditionally certified DREs. Completely oblivious to my friend's embarrassment, the pollworker actually went down the line of voters asking for volunteers to vote and saying something like, "so that blind guy can vote on the voting machine". No one was willing to vote on the DRE!

CO. Can they find out 
how you voted?
September 26...I recently filed a complaint asking the Aspen Election Commission to determine whether Aspen’s May 2009 election was a secret ballot election...Can they find out how you voted? Decide for yourself... The city’s election contractor, TrueBallot, scanned all the ballots. That scan created data (called the “strings”) showing how each ballot was voted. The city then publicly released the strings.
Unfortunately the city and TrueBallot didn’t “shuffle”, or otherwise randomize, the ballots or the strings..But to the local political elite...any inquiry into the May election is strictly off limits. And so they say the city will remember to shuffle next time and there’s no need to look into this move along nothing to see here move along; the election is over, and just because we are good progressives who might otherwise support organizations like the ACLU doesn’t mean we actually care about civil liberties here in Aspen and too bad so sad about your voting rights but thanks for playing.

IL. Money Problems Pile Up in Alexander County
Alexander County owes $35,000 dollars to Election Systems and Software. Without that computer the clerk and her one remaining staffer can't keep up with voter registrations.
It costs thousands of dollars to run polling places and sources say the county can't even afford to buy ballots.

MN.Overtime Chapter 4: In Minnesota's Coleman vs. Franken U.S. Senate race, the system worked. But here's how to make it better.

NY. Smart citizens should demand smart government *
Saturday, September 26, 2009 I went to vote in the Sept. 15 primary in Rensselaer County, only to find a 1950s vintage voting machine in pieces and men with hammers "repairing" it. Everyone there was concerned, some left disgusted and others used absentee ballots.
Meanwhile, the Times Union reported that some new voting machines in Albany County didn't work either ("Trial run took some patience," Sept. 16).

TN. Hargett hopes to acquire new voting machines by
September 25th, 2009
KINGSPORT — Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett said he’s moving forward — but not making promises — to meet a deadline to have new voting technology in place statewide by the November 2010 elections...Hargett told business leaders attending a Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce Fourth Friday breakfast held at the MeadowView Marriott that
his office is sending vendors a request for proposals to buy the equipment.
“That’s what we’re bound to do,” Hargett said of issuing RFPs for the purchase, which he indicated could cost anywhere from $25 million to $35 million. “(But) if there is not a machine available, I don’t know how we can purchase something that is not available. We’ll have to use existing technology.”..Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, who attended the chamber breakfast, said another legislative move to delay the VCA will come up in early 2010.

TN. Senate Speaker seeks to delay voting machines law
9/26/2009 Tennessee Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey says a bill that would delay a state law requiring a paper trail from voting machines will top his agenda the next legislative session

TN. Without Delay, TN Voters Will Cast Ballots By Paper In November 2010 (title misleading)
September 25, 2009 Tennessee’s current voting machines could soon make way for the return of paper ballots. In 2008, lawmakers overwhelmingly passed the “Tennessee Voter Confidence Act.“ It requires all counties to buy new voting machines (that scan paper ballots) in time for the November 2010 election. Tennessee lawmakers will likely cast their own votes on this matter when the legislature reconvenes in January.

ES&S purchase of Diebold

Monopoly on elections? Not so fast.....
Call it a fait accompli that may not be.
A federal judge in Camden, NJ., agreed late Friday to hear a request for an emergency injunction that could halt Election Systems & Software's Sept. 2 announced acquisition of Diebold Inc.'s Premier Election Solutions.
The quietly arranged shotgun wedding between voting-machine giants would give ES&S control of election systems in use in almost 70 percent of the nation's voting precincts. Federal Judge Robert Kugler agreed to hear Tuesday the request for immediate injunction brought by a small competitor Hart InterCivic Inc.

ES&S for Dummies, 2009: Did Obama really win in 2008? Or did Obama win really, really big? ES&S incompetence or intent?
...However, when one considers ES&S' reckless performance as an election provider the real issue is much more basic. Should we even do business with these people? What do you do when a vendor loses your data? What do you do when your vendor sells you inferior products?


Strategic Vision Polls Exhibit Unusual Patterns, Possibly Indicating Fraud*
Nate Silver at
One of the questions, in light of Strategic Vision LLC's repeated failure to disclose even basic details about its polling methodology, is whether the firm is in fact conducting polling at all, or rather, is creating fake but plausible-looking results in order to increase traffic and attention to its core business as a PR and literary firm

Uniform Law Commission Continues Work on Electoral College Proposal
September 26th, 2009 This year the Uniform Law Commission has been working on a model state law that would force presidential electors to vote for their own party’s nominee for president, when those electors vote in the electoral college. The committee working on this has set a public meeting in Chicago for December 4-5, 2009.

Premiere issue of NCSL's Legislative Action Bulletin, an update on state election legislation from The Canvass.
September 23, 2009 LAB
Legislative Action Bulletins (LABs) are a new publication offered by The Canvass. Published on a regular basis and distributed via email, LABs offer a brief, timely snapshot of what state legislatures have been up to in the arena of elections. Each issue includes statistics on the status of election bills in the current legislative session, and brief summaries of items of interest, including links to newly enacted election legislation. The current issue and all future LABs can be found on NCSL's website. During the fourth quarter of 2009, three LABs will be distributed. Publication will pick up in 2010, with LABs coming out every two weeks while most legislatures are in session.

Open Source Digital Voting Foundation
September 21, 2009 One of the signal failures of digital technology in recent years has been e-voting. Practically every high-profile attempt to switch from quaint analogue technologies to swish new digital ones has proved a complete and utter disaster
..."it is the hope and intent of OSDV to advance the cause of digital voting technology and where appropriate, to partner with makers of digital voting products."

Term Limits
I've suggested before how score- and approval-voting could make primaries unnecessary, but after reading about this poll, it occurred to me that they could also make term limits unnecessary (or at least redundant).

Philippines. Early voting proposed in Philippines
An interesting story about early voting in the Philippines came across today’s wire.
Reference is made to successful early voting in the United States, New Zealand, Canada, Germany, and Switzerland.

Canada. To fix democracy, start with the voters
The highly entertaining Maclean’s/CPAC “Our Democracy is Broken: How Do We Fix It” show was mostly about what’s wrong with political institutions...It’s all important stuff, but misses, in my opinion, a deeper problem: our citizens know less about politics than they used to and are less inclined to vote. In particular, young people tend to be poorly informed and politically inert, and it’s getting worse.
This is hardly a problem unique to Canada... the most pressing problem in Canadian democracy is political illiteracy and lethargy.

Germany. Federal elections in Germany
September 25 (How Germany votes, see paper ballots, and court ruling on e-voting)
The German electoral system is based on slightly modified, so-called personalized, proportional representation. Each voter has two votes, the first of which is for a candidate in his or her constituency, the second for a state list of candidates put up by a particular party. The number of seats a party holds in the Bundestag is determined by the number of valid second votes it receives.
On March 3rd 2009 the highest German Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht, Federal Constitutional Court) ruled that electronic voting machines like Nedap ESD1 and ESD2 are not permissible in Germany...Btw. countries that use hand counted paper ballots only have one contest on the entire ballot. That is why their elections often are counted quickly and accurately, in most cases.

Voting News by Joyce McCloy.
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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sarasota FL: ES&S is baack!, Lucas Co OH forgotten ballots, ACORN good and bad

Sarasota County officials thought they saw the last of ES&S after booting them out 2 years ago. Now, unless the Justice Dept intervenes, Sarasota officials will once again have to deal with a vendor they ditched thanks to ES&S' purchase of Diebold:
"I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt as much as I can," he said. "But I kind of feel like Charlie Brown with Lucy holding the football. How many times do you go to kick the ball and 'Swoosh!' through the air and end up on your derriere." ~County Commissioner Jon Thaxton

Absentee ballots and audits: "...most absentee ballots are not subject to the Connecticut Post-Election Audit Law – an opening for errors to go undetected and an opportunity for fraud." ~ Luther Weeks, CT Voters Count.

Meanwhile, Lucas Co Ohio forgot to count 166 absentee ballots.*
ACORN in North Carolina: "The negative costs so much aggravation, it almost takes away the good work [ACORN] did,"..."Because they registered a lot of people. But a few bad apples hurt the good work they did." ~Mike Ashe, Election Director, Durham County NC.

"A day as a poll worker": "After lending a helping hand within this election, I felt empowered as an African American and honored to continue the legacy which once was prohibited for Blacks in America." ~ Aisha Brown.
Workshop Aims to Establish Standards for Voting Machine Data

CT. Absentee Ballots Can Be Decisive – yet Unaudited
September 24, 2009 Story in ConnPost, Primary loser declines to challenge absentees...As we and others have pointed out, there are many issues and risks with any type of mail-in voting, including absentee voting.

FL. Trial lawyers group admits role in racially charged election flier
September 24, 2009 TALLAHASSEE — In a highly embarrassing mea culpa, Florida's powerful trial lawyer lobby admitted Wednesday that it was behind an ugly race-baiting flier in a recent North Florida Senate election.

FL. 3 years after vote furor, machine vendor is back (ES&S purchase of Diebold)
MERGER: ES&S, once again the provider in Sarasota, now dominates the field
September 24, 2009 Two years after being shown the door for its role in an election that local officials would just as soon forget, voting machine maker ES&S is once again overseeing the system Sarasota County residents will use to cast their votes.
...Opposition locally, though, is less legal and more emotional, stemming from the role of the ES&S iVotronic voting system in the disputed November 2006 election.

FL. Editorial: The votes are in the mail
September 24 Given the choice between a mail election and a special election that asks voters to go to the polls to decide on the proposed new Pensacola city charter, voting by mail is more likely to draw a higher turnout, which is needed on such a crucial decision...The City Council's committee of the whole approval of a mail ballot makes sense...But there are drawbacks.
Voting by mail is vulnerable to fraud. No one can know for sure who is filling out a mail ballot.

MN. Recount reveals need for state election reform
18 September 2009 ...First, Minnesota’s primary election needs to be moved earlier in the election year. If an election as close as the one between Norm Coleman and Al Franken occurs in a primary, under existing procedures, it could be April before a general election could be held... we recommend that a two-week early voting period be established.

NC. For a bogeyman, ACORN sure is small
In N.C., the group works on neighborhood issues—on a shoestring

NC. ACORN scandal taking toll on group's N. Carolina office
North Carolina's ACORN office has had to lay off all eight of its employees in the wake of a scandal that has rocked the national office of the grass-roots organizing group. Yet many workers have continued the past three weeks as unpaid volunteers for the nonprofit organization, reaching out to low- and moderate-income workers who might need help with issues ranging from landlord fights to high-priced mortgages

NV. NV receives grant to foster youth voter interest
09/24/2009 ... students who choose to participate will research campaign issues, view voting machine demonstrations and attend forums to interact with political candidates.

NY. Runoffs for Some But Not For Others? (suggests IRV )
September 24th, 2009 As New York City Democratic voters get ready to vote in the upcoming runoff election on Sept. 29 for their party’s nominees for comptroller and public advocate, you may be thinking, why do I have to vote again only in these two citywide races?

NY. Casting out votes
September 23...Gov. David Paterson, citing the potential cost and inconvenience, has essentially disenfranchised an entire portion of the population by vetoing a bill that would have required all polling places in the state to be accessible to disabled voters within six months...The six-month deadline, he says, "is simply too onerous," given the state's rules on competitive bidding, contracting and construction.

OH. Missing ballots cast doubt on Toledo City Council tally *malfeasance*
9/22. The Lucas County Board of Elections has 1,092 ballots that could be added to last week's Toledo primary election count, putting the final results for Toledo City Council in doubt.
The additional ballots include 166 absentee ballots accidentally left uncounted last Tuesday, Director Linda Howe said Monday.
...In addition to the 166 uncounted absentee votes, 545 provisional ballots were determined to be valid.

OH. Husted redistricting commission plan passes Senate, predicts court support on residency challenge
September 24,

PA. Oral Argument Set in Pennsylvania Federal Ballot Access Case
September 24th, 2009 ...The lawsuit, filed by the Constitution, Green and Libertarian Parties, challenges Pennsylvania’s unique system of charging candidates and parties for the costs of checking their petitions, if they fail to have enough valid signatures. It also challenges the careless way in which some counties count write-ins and others don’t


Workshop Aims to Establish Standards for Voting Machine Data
To facilitate audits of election results and making the election process more transparent, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will host a workshop next month to discuss creating a common digital “language” for the data produced by electronic voting systems. The Common Data Format Workshop, to be held Oct. 29 and 30 at NIST’s campus in Gaithersburg, Md.

Treasury Department Inspector General to Look Into IRS Oversight of ACORN, Other Groups
9/24 The announcement was made in response to a request from Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine -- the ranking Republicans on the House and Senate government oversight committees -- for the Treasury Department and other government agencies to review their ties to ACORN

The Voters... (humor)
2009/09/23 You know, I wish I had more confidence in my fellow voters

This week's Electlionline newsletter for Sept 24 (pdf)

Opinion. Like Hollywood, U.S. should update its voting system


India. Electronic Voting Machines- none of the above option
Chief election commissioner Navin Chawla on September 23 said the poll panel had recommended to the Union government to include ‘none of the above’ option — rejecting the candidates in an election — in electronic voting machines.

Voting News by Joyce McCloy.
Archives here at
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"The Voting News is a free service made possible in part by support from 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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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Internet Voting for Australia and Oshawa Ontario? E-voting for London? ACORN probed, ACORN sues

Internet Voting Whack-A-Mole continues: Australia considers internet voting. Oshawa Ontario politicians want internet voting but will put it off until 2014.
London plans to use electronic voting in 2012.
The Justice Dept is probing ACORN and meanwhile ACORN is suing the film producers who secretly recorded embarrassing videos.
Is New York ready for voting machines yet? A local paper issues a call for more robust auditing, more stringent protocols. The paper also urges that "undervote" reporting function on the voting machines be turned on, so that voters will be warned if they leave a contest unvoted.

Data, Modernization, and Reform..."the practical concerns of election officials seem to get minimal hearing as policy makers proceed." Mark Shelden, Champaign County Clerk
Early voting promo: The Hammer and the Wild Thing.
Video: "Voting Machines Elect One Of Their Own As President"

News is light today. (No glitches reported). Got a great article? Send it to ncvoter (at)

CA. Instant runoff voting debate leads to council meltdown

FL. Lawsuit Over Florida Green Party Mystery Candidates Enters New Phase
September 23rd, 2009

MN. Mathematics expert: IRV not the answer
Minnesota Public Radio September 23, 2009
St. Paul, Minn. — A mathematician who's spent years analyzing voting systems told a Minneapolis audience Tuesday that instant runoff voting is not the answer.

NC. Reidsville has unique election cycle
September 22, 2009
WENTWORTH — The city of Reidsville is in a class all its own when it comes to elections. The city votes for its mayor and council in October rather than in November, and that usually means confusion for its residents, said Tina Cardwell, deputy director of the Rockingham County Board of Elections.

NY. State and city unready for voting machine headaches
September 22nd 2009...the state Board of Elections has to listen to auditing experts now, and develop protocols that guarantee votes were counted properly. So far, the board's proposals fall far short of that goal.
The state board should also be faulted for directing counties to turn off a feature that would alert voters if they missed or "undervoted" a ballot.

OH. Ohio SOS Brunner rules State Sen. Husted is not a resident of his elected district
September 22,Ohio Secretary of State (SOS) Jennifer Brunner, broke a tie vote by the Montgomery County Board of Elections (MCBOE) by ruling that State Sen. Jon Husted of not a resident for purposes of voting of his district..According to Brunner's research, Husted's wife has been a registered voter in Franklin County and has voted there starting with the general election of 2002.

SC. Voting fraud case ends
September 23, 2009

United States

"Voting Machines Elect One Of Their Own As President"

Data, Modernization, and Reform
Champaign County Clerk
...At the same time, the practical concerns of election officials seem to get minimal hearing as policy makers proceed.

ACORN Shutting Down Tax Clinics, Vows to Continue Voter-Registration Efforts

ACORN sues filmmakers
September 23rd
WASHINGTON (CNN) — ACORN filed suit Wednesday in Baltimore, Maryland, against two filmmakers who secretly recorded videos embarrassing to the agency, claiming the pair violated state law by recording their conversations without permission of the employees involved...O'Keefe and Giles also attempted to capture similar videos at ACORN offices in other cities but failed.

Justice starts ACORN probe
The Justice Department’s inspector general plans to review whether ACORN received any DOJ grants — and if they did, exactly how they were used.
The move comes in response to an inquiry from Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee

Election Updates - The Hammer and the Wild Thing
The Hammer and the Wild Thing.

AEI newsletter Voter ID Laws and Indiana, Electoral Laws and Turnout: 1972-2008 and
Internet Voting


Australia. Online voting could be on the cards
Sep 23 2009 The age of the internet election may soon be upon voters, with the Rudd government looking at ways to bring the electoral process into the 21st century.
In its second green paper on electoral reform, released Wednesday, the government canvasses a range of issues affecting the electoral process, such as lowering the voting age, who should be eligible to vote, the use of technology and fixed electoral terms.
The latest green paper can be accessed at

Canada. Oshawa politicians want to postpone online voting until 2014
Voting for municipal council with the click of a mouse may still be years away. Oshawa's finance and administration committee recently voted not to introduce online voting for the 2010 municipal election, saying there are still too many wrinkles to iron out...Internet voting has been successful in several Ontario communities.
In 2006, Markham offered an online voting option for the second time and saw 10,639 people cast a ballot using that method, an increase of 48 per cent over the first time it was used in 2003.
Peterborough used online voting for the first time in 2006, and saw 3,473 out of the city's 52,116 voters take advantage of the a check in that system that requires people to use a PIN plus enter unique personal information, so that makes sure it can't be used for nefarious purposes."

UK. Leo Boland takes decision to e-count in London 2012
This morning, in a ‘round table’ event to discuss London’s election plans, ORG was told by Leo Boland, London's Chief Executive and returning officer, that he has personally taken the decision to e-count in London's 2012 elections, despite the fact that he has not yet received feedback on the GLA’s cost-benefit analysis, which revealed that e-counting would be more expensive and potentially less robust than manual counting.
The GLA has yet to receive a response on their analysis from the Electoral Commission or other concerned organizations like ORG.

Voting News by Joyce McCloy.
Archives here at
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"The Voting News is a free service made possible in part by support from 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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