Friday, October 30, 2009

Fix Tennessee broken elections, Hawaii prime for open source voting,Voting machines made in China?

NYTimes Slams Diebold/ES&S Merger, Succeeds In Not Using Word 'Paperless' Even Once!...Is the Supreme Court about to turn the US into a corporate democracy?...Senator Feingold and Representative Ellison for Introducing Same Day Voter Registration Bill...Military ballot law means some states must move up primaries...

Humboldt County uses the Hart Voting System for the 1st time...Controversy heats up over IRV question on St Paul MN ballot...Op/ed in Tennessee says voting system isn't broke, don't use taxpayer money fix it - but oh Tennessee's voting system is most definitely broken and Tennessee has millions of federal $ to fix it...Wisconsin Supreme Ct says ok for judges to preside over cases involving big campaign contributors...How To Vote From Six Feet Under...Deal Reached in Honduras to Restore Ousted President...Queensland Australia wants internet voting for disabled...Irony: China to make Philippines voting machines?...

CA: Elections office preps for big day
10/28/2009 For a moment, things got tense.
...The county opted to make the switch to the new equipment after discovering flaws with its Premier Elections Solutions equipment last November -- flaws that ultimately led to the system having its statewide certification withdrawn by California Secretary of State Debra Bowen.
To help with the transition, Hart Intercivic consultant David Magedson is on site in Humboldt County, and will remain to help the local elections staff until Nov. 4

CA: Oakland, California, Moves Closer to Using Instant Runoff Voting
October 30th, 2009 According to this story in the October 30 Oakland Tribune, the Alameda County (California) Elections Department says the vote-counting machines used in that county can handle Instant Runoff Voting. Alameda County is waiting for the Secretary of State to certify those machines

CA: Perata questions ranked choice voting in Alameda County
10/30/2009 Three years after Oakland voters approved instant runoff voting for city elections, one Oakland mayoral candidate is questioning whether or not the city, county and voters are ready for it.

In a letter to Alameda County Administrator Susan Muranishi, former state Senate leader Don Perata brings up a variety of questions and concerns about the possibility of using instant runoff voting in next year's city elections.

CT: Working Families Party May Elect City Council, School Board Seats in Bridgeport, Connecticut
October 30th, 2009 Bridgeport, Connecticut, like other towns in that state, is hold local partisan elections on November 3, 2009. In Bridgeport, and certain other Connecticut towns, no one political party is permitted to run a full slate of candidates.

HI: Hawaii should clean its election house and join other states supporting open source voting software
Who will you vote for in 2010?

If you live in Hawaii, the better question right now is “how” will you vote in 2010.

If a crisis can be an opportunity, we’ve got the makings of a grand opportunity as our Office of Elections continues to melt down.

Senate Ways and Means and Election Commission hearings that put Chief Elections Officer Kevin Cronin on the hot seat have not yet revealed any clear path to solving the many problems the CEO faces
With its budget cut 94% by the gov, lawsuits still pending and procurement on hold, there is yet no solution in sight. Hawaii is, in fact, unable at this moment to even have an election in 2010. Of course, somehow we will get through this.

HI: Lack of competition should require Cost or Price Analysis of Hawaii voting machine purchase

MN: League of Women Voters to pro-IRV: Take our name off your lit
The co-presidents of the St. Paul League of Women Voters are asking instant-runoff voting supporters to "correct" an "error in their literature."
Johnson explained that the League's equivocating position (arguably in support of both the yes and the no campaigns?) was the result of disagreement within the organization. "We have members who are supporting it, and since we also have some members who are opposing it, we can't speak in favor of voting yes as an organization,"

So much for 'low-key': IRV foes file formal complaint
October 30

MN: Questions on instant runoff voting: Rank your answers (much needed humor)
There have been a lot of questions about instant runoff voting. What is it, how does it work, who's on first, does this mole look odd, why can't I just text in my vote like I do on "American Idol," and so on. Well, let's start by re-examining the previous election.

NC: Third Parties.
The N.C. Supreme Court may soon have to decide whether the state's third-party ballot-access law is constitutional. This matter should not have had to come before the courts.

If legislators and the two major parties would look beyond their own interests, they'd see that the law needs changing, as the Libertarian Party has been saying for years.

North Carolina ballot-access law is one of the strictest in the country and one of the few things that Democrats and Republicans agree upon. The law limits the playing field for these two parties, allowing them to stay comfortably within their own party bases and ignore the discontent of voters looking for different solutions.

To gain access to the ballot under state law, a party must file a petition bearing the equivalent of 2 percent of the state's registered voters. That is a daunting threshold for new parties to meet, one that usually consumes its meager resources of money and volunteers. In 2008, Libertarians needed 70,000 signatures to get on the ballot. In 2012, third parties will need about 85,000.

NC: Voter registration lists need to be modernized
October 28, 2009 Doug Chapin LTE
The Sept. 26 article, “Election boards wonder if military ballots are too costly,” is prime evidence of the need to modernize our outdated voter registration system
However, unreturned or undeliverable military and overseas ballots are not the problem.

They are a costly symptom of an outdated, inefficient and inaccurate registration system that doesn’t work well, particularly for these highly mobile individuals.

NY: Rockland prosecutors find no fraud in absentee ballot win
NEW CITY - Rockland prosecutors announced Thursday that they found no criminality in the way a Clarkstown Town Board candidate and her supporters filed absentee ballots to win her the Working Families Party line in the Nov. 3 election.

OH: Lawrence Norden commentary: Voter-registration reform could dampen disputes
October 29, 2009 By Lawrence Norden.
...But changes to election law in Ohio can minimize the frequency and impact of some of these controversies by creating clearer and fairer laws that improve election administration, decrease burdens and costs on county election offices and put the voters first. The Ohio House Committee on Elections and Ethics is considering legislation that should make progress on all of these fronts.
Or use this tiny url

OH: Worker pleads guilty to voter fraud
The pro-casino worker Hamilton County prosecutors said forged absentee ballot applications admitted Friday he did.Walter Sullivan, 27, of Montgomery, pleaded guilty Friday to the five counts of filing a false signature, all felonies.

PA: Luzerne controller nominee annoyed about instructions on absentee ballots (Straight ticket voting instructions)
October 28, 2009 WILKES-BARRE - Walter L. Griffith Jr., the Republican nominee for county controller, is upset instructions on absentee ballots were printed before the county board of elections voted to approve the ballot.

TN: Rethink the VCA (this op thinks there's nothing wrong in Tennessee)
If the voting machine system ain’t broke, don’t spend taxpayer money to fix it.
OpEd by Rich Holden

VA: County voters head to polls next Tuesday; voters to choose new governor, delegates (Unilect Patriot voting machine, like machine that lost votes in NC in 2004) October 28, 2009
Pittsylvania County voters will go to the polls Tuesday, Nov. 3, to elect a new governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and members of the House of Delegates

Election officials were busy last week testing the county's Patriot voting machines.
A programming glitch last November caused some voters to leave polling places without voting for county treasurer, but did not affect the outcome of the election.

WI: Wis. High Court: Donations Don't Require Recusals
MADISON, Wis. (AP) ― The Wisconsin Supreme Court adopted rules Wednesday allowing judges to hear cases involving their biggest campaign contributors, siding with business interests and rejecting calls for reform.


NYTimes Slams Diebold/ES&S Merger, Succeeds In Not Using Word 'Paperless' Even Once!

Corporate Democracy:
Potential fallout from a Supreme Court decision on Citizens United
The impending Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which could be announced as early as Tuesday, Nov. 3, is expected to significantly expand the role of the most powerful special interests in financing American elections.

Demos Applauds Senator Feingold and Representative Ellison for Introducing Same Day Voter Registration Bill
Federal Proposal Would Increase Voter Participation Nationwide

Same Day Voter Registration Re-Introduced
By allowing voters to register at polling places the same day as they vote, the Same Day Registration Act would help increase voter turnout and voters would not have to worry about sitting an election out because they missed a registration deadline. And by having voters register in person, there is less of a chance that voter fraud could take place.

Troop ballot law has states in a time squeeze
Oct 29, 2009 ST. PAUL, Minn. — A new law meant to protect the voting rights of deployed troops and other Americans overseas is forcing at least a dozen states to consider holding their primaries earlier or to negotiate another plan that federal officials will accept.

Ballots must be sent to certain voters at least 45 days before an election under a requirement included in a major defense bill signed Wednesday by President Barack Obama.
Colorado, New York, Washington and Wisconsin are among states already planning to request waivers.

How To Vote From Six Feet Under
Even death can’t stop some voters.
Thanks to the increasing popularity of absentee voting, a rising number of the recently deceased are casting ballots — legally. The trick is to pull the lever before you kick the bucket.


Australia: Qld election budget 'blew out by $850k'
October 29, 2009 The budget for the Queensland state election in March blew out by $850,000, the electoral commission says.
The commission plans to seek a change to the law to allow a trial of internet voting for people with disabilities who need voting assistance and who can access the internet through screen readers loaded on their home computers.

Deal Reached in Honduras to Restore Ousted President
October 30, 2009 MEXICO CITY — A lingering political crisis in Honduras seemed to be nearing an end on Friday after the de facto government agreed to a deal, pending legislative approval, that would allow Manuel Zelaya, the deposed president, to return to office.

Nicaraguan Congress will not debate re-election
MANAGUA, Nicaragua — The Nicaraguan Congress on Wednesday narrowly rejected an initiative to force a debate on whether to annul a hotly disputed court ruling allowing President Daniel Ortega to seek re-election.

Philippines: Poll machines will now be made in China, not Taiwan
10/30/2009 Smartmatic picks new subcontractor for PCOS machines
MANILA - Is it a violation of the poll automation contract?

Voting News by Joyce McCloy.
Archives here at
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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Trust, Antitrust and Your Vote, GA. seeks voter id approval, VA. votes still at risk

Trust, Antitrust and Your Vote (or ES&S buys Diebold)...Your papers please: Georgia's State Board of Elections seeks DOJ approval of law requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote...Correction: Voting news should have said Wyoming County New York yesterday: Pilot is beginning of Wyoming County New York's switch to electronic voting, officials incorrectly cite HAVA as requiring they ditch lever machines...St Paul MN divided over instant runoff voting...NY City Council member sponsors resolution urges state lawmakers to keep the levers...Will every vote count? New optical scan voting machines to be tested in NY 23rd House race...Virginia runs risk in 2010 elections with mostly paperless voting...VA State BoE submits swine flu contingency plans to EAC..."President Obama signs Schumer bill to ease voting process for Military, overseas voters...Voting Gets Easier For Disabled, But Problems Remain...

All of that and more in today's Voting News below...

CA: Santa Barbara "Vote-By-Mail" Election Nears
There are nearly 47,000 registered voters in the city of Santa Barbara and with less than a week until the November 3, 2009 election, just 11,000 ballots have been received by the County Elections Office.

The election is the city's first ever "vote-by-mail" election, and there's concern that some registered voters may not return their ballots on time.

GA: Citizen Check For Voter Registration Moves Ahead
ATLANTA — The State Elections Board this week decided to take the first step to get approval for Senate Bill 86. Passed by state lawmakers earlier this year, it requires proof of citizenship when registering to vote in Georgia.

KY: Polling preparedness: Counties gear up for December special election
...At its meeting on Oct. 13, the court approved the purchase of 19 new eScan voting machines. A machine will be placed in each of the 17 precincts, one will be in the courthouse for absentee voting and one reserved in case of malfunctions.
On Dec. 8, voters will get their first chance to use the new machines. Judge-Executive Milward Dedman said this election offers a chance for voters and poll workers to get familiar with the new machines before the primaries in May.

MN: IRV: No, but we appreciate the debate
Pioneer Press Editorial 10/28/2009
...try as we might - and we tried pretty hard - we remain
unconvinced of the compelling need to change the way we elect the mayor
and members of the City Council. We view up-or-down, yes-no voting as
simpler and clearer, and IRV as an intriguing idea whose time has not
yet come in St. Paul.

MN:Don Fraser and George Latimer: The case for instant-runoff voting is clear
Name any common flaw in the current system, and IRV offers a solution.
October 29, 2009 ...Fortunately, St. Paul voters can do just that on Nov. 3 by adopting a proposal for instant-runoff voting -- also called ranked-choice voting -- in mayoral and City Council elections.

MN: More complicated, confusing and expensive

By Chuck Repke, Angie Kline, Kathy Lantry and Dave Thune
Pioneer Press Updated: 10/28/2009
St. Paul voters should learn from others' mistakes and not switch to an expensive, complicated and confusing election system. Free, fair elections are the hallmark of democracy and every voter deserves to be treated equally. Using IRV is far too likely to confuse and inhibit voting. IRV's voting system will leave too many voters without a vote in the final "round" of voting. Taxpayers will pay more to wait weeks for results. It seems to us like IRV is a damaging and expensive solution in search of a problem. Vote "no" on Nov. 3.

NC: TN EDITORIAL: New kind of voting is no threat
October 29, 2009 Another concern is that third and forth place votes in the 2007 election were not publicized because they were not needed or used. That should be
easily remedied.

The bottom line is that instant runoff voting is a fair and efficient
way to elect office-holders. Just because Hendersonville is the only
city in North Carolina using the system this year does not make it a bad

NY: Warsaw will be first Wyoming County town to use electronic voting machines (report mistakenly says HAVA requires replacement of levers)October 28, 2009 WARSAW -- As Warsaw goes, so will Wyoming County.The town is the first to switch over to the county's new electronic voting machines. They'll be used in Tuesday's elections....Like other counties statewide, Wyoming is switching to electronic machines as part of the federal Helping Americans Vote Act. The new units will ultimately replace the old-style lever machines used since the 1940s.

NY: No New Machines
October 28th, 2009. On the steps of City Hall this afternoon, council members Helen Foster, Robert Jackson, Simcha Felder and David Weprin urged the city to keep the lever machines instead of the electronic ones.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” said Jackson.

Foster has sponsored a resolution, which urges the state legislature and the state’s congressional delegation to “take all appropriate actions that may be necessary to enable New York counties to continue using lever voting machines supplemented by accessible voting technology for people with disabilities.”

NY: Will every vote count?
New voting machines in 23rd House race not fully certified in pilot program, officials say
Thursday, October 29, 2009 ALBANY -- What do Minnesota and New York's 23rd Congressional District have in common, aside from their proximity to Canada and hard winters? Two additional correct answers: Hotly contested elections, and voters choosing their candidates with paper ballots scanned through optical counting machines.

NY: N.Y. 23rd District Dems Head to Court
Democrats are going to court over New York's 23rd House District race, looking to have voting machines impounded on election night.

Parties usually seek to impound machines the day of so campaigns can watch ballots be double-checked.

VA: Voting Machines: State Has Long Way to Go
...The General Assembly has already decided that unverifiable direct-recording electronic (DRE) voting machines must be phased out -- and for good reason. Subtle bugs occur in all computer systems, and it is impossible to test for all of them. Report after report in recent years has uncovered new ways that purely electronic voting can be corrupted without detection -- or simply fail.
In neighboring North Carolina, in 2004, a paperless voting machine in Carteret County lost more than 4,000 votes, and threw a statewide election into chaos.
Virginia has had warnings and near-misses. We've taken incremental steps, but it is time to provide verifiable ballots for every voter. We should not wait for a "Carteret County" to do the right thing for Virginia's voters.

VA: Protesters push to have late absentee ballots counted
October 29, 2009 "Support our troops, let them vote," read a sign held by Jim Smyers, who helped organize the protest on behalf of the Richmond Liberty Alliance, an offshoot of the Tea Party movement.

or use this tiny url

VA: Virginia H1N1 plan is submitted to EAC clearinghouse
The Virginia State Board of Elections submitted the latest state H1N1 flu contingency plan. EAC has encouraged election officials to submit H1N1 flu season contingency plans to EAC's online clearinghouse. Read the Virginia plan here.


Trust, Antitrust and Your Vote
October 28, 2009 Editorial
...The new company would have enormous reach. Without meaningful competition, localities would have fewer choices when they bought voting machines. If something were to go wrong — an inadvertent failure in hardware or software or intentional tampering by a bad actor — it could have a disastrous effect on the entire nation’s vote.

How to Make Open Source Happen
Champaign County Clerk
...As in any public policy initiative, the case needs to be made to the policy makers. Unfortunately, they are often part of the problem as I noted earlier. But each impediment to open source that I mentioned yesterday can be addressed and needs to be.
GOSCON is an organization that has been formed to begin the process of developing open source solutions for government.

Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act signed
President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 yesterday (28 October 2009). One part of the act is the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, reproduced below.

Voting Gets Easier For Disabled, But Problems Remain
On Election Day last year, the Government Accountability Office sent investigators to 720 polling places around the country to see if people in wheelchairs, or who were blind deaf or had other disabilities, could easily cast a ballot.

The results were mixed. There was some barriers, from the parking lot to the voting booth, in more than two-thirds of the polling places.

Voting News by Joyce McCloy.
Archives here at
Subscribe to receive the Voting News by email by visiting this link:
email comments, questions us at ncvoter (at)

"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."
Donate online at this link:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Why Rig Elections? Because it works. Diebold on EFFs TakeDown Hall of Shame

Diebold can't seem to get away from the bad publicity its disgraced election division keeps churning. The latest disgrace of many: EFF launches a "Takedown Hall of Shame" to fight censorship and - Diebold makes the list...Why Rig Elections? Because it Works....Low Tech, Computer Hack...Sens. McCain and Feingold defend campaign finance laws that Supreme Court threatens to roll back...President Obama Set to Sign Overseas Voter Act...Cool free online redistricting tool in preparation the 2010 Census!...Newspaper Condemns North Carolina Ballot Access Law...Big Week for Election Integrity in The Big Apple... 16 Va. localities fail to meet absentee-ballot deadline...Pilot is beginning of Wyoming County NY switch to electronic voting, officials incorrectly cite HAVA as requiring they ditch lever machines...Internet voting whack-a-mole in Canada: one Canadian city promises paperless online voting for 2010, another city rejects online voting as insecure...

All of that and more in today's Voting News below...

CT: Low Tech, Computer Hack
October 28, 2009. Just a little reminder that we can have all the physical security, encryption, open source, and source disclosure in the world and there are still low tech ways to hack systems available to high school “D students”.

FL: Lake Park To Change Voting Method In 2010
Change Comes After Lawsuit Claimed Blacks Not Getting Fair Shot In Elections
..."In the consent decree, the town of Lake Park conceded that there is a factual and legal basis for concluding that the current at-large method of electing the town's commissioners results in an unfair dilution of the African-American vote," said U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Sloman. "

FL: Broward's Advancement Project Report
The Advancement Project and other 501c3 groups have been meeting with SOEs around the state discussing problems with provisional ballots, voter registrations, early voting etc. They are working to create legislation for 2010 to address the problematic issues uncovered in their public records requests from the November 2008 election. They did a comprehensive request to determine the cause of rejected provisional ballots and voter registration applications.

MD: Open meeting squabble in Prince George's leads to new policy
Elections administrator won't attend closed-door meetings with delegates

ME: Pilot Program Encourages Early Voting
AUGUSTA (NEWS CENTER) -- Nine communities are participating in an early voting pilot program in Maine. Early voting is not the same as absentee voting. Registered voters show up to a polling place, fill out a ballot and that ballot is immediately counted.

MN: Candidates, like city, slow to grasp instant-runoff voting
October 27, 2009
...Now the city that once made the world's fastest supercomputers expects to employ 100 election judges for eight weeks to conduct a full hand-count of next month's city election. Judging by their campaigns, candidates for city office haven't cottoned much faster to the new system.

NC: Nonpartisan voting issue brings Fox News to Kinston
October 26, 2009 KINSTON — The national media spotlight shone a little brighter on Kinston Monday as a crew from the Fox News Channel rolled into town to interview various local figures in the ongoing nonpartisan voting issue.

NC: Winston-Salem Journal Newspaper Condemns North Carolina Ballot Access Law
October 27th, 2009 The October 27 issue of the Winston-Salem Journal has
this editorial, criticizing the state’s ballot access law and calling on the legislature to improve it. Of course, if the pending Libertarian-Green ballot access lawsuit wins in the State Supreme Court, that is an alternate path to a better law

NC: Students subpoenaed for hearing
29 from ECSU to testify at election protests
October 27, 2009. Twenty-eight Elizabeth City State University students are among the 30 witnesses that Pasquotank County elections officials plan to subpoena for next week’s hearings on election protests filed by two unsuccessful 4th Ward City Council candidates.
The board also rejected Watts’ request that the students’ tuition costs be subpoenaed from the university

NC:Election Board hearings: Mike Easley is accused of pilfering campaign funds.
27 Oct 2009. Former Gov. Mike Easley, at the outset of hearings into possible violations of the state’s campaign finance laws, stands accused — by a friend — of being a petty grifter.

NC: Easley case highlights 'loophole'
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Advisers who once helped former Gov. Mike Easley on fundraising told state election officials Tuesday there was no scheme to funnel money the campaign raised for the state Democratic Party back to Easley's committee to avoid individual caps on giving.

NJ: County Puts New Technology In Place For Election
...Eight precincts in Berks County will have a new way to sign in on Tuesday, in addition to the traditional poll books. It's a test but could be the future for the entire county...

NV: ACORN, former official plead not guilty in Nevada
LAS VEGAS — Lawyers for the political advocacy group ACORN and a former voter registration supervisor pleaded not guilty Tuesday to illegally paying canvassers to register Nevada voters during last year's presidential campaign.

NY: Warsaw will be first Wyoming County town to use electronic voting machines (report mistakenly says HAVA requires replacement of levers)
October 28, 2009 WARSAW -- As Warsaw goes, so will Wyoming County.
The town is the first to switch over to the county's new electronic voting machines. They'll be used in Tuesday's elections.
Like other counties statewide, Wyoming is switching to electronic machines as part of the federal Helping Americans Vote Act. The new units will ultimately replace the old-style lever machines used since the 1940s.

NY: Democrats Go To Court In NY-23 »
The Democrats have beaten the Republicans to court in NY-23, obtaining an order to show cause that requires the impounding of voting machines for what is expected to be another tight congressional special election.
This order is pretty standard, except for one point of interest: It directs three counties - Essex, Clinton and Oneida - to let people who made the federal registration deadline but not the state and local deadline to vote on paper ballots, not affidavit ballots.

NY: Big Week for Election Integrity in The Big Apple
...New York City Councilmember Helen D. Foster will introduce a Resolution to keep the City's 7,300 lever voting machines which, contrary to popular belief, the Help America Vote Act does not require to be replaced.

OH: Improving Ohio's elections a continuing process
By Lawrence Norden • Guest Columnist • October 27, 2009
...The Enhancements Bill addresses a number of issues that need immediate attention.

For instance, the Statewide Voter Registration Database and system need to be improved so that counties and the state have more accurate voter information to ensure that all registered voters can vote and have their votes counted; early voting procedures need to be refined so that ministerial mistakes on forms do not lead to voided ballots; and provisional voting and voter ID laws can be simplified to make so that they are easily understood by poll workers and explained to voters.

One non-controversial way to maintain the accuracy of the registration database, for example, is to ensure that the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles complies with the National Voting Rights Act (NVRA)...

or use this tiny url

VA: 16 Va. localities fail to meet absentee-ballot deadline
Despite court prodding and changes in state election laws, 16 Virginia localities have failed to meet a deadline to allow absentee ballots of military personnel serving overseas to be counted on time.

Nancy Rodriques, secretary of the State Board of Elections, said she did not know how many ballots will not be counted.
This year's election is next Tuesday. Most of the 16 registrars who failed to get the ballots out on time blamed the State Board of Elections' computer system.
or use this tiny url

NY: County auditor races to replace misprinted ballots *
EVERETT — A husband and wife were surprised when they received their ballots at their Everett home and found different races listed for next week's general election.

When the husband reported the discrepancy on Monday, the Snohomish County Auditor's Office found 112 mismatched ballots, Auditor Carolyn Weikel said. Elections staff worked with the printing company to identify errors related to the front and back sides of the ballots being printed out of sequence
The problem stemmed from a human error at K & H Printers in Everett, she said. When one printer jammed, a worker entered the wrong information into another machine to restart the process. That led to fronts and backs getting out of sequence. Though many fronts and backs happened to line up for long stretches of the printing process, the two sides would get mixed up whenever the style of ballot changed to accommodate different local races.


Why Rig Elections? Because it Works.
Electionupdates Blog.
The Economist has an article this week on why people rig elections. The answer is, because it works really well. As the summary report of the key findings notes:

Redistricting the Nation
Cool free online redistricting tool launched by the company Avencia in preparation the 2010 Census!

More on Redistricting
With 2009 elections approaching, the 2010 Census on the horizon, and America's midterm elections only a year away, now is the time to take a few minutes to understand what it means to redraw our district lines. Here are a few useful and fun learning tools.

President Obama Set to Sign Overseas Voter Act on October

28 October 28th, 2009 President Obama is scheduled to sign S.1390 on Wednesday, October 28. This is the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, contained within the Defense Authorization Bill. The Voter Empowerment Act tells states that in federal elections, they must mail overseas absentee ballots no later than 45 days before the election.

Sens. McCain and Feingold on Citizens United v. FEC
October 27, 2009 Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), primary sponsors of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act in 2002, eloquently defend the campaign finance laws that the court is threatening in the YouTube videos below.

Statement of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold on Citizens United v. FEC (full text and vid)

EFF Launches "Takedown Hall of Shame" on Tuesday October 27

EFF fights 'censorship' with Takedown Hall of Shame
The Electronic Frontier Foundation today has aimed a demonstrably potent weapon -- the spotlight of public shame -- at those corporations and individuals who abuse copyright claims to stifle free speech.


Canada - Nova Scotia. Cobourg. Town considers paperless 2010 election
A completely paperless system may be used when town residents vote for their municipal council and school board representatives next year.
As in the last municipal election, Intelivote Systems Inc. of Nova Scotia would provide the electronic voting service, which can be used over the telephone or Internet. Each person would be given a personal identification number with which to vote and, once used to complete the entire voting choices, it cannot be used again. Also as in 2006, people can start their voting on the telephone and complete it at a later time, or use the Internet, or vice versa

Canada. Clarington to move back to traditional voting methods (says no to internet voting)
Council abandons mail-in system in favour of 'supervised' vote
Oct 28, 2009 CLARINGTON -- Instead of driving voters down the information superhighway, Clarington councillors have decided they'll backtrack to the traditional method of voting for the 2010 municipal election.

After three elections in which mail-in voting was used, the Municipal clerk's department had suggested going one step further in making voting more accessible, by using Internet voting.

But after hearing from a number of residents concerned about the "unsupervised" nature of both mail-in and online voting, council voted by a slim majority to eschew technology altogether, opting to go back to the pencil-and-paper ballot system.

Voting News by Joyce McCloy.
Archives here at
Subscribe to receive the Voting News by email by visiting this link:
email comments, questions us at ncvoter (at)

"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."
Donate online at this link:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sequoia new open source voting system, Indiana exports e-voting to East Africa, India's e-voting rigged say candidates

Industry First, Sequoia Voting Machine Company to Publish Source Code: “Security through obfuscation and secrecy is not security,” said Eric D. Coomer, PhD, Vice President of Research and Product Development at Sequoia Voting Systems. This ought to be against the law: Indiana County palms off 600 old Microvote machines to West Africa...Absentee ballot blues: Hamburg NY finds missing absentee ballots just in time...In India, losing candidates allege tampering of e-voting machines, but whether they are right or wrong, no one can prove the validity of a paperless computerized election...Ireland's storage bill for e-voting machines still rising as Govt stalls...The news is short today, will have much more tomorrow... Reminder, if you have a news article or great blogged article, send it to us and we will use it if we can...

All of that and more in today's Voting News below..

CO: Aspen withdraws 
marketing district 
ballot question
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Amid revelations of inaccurate voter rolls, Aspen City Council voted unanimously Monday night to withdraw a ballot question that would have increased local lodging taxes

CO:Snafu jeopardizes fate of Aspen's ballot question 5A *(voter reg. database error)
The City Council is expected to decide Monday night what to do about a snafu that resulted in some voters receiving a ballot that includes Referendum 5A even though they don't reside in the district and aren't supposed to vote on the measure, while others who should be able to vote instead received ballots without 5A on it.
The city clerk certified the list of 700-plus voters who were to get ballots that included Referendum 5A, but she was working with data base and mapping errors provided to her, Ireland said in an email sent out on the heels of Braun's missive.
County Clerk and Recorder Janice Vos Caudill said Monday morning she would not attempt to reprogram the statewide voter registration system at midstream in an attempt to correct the problems.

CO: Clerk asks for ballots' early return
Only 13,000 of the 84,000 ballots mailed out have been returned.The ballots have been mailed to voters . . . and Pueblo County Clerk Gilbert "Bo" Ortiz is encouraging voters to mail them back, or hand deliver them earlier than Election Day on Nov. 3.

CT: Connecticut submits election audits to EAC Voting System Reports Clearinghouse

FL: Voting machines for disabled could cost $3.5M
Oct 27, 2009 5:17 LEE COUNTY: Lee County leaders say they can't afford to buy new voting machines for voters with special needs, despite the fact they are required to have accessible machines with a paper trail by 2012
Lee County estimates the new machines would cost at least $3.5 million.

And they're not sure it's money well spent. Of the 340,000 registered voters in Lee County, only 58 with special needs came to the polls in 2008.

IN: Voting machines destined for West Africa
26 October 2009 Around 600 voting machines from Allen County will begin a journey to West Africa on Monday, where they will be used to assist the Benin republic in implementing a new voting system.

The MicroVote voting machines have been in storage at the County Election Board barn since 2006.

MI: Hamburg Towsnhip's Missing Absentee Ballots Finally Found
October 27, 2009- An oversight by the Livingston County Clerk’s Office is to blame for the delay in several hundred absentee ballots being mailed out to voters in Hamburg Township.
Approximately 475 of 1300 ballots were unaccounted for.

NY: Paper ballots unfunded by Suffolk exec, who blasts forced expense
October 26, 2009 Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy may have ambitions for statewide election, but he won’t get very far if his home county does not have the money needed to print next year’s ballots.

NY: Troy Democrats want Mirch probe
Candidate on ballot says he didn't know he was running
October 27, 2009
TROY -- City Democrats said Monday they have asked a special prosecutor to investigate city Public Works Commissioner Robert Mirch's role in putting a candidate for Rensselaer County Legislature on the ballot who didn't know he was running.

OH: Mahoning County elections director and clerk suspended
October 26, 2009 YOUNGSTOWN — Failure to send ballot language to any political entity with an issue on the Nov. 3 ballot led to the unpaid suspensions today of the Mahoning County Board of Elections director and a clerk.

WA: County to decide fate of ranked choice voting
Election: Three-year-old ‘instant runoff’ system to be put to test next month
To its supporters, ranked choice voting gives voters more choices and improves democracy. To its detractors, it’s costly and confusing.

Now, even as Pierce County voters prepare to use it a second time on the general election ballot, they must decide whether to keep or scrap ranked choice voting.

WA: Machines help some to vote
10/25/09 Voters with visual impairments can use “AutoMARK” voting machines to mark their Nov. 3 voting selections in private, and the machines will be available in select Thurston County locations in the next week


In Industry First, Voting Machine Company to Publish Source Code
Wired News. Sequoia Voting Systems plans to publicly release the source code for its new optical scan voting system, the company announced Tuesday — a remarkable reversal for a voting machine maker long criticized for resisting public examination of its proprietary systems.

The company’s new public source optical-scan voting system, called Frontier Election System, will be submitted for federal certification and testing in the first quarter of next year. The code will be released for public review in November, the company said, on its web site...

Sequoia’s Frontier Election System Source Code will be available for public download through the company’s website beginning November 2009; System slated to enter the Election Assistance Commission’s Federal Voting System Certification Program in mid-2010
DENVER, CO. – October 27, 2009 – Today, Sequoia Voting Systems officially introduced its latest revolutionary new offering – the Frontier Election SystemTM – the first transparent end-to-end election system including precinct and central count digital optical scan tabulators, a robust election management and ballot preparation system, and tally, tabulation, and reporting applications based on an open architecture with publicly disclosed source code developed specifically to meet current and future iterations of the federal Voting System Guidelines.

Statement from Sequoia Voting Systems regarding Source Code Claims by the Election Defense Alliance
We issued the following statement today areter receiving a few questions on this matter so I wanted to highlight it on our blog so it would easily be seen by all who are curious

Why doesn’t open source government take off?
Champaign County Clerk
If I’m correct that open source software is such a winner for the government, why hasn’t it taken off? There are a number of reasons, not all of them pretty.

Amend and Pass HR 1719
Champaign County Clerk
But there are plenty of concerns with HR 1719. First, it’s less than apparent as to whether these updates would come with a mandate to verify information against driver’s license and social security databases. It’s also unclear as to whether first time registrants would somehow be enabled to use the system. Further, there is a mechanism within the law to have emails as a substitute for regular mail.
As compared to the radical proposal put forward by the Committee to Modernize, the online registration updates as proposed in HR 1719 are proven and don’t change the “opt in” nature of our registration system. It takes the best of what we have now, and improves it.


India: Puglia, Ramteke demand re-poll
TNN 25 October 2009,CHANDRAPUR: Losing Congress candidates from Ballarpur and Chandrapur constituencies have alleged of tampering of electronic voting machine (EVM) and have demanded re-poll in the complaint lodged with chief election commissioner.
Puglia alleged that the technicians of EVM manufacturing companies, who were sent for maintenance of the EVMs, are involved in the tampering. "These fraud technicians had approached us through some agents for EVM manipulation and pre-setting against hefty amount, but we refused trickery and ignored the offer. The technical staff of the company was here much before the poll date for this purpose," alleged Puglia.

Ireland: Storage bill for e-voting machines still rising as Government stalls
THEY are the great symbol of waste from Celtic Tiger Ireland.
And it seems, despite the ongoing storage costs, the Government is still trying to decide what to do with the €55m e-voting machines, six months after the controversial scheme was scrapped.

Voting News by Joyce McCloy.
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Monday, October 26, 2009

Expert to aid Tennessee paper ballot case, Cyber warfare vs internet voting, NY official won't certify election IF

Tennessee Common Cause calls in big guns - asks expert Doug Jones to aid in paper ballot case...Is signing a petition a public or private act?...Absentee ballot blues: La Plata County Colorado sent some voters 2 ballots, Tulare County CA must re-send some ballots, Nearly 500 Hamburg Michigan voters don't have absentee ballots...No one on ballot for mayor, council in NC town...NY Election Official would refuse to certify electronic vote count if...For the first time, NY-23 will vote on paper ballots...A Voting News reader writes: So you want to run elections on networks? FYI Northrop Grumman report on the Capability of the People’s Republic of China to Conduct Cyber Warfare and Computer Network Exploitation...A different view of ACORN...Why Russians Ignore Ballot Fraud...

All of that and more in today's Voting News below..

CA: Tulare County looks to resend ballots to dozens living on Visalia outskirts
October 24, 2009 The county is looking for a do-over when it comes to mail-in ballots for 57 people on the outskirts of Visalia.
The ballots didn't include the race for Visalia City Council. There are nine candidates running for three seats in the Nov. 3 race.
or use this tiny url

CO: Double ballots complicate election
Saturday, October 24, 2009 Bud Smith, the attorney for the district, said some voters received duplicate ballots because of slight variations between their names on their voter registration and property ownership

CO: Ballot advice (humor)
October 26, 2009

MI: Nearly 500 Hamburg voters don't have absentee ballots
According to Joan Runyan, elections coordinator with the Livingston County clerk's office, as many as 475 of the 1,300 absentee ballots mass-mailed from the post office in Howell on Oct. 14 have yet to reach voters.

Runyan said her office became aware of a problem when concerned voters continued calling her office through Thursday — eight days after the mailing went out. The county clerk's office said ballots reported missing

MN: better ballot? St. Paul election to decide 'instant-runoff voting'
Supporters, opponents make cases on non-primary system
10/24/2009 The second-choice candidates of the voters for the candidate who finished last among first choices get the second round of votes. And so on.

Got it?

It can actually be stated simpler than that, but the point is it's not hard to find confusion surrounding a significant election reform St. Paul residents will vote on next month.

NC: What if there's an election and nobody runs?
10/25/2009 SPENCER MOUNTAIN, N.C. (AP) -- Who's on the ballot in a tiny North Carolina mill village? This year, no one.
...There are 29 registered voters in Spencer Mountain

NC: City to test instant runoff voting (using ES&S iVotronic Touchscreens)
October 23, Hendersonville residents who haven't voted in awhile will notice something different at the polls Nov. 4.

NC: Hendersonville Instant runoff voting in Nov - Will your vote be counted? Surprising answer

NY: Let NY keep its lever machines! PRESS CONFERENCE on 10/28!
October 24, 2009 Supporters Needed to Attend PRESS CONFERENCE on the steps of City Hall in Manhattan Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009 12:45 – 1:30 PM Promptly
City Councilmember Helen Foster is introducing a new Resolution
to Keep Our Lever Voting Machines!

NY: Andi Novick speaks on NY’s lever machines: Rhinebeck, 10/27
October 24, 2009 From Andi Novick:Dear friends of transparent elections,
I have been invited to speak at Rhinebeck’s Town Hall, this Tuesday night, October 27th, 5:30 80 East Market Street. I will be discussing where we’re at in our efforts to stop voting from becoming a “useless formality.”

NY: Election Official Would Refuse to Certify Electronic Vote Count
Columbia County Election Commissioner Testifies at Public Hearing
New York City, Oct. 23, 2009 --While she praised some of the State's actions to comply with new election law, she said the new computerized voting systems are poorly made and break down often, in contrast to the dependable lever voting systems currently in use. "If Columbia County starts using software to count votes, I will not certify an election unless an appropriately designed audit of the paper ballots is conducted. So far, the State Board [of Elections] has not mandated an audit that audit experts agree will expose inaccurate counts."

NY: NY-23 and the Voting Machine Pilot Program
For the first time, NY-23 will vote on paper ballots

SC: South Carolina voting machines are not trustworthy
July 26th, 2009 (re-run of good article)

A trustworthy voting system should reliably record the voter’s choices and provide a dependable method of recounting the votes. However, South Carolina’s voting system provides neither.

All voting machines used in South Carolina are iVotronics. Mathematical formulas and computer instructions are used to match the position of the voter’s finger on a touch-screen with a candidate’s name and then to store the vote in the machine’s memory.

TN: Group enlists voting-machine expert to aid paper ballot case
October 25, 2009
The citizen-advocacy group Common Cause has enlisted an expert on voting machines to make its case in a lawsuit to force Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett to switch to paper ballots by the 2010 elections.

In new court documents, Common Cause introduces an affidavit from University of Iowa computer science professor Douglas Jones to try to undercut Hargett’s arguments against abandoning the state’s touch-screen voting machines.
In his affidavit, Jones recommends that Tennessee make the switch immediately by buying machines meeting 2002 standards. He says the state can upgrade those machines to meet new standards.

Jones says voters using the new system “have a significantly higher likelihood of having their votes counted and counted as intended” than voters using touch-screen machines.

TX: Local election error taints portion of votes so far *
October 24, 2009 George Matthews erred when wording two propositions on the in-person ballot machines used during early voting for the upcoming state election.

The Victoria County elections administrator said he accidentally duplicated the English version of Proposition 4 into Proposition 5 - and vice versa for the Spanish version.
Early voting for the Nov. 3 Texas Constitutional Amendment Election began Monday. The error appeared only on the in-person ballot machines and not on mail-in ballots, Matthews said. Local elections officials discovered the error on Wednesday afternoon - after 48 Victoria County residents cast in-person votes.
The state's secretary of state's office confirmed that Matthews cannot discard the 48 tainted ballots and allow those voters to vote fresh.


So you want to run elections on networks?
Northrop Grumman report on the Capability of the People’s Republic of China to Conduct Cyber Warfare and Computer Network Exploitation

Dr. Eugene T. Paslov: A different view of ACORN
...If we are going to cause the demise of ACORN, we should think about causing the termination of all government contractors who misused government funds. This is not likely, because ACORN serves the poor, and the others, Halliburton, Blackwater, Northrop, all tend to enhance those who are at the pinnacles of power.

Gay marriage fights fuel debate over petitioners' rights
Gay rights advocates have sought to use public records to expose their opponents, which raises the question: Is signing a petition a public or private act?
October 25, 2009... The Supreme Court voted last week to block release of the names of more than 138,000 people in Washington state who signed petitions seeking to repeal a same-sex domestic partner law in a ballot scheduled for Nov. 3.

The Supreme Court's intervention set off a broad debate among election-law experts and 1st Amendment scholars over what is private and what is public when it comes to politics.,0,1692604.story


Russia. Why Russians Ignore Ballot Fraud
...“People are passive because they feel that there is absolutely no opportunity to change the system,” Mr. Gerasimov said.

Voting News by Joyce McCloy.
Archives here at
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Saturday, October 24, 2009

US First Open Source unveiled, Aspen ballot snafu, dagdag-bawas ever present

‘The computer says so’ is not a good answer ~ Voting Matters Blog...“Disruptive Innovation" Could Fix U.S. Voting says Mitch Kapor,co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Lotus 1-2-3...Another Aspen Colorado election snafu: the wrong ballot was sent out to some voters. The Mayor is "unsure what threshold number of tainted ballots should invalidate an election"...Harris County lawsuit settled - in 2008 Harris County Registrar office rejected 70,000 voter apps, 23 more than any other county in TX...Senate passes bill giving US troops oversees more time to vote...Philippines' new voting machines will not eliminate "dagdag-bawas" (fraud) says poll watcher group...

AZ: "US court reviews Ariz. registration requirement"

CA: ‘The computer says so’ is not a good answer
In Humboldt County California, Registrar of Voters Carolyn Crnich has not had good luck relying on her computer system(s) to give her accurate information. This has created problems.

In November 2008 she found out that the Diebold optical scan system she was using was capable of making an entire batch of counted ballots disappear into thin air without a trace … poof!
So Crnich did what a conscientious election official might do – she decided to switch to a new vendor and spent recent months getting her brand new system from Hart InterCivic ready for this November’s election.
During the process of importing election information into the new system, Crnich said, something happened and the Eureka school board race was inadvertently and incorrectly changed from an at-large race to a ward election.
...Both times when Crnich relied on computers for information she got bad information.

CA: Tweet: smcvote DYK? There are 72 languages spoken in San Mateo Co. 90% speak English, Spanish &/or Chinese - per health dept stats.

CA: Tweet: smcvote Working w/ Professors Michaelson & Malhotra on a research project to test impact on turnout if official email reminders to vote are sent

CO: Voter omissions threaten validity of ballot question
October 24.A ballot question proposing to increase lodging taxes has been left off of the ballots sent to an unknown number of locals who were eligible to vote on it, and the Election Day outcome may be invalidated as a result.

CO: Wasted ballots (LTE)
October 24, 2009 There are scores of unvoted mail-in ballots in the post office trash. They likely belonged to some of the 85 percent of Aspen voters who chose to sit out the 2007 election as well. Those wasted ballots reminded me of another 400-plus May election voters who, while standing in the voting booth, unwittingly became “no shows.” Their ballots were tossed in the rubbish container in the final stage of IRV tabulation. Those 400-plus unsuspecting voters probably mistakenly believe that their ballots counted.

CO: 4 Charged With Voter Fraud In Arapahoe County
LITTLETON, Colo. (AP) ― Prosecutors in Arapahoe County say four people have been charged with voter fraud for allegedly voting twice in last year's presidential election
Of the four charged so far, three are accused of misdemeanors and one is accused of a felony

GA: Fulton County residents can vote and get seasonal flu shots
Fulton County is making it easier to multi-task during the upcoming election

NC: Common Cause NC looking for volunteers at polls on November 3
Common Cause NC has received a grant to do some work at the polls in four cities on Election Day, welcoming voters and sharing some information about the high cost of local campaigns. Volunteers are eligible to earn up to $75 for their work. Can you and a friend come out and help us?

NJ: Exit Pollsters Win New Jersey Injunctive Relief
October 24th, 2009

NY: Group challenges voter registration surge in bungalow area
Sager explains his concerns
MONTICELLO – Petitions challenging more than 100 voter registrations in the Town of Bethel were presented to the Sullivan County Board of Elections this afternoon, by County Legislator Dave Sager, who says a surge in registrations appears to be tied to part-time residents of bungalow colonies.

NY: New Voting Booths for Some on Nov 3rd
"If in fact the pilot goes well this year for everybody, then all counties will have this machine next year," says Commissioner Tom Ferrarese.

Harris County, Texas Dems agree to settle lawsuit
Oct. 23, 2009 Harris County's voter registrar's office and the Texas Democratic Party announced Friday that they have reached a settlement in a lawsuit that originally accused former county Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt of illegally blocking the registration of thousands of voters...
The settlement also precludes employees in the voter registration office from working for or having a financial interest in any company providing voter information to any candidate, political party or any other person or entity.
“The county rejected 70,000 voter applications last year for technical reasons,” he said. “The most in any other county in Texas was 3,000, and we think this resolution will ensure that problem won't occur.”

WV: McCormick interested in new electronic poll books (also video)
Oct 23, 2009 CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Kanawha County Clerk Vera McCormick is interested in purchasing new machines to make it easier to process voters at the precinct and cut down on the number of provisional ballots cast during elections.

VA: Petersburg sheriff candidate faces voter-fraud charge
A candidate for Petersburg sheriff was arrested yesterday on a misdemeanor charge of committing voter fraud in last November's election.
A warrant charging him with one count of illegal voting and registration alleges that Fobbs cast his ballot last November knowing he was not qualified to vote in Petersburg.


Nation’s First Open Source Election Software Released
October 23, 2009 LOS ANGELES — A group working to produce an open and transparent voting system to replace current proprietary systems has published its first batches of code for public review.

The Open Source Digital Voting Foundation (OSDV) announced the availability of source code for its prototype election system Wednesday night at a panel discussion ...
The code currently available for
download and review represents only a small part of the total code and includes parts of an online voter registration portal and tracking system, election management software and a vote tabulator.

Kapor: “Disruptive Innovation” Could Fix U.S. Voting
Friday, October 23rd,
Kapor made his remarks at an event sponsored by the Open Source Digital Voting Foundation (OSDV) at the home of Hollywood film producer Lawrence Bender. The event was intended to introduce the Hollywood audience to the OSDV’s Trust the Vote project and its mission, to “re-invent how America votes in a digital democracy.”

Rutgers Prof Lisa Schur testified before the EAC on disabled voter turnout in Nov 2008...Part of the lower voter turnout of people with disabilities is accounted for by lower registration rates
Continuing to improve the accessibility of polling places should be a top priority, particularly given the growing number of people with disabilities as the population ages. This includes not only improving physical accessibility, but also increased poll worker training, to improve poll workers’ ability to provide assistance and accommodations.

Senate passes bill giving US troops oversees more time to vote

How Score Voting Could Save the Healthcare Bill
Sure, score voting is great for elections; but it's also good for any decision you need to make among more than two options.


“But we have a reason to continue because we have the automated elections. That gives us new hope that fraud will be reduced. But regardless how good the machine is, that is only a machine. We have to remain alert and vigilant on what would be fed into the machine,” she continued.(PPCRV chairperson Tita De Villa)

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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