Friday, January 7, 2011

Oklahoma chooses Hart Intercivic, Kentucky SoS to depart, Connecticut panel advocates reforms

"In many cases, we see security devices or electronic voting machines where we really have to wonder, 'Did anybody spend 60 seconds figuring out the security issues?" That question was posed by an Argonne National Laboratories security expert in an interview published today.

There is a good deal of news to share today: Oklahoma has chosen Hart Intercivic to supply its next generation of optical scan ballot tabulators (the state currently uses the
IVS Vote by Phone system for accessibility); Washington State considers moving up the deadline for mail ballot receipt to Election Day; Kentucky's Secretary of State Trey Grayson announced plans to leave office for a position at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government; and Connecticut considers state takeover of ballot procurement.

All this and more in today's Voting News below. Enjoy your weekend!

AR: Ex-Globetrotter allowed to join Ark. House |

Smith was one of two incoming House members who were cleared by fellow lawmakers to be sworn in next week. The House also voted to recommend seating an incoming Democratic representative who won after her Republican rival was declared ineligible to serve in the House because of a bribery conviction.
Read More

CO: Saguache County election debacle still unresolved even as officials set to be sworn in | Colorado Independent

[Jan. 6] A disputed election in a sleepy county in south-central Colorado has erupted into a cacophony of bipartisan complaints that the clerk and recorder is improperly certifying its results for her own benefit.

So far, six citizens have filed grievances with both the 12th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and the Colorado Attorney General’s Office alleging official misconduct and multiple criminal offenses in sparsely populated Saguache County, where the census shows just two residents per square mile. Read More

CT: Recipe For Voting Reform Offered In Connecticut -

Early voting
, automatic registration, "no-excuse" absentee ballots, and better training for poll workers.

Connecticut should consider these and other measures to improve the voting process, according to a panel organized by Secretary of the State Denise Merrill. Read More

CT: Merrill: Changes needed to avoid another Election Day fiasco | The Connecticut Mirror

The state's new chief elections officer says she plans to promote changes to ensure that the Election Day fiasco of 2010, when polling place in Bridgeport and a half dozen other communities ran out of ballots on Election Day, doesn't happen again. Read More

CT: After Bridgeport fiasco, ballot fix proposed - Connecticut Post

Merrill, speaking after a two-and-a-half-hour hearing Friday on Election Day problems, said she will also submit legislation to the General Assembly requiring the state to take over the purchase of ballots, so towns and cities can take advantage of bulk-buying power and save money. Read More

FL: Secretary of State Browning is Scott's first double-dipper hire - St. Petersburg Times

Retirement was going as former Secretary of State Kurt Browning figured it would: a lot of working in the yard, loving on his grandbaby, padding around the barn at his Dade City home.

Then last month, his phone rang. Read More

IL: No State Sanctions for Late Military Ballots | FOX 55/27 Illinois | Illinois

[Jan. 6] Local county clerks are left hanging like a chad as they await potential federal sanctions for not sending out military absentee ballots for the November election. Read More

GA: AACP lawsuit stalls in court |

The lawsuit filed in Fulton County Superior Court contends the state NAACP took over the local election to ensure chapter president Rev. R. L. White's slate of candidates won.

"They got rid of the voting machines and put in paper ballots with no numbers," King said. "It was outrageous." Read More

IN: Election Committee to Consider Vote Centers - Newsroom - Inside Indiana Business with Gerry Dick

State Sen. Ron Alting’s proposal authorizing the continued use of vote centers in Tippecanoe County and allowing it as an option for the entire state will be considered by a Senate committee on Monday.

Senate Bill 32 will be heard by the Senate Committee on Elections at 9:45 a.m. in Room 125 of the Statehouse. Read More

IN: White sworn in as inquiries go on | The Indianapolis Star |

The speculation in political circles and in the Statehouse is that if he is indicted by a grand jury, which is expected to take up the case in February, White's tenure as secretary of state may be short. A felony conviction would bar him from the office, though a judge could opt to reduce it to a misdemeanor. Still, an indictment alone could be enough to cause Republican leaders to pressure White to resign. Read More

IN: Sec. of State says he wont be diverted

New Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White will spend his first weeks as the state's top elections officer facing an ongoing investigation of voter fraud allegations. Read More

KS: Wichita lobbyist files lawsuit seeking DOJ e-mails over voter fraud policy - WDAF

[Jan. 6] A Wichita lobbyist has filed suit seeking to compel the Justice Department to turn over e-mails discussing its enforcement policies on voter fraud cases. Read More

KY: Kentucky Sec. of State Trey Grayson returns to Harvard | The State Column

Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson will return to his alma mater to assume the reins of the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School. Read More

KY: Trey Grayson resigning to take Harvard position | | The Courier-Journal

Secretary of State Trey Grayson announced Friday that he is resigning to take a position with the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Read More

MA: Alicea will continue to serve until vote dispute is resolved

State Rep. Geraldo Alicea, who has mounted a court challenge to a 1-vote loss last November, will continue to represent the 6th Worcester District until the election outcome is resolved, according to the clerk of the House of Representatives. Read More

MA: Recount loser says he'll stay in house until court fight ends - Winchester, MA - The Winchester Star

Citing provisions in the state Constitution, Rep. Geraldo Alicea (D-Charlton) said Thursday he will continue to serve indefinitely in the Massachusetts House even though he lost a recount to Republican Peter Durant by one vote. Read More

MA: New trial date set to settle House race

A new bench trial date of Jan. 18 was set to settle the disputed 6th Worcester District House race, Dennis P. McManus, clerk of the courts, said yesterday. Read More

MD: Frederick Co. pushes to change early voting law -

Frederick County elections officers are pushing for a change in state law to allow more early voting centers; they'd like to establish voting centers in Thurmont and Urbana in addition to the site in Frederick. Read More

MD: Wanna Be on the MoCo Board of Elections?

[Jan. 5] MCDCC Member Aaron Kaufman forwarded the following information:

At our Tuesday, January 11 meeting, the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) will continue the process of nominating candidates to serve on the Montgomery County Board of Elections. The Members of the Board of Elections serve for a four-year term and oversee the operations of the Board. Read More

MN: Are you ready for Election 2011? St. Paul City Council, school board races gearing up

Complicating matters this year is the advent of ranked-choice voting, also known as instant-runoff voting, or IRV. Under IRV, voters rank candidates in order of preference. Merely getting a plurality of voters' first-choice votes isn't good enough to win. The goal of IRV is that, by dropping out the least popular candidates and redistributing their votes to their supporters' second-choice candidates, the winner assembles a majority. Read More

MO: Two Initiative Petitions Ready For Circulation - KTTS 94.7 FM, Country's Best | Springfield, MO |

Secretary of State Robin Carnahan today announced that two initiative petitions relating to early voting and election procedures met state standards for circulation. Read More

MT: Support mail-in balloting? It was just a matter of time | | Great Falls Tribune

Just a few years ago, we probably would have opposed such a move.

"It might be a little cheaper and easier for election officials to handle, but those aren't good arguments for such a fundamental change in the way our democracy works," we would have argued. Read More

MT: Missoula County commission chair Curtiss has eye on budget, all-mail elections

Curtiss said the commissioners' main priority in the Legislature is to get a bill that provides for all-mail elections at all elections. Secretary of State Linda McCulloch held a news conference on Wednesday to unveil the plan, which starts out as House Bill 130 and was drafted by election administrators from four counties, including Vickie Zeier in Missoula.

All-mail city and school elections have proven successful, but state law forbids elections that include federal offices be conducted that way. The legislation would remove that restriction. Read More

OH: Secretary Brunner Reflects on Term, Announces Advisory Board - ProgressOhio

Outgoing Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner reflected on the achievements of her administration and announced Friday the adoption of permanent rules to create the Secretary of State Advisory Board for the next administration. Read More

OK: Vendor selected for state's new voting system |

Hart InterCivic Inc., of Austin, Texas, has been awarded a $16.7 million maximum contract, state Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said. The contract includes the initial costs associated with buying and installing the voting system, as well as locking in future prices for spare parts, software license agreements, training and optional products. Read More

WA: Reed: Ballots should be in by Election Day

Voters should face a deadline of 8 p.m. on Election Day to get their ballots in to county election officials, Secretary of State Sam Reed said Friday, as he submitted a set of reforms to the Legislature.

The proposal would replace the current system under which ballots must be postmarked on Election Day. Oregon, which also has a mail-in ballot system, requires that ballots be in on Election Day. Read More

WA: Washington Secretary of State wants tighter mail ballot deadline |

"Our current postmark deadline has become antiquated. We would have much more definitive results by the Thursday or Friday after Election Day by changing this deadline," Reed said in a press release from his office. Read More

WI: APNewsBreak: Wis. Republicans bring back photo ID -

Wisconsin would join 27 other state in requiring that identification be shown before voters can register to vote or cast ballots under a bill circulated for co-sponsorship by Republicans on Friday. Read More

WI: Stick with same-day registration

The Oconomowoc Republican began circulating a bill this week — shortly after new state leaders were inaugurated — to reverse Wisconsin's long and proud tradition of making it relatively easy to vote. Wisconsin has allowed eligible adults to register to vote on the same day of elections since 1976. There's no good reason to start making voting more difficult now. Read More


Argonne security experts calls voting systems insecure - Computerworld Blogs

No, it's not just paranoia: Voting machines really are insecure.

The latest expert voice on the subject is the head of Argonne National Laboratory's Vulnerability Assessment Team, Roger Johnston.

"In many cases, we see security devices or electronic voting machines where we really have to wonder, 'Did anybody spend 60 seconds figuring out the security issues?" he told NBC Chicago. Read More

Most Security Measures Easy to Breach, Expert Says | NBC Chicago

One of the most frightening examples Johnston has turned up is in one of the nation's most treasured franchises: the right to vote. He said he's found that most voting machines have almost no security to reveal tampering. Thus, he said, it's a fairly simple matter to tinker with the electronics while machines are in storage or being transported by the truckload. He has even demonstrated how he can turn cheating mechanisms in voting machines on and off by remote control. Read More

Internet Voting Watch

American Idol: Big Things Coming

Gender makeup of the finalists will be determined by talent this year. If the girls are better or the boys are better, then expect to see a disproportionate number of guys and girls present to sing and perform for your votes.

Speaking of voting, arrangements are still trying to be made to allow for online voting this season. It reportedly has not been hammered down as a definite for this season, but if not this season, then soon. Read More


India: By-Elections As Scheduled In Kadapa And Pulivendula - Hyderabad News on

The CEO also informed that 6 ballot papers were stolen by a scrap dealer in Vijayawada. He said that 25 EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) were stolen, and that the District Collector had been issued notice. Read More

Indonesia: Big parties accused of killing the minnows | The Jakarta Post

The revision bill proposes a 4 percent vote tally for the parliamentary threshold in the House, provincial legislative councils and regental and municipal legislatures, and requires strict requirements for electoral districts with hope that five to seven parties will be represented at the House.

It also allows the General Election Commission (KPU) to hold electronic voting in regions prepared for such mechanisms. Read More

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