Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Online voting: An open invitation to voting fraud, Florida LWV: "legislature has declared war on voters"

Canada: Online voting: An open invitation to voting fraud - Vancouver Sun

The Internet voting system approved by Vancouver city council promises unprecedented and untraceable voter fraud if it is allowed to proceed. We can only hope the provincial government will have the good sense to reject the city's plan. On the face of it, the system would allow voters to cast their ballots from the comfort of their own home. The idea sounds attractive and inevitable. After all, isn't everything going online? Proponents suggest Internet voting will increase voter participation and will be secure. They are wrong on both counts. Internet systems are secure enough for banking, so you might think Internet voting systems are up to the task of collecting and counting votes. Unfortunately voting systems are different from online banking. Banking systems have audit trails that link the identity and conduct of a user. A voting system cannot link your name to your vote because the ballot must be secret. There is no way to determine whether a fraud has occurred or who committed it. This means that a candidate is deprived of the right to challenge results and have a recount. Internet voting systems presume that everything and everyone involved is beyond reproach. Banking systems accept a level of fraud. If a banking customer observes a fraud the transaction can be reversed. A voting system does not offer the voter the ability to posthumously examine a vote and does not afford officials the option of correcting an error. Read More

FL: Collier, state League of Women Voters to stop voter registrations, consider legal action due to election bill -
Naples Daily News

A national organization aimed at encouraging participation in government has said it will no longer register Floridians to vote after state lawmakers approved a sweeping overhaul to the state’s election code. Lydia Galton, president of the League of Women Voters of Collier County and director of the state board, said Monday that the Florida association decided to immediately stop voter registration efforts across the state after passage of House Bill 1355. “While the league remains committed to empowering an active and informed citizenry, we cannot and will not place thousands of volunteers at risk, subjecting them to a process in which one late form could result in their facing financial and civil penalties,” she said. “By passing House Bill 1355, the legislature has declared war on voters.” Galton said the decision to stop registering voters is a statewide initiative, and will be discussed at the state board meeting later this week. The League of Women Voters of Florida is “exploring legal remedies” to restore voter rights, she said. The bill, passed last week and yet to be signed by Gov. Rick Scott, requires groups that sign up new voters register with the state, file regular reports and turn in completed voter-registration forms within 48 hours. Read More

IN: Rokita calls White's release of report a mistake - nwi.com

Former Secretary of State Todd Rokita believes Secretary of State Charlie White erred in making public Rokita's investigation of White's voting history. On Thursday, White released the "Rokita Report," a 238-page compilation of public records that the report says shows "apparent, albeit rebuttable" intent by White to deliberately vote in the wrong precinct in the May 2010 GOP primary election. The report is partially the basis for seven felony charges, including three counts of voter fraud, pending against White in Hamilton County. Rokita, a Munster native, told The Times on Monday that White's decision to release the report could jeopardize future investigations. "If witnesses knew every time they came to the secretary of state's office their reports were going to be made public, you wouldn't have any witnesses," Rokita said. Read More

IA: 18 more counties want Cerro Gordo election software- Globe Gazette

The computer software developed by Cerro Gordo County continues to draw interest from counties throughout the state. The Precinct Atlas program, developed under the direction of Auditor Ken Kline, provides precinct election officials with step-by-step instructions on how to properly administer elections. Supervisors approved memorandums of understanding with 18 more counties Monday, bring the total to 24 this month that have expressed interest. The documentation allows the counties to contract with Cerro Gordo County for software maintenance and related functions. Read More

ME: Critics: GOP bill would disenfranchise Maine voters | The Portland Press Herald

A proposal aimed at easing the burden on municipal clerks around Election Day was opposed Monday by several groups that said eliminating same-day voter registration would disenfranchise Maine voters. L.D. 1376, sponsored by House Speaker Bob Nutting, R-Oakland, and supported by Secretary of State Charlie Summers, would ban absentee voting during the two business days before Election Day for most voters, and eliminate registration for most voters during the same period and on Election Day. "The rapid increase in absentee voting in the last decade has created new challenges for our municipalities," Nutting said during a public hearing before the Legislature's Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee. The Maine Town and City Clerks Association testified in support of the proposal, but said it would favor an amendment to remove the restrictions on voter registration. "I am a little bit concerned about disenfranchising voters. I'd much prefer to continue with the process we have in place," said Patti Dubois, Bangor's city clerk. Read More

ME: New Voting System Debated in Legislature MPBN.net

Diane Russell's goal is to enable Mainers to vote for their favorite gubernatorial candidate, rather than against their least favorite. "We want to make sure that the person elected to run our state shares the values of the vast majority of this state," said Russell. Her bill would enable voters to list candidates in order of preference - something that she feels would make the process more democratic if none of them get more than 50 percent of the vote, as often happens. In the case of no clear winner, a so-called "instant run-off" takes place, whereby the weakest candidate is eliminated, and his or her votes are re-distributed using the voters' second choice candidates. This process continues until one of them has more than 50 percent of the vote. This system, she says, gives voters more choice, enabling them to go for the candidate they like the most rather than having to vote strategically. "We're Americans we love choice. You got 3 different choices for ice cream, you want to go in and say 'I would love some chocolate ice cream'. 'You know what, we're fresh out.' 'Well, do you have vanilla?' Yeah we got vanilla.' 'Great I'll take vanilla.' Choice is all-American, the distinction is that we want to make sure we embrace that choice in the elections without spoiling the race," Russell said. Russell also argued it would make for more civilized political debate, and less mud-slinging, or negative campaigning. That, she says, is because a candidate would be less inclined to launch personal attacks against a rival, as this may alienate the rivals' supporters, who in turn would be less inclined to put that candidate as their second choice. Read More

PA: Measure to require voter ID at polling places moves ahead - Pittsburgh Post Gazette

A measure that would require voters to show photo identification when they go to cast their ballot now awaits consideration by the state House of Representatives, following a lengthy committee debate this morning. The bill from Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Cranberry and chair of the State Government Committee, passed the panel on a party-lines vote of 15-9. Under the proposal, voters would be required to show a photo identification card issued by either the state or federal government. Pennsylvania voters currently are only required to show an ID during their first time at a polling site. If a voter does not have an ID card, the state Department of Transportation would issue one at no cost. That provision, added during this morning's meeting, was criticized by Democrats as potentially expensive. Mr. Metcalfe said an estimate of the cost has been requested, but was not yet available. Other changes in the amendment from Mr. Metcalfe would make the measure effective in January 2012, and would allow those who live in the same building as their polling place, such as those in an assisted-living facility, to only show ID if it is their first time at the polling location. More than a dozen other amendments from Democratic lawmakers, to expand the types of identification that would be accepted and provide exemptions to the requirement, were all rejected during the 2 1/2-hour meeting. Read More

TX: Restrictions on out-of-state voter registration pass as amendment | dallasnews.com

An elections bill by Rep. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, has a very broad caption - "relating to certain election procedures and practices" - and is subsequently beginning to look like a Christmas tree. For legislative lingo novices, that means lots of bills that haven't made it to the floor yet are being hung on the bill as amendments. "This should have never happened," said Rep. Marc Veasy, D-Fort Worth, a member of the House Elections Committee who helped kill some of them in committee, after the bill passed with no fewer than 17 bills/amendments, some of which had gotten no hearing. As an illustration of how the bill had become weighted down by other bills, when the debate was over, Rep. Dennis Bonnen said, "Christmas is over." One that failed: Rep. Rolando Gutierrez, D-San Antonio, tried to pass an amendment that would require elected officials who want to change parties step down from office and run again. He said those who won election in November and then switched parties in December were "committing fraud" on the electorate who had just voted for them over the candidate from the other party. Read More

TX: Voter ID appears to be headed to governor to become law | The Dallas Morning News

Legislation that would require Texans to show a photo ID before voting was given final approval by the Senate on Monday, with the House expected to sign on later and send the bill to the governor. Senators approved the measure 19-12 along partisan lines, signaling the apparent victory in a long effort by Republicans to require voters to prove their identity before casting a ballot. Democrats had managed to defeat the proposal in the last few legislative sessions, relying on parliamentary maneuvers and a large number of House Democrats. But that changed after last fall’s elections, when Republicans emerged with a supermajority in the House. The measure will still have to be reviewed by the U.S. Justice Department under the federal Voting Rights Act, designed to protect minority voting rights in several southern states. And Democrats in the House and Senate have laid the groundwork to contest the proposal when it comes up for review. Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, author of the bill, said he is confident it will pass legal muster and noted that a similar photo ID requirement has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. “All people will be able to comply with the requirement and will be able to vote,” Fraser said. But Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, predicted the justice department will frown on the barriers to voting erected by the new law. Democrats have maintained that the bill discriminates against senior citizens and lower income residents who are more likely to lack a photo ID and therefore may be denied their right to vote. Read More

WI: GOP moves quickly on voter ID bill - JSOnline

The fast pace of a bill requiring photo ID at the polls is the latest sign Republicans are moving quickly on their legislative agenda in the face of likely recall elections. The Joint Finance Committee approved the bill 12-2 Monday on party lines, despite fierce objections from Democrats that the bill was taken up when a key opponent of the bill couldn't attend for medical reasons. Rep. Robin Vos (R-Rochester), co-chairman of the committee, said the group had to meet Monday because Democrats will likely slow it down when it gets to the floor of the Assembly on Wednesday. To vote, people would have to show Wisconsin driver's licenses, state-issued ID cards, military IDs, passports, naturalization certificates, IDs issued by Wisconsin-based tribes or certain student IDs. Those living in nursing homes and the like would be exempt from the law, as would victims of stalking and those opposed to having their photos taken on religious grounds. The student IDs would be acceptable if they came from accredited colleges and universities in Wisconsin, included signatures, and expired within two years of being issued. Those showing college IDs would have to establish they are current students. People would be asked to show their IDs at elections later this year but would still be allowed to vote if they didn't have IDs with them. They would be told that the law is changing and that photo IDs would be required to vote in 2012. Read More

WI: Amended voter ID bill would take effect before recall elections - Wisconsin State Journal

Voters would be asked for a photo ID in the upcoming recall elections but would still be allowed to vote without one. They would then be informed that a photo ID would be mandatory beginning with the spring 2012 Primary. The Legislature's Joint Finance Committee passed an amended version of the photo ID bill Monday, removing a provision that required student IDs to carry correct addresses and moving up the date of implementation to immediately after the bill passes. "We were all wondering why there's such a rush on this bill — now we know," said state Rep. Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse. "It's about the recall elections. You feel the rules need to be changed right in the middle of the game." Six Republicans and three Democrats face Senate recalls this summer. Republicans hold a 19-14 majority, so a net victory of three seats would give the Democrats control. The first elections are scheduled for July 12. Photo ID has long been a divisive issue in Wisconsin, with Republicans championing the measure and Democrats saying it would suppress turnout among seniors, minorities, the disabled and college students — voter populations that lean heavily in their favor. Read More


Egypt: Imported voting machines can’t be trusted: CEC | Financial Express

After the revolution in Tahrir Square, Egyptian authorities consulted India’s Election Commission for help in conducting parliamentary polls in the country, only to get cautious advice from chief election commissioner (CEC) SY Quraishi. He asked his Egyptian counterpart to not import electronic voting machines (EVMs) from anywhere and get these manufactured domestically. Imported machines, however faultless they are, could be deemed suspect, he warned. “The validity of any election lies in the fairness of the process, if the machine is imported from somewhere, there is always a possibility that the election will be questioned as being rigged through the machines,” he said, in an interview to FE. The recent campaign against the use of EVMs in Indian elections, Quraishi said, hinges on the chip, “which is manufactured outside the country and is therefore supposed to be suspect”. “I was very clear that our process was very fair, but the indigenisation of manufacturing would make their elections invulnerable to such charges. I told anti-EVM campaigners as well, set up units which manufacture the chip in India, and we’ll talk,” he added. Read More

Ireland: Confining e-voting to the scrap heap - Connaugh Telegraph

The ill-conceived electronic voting system imposed on us by the former Government has cost us, the taxpayers, €58 million, a loss a bankrupt country can do without.
Environment Minister Phil Hogan has decided to pull the plug on e-voting and have a fire sale of the 7,504 machines held in storage at warehouses all over the country. A tender process is being prepared for international publication, which will detail the amount of memory and the software specifications in the machines in the hope some technology firm may be able to harvest some value from them before they are finally scrapped. The e-voting saga has proved an expensive lesson for this country. The concept was not sought nor wanted by the electorate. The unwanted units have been in storage since their purchase in 2002. One lease was signed for 15 years, the remainder for 10 to 15 years. Fewer than 1,000 machines were used on a pilot basis in Meath, Dublin West and Dublin North in the 2002 general election.
But controversy over the lack of a paper trail of the votes cast threw a shadow over their effectiveness. Read More

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