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Voting News: October 24th 2009

Voting News: October 24th 2009

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

Posted: 23 Oct 2009 10:43 PM PDT

‘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.
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