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Voting News: Tennessee judge denies injunction

Tennessee judge denies injunction, Election pilots crash, Sarasota ballot disinfo

Posted: 05 Nov 2009 01:04 PM PST

Many states run elections as if they are beta tests. An prime example are the Vote Centers in Galveston County Texas. Officials ran into surprises when all vote centers tried to start up at beginning of day, causing the state's voter registration database to crash. And since these vote centers are dependant on the online database, voting was held up 30 and 40 minutes.Another surprise - firewalls blocking access to the county central voting system. So much for the "convenience" of Vote Centers, never mind the other problems with them but the media says it was all good....

...Brad Friedman reports: Sarasota Sample Ballots Urged Voters to Use Blue Ink, Though New Op-Scan Systems Can't Read It. Another screw-up for notorious Election Director Kathy Dent...
...Update on Tennessee Paper Ballot Law! Judge Denies Injuction In Paper Ballot Case
Secretary Of State Should Begin To Implement Voter Confidence Act, Recommends Judge...

...A few South Carolina races trigger an automatic recount but SC uses paperless voting so if there's a programming flaw nothing will change....Texas finally pulls IBM off voter reg database project, 13 day system outage in Aug final straw...

What Sequoia’s Source Code Publication Means...Joe Hall has more on EAC testing and Top To Bottom Review...

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....There's too many glitches, snags, snafus and meltdowns for me to do summarize, so please read about those and more in the news below...

CA: Hawthorne used car dealer turns polling place workers, voters away *
11/03/2009 ..Saunders said Finance Auto Sales workers also called police to try to get the volunteers to leave after they set up voting booths on the sidewalk in front of the dealership at 11604 Prairie Ave.
Police allowed the workers to stay on the sidewalk for several hours until a nearby business agreed to let them set up inside. Hi Tech Auto Collision and Glass Centers allowed voters to use their office until polls closed.

CT: A Day As Absentee Ballot Moderator
November 4, 2009 This election day was spent as moderator for central counting of absentee ballots, once again, in Vernon, CT.

CT: Reporter's notebook: Brooklyn voters complain about ballot layout*
...St. Jean said because there were three candidates on the ballot for first selectman, many residents voted for two candidates rather than just one.

When that happens, the voting machine returns the ballot and an election moderator gives the voter a new ballot to fill out, she said.

FL: Sarasota Sample Ballots Urged Voters to Use Blue Ink, Though New Op-Scan Systems Can't Read It *
Another screw-up for notorious Election Director Kathy Dent...
On October 17th, we reported that World's Worst Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent of Sarasota, FL had discovered in pre-election tests that her new Diebold/Premier optical-scan voting systems failed to properly read paper ballots marked with blue ink.

IN: For voters, county maps were a source of confusion *
...St. Joseph County provided a map to help voters find their special election polling place. The information was on as well.

In the hours that followed, emails and phone calls flooded our newsroom from voters who said they were turned away and sent to another location to vote.

KS: Tough time voting* (registered voter not in laptop/pollbook)
Voting shouldn't be so difficult - especially when only one issue is on the ballot

MA: Dispute erupts over ballot in Lawrence *
...a man came to the polling station in the morning attempting to vote.

Because his name was on the inactive voter rolls, poll workers asked for his ID.

He didn't have it, so he left, and returned around 1 this afternoon.

He showed an ID, but a police officer at the polling station recognized him from the morning and thought he was unable to vote, according to Romero, who said a police report is still being written on the incident.

MA: Election notes: Sass in the city * (ballot design, influencing voters)
...whoever designed the ballots that relegated district councilors’ names to a corner of the ballot and made them hard to find.
A Vietnamese-speaking election worker was tossed from a Dorchester polling place after the Menino campaign accused him of telling voters to back Flaherty.

The man was dismissed for the voting-booth infraction, according to Paul Afonso, a Menino attorney.

MD: Maryland Testing E-Voting System That Lets People Verify Their Votes Counted
from the experimenting-away dept (comments are interesting)

MI: Printing woes plague poll workers * (printer problems, poll worker cards stuck)
NATCHEZ — Printing woes on voting machines across the county delayed election results a bit Tuesday night, election officials said.

While poll worker cards got stuck in a few machines, Election Commissioner Larry Gardner said one of the night’s main delays was due to the printers attached to the voting machines being overtaxed and paperless.
Gardner said the printers were running out of paper and stalling due to all of the information passing through machines.

Gardner said the printers were not built into the polling machines, but were given to the county at no additional charge

MN: Election judges take matters in hand to determine close races
Though sometimes called instant-runoff voting, it's anything but. Votes are being counted by hand in cases where no one won 50 percent plus one vote.
...But the answers won't come soon, even though some 125 election judges began the painstaking hand-sorting of ballots Wednesday at the city's northeast Minneapolis election warehouse. Interim Election Director Patrick O'Connor said he's disappointed by the turnout of 45,964 voters -- the lowest in at least 20 years for a city election -- but it means counting should go faster.
or use this

MN: St Paul. Ranked-choice voting opponents have day in court
A group opposing ranked-choice voting has alleged that the group that pushed for the new voting system in St. Paul used deceptive campaign practices.
November 4, 2009 ..The essence of the complaint, he said, is that the Better Ballot group didn't get specific endorsement from groups or signatures of support from people whose credibility could sway voter opinion.

NY: Mixed Reviews For New Voting Machines* (privacy, data disks forgotten)
Chautauqua County ..."As you walk up to the privacy booth to look for an open spot, you can see who people are voting for, if you wanted to," she said. "When I was filling out my ballot, I noticed there was someone behind me and it crossed my mind."
Abram said there was "some human error and some technical errors" with the new machines, but that the problems were corrected quickly and without long-term effects. Green said the results were coming in slower than planned because some election inspectors didn't return the data disk necessary to process the election results.

NY: Problems Seen with New Voting Machines Are Tip of The Iceberg
...Breakdowns of new electronic voting machines have already made news in St. Lawrence, Fulton and Lewis Counties. Official results in some races may not be known for a week or more, frustrating NY voters accustomed to results on election night

OH: UPDATE: Five Summit polling sites run out of ballots *
Nov 03, 2009 Polling places in at least five Summit County communities -- Green, Norton, Springfield, Tallmadge and Twinsburg, ran out of ballots Tuesday evening as voter turnout was much higher than expected.

Would-be voters said they left sites without voting, not knowing when additional ballots would be delivered.
Elections board member Wayne Jones said this evening that about 30 polling sites ran out of ballots for some period of time. These sites are among 100 that called the board office today saying they were running short.
The Ohio Secretary of State's Office said this evening that at about 5 p.m. it authorized the Summit County Board of Elections office to photocopy dwinding ballots.

About 19,000 additional ballots were printed with the board's four ''ballot on demand printers,'' the Secretary of State's Office said.

OH: Mostly glitch-free election day, officials report * (paper jams & calibration prob)
...There were no voting problems in Miami County, other than some sporadic paper jams that were quickly resolved, he said
Llyn McCoy, Greene County Board of Elections deputy director, said they had minor calibration issues with voting machines this morning at a couple of polling places. The machines ran slow when a person touched it, but once the machines were calibrated correctly they worked better, she said.

SC: Council election recounts to be held (with paperless touchscreens)
November 5, 2009 Mandatory recounts will be held today in the Mount Pleasant and Isle of Palms municipal elections, but the county's director of elections does not expect the outcomes to change.

TN: Judge Denies Injuction In Paper Ballot Case
Secretary Of State Should Begin To Implement Voter Confidence Act, Recommends Judge

NASHVILLE, Tenn -- A Nashville judge on Thursday denied at temporary injunction regarding paper ballot voting machines, which won't force the secretary of state to buy the new machines.

However, Davidson County Chancellor Russell Perkins said he recommended Secretary of State Tre Hargett to start implementing the Voter Confidence Act, which was passed by the state Legislature in 2008 and mandated every voter cast his or her ballot using an optical-scan machine by November 2010.

TN: Enforce the TVCA!
Providing a paper trail protects voters' rights; it's also the law.
by Gerard Stranch and John Bonifaz
Since then, a few election officials have done their best to stonewall this reform, refusing to implement it, calling for its repeal, and using misleading information as ammunition.

TX: No ‘super’ glitches reported for new voting system* (Vote Centers, voter registration database problem, firewalls and results wrong)
November 4, 2009 Galveston County....Computer problems and a crash of the state’s voter registration database were blamed for delays in Galveston and League City, the county’s election coordinator said.
Voters who lined up at the Galveston school district building were delayed when the district’s Internet firewalls blocked computer access to the county’s central voting system.
There were similar computer glitches at Bay Harbour United Methodist Church and Harborview Care Center in League City. Both are new polling places, and voting was delayed about 40 minutes, Godinich said.
Only when all of the polling places signed on at about the same time did the connectivity problems crop up, Godinich said.

There also were problems when the polls opened because the state’s database of registered voters crashed.
As the votes were counted, one unexpected glitch occurred when the returns showed that all the votes had been counted — even though less than half of the precincts had been counted.

Election officials said the error occurred because the tally sheet that totals votes was based on the usual 121 voting precincts, rather than the 40 super precincts.

TX: Texas withdraws voter registration systems from IBM contract
Disaster recovery 'problems' tied to aged SAN equipment, IBM says
...The decision was prompted by an incident in August when a server being managed by IBM crashed resulting in a 13-day outage of the office's business records filing system, a report in the Austin American Statesman said today.
or use this

VT: Burlington IRV repeal picks up momentum
The controversy over Burlington Telecom finances has energized the effort to repeal instant run-off voting, say those involved in the petition drive to put the issue on the city ballot in March.
"A lot of people think the mayor's race was invalid, that we have an invalid mayor,"

OR: Ogden, Weber County pretty sure one of them can't count ... ballots*
(optical scan system very slow, automatic feeder kept jamming)
Nov 4 2009 ....However, because of some programming issues and problems with an automatic ballot feeder, the city's votes weren't counted until about midnight Tuesday and results weren't posted on the city's Web site until about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, Mansell said.

A large number of ballots slowed the optical scanning system, Berrett said. In addition to counting all of Ogden's ballots, the system was also used to tally absentee votes for South Ogden, Riverdale and Farr West.

In addition, an automatic feeder kept jamming, which meant ballots had to be inserted into the device by hand, Berrett said. "Hand-feeding was a slower process."

VA: Payne laughs off poll mixup
November 4, 2009 Lynchburg City Manager Kimball Payne got some unexpected news when he went to the polls on Tuesday: he was no longer listed as a valid city voter.

Payne, who has been the chief administrator of the city government for the past eight years, learned he had been placed on the “inactive voters” list at his precinct at Bedford Hills Elementary School. He cast a provisional ballot until his legitimacy could be confirmed.
Payne — full name Leonard Kimball Payne III — said he has been a faithful voter and speculated that he was being mixed up with his son, Leonard Kimball Payne IV.


EAC today released the results of its 2008 Election Administration and Voting Survey and the 2008 Uniformed and Overseas Voting Act Survey.

Political Foes Team Up To Improve Voter Registration
Doug Chapin with the Pew Center on the States says one idea for overhauling voter registrations is to have an individual's voter record be more portable and be automatically updated when he or she moves. Chapin says that could eliminate a lot of confusion at the polls.

What Sequoia’s Source Code Publication Means
Champaign County Clerk. In a good first step to enhancing the confidence of voters in their vote counting equipment, Sequoia corporation announced that they would be revealing their source code.
I’m very happy that the code is being released prior to certification. One of the concerns that I have had with vote counting equipment is that flaws in the design can’t be changed without recertification. That is costly, and generally isn’t going to be done by a company without a glaring need Instead, we are forced to work around those issues and test and audit to make sure they are addressed. By allowing the public to see the logic in the software, these issues can be resolved early...

More on EAC testing and TTBR
On October 13, Aaron Burstein and I sent a letter to the EAC's Director of Voting System Testing and Certification, Brian Hancock, signed by many of the California Top-To-Bottom Review (TTBR) investigators ("CA TTBR Investigators Send Letter to the EAC") The letter showed that the EAC had approved a voting system test plan after a testing laboratory misunderstood the results of the California TTBR.

On October 21, The EAC replied. Today, Aaron and I responded (on behalf of ourselves).

Voting News by Joyce McCloy.
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