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Voting News: Humboldt's Nov 3 ballots go public

Voting News: Humboldt's Nov 3 ballots go public, NY 23 election pilot update, Glasgow KY ditching e-voting

Humboldt's Nov 3 ballots go public, NY 23 election pilot update, Glasgow KY ditching e-voting

Posted: 30 Nov 2009 07:45 AM PST

Humboldt County CA's Nov 3 ballots are now publicly viewable...Meanwhile, the struggle goes on in Aspen - a poll shows over 66% want ballots released to the public....So you think e-voting is as safe as using an ATM? Then consider this: "Hacking ring steals $9 million from ATMs globally"...

Bo Lipari's testimony about New York's optical scan pilot...What does the outcome of New York's pilot with optical scanners mean? Is part of the problem the Dominion Imagecast? Are testing programs insufficient? In some states, like New Mexico and North Carolina, optical scanners have been a great improvement - over paperless electronic voting systems that they used to have. Undervote rates were greatly improved in these states....
The Tennessee Voter Confidence Act: "what began as a bipartisan effort to ensure electoral integrity has now devolved into something quite the opposite."...

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...A hand recount verifies results of a recall election in Clatsop County....Pennsylvania to increase voter registration at state agencies...
Champaign Co Illinois Clerk sues over notification about undervotes :
"Because such an error message will take the form of an audible beep, accompanied by a message on a screen on the tabulation machine, the secrecy of a voter's choices is necessarily compromised," Shelden said in his lawsuit. "There is no more fundamental right than the right to vote and to cast a secret ballot."

Glasgow Co Kentucky may ditch paperless voting and use HAVA funds to buy new optical scan machines at $4,500 each....

CA: Humboldt County Election Transparency Project (ballots made public online)
Ballot Scans from the Election of November 3, 2009

CO: Aspen Times poll about releasing ballots (from Aspen Election May 5 2009)
Should the city of Aspen release the ballots from the spring City Council election to anyone who wants to see them?
As of 8:30 AM 11/26/09: Yes 66.24%

CT: Connecticut Governor Wants Non-Discriminatory Public Funding
November 29th, 2009. Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell has asked the legislature to amend the state’s public funding law so that it does not discriminate for or against any candidate on the basis of the candidate’s partisan affiliation

FL: South Florida election observers head for Honduras
With government institutions declining to send election observers to Honduras, about 300 people from a variety of groups left Miami on Friday to fill the void

``If the U.S. sends election observers before President Zelaya is restored, it would prepare the ground for recognizing the coup regime and its election as legitimate, putting the U.S. at odds with the rest of the hemisphere,'' wrote Robert Naiman, policy director of Just Foreign Policy, a left-leaning think tank.

FL: Two ballot proposals stir fears
A push for new redistricting standards could inspire legal challenges
November 27, 2009 ...Two little-noticed constitutional amendments that could be on the 2010 ballot are so potentially threatening to the status quo that there is already talk of lawsuits, disenfranchisement of minority voters and fears of a Democratic takeover of the GOP-controlled state government.

The push by seems simple: Require that state lawmakers follow certain standards whenever they change the boundaries of legislative and congressional districts. These new districts should be compact, follow city and county lines if possible, and cannot be drawn in a way to help out incumbents or members of a political party.

Thom Rumberger, a lifelong Republican and chairman of the group, said the current system is rigged so that incumbents are protected and voters have few true choices at the ballot box

FL: Supervisor of Elections offices in Leon, other counties swamped with voter petitions (Ion Sancho)...Sancho said "we have to eyeball each petition and voter registration," with no computer scanning or random sampling permitted. An employee calls up each voter's original registration and compares it to the signature on each petition. Campaign committees pay supervisors 10 cents a name to verify.

Feliciano said there's about a 20 percent invalid rate -- often the result of unregistered voters signing petitions.

November 27, 2009. Some county elections supervisors, including Brevard County's, are being swamped with voter petitions for twin constitutional amendments that would fundamentally change Florida politics.

Besides a ballot deadline barely 60 days away, with holiday breaks in between, the pressure is raised by a new law requiring voting offices to validate or reject petitions within 30 days.
There are 49 public-petition initiatives on file with the Secretary of State's office but only two are jamming hallways and shelves in elections offices. Those are from, a Miami-based committee that wants to end gerrymandering of political districts

The petitions would forbid the Legislature to draw district lines to favor a political party or protect incumbents. The proposal would set legal criteria for challenging the age-old practice of leaders choosing their voters, through zig-zag remapping of districts, rather than voters choosing their leaders. Separate proposals address redistricting of congressional and state legislative boundaries...

IL: Shelden sues over notification about undervotes
..In his lawsuit, Shelden claims that an analysis of the undervotes in that election shows that 99.8 percent of the undervotes in that election "are intentional choices of voters not to cast a vote in a particular race."

IL: Illinois Lawsuit Over Vote-Counting Machines Will Test the Meaning of “Secret Ballot”
November 29th, 2009. On November 20, the County Clerk of Champaign County, Illinois, filed a lawsuit in state court over an Illinois law that requires the county to use vote-counting machines that make an audible beep if a voter attempts to cast a vote that is blank for some offices. The case is Mark Shelden v Illinois State Board of Elections, in Champaign County Circuit Court.
The Clerk says that the Constitution is being violated when a voter is forced to vote on a machine that tells everyone in the room if he or she chooses to leave certain offices blank. The Clerk says that there might be poll watchers in the room at the time, and the voter may be intimidated if that voter owes certain favors to people in one of the political parties, or someone in government, and it becomes known that the voter chose to leave some offices blank.

KY: Monroe County magistrates are contemplating the purchase of new voting machines. November 21, 2009. Magistrates listened to a presentation Friday by County Clerk Teresa Sheffield and Butch Pass with Harp Enterprises, a Lexington-based company, regarding a voting machine that scans paper ballots. The cost of the new voting machines for the county’s 12 precincts is $54,000.

“The only funds the fiscal court would need to expend would be approximately $900 per precinct for the necessary equipment required for each precinct, such as tables, ballot bags and screens,” Sheffield said.

NC: Buncombe County choice of voting machines in 2006 saved votes in 2008
11/29/2009 ...Buncombe County purchased new optical scan voting machines in 2006 in order to comply with state and federal laws.
A professor's study of North Carolina's 2008 Presidential election shows that optically scanned paper ballots were better at registering the intent of the voters than touch screen voting machines. Buncombe County's residual rate for President in 2008 was a low .8 %.

ND: County to discuss addition of election coordinator
Lessmann recommended collectively advertising the position and hiring in a non-partisan fashion.

Lessmann said the need for a coordinator has arisen because in the past there have been “serious problems in elections.” These problems included lawsuits and elections which had to be redone

NY: NYS Senate Elections Committee Testimony
Bo Lipari. November 29 2009 Testimony on the voting machine pilot I gave at the New York State Senate Election Committee’s hearing on November 30, 2009.
...We know what went wrong – a bug caused some machines to hang on certain vote combinations in multiple candidate elections. As a retired software engineer, I seriously question vendors’ in-house testing, which absolutely should have turned up a simple defect like this. It also indicates that the state’s certification testing has some big holes, something which the State Board needs to be looking at very closely.

OR: Just 4 votes
If just two voters had voted “no” instead of “yes” … or if four “yes” voters had decided not to vote at all in the recall election, Ann Samuelson might still have her job as District 5 Commissioner of Clatsop County, Oregon.

Instead she lost the citizen-driven recall and was removed from office.
The four-vote margin triggered an automatic hand recount of the paper ballots . The original machine tally was conducted on the ES&S M-650 optical scanner. That machine tally was verified by the hand count of the paper ballots and certified on November 10, 2009.

PA: Pennsylvania Developing Plan to Boost Voter Registration at State Agencies
...The move follows pressure from Advancement Project and other members of the Pennsylvania Voters Coalition, which have been concerned that Pennsylvania’s public assistance and disability agencies have not appeared to provide sufficient voter registration services and assistance to their clients.

TN: The Tennessee Voter Confidence Act
November 30, 2009. The change in tenor over the TVCA is most evident by the failure of legislation introduced to delay implementation until 2012. That legislation is expected to come back up for a vote early next year when the legislature reconvenes. At this point though, it appears what began as a bipartisan effort to ensure electoral integrity has now devolved into something quite the opposite.


Advancement Project Newsletter
November 30, 2009

Just say no to paperless e-voting:

Hacking ring steals $9 million from ATMs globally
According to an FBI press release, a global ring of hackers broke into an unnamed American credit processing company, stole PIN numbers, manipulated accounts, and proceeded to steal 9 million USD from over 2000 ATM machines world-wide. (They have just been brought to justice.)

Justice Department Says Acorn Can Be Paid for Pre-Ban Contracts
November 27, 2009 WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has concluded that the Obama administration can lawfully pay the community group Acorn for services provided under contracts signed before Congress banned the government from providing money to the group

Bruce McPherson: Implementing a reliable voter registration database
11/29/2009. It's time to update those guidelines so more citizens may register to vote while at the same time giving us a better picture of where those citizens are registered. The Committee on Voter Registration Databases addressed the basis of how we may accomplish those tasks and invites you to review its recommendations at

EAC's next public meeting will be webcast live December 3. Topics: election of 2010 officers; maintenance of effort; 2010 Election Day Survey; and implementation of the Military and Overseas Voters Empowerment Act.


Voting News by Joyce McCloy.
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