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The Voting News for August 3, 2011

The Voting News for August 3, 2011

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National: Governments, IOC and UN hit by massive cyber attack | BBC News

IT security firm McAfee claims to have uncovered one of the largest ever series of cyber attacks. It lists 72 different organisations that were targeted over five years, including the International Olympic Committee, the UN and security firms.

McAfee will not say who it thinks is responsible, but there is speculation that China may be behind the attacks. Beijing has always denied any state involvement in cyber-attacks, calling such accusations "groundless".

Speaking to BBC News, McAfee's chief European technology officer, Raj Samani, said the attacks were still going on. "This is a whole different level to the Night Dragon attacks that occurred earlier this year. Those were attacks on a specific sector. This one is very, very broad."

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Wisconsin: Political groups get recall election date wrong | The Oshkosh Northwestern

Some voters in the 18th Senate District are getting misleading information in the mail about the deadline for absentee voting in the recall election between Republican incumbent Sen. Randy Hopper and Democrat Jessica King.

Absentee voter applications sent by the conservative group Americans for Prosperity tell voters to return the mailing by Aug. 11, two days after Aug. 9 recall election. Oshkosh Deputy Clerk Angela Joeckel said ballots that arrive after Aug. 9 would not be counted in any way. She said Thursday, Aug. 4, is the last day the clerk's office can send an absentee ballot out by mail.

Mailings from AFP with incorrect election dates were also sent out in at least two of the other five districts in which recall electionswill be held on Tuesday, those represented by Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls and Rob Cowles of Allouez.

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Wisconsin: Democrats cry foul over recall ballot mailing | Associated Press

The Wisconsin Democratic Party on Tuesday called for an investigation into whether a conservative group tried to suppress turnout in next week's recall elections targeting Republican state senators by telling voters that absentee ballots received a day after election day would be counted.

Meanwhile, elections regulators said the Democratic National Committee promised to stop calling voters in one of the Republicans' districts after it gave some of his constituents the wrong election date in automated calls last week.

… The Wisconsin Democratic Party filed a complaint Monday with the state Government Accountability Board, which oversees elections, alleging that absentee ballot applications mailed out by Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group that has spent heavily to help the Republicans, were intended to suppress turnout. And on Tuesday, state Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate sent a request for an investigation to U.S. Attorney James Santelle. His office declined to comment on the matter.

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Mississippi: Poll workers struggle to obtain results | The Natchez Democrat

Primary county election results came close to remaining incomplete this morning. At approximately 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, the election commission found themselves unable to extract poll results from two polling machines — one from the bypass fire precinct and one from the Pine Ridge precinct, Election Commissioner Larry Gardner said.

Precincts report their numbers to the courthouse via memory cards that are inserted into polling machines at the beginning of each Election Day, and for whatever reason, Gardner said, these two machines’ cards were faulty.

Data was recovered from the internal archives of the machines shortly after the problem was discovered, and Gardner said there’s no chance any result would have been skewed because of the mishap.

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Mississippi: Precincts report voting machine problems in Mississippi primary | The Clarion-Ledger |

Technical glitches have forced some polling places in the Jackson metro-area to use paper ballots for today's primary elections.

10:15 a.m.: Trouble in Madison County -The encoders on the voting machines at Twin Lakes Baptist Church at Lake Cavalier in Madison County would only read Democratic ballots earlier today. Republican primary voters were forced to use paper ballots. Technicians were able to get the machines working around 10 a.m.

… 10 a.m.: Woes at Hinds precinct -Ballot problems have forced voters at Wynndale Presbyterian Church on Terry Road to use paper ballots because some of the candidates were left off ballots.

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Mississippi: Major races left off ballots | WLBT 3

Issues started to arise at polling places in and around Jackson shortly after the polls opened at 7:00 A.M. In some instances, voters were turned away from the polls because they didn't open on time. In one precinct, three of the biggest races were left off of the ballots.

There's a significant issue for voters voting at the Wynndale Presbyterian church in Byram. "Our chief problem right now is that we had two races left off the machine, the Sheriff's race and the Governor's race on the Democratic machine," says Virginia Terry, a Democratic Receiving and Returning Manager.

The ballots on the Republican ballot weren't correct either. The Lieutenant Governor and Governor were left off that ballot. Election officials say the ballots were checked numerous times prior to the primary, but something obviously went very wrong. Terry says, "that's how the machines came from the courthouse that's how we got them from the courthouse they were already here when we got here so whatever problem it was we don't know if it was in transition."

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Florida: Browning Seeks Unprecedented Path to New Election Law’s Approval | Public Media for Central Florida

Florida's top election official is taking the most contentious parts of the state's new election law to a federal judge. Secretary of State Kurt Browning says a court review will remove the possibility of "outside influence" and ensure a "neutral evaluation" of the new law, which is already in effect in most of Florida. But opponents are calling the move an end run around a long-established federal law.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 requires any changes in Florida’s election laws to get "pre-clearance" from the federal Department of Justice. That's because parts of the state have a history of suppressing minority voting.

But in an unprecedented move, Secretary of State Kurt Browning has withdrawn the four most controversial parts of Florida’s new election law from the DOJ review. He says he’ll seek pre-clearance for those four parts from a federal judge instead. “He’s attempting to have a federal judge rule that the Voting Rights Act – the pre-clearance requirements of the Voting Rights Act – don’t apply,” explains Orlando attorney Derek Brett. He's an expert in election law and he teaches constitutional law at the University of Central Florida.
"How does a federal judge do that? The only way a federal judge could do that is if Mr. Browning is able to, in some way, present some type of constitutional argument,” says Brett. He adds he’s not sure what that argument might be.

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Missouri: Tiny Towns, Expensive Elections, St. Louis County Report Shows | Daily RFT

There are exactly 1,653 registered voters in the tiny municipality of Bel Ridge, Missouri. And so when the village decided to hold a special election in February 2010 to increase property taxes, the proposition was bound to be expensive on a per-vote basis.

The St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners had to print ballots. They needed to get voting equipment to the polls. And, of course, they had to staff those polls -- with eight poll workers required in the one location chosen for Bel Ridge. All that when just 11.4 percent of Bel Ridge's already small voter base -- or 200 people -- bothered to cast a ballot.

Total cost per ballot cast? $22.52.

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New Hampshire: Attorney General’s office investigating Mont Vernon voter records | NEWS06

The Attorney General’s Office has been asked to investigate the handling of voter records kept in Mont Vernon, hometown of Speaker of the House William O’Brien. Town resident Joyce Cardoza filed a complaint this week after reading news reports that O’Brien’s son Brendan was registered to vote in both his hometown and in Lewiston, Maine, where he attended college and ran for public office in 2009.

Cardoza, a registered Democrat, noted that Speaker O’Brien’s wife Roxanne is one of three supervisors of the checklist who handle voter registration matters. State law requires local election officials to take specific steps to notify officials in a voter’s previous town of a change in registration.

In this case, the registration form young O’Brien filled out when he voted in Mont Vernon in November 2010 never made it to Lewiston. State law requires supervisors of the checklist to send a copy of the registration form to a voter’s previous town if it lies within New England.

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Virginia: Judge stays ruling in Norfolk voter registration case |

A federal judge issued a stay to an earlier ruling that would have made voter registration records available to the public. U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith ordered the stay after the Virginia attorney general's office filed an appeal. Smith ruled two weeks ago in favor of the voting rights group Project Vote, ordering Virginia to open its voter registration records for public inspection. At that time, Smith placed some restrictions on the open records, saying only applications from July 20 onward would be made available, and Social Security numbers must be redacted.

Project Vote had sued the Norfolk and state voter registrars after a number of Norfolk State University students had their voter registrations rejected during the last presidential election. The Norfolk registrar denied the group access to the records, citing Virginia election law.

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Maine: Former Secretary of State Dunlap says timing of voter fraud investigation is “questionable” |

Former Secretary of State Matt Dunlap has made no secret of the fact that he's seriously considering running against Senator Olympia Snowe.

Secretary of State Charlie Summers used to be Snowe's State Director. So when Summers held a press conference last week talking about potential voter fraud and destruction of evidence that may have occurred under Dunlap's watch, Dunlap had some questions.

Dunlap said, "It is questionable timing, and I don't know what the answer to that is. It doesn't look very good in terms of being a politically active as Secretary of State, which by the way, there is no prohibition on."

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Zambia: Electoral Commission meets all 12 presidential candidates for a briefing |

The Electoral Commission of Zambia Chairperson Justice Ireen Mambilima has met the 2011 presidential candidates with a call for issue based campaigns.

Justice Mambilima said that the commission would like to see a change in the way political parties conduct their campaigns this year. She has told Presidential candidates to avoid dwelling on personalities and instead concentrate on issues affecting people whose votes they will be seeking on the Election Day.

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