The Voting News for August 18, 2011
The Voting News for August 18, 2011
The head of the agency in charge of federal elections says it's time to modernize Canada's elections, including testing online voting and ending a ban on publishing early election results. In a report on the May 2 election (pdf), released Wednesday, Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand writes about his plan to test online voting and encourages parliamentarians to update the Elections Act. Improvements to the electoral process, Mayrand writes, will depend on changes to the law.
"Elections Canada has reached a point where the limited flexibility of the current legislation no longer allows us to meet the evolving needs of electors and candidates," Mayrand reports. "We look forward to working with parliamentarians as we prepare for the 42nd general election."
See also - Readers' Responses: Would you trust your vote to a computer?
The State Election Commission is auditing voting data from the 2010 statewide elections, and as it does, critics of the state’s iVotronic touch screen voting machines say the government audit is proving there are problems with the system — problems the agency doesn’t dispute.
“They’re admitting that there’s holes in the data,” says Frank Heindel of Mount Pleasant, who runs the watchdog website SCvotinginfo. He adds that the elections agency also admits that there are counties where auditors haven’t been able to obtain proper election data. Emails and comments from agency officials back that up.
“We never received complete data from Charleston … No data is available for Lancaster and Orangeburg,” wrote Election Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire in one email to Heindel about the ongoing audit. The reason no information was available for Orangeburg was because a computer with the audit data on it there crashed, Whitmire said.
If you still have any vague memories of this spring’s federal election campaign, you may be recall that Elections Canada attempted to enforce a ban on the “tweeting” and “Facebooking” of any regional election results before the polls had closed in British Columbia. It also banned mainstream media outlets from reporting such results on their commercial websites.
It was an antediluvian notion, which completely failed to grasp the way that social media and the Web have changed the way Canadians report upon and discuss the news. It was, in fact, a noxious attempt to censor political speech in the name of regional equity – as though western Canadians had a constitutional right or duty to be kept in ignorance of what was happening in the rest of their country.
It wasn’t wholly Elections Canada’s fault, of course. It was the Harper government which failed to amend the offending, and offensive legislation, despite the fact that Stephen Harper himself had railed against it back when he ran the National Citizens’ Coalition.
Yesterday, The Post & Courier of Charleston, South Carolina reported that a local "Council of Governments [COG] approved a resolution...asking for the state to audit how its voting machines are working." The "machines" are the 100% unverifiable ES&S iVotronic touch-screen Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting systems.
The Post & Courier not only mentions the fact that state election officials insist that the "iVotronic machines reliably tally votes," but buys into the canard that "increased skepticism" is based upon [emphasis added] "human errors made during last year's elections." It adds that the COG resolution expressed "a concern [that the] voting machines...do not incorporate a 'paper trail' that could facilitate unequivocal confirmation of election results."
If there is any state in the nation that should realize that casting a vote on the ES&S iVotronic amounts to an exercise in blind-faith, with or without a so-called "Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail" (VVPAT), it would be South Carolina.
Another person has been arrested in the Wake County voter fraud sweep - an 89-year-old Raleigh man who said he tried to alert elections officials to a fault in their system. Leland Duane Lewis said he had voted only one side of the ballot at an early-voting station at Optimist Park in West Raleigh on Oct. 29. When he later realized what he had done, he went to his regular precinct on Election Day and requested another ballot, which poll workers gave him.
Lewis said he filled out the other side of the ballot and on the way out told poll workers what he had done, assuming they would report it. Lewis said he called the county elections office several times in weeks that followed and left messages to report it himself, but never heard back until Gary Sims, the deputy director of the Board of Elections, called him to say officials had discovered he had voted twice. "I voted with two ballots, but only once, really," Lewis said. "Half and half is one."
U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman announced plans Wednesday to introduce legislation that would repeal a section of the 1973 Voting Rights Act that requires jurisdictions with large populations of nonproficient English speakers to print ballots in more than one language.
Coffman, R-Colo., asserts that Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act is an unnecessary and unfunded federal mandate that can be a financial hardship for some jurisdictions because of the increased cost of translating and printing election materials and mailing larger ballots.
The State Fair’s most iconic figure and even President Obama were among the write-in votes at this past weekend’s Iowa Republican Party Straw Poll in Ames.
“There were votes for the Butter Cow. It happens in every election, just random votes that didn’t equate with a person,” says Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz, a Republican who oversaw the Straw Poll balloting. ”Most of them were fictitious characters.”
Schultz and his fellow counters used existing state rules for primaries and the General Election to sift through the votes cast in Saturday’s Straw Poll. That means anyone who spelled Texas Governor Rick Perry’s name with an A instead of an E had their vote counted as a vote for Perry.
Voters who turn out this fall for municipal elections in Lafayette and West Lafayette will find some notable names missing from the ballot. Among them: Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski and City Clerk Cindy Murray, and West Lafayette Clerk-Treasurer Judy Rhodes.
They're not dropping out of the races. Those candidates simply don't have any opposition, so thanks to a new Indiana law, their names and offices will be removed from the ballot. They're not too happy about it. And neither are local election officials, who are already making plans to deal with voters they expect will be confused by the blank spaces where names have traditionally been on ballots. The new state law says "an election may not be held for a municipal office if there is only one nominee for the office."
Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Thursday said it will remove some, but not all of the 62 parliamentarians whose victories were thrown out by a special court set up by a decree from President Hamid Karzai.
The special poll court's June ruling rejected results for 62 lawmaker seats, or about a quarter of the 249-member assembly elected in a fraud-riddled poll in September of 2010, raising the prospect of a standoff between Karzai and the parliament. The tribunal carried out recounts and dismissed the 62 on grounds of alleged voting irregularities. The IEC, which ran the foreign-funded election, at first opposed the tribunal's decision, but last month said it would review it.
number of Goans opting for the Portuguese nationality has
risen steadily over the last three years, according to the
Election Commission statistics.
As per the records available with the state office of the Election Commission of India, as many as 1855 Goans have become Portuguese nationals in the last three years and more are catching up.
According to the statistics, the trend is fast becoming a rage as 312 people chose to be Portuguese nationals in year 2008 followed by 432 in 2009 and 807 in 2010.
candidates may all share the same name -- the common Chinese
surname of Tan -- but with four candidates now officially in
the race, this presidential election is the most contested
in Singapore's history.
Singapore is a nation that's been ruled by one party since its independence in 1965. But the recent general election showed a growing interest by Singaporeans in politics and some point to a growing willingness of Singaporeans to speak out.
According to presidential candidate Tan Jee Say, "People are more open now in expressing their views against the government. In the past they were a bit apprehensive about being open. But now I think the election showed they are prepared to share their anger" he said, over the government's economic policies. He said the Internet, and movements in other countries like the "Arab spring" has had an effect on Singaporeans too.
Not one but two panels from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Commission on Elections (Comelec) will work in tandem to investigate alleged massive cheating in the 2004 presidential and 2007 senatorial elections.
In a 5-page joint order dated August 15, 2011 signed by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes, the DOJ and the Comelec created a joint Preliminary Investigation Committee and a joint Fact-finding Team.