State of Elections

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Tag: Electronic Voting (page 1 of 2)

KS: Lack of Election Post-Audit Leaves Uncertainty in the Sunflower State

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Does anyone really watch the watchman? In Kansas, the state’s lack of an election post-audit is raising some questions, and a university professor wants to run the numbers on electronic voting machines in and around the state’s largest city.

Like other states across the Union, Kansas began using electronic voting machines following the presidential election of 2000 and the infamous “hanging chad” debacle in Florida. While many Kansas counties use optical scan paper ballots, the two most populous counties in the state, Sedgwick County (home of the state’s largest city, Wichita) and Johnson County (home of some of the most affluent Kansas City suburbs) use electronic voting machines. And while the machines in Sedgwick County print an extensive paper receipt, the machines used in Johnson County do not leave a paper trail.

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Vermont Begins Online Voter Registration

By: Andrew Lowy

Vermont voting has entered the twenty-first century with a new online voter registration system. On October 12, 2015, Vermont’s Secretary of State, Jim Condos, launched a new online voter software allowing eligible Vermont citizens to prepare for election day online.  The system allows voters to register to vote, find their polling place, request an absentee ballot and track its status, as well as view sample ballots. The software also includes features to aid local election officials in processing ballots, entering election results, and registering voters. The new software cost Vermont $2.8 million. However, 70% of the funds came from the federal government through the Help America Vote Act.

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Another Election, Another Voting Controversy in Florida

By Nick Raffaele:

At this point, most everyone is familiar with Florida’s comically pitiful track record when it comes to administering elections. The state certainly earned this reputation when it suffered what is probably its most notorious voting disaster in 2000, and Broward County in particular has consistently maintained poor performance ever since. The county was a standout in 2000 when it used lackadaisical standards in reviewing contested punch card ballots containing dimpled chads, and even included these unclear votes in their certified results. Broward doubled down on their anything goes attitude towards elections in 2003, when they sent mail-in ballots to voters who had moved and sparked fear of fraudulent votes. Continue reading

A series of tubes: Transmitting ballots via the Internet

by Anthony Balady

The Internet is a strange and unpredictable place, filled with cats playing keyboard and Rick Astley videos. It’s the kind of place you wouldn’t want your ballot floating around without protection. So, ever since the widespread adoption of electronic voting machines, voters and election administrators alike have feared for the safety of votes traveling through the Internet tubes.

Five voters in Hawaii, concerned about the accuracy and safety of electronically transmitted ballots, filed suit against Chief Election Officer Kevin Cronin to prevent the use of electronic voting machines in the 2010 elections. The suit, Babson v. Cronin, resulted from the Hawaii Office of Election’s decision to use Direct-Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines in the 2010 elections. DRE voting machines eliminate the need for paper ballots by storing the vote electronically. In some DRE machines, the vote is stored on a physical device, like a flash drive, and then physically taken to a central vote tabulation machine.  In other DRE machines, like those used in Hawaii, the vote is transmitted electronically through an Internet style network. Continue reading

The Nightmares from Bridgeport

As the November election entered the early afternoon, poll workers in the City of Bridgeport, Connecticut began to notice something strange.  With many hours of voting left, there was an unusually small amount of ballots remaining. Those concerns quickly turned to nightmares as precincts all across the city ran out of ballots. Confusion and tempers grew as fast as the lines voters were forced to stand in.  People began to turn away without voting, their civic duty inaccessible.

Registrars were told by the Secretary of State to photo copy ballots at the city print shop.  They began delivering the needy precincts packets of 100 ballots at a time. People who waited were given the opportunity to vote on a photocopied ballot. The State’s Democratic Party sued the City for not providing enough ballots and asked for immediate action. Superior Court Judge Marshall K. Berger, Jr. made the ruling that the polls at 12 precincts would remain open until 10PM, two hours beyond the normal closing. During this extra time about 500 votes were cast. Continue reading

Paperless Gangstas: The Reliability of South Carolina Voting Machines

The U.S. democratic system is no stranger to meteoric rises.  This is the country that pit a community organizer against a PTA mom from America’s Siberia for the leader of the free world.  Yet our penchant for the underdog doesn’t always mean a free pass.  So when Alvin Greene—an unemployed, cash-strapped veteran who is facing felony obscenity chargeswon the Democratic primary for a shot against incumbent Jim DeMint for the U.S. Senate, a concerned citizen raised some questions.  Specifically, could electronic voting machines be to blame for such a bizarre result? Continue reading

The Show Must Go On: Despite Sharp Budget Cuts, the Virginia State Board of Elections makes sure “Elections still go on.”

In the present economic climate, no state agency in the country is completely immune from budget crunches. The Virginia State Board of Elections (SBE), Virginia’s non-partisan agency in charge of administering the state’s elections, is no different. Budget cuts have forced the agency to make some tradeoffs in recent years, in both staffing and services. However, the agency is finding ways to cope with the limitations and continues to work to make elections work smoothly, regardless of the economic circumstances.

“I refuse to cry the blues,” SBE Secretary Nancy Rodrigues said. “The reality is there is no money. That is the economy. [However], elections still go on.” Continue reading

Weekly Wrap-Up

Did Michelle Obama violate Illinois state election law? After Michelle Obama turned in her early voting ballot yesterday, she stopped outside the voting booth to take pictures with people in the area, including an electrician, Dennis Campbell. According to Campbell and a reporter who was nearby, Michelle stated that it was very important that he vote “to help keep her husband’s agenda going.” Illinois state law (Sec. 17-29 (a)) states that “No judge of election, pollwatcher, or other person shall, at any primary or election, do any electioneering or soliciting of votes or engage in any political discussion within any polling place, within 100 feet of any polling place.” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs responded to the accusation by stating that “I don’t think it would be much to imagine, the First Lady might support her husband’s agenda.”

Charges were filed against a Maryland man, Jerry Mathis, for distributing an official-looking sample ballot that turned out to be fake.  The false ballots alarmed several candidates when they saw that the wrong matchups were checked.  Under Maryland law, Mr. Mathis could be facing a maximum of one year in jail and a $25,000 fine. Continue reading

Weekly Wrap-Up

“Lisa M. Write In and Fill In” is the proposed slogan from supporters of Lisa Murkowski’s proposed write-in campaign.  Alaska elections director said that voters would only have to use Murkowski’s first name and last initial for it to count, but that they would also have to be sure to fill in the bubble next to her name.  The actual vote is the filled in bubble, not the written name.

Carl P. Paladino, a Republican candidate for governor in New York, sent out a typical negative mailing stating that “Something really stinks in Albany.” However, the ad is anything but typical as soon as a person opens the envelope and is greeted with the “unmistakable odor” of “rotting vegetables.” Read this article for more info. Continue reading

Weekly Wrap Up

Every week, State of Elections brings you the latest news in state election law.

– Implementation of the Tennessee Voter Confidence Act has been delayed until 2012. The Act, which would require paper ballots in all Tennessee elections, has been highly controversial and strongly opposed by Republicans in the legislature.  Lt. Gov Ron Ramsey even declared that delaying the bill was his No. 1 priority.  Bernie Ellis, a leading proponent of the Act, posted this editorial on State of Elections in December.  For more background, check out this article by Drew Staniewski.

– A federal judge in Arizona appears ready to dramatically change that state’s system of funding elections.  Under Arizona’s Clean Elections system, certain candidates receive government funding for their campaigns.  The system is designed to allow less well-funded candidates to compete with more affluent opponents.  Judge Roslyn Silver, however, has written a draft order that would strike down these matching funds as unconstitutional.

– Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna and Secretary of State Sam Reed have announced that they will appeal the 9th Circuit Court’s decision in Farrakhan v. Gregoire.  The decision restored the voting rights of felons in Washington.  For more of State of Election’s coverage of the debate over felon voting rights, go here and here.

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