Under fire once again for lapses in oversight of Florida’s voter database and lax communication, Gov. Rick Scott’s top elections official says he’ll “over-communicate” in the future. For embattled Secretary of State Ken Detzner, it’s an all-too-familiar refrain as he tries to improve his strained relationships with county election supervisors, who depend on a reliable database as they tabulate votes in Florida elections. In a conference call with the executive committee of the supervisors association Thursday, Detzner spoke from a prepared script and said the addition of new database hardware is ahead of schedule and that he would soon make site visits to counties. “I recognize the need to over-communicate our planning at the department,” Detzner told them, according to a three-page script of his remarks.
An investigation into voting irregularities during the November general election has raised serious security concerns about equipment used in about one-fifth of Virginia’s precincts, a new report says. The report issued late Wednesday says the state Board of Elections should consider decertifying the WinVote touchscreen system and barring its use in future elections. The board is expected to conduct a public hearing on this and other options in the next few days. Link: Full DOE report on Virginia voting equipment
Apparent voting irregularities have been documented as Tajikistan held parliamentary elections, including widespread cases where one person was casting ballots for an entire family, a lack of election monitors, and instances where volunteer poll workers advised people who to vote for. The Central Election Commission said more than 82 percent of the 4.3 million registered voters had cast a ballot, well over the 50 percent turnout needed to make the election valid. The ballot comes after a campaign that international monitors described as flawed.
Voting Blogs: Vote-Flipping in Maryland: The Consequence of Voting with Dinosaurs | State of Elections
The gubernatorial race in Maryland, the notoriously blue state, was tighter than anticipated. Larry Hogan, the Republican nominee, narrowly beat out the Democratic candidate, Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown. Now that the dust is beginning to settle from the shocking upset, a new issue is creeping into the forefront: faulty voting machines. Although complaints of faulty voting machines during election time are hardly new, the prospect is always a little unsettling. In Maryland, the problems began cropping up during the early voting period. Many believe the problem was due to some voting machines’ calibrations. The selected choice and the visual on the screen seemed to be out of sync. Before the end of the early voting period, the Maryland Republican Party had received complaints from over 50 voters across Maryland who said the voting machine flipped their Republican vote to the Democratic candidate. On all of the Maryland ballots, the Democrat candidate for governor, Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, was listed above the Republican candidate, Larry Hogan. Under Maryland election law §9-210(j)(2)(i), the majority party candidate is always listed first on the ballot followed by the candidate of the principal minority party. Joe Cluster, the director of the state Republican Party, indicated in the Baltimore Sun, that the flipping reports were primarily affecting Republican voters because of the display of the candidates on the ballot.
The race for state treasurer remains undecided nearly two weeks after Election Day, with both campaigns agreeing fewer than 400 votes now separate the candidates in what could be the closest statewide race in Illinois in at least a century. The remarkably slim margin seems to point to a recount under an untested law put in place after the previously close-contest champ, the 1982 battle for governor. The match is rife with charges of “voting irregularities and ballot mishandling” in Chicago, prompting Illinois’ Republican U.S. senator call for an investigation Monday. Election officials have until Tuesday to finish counting ballots from the Nov. 4 election, including in the treasurer’s race between Republican Tom Cross and Democrat Mike Frerichs. Neither side was talking about recounts Monday, saying they’re waiting for all the votes to be counted. “Everyone knew that this was going to be a very close election. Mike’s been coming from behind the whole time,” said Dave Clarkin, spokesman for Frerichs, a state senator from Champaign. “Now we’re all just doing whatever we can to monitor everything closely.”
Illinois: Treasurer race, less than 400 votes apart, could lead to recount | The State Journal-Register
The race for state treasurer remains undecided nearly two weeks after Election Day, with both campaigns agreeing fewer than 400 votes now separate the candidates in what could be the closest statewide race in Illinois in at least a century. The remarkably slim margin seems to point to a recount under an untested law put in place after the previously close-contest champ, the 1982 battle for governor. The match is rife with charges of “voting irregularities and ballot mishandling” in Chicago, prompting Illinois’ Republican U.S. senator call for an investigation Monday. Election officials have until Tuesday to finish counting ballots from the Nov. 4 election, including in the treasurer’s race between Republican Tom Cross and Democrat Mike Frerichs. Neither side was talking about recounts Monday, saying they’re waiting for all the votes to be counted.
Republicans and Democrats alike reported problems Tuesday using touch-screen voting machines in Virginia Beach and Newport News, with some claiming they almost cast ballots for candidates they did not support. “They told me my finger was too fat,” said John Owens, recounting a conversation he had with the Virginia Beach Voter Registrar’s Office after experiencing trouble voting for Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell. The extent of the “calibration issues” is unclear. Virginia Department of Elections Commissioner Edgardo Cortes said 32 of Virginia Beach’s 820 AccuVote TSX machines were pulled from service by 3:30 p.m. Another four were discontinued in Newport News, where most votes were recorded on paper ballots. Cortes said he didn’t know how many people voted on the machines before they stopped using them at the 25 precincts.
Virginia election officials were gathering information Wednesday about a glitch that affected 32 voting machines in the southeastern part of the state, a Department of Elections spokeswoman said. Rose Mansfield said that once all the information is received, the head of the department will conduct a complete review and will likely present a report on Tuesday’s troubles to the State Board of Elections. “Our voting technology specialists are working on it,” Mansfield said, adding that the priority is to get the right answers about what went wrong on Election Day. The faulty machines are a fraction of the 820 touchscreen devices that were used in the affected precincts, most of them in Virginia Beach. They were taken out of service after voters complained that they tried to vote for one candidate, but the machine attempted to record the vote for another. Mansfield said all the machines were calibrated and tested before the election.
With several key elections potentially hinging on razor-thin margins, Americans went to the polls Tuesday in 34 states with new voting laws that critics fear will adversely impact minority turnout and proponents say are needed to protect against voter fraud. The new laws – ranging from photo identification requirements to restrictions on same-day registration – brought increased scrutiny Tuesday from the two major political parties, civic groups, voting rights advocates and the Justice Department, almost all deploying monitors and lawyers to polling stations to look out for voting problems. “It’s the new normal since 2000,” said Richard Hasen, a law and politics professor at the University of California, Irvine, and author of “The Voting Wars: From 2000 to the Next Election Meltdown.” “Some of this is legitimate fear, some of it is a way of getting the base wound up and (to) raise funds.” From the moment polls opened ‑ and in some cases before ‑ reports of voting irregularities began. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law’s election protection program reported more than 12,000 calls to its hotline – the bulk of them from Florida, Georgia, Texas, New York and North Carolina.
An online petition demanding a revote in the Scottish independence referendum is now at almost 100,000 signatures as vote rigging conspiracies continue to gain momentum among disappointed pro-independence campaigners. It didn’t take long for accusations of voting irregularities to start swirling after Scotland voted “No” to independence on September 18th. In the aftermath of the result, pro-independence Yes campaigners have taken to social media in large numbers to complain about reported incidents of vote fraud and demand a return to the polls. The accusations come despite First Minister Alex Salmond, leader of the Yes campaign, calling on pro-independence supporters to “accept the democratic decision.”