The Voting News Daily: Indiana county cancels voting machine contract with ES&S, Voting in Mahoning County Ohio to return to paper ballots

Indiana: Monroe County cancels voting machine contract with ES&S | The Indianapolis Star A southern Indiana county has terminated its contract with a Nebraska company following concerns about its voting machines. The Herald-Times reports ( ) that the Monroe County Commissioners voted unanimously Friday to end its contract with Omaha, Neb.-based Election System and Software. Read…

Ohio: Voting in Mahoning County to return to paper ballots | Youngstown News

Nine years after switching from paper ballots to electronic touch-screen voting, the Mahoning County Board of Elections plans to return to paper for the November general election. The new, more sophisticated system will have voters complete a paper ballot and feed it into an optical-scanner machine.

The machine would keep track of the vote totals with the paper ballot dropped into a sealed box. State law requires all ballots have paper backups. It would cost $684,000 to buy the new machines from Election Systems & Software, the same company that sold the electronic voting machines to the county, said Joyce Kale Pesta, the board’s deputy director.

The county may not have the money to purchase the machines so leasing them is an option that would cost less than $100,000 a year, she said.

Voting Blogs: Mahoning County’s Voting Machine Switch and the Growing Buyer’s Market in Voting Technology | PEEA

Mahoning County, OH (Youngstown) recently announced that it will be switching to optical scan voting machines for the November 2012 general election. The decision means County voters will no longer rely on touchscreen machines as the primary method of casting ballots, as they have since they were purchased in 2002.

The Mahoning story is a perfect example how the market for voting technology has changed in the years since passage of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), enacted by Congress in 2002 in response to the controversial 2000 Presidential election.

HAVA authorized almost $4 billion in federal funds for election improvements at the state and local level – much of which were earmarked for voting machine upgrades. Those funds – and the various mandates included in HAVA – made election offices motivated buyers and created a huge sellers’ market as vendors rushed to help states and localities spend their newfound dollars. In this environment Mahoning County’s $2.95 million purchase of 1100 touchscreen machines was typical.

Ohio: Volunteers work to pull voting law off books, onto ballot | The Chillicothe Gazette

Local volunteers have joined the statewide effort to repeal House Bill 194, a would-be law that opponents say smacks of voter suppression. Volunteers across Ohio hope to collect more than 231,000 signatures and file them with the Ohio Secretary of State by Sept. 29 — one day before the bill is supposed to go into effect.

An upstart citizens group, Stand Up For Ohio — Ross County Movement Builders, has amassed nearly two-thirds of its goal of 1,122 signatures in Ross County, coordinator Portia Boulger said. The larger goal, Boulger said, is to put HB 194 on hold and place it on the ballot in November 2012 as a statewide referendum.

Editorials: Education on state’s voter ID law a must for Tennesseans | Knoxville News Sentinel

If Tennessee absolutely must have a law requiring voters to produce photo identification, the state Election Commission is absolutely right to conduct an education campaign to make voters aware of the law.

The law was passed by Republican majorities in both houses of the Legislature last spring, despite warnings about its questionable constitutionality. The law becomes effective in January 2012, so it will not pose an obstacle for the 2011 city of Knoxville and state Senate elections, for which early voting has begun.

The law was touted by supporters as a check on voter fraud, an argument that made it to the U.S. Senate on Thursday. However, Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat and chairman of the Senate’s subcommittee on civil rights, said the incidence of voter fraud is minimal and doesn’t require this remedy, according to a story on

Australia: Thousands fail to turn up for elections – more than $1.64 million in fines will be issued | Illawarra Mercury

More than $1.64 million in fines will be issued across the Illawarra after residents put in a mass no-show at this month’s council elections.
Around 23,000 people failed to vote in Wollongong, and each will be slugged with a $55 fine unless they can produce a valid excuse.

NSW Electoral Commission figures show just 83 per cent of Wollongong’s 135,468 eligible voters turned up to cast their ballot at either a polling place, at pre-poll or through a postal vote. Taking polling day figures in isolation, the turnout rate in Wollongong dropped to just 71 per cent.

An Electoral Commission spokesman said it was pleased with both the polling place and overall turnout, saying it was a “very reasonable” result for a local government election. He said the unavailability of absentee voting in local government elections could reduce overall turnout figures by 10 per cent.

Guatemala: Vote heads towards runoff | Al Jazeera

Ballot counting is under way following Guatemala’s presidential election with Otto Perez, a retired general from the right-wing Patriot Party, holding an early lead, according to preliminary results. But with candidates needing more than 50 per cent of ballots to avoid a runoff, the election looked certain to be heading for a second round later in the year.

Otto Perez Manila, 60, who promises to send troops to the streets to fight criminal gangs, had received 37 per cent support with more than 60 per cent of ballots counted by 9.34GMT. This was still well shy of the 50 per cent needed for an outright first-round victory.

Denmark: Nationalist party’s influence waning in Denmark | The Associated Press

One of Europe’s most influential anti-immigration parties could lose its leverage in Danish politics in next week’s election. Polls ahead of the vote Thursday show that the Danish People’s Party stands to lose the kingmaker role which for 10 years has given it an important say on government policy, including pushing through sharp restrictions on immigration.

For Phillip Hobbs, a 26-year-old Australian online entrepreneur who was denied a residence permit even though his wife and their 8-month-old son are Danish citizens, the change would be welcome.

Hobbs is an unintended target of a rule that prevents Danish citizens from bringing in a foreign spouse if one of them is younger than 24. Hobbs’ wife is 23. The rule is aimed at reducing forced marriages in immigrant communities for immigration reasons.

Maldives: Maldives to introduce electronic voting for 2013 election | Haveeru Online

The Maldives is to introduce the electronic voting technology for the first time for the presidential election to be held in 2013, Elections Commission announced today.

In a statement, the commission said its members unanimously made the decision at a meeting held today. The commission said it would make necessary amendments to the election laws and submit the amended legislations to relevant authorities in order to introduce the electronic voting technology for the 2013 election.

Norway: Prime Minister: ‘Vote for democracy’ | The Foreigner

Local election voting points towards increased participation at the polls this time around compared with four years ago. Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg urges voters to show what is important for them.

NRK reports about 16 percent cast their ballot in Tromsø, yesterday, 4 percent higher than in 2007. Whilst the broadcaster says Sarpsborg and Lillehammer showed a good turnout, with queues in Kongsberg. Voters in Oslo were not put off by the rain, and there are indications of increased voter numbers in Stavanger and Bodø today.