The Voting News Daily: As Scorn for Vote Grows, Protests Surge Around Globe, E-voting machines vulnerable to remote vote changing

Editorials: As Scorn for Vote Grows, Protests Surge Around Globe | Hundreds of thousands of disillusioned Indians cheer a rural activist on a hunger strike. Israel reels before the largest street demonstrations in its history. Enraged young people in Spain and Greece take over public squares across their countries. Their complaints range from corruption to lack of affordable housing and…

Editorials: As Scorn for Vote Grows, Protests Surge Around Globe |

Hundreds of thousands of disillusioned Indians cheer a rural activist on a hunger strikeIsrael reels before the largest street demonstrations in its history. Enraged young people in Spain and Greece take over public squares across their countries.

Their complaints range from corruption to lack of affordable housing and joblessness, common grievances the world over. But from South Asia to the heartland of Europe and now even to Wall Street, these protesters share something else: wariness, even contempt, toward traditional politicians and the democratic political process they preside over.

They are taking to the streets, in part, because they have little faith in the ballot box. “Our parents are grateful because they’re voting,” said Marta Solanas, 27, referring to older Spaniards’ decades spent under the Franco dictatorship. “We’re the first generation to say that voting is worthless.”

National: E-voting machines vulnerable to remote vote changing | CNET News

U.S. government researchers are warning that someone could sneak an inexpensive piece of electronics into e-voting machines like those to be used in the next national election and then remotely change votes after they have been cast.

The Vulnerability Assessment Team at Argonne Laboratory, which is a division of the Department of Energy, discovered this summer that Diebold touch-screen e-voting machines could be hijacked remotely, according to team leader Roger Johnston. Salon reported on it today, noting that as many as a quarter of American voters are expected to be using machines that are vulnerable to such attacks in the 2012 election.

Basically, when a voter pushes a button to record his or her votes electronically, the remote hijacker could use a Radio Frequency remote control to intercept that communication, change the votes, and then submit the fraudulent votes for recording.

Voting Blogs: Arizona and sham candidates — comparing different recall set ups | The Recall Elections Blog

Some interesting discussion by the Election Law Blogger himself, Professor Rick Hasen, focused on Olivia Cortes, the alleged sham candidate in the Russell Pearce. As I’ll explain below, because of the particularities of Arizona law, I don’t find the sham candidate problem that offensive.

For contrast, Hasen notes how California law works. California’s law eliminates sham candidates run to protect the targeted official. It provides for two concurrent votes, one on whether to actually recall the official, and the second (non-partisan) on the replacement. The removed official cannot run in the replacement race (which I believe was the source of debate during the adoption of the recall itself).

I think this is the best system, mainly because it limits costs and provides some contrasts between the official being recalled and the possible replacement. Though not a benefit, I believe the ability to draw a contrast with a successor actually benefits the elected official — as the official has somebody to attack rather than the potentially nebulous recall proponents.

Colorado: Elections Subcommittee Democrats Seek Investigation of Colorado Secretary of State | Committee on House Administration

In a letter to Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General in the Civil rights Division of the Department of Justice, Congressmen Bob Brady and Charles A. Gonzalez, the Ranking Members of the Committee on House Administration and its Subcommittee on Elections, respectively, have requested an investigation into actions taken by Colorado Secretary of State, Scott Gessler. Last week, Sec. Gessler petitioned the Denver District Court for an injunction to prevent the Denver Clerk and Recorder’s office from mailing ballots to eligible voters ahead of the November 01, 2011, election simply because they hadn’t voted in the last general election.

“No right is mentioned more times in the Constitution than the right to vote,” said Rep. Gonzalez. “It is the responsibility of every public official to ensure that eligible citizens are not denied that right. Secretary Gessler, instead, has taken steps that could prevent Coloradans’ civic participation. The Voting Section of the Department of Justice exists to protect this foundation of our democracy.”

Denver City and County Clerk and Record Debra Johnson has called this “a fundamental issue of fairness and of keeping voting accessible to as many eligible voters as possible” and the maps her office released suggest that districts with large minority populations would be particularly hard hit by Gessler’s rule. The congressmen were also concerned that eligible and registered voters who had missed the last election because of a disability or because they were deployed abroad at the time might miss their chance to vote this year.

Colorado: Congressmen ask U.S. to look into Gessler lawsuit against Denver clerk | The Denver Post

Two Democratic congressmen asked the U.S. Department of Justice Tuesday to investigate whether Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler violated federal law when he asked a judge to stop the Denver clerk and recorder from mailing ballots to inactive voters. The letter from Rep. Robert Brady of Pennsylvania and Charles Gonzalez of Texas says Gessler’s actions may violate the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits discriminatory voting procedures.

“Given the diversity of the state of Colorado, and particularly that of Denver County, there is a high likelihood that the barrier to voting Secretary Gessler seeks to impose . . . will have such a discriminatory result,” the letter states.

It says that not mailing ballots to eligible voters listed as “inactive” because they didn’t vote last year “might make participation particularly hard” for disabled voters who may not have been able to get to the polls and Americans who may have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan in 2010 but who want to vote Nov. 1.

Colorado: Enough signatures collected to recall Saguache County Clerk Myers | Valley Courier

The three-member Committee to Recall Melinda Myers announced Tuesday that volunteers have gathered 816 signatures within the time period prescribed by law, 200 more than needed to move forward and set a date for the county clerk’s recall election.

Committee members Steve Carlson, John Baker and Pat Jenkins supervised more than 10 volunteers who fanned out across rural Saguache County for two months to find signers for the petitions.

“All along I was very confident that the estimated numbers we needed were there,” former commissioner’s candidate Steve Carlson said. “It seemed like a huge task to get this accomplished in the time we had, so I’m proud, happy and thankful for all petition gatherers.” Carlson himself was able to collect signatures for a good number of petitions and several other volunteers filled out two petitions or more.

Maine: GOP leaders used same-day voting | The Morning Sentinel

A coalition that is campaigning to preserve same-day voter registration in Maine said Tuesday that many conservative leaders have done just what they support abolishing. Voting records reveal that Gov. Paul LePage, at least two state senators and eight state representatives have in the past registered to vote on election day or during the two business days preceding it. A new law that they all support would ban voter registration within two business days of an election.

The law, passed with Republican support, is now the subject of a people’s veto referendum on the Nov. 8 ballot, led by Protect Maine Votes.

Cited in a press release issued by the coalition Tuesday were Senate President Kevin Raye, R-Perry; Lance Dutson, chief executive officer of the conservative Maine Heritage Policy Center; former Republican gubernatorial candidate Peter Cianchette; and former Republican congressional candidate Dean Scontras.

New Jersey: Zirkles win Fairfield election; state can’t confirm investigation |

The county and the courts had already expressed it but the voters of Fairfield Township made it official — again. Democratic County Committee candidates Cindy and Ernie Zirkle were elected Tuesday over competitors Mark and Vivian Henry, according to unofficial online results from the county Board of Elections.

Mail-in ballots had not been recorded by 10:30 p.m. but the Zirkles took 33 percent of the vote over the Henrys’ 17 percent. “We don’t trust the system,” said Cindy Zirkle, so a substantial number of absentee ballots were distributed.

“It’s a shame,” Zirkle began late Tuesday night, that certain opposition parties “refused to accept the Board of Elections’ admission.” That admission being Board Director Lizbeth Hernandez stating she inadvertently mismatched the names on the ballots and the results declared in June were the exact opposite.

Oklahoma: New court order allows all registered voters in special election | Cherokee Phoenix

All registered Cherokee voters will be permitted to cast their vote in a special election for principal chief during five open voting dates as a result of a new federal court ruling. Those dates are Sept. 29, Oct. 1, 4, 6 and 8. Voting must be done on a walk-in basis at the Cherokee Nation Election Commission office in Tahlequah.

During a Sept. 23 telephone hearing requested by both U.S. attorneys and Freedmen attorneys to discuss a complaint filed last week by Freedmen attorneys, a compromise was reached to allow all registered Cherokee voters to vote.

Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy Jr. ruled on the complaint made by attorneys for Cherokee Freedmen descendants last week. The complaint alleged the tribes’ election commission did not comply with certain aspects of ruling made by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia Sept. 21.

Wisconsin: GOP lawmakers consider changes to recall petition process | JSOnline

Republican lawmakers signaled Tuesday that they will likely give Gov. Scott Walker authority over how recall petitions can be gathered, just as Democrats gear up to recall him next year.

The move would allow Walker to halt a policy developed by nonpartisan election officials that, at least in theory, could make it easier for groups to gather signatures to recall the governor, as well as legislators from either party. “You have given the governor control of the chicken coop, so to say,” Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) told Republicans.

But GOP lawmakers raised concerns that election officials had gone too far with their interpretation of state laws and said the governor and lawmakers should have a chance to weigh in on them. Under the changes Republicans are considering, Walker would also get to decide whether universities can put stickers on their identification cards that would allow them to be used for voting.

Wisconsin: Moves to change recall election misguided | Political Heat

There’s been a strong push as of late, by Republican legislators in the state and news media alike, to restrict the terms under which recall elections can occur. This call has come after an historic nine recall elections occurred this year alone, more than doubling the number of recalls that had previously been seen at the state legislative level.

… To alter the conditions of recalls would also ignore the intent of what recalls were all about. Our state constitution doesn’t limit why recalls can happen — in fact, no recall election at the legislative level has ever occurred on the bases or merits that the proposed constitutional amendment would restrict them under.

Wisconsin: Election Official Violated Law, but won’t be Charged in Supreme Court Vote Tally | WUWM

The state Government Accountability Board has concluded an investigation into the behavior of Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus after the April election for state Supreme Court. The board says Nickolaus violated the law by not posting all returns on election night.

However, the board says her violation was not willful, and therefore did not constitute criminal misconduct. Initial results on election night posted by Nickolaus showed challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg with a narrow lead over Justice David Prosser.

Two days after the election, Nickolaus announced that she had previously failed to report 14,000 votes. With the additional votes turned in, Prosser pulled into the lead.

Wisconsin: Independent investigator: Waukesha Clerk likely violated election law | 620 WTMJ

An independent investigation for the Government Accountability Board has found probable cause to believe that Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus violated state election law on the night of the Supreme Court Election.  However, the investigator also found that the violation was not willful and therefore does not constitute criminal misconduct.

Nickolaus failed to report results from Brookfield on election night.  The failure led to an initial vote total that showed the race was too close to call.  Nickolaus caught the mistake before reporting final vote totals.

“It was pretty clear to me that there wasn’t fraud,” said, former Dane County Prosecutor Tim Verhoff who conducted the investigation.

National: Argonne researchers ‘hack’ Diebold e-voting system | Computerworld

Researchers at the Argonne National Laboratory this week showed how an electronic voting machine model that’s expected to be widely used to tally votes in the 2012 elections can be easily hacked using inexpensive, widely-available electronic components.

Roger Johnston, head of the Vulnerability Assessment Team at the U.S. Department of Energy’s science and engineering reseaech lab, said the hack, which requires about $25 and very little technical expertise, would let cybercriminals “flip” votes gathered on Diebold Accuvote TS machines and change election results without raising any suspicion.

Johnston and his team have long warned about vulnerabilities in e-voting machines. And two years ago, the team demonstrated how a Sequoia touch screen e-voting machine could be similarly manipulated using cheap components. The latest research was first reported by the Salon news site.

Editorials: The Fundamental Right |

The right to vote is sometimes said to be the most fundamental in American democracy. Yet legal challenges to the federal voting rights law are increasing even as they highlight the racial injustices that make it essential. In a ruling last week, Judge John Bates of Federal District Court rightly dismissed such a challenge by Shelby County, Ala., which sought to have a central part of the law declared unconstitutional.

That provision, Section 5, requires states and local governments with histories of racial discrimination to obtain “preclearance” of any changes in local voting rules with the Justice Department or a federal court. Because it was common for jurisdictions to adopt new discriminatory practices after a court struck down old ones, the 1965 Voting Rights Act required the “covered” jurisdictions — six Southern states, and other counties and cities around the country — to show that any proposed rule change would not discriminate against minorities. Congress renewed Section 5 in 2006.

Editorials: Democracy Under Attack | Judith Browne Dianis/Huffington Post

Today, we are witnessing the greatest assault on democracy in over a century.

Through a spate of state laws that restrict the type of identification a voter may use, limit early voting, place strict requirements on voter registration, and deny voting rights to Americans with criminal records, many voters will be cast out of the democratic process before they even make it to the polls. Those who do make it will face additional challenges. To complement legislative efforts to suppress the vote, the Tea Party and its allies have vowed to place millions of challengers at polls in 2012 to dispute voters’ eligibility in ways that may intimidate eligible voters and disrupt polling place operations. This two-prong strategy will impede American voters at every step of the voting process.

Not since the days of poll taxes and literacy tests has our country seen such blatant attempts to suppress the vote. Model legislative proposals crafted and strategically disseminated by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative legislative advocacy group that receives funding from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation prompted some 34 states to introduce repressive photo identification legislation this year. While the bills vary slightly from state to state, they share one common thread. All of them require that voters must show non-expired, photo ID issued by that particular state or the federal government in order to cast a ballot. And all of them do so under the guise of preventing rampant voter fraud.

Canada: Online voting for municipal elections still years away: Ida Chong | Vancouver Sun

The provincial government wants to bring in online voting for municipal elections as early as 2014, but has to change legislation first, Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Ida Chong said Wednesday. Speaking to reporters at the Union of B.C. Municipalities Convention in Vancouver, Chong said both she and Premier Christy Clark support the concept of voting over the Internet.

“I don’t believe it is impossible. We’re very keen on it,” she said, but cautioned, “It is still two-and-a-half, three years away in terms of changing legislation. I think it is possible.”

Her comments came as UBCM delegates called on the province to enact changes that would allow them to conduct online votes, even though some delegates raised concerns about security and the potential for ballot fraud.

Voting Blogs: In which I help the news media | Paper Vote Canada

1) Delvinia releases a report
“Our latest DIG report examines the Town of Markham’s experience with Internet voting in the 2003, 2006 and 2010 municipal election” Source
This is good.

In 2010, with the support of Ryerson University, Delvinia secured an Engage Grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) to commission Nicole Goodman, a PhD candidate specializing in Canadian political institutions and alternative voting methods, to provide a scholarly perspective on the data collected following the 2010 election as well as a comparison to the data Delvinia collected in the 2003 and 2006 elections.

It is also excellent to see academic research in this field and a rigorous report.
2) However

The DIG report is available online at The full research report is available for purchase through Delvinia. Please refer to our order form to obtain a copy of the report. Source

So objective fact 1: Delvinia is selling the full report.

Philippines: Comelec opposes Internet ballots for absentee Filipino voters abroad | GMA News

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday opposed proposals to have ballots downloadable over the Internet for Filipinos abroad who will cast their votes as overseas absentee voters.

Comelec Commissioner Armando Velasco said ballot secrecy might be compromised if downloadable ballots are included in amendments proposed for Republic Act 9189 or the Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003.

“There is a violation of the sanctity of the ballot and questions on security,” he said in a joint hearing by the House committee on suffrage end electoral reforms and the House committee on foreign affairs Monday morning.

Singapore: Singapore: Non-voters’ names to be expunged from register | TODAYonline

Eligible voters who failed to cast their votes in the Presidential Election last month will have their names expunged from the Registers of Electors in accordance with Section 26 of the Presidential Elections Act. Non-voters will lose their eligibility to vote or stand as a candidate at future elections if their names are not restored to the Registers of Electors.

Checking of non-voter names that will be expunged from the Registers of Electors can be done from September 27 onwards via the eServices at, or at the Elections Department and community centres/clubs. The restoration of non-voters’ names to the Registers of Electors will close once the Writ of Election is issued for the next election.