The Voting News Daily: Mississippi machine malfunction puzzling, Interest Groups Mail Ballot Apps to Wrong Wisconsin Cities

Mississippi: Malfunction of machines puzzling | The Clarion-Ledger A day after some electronic voting machines malfunctioned in Hinds County, the mystery remains. “Everyone I’ve talked to is baffled,” Hinds County Democratic Executive Committee Chairman Claude McInnis said Wednesday. At Wynndale Presbyterian Church, the electronic ballot failed to include races for governor or lieutenant governor. The precinct…

Mississippi: Malfunction of machines puzzling | The Clarion-Ledger

A day after some electronic voting machines malfunctioned in Hinds County, the mystery remains. “Everyone I’ve talked to is baffled,” Hinds County Democratic Executive Committee Chairman Claude McInnis said Wednesday.

At Wynndale Presbyterian Church, the electronic ballot failed to include races for governor or lieutenant governor. The precinct switched to paper ballots that included all the races.

This is the first time McInnis said he has seen the problem with these machines. “On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give the machines a 7.5 to 8,” said McInnis, who also is executive vice chairman of the Mississippi Democratic Party. Hinds County’s voting machines, which are about 10 years, are no longer manufactured. The company that made them, Advanced Voting Solutions, is out of business. Hinds County is the only county in Mississippi to use the system.

Wisconsin: Interest Groups Mail Ballot Apps to Wrong Wisconsin Cities |

Several state recall votes are scheduled for the next couple weeks, but interest groups hoping to lock in votes now are sending out absentee applications to voters. Careless processing means some may never see a ballot. Only a voter’s own city clerk can issue them an absentee ballot. The problem this summer is that parties and interest groups sending out the apps are sending some to the wrong cities.

“There’s no indication on these applications, the ones that are not officially from the GAB, as to what municipality you belong to,” said Amy Duley, clerk of the Town of Pine River near Merrill.

Duley is receiving absentee applications nearly every day. Some come on the official Wisconsin Government Accountability Board form, but others come on paperwork solicited by pro-life, pro-gun, and other interest groups. The problem is that the interest group processing centers are sending applications for cities like Merrill to Pine River.

Mississippi: Hinds County election results up in air | The Clarion-Ledger

Results of Tuesday’s Hinds County Democratic primary appeared to remain up in the air today after vote count problems left some candidates doubting final tallies.

“What the public needs to know is that there is no election at this point,” said Claude McInnis, vice chairman of the Hinds County Democratic Executive Committee. “All we have is numbers from precincts. Until the committee verifies the election, we don’t have one.”

McInnis and members of his committee were at the Hinds County Courthouse this morning, trying to untangle the problems. It could take the rest of this week and part of next week to finish work required to verify the election, he said.

Wisconsin: Political groups get recall election date wrong | The Oshkosh Northwestern

Some voters in the 18th Senate District are getting misleading information in the mail about the deadline for absentee voting in the recall election between Republican incumbent Sen. Randy Hopper and Democrat Jessica King.

Absentee voter applications sent by the conservative group Americans for Prosperity tell voters to return the mailing by Aug. 11, two days after Aug. 9 recall election. Oshkosh Deputy Clerk Angela Joeckel said ballots that arrive after Aug. 9 would not be counted in any way. She said Thursday, Aug. 4, is the last day the clerk’s office can send an absentee ballot out by mail.

Mailings from AFP with incorrect election dates were also sent out in at least two of the other five districts in which recall electionswill be held on Tuesday, those represented by Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls and Rob Cowles of Allouez.

Editorials: Voters astute enough to reinstate same-day registration | The Portland Press Herald

Maine has taken a step backward on voters’ rights. Along with five other concerned Mainers, I filed paperwork with the secretary of state to overturn legislation that eliminated Election Day voter registration.

For 38 years, Maine has allowed voters to show up on Election Day, register and then cast their ballots. It’s a system that has worked remarkably well, helping Maine to become a national leader in voter participation.

The legislation changing that was developed and passed, based largely on myth. But I am convinced that Maine voters can discern fact from fiction and will support our efforts to restore Election Day voter registration. The League of Women Voters of Maine, which I represent, is a nonpartisan organization committed to protecting voting rights and the integrity of elections at the local, state and federal levels.

Editorials: Polls: Voting problems inexcusable | The Clarion-Ledger

The types of problems experienced by voters at the polls Tuesday – machines not working, names missing from the ballots, lack of workers – are inexcusable. Mistakes happen and that seems to be the attitude of party officials in charge of the primary election. Well, no. They shouldn’t happen, not with elections.

Finding out at 7 a.m. on Election Day that a voting machine is not working properly or there is a malfunction that can’t be immediately fixed simply shows lack of preparation and ability to properly conduct an election. Not having enough poll workers or, worse, no poll workers to staff a precinct shows an inability to do the job.

Indiana: Allen County vote-registration transfer on hold | The Journal Gazette

The Allen County Election Board could not agree Wednesday to take over the duties and responsibilities of voter registration, so what happens next falls to the Allen County commissioners.

While two members of the board – Republican County Clerk Lisbeth Borgmann and Republican representative Zachary Klutz – said yes, Democratic member Andrew Boxberger voted no. Per state statute, the vote must be unanimous to become policy. Already dealing with massive budget cuts and facing a presidential election year in 2012, Boxberger said now is not the time for such a transition.

Florida: DSCC asks Justice to halt Florida voting law |

With Republicans around the country tightening voting regulations in a way that — arguments over (typically exaggerated) fraud and suppression aside — will likely advantage their party, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has stepped out of its usual legal lane to file a formal comment to the Department of Justice, urging him to object to Florida’s new law.

The Department of Justice, under the Civil Rights Act, must “preclear” changes to voting laws, and Florida si the first to come its way.

Florida: Secretary of State Defends Election Law Review | WMFE

Florida’s Secretary of State’s office is defending its decision to take the most contentious parts of a new election law to a federal court instead of to the U.S. Department of Justice. The law has to get federal approval, but there are questions about how the process should work.

The U.S. Voting Rights Act of 1965 requires any changes in Florida’s election laws to get “pre-clearance” from the federal government. That’s because parts of the state have a history of suppressing minority voting.

Contrary to analysis heard on Wednesday’s Morning Edition on WMFE, the Voting Rights Act does allow a jurisdiction to choose whether to seek that pre-clearance from the Justice Department or from a federal court.

Kansas: Secretary of State says voter ID process moving forward, will seek to move start date | The Republic

Secretary of State Kris Kobach said Wednesday he will renew a push next year to move up the start date for new Kansas voter identification laws. Kobach said he would like to have people registering to vote for the first time in Kansas show proof of citizenship starting in March 2012, not January 2013 as the law now requires. He spoke before a meeting of a task force working on implementing the new law.

The secretary of state said the goal was to prevent any non-U.S. citizens from registering to vote in Kansas and spoiling the integrity of the state’s elections. The sooner Kansas can begin verifying citizenship, the more secure the elections will be, he argues.

Iraq: Election watchdog row backfires on Iraqi PM Maliki | The National

A bitter row over Iraq’s election watchdog has strained the ruling coalition government of the prime minister, Nouri Al Maliki, underlining an acrimonious struggle to control the country.

In the aftermath of a parliamentary vote last week over dissolving the Independent High Electoral Commission (Ihec), critics and supporters of Mr Al Maliki have rounded on each other with allegations of deceit, corruption and sectarianism.

The argument centres on a proposal by the State of Law alliance, the group headed by the prime minister, to pass a vote of no confidence in Ihec over fraud claims. If approved, the measure would have effectively sacked the United Nations supported watchdog – the body in charge of ensuring fair and transparent elections in the country.

Saint Kitts and Nevis: Opposition candidate files petition challenging results | Caricom

The Deputy leader of the main opposition Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM), Mark Brantley, has filed a petition in the courts here challenging his defeat in the July 11 Nevis island Administration (NIA) elections. Brantley lost the St. John’s Parish constituency by 14 votes to the incumbent Henry Daniel as the Nevis Reformation Party (NRF) regained control of the NIA winning three of the five seats that were at stake in the polls.

Brantley wants the Court to declare the elections void based on a number of irregularities, including the CCM’s lack of access to state-owned media and the removal of over 200 previously registered voters from the voters list in contravention of the constitution. Prior to the election, the CCM said it was buoyed by the High Court ruling that the names of five persons be re-instated to the Voters’ List.

Seychelles: First ever Electoral Commission sworn into office

The Seychelles Electoral Commission Chairman, Hendrick Gappy, and three of its members – Bernard Elizabeth, Beatty Hoarau, and Marie-Thérèse Purvis – have been sworn into office at State House Tuesday morning, August 2. They took their Oath of Allegiance to the Constitution and their Oath of Office in the presence of the President of the Republic of Seychelles, Mr. James Michel.

The ceremony was attended by the Vice-President Danny Faure, the former Speaker of the National Assembly Dr. Patrick Herminie, the Chief Justice, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Frederick Egonda-Ntende, the President of the Court of Appeal Francis MacGregor, and the Attorney General Ronny Govinden. President Michel congratulated the chairman and members of the Electoral Commission on the start of their new functions, as the first constitutional body of its kind.

National: Governments, IOC and UN hit by massive cyber attack | BBC News

IT security firm McAfee claims to have uncovered one of the largest ever series of cyber attacks. It lists 72 different organisations that were targeted over five years, including the International Olympic Committee, the UN and security firms.

McAfee will not say who it thinks is responsible, but there is speculation that China may be behind the attacks. Beijing has always denied any state involvement in cyber-attacks, calling such accusations “groundless”.

Speaking to BBC News, McAfee’s chief European technology officer, Raj Samani, said the attacks were still going on. “This is a whole different level to the Night Dragon attacks that occurred earlier this year. Those were attacks on a specific sector. This one is very, very broad.”

Wisconsin: Democrats cry foul over recall ballot mailing | Associated Press

The Wisconsin Democratic Party on Tuesday called for an investigation into whether a conservative group tried to suppress turnout in next week’s recall elections targeting Republican state senators by telling voters that absentee ballots received a day after election day would be counted.

Meanwhile, elections regulators said the Democratic National Committee promised to stop calling voters in one of the Republicans’ districts after it gave some of his constituents the wrong election date in automated calls last week.

… The Wisconsin Democratic Party filed a complaint Monday with the state Government Accountability Board, which oversees elections, alleging that absentee ballot applications mailed out by Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group that has spent heavily to help the Republicans, were intended to suppress turnout. And on Tuesday, state Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate sent a request for an investigation to U.S. Attorney James Santelle. His office declined to comment on the matter.


Mississippi: Poll workers struggle to obtain results | The Natchez Democrat

Primary county election results came close to remaining incomplete this morning. At approximately 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, the election commission found themselves unable to extract poll results from two polling machines — one from the bypass fire precinct and one from the Pine Ridge precinct, Election Commissioner Larry Gardner said.

Precincts report their numbers to the courthouse via memory cards that are inserted into polling machines at the beginning of each Election Day, and for whatever reason, Gardner said, these two machines’ cards were faulty.

Data was recovered from the internal archives of the machines shortly after the problem was discovered, and Gardner said there’s no chance any result would have been skewed because of the mishap.

Mississippi: Precincts report voting machine problems in Mississippi primary | The Clarion-Ledger |

Technical glitches have forced some polling places in the Jackson metro-area to use paper ballots for today’s primary elections.

10:15 a.m.: Trouble in Madison County -The encoders on the voting machines at Twin Lakes Baptist Church at Lake Cavalier in Madison County would only read Democratic ballots earlier today. Republican primary voters were forced to use paper ballots. Technicians were able to get the machines working around 10 a.m.

…  10 a.m.: Woes at Hinds precinct -Ballot problems have forced voters at Wynndale Presbyterian Church on Terry Road to use paper ballots because some of the candidates were left off ballots.

Mississippi: Major races left off ballots | WLBT 3

Issues started to arise at polling places in and around Jackson shortly after the polls opened at 7:00 A.M.  In some instances, voters were turned away from the polls because they didn’t open on time. In one precinct, three of the biggest races were left off of the ballots.

There’s a significant issue for voters voting at the Wynndale Presbyterian church in Byram.  “Our chief problem right now is that we had two races left off the machine, the Sheriff’s race and the Governor’s race on the Democratic machine,” says Virginia Terry, a Democratic Receiving and Returning Manager.

The ballots on the Republican ballot weren’t correct either. The Lieutenant Governor and Governor were left off that ballot.  Election officials say the ballots were checked numerous times prior to the primary, but something obviously went very wrong. Terry says, “that’s how the machines came from the courthouse that’s how we got them from the courthouse they were already here when we got here so whatever problem it was we don’t know if it was in transition.”

Florida: Browning Seeks Unprecedented Path to New Election Law’s Approval | Public Media for Central Florida

Florida’s top election official is taking the most contentious parts of the state’s new election law to a federal judge. Secretary of State Kurt Browning says a court review will remove the possibility of “outside influence” and ensure a “neutral evaluation” of the new law, which is already in effect in most of Florida. But opponents are calling the move an end run around a long-established federal law.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 requires any changes in Florida’s election laws to get “pre-clearance” from the federal Department of Justice. That’s because parts of the state have a history of suppressing minority voting.

But in an unprecedented move, Secretary of State Kurt Browning has withdrawn the four most controversial parts of Florida’s new election law from the DOJ review. He says he’ll seek pre-clearance for those four parts from a federal judge instead. “He’s attempting to have a federal judge rule that the Voting Rights Act – the pre-clearance requirements of the Voting Rights Act – don’t apply,” explains Orlando attorney Derek Brett. He’s an expert in election law and he teaches constitutional law at the University of Central Florida.
“How does a federal judge do that? The only way a federal judge could do that is if Mr. Browning is able to, in some way, present some type of constitutional argument,” says Brett. He adds he’s not sure what that argument might be.

Missouri: Tiny Towns, Expensive Elections, St. Louis County Report Shows | Daily RFT

There are exactly 1,653 registered voters in the tiny municipality of Bel Ridge, Missouri. And so when the village decided to hold a special election in February 2010 to increase property taxes, the proposition was bound to be expensive on a per-vote basis.

The St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners had to print ballots. They needed to get voting equipment to the polls. And, of course, they had to staff those polls — with eight poll workers required in the one location chosen for Bel Ridge. All that when just 11.4 percent of Bel Ridge’s already small voter base — or 200 people — bothered to cast a ballot.

Total cost per ballot cast? $22.52.

New Hampshire: Attorney General’s office investigating Mont Vernon voter records | NEWS06

The Attorney General’s Office has been asked to investigate the handling of voter records kept in Mont Vernon, hometown of Speaker of the House William O’Brien. Town resident Joyce Cardoza filed a complaint this week after reading news reports that O’Brien’s son Brendan was registered to vote in both his hometown and in Lewiston, Maine, where he attended college and ran for public office in 2009.

Cardoza, a registered Democrat, noted that Speaker O’Brien’s wife Roxanne is one of three supervisors of the checklist who handle voter registration matters. State law requires local election officials to take specific steps to notify officials in a voter’s previous town of a change in registration.

In this case, the registration form young O’Brien filled out when he voted in Mont Vernon in November 2010 never made it to Lewiston. State law requires supervisors of the checklist to send a copy of the registration form to a voter’s previous town if it lies within New England.

Virginia: Judge stays ruling in Norfolk voter registration case |

A federal judge issued a stay to an earlier ruling that would have made voter registration records available to the public. U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith ordered the stay after the Virginia attorney general’s office filed an appeal. Smith ruled two weeks ago in favor of the voting rights group Project Vote, ordering Virginia to open its voter registration records for public inspection. At that time, Smith placed some restrictions on the open records, saying only applications from July 20 onward would be made available, and Social Security numbers must be redacted.

Project Vote had sued the Norfolk and state voter registrars after a number of Norfolk State University students had their voter registrations rejected during the last presidential election. The Norfolk registrar denied the group access to the records, citing Virginia election law.

Maine: Former Secretary of State Dunlap says timing of voter fraud investigation is “questionable” |

Former Secretary of State Matt Dunlap has made no secret of the fact that he’s seriously considering running against Senator Olympia Snowe.

Secretary of State Charlie Summers used to be Snowe’s State Director. So when Summers held a press conference last week talking about potential voter fraud and destruction of evidence that may have occurred under Dunlap’s watch, Dunlap had some questions.

Dunlap said, “It is questionable timing, and I don’t know what the answer to that is. It doesn’t look very good in terms of being a politically active as Secretary of State, which by the way, there is no prohibition on.”

Zambia: Electoral Commission meets all 12 presidential candidates for a briefing |

The Electoral Commission of Zambia Chairperson Justice Ireen Mambilima has met the 2011 presidential candidates with a call for issue based campaigns.

Justice Mambilima said that the commission would like to see a change in the way political parties conduct their campaigns this year. She has told Presidential candidates to avoid dwelling on personalities and instead concentrate on issues affecting people whose votes they will be seeking on the Election Day.

Voting Blogs: New federal case says voting machines aren’t “facilities” under ADA; might the answer change as elections do? | PEEA

On July 27, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit issued a new opinion in American Association of People with Disabilities v. Harris, a case originally brought in 2001 by plaintiffs alleging that the State of Florida had failed to acquire voting machines to accommodate voters with disabilities.

The case has had a long and eventful trip through the federal courts – and appeared to be finished in May 2010 when the 11th Circuit issued an opinion dismissing the case on the grounds that plaintiffs lacked a private right of action (translation for non-lawyers – a right to sue directly as opposed to relying on government enforcement) under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The Voting News Daily: Americans for Prosperity Wisconsin ballot applications have late return date, Former Maine secretary of state says fraud allegations dealt with years ago

Wisconsin: Americans for Prosperity ballot applications have late return date | Americans for Prosperity is sending absentee ballots to Democrats in at least two Wisconsin state Senate recall districts with instructions to return the paperwork after the election date. The fliers, obtained by POLITICO, ask solidly Democratic voters to return ballots for the Aug. 9 election to the city clerk “before Aug.…

Wisconsin: Americans for Prosperity ballot applications have late return date |

Americans for Prosperity is sending absentee ballots to Democrats in at least two Wisconsin state Senate recall districts with instructions to return the paperwork after the election date.

The fliers, obtained by POLITICO, ask solidly Democratic voters to return ballots for the Aug. 9 election to the city clerk “before Aug. 11.” A Democrat on the ground in Wisconsin said the fliers were discovered to be hitting doors in District 2 and District 10 over the weekend.

“These are people who are our 1’s in the voterfile who we already knew.  They ain’t AFP members, that’s for damn sure,” the source said.