National: Internet Voting: Will Democracy or Hackers Win? | PBS NewsHour

While it seems like everything can be done online these days, that’s not actually the case when it comes to elections. Science correspondent Miles O’Brien explores the security, logistical and secrecy challenges of Internet voting.

… David Wagner, University of California, Berkeley: There was no way to guarantee your vote would be counted correctly, that if someone were to hack the central computer system, then someone could change votes, and there might be no way to detect that kind of election stealing. So, I don’t think any of the voting system vendors out there right now has a solution that ensures — that’s proof against hacking or that ensures that we can detect hacking.

Maine: Republicans to recount caucus votes after protests from Paul supporters | The Hill

The Maine Republican Party is asking county and town chairman to resubmit vote totals from last week’s presidential caucuses after reports of missing and incorrect vote totals have thrown Mitt Romney’s narrow win over Ron Paul into question. A significant revision in the vote totals could be the second high-profile embarrassment for a state Republican party in the still-young campaign, after Iowa Republicans announced more than two weeks after their first-in-the-nation caucus that, in fact, Rick Santorum had defeated Mitt Romney. Romney had edged Santorum by eight votes in results released by the party on election night. “We are confirming the totals from the presidential preference straw poll,” an e-mail from the Maine GOP sent Thursday said, according to the Portland Press Herald. “Can you please email me the totals from your towns?”

Maine: State GOP adds missing caucus votes, but won’t release updated vote count | The Daily Caller

The Maine Republican Party has added additional votes accidentally omitted from Saturday’s caucus results, state party chairman Charlie Webster told The Daily Caller Wednesday. But those votes won’t be publicly released. “We don’t want any more drama,” Webster told TheDC. “I’ve already got death threats and 1,800 emails.” Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was declared the victor in Maine over the weekend, claiming a slim 194-vote lead over Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

Maryland: Schurick Sentenced in Robocalling; Maryland Vote Suppression History Reviewed | Yahoo! News

Paul Schurick, campaign manager for former Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., received a one-year suspended sentence, 30 days of home detention, and 500 community service hours Thursday after being convicted in connection with a robocall campaign aimed at keeping black voters away from the polls in the 2010 election. The call impliedly made by Democrats told voters now-Gov. Martin O’Malley was assured of victory so they needn’t get out to vote. Schurick could have been sentenced to up to 12 years in prison, the Baltimore Sun said, for violating a 2006 law prohibiting the use of deception to influence voter decisions.

Minnesota: Voter ID issue advances in Minnesota Senate |

A bill that would ask Minnesotans whether to amend the state constitution to require voters to present a photo ID at the polls cleared its first hurdle at the Capitol on Wednesday. All eight Republicans on the Local Government and Elections Committee voted for the bill; all six Democrats voted against it. The bill heads next to the State Government Innovation and Veterans Committee. Eight other states have such legislation. Proponents say it’s a way to safeguard the integrity of the electoral system and reduce fraud, but critics argue it’s unneeded and will make it harder for the elderly, college students, the disabled and others to vote.

Montana: Citizens United Part II: Montana Supreme Court Collides With U.S. Supreme Court | Huffington Post

The fate of Montana’s century-old ban on corporate political spending is now in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court, setting up a possible sequel to the hotly contested Citizens United decision handed down two years ago. In 2010, a five-member majority of the U.S. Supreme Court declared that corporations’ independent spending in elections does not corrupt — or even appear to corrupt — the political process. On Wednesday, Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock submitted a brief to the Court with facts that suggest otherwise as he urged the justices to uphold his state’s ban on corporate political spending.

Ohio: Senator says ‘step back’ and ‘reassess’ Ohio election law bill |

A Senate committee began hearings Wednesday on legislation to repeal controversial GOP-backed election law changes, a move that would stop a referendum from appearing on the November ballot. Proponents want lawmakers to give Democrats who gathered enough signatures to place House Bill 194 before voters what they want — a full repeal, with a new election reform package negotiated between Republicans and the minority party. “We should step back and reassess the situation,” Sen. Bill Coley, a Republican from southwestern Ohio, told members of the Senate’s Government Oversight and Reform Committee. “Clearly, some issues should be revisited.”

Texas: Redistricting impasse delays Texas primary until May 29, at the earliest | Houston Chronicle

Texas’ primary elections won’t take place until at least May 29 because of the ongoing battle over the state’s redistricting maps, a San Antonio federal court announced Wednesday. “It appears based on all the things that are going on here that it is extremely unlikely there will be a primary in April or for that matter before May 29,” said Judge Jerry Smith. “Based on the discussion we just had with the political parties, we asked that they start working on an election schedule.” The delegation of county election officials who came to the second day of the redistricting hearing was elated by the decision. Their leader, Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen, told the court Tuesday that delays had made it impossible to hold the primary in April. “This feels like the weight of the world has been lifted off our shoulders,”Callanen said after Smith spoke from the bench. “This is a win.”

Texas: Primary Could Face New Delay Over Redistricting Lawsuit |

A federal three-judge panel here is considering delaying the Texas primary election for the second time in two months, posing a number of logistical and political challenges for Republican and Democratic leaders and candidates as a redistricting dispute between the state and several minority groups remains for the most part at a stalemate. The primary had been scheduled for April 3, but at the end of a two-day hearing on Wednesday, Judge Jerry E. Smith of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit said that a primary in April was “extremely unlikely” and that the new date would probably be May 29. But the judges stopped short of selecting a new date, asking lawyers with the state Democratic and Republican Parties to outline new candidate filing periods and other deadlines using May 29 as a tentative date.

Editorials: Direct Popular Vote v. The Electoral College | ChicagoNow

I know the elections are awhile away, but with all of this campaign coverage I think it is plausible to discuss a controversy during election time. Remember the Presidential Election of 2000? Yes, the one that led to the Supreme Court Case of Bush v. Gore. I’m talking about the dreaded Electoral College. According to a Gallup Poll, 62% of Americans would favor Direct Popular Vote over the Electoral College . However, our current system of election isn’t all that bad…and it’s a lot better than the alternative. The Electoral College has performed its function for over 200 years and in over 50 presidential elections. It ensures that the President of the United States has both sufficient popular support to govern, and that his popular support is sufficiently distributed throughout the country to enable him to govern effectively.

Wyoming: Redistricting bill faces little opposition in House |

Despite expectations of a long, contentious debate, the Legislature’s 2012 redistricting bill sailed through the House on Wednesday on voice vote — with only one minor change. House Bill 42, sponsored by the Joint Interim Committee on Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions, comes up for a second vote today. Expectations of at least one amendment to change the configuration in the southwest corner of Wyoming faded Wednesday.

Ghana: Electoral Commission estimates GH¢243m budget for 2012 elections | Ghana Business News

A total amount of GH¢243,528,305 is needed for the conduct of Ghana’s 2012 general elections, according to the Electoral Commission’s (EC) budget estimate for the exercise. The money is meant for voter’s registration and both the presidential and parliamentary elections in December 2012, said the Commission’s Chairman Dr K. Afari-Gyan at a meeting organised by the Editors Forum, Ghana (EFG) in Accra February 15, 2012.

Kosovo: Resounding ‘No’ delivered in Kosovo referendum | New Europe

On 14-15 February, Serbs living in four municipalities of northern Kosovo voted in a referendum and overwhelmingly rejected the authority of the Republic of Kosovo. Even the referendum question seemed to indicate the direction in which the vote would go: ‘Do you accept the institutions of the so-called Republic of Kosovo?’ Some 35,500 people living in the four Kosovo municipalities were eligible to vote and, according to preliminary results, around 75% of them cast their ballots, with 99.74% circling ‘No’.

Pakistan: Expats given voting rights | Telegraph

According to local media reports, the decision was made at a meeting at the headquarters of the Election Commission in Islamabad on Tuesday.
The change is expected to affect more than three million Pakistanis living abroad, with another meeting expected soon to decide whether voting should take place by postal ballot, or at polling stations set up at foreign embassies.
Voting will be limited however to those Pakistanis who have a National Card for Overseas Pakistanis or NICP card, an identification card which allows expats visa-less entry into their home country.

National: Wireless voting still has a long way to go | Computerworld

With the widespread adoption of smartphones and the use of mobile tactics in U.S. presidential campaigns, could there come a day when Americans might vote wirelessly? That question was posed to a panel of mobile campaign experts at the Brookings Institution during a webcast Tuesday. The prevailing view was that wireless voting in the U.S. is a long way off. Considering that much voting in the U.S. is still done with paper ballots, electronic voting over a wireless device such as a smartphone is “a long ways away,” said Katie Harbath, associate manager of policy for Facebook. She noted that delegates to the Iowa Republican Caucus in February still voted with pen and paper.

National: Republicans rethink the caucus format | The Washington Post

Top Republicans are calling for a review of the methods used in presidential caucuses after a series of vote-counting mishaps in three early states. Maine on Tuesday became the latest state to fall victim to the caucus bug, with a local report noting that the state GOP declared Mitt Romney the winner of a close race without many localities reporting votes in the totals, including some that had submitted their results and some whose caucuses were set for later this month. It was just the latest foible in what has been a very rough year for the caucus format.

Editorials: All Quiet on the Voter Fraud Front – ACLU Offering Reward for Evidence of Voter Impersonation | Andrew Rosenthal/

The Minnesota ACLU has offered a $1000 reward for an example of voter impersonation, which a proposed amendment requiring photo ID at the Minnesota polls would have prevented. Anyone looking to compete for the cash should know the following restriction:  the case must have been prosecuted in Minnesota within the last 10 years. I’m eager to see if the ACLU will have to start issuing checks. My guess is they won’t.

The proposed Minnesota amendment, and the ACLU challenge, is part of a larger story, which I’ve written about many times Let’s review this history so far. There is a campaign around the country to impose ID requirements on voters. Opponents of these measures, including me, say they are onerous and unconstitutional since they discriminate against the elderly, minorities, rural populations and poorer, less educated voters. It just so happens that many of these groups vote Democratic.

Editorials: Congress should kill the Republican and Democratic state caucuses and mandate primaries instead | Rick Hasen/Slate Magazine

In the last few weeks, the Keystone Kops have taken over the Republican presidential caucuses.  First Mitt Romney was declared the winner of the Iowa caucuses by a scant eight votes, and then Republican Party officials in Iowa said that there were so many local reporting problems that a winner could not be declared even though Rick Santorum was 34 votes ahead. Oops, they declared Santorum the winner anyway. In Nevada, Republican officials decided to hold a special late-night session of their Saturday caucus to accommodate Orthodox Jews and Seventh-day Adventists.  This caused an uproar when Ron Paul supporters objected to requiring the late-comers to sign a statement that their religious obligations prevented earlier attendance, saying that people who had to work during the day should have the right to vote at the late-night caucus, too.  Adding to the tumult, it took election officials in one Nevada county an extra day to count a small number of votes and deal with a “trouble box” of disputed ballots. Now comes news from Maine that Mitt Romney may not have won the Maine caucuses by 200 votes as initially reported, because some ballots have gone uncounted.

Editorials: Let’s Get Voter Registration Right – and Make it Universal | ACS

This November’s presidential election will present a stark choice between President Barack Obama and a Republican challenger, and voter turnout analysts predict a decline in voter turnout from our 62 percent turnout of eligible voters in 2008. Voter motivation is one reason why American turnout lags behind that of many nations. Most Americans experience limited choice and a relatively low chance of electing strongly favored candidates. For example, in 2010 only one in four eligible voters elected a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives (what we call “the Representation Index”). In contrast, in Denmark’s last elections, nearly five in six eligible voters elected representatives to its national legislature from an array of choices, voter turnout was more than 85 percent, and its system of proportional representation led to more than 95 percent of voters electing their preferred choice.

Editorials: Maine, Iowa Caucus Mishaps Prove It’s Time for a Better System | John Avlon/The Daily Beast

After the epic fail of Iowa’s caucuses—falsely naming Mitt Romney the winner for more than a month—now it looks like there’s trouble brewing in the Maine caucuses as well. Romney was named the narrow winner in Maine on Saturday over Ron Paul—gaining him a triumphant top-of-the-fold photo in the Sunday New York Times—but it now appears that several counties that held caucuses were not calculated in the “final” tally. According to the Bangor Daily News, there is growing pressure on the state GOP to reassess the votes and at least potentially declare a new winner. There’s got to be a better way to pick a presidential nominee.

Voting Blogs: Not Dead Yet: President’s FY13 Budget Has (Reduced) Funds for EAC | Doug Chapin/PEEA

Anyone looking for clues about the future of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) got at least a hint on Monday, when the President’s Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13) budget was released. Tucked into the $3.8 trillion budget is a relatively tiny ($11.5 million, or about 0.0003%) amount in new funds for the EAC. Only about two-thirds is slated to go directly to the agency; $2.75 million is earmarked for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for its work on voting technology, and $1.25 million is designated for the agency’s Office of Inspector General, which audits both the EAC’s spending and HAVA fund spending by states. The remaining $7.5 million will be used to support an agency which continues to downsize; the budget shows a reduction in full-time equivalent (FTE) staff from 48 in FY11 to 29 in FY13.

Voting Blogs: Pew Study Shows Need for Modern Voting System | Brennan Center for Justice

Today, the Pew Center on the States released a report detailing some of the serious flaws in our voter registration systems, the lynchpin of election administration. Their study reaffirms what election administrators and voter advocates have known for a long time — that the voter rolls are filled with errors, and an unconscionable percentage (almost a quarter, according to Pew) of American citizens who are eligible to vote are not registered. The flaws identified in the Pew study are the result of an outdated, paper- based voter registration system that is not only inefficient and costly, but prone to inaccuracy. Worse, the clunky system leaves off millions of eligible voters or contains errors in their records that could prevent them from voting effectively. The question is no longer whether we should upgrade the system, but how we should do so. Recent technological innovations point the way to the solution: modernizing the system.

Colorado: Group Claims Colorado Can Snoop on Voters | Courthouse News Service

The Colorado Secretary of State and six county clerks have “unconstitutionally arrogated” to themselves an election system that can trace ballots “to the individual voters who cast those ballots,” a watchdog group claims in Federal Court. Citizen Center, a nonprofit, seeks declaratory judgment and an injunction against the Colorado Secretary of State and the clerks of Mesa, Larimer, Jefferson, Boulder, Chaffee and Eagle Counties.

Colorado: Opponents of Colorado proposal to relax oversight of electronic voting want to strengthen safeguards, not reduce them | Pueblo Chieftain

Opponents of Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s proposal to relax oversight of electronic voting machines testified Tuesday that now is the time to strengthen safeguards, not reduce them. Gessler and Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder Gilbert “Bo” Ortiz countered during a rule-making hearing that they believe sufficient protections against voter fraud still would exist under the proposed rule change. In its present form the change would reduce the required number of seals designed to prevent tampering with voting machines, end the continuous video surveillance of the machines that is presently required before and after elections and leave investigations of suspicious incidents involving the machines to county officials rather than Gessler’s office. Mandatory inspection of the machines by the secretary of state’s office also would be eliminated under the proposed rule.

Indiana: Election Commission, led by Romney state co-chair, to decide Santorum’s ballot fate | The Daily Caller

Dan Dumezich, a Scherville, Indiana lawyer–lobbyist who chairs the Hoosier State presidential campaign organization of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, also chairs the election board that will decide whether former Senator Rick Santorum will appear on the state’s May primary ballot. “I can be impartial,” Dumezich told the Indianapolis Star on Monday. “It doesn’t present a problem for me. Of course, if someone wants to argue [that he should step aside] I’d listen to it.”

Maine: Pressure mounting for GOP caucus reconsideration | Bangor Daily News

Pressure is mounting on the Maine Republican Party to reconsider its weekend declaration that Mitt Romney won the state’s caucuses, at least until all votes have been counted. The Maine GOP announced Saturday that Romney narrowly edged Ron Paul, 39 percent to 36 percent, in a non-binding presidential preference poll taken during the caucuses. The margin was fewer than 200 votes. A number of communities were not included in that poll because they had not held their caucuses by the deadline spelled out by the state party.

Maine: Ron Paul isn’t going to ask for Maine recount | USAToday

Ron Paul’s national campaign chairman says the GOP presidential candidate isn’t going to press for a recount in the Maine caucuses. Jesse Benton e-mailed to say that a recount is “irrelevant” because the Paul campaign believes the Texas congressman will end up with a “strong majority” of Maine’s 24 delegates when the dust settles over the caucus votes.  The Bangor Daily News reported Tuesday that the pressure is on for the state Republican Party to “reconsider” its declaration that Mitt Romney won the GOP caucuses when votes were announced Feb. 11.

Minnesota: Voter ID to deter fraud? Prove it, ACLU says |

The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota offered a $1,000 reward Monday to anyone who can prove a case in which someone in the state has been charged or convicted of impersonating a voter. State ACLU Executive Director Charles Samuelson said his organization put up the bounty to show a Republican-proposed constitutional amendment to require voters to show photo identification at the polls is not needed. Samuelson said ACLU attorneys have not been able to find a single case of voter impersonation in the past 10 years.

Minnesota: Voter ID measure passes first state Minnesota Senate committee | – The Minnesota Daily

A state Senate committee passed legislation Wednesday that would allow voters to decide the voter ID debate. If added to the November ballot and approved by voters, the state constitutional amendment would require voters to show photo identification at the polls. The amendment passed the Local Government and Elections Committee along party lines 8-6 — Republican supporters claimed it would prevent voter fraud, while opponents said it would make it harder for some people to vote. It will move to the Senate State Government Innovation and Veterans Committee.