The Voting News Daily: Hacking the Polls: Vulnerability in Electronic Voting Systems, Caucus Confusion: A Recurring Headache For GOP

Blogs: Hacking the Polls: Vulnerability in Electronic Voting Systems | Independent Voter Network Among those who advocate for the “modernization” of our voting systems, internet-based electronic voting and registration platforms are often offered as an ideal solution to the problems inherent in our current registration and voting processes. A newly published paper describes the ease…

Voting Blogs: Hacking the Polls: Vulnerability in Electronic Voting Systems | Independent Voter Network

Among those who advocate for the “modernization” of our voting systems, internet-based electronic voting and registration platforms are often offered as an ideal solution to the problems inherent in our current registration and voting processes. A newly published paper describes the ease with which a small group of researchers was able to hack a Washington D.C. based internet voting pilot project, demonstrating that these new systems are not ready for take-off. In 2010, the Washington D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics announced that it would offer a “Digital Vote-by-Mail Service” that would have allowed overseas voters registered in the District to cast their votes over the internet. The federally-funded project ran a mock election allowing for public testing of its functionality and security ahead of the November election. A research team from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor reports that it was able to gain “near complete control of the election server” in under two days time. Even more disturbingly, the hackers state that elections officials were effectively incapable of discerning that their system had been compromised.

National: Caucus Confusion: A Recurring Headache For GOP | NPR

For the first time, Idaho Republicans are trying presidential preference caucuses on Tuesday. Jonathan Parker, the state party’s executive director, is excited about the chance to hold party-building exercises on such a broad scale. ” For the first time, maybe ever, Idaho is relevant in the nominating process,” he says. But as much as he relishes the attention — Mitt Romney held a rally in Idaho Falls last week — Parker worries that the state GOP could generate the wrong kind of publicity. That is, if the Idaho caucuses turn out to be as screwed up as those in several other states this year.

California: Open elections change California primary ballot |

It’s roughly three months to the primary election here in California; and the June ballot is going to look different. Voters will no longer receive party-specific ballots at their polling places. Proposition 14 now requires that candidates run in a single election open to all voters; with the top two vote getters meeting in a runoff. “Voters are going to be presented, most for the first time, with an election in which they see all the candidates who are running,” Secretary of State Debra Bowen said. “They’re not going to go ask for a Peace and Freedom or a Democratic ballot or a Republican ballot.”

Minnesota: Minnesota voter ID plan raises many practical questions | MinnPost

Despite the assurances of Voter ID supporters, the secretary of state’s office remains worried about the many unintended consequences that could result from the proposed constitutional amendment. Minnesota’s chief election officials are concerned about two key points in the amendment legislation’s updated language: The legal provisions establishing guidelines for absentee and mail-in voting and the impact on Election Day registration. The provisions are unclear enough to effectively end the practices or require expensive workarounds, election officials say.

Voting Blogs: New Efforts to Improve Ballot Design | ReformNY

As the Brennan Center found in Better Ballots, common problems due to poor ballot design and instructions have led to the disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of voters. As recently as last week, we were reminded of the importance ballot design can play in a close election. The results of a hotly contested City Council race in upstate New York were overturned after a hand recount found that a voting machine had not properly counted two ballots.

Ohio: Counties finding out touch-screen voting systems are costly to maintain | Middleton Journal

Counties across Ohio could save millions of dollars by requiring voters to use paper ballots instead of touch-screen voting machines, a Dayton Daily News analysis of a state audit has found. A recent state audit of Butler County contends that the county could save more than $4.5 million over five years by making the switch. Butler, the state’s eighth largest county, is one of 52 counties that uses touch-screen, ATM-like machines. Others include Montgomery, Greene, Miami and Darke. Following the same math used for the Butler County audit, Montgomery County possibly could save $5.5 million over five years, and Greene County nearly $1.4 million.

Pennsylvania: Voter ID bill heads toward final Senate vote |

Republicans pressed ahead Monday with a bill to require voters in the state to show certain photo identifications before their votes can be counted, lengthening the list of acceptable IDs and scheduling the bill for a final floor vote later this week. The bill would make Pennsylvania the 16th state to require a voter to show photo ID, and the concept has support from the Republican-controlled House and Republican Gov. Tom Corbett.
But Democrats intensely oppose it, as do the AARP, labor unions, civil liberties advocates and the NAACP, and accused Republicans of working to suppress the votes of the elderly, minorities, the poor and the disabled ahead of a presidential election. Republicans pointed to the wide use of photo IDs for things like prescription drugs or boarding airplanes and public polls that support such a requirement.

US Virgin Islands: Judge to hear US Virgin Islands case for right to vote in federal elections | Virgin Islands Daily News

A case pursuing the right to vote and vie for federal office for territorial residents earned a space in the V.I. Superior Court’s June docket. Superior Court Judge Adam Christian in late February ordered the case will go to court with tentative pre-trial dates in April and June. “The court will set dates for the final pre-trial conference, jury selection and trial via a separate order,” Christian wrote. Local attorney Russell Pate last year filed the initial complaint in both districts of local and federal Virgin Islands courts suing several agencies for federal voting rights. Having a court date in Superior Court marks the first formal step toward bringing a right to vote case to jury trial in the territorial courts, Pate said.

Vermont: State pushes vote tabulators in small Vermont towns | WCAX.COM

In more than half of Vermont’s cities and towns Tuesday’s Town Meeting Day ballots will be counted by hand. The state has the technology to change that, but many towns are not making the switch. Calais Town Clerk Donna Fitch is getting ready for Town Meeting Day, when ballots will be counted the same way they were when she was a little girl–by hand. “It’s nice to have all of us sit around and count the ballots and everybody takes it very seriously, but it does mean we are often up late,” she said. Fitch will work with a team of ten to count the votes in the town of 16-hundred. It’s the same way 142 of Vermont’s 246 cities and towns will tally their totals.

Wisconsin: Judge says Wisconsin voter ID lawsuit should proceed | LaCrosse Tribune

The League of Women Voters’ lawsuit challenging the state voter ID law can go ahead after a Dane County judge ruled Monday that the group is a proper party to bring the lawsuit, and that Gov. Scott Walker is a proper defendant.
Circuit Judge Richard Niess wrote in a 15-page decision that League president Melanie Ramey has legal standing to sue Walker and the state Government Accountability Board, turning aside arguments by lawyers for Walker and the GAB that Ramey is not directly affected by the law that requires voters to show one of several types of photo identification when voting. The state Department of Justice, which is representing Walker and the GAB, was still reviewing the decision, spokeswoman Dana Brueck said.

Canada: Elections Canada probing spending records of Conservative campaign in robocall scandal |

Elections Canada investigators probing the robocalls scandal are interviewing workers on the Conservative campaign in Guelph, Ont., and trying to determine why payments made to an Edmonton voice-broadcasting company were not declared in financial reports filed with the agency. In recent days, the agency has spoken to at least three workers from the campaign of Conservative candidate Marty Burke, including the official agent responsible for ensuring the campaign’s financial report was accurate. Elections Canada wants to know why the costs of automated calls the campaign has admitted sending out never appeared in the campaign’s expense report, as required by law. Andrew Prescott, the deputy campaign manager, said he is co-operating with the investigation and handing over bills he received from RackNine Inc. for a series of robocalls promoting Burke events during the election. The same company was used to transmit misleading Elections Canada calls on election day.

China: Rebellious Chinese Village Elects New Leaders | VoA News

Villagers who rebelled against authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong went to the polls Saturday to elect a village council. Thousands of people lined up in Wukan to cast votes in what some reformers are calling one of China’s freest elections ever. Many villagers watched eagerly as the election committee and volunteers counted ballots before announcing Lin Zuluan had been elected village chief. Lin, who helped lead protests three months ago, said the newly elected officials would work for the people. “We will do the best job we can with the power given by your great support and help,” said Lin.

India: Officials count votes in 5 key state polls |

Election officials counted votes Tuesday in crucial polls in five Indian states that could provide a boost for the ruling Congress party’s national coalition, or cripple it for the last two years of its term. The most critical results are expected from the country’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, where Rahul Gandhi has put his reputation on the line for a strong Congress party showing. Gandhi, touted as Congress’ next prime ministerial candidate, campaigned relentlessly for months to oust the government of Mayawati and her Bahujan Samaj Party, which represents bottom caste dalits. If Congress doesn’t significantly build on the paltry 22 seats it controls in the 403-strong state assembly, it would be a devastating blow to Gandhi’s aspirations to be taken seriously as a national leader.

Iran: Iran to hold runoff parliamentary vote | Reuters

Iran will hold run-off elections for 65 parliamentary seats, state media said on Monday, after loyalists to the paramount clerical leader won a dominating majority at the expense of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The widespread defeat of Ahmadinejad’s allies in the 290-seat assembly is expected to reduce the president to a lame duck for the rest of his second and final term, and increase Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s influence in the country’s 2013 presidential election. Khamenei swiftly endorsed Ahmadinejad’s re-election in 2009, rejecting opposition allegations of widespread fraud that led to eight months of unrest, crushed bloodily by security forces. But a rift opened between the two leaders after – critics of Ahmadinejad said – the president tried to undermine the leading political role of clergy in the Islamic Republic.

Russia: Election Protests: Police Arrest Dozens As Fraud Allegations Grow | AP

An attempt by Vladimir Putin’s foes to protest his presidential election victory by occupying a Moscow square ended Monday with riot police quickly dispersing and detaining hundreds of demonstrators – a stark reminder of the challenges faced by Russia’s opposition. The harsh crackdown could fuel opposition anger and bring even bigger protests of Putin’s 12 years in power and election to another six, but it also underlined the authorities’ readiness to use force to crush such demonstrations. The rally marked a change of tactics for the opposition, which has been looking for ways to maintain the momentum of its demonstrations that flared in December. Alexei Navalny, a popular blogger and one of the most charismatic protest leaders, was the first to suggest that supporters remain on Moscow’s streets and squares to turn up the heat on Putin. For Putin, the opposition move raised the specter of the 2004 Orange Revolution in Ukraine, where demonstrators camped on Kiev’s main square in massive protests that forced officials to throw out a fraud-tainted election victory by the Kremlin-backed candidate.