A cyber attack has hit an ambitious project that sought to give ordinary Hong Kong citizens a voice in this weekend’s chief executive poll, with organizers scrambling to provide paper ballots to the tens of thousands wishing to participate in the mock vote. The Chinese territory’s top political job will be decided by a 1,200 person election committee Sunday, but that hasn’t stopped many of the city’s seven million residents keen to take part in the University of Hong Kong’s civil referendum project. Beijing has promised the city universal suffrage by 2017. Thousands of users logged online Friday morning or used the smart phone apps created by Dr. Robert Chung’s group at the University of Hong Kong to cast their vote, but pages didn’t load properly. Dr. Chung said an early-morning cyber intrusion appeared to disable their servers, and that the site had also been experiencing abnormally high hit rates that had overloaded their system, up to a million requests a second.
Florida: Dominion Voting Systems releases statement taking the blame for Palm Beach County vote problem | South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com
The supplier of Palm Beach County’s voting and tabulating equipment says a software “shortcoming” led to votes being assigned to the wrong candidates and the elections office declaring the wrong winners in two recent Wellington council races. County Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher, who insisted a computer glitch rather than human error was to blame for the fiasco, claimed vindication after Dominion Voting Systems released its statement. Wellington and 15 other municipalities held elections on March 13. In Wellington, the ballot was set up with the mayor’s race first, the Seat 1 council race second and the Seat 4 council race third. Unbeknownst to elections officials, the vote totals for the mayor’s race ended up being reported and later certified as the results of the Seat 1 race. The Seat 1 vote totals were certified as the Seat 4 results and the Seat 4 vote totals were certified as the mayoral results. The problem wasn’t discovered until six days after the election, during a routine audit. The audit found no similar problems in the 15 other cities that held elections. The fact that the audit is conducted after winners are certified is a requirement of state law. Bucher said her office “will be working with the state to ask for the necessary law changes.”
The Voting News Daily: Dominion Voting Systems releases statement taking the blame for Palm Beach County vote problem, Analyzing Minority Turnout After Voter ID
Blogs: Analyzing Minority Turnout After Voter ID | Brennan Center for Justice I had the pleasure of speaking with Kerry Miller of the Daily Circuit on Minnesota Public Radio on the subject of Voter ID laws. Minnesota currently has a proposed constitutional amendment moving through its legislature to impose strict photo ID restrictions on voters and possibly eliminate…
I had the pleasure of speaking with Kerry Miller of the Daily Circuit on Minnesota Public Radio on the subject of Voter ID laws. Minnesota currently has a proposed constitutional amendment moving through its legislature to impose strict photo ID restrictions on voters and possibly eliminate Election Day registration. I take great pride in the fact that my home state of Minnesota consistently has the highest turnout in the country, and I’m pained by this legislation that is sure to reduce opportunities for voter participation across the state. I want to correct a common misperception that came up during show, suggesting that voter turnout among Hispanic voters in Georgia has increased since the passage of its restrictive no-photo, no-vote photo ID law.
In my last blog I said that Georgia has a unique situation in terms of its voter ID law, which was put into effect in 2007. As is often cited by photo voter ID law proponents, voter turnout did in fact increase between the 2004 presidential elections, which did not feature a photo voter ID mandate, and the 2008 presidential elections, which did. The numbers on this can not be refuted, and Heritage Foundation’s Hans Von Spakovsky often excitedly refers to the Georgia case when making his pro-voter ID arguments and did so in a recent blog. Citing recent voter turnout data released by Georgia Secretary of State Brian P. Kemp in a presentation he made before the Conservative Leadership Conference of the Civitas Institute on March 2 to rally North Carolina up for passing a voter ID bill:
Illinois Republicans have tried again to make voters show a photo ID before voting, and the proposal was once again shot down by Democrats. Proponents say they want to cut down on voting fraud. They pointed to Saint Clair County, which they say has more registered voters than it has residents 18 or older. State Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, chairman of the Senate Executive committee, says that’s not what this is about. “State after state controlled by Republicans are enacting laws that appear to be aimed at voters who are traditionally and stereotypically Democratic voters, making it more difficult for them to vote,” he says. “I think there are huge partisan overtones to this.”
For all the high tech equipment designed to streamline Illinois’ voting process, election officials were forced to improvise — even turning to hair dryers — when scanning machines started spitting out ballots during Tuesday’s primary elections. “There is some irony that … it was scissors and blow dryers that came to the rescue,” said Pete Duncan, the Macoupin County clerk whose workers encountered thousands of faulty ballots. And rescue they did, according to state election officials who said they have no reports of ballots being lost despite problems with thousands of ballots in about 25 of the state’s 102 counties. “The important thing is that nobody was disenfranchised,” said Rupert Borgsmiller, of the Illinois State Board of Elections. “People who voted, it might take a little longer than it normally does, but their votes are being counted.”
Winnebago County Clerk Margie Mullins wants compensation from the company that created oversized ballots that delayed Tuesday’s election results. She said today she’s gathering data on the extra costs her office incurred when 36 percent of 23,400 ballots cast were too big to fit through counting machines. The error, which amounted to one-sixteenth-inch of extra paper, caused the county to reprint and remake 8,564 ballots from its stockpiled inventory. “I don’t feel that we should pay for any of these ballots from Tuesday’s election, and I want my inventory reimbursed,” Mullins said. “I have a lot of extra staff time and people who came from the city election board of commissioners and other places who I feel should be compensated.”
Less than a week ago, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s proposal to move up the date to require proof of citizenship for voter registration appeared dead. But it’s not dead yet. Kobach’s allies in the House have replaced the contents of a Senate bill with Kobach’s plan, which gives the effort new life. In the Statehouse, this procedure is called a “gut and go.” Opponents of Kobach’s proof of citizenship requirement are calling it a shady maneuver to sneak through controversial legislation. “Kobach’s rush to suppress the vote in time for the 2012 elections has now led him not only to undermine the will of the people and our Legislature, but to deceive all Kansans while subverting our legislative process altogether,” a statement from KanVote said.
The Minnesota Senate on Friday night approved a proposed constitutional requirement that all voters show a photo ID at the polling place, ending a week of in which both houses of the Republican-controlled Legislature endorsed the historic and partisan change in state voting law. The Senate approved the measure 36 to 30 after a lengthy and emotional debate Friday evening. One Republican, Sen. Jeremy Miller of Winona, joined the DFLers in voting no; all the yes votes can from Republicans. The version approved by the Senate was slightly different from one the House passed earlier this week. It includes a change designed to give future legislators the freedom to use new technology for identification purposes. “I willingly admit there is some burden that will be placed on some of our citizens,” said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson. But, he said, the requirement is needed to prevent fraud and give voters confidence in the system. “On balance, I believe this amendment is the right thing to do,” he said.
U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona has dismissed the lawsuit filed by John H. Davis Jr., a U.S. citizen who wants to stop the Commonwealth Election Commission from denying U.S. citizens who are not of Northern Marianas descent the right to vote on any issue regarding Article 12 of the CNMI Constitution or on any other issues. In an order issued Thursday, Manglona, however, allowed Davis 14 days to file a second amended complaint redressing deficiencies in his lawsuit. Manglona cited that it is expressly the province of Congress to “enforce.by appropriate legislation” the provisions of the 14th and 15th Amendments.
A bill allowing South Carolina residents to register to vote online advanced Thursday. A House Judiciary panel approved the bill, which has been advocated as a way to save money and create a more reliable database of voter information. The full committee is expected to take it up next week. David Becker of the Washington-based Pew Center on the States said nine states already use the secure, online system, and three more are working toward it. The first was Arizona in 2002. The director of Pew’s election initiatives said the system is easier for voters, involves less paperwork and is therefore less prone to inaccuracies. It was a rare unanimous vote on an election bill. Democrats have spent the last few years fighting election bills pushed through by the Legislature’s Republican majority. But Rep. Bakari Sellers, the lone Democrat on the panel, praised the online registration bill as a great idea.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott this week asked a federal court in Washington to prevent 12 state lawmakers from giving depositions in the state’s voter identification case. The U.S. Department of Justice, which is facing off against Abbott’s office in a case to allow Texas’ voter ID law to go into effect, has asked to depose — or question under oath — the author of the voter ID bill, Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay; its House sponsor, Rep. Patricia Harless, R-Spring; and other lawmakers. Texas’ voter ID law, which passed last spring, would require a voter to present a valid form of government-issued photo identification — such as a Texas driver’s license, Department of Public Safety-issued ID card, military card, passport, citizenship certificate or Texas concealed gun license — before casting a ballot.
The way elections are supposed to run — the way they were set up to operate — is that the voters elect the office holders, not the other way around. This is the basic premise that supports the challenges against Texas’ redistricting schemes and more recently the state’s voter ID law. What’s happened is that the basic electoral premise has been turned on its head. It’s a layering of two things: some politicians have decided that the end justifies the means, and at the same time they think no one is looking. And that’s only one-fourth correct.
The United States and Mexico have not been the only places where the right wing has committed electoral fraud to win recent elections. There is evidence to suggest the Conservative Party of Canada used voter suppression schemes to help it win the 2011 elections. While ballot boxes didn’t actually go missing, the Conservatives may have flooded ridings (electoral districts) with automated, pre-recorded phone messages designed to disfranchise supporters of rival candidates. In the Ontario riding of Guelph, it is alleged by Elections Canada, the country’s election authority, that a Conservative operative using the alias “Pierre Poutine” made automated calls to suppress votes. During the 2011 elections, there was a tight race between the leading Conservative and Liberal Party candidates. False messages, supposedly from Elections Canada, sent hundreds of rival non-Conservative voters chasing non-existent polling stations on Election Day.
Organisers of a mock chief executive election say a suspected hacking attack has halted online voting. The Director of the University of Hong Kong’s Public Opinion Programme, Robert Chung, said the website became paralysed early this morning. Dr Chung said hackers had attacked it during tests a few days ago, and some of his colleagues’ passwords had been inexplicably changed. “We found incidents of abnormally high hit rates on March 21 … We registered about a million hits per second. We think there could not be another reason other than cyber attacks on us,” he said.
Tomorrow marks the start of the Biometric registration. The exercise is to replace the existing voters register and by implication nullify previous ID cards. The Electoral Commission says it is adequately prepared to start the biometric registration. The Head of the Public Affairs of the Commission, Christian Owusu Parry told Radio Ghana that, all registration officers have been trained and materials needed for the exercise, have also been dispatched to all districts across the country. Mr. Parry said the commission has met with all political parties to deliberate on major issues ahead of the start of the exercise.
Capt. Amadou Sanogo, the leader of the ongoing military coup in Mali, announced Friday he has no intention of retaining his hold on power. Sanogo claims he will hold presidential elections once he ensures the military is equipped to combat Tuareg anti-government forces in Mali’s restive north. “We are not here to confiscate any power but we are here to have an army and security forces available to assume the nation security,” Sanogo told the BBC. “So once this has been fixed, I’ll be able to say ‘Ok, go for an election’ in a short period of time. I promise.” Sanogo also told reporters that democratically-elected President Amadou Toumani Toure and members of the government are safe and have not been harmed. “These people are safe and sound. We will not touch a hair on their heads. I will hand them over to the courts so that the Malian people know the truth,” he said.