The Voting News Daily: DHS official says online voting invites cybersecurity risks, There’s no democratic quick fix

National: DHS official says online voting invites cybersecurity risks | CNET News As the 2012 presidential election revs up, 33 states now permit some form of Internet ballot casting. However, a senior cybersecurity adviser at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security warned today that online voting programs make the country’s election process vulnerable to cyberattacks. “It…

National: DHS official says online voting invites cybersecurity risks | CNET News

As the 2012 presidential election revs up, 33 states now permit some form of Internet ballot casting. However, a senior cybersecurity adviser at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security warned today that online voting programs make the country’s election process vulnerable to cyberattacks. “It is premature to deploy Internet voting in real elections at this time,” DHS cybersecurity adviser Bruce McConnell said at a meeting of the Election Verification Network, which is a group that works to ensure every vote is counted. He explained that all voting systems are susceptible to attacks and bringing in Internet voting invites added risk. Right now, 33 states allow completed ballots to be sent via the Web, typically through e-mail and efax. The main voting contingent that uses this cyber-feature are people in the military and those living overseas.

Editorials: There’s no democratic quick fix | Ottawa Citizen

As Canadians focus on cases of possible election fraud with the unfolding “robocalls” scandal, some people have suggested that Internet voting might be one way of stopping unscrupulous political activists from sending voters to non-existent polling stations. In fact, Internet voting is likely to increase, rather than decrease, electoral fraud. Since online voting requires passwords, there would be nothing to stop eligible voters from giving or selling their passwords to others. A few charismatic members of a community organization, or of a partisan political association, or of a family might then be able to control the votes of numerous citizens.

National: Voter ID Laws Study: Voter Fraud Even Rarer Than Winning Mega Millions | @PolicyMic

You are more likely to win Mega Millions that commit voter fraud in the US according to this study. The Justice Department recently blocked a Texas law requiring voters to show government-issued photo identification at polls on the grounds that it disproportionately disenfranchised Hispanics. The state sued the government in response, and the law is scheduled to be disputed in a federal trial in July. Although voter fraud is a problem that should not be overlooked, I side with the Justice Department, as this law would negatively impact more people than the number of cases of voter fraud.  There is much ambiguity surrounding the issue of voter fraud. Only a few studies have measured the prevalence of fraud, such as this study conducted by the Brennan Center for Justice which showed that voter fraud is even rarer than being struck by lightning or winning the Mega Millions. But disenfranchisement of minority groups is very real. By disregarding an important component of the state’s population, Texas’ law creates a predetermined electoral  outcome, prohibits an entire demographic from voicing their own opinions, and obstructs a key cornerstone of democracy in order to produce desired results.

Alabama: Proposed recall election law likely won’t be misused |

With the Alabama Senate considering a recall law for all officials throughout the state, voters could look north to the recall fights in Wisconsin and express some concern whether the state would become a brutal, political, three-ring circus. However, because of the way the potential Alabama law is structured, the likelihood of misuse is small. Alabama would be the 19th state to allow for recalls for state-level officials (an additional state, Illinois, allows it just for the governor). Alabama is already one of the 36 states that allow some municipalities to provide for a recall of local officials. Among those 18 states with the recall for state-level officials, there is a deep and very meaningful divide. Eleven of them have what is called a “political recall” — meaning they can recall an official for any reason whatsoever. The famous recalls in U.S. history, such as the ones in Wisconsin and the recall of California Gov. Gray Davis in 2003, were not for any charges of incompetence or ethical violations reason. They were solely for political reasons.

California: Consultant wants Arcadia to split cost of Chinese-language ballot error |

The consultant who prepared the city’s General Election ballot with a critical error in its Chinese-language instructions said he wants the city to split the cost of the mistake. The mail-in ballots recently sent out to the city’s nearly 29,000 voters included instructions in four languages, but directed voters in Chinese to choose up to three instead of two City Council candidates in the race for two open seats. The mistake is expected to cost up to $10,000 and prompted the city to send out correction notices in the four languages to all voters, elections officials said. “We feel it should be a 50/50 split,” Scott Martin, president and owner of Anaheim-based Martin and Chapman Co., said. “We initiated it but they approved it. On our proof form, we emphasize to double check all spellings and translations.” A city election official signed a form stating that “Martin and Chapman Co. will not be responsible for any errors (including translations) found after the proofs are signed off.”

Florida: Dominon Voting Systems now rebuts Bucher’s account of Wellington ballot snafu | Palm Beach Post

The maker of Palm Beach County’s voting machines has told state officials its software did not cause the glitch that led to incorrect results being certified in two Wellington races, according to a letter from the company – a statement that starkly contrasts with Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher’s explanation for what happened. A “shortcoming” in the county’s vote-counting software allowed the error to go undetected, and the software did nothing to stop it, Dominion Voting Systems acknowledged. But the manufacturer disavowed responsibility for the error itself, saying, “it is clear that the mismatch was not the result of a ‘bug.’ ” Bucher has said the opposite. After the error was revealed March 19, she said the company had taken the blame and released a sharply worded press release that started with: “Technology fails.”

Florida: It’s official: Wellington finally has its winners | Palm Beach Post

In the end, there was no confusion. No name calling, no questionable motives. Instead there was order. Perfect order, and hugs. A hand count predicted to last six hours Saturday lasted exactly six hours, the same hand count that the county’s top election official guaranteed would match a second tally of votes for Wellington’s messy March 13 council election. The winners: Bob Margolis for mayor, John Greene for seat 1 and Matt Willhite for seat 4. It was a relief for everyone involved, including voters. “Now there’s no dispute,” said Wellington resident Frank Ventriglio. Ventriglio and his wife came to witness the hand count at Palm Beach County’s elections service center in Riviera Beach, on his 57th birthday, no less. “We wanted to see the democratic process at its best,” Theresa Ventriglio said.

Pennsylvania: Legal experts debate impact of new voter ID law | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Six months before Pennsylvania’s new voter identification bill became law, Denise Lieberman helped file an open records request with the state asking for a list of Pennsylvanians who already have the proper identification card. The law — signed in March by Republican Gov. Tom Corbett — requires voters to present government-issued photo identification before being allowed to vote in elections. A civil rights lawyer with the advocacy group Advancement Project, Ms. Lieberman planned to compare a list of Pennsylvania voters with the state’s record of those with proper identification. The comparison would show exactly how many voters wouldn’t be allowed to vote under the new law. The request was denied. The state doesn’t have to provide the record, the denial letter says, because the record doesn’t exist. “How can a legislator have any idea what they’re voting on if they have no idea how many people are being affected?” Ms. Lieberman said. “If we’re talking about imposing rigorous restrictions on voting, then there’s legitimate value in having a sense of who stands to be affected and how.”

Canada: Internet voting carries risk as show by NDP experience |

The recent New Democratic Party convention in Toronto may have done more than just select Thomas Mulcair as the party’s new leader. It may have also buried the prospect of online voting in Canada for the foreseeable future. While Internet-based voting supporters have consistently maintained that the technology is safe and secure, the NDP’s experience — in which a denial of service attack resulted in long delays and inaccessible websites — demonstrates that turning to Internet voting in an election involving millions of voters would be irresponsible and risky. As voter turnout has steadily declined in recent years, Elections Canada has focused on increasing participation by studying Internet-based voting alternatives. The appeal of online voting is obvious. Canadians bank online, take education courses online, watch movies online, share their life experiences through social networks online, and access government information and services online. Given the integral role the Internet plays in our daily lives, why not vote online as well? The NDP experience provides a compelling answer.

Voting Blogs: It must be the Cheese: 96.8% Valid Signature Rate for Wisconsin Recall Petitions | electionsmith

The staff of the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board earlier this week recommended to the Board that there were a sufficient number of valid signatures on the recall petitions submitted for Governor Walker and Lt. Governor Kleefisch to order a recall election. Were there ever! The staff’s reports are available on the Board’s website.

Here’s a helpful summary of the staff’s findings.

Officeholder Signatures Submitted Signatures Struck by Staff Duplicates Struck Valid Signatures
Gov. Walker 931,053 26,114 4,001 900,938
Lt. Gov. Kleefisch 842,854 29,601 4,263 808,990


International: From Prisoner to Parliament in Myanmar: Party Claims Victory for Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar |

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the democracy advocate silenced for two decades by Myanmar’s generals with house arrests and overturned elections, assumed a new role in her country’s political transition on Sunday, apparently winning a seat in Parliament to make the remarkable shift from dissident to lawmaker. The main opposition party announced her victory on Sunday; if the result is confirmed, Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, a 1991 Nobel Peace laureate and the face of Myanmar’s democracy movement, will hold a public office for the first time. But despite her global prominence, she will be joining a Parliament that is still overwhelmingly controlled by the military-backed ruling party. A nominally civilian government took power one year ago after years of oppressive military rule and introduced political changes it hoped would persuade Western nations to end economic sanctions. Sunday’s elections were seen as a barometer for the government’s commitment to change. To many here they represented a sea change; for the first time in two decades people in 44 districts across Myanmar had the chance to vote for Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy.

Myanmar: Opposition claims Myanmar’s Suu Kyi wins | The Associated Press

Supporters of Myanmar’s opposition icon Aung San Suu Kyi erupted in euphoric cheers Sunday after her party said she won a parliamentary seat in a landmark election, setting the stage for her to take public office for the first time. The victory, if confirmed, would mark a major milestone in the Southeast Asian nation, where the military has ruled almost exclusively for a half-century and where a new reform-minded government is seeking legitimacy and a lifting of Western sanctions. It would also mark the biggest prize of Suu Kyi’s political career, and a spectacular reversal of fortune for the 66-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate who the former junta had kept imprisoned in her lakeside home for the better part of two decades.

Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood to stand in Presidential election | The Independent

The Muslim Brotherhood is eyeing the total domination of Egyptian politics after breaking a key post-revolution pledge and putting forward a candidate for next month’s presidential elections. Leaders of the once-banned organisation, which enjoys widespread grassroots support and already controls nearly 50 per cent of seats in parliament, said categorically last year that there would be no official Muslim Brotherhood candidate in next month’s poll. The move was designed to assuage opponents who feared the organisation’s considerable might would translate into political hegemony. But at a press conference over the weekend, officials from the Brotherhood’s political wing announced the candidacy of Khayrat el-Shater, a multi-millionaire businessman, deputy to the Supreme Guide and a man described as the power behind the Brotherhood’s throne.

Guinea-Bissau: Security Council Urges Political Parties to Engage in Dialogue Ahead of Run-Off Election |

The Security Council today urged political parties in Guinea-Bissau to engage in dialogue ahead of the upcoming run-off elections next month to ensure a peaceful conclusion to the electoral process that started in January, and to be able to maintain unity and stability in the country. “The members of the Security Council called upon all political leaders and their supporters to exercise restraint and to refrain from any action that could hamper the electoral process,” said Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant of the United Kingdom, which holds the Council’s presidency this month, in a press statement. The West African nation is undergoing a political transition as a result of the death of President Malam Bacai Sanhá in January, which prompted early elections – the first round of which were held on 18 March. A run-off is now scheduled for 22 April between former Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior and ex-president Kumba Yala.

Jamaica: Government to push campaign financing legislation |

Phillip Paulwell, the minister with responsibility for electoral matters, has indicated that the Government will be working with the recommendations of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) on developing political campaign financing legislation. “The Government is in full support of the report, and we will be drafting laws soon to bring to Parliament,” Paulwell said Tuesday during a parliamentary debate on the report of the ECJ, tabled in the House last week. The ECJ, while conceding that no law exists that cannot be flouted, made a raft of recommendations to Parliament on political campaign financing legislation. The proposals were developed following wide-ranging public consultation on the issue.

Mexico: Presidential Candidates Kick off Campaigns | ABC News

The four candidates for Mexicos presidency officially launched their campaigns for the July 1 election on Friday, all of them promising change. Enrique Pena Nieto, who is running for the Institutional Revolutionary Party that ruled Mexico from 1929 to 2000, used the word “change” 26 times in his first official campaign speech. “Mexico is clear on what it wants, and it doesnt want more of the same,” Pena Nieto declared in the western city of Guadalajara. “It wants to exit this stage of shadow and darkness and enter a new stage of light and hope. “Pena Nietos focus on “a grand crusade for change” and “the change we want” echoed the 2008 campaign slogan of President Barack Obama, “change we can believe in.” It was unclear whether that echo was intentional.

Mexico: Mexican-American vote in Mexico election hampered by apathy, hurdles | San Jose Mercury News

Juan Castro is voting for two presidents this year: one for the United States and another for Mexico. “I’m not sure who I’m going to vote for,” said the San Jose resident. “To tell you the truth, the three main candidates who are running are worthless, more of the same.” He’s talking about the Mexican election. The three-month campaign for Mexico’s July 1 presidential and congressional election officially began Friday. “They’re all career politicians. As far as parties, they’re all the same.” Still, four decades after he moved to the United States, the municipal accountant at Sunnyvale City Hall is one of more than 12,000 Mexican-Americans in California who have registered to vote in the election, a fraction of the nearly 4 million eligible.