The Voting News Daily: Internet voting not ready for elections, says DHS official, Super PACs on rise, but not with women

National: Internet voting not ready for elections, says DHS official | FierceGovernmentIT Unresolved technological problems means Internet voting should not yet be deployed to U.S. elections, a Homeland Security Department cybersecurity official told a conference of election officials and watchdogs. “It’s definitely premature to deploy Internet voting in real elections,” said Bruce McConnell, a senior cybersecurity…

National: Internet voting not ready for elections, says DHS official | FierceGovernmentIT

Unresolved technological problems means Internet voting should not yet be deployed to U.S. elections, a Homeland Security Department cybersecurity official told a conference of election officials and watchdogs. “It’s definitely premature to deploy Internet voting in real elections,” said Bruce McConnell, a senior cybersecurity counselor, speaking before the Election Verification Network conference in Santa Fe, N.M. on March 29. “The security infrastructure around Internet voting is both immature and under-resourced,” McConnell told the audience, citing National Institute of Standards and Technology internal reports that summarize technical research on particular subjects. NISTIR 7770 (.pdf), which addresses security considerations of remote electronic voting, states that “achieving a very strict notion of ballot secrecy remains a challenging issue in remote electronic voting systems,’” McConnell noted.

Editorials: Super PACs on rise, but not with women | Houston Chronicle

For the past two decades, the amount of political money raised by women – and donated by women – has been steadily increasing. But this year, the trend has collided with a new reality in American politics: the Super PAC. The meteoric rise of the big-dollar political committees in the 2012 campaign has reversed some of the gains made by women since 1992, the so-called “Year of the Woman” in U.S. elections. According to Federal Election Commission data, women make up only 14 percent of Super PAC donors – groups now outspending the presidential candidates’ campaigns. That’s less than half the previous levels. Overall, women, who make up slightly more than half the population, account for about one-third of contributions to candidates, parties and political action committees, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit nonpartisan research group.

National: FEC Reports Show Ron Paul Is Really Serious About Transparency – ProPublica

He may be in last place when it comes to delegates, but when it comes to filing expense reports with the FEC, Ron Paul beats everyone. His campaign’s hyper-vigilance is notable, verging on fanatical. Every bank fee, every 22 cents at a FedEx, every $1 toll on the Florida turnpike, every $5.09 pit stop at any Starbucks anywhere, every doughnut from Dunkin’ Donuts and Dough Nutz — it’s all right there, itemized in the Paul campaign’s copious expenditure reports. In 160 instances so far, the campaign has reported purchases costing a single dollar or less. Last week, ProPublica examined the spending of the five presidential candidates and the major super PACs, identifying their 200 top payees.  But as part of digging into the more than $306 million spent through February, it was impossible to avoid the other end of the spectrum: The small bucks, if you will. The Paul campaign tracks every cent like no other, which Paul campaign officials say is deliberate. “We take the trust our donors place in us very seriously and are deeply committed to transparency and accuracy in our reporting,” wrote Paul’s campaign manager, Jesse Benton, in an email response to ProPublica.  Deeply, indeed.

California: Durkee Embezzlement Case Jolts California Elections | Roll Call Politics

Victims of the California campaign treasurer who embezzled more than $7 million from dozens, if not hundreds, of clients’ accounts may have to hire private attorneys and scramble to replenish re-election funds even as the government’s case ended in a guilty plea Friday. Since Kinde S. Durkee, 59, was arrested in September, everyone touched by the case has been asking one question: Where did the money go? Now, those facing imminent California primaries and November’s general election are forced to consider another: What if they never find it? “Everyone is trying to figure that out, and nobody seems to know,” attorney Atticus Wegman said of the money trail. “Even if, for the past five or 10 years, she was just taking money out and spending it here or there, it’s hard to say how that would take up all the money that she pulled out.”

Florida: Tangled Web: Wellington, Florida Drama Highlights Complexity of Technology, Value of Audits | Election Academy

An extraordinary story is emerging from an election from the March 13 municipal election in Wellington located in Florida’s Palm Beach County. Election Night returns indicated that two hotly-contested council elections had been resolved in favor of two candidates, but then a routine post-election audit suggested that their opponents had actually won due to errors in tabulating the county’s optical scan ballots. Following a court-ordered manual recount, the revised totals were confirmed. As if that weren’t extraordinary enough, a battle is now underway between the county clerk and her vendor about who was responsible for the error. The clerk is blaming the vendor, saying that the error – which appears to have been caused by a “synchronization” problem between vote-counting and tabulation machines – is something she and her staff have never seen before and thus could never have been expected to catch, let alone fix.

Guam: Governor Vetoes Election Reform Bill; Democrats May Try Override | Pacific News Center

As promised, Governor Eddie Calvo has vetoed election reform bill 413. The governor cited provisions in the bill that call for a recount of the 2010 election as his reason for vetoing it saying that these provisions are a continuation of “mischief” caused by the Guttierez camp during the election. Meanwhile the Democratic Party’s Executive Director Carlo Branch called it ironic that the governor would veto the measure on a day he himself has deemed as transparency day.  Governor Eddie Calvo vetoed the election reform bill or bill 413 last Tuesday but the legislature has yet to receive an official veto transmittal. The governor says that he vetoed the bill because of the provisions that call for an audit of all absentee and provisional ballots cast something he says amounts to an attempted recount of an election that has already been certified.

Kansas: Split in Kansas Senate GOP stalls redistricting | The Winfield Daily Courier

A bitter split between conservative and moderate Republicans has kept the Kansas Senate from agreeing on a proposal for redrawing their districts, and the delay threatens to create administrative headaches ahead of this year’s primary election. Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is involved in the debate, as is the powerful Kansas Chamber of Commerce. House Republican leaders are frustrated enough with the Senate’s inability to produce a new political map that they’re preparing to intervene, which would break with decades of tradition. Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the state’s chief elections official, warns that if redistricting issues aren’t settled quickly enough, the state will have to push back its June 1 candidate filing deadline. Also, county officials could violate a federal law governing the distribution of ballots to military personnel overseas.

Minnesota: Voter ID deal clears the way to fall ballot |

A controversial constitutional amendment that would require voters to show a photo identification at the polls has cleared one of the last hurdles on the way to the fall ballot. An all-Republican conference committee hammered out a compromise version of the House and Senate voter identification proposals and passed it unanimously Monday night, over the vocal protests of the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office, which described the compromise as “worse” than either of the original plans. Proponents were more pleased with the committee’s work. … The compromise plan now returns to the House and Senate for a final vote. Both chambers had earlier approved slightly different versions of the amendment on straight party-line votes. Gov. Mark Dayton can’t veto a proposed amendment, as he did with a photo identification law passed by legislators last year.

Pennsylvania: Most college ID cards of no use as Pennsylvania voter ID |

When Gov. Tom Corbett signed a law this month requiring voters to present photo identification at the polls in order to cast their ballots, it looked like college students got a break. The voter ID law included student identification cards issued by Pennsylvania colleges on a short list of acceptable forms of identification — as long as those IDs have expiration dates. The problem is, most college IDs don’t. For Muhlenberg College student Erin Wexler, 20, that could be a problem. A sophomore, Wexler did not know about the new law, and her New Jersey driver’s license won’t cut it. Only Pennsylvania driver’s licenses qualify. “Two of my best friends are from Brooklyn,” she said. “They don’t have driver’s licenses because they don’t need them.” Voting rights advocates worry that students like Wexler and her New York friends won’t learn they can’t vote for the next president until they show up Nov. 6, because their college IDs and out-of-state driver’s licenses won’t grant them access.

Texas: State Tries To Keep Voter ID Debate Secret | TPM

The state of Texas wants the discussions their Republican legislators had about passing a voter ID law to stay secret. Texas, which sued the federal government in an attempt to have their voter ID law approved, said in a court filing last month that “communications between members of the state legislature, communications between state legislators and their staff, and communications between state legislators and their constituents” should be protected by legislative privilege. The state also tried to prevent officials with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division from deposing legislators who supported the voter ID legislation known as SB 14.

Voting Blogs: The Texas primary will be May 29 in case anyone was wondering | Texas Redistricting

There’s the old saying about March coming in like a lion and leaving like a lamb, and that certainly seems to have played out in the redistricting litigation. March began with a furious flurry the release of interim maps and changes to the election schedule.  But with campaigning having begun in earnest and March having ended without a preclearance decision, so too, in all likelihood, did the prospect of further revisions to the interim maps and a further delay of the Texas primary to June 26, with an August 28 runoff.

Washington: Special election to replace Inslee for 1 month | Seattle Times

Washington state will hold a special election in November to replace former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee for just one month – an election expected to be confusing for voters, burdensome for candidates and costly for the state. Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire and Republican Secretary of State Sam Reed said Monday that the state is required under the U.S. Constitution to hold such a vote to fill a vacant seat. Inslee, a Democrat, resigned from his position last month to run for governor. The November election, which will take place on the same ballot as the presidential vote and other state races, is likely to be particularly confusing to voters because Congress is also transitioning to its new district boundaries. The special election will be focused on the old 1st District boundaries that Inslee represented. Voters will also be deciding who will represent the new 1st District.

West Virginia: Voter identification subject of debate among West Virginia politicians | WOWK13

We’re in the middle of another contentious primary election season and a debate has emerged about whether voters should be required to provide state-issued identification at polling precincts. Currently West Virginia election law follows the Help America Vote Act, federal regulations which outline voting practices and standards. Secretary of State Natalie Tennant said during an interview with The State Journal’s Decision Makers that a process is in place now that provides checks to the identification and registration process. ” … While Tennant agrees with making more elections more secure, she said she has concerns over whether this type of requirement would discourage or intimidate some potential voters from participating in the election process. “It is a right and not a privilege to vote,” said Tennant. “Someone who doesn’t drive, can’t get there to get a card, or can’t afford a state issued ID card.”

Myanmar: Election commission confirms Suu Kyi victory | Voice of Burma

Burma’s election officials have confirmed that democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi’s party has won a landslide victory in Sunday’s by-elections. The Union Election Commission (UEC) announced that 40 of the 45 available seats have been taken by Suu Kyi’s National League of Democracy (NLD). The remaining five seats are yet to be counted. The NLD’s own count has estimated a victory in all 44 seats the party contested. It failed to contest the final seat as its candidate was disqualified.

Myanmar: Opposition Party Wins By-Election in Landslide | VoA News

Democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi declared a “new era” for Burma Monday, after her party claimed a landslide victory in Sunday’s parliamentary by-elections. Although official results could take days, the opposition National League for Democracy says it won at least 43 of the 44 seats it had contested.  That includes the four seats in the administrative capital, Naypyitaw, which is populated mostly by government workers and military personnel. Aung San Suu Kyi told a sea of supporters outside NLD headquarters in Rangoon Monday that she hoped the election results will force government to heed the will of ordinary citizens.   “We hope that this is the beginning of the new era, where there will be more emphasis on the role of the people in the everyday politics of the country,” she said.

Editorials: Shater as president! Is Brotherhood turning Egypt into Sunni Iran? | Middle East Online

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is to field its deputy chairman Khairat al-Shater as a candidate in the upcoming presidential election, the group’s party and supreme guide said on Saturday. “The Freedom and Justice Party will nominate Khairat al-Shater as a candidate for the presidency,” the FJP said on its Facebook page. The 61-year-old professor of engineering and business tycoon will be standing in the country’s first presidential election since a popular uprising ousted veteran leader Hosni Mubarak last year. The election is scheduled for May 23 and 24. The Brotherhood’s supreme guide, Mohammed Badie, confirmed Shater’s nomination at a news conference when he read out a brief statement from Shater, who was not present. “After it was decided to field my name in the presidential elections, I can only accept the decision of the Brotherhood. I will therefore resign from my position as deputy chairman,” Shater’s statement said.

Greece: Election date to be set in Holy Week | Athens News

The precise date of the general elections will be finalised during Holy Week, which this year starts on April 9, the government spokesman said on Monday. Speaking on SKAI TV, Pantelis Kapsis said on Monday, adding that nothing has changed with regard to the proposed dates, which are April 29 or May 6. Kapsis emphasised his view that the work of government must continue before and after the elections, adding that there is no room for slackness. “The impression must not be created among the public that the difficulties have passed,” Kapsis said.

Russia: Opposition candidate appears headed to mayor’s office in Russian vote | The Washington Post

In an election that has been intensely watched as a marker for the future direction of Russian politics, an outsider running for mayor of Yaroslavl appeared to be headed for a landslide win Sunday night over the candidate backed by the ruling United Russia party. A victory would give the opposition here a huge, national lift, just three weeks after the election of Vladimir Putin to the presidency demonstrated the continuing durability of the system he has constructed over the past 12 years.  And it presents the authorities — in Yaroslavl, a city of 600,000 about 160 miles northeast of Moscow, and in the Kremlin, as well — an unmistakable reminder that politics in Russia has become considerably more challenging since street protests broke out in September. Late Sunday, Yevgeny ­Urlashov, 44, who ran against corruption and official arrogance, had 67 to 69 percent of the vote, with at least 60 percent counted. His opponent, Yakov Yakushev, the owner of a paint factory, trailed with about 29 percent — virtually the same percentage he polled in the first round of the elections on March 4. Urlashov got 40 percent in that round; two other candidates split the rest.

Russia: Anti-corruption crusader wins Russian mayoral election in victory for opposition | The Washington Post

An anti-corruption crusader has won a landslide victory in a mayoral election in a major Russian city, dealing a painful blow to the powerful pro-Kremlin party and energizing the beleaguered opposition. Yevgeny Urlashov won 70 percent of Sunday’s vote in Yaroslavl, a city of about 590,000 some 250 kilometers (150 miles) east of Moscow, easily defeating the acting mayor, who was the candidate of president-elect Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party. Urlashov’s victory reflects growing public irritation with official corruption and social inequality. And it gives new hope to Russia’s opposition, which has struggled to maintain momentum after Putin won a third presidential term last month. Opposition leaders have urged their supporters to focus on local elections, and Urlashov’s victory in Sunday’s poll will likely bolster that strategy.