The Voting News Daily: Electronic voting’s the real threat to elections, Smartmatic Sues Dominion for Licensing Breach and Improper Business Practices

National: Electronic voting’s the real threat to elections | USATODAY.com Imagine how easy voting would be if Americans could cast ballots the same way they buy songs from iTunes or punch in a PIN code to check out at the grocery store: You could click on a candidate from a home computer or use a…

Iowa: Secretary of State’s voter eligibility investigation on hold after judge issues injunction | Des Moines Register

Rules governing an effort to verify the eligibility of thousands of Iowa voters cannot be enforced while a lawsuit challenging their validity goes forward, a Polk County judge has ruled. Judge Mary Pat Gunderson issued a temporary injunction to stay the implementation of the rules late Friday afternoon. The ruling casts no judgment on the merits of the case, but means Secretary of State Matt Schultz’s effort to check the citizenship status of more than 3,500 voters is on hold for the time being. Schultz has identified the potentially ineligible voters by comparing the state’s voter rolls to a Department of Transportation list of legal aliens who have obtained driver’s licenses. He’s now seeking to verify those voters’ citizenship status by cross referencing the list against a federal immigration database. The rules enjoined on Friday were passed earlier this summer through an emergency rulemaking process as part of Schultz’s effort to gain access to the federal database.

National: Smartmatic Sues Dominion Voting Systems for Licensing Breach and Improper Business Practices | Rock Hill Herald

Smartmatic International, a global technology company that develops advanced voting systems to support elections worldwide, has filed suit in the Delaware Court of Chancery against Dominion Voting Systems for that company’s alleged breach of a licensing agreement and tortious interference with Smartmatic’s business. The lawsuit is seeking compensation from Dominion for allegedly withholding technology and services that had been licensed to Smartmatic, and for Dominion’s intentional actions to denigrate Smartmatic’s brand and undermine its relationship with customers and prospects. “This lawsuit is necessary because of Dominion’s persistent refusal to deliver technology that Smartmatic legally licensed,” said David Melville, General Counsel of Smartmatic. “We intend to recover the costs of rectifying a basic Dominion software error that nearly affected the 2010 Philippine elections, which we went to great lengths and expense to correct in keeping with our commitment to maintain the highest standards of election integrity and transparency.”

National: Voter ID Laws Countered In Congress With New Legislation | Huffington Post

Fourteen members of Congress have co-sponsored a bill that would override a recent spate of voter identification laws, passed in more than a dozen states to require voters to present government-issued photo ID in order to cast a ballot. Rep. Rick Larsen, a Washington Democrat, has introduced the “America Votes Act of 2012,” which he and other Democrats hope will counter the wave of new voter ID legislation passed by Republican-led legislatures across the country. The bill would allow voters to sign a sworn affidavit to prove their identity in lieu of providing government-issued photo identification such as a driver’s license or passport. The voter would then be able to cast a standard ballot and not a provisional ballot, the latter of which can be contested or thrown out for any number of procedural reasons under current voting ID laws.

Editorials: Voter ID laws and roll purges are the real defrauding of US democracy | Ana Marie Cox/guardian.co.uk

There are three inducements of support that Americans are powerless against: the promise of whiter teeth, the suggestion of no-diet weight loss and the cause of justice. Political campaigns tend to couch their appeals in terms of the last, though parts of the Romney-Ryan economic pitch could be described as the second. In today’s truly divisive debates, both parties have usually engineered a rhetorical claim to the side of fairness: gay rights advocates propelled themselves forward when they began to argue for “marriage equality” against the outdated complaint of “special rights”. Americans rankle at unearned privileges as much as they rally, in the main, to equality. Hence the widespread, enthusiastic support of voter ID laws (they poll with about 75% in favor) makes total sense if you see the laws exactly the way their authors and promoters talk about them – as barriers to voter fraud. After all, voter fraud is when criminals unfairly manipulate voting, the most basic expression of fairness available in a democracy.

Colorado: Election activist claims she’s broken Boulder’s ballot code | Boulder Weekly

The election reform advocate who has been blowing the whistle on ballots that can be traced back to voters is claiming that she “broke the code” to Boulder County’s ballot-numbering system last week. But Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall submitted a new, more complex vote-counting process to Secretary of State Scott Gessler this week, and that may make the discovery moot. Marilyn Marks, who filed suit against Gessler and several Colorado counties after it was revealed that ballots could be traced back to voters in Chaffee County, told Boulder Weekly that she figured out how to track voter identities using Boulder County’s system of serial numbers and bar codes, an approach that she says violates state law. The state Constitution says “no ballots shall be marked in any way whereby the ballots can be identified as the ballot of the person casting it.” In response to the Chaffee County discovery, Gessler issued an emergency rule saying counties must stop using numbers on ballots.

Connecticut: Voter mistaken for dead in crucial tied recount | UPI.com

The outcome of a Connecticut primary election hinges on the vote of a woman whose absentee ballot was marked “Deceased” but is very much alive, officials say. A recount Monday in the Democratic Party’s 5th General Assembly District primary found the party-endorsed candidate, Leo Canty, tied with challenger Brandon McGee at 774 votes each. At issue is an uncounted ballot, still in a sealed envelope and marked “Deceased,” the Hartford Courant reported Wednesday.

Connecticut: Sample ballots in Connecticut list candidates in no particular order | The Middletown Press

Sample ballots were sent to town election administrators Monday and, in anticipation of a state Supreme Court ruling, the candidates on those ballots were in no particular order. The same day, attorneys for the Republican Party of Connecticut and the Secretary of the State’s office issued arguments for and against the contention that a lawsuit brought by the GOP should not have made it to the Supreme Court. That lawsuit is causing a delay on the final order of candidates for Election Day ballots. The GOP took Secretary of the State Denise Merrill to court after she decided Democrats should get the top ballot line. Republicans say state law dictates otherwise.

Hawaii: State elections panel frustrated by Hawaii County problems | KGMB

Members of the State Elections Commission expressed frustration with troubled Hawaii County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi at their monthly meeting Tuesday as state elections officials made plans to send a key staffer back to the Big Island to help troubleshoot on Election Day. During the primary election Aug. 11, more than dozen Hawaii County polling places opened late, causing Gov. Neil Abercrombie to order all election sites on the island to be kept open an hour and a half late, delaying election returns statewide.  Tuesday, the county clerks from three counties were present at the election commission meeting, but Kawauchi was absent, just as she was missing from the August meeting.  Her attendance there was not mandatory but in the cooperative community of election officials, her absence created concern less than two months before the general election.

Indiana: St. Joseph County commissioners spar over contract extension with elections consultant | southbendtribune.com

Questions about whether a proposal to extend a contract between St. Joseph County and its elections consultant would prevent the county from moving ahead on a plan to implement vote centers sparked a tense back-and-forth Tuesday between two members of the Board of Commissioners. The proposal, approved by the county Election Board in August, extends the county’s contract with RBM Consulting another four years — Jan. 1, 2014 to Dec. 31 2017 — under the same terms and conditions as before. An elections services and systems company based in Indiana, RBM provides service to the county in support of its current voting system. “Nowhere in this four-year contract extension is voting centers even listed as an option,” Commissioner Dave Thomas, D-District 2, said in a prepared statement. Thomas argued that extending the contract would lock the county into the current, precinct voting system until at least 2018, contrary to the Election Board’s wish to move to vote centers as soon as 2014.

Mississippi: Secretary of State Hosemann says DOJ unlikely to approve Mississippi voter ID law | The Clarion-Ledger | clarionledger.com

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann told lawmakers today he expects Mississippi’s voter ID law will not receive Department of Justice approval and will go to court, but he expects it to fare better in court than other states who have had their plans shot down. “We are better than Texas,” Hosemann said. He said Texas’ plan, rejected by a three judge federal panel, would cost people money to receive an ID to show at polls and require some to drive as far as 250 miles to get one. Hosemann said Mississippi’s plan is to allow people to go to any county courthouse and get a free ID, and to accept student IDs unlike Texas.

Michigan: Court Challenge Filed Over Ballot Citizenship Checkbox | Huffington Post

A voting rights coalition is taking Michigan’s Secretary of State to court over a controversial citizenship checkboxthat appeared on primary ballots across the state this past August. The group filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State Ruth Johnson Monday in federal court. The coalition includes the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, UAW International, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Latin Americans for Social and Economic Development (LA SED), Ingham County Clerk Michael Bryanton, and registered voters from East Lansing, Shelby Township, and Buena Vista Township. “The Secretary of State may be the chief election officer in the state, but she is not above the law,” Kary L. Moss, executive director of the ACLU of Michigan, said in a release. “By ignoring the administrative rule-making and legislative processes, she has thumbed her nose at the electorate and flouted the very laws she was elected to uphold. We can all agree that it should be easier to vote and harder to cheat, but cynical voter suppression tactics should not be tolerated.”

New Mexico: State short of money for general election costs | Farmington Daily Times

Unexpected general election costs have created a $1.4 million hole in the secretary of state’s budget, but the financial squeeze won’t prevent New Mexicans from casting ballots in November, according to New Mexico’s top elections official. Secretary of State Dianna Duran came up empty-handed Tuesday in asking the state Board of Finance for emergency funding for the $1.4 million costs of leased equipment that will print ballots at about 180 “voting convenience centers” in 15 counties. Those allow voters to go to a consolidated polling location most convenient to them rather than their traditional precinct-based voting site.

New York: New York City Voters Annoyed by Hard-to-Read Ballots | NYTimes.com

Some states want their voters to take ID cards to the polls. In New York City, you may want to bring a magnifying glass. Voters who trekked to the polls for Thursday’s primary races were handed ballots with candidates’ names printed in an eye-straining 7-point type, akin to the ingredient list on the side of a cereal box. Now the city Board of Elections is facing outsize criticism over the mite-size font. Civic groups and lawmakers are calling for reform. And some voters are wondering why the instructions on the ballot were displayed in larger and clearer typefaces than the names of the candidates and the offices they were running for. “I just stood and squinted,” recalled Elinore Kaplan, a semiretired teacher in Manhattan, who said she was upset and disappointed to have so much trouble ensuring she voted for the person she wanted to vote for. “It shouldn’t be a challenge,” she said of the ballot’s design. “It should be an invitation.”

Ohio: Ohio Secretary of State Husted Suggests ‘More Strict’ ID Law | City Beat

It seems Ohio may soon get a controversial voter ID law. While speaking at a Tea Party event in Cincinnati on Monday, Secretary of State Jon Husted said the General Assembly is likely to take up a voter ID law after the November election. “I was listening to a show one night where they talked about these onerous rules, these onerous photo ID rules and the onerous rules in Ohio on photo ID,” he said. “Well, the photo ID law in Ohio is not onerous. As a matter of fact, I suspect the General Assembly will take up a more strict version of what we have after what we’ve been through with this election process.”

Ohio: Secretary Of State Talks About Need To ‘Streamline’ Voter ID Requirements | Huffington Post

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, who has been fighting a lawsuit from the Obama campaign trying to restore early voting, said voter identification requirements needed to be streamlined, and that the General Assembly would take up a “more strict” version of Ohio’s voter ID requirements. “I was listening to a show one night where they talked about these onerous rules, these onerous photo ID rules and the onerous rules in Ohio on photo ID,” he said at a Tea Party event in Cincinnati, according to audio circulated by the Ohio Democratic Party. “Well, the photo ID law in Ohio is not onerous. As a matter of fact, I suspect the General Assembly will take up a more strict version of what we have after what we’ve been through with this election process.”

Pennsylvania: Sponsor Of Voter ID Law Defends Romney, Says ‘Lazy’ People Also Shouldn’t Vote | ThinkProgress

As Pennsylvania’s strict voter ID law returns to the lower court for reconsideration, its original sponsor, Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-PA), told KDKA Radio Wednesday morning that his law will only disenfranchise “lazy” people, like the ones Mitt Romney was talking about in the leaked video of a private fundraiser. When asked about the voter ID law’s disenfranchisement of the 750,000 Pennsylvanians who cannot get IDs, Metcalfe cited Romney’s offhand dismissal of the 47% of the country who will never “take personal responsibility and care for their lives” as proof that those people don’t deserve the right to vote.

Pennsylvania: State Supreme Court Vacates Lower Court Voter ID Ruling | NYTimes.com

In August, a Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court judge upheld the state’s new voter ID law—despite the fact that state officials presented no evidence of in-person voter fraud, and didn’t even try to claim that voter fraud would likely occur this November in the absence of an ID requirement. Contrary to expectations, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court yesterday vacated that lower court ruling. The Supreme Court did not strike down the law, but it returned the case to the Commonwealth Court for review because “the Law is not being implemented according to its own terms.” Briefly, while the law requires “liberal access” to non-driver photo IDs, it’s still difficult to obtain one. “Generally, the process requires the applicant to present a birth certificate with a raised seal…a social security card, and two forms of documentation showing current residency.”

Texas: Court Halts State Attempt to Purge Voters as Dead | Bloomberg

A Texas judge temporarily barred the state from ordering county election officials to purge presumably dead voters from registration rolls, saying the initiative may violate the election code. The ruling came in a lawsuit filed today by four Texas voters who were told they would be purged from voter- registration lists as deceased. They asked state court Judge Tim Sulak in Austin to stop the state from striking about 77,000 names from the rolls, arguing the plan violates the Texas election code and the U.S. Voting Rights Act.

Belarus: Foreign Ministry says denial of visas to OSCE election monitors not related to elections | Kyiv Post

Belarus’ decision to deny entry visas to two members of the OSCE election observation mission to monitor parliamentary elections slated in Belarus for Sept. 23 is not related to the elections as such, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry said. “These two people are foreigners whose entry to the territory of the Republic of Belarus is unwelcome. This has absolutely no relation to the observation of the elections,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Savinykh told Interfax.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Georgia’s rowdy election campaign | The Washington Post

The Georgian government of President Mikheil Saakashvili, long a favorite of U.S. conservatives for championing pro-democratic “color revolutions,” is under fire for its own alleged suppression of a domestic opposition movement headed by a billionaire tycoon. Saakashvili was lauded as a reformer after he became president in 2004, following the Rose Revolution, and he has bravely challenged Russian hegemony in the region. But he has also shown a tendency to overreach, as in the imprudent military moves that offered Russia a pretext for invading Georgia in 2008. Now, critics charge, his government has been overly zealous in combating political challengers at home. Saakashvili’s rival is a wealthy businessman named Bidzina Ivanishvili, who made a fortune in Russia before returning home to form a political party called Georgian Dream. Ivanishvili’s supporters allege a series of repressive moves by the government, including a cyberattack that has ensnared not just Georgian activists but U.S. lawyers, lobbyists and security advisers for Georgian Dream.

Montenegro: Montenegro Election Campaign Gathers Pace | Eurasia Review

Most big parties completed their lists of candidates for parliament on Monday, marking the moment when the campaign kicked off, ahead of the October 14 vote. The ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS, will submit on Wednesday its list of potential candidates for parliament ahead of the October 14 general election. The list is headed by country’s longtime leader, the party leader, Milo Djukanovic. Igor Luksic, the Prime Minister, is in second place, followed by Svetozar Marovic, the former president of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. Miomir Mugosa, mayor of the capital, Podgorica, is on the list in the fifteenth place.

Venezuela: Hugo Chavez Opposition Concerned About Forces Present on Election Day | Fox News

The campaign of Venezuelan presidential candidate Henrique Capriles said they are concerned about the presence of pro-Chavez groups like Colombian guerrillas who are known to operate at numerous polling sites and can intimidate voters. Campaign manager Leopoldo Lopez said they identified a total of 77 voting centers where they believe armed forces, Colombian guerrillas or paramilitary groups are present in the area. That’s out of a total of more than 13,800 voting centers nationwide. Lopez told reporters the opposition turned over the list to electoral officials and asked to meet with them as well as military officers who are in charge of security for the Oct. 7 presidential election.