The Voting News Daily: Think the Florida Recount Was Bad? Just Wait Until November 6, Paper prophets: Why e-voting is on the decline in the United States

National: Think the Florida Recount Was Bad? Just Wait Until November 6 | The Atlantic The movie Unstoppable is playing this week on HBO, and it’s hard not to watch even just the trailers for the action-adventure film without seeing parallels to the coming election. Folks, we are just a little more than two weeks away from…

Florida: Palm Beach County ballot flaw causes another recount | Tampa Bay Times

It’s a ballot recount in a tight presidential race that invites easy comparisons to the electoral crisis of 2000. About 27,000 absentee ballots can’t be digitally scanned because of a recently discovered design flaw. Elections workers began Monday duplicating the markings from bad ballots to new ones so that the votes could be recorded, an effort that has led some to question the accuracy of results. And it’s all happening in Palm Beach County. “By now, questions can be asked about why these type of problems keep happening in this one county,” said Ed Foley, an Ohio State University law professor and expert on election law.

Ohio: Liberal critics worry about Romney connection to voting machines in Ohio | The Washington Post

Hart InterCivic is an Austin-based voting machine company that serves local governments nationwide. Its clients include Hamilton County, Ohio, which administers elections in Cincinnati. Hart InterCivic also has in its DNA just enough traces of Bain & Co. and Mitt Romney campaign donors to trigger serious angst in the liberal blogosphere about the fate of Ohio’s must-have 18 electoral votes.

Virginia: Fairfax Democrats warn of voting machine problems | The Washington Post

Fairfax Democrats issued a warning Thursday about reports that touch-screen voting machines were malfunctioning during early voting, switching ballot selections to the opposing candidate. Jessica Tripp and Penelope Nunez move a table at Arlington Art Center, a polling center, in preparation for Super Tuesday. (Melina Mara – The Washington Post) Fairfax County elections officials said they were aware of two instances in which voters claimed the machines had changed their votes. But officials expressed confidence that both were cases of user error.

National: Electronic Voting Machines Still Widely Used Despite Security Concerns | Huffington Post

For years, researchers have been aware of numerous security flaws in electronic voting machines. They’ve found ways to hack the machines to swap votes between candidates, reject ballots or accept 50,000 votes from a precinct with just 100 voters. Yet on Nov. 6, millions of voters — including many in hotly contested swing states — will cast ballots on e-voting machines that researchers have found are vulnerable to hackers. What is more troubling, say some critics, is that election officials have no way to verify that votes are counted accurately because some states do not use e-voting machines that produce paper ballots.After the “hanging chad” controversy of the 2000 election, Congress passed a federal law that gave states funding to replace their punch card and lever voting systems with electronic voting machines. But computer scientists have repeatedly demonstrated that a variety of electronic voting machines can be hacked — often quite easily. “Every time they are studied, we find further problems,” said J. Alex Halderman, a computer science professor at the University of Michigan who researches voting machine security.

National: National tribal group focuses on voter ID laws, encourages registration in Indian Country | The Washington Post

New voter identification laws in a dozen states could negatively affect voter participation in Native American and Alaska Native communities, a tribal advocacy group says. The National Congress of American Indians released a report Monday that highlights the states, including some where photo identification will be required at the polls on Election Day. Two of the states — Alaska and Florida — do not list tribal ID cards as acceptable forms of identification at the polls. Problems with other new voter ID laws include requirements that voters provide their home addresses, since some tribal communities have no street addresses, and the “barriers of cost, logistics and distance to obtaining required IDs,” the study says.

Editorials: The Fraud of Voter Fraud | The Atlantic

Jane Mayer’s article on the invention of the voter-fraud myth is required reading as we go into the last day’s of the election. Mayer zeroes in on Hans von Spakovsky, a legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation who has been instrumental in turning gossamer, rumor and myth into state-level election law: Von Spakovsky offered me the names of two experts who, he said, would confirm that voter-impersonation fraud posed a significant peril: Robert Pastor, the director of the Center for Democracy and Election Management, at American University, and Larry Sabato, a political-science professor at the University of Virginia. Pastor, von Spakovsky noted, had spoken to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights about being a victim of election fraud: voting in Georgia, he discovered that someone else had already voted under his name. When I reached Pastor, he clarified what had happened to him. “I think they just mistakenly checked my name when my son voted — it was just a mistake.”

California: UVote voter registration system registers fewer students, centralizes process | Stanford Daily

Stanford’s pilot partnership with UVote, a voter registration program created at Northwestern University, registered 786 students and faculty to vote this year. The California voter registration deadline passed on Oct. 22. The new voter registration program replaced less centralized student group efforts from past years, but did not register as many voters. According to Lindsay Lamont ’13, president of the Stanford Democrats, one of the most effective methods used in past years was having “dorm captains” in each residence responsible for asking students if they were registered to vote. Lamont estimates that approximately 1,000 students registered to vote in each of the 2008 and 2010 election seasons. Sixty-six percent of new voters at Stanford this year registered to vote in California. UVote staff also helped out-of-state students fill out absentee ballot requests and mailed these forms when possible.

Florida: Does Your Vote Count? The Recount Test | CBS4

In the sleepy West Coast Florida town of Inverness, as horses graze and Spanish moss hangs still on a breezeless summer day, an elections experiment was about to get underway. Lightening fast computer scanners, locked up ballots and a team of computer scientists from Boston, embarked on a first ever mission to verify that the votes cast in the August, Citrus County primary, are correct. “Believe me we are not looking for trouble but we want to verify the results independently,” said Susan Gill, supervisor of elections in Citrus County. She is one of 7 county supervisors across Florida, who agreed to allow a number of their elections to be part of the first large scale attempt to independently verify elections cast on paper ballots.

Indiana: Voting Machine Critics Worry About Possible Tampering | Indiana Public Media

Indiana counties will publicly test their voting machines this week to make sure they are tallying votes correctly. But some activists contend the test does not address a larger problem. A Stanford computer scientist created the Verified Voting Foundation in 2004 to lobby states to implement more safeguards against voting-machine tampering, starting with a paper trail to verify vote counts if necessary.

Minnesota: Nations racial legacy shapes Minnesotas voter ID debate |

Josie Johnson gathered petitions against the Texas poll tax as a teenager in 1945 and worked for the right to vote in Mississippi in the violent “Freedom Summer” two decades later. Now, nearly a half-century after the Voting Rights Act was enacted to open the polls to all, the 82-year-old civil rights warrior is bringing those sad tales home to fight Minnesotas proposed photo ID requirement for voting.”Our ancestors died, young children were punished, homes were bombed, churches were bombed,” Johnson, the first black regent at the University of Minnesota, told a group of elderly voters, mostly black, at Sabathani Community Center last week. “People were denied the right that we take for granted. And well lose it, on Nov. 6, if we dont get out and vote no.

Minnesota: Voter ID would require new legislation to fill in the blanks | Post Bulletin

If Minnesota voters approve a constitutional amendment that would require voters to present photo identification at the polls, state lawmakers will still have to sort out many of the details needed to implement the new election system. The push for a voter ID requirement has been a deeply partisan battle, so much so that – if the amendment passes — many of the specifics in next year’s legislation could hinge on which party wins control of the House and Senate. The proposed amendment requires all in-person voters to show a “valid government-issued” photo ID before receiving getting a ballot. It also requires the state provide free identification. Not yet known is which IDs will be considered valid, how the state will distribute the free ones and how much that will cost.

New Mexico: Groups take out ads hoping to combat voter suppression | New Mexico Telegram

Groups took out ads in the state’s three largest papers attempting to combat what they see as voter suppression. The office of Attorney General Gary King and the Congressional House Oversight Committee are investigating the claims of voter fraud by Republican-aligned groups. The ads are running in the Albuquerque Journal, Santa Fe New Mexican and the Las Cruces Sun-News. The 1/2- and 3/4-page ads try to rebut some incorrect information that was given to Republican poll challengers at at least one training in Sandoval County.

North Carolina: ‘112-year-old voters’ a result of change in data collection, not voter fraud |

Since early voting started last week in North Carolina, data from the state Board of Elections shows 899 ballots cast by 112-year-old voters. Either a surprising number of people who could have chosen between Calvin Coolidge, John Davis and Robert La Follette in 1924 remain alive and politically-engaged, or something else is going on.  A local conservative political blog was the first to suggest that “massive voter fraud” was taking place, and a bandwagon of similar claims have followed. The Examiner, a conservative website, posted a story that has been shared by several thousand people on Facebook and Twitter. State elections director Gary Bartlett said the story spread quickly enough on social media that his phone started ringing during church Sunday and hasn’t let up since – and a glance at the widely-circulated story shows why: “Of these voters, over 70 percent were slated as Democrats, with a diminutive 25 percent counted as Republicans…Obviously there is a problem, one in which voter ID might clearly provide a solution. A thing that only the Democratic Party swears against.” Just one problem: “It’s not voter fraud at all,” Bartlett said.

Ohio: State Prepares for Close Election Amid Fears of Another Florida 2000 Mess | The Daily Beast

Less than two weeks ahead of Election Day, only one thing seems clear amongst the constant noise about Big Bird, a nuclear Iran, and bayonets and horses: the presidency will hinge on how Ohio votes. Ohioans seem to be taking their task seriously: 7.9 million residents are registered to vote, and more than 800,000 Ohioans have already cast their ballot for president, according to data released Tuesday by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office. Ohio voters will have 246 hours to vote in person before Election Day and 750 hours to cast their absentee ballots; 1.6 million Ohioans have requested or cast an absentee ballot for the general election, and almost 6.9 million absentee ballot applications have been sent out.

Ohio: Romney-linked voting machine company to count votes in Ohio |

Voting machine provider Hart Intercivic will be counting the votes in various counties in the crucial swing states of Ohio and Colorado and elsewhere throughout the country come Nov. 6 — even though it has extensive corporate ties to the Mitt Romney camp, and even though a study commissioned by the state of Ohio has labeled its voting system a “failure” when it comes to protecting the integrity of elections. Reports of Hart Intercivic’s ties to Romney first surfaced in late September, in a blog post by Gerry Bello and Bob Fitrakis in the Free Press, an Ohio website that reported that a key investor in Hart was HIG Capital, seven of whose directors were former employees of Bain & Co., a consulting company of which Mitt Romney was once CEO. (Romney left the company in 1984 to co-found a spinoff company, Bain Capital.) HIG Capital announced its investment in Hart on July 6, 2011, just one month after Romney formally announced the launch of his presidential campaign.

Virginia: Despite new law, military absentee ballot requests fall | HamptonRoads

In the hotly contested swing state of Virginia, where a small number of votes could tip the presidential election, requests for absentee ballots from military members are down sharply from 2008. The trend is raising concerns that despite a new law aimed at getting out the military vote, many of those serving will not be involved in choosing the next commander in chief. The Military Voter Protection Project released figures in August indicating steep declines in absentee ballot requests in five swing states, with Virginia lagging the farthest behind. Numbers in Virginia have rebounded somewhat since then – perhaps a result of a big final push by state, Pentagon and military officials to get service members registered before the Oct. 15 deadline. Still, State Board of Elections figures show a stark drop from 2008, with just 9,852 military voter absentee ballots requested this year, compared with 20,738 in 2008.

United Kingdom: Tories bow to European court of human rights over prisoner voting rights | The Guardian

The government is planning a draft bill introducing limited prisoner voting rights to comply with the European court of human rights, despite fierce opposition from Eurosceptic backbenchers. But embarrassed government ministers are likely to defer the hugely controversial announcement until just before a late-November deadline, allowing it to be made after the police commissioner elections on 17 November.

Russia: Russia’s Opposition Gets Its Act Together Electronically | TIME

Many years from now, if the Russian opposition movement ever manages to budge President Vladimir Putin from power, it will take a scrupulous historian to trace all the groups that have claimed to be its leader. Only 10 months have passed since the movement was born, in December 2011, when the mass street protests against Putin’s rule began. But there have already been at least a dozen revolutionary councils playing the role of its vanguard. The most legitimate one to date was formed on Monday, Oct. 22, after about 90,000 Russians voted to elect a set of leaders for the movement. Before that, all of these groups were self-proclaimed, and all of them dissolved in their infancy.