A 22-year-old candidate for student council president at California State University San Marcos hoped to guarantee victory by rigging the election through cyber fraud, but he ended up winning a year in prison instead. Matthew Weaver used small electronic devices called keyloggers to steal the passwords and identities of nearly 750 fellow students. Then he cast votes for himself—and some of his friends on the ballot—using the stolen names. He was caught during the final hour of the election in March 2012 when network administrators noticed unusual voting activity associated with a single computer on campus. A Cal State police officer sent to investigate found Weaver working at that machine. He had cast more than 600 votes for himself using the stolen identities. “Some people wanted to paint this as a college prank gone bad, but he took the identities of almost 750 people, and that’s a serious thing,” said Special Agent Charles Chabalko, who worked the investigation out of our San Diego Division after being contacted by Cal State authorities. “He had access to these students’ e-mails, financial information, and their social networks. He had access to everything.”
Want to see every ballot cast in the last election with your own two eyes? The Humboldt County Registrar makes that possible in her home near the Oregon border. Humboldt Registrar of Voters Carolyn Crnich responded to controversy and an outcry from residents by creating a system for anyone to request a scanned version of the vote through the Humboldt County Elections Transparency Project. In 2008, to the dismay of Humboldt County voters, 197 votes (or 0.3 percent of the total vote) disappeared due to a software malfunction. Apparently, it wasn’t the first time for this software to simply delete ballots and Crnich was rightly approached by constituents who had grave concerns regarding the voting system soon after the election results. The software is made by Diebold, a name which may conjure up memories of hanging chads in Florida in 2000 and other issues in 2004. Crnich and that same group of constituents did an audit after connecting the dots on Diebold’s spotty history and found the missing ballots. Locals thought the software was too closed off from the public and wanted a better auditing process. After pinpointing the problem, the Secretary of State’s office swiftly initiated an investigation and decertified the faulty software.
Voters in Illinois will have a new way to register to vote. Illinois will be able register online after Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation into law last month. Adams County Clerk Georgia Volm believes that county clerks have been preparing for online registration in recent years by assembling voters databases to check rolls when someone registers. “We have the information we need available to us that when someone goes online to register, everything will come to us automatically,” she said. “And then we will be using the checks we’ve been building in this statewide database for a number of years.” Online voter registration will start July 1, 2014.
Gov. Sam Brownback on Monday didn’t seem to want to get involved in the controversy over the 13,000 Kansans whose voter registrations are up in the air. When asked about it, Brownback, a Republican, referred to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, also a Republican. “It’s in the secretary of state’s purview,” Brownback said. Brownback acknowledged an interest in the voting booth being “open for people.” “We’ll watch and review the process as it’s coming forward, but there is a constitutional officer that’s in charge of that.” Again, that’s a reference to Kobach.
In the years since Bush vs. Gore highlighted the inconsistent, patchwork and sometimes tenuous nature of the nation’s voting system, election officials throughout the country have taken steps to improve the process. But variety still abounds since that disputed 2000 presidential race, in part because the U.S. Constitution’s 10th Amendment allocates power to the states, generally barring federal officials from imposing a single ballot design standard. Some voters still darken circles on ballots next to their choices. Others use an iPad-like device. In Oregon and Washington, elections are done through the mail. In New Jersey, voters cast their ballot on a grid that opponents of the design say gives an unfair advantage to established powers.
It will be harder to cast a ballot in North Carolina now, thanks to a catch-all set of anti-voter legislation that – as it did in other states – addresses a problem that doesn’t appear to actually exist. North Carolina’s Republican-controlled government has eliminated same-day voter registration; reduced early voting; abolished a program to help high school students register; given party poll-watchers more authority to challenge voters; weakened disclosure for “independent expenditure” committees; ended out-of-precinct voting; made it more difficult to open satellite polling places, say at a nursing home; banned an option for straight-ticket voting; and – of course – approved a new photo-ID requirement. Gov. Pat McCrory said he’ll sign the legislation, despite not having seen at least one of its provisions – and apparently not even understanding the current system.
Voter fraud was one of hottest topics leading into the 2012 Election, and while the media microscope has since focused away from it, it’s far from disappeared. In fact, one case in Cincinnati can potentially land several police officers in jail. According to Cincinnati.com, thirty law enforcement officers in Hamilton County are facing up to a year in prison after a Board of Elections staffer discovered they registered to vote using their police station’s addresses as their own. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has since ordered county Boards of Elections across the state to review voter rolls and flag any commercial addresses used by individuals to register to vote.
South Dakota has devised an ingenious new way to curb minority voting. For decades, suppressing the Native American vote here has involved activities that might not surprise those who follow enfranchisement issues: last-minute changes to Indian-reservation polling places, asking Native voters for ID that isn’t required, confronting them in precinct parking lots and tailing them from the polls and recording their license-plate numbers. The state and jurisdictions within it have fought and lost some 20 Native voting-rights lawsuits; a major suit is still before the courts. Two South Dakota counties were subject to U.S. Department of Justice oversight until June of this year. That’s when the Supreme Court struck down a portion of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, saying, “Today, our Nation has changed.” Yes, it has. The VRA decision provided an opening for those who are uncomfortable when minorities, the poor and other marginalized citizens vote. Since the decision, new measures to limit enfranchisement have swept the country — mostly gerrymandering and restrictions on allowable voter IDs.
Germany, with a population of nearly 82 million, has seen its influence in the European Union grow significantly in recent years as it has weathered the economic storm perhaps better than any other member state. Having recovered from a recession in 2008, the country narrowly dodged a repeat slump at the start of 2013. Now the German economy appears to be on the up, with economic indicators looking solid. Angela Merkel, as current keeper of Germany’s most coveted political position, the chancellorship, has become the figurehead and perceived key decision-maker of the EU’s response the eurozone’s sovereign debt crisis. Protestors in the southern economies hit worst by economic stagnation have held up banners decrying the impacts of “Merkel austerity”, the chancellor’s campaign to shave sovereign debt by cutting public spending. But in her home country, analysts say that Merkel is enjoying an unusual spell of popular support due to her handling of the eurozone crisis.
The Election Commission has ordered two lakh additional electronic voting machines (EVMs) to meet the shortfall in the event of early Lok Sabha polls being held along with assembly polls in five states due later this year. “We have ordered around 2 lakh voting machines to meet the shortfall,” a senior EC official told TOI. The two lakh machines, to be supplied by BHEL and ECIL by September-October, will be in addition to the nearly 14 lakh EVMs already in possession of the EC. Half of these 14 lakh machines date back to pre-2006 period and may be prone to snags. They can take only 800 votes each, unlike the post-2006 EVMs with which around 2,000 voters can vote.
Maldives: Elections Commission dismisses possibility of electoral fraud using deceased voter details | Minivan News
The Elections Commission (EC) has rejected any possibility that the identities of deceased citizens could be used to fraudulently vote in the upcoming election, despite opposition allegations that security forces were seeking to influence polling by misusing such data. The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has continued to accuse both the government and senior police officials of trying to undermine free and fair elections, alleging the institution was actively seeking deceased lists detailing the country’s deceased in an attempts to try and rig voting. Rejecting any allegations that figures within the institution were seeking to rig polling, the Maldives Police Service (MPS) today confirmed it has been seeking a list detailing deceased peoples from across the Maldives as part of an investigation into allegations of fraudulent party membership.
Mali’s presidential election will go to a second round on August 11, the government said Friday, after no candidate secured a majority in the crunch poll which the runner up said was tainted by electoral fraud. Figures for Sunday’s ballot announced on live television showed former prime minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in the lead with 39.2 percent of the vote, ahead of main rival Soumaila Cisse with 19.4 percent. But Cisse accused the government of allowing widespread fraud to tarnish the vote after the interior ministry said more than 400,000 ballot papers had been spoiled out of some 3.5 million votes cast.
Zimbabwe: Prime Minister says election was manipulated and is not credible, poses new political crisis | Washington Post
Allegations of vote-rigging flowed in Zimbabwe on Thursday, with reports of fake registration cards, voters turned away from the polls and people appearing on voters’ lists four times with different IDs. Even before results were announced, the main opposition camp said longtime President Robert Mugabe stole the election, which his supporters denied. Either way, the country faces fresh political uncertainty. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the main challenger to Mugabe, said the elections on Wednesday were “null and void” due to violations in the voting process, and a poll monitoring group that is not affiliated with the state said the poll was compromised by a campaign to stop voters from casting ballots. In the first official results announced by the state election commission late Thursday, Mugabe’s party captured 28 of the 210 parliamentary seats, compared to three won by Tsvangirai’s party. Most of those results came from Mugabe’s rural strongholds. The elections had posed one of the biggest challenges to Mugabe’s 33-year grip on power on this former British colony, but claims by his opponents that the election was tainted and declarations of victory by the president’s supporters suggested his political career was far from over.