Officials have yet to release the results of a 2011 set of penetration tests on Internet voting software conducted by the Department of Defense, prompting election watchdogs to ask what the Pentagon might be hiding. A few months after the 2011 tests, an official said the results would be publicly available, and a year later, another said the first release was slated by the end of 2012. A representative now says it will release results in 2015, as material is considered “pre-decisional.” Meanwhile, elections officials and lawmakers from across the country are joining watchdogs in demanding the results.
In the digital age, it seems strange that people all around the world still use paper to vote. Of course, given bitcoin’s promise to remove paper from the financial system, many in the industry are beginning to ask if the same block chain technology can be applied to help modernize the democratic process. … Forget it, says Barbara Simons. “At this point we cannot do Internet voting securely,” warns the former IBM computer scientist who has conducted extensive research into Internet voting. Readers will point out that Internet voting is already happening, but she’s saying that we cannot guarantee its integrity. Simons, a former president of the Association for Computing Machinery, participated in a National Workshop on Internet Voting commissioned by former US President Bill Clinton, and authored a book, ‘Broken Ballots‘. She is a long-standing critic of online voting, and her research caused the US Department of Defense to nix an Internet voting system it was considering. “A lot of people think ‘I can bank online, so why can’t I vote online?’,” says Simons. “But, millions disappear from online bank accounts each year.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a June 25 hearing on a long-stalled bill to repair the 1965 Voting Rights Act after the Supreme Court weakened the landmark civil rights legislation by weakening key provisions last year. ‘It is time for Congress to act,’ Leahy said in a statement Monday. ‘Just as Congress came together 50 years ago to enact the Civil Rights Act, Democrats and Republicans should work together now to renew and strengthen the Voting Rights Act, which has always been bipartisan.’ The hearing will occur on the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling that knocked out parts of the voting rights act and urged Congress to revisit it, saying the law needs updating to account for how times have changed.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and other top lawmakers have urged a federal appeals court to overturn a decision by a judge in Kansas that they say would limit the authority of Congress to regulate federal elections and derail its ability to pass legislation protecting the right to vote. Their friend-of-the-court filing last week at the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals comes in the lawsuit filed by Kansas and Arizona to force federal elections officials to help those states impose their proof-of-citizenship requirements on federal voter registration forms used by residents of the states. Both states argue the requirements prevent voter fraud by thwarting voting by noncitizens. Critics of such laws view them as suppressing voter turnout. But both sides agree the potential impacts of the case could extend to other states.
Editorials: Eric Cantor’s Last, Legacy-Burnishing Task: Update the VRA | Ron Chistie/The Daily Beast
As the fallout from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s stunning primary defeat continues, the departing number two in the House should burnish his legacy by pushing through a bill to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA). The Voting Rights Act prohibits discriminatory actions that had largely denied blacks the ability to vote in the South since Reconstruction following the Civil War. Congress has reauthorized the provisions of the VRA four times—most recently in 2006, under the leadership of George W. Bush and with bipartisan support from Congress. The House supported the measure 390-33 and the Senate unanimously approved the legislation 98-0. So why reauthorize the VRA now, and why should Eric Cantor be the driving force?
Thousands of mail-in ballots are being invalidated in California elections because they arrive too late to be counted, government officials and political experts said Monday. In the state’s June 3 primary, Los Angeles County received about 2,400 mail-in ballots after the Election Day deadline — the close of polls — making them ineligible to be tallied. The number of latecomers invalidated in Santa Cruz County was nearly 600, all postmarked on or before the election. The postmark isn’t the deciding factor — the cutoff is the close of polls, when election officials must have the ballots in-hand. In a state with nearly 18 million registered voters, the figures for late-arriving ballots are relatively tiny, but even small numbers can make a difference in tight races.
Advocates for same-day voter registration met at Frazier’s restaurant Friday to pump up support for getting legislation passed. The bill, H.B. 105, if approved would make Delaware the 13th state in the nation to allow eligible voters to register to vote on the day of the election at their polling place. Currently, the registration deadline is 24 days prior to an election. The Central Delaware NAACP said Friday that states with same-day voter registration have a voter turnout around 10 points higher than states that do not.
An unusual move by Illinois election officials has injected new controversy into a fight over who wields the crucial power of drawing Illinois’ political maps, with supporters of a proposed constitutional amendment complaining that insiders are undermining their efforts. The political intrigue was heightened when the state elections board abruptly decided to overrule its own hearing officer and shorten a key deadline for those seeking to prove the proposal has enough valid signatures to be placed on the statewide ballot in November.
A New York lawmaker wants to grant many of the rights of citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants and non-citizen residents, including the right to vote in local and state elections, under a bill introduced on Monday. The New York Is Home Act is the first bill in the United States that would provide such broad rights to non-citizens who can show they have lived and paid taxes in New York for at least three years, according to the bill’s sponsor, state Senator Gustavo Rivera. “Nearly 3 million people in the state of New York currently reside here and make New York their home, but can’t fully participate in civic, political, and economic life,” Rivera, a Democrat who represents the Bronx in New York City, said in a telephone interview. He described the bill as a response to the stagnation of immigration reform efforts in the U.S. Congress.
Early voting has not led to more voting in Ohio, at least not in terms of total votes cast. A Dispatch analysis of the vote totals from the past three presidential elections in the state shows that overall turnout in the 2012 race, when Ohioans arguably had the most opportunities in state history to vote early, was lower than in the 2004 election, when there was virtually no early voting in Ohio. Turnout in 2008, the first presidential race in which Ohioans had no-fault absentee voting and also the first time an African-American was on the ballot, was about 1 percent higher than in 2004. “People who vote early are people who are typically going to vote anyway,” said Paul Beck, a political science professor at Ohio State University. “So, early voting hasn’t really succeeded in turning out more people to vote. We’ve made it a lot easier to vote, but on the other hand, some people are very discouraged about politics and might not care how easy it is to vote.”
Most voters will think only about Republicans and Democrats when they go to the polls this summer and fall, but a few political activists want at least some Tennesseans to consider alternatives. Representatives of the Green Party and Constitution Party say they will push to establish a foothold in Tennessee politics following years of battles in the courts and state legislature. They would appear to have their best opportunity in decades to do so. A federal judge has ordered state officials to let Greens and Constitutionalists appear on the ballot for just the second time ever. And the races at the top of the ballot are likely to be landslides, which could make it easier for them to pitch Tennesseans on casting third-party votes in protest.
Voter turnout in Texas is indisputably awful. The March primaries drew 1.9 million, with only 560,033 voting in the Democratic contest and the rest voting in the more competitive Republican races. According to the Texas secretary of state’s office, there were 18.9 million adults in the state in March, and 13.6 million of them were registered to vote. Texans did even worse in the runoff last month. Only 951,461 voted — 201,008 in the Democratic primary. The competitive pickings were admittedly slim on that side of the ballot, but there is no way to spin Texas voters’ anemic level of interest into a positive commentary on civic engagement.
Residents of Fairfax County will be able to use a new voting machines in this upcoming November election, the first such comprehensive equipment replacement in more than a decade. The Fairfax County Office of Elections purchased 1,125 voting machines from Election Systems and Software, which includes 525 paper ballot scanning machines and 600 paper ballot generating machines, with the initial price at approximately $6.4 million. The new equipment will provide and scan paper ballots for voters, and will also let voters know if their ballot is blank or they voted for more candidates than allowed in any race.
Less than 48 hours after a runoff election to choose the next president of Afghanistan, the first signs of a looming political crisis emerged on Monday, with the campaign of Abdullah Abdullah claiming there had been widespread ballot stuffing and suggesting he was being set up for a defeat he would not accept. A senior campaign official for Mr. Abdullah, who won the most votes in the election’s first round, said the candidate believes President Hamid Karzai and a coterie of advisers around him orchestrated the fraud. The aim, in the estimation of the Abdullah campaign, was either to install Ashraf Ghani, the other candidate for president, or to see Mr. Karzai use a postelection crisis as an excuse to extend his own term in office.
Afghanistan: Abdullah Abdullah Campaign Claims Inflated Turnout in Rival’s Power Base | Wall Street Journal
Indications of vote fraud during Afghanistan’s presidential election Monday threatened to ignite a political crisis and endanger the first democratic transition in the nation’s history. The nation’s election commission had said that more than seven million people voted in Saturday’s runoff—well above the 6.6 million who took part in the election’s first round in April—but that figure has come under scrutiny. Candidate Abdullah Abdullah, a former foreign minister, called the turnout claim “uncorroborated,” and on Monday members of Mr. Abdullah’s campaign team said that between one million and two million ballots were fraudulent, stuffed for his rival, former finance minister Ashraf Ghani. Naeem Ayubzada, head of the Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan, an independent group that dispatched some 8,000 observers Saturday, also disputed the official figure. He estimated 5 million voters as a more realistic turnout number.
An internet platform for this weekend’s vote on political reform has been paralysed following a large scale attack by hackers. The University of Hong Kong’s Public Opinion Programme, which is helping Occupy Central organisers to conduct the unofficial referendum, said their servers were bombarded by more than ten-billion system inquiries within 20 hours.
Tunisia’s election authority has proposed a parliamentary vote on Oct. 26 and the first round of presidential polls a month later, marking the final step towards full democracy in the cradle of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings. Tunisia’s often turbulent political transition began after the popular revolt that ousted autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali and inspired revolutions across the region. The North African state has been run of late by aukbig caretaker government that saw through the adoption of a new constitution lauded as a model of democratic evolution in an unstable region.