Despite warnings during the that there might be attempts by Russian hackers to disrupt or even influence the outcome of U.S. elections, authorities on high alert across the country last week detected no major cyber attacks or untoward online activity directed at election infrastructure, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Monday. “In connection with the election, we did not see anything that I would characterize as significant,” he told the Bloomberg Next forum in D.C., “There were minor incidents of the type that people might expect, but nothing of significance.”
The Mobile County Probate Court website still shows that the County’s “pay as you go” construction measure passed with 99.7 percent of the vote. “This was like the perfect storm,” said Judge Don Davis, Mobile Probate Court. But as we’ve learned that’s incorrect. Judge Davis had to wait to figure it all out before he could say there was a problem. … At least 12 complaints were filed with the State Secretary’s Office over these results, leaving Judge Davis in the hot seat. But this Monday a representative for the voting machine is taking the blame. “This issue an issue Election Systems & Software performed, it’s a human issue. The machines counted as they were told to count and the oval was not in the right place,” said Kathy Rogers, Election Systems & Software. Essentially the wrong test ballot was used for the machines to count up the votes.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams said Thursday that there were limitations to an election system used in Pueblo County Tuesday that officials were not aware of at the time they purchased the equipment. Counting of all mail in-ballots was expected to be completed at about 10:30 p.m. on Election Day, but a computer server hit its capacity early that day, forcing Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder Gilbert “Bo” Ortiz to call the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, which provided a larger server. During a Thursday press conference in Colorado Springs, Williams repeated what Ortiz has been saying since the problem began. He told reporters that the size of Pueblo County’s four page ballot caused large scan files to clog the server. Williams said the server software (Microsoft SQL Express) was insufficient to handle the size. “The new (Pueblo County) system uses a scan of the entire ballot so judges quickly can adjudicate (ballots in) any race that might be in question,” Williams said.
Lawmakers in Illinois are pushing to override the governor’s veto of a bill aimed at increasing voter registration. That move would automatically register eligible Illinois residents to vote at the time they apply for a driver’s license or state-issued I-D. After receiving overwhelming support from both houses in the spring session, the effort was stopped cold in August when Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner issued a full veto on the bill, forcing lawmakers to either override his veto, or start from scratch. An override would require a three-fifths majority in both houses. A separate, new bill would take at least a year to be drafted and move through the house and senate.
Maine: Opponents of legalized marijuana set to request recount, at cost of $500,000 | The Portland Press Herald
A leader of the group opposed to marijuana legalization said Monday that it will request a recount of votes on the statewide ballot question that passed by a narrow margin last week. Such a recount, involving more than 757,000 ballots, could take a month to conduct and cost the state $500,000, the Secretary of State’s Office said Monday. Mainers Protecting Our Youth and Communities, which opposed Question 1 on the Nov. 8 ballot, is circulating petitions to collect the 100 signatures needed to request a recount. Scott Gagnon, campaign manager for the group, said the petitions will be turned in to the Secretary of State’s Office before the deadline at 5 p.m. Wednesday. The unofficial tally shows 381,060 votes in support of Question 1 and 376,658 opposed, a margin of 4,402 votes, less than 1 percent, according to unofficial results collected from communities across the state by the Associated Press and Portland Press Herald. The totals include about 4,000 absentee ballots received by the state from members of the military and Mainers living overseas.
Mainers have voted for a radical overhaul of elections, and now there’s much work to be done before the first statewide ranked-choice system is implemented. Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said that he’ll be meeting in coming weeks with legislative leaders and ranked-choice voting advocates to start the implementation process. And he’s already worried that the 2018 date in the referendum may be too ambitious. But Kyle Bailey, campaign manager of the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting, said there’s no wiggle room on the implementation date. “This is not a recommendation or an advisory opinion of the people. This was a statute enacted by the Maine people,” he said. Nationwide, a dozen cities have adopted ranked-choice voting, and Maine voters on Tuesday became the first to endorse the system for statewide elections.
There were long lines at some polling places on Election Day, and hundreds of voters waited for hours, particularly in Baltimore County. But there is no evidence of a partisan conspiracy, as some Republicans believed, just a shortage of scanners. Before the last voters cast ballots after 10 p.m. on Election Day, Maryland Republican Party Executive Director Joe Cluster was up in arms over the long waits that were exasperating some voters throughout the state. … “I’m concerned about the distribution of machines,” Cluster said. “Election Day was a fiasco! There was probably one [scanner] at every polling place. We definitely need more. The Board of Elections needs to make sure we find the money to put more scanners in the polling precincts.”
Like everyone else on Tuesday, the blind and visually impaired wanted to make their voices heard. But for some people using specially-designed machines that either audibly reads the ballots or increases the size of the fonts, Tuesday was a night filled with frustration. The reader, called “AutoMARK,” is used statewide in 10 states. Jon Cauchi and Cassaundra Bell are both visually impaired and they had problems with the AutoMARK systems at polling places in the Burton Street and Breton Avenue SE area. “The computer jammed again and again my vote was cast for opposite candidates than I would have preferred,” said Bell. Cauchi said the same thing happened to him. “It jammed, the voting official took the paper out of the machine, handed it to me and I noticed the whole right side of my paper was mismarked,”
For the first time ever, Mississippi voters had to show an ID to vote in the presidential election. Hinds County leaders used ID scanners to speed up long lines at the polls. “We have scanners that will scan the driver’s licenses and automatically pull out the voter’s name so they don’t have to manually go in and look for it,” election commissioner Connie Cochran said. But the ID scanners are only as good as the poll workers using them. Scanner problems might have cost a Jackson woman her vote because poll workers told her that her granddaughter had already voted using the woman’s name. “She had her ID and everything, but when the machine pulled it up, it pulled up my name (and) she didn’t know,” said the woman, who asked that her name not be used.
North Carolina’s top criminal investigations agency is looking into whether there was wrongdoing in last spring’s primary election in Durham County, the likely ground zero in the ongoing fight over last week’s still-in-doubt race for governor. A State Bureau of Investigation spokesman and Durham’s district attorney confirmed Monday that investigators have been on the case for two weeks. The bureau is investigating whether crimes were committed in the mishandling of more than 1,000 provisional ballots during the March primary elections. Some may have been counted twice and election officials presented the vote count as true when it was wrong, according to an interim report presented to the state elections board in May. The miscount didn’t affect the primary’s outcome. The state board’s completed investigation was turned over to Durham District Attorney Roger Echols, who brought in state investigators Oct. 31, bureau spokesman Shannon O’Toole said.
Confusion abounded in Navajo voting places in San Juan County, Utah, on Election Day, according to observers. The county overlaps the northern portion of the Navajo Nation and runs federal elections there. Navajo Nation attorney Maya Kane was in the county’s reservation town of Montezuma Creek, while Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission policy analyst Lauren Bernally was in Oljato, also on the reservation. The two saw malfunctioning voting machines and one polling place that couldn’t offer voters any way to cast a ballot for at least two and one half hours. Meanwhile, the county office, in Monticello, Utah, appears to have misinformed voters about polling locations. “I talked to voters who were very unhappy that their polling place ran out of ballots and had its only machine break down at the same time,” said Bernally, a tribal member. “Another voter called the county election office to find out where to go, only to be told to drive from Monument Valley to Mexican Hat and, when that was wrong, to double back to Monument Valley.” She stressed that this meant hours of driving and fuel costs.
Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers to study voter ID effect | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers are taking up a tricky task after last Tuesday’s election: figuring out whether the presence of the state’s voter ID requirement affected who voted. The study will seek to determine what would have happened if the election had been run in a different way and voters had not been required to show an approved ID before casting their ballots — never an easy proposition for academics or anyone else. Democrats have speculated that the presence of voter ID might have been one factor contributing to the lower turnout among African-Americans and young people in Milwaukee County, but Republicans have rejected those assertions as unfounded. “That is what we are trying to determine,” said Ken Mayer, a UW-Madison political science professor who is leading the study. “Right now, I’d say the survey is designed to capture any problems that might have occurred.” Mayer has served as an expert witness for opponents of the voter ID law in past litigation of the requirement.
Bulgaria faces political uncertainty following the resignation of the country’s prime minister after results showed his party losing badly in the country’s presidential runoff. Boiko Borisov’s move early on November 14 came after official results showed pro-Moscow Socialist candidate Rumen Radev, a former air force commander with no political experience, winning the November 13 poll. “We accept the will of the people and we congratulate those who have the support of the majority of the voters,” said Borisov late on November 13 hours after polls closed.
The pro-Russian winner of Moldova’s presidential election said on Monday he would push for early parliamentary elections next year to force out a government that favors closer ties with the European Union. New elections would mean yet more instability for Moldova, where a $1 billion graft scandal in 2014 badly damaged trust in pro-EU leaders and resulted in the prime minister being jailed. The impoverished country has had four premiers since then. Igor Dodon won Sunday’s election after campaigning for the scrapping of a trade deal the former Soviet state signed with Brussels in 2014. He told Russian state television voters had “united and voted for friendship with Russia, for neutrality”. “A very serious combat is ahead but we are ready for this combat,” he said, referring to an election he wants to bring forward to next year, from 2018.