Editorials: To resolve Wisconsin’s state Supreme Court election, flip a coin | The Washington Post

Wisconsin’s already-fraught politics got even crazier last week when a bitterly contested, high-turnout state Supreme Court election ended in a near tie. Incumbent Justice David Prosser leads challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg by less than 0.5 percent, which means Kloppenburg has the right to a state-funded recount. We are probably headed toward a long, expensive, law-snarled process…

Editorials: South Carolina: Resolve voting machine questions | The Post and Courier

There have been ongoing complaints about supposed problems with the state’s electronic voting machines since last year’s Democratic primary election, and now the local Council of Governments has taken up the drumbeat. It’s time to resolve the matter. The Legislative Audit Council is the obvious choice to investigate performance and security questions raised about the…

Editorials: The Ugly Politics of Fitzwalkerstan: Wisconsin GOP Official “Finds” Votes to Reverse Defeat of Conservative Justice | The Nation

Suppose the Democratic governor of Illinois had proposed radical changes in how the state operates, and suppose anger over those proposed changes inspired a popular uprising that filled the streets of every city, village and town in the state with protests. Then, suppose there was an election that would decide whether allies of the governor…

Editorials: A Common Sense Solution to Defective Voting | Lawrence Norden/The Hill Blog

In a week, millions of Americans will exercise their most important civil right – the right to vote. But as surely as some campaigns will end in a deluge of confetti and others in popped balloons, there will also be problems with vote tallies. Some votes will be counted more than once, some votes will be counted not at all, and some votes will appear as if by magic. This state of affairs is not caused by corruption. It is caused by malfunctioning voting machines. Since 2002, federal, state and local governments have spent billions on electronic voting systems. These systems are complex, consisting of tens of thousands of lines of computer code. And when, as is inevitable, some machines malfunction on the first Tuesday in November, it is election officials who will be asked to explain. They will struggle to cope with these problems while under enormous pressure to produce timely and accurate results. One would think that information about voting machine malfunctions would be just as open as the democracy for which, they are, quite literally the linchpin. Instead, defects or failures in voting machines are treated as secrets. For the most part, voting system manufacturers are under no obligation to publicly report malfunctions to a central authority. Officials in each of the nation’s approximately 4,700 election jurisdictions are left to fend for themselves.

Editorials: Internet Voting, Still in Beta | New York Times

Internet voting is in its infancy, and still far too unreliable, but states are starting to allow it and the trend is accelerating because of a new federal law that requires greater efforts to help military and other overseas voters cast ballots. Men and women in uniform must have a fair opportunity to vote, but allowing online voting in its current state could open elections up to vote theft and other mischief. It is often hard for military voters to get ballots, and because of distance and unreliable mail service, it can be difficult or impossible for them to meet election deadlines. A year ago, the Pew Center on the States found that more than one-third of states do not provide military voters stationed abroad with enough time to vote, or are at high risk of not providing enough time. To address this problem, the new Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act requires states in most cases to get ballots to military and overseas voters well in advance of regularly scheduled federal elections.

Editorials: Tennessee Voters Need Confidence in the Electoral Process | The Tennessean

The Tennessee Voter Confidence Act requires replacement of paperless touchscreen voting machines with optical ballot scanners by November 2010. Optical-scan voting systems read marked paper ballots and tally results, providing a tangible record of the voter’s intent. They are now the most widely employed voting systems in the nation, used by 60 percent of voters in other states. The act was adopted nearly unanimously by the Tennessee legislature — by both Democrats and Republicans — and in 2008 enthusiastically signed into law by Gov. Phil Bredesen. But implementation of the law has been ensnared in legalities and technicalities. Tennessee’s secretary of state and coordinator of elections have argued that the new law requires scanners be federally certified to 2005 standards, and because no machines have yet been certified to that standard, the law cannot be put into effect in time for 2010 elections.