Verified Voting in the News: Problems and questions face D.C. following primary | electionlineWeekly

The complaining on social media began almost as soon as the polls in Washington, D.C. closed at 8 p.m. on the April 1 primary. Where were the first results? Why haven’t we heard anything? While certainly the 8 p.m. naysayers could be dismissed for their short attention spans and need for instant gratification, when 9 p.m. came and went with no results, not even those from early voting, even calmer heads started to wonder: Again? Why are there no results? Whoever was running the D.C. Board of Elections’ Twitter page was doing their best to keep people informed, but by 9:30 the Twitterati and local media were having none of it. Finally at 9:55 p.m. the first results began to trickle in, but there were discrepancies in the numbers between what reporters were given and what was appearing on the DCBOE’s website. It was near 2 a.m. before the final votes were tallied in an election that had the lowest election turnout in 30 years. … In D.C. there are not just two different voting systems but multiple electronic systems. Poll workers had to go through a complex-sounding process to transfer the results from one DRE to the other so that all the votes in the precinct were reported together. “When you have two systems, you have more shutting down and more reconciling to do. You have more checks to do and more checklists to check,” said Dana Chisnell with the Center for Civic Design. “You also have to reconcile *between* the systems, so it wouldn’t be surprising to me if there was confusion around that.”

Voting Blogs: Richland County South Carolina elections still in turmoil | electionlineWeekly

In the heart of South Carolina lies Richland County. Home to the University of South Carolina, the second largest county in the state is celebrating its 215th anniversary. By all accounts, it’s a nice place to live and work. Recently though, it has not been a good place to vote. The Richland County Board of Elections and Voter Registration has been under a cloud of controversy since 2011 when the General Assembly passed a law merging Richland County’s elections office and voter registration office. During the 2012 presidential election, voters in Richland County faced some of the longest lines in the country. Some of the problems were blamed on a lack of poll workers, malfunctioning machines and that in many cases there were simply too few voting machines at precincts. There were anecdotal reports that hundreds of voters ultimately gave up and never cast a ballot.

Voting Blogs: The Kobach Case as Voting Rights Jurisprudence | More Soft Money Hard Law

Make what you will of Judge Melgren’s analysis of preemption, or the hints of his constitutional stance on the federal-state balance of authority under the Elections Clause—his decision in Kobach v. The United States Election Assistance Commissionis a mechanical exercise that leaves the reader without any sense of what this case isabout. Kansas and Arizona have not merely made a “determination” of what they need to verify the citizenship of state residents seeking to become voters. The history behind this litigation is more complex, with more history to it, and the court knew it.  It chose, however, to follow example of the Supreme Court and to do as the High Court has done in other cases, like Purcell v. Gonzalez and Crawford v. Marion County, and leave the real world out. Some might say that the Supreme Court is bound to disregard the politics behind these cases and train its eye on the “law” alone.  But the Justices’ fidelity to this proposition is mixed.  Justice Scalia, for example, has enlivened his constitutional position on campaign finance doctrine with references to the history of incumbent manipulation of the campaign finance laws—including evidence of political mischief that he found quite compelling in the very case under review.

Voting Blogs: If you provide it, they still might not come: Marin County CA surveys disabled voters about voting | electionlineWeekly

Marin County, Calif.’s Registrar of Voters Elaine Ginnold was faced with a vexing problem. Since installing accessible ballot-marking devices in each precinct in 2006 in the Bay Area county, on average no more than seven disabled voters used the machines per election. The machines were there to make voting easier, but why weren’t voters using them? Ginnold had heard of no problems with the machines themselves and only anecdotally heard about voting preferences of some disabled voters. “We wondered why more voters weren’t using the accessible ballot marking machine at the polls, which are required by the Help America Vote Act [HAVA],” Ginnold said. “We wondered if we needed to do more outreach to encourage voters to use them. We also wondered if there could be accessibility issues we didn’t know about.”

Voting Blogs: Republican States May Soon Demand Proof of Citizenship for Voting in Federal Elections | Election Law Blog

Today a federal court decided Kobach v. United States Election Assistance Commission.The upshot of this opinion, if it stands on appeal, is that states with Republican legislatures and/or Republican chief election officials are likely to require documentary proof of citizenship for voting, making it harder for Democrats to pursue a relatively simple method of voter registration. The case is complicated and has a complex history, but here are the basics. In 1993, Congress passed the National Voter Registration Act (or “motor voter”), which makes a number of changes at issue in federal elections. Among other things the law requires that states must accept from voters voter registrations submitted on a federal form for voting in congressional elections. Preparing this form used to be the responsibility of the Federal Election Commission, but when Congress created the U.S. Election Assistance Commission as part of its Help America Vote Act after the 2000 contested presidential election, it shifted responsibility for preparing the form to the EAC. The federal form approved by the EAC is a relatively simple form, and those who register voters like to use it for voter registration not only because it is easy, but because it is uniform across the country. Democratic-aligned groups like the federal form a lot.

Voting Blogs: The FEC and the Making of Law “Case-by-Case” | More Soft Money Hard Law

A conflict—the latest in the series—has broken out among FEC Commissioners about whether they have made public all relevant material on the General Counsel’s  view of Crossroads GPS and whether it is a “political committee.”  In one report, the GC concluded that the evidence supported further investigation of the question, but the Commission deadlocked, and now a private lawsuit is looming.  Republicans seem to believe that the public record is incomplete and that the missing GC analysis would have a bearing on the legal merits of Crossroads’ position.   Whatever the facts of the matter, this ruckus reminds readers once again of the troubled condition of the Commission’s “case-by-case,” fact-specific approach to determining “political committee” status. In 2007, the Commission adopted this approach because the alternative—a rulemaking with bright lines—could not attract the four votes needed to pass. Instead the agency, with nowhere else to turn, had to decide cases on unique facts after comprehensive inquiry, or invite organizations unwilling to gamble on the outcome to seek an Advisory Opinion before spending their money and running the legal risk of becoming a fully regulated “political committee.” Political Committee Status, 72 Fed. Reg. 5,595-02 (Feb. 7, 2007).  In litigation challenging its failure to promulgate a rule, the Commission defended itself by saying that a rulemaking was “inadvisable.”  See Shays v. Federal Election Commission, 424 F.Supp.2d 100, 112 (2006).  But it was not inadvisable.  It was simply impossible, for lack of a majority position on the Commission on the shape of the law.

Voting Blogs: Crimea’s referendum: four dangers | openDemocracy

A referendum can be a proper instrument of direct democracy. But if applied improperly, it may devalue the cause it was meant to advance. This is the case with the vote on 16 March 2014 announced by Crimea’s authorities, who – following the takeover of the peninsula by Russia’s armed forces – seek a result that would make Crimea part of the Russian Federation. The most straightforward objection is constitutional. The constitution of Ukraine, of which Crimea is an integral and recognised part, says that Ukraine’s borders can be altered only via an all-Ukrainian referendum. This is why the Crimean initiative (formally proposed and passed by the parliament of Crimea, an autonomous republic within Ukraine) is anti-constitutional. This makes it bad for Ukraine as a whole, but this “separatist” plebiscite could also prove counterproductive for Russians in Crimea, a majority of the population, and for the Russian Federation.

Voting Blogs: Overseas Vote Foundation studies new remote voting program | electionlineWeekly

Making sure every vote counts and every vote is secure is of the utmost importance to all elections officials. When the voters are members of our military or residents serving and living abroad, the counting of those votes is as important, it’s just a bit more complex. Through the years there have been a variety of legislative measures such as the MOVE Act to make sure that ballots are sent to and accepted from overseas voters in a timely fashion. There have been some attempts — some somewhat successful, some not-so-much — to create secure systems for overseas residents to case their ballots electronically. Now the Overseas Vote Foundation (OVF) is conducting a new study that will team up scientists and state and local elections officials to look at the feasibility of end-to-end, verifiable, secure Internet voting for military and overseas voters.

Voting Blogs: Off to the races: Twenty-four top elections jobs up for grabs | electionlineWeekly

With the first voters of the 2014 mid-term election cycle already heading to the polls; with secretaries of state garnering more national attention than ever before; and with state legislatures expanding and limiting the right to vote across the country, 24 states will elect a top election official this year. In 13 of those 24 states, the incumbent is seeking re-election, but in nine states voters are guaranteed a new top election official. Those nine states include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, and Nevada. Some of the nine are term-limited or retiring, while others are seeking higher office including governor and the U.S. Senate.

Voting Blogs: Dude! Where’s my ballot? Democracy Works pilots new ballot-tracking program | electionlineWeekly

Even in this day and age where just about everything is done online, elections officials nationwide are still tied to their telephones. In the days leading up to an election, elections offices can field hundreds of phone calls each day as anxious voters want to check on the status of their mail ballot. Not only can and does this put a strain on understaffed and overworked elections offices, it can put a strain on voters who get busy signals or are put on hold. Democracy Works — which most of you may recognize as the nonprofit parent organization for TurboVote — is working on a pilot project that will help alleviate some of this pressure on both the elections officials and the voters. “From the beginning of TurboVote, we knew that to improve elections for everyone, we needed to work with the people who actually run them,” said Kathryn Peters, co-founder of TurboVote. So Democracy Works partnered with Reboot, a service-design consultancy to shadow election administration in six offices in Colorado, Texas, Missouri, Kentucky, Florida, and Vermont in 2013.

Voting Blogs: Super PACs and the Confusion of Regulatory Objectives | More Soft Money Hard Law

In the discussion of Super PACs,  seemingly different concerns tend to intermingle or become fused together, creating confusion.  Most obvious is the continuing disagreement about whether candidate support for an independent committee, particularly fundraising, results in “coordination.”  Some argue—some propose an amendment to the law to provide—that a candidate’s public endorsement of a committee, including but not limited to appeals for funds, is coordination.  Another view distinguishes among Super PACs and would subject single-candidate committees to stricter coordination than others. The issue might be easier to follow if it were made clear that there are two regulatory objectives, close in nature but not the same, running through the arguments about the impact of candidate fundraising for an independent committee. One  goal is to keep officeholders and candidates from soliciting “soft money”—money in unlimited sums and without restriction in source—and, in consequence, placed in a position rife with the potential for corruption.  The other is to determine whether a Super PAC, as a result of coordination with a candidate, is limited in its spending.  The “coordinated” spending is, of course, a contribution and must comply with dollar limits.  Not so the spending that remains an “independent expenditure.”

Voting Blogs: “You Can’t Blame the Youth (For No Longer Pre-Registering to Vote in North Carolina)” | State of Elections

The United States Census Bureau reports that Americans aged 18-24 have the lowest voter registration rate of any age group.  Only 53.6% of U.S. citizens in that age group were registered to vote as of November 2012.  By contrast, more than 79% of citizens aged 65 and older were registered.  These disparate numbers raise questions about the health of our nation’s civic culture and the fairness of our elections, a concern so real it made it into an episode of The West Wing. Between its implementation in 2010 and its repeal in 2013, a North Carolinaelection law attempted to mitigate the age-registration gap by allowing otherwise qualified 16 and 17-year olds to pre-register to vote.  Upon turning eighteen, individuals who had pre-registered would be automatically registered to vote following verification of their address.  According to Common Cause North Carolina, an estimated 160,000 of the state’s teenagers who pre-registered were able to vote in the 2012 election.  The North Carolina election law was unique in requiring county election officials to hold voter registration drives on high school campuses.

Voting Blogs: Who decides how European elections work: the party or the electorate? | openDemocracy

There is only one European election, however it is held on different days and according to different versions of proportional representative voting for each country. Proportional representation (“PR”) voting with open lists allows for more influence on which candidate gets elected, giving voters the choice between personalities as well as between the political parties. This open list system is used in a large number of EU member states: Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Malta. However, for example in France, Germany and the UK the countries have opted for a closed-list, where voters are only given the choice between the parties, but not the individual candidates. “Closed-list PR” moves the competition between candidates from the same party back from an open election campaign, engaging with the voters, to an earlier stage in the election process: the party selection process.

Voting Blogs: Senate Rules Committee Hearing Followup | Election Academy

Just a quick review of yesterday’s Senate Rules Committee hearing to hear testimony from the co-chairs of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration and conduct a business hearing on two nominations to the Election Assistance Commission:

• The EAC portion of the hearing did not occur – at least not in the hearing room; Chairman Charles Schumer (D-NY) said that the business meeting to consider those nominations would take place “off the floor” later in the day, but there appears to be no evidence in yesterday’s Congressional Record that the meeting took place;
+ The hearing itself was attended by only four Senators – Schumer, ranking member Pat Roberts (R-KS), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Angus King (I-ME);

• Overall, the hearing was cordial and co-chairs Robert Bauer and Ben Ginsberg had the opportunity to discuss the PCEA report and answer Senators’ questions about its impact on election policy going forward;

Voting Blogs: Canvassing, Contests, and Recounts, oh my! Rejected Absentee Votes in Virginia’s Attorney General’s Race | State of Elections

The victor in Virginia’s attorney general race was up in the air well into December.  Localities had until November 12 to turn in the results of the contest between Sen. Mark Obenshain and Sen. Mark Herring.  One of the delays in declaring a winner arose from a problem in Fairfax County, where a discrepancy in absentee votes was uncovered.  In the 8th District in Fairfax County, only 50 percent of absentee ballots that were requested were cast compared to 88 percent in the 10th District and 86 percent in the 11th District. Once localities sent in their tallies to the state, the State Board of Elections will review the totals. The SBE had until November 25 to certify the results.  If the margin of victory is within one percent, the losing candidate can request a recount, as Obenshain has done.

Voting Blogs: Sweden’s super election year | openDemocracy

While EU member states are gearing up for elections to the European Parliament in May, Sweden also has another election to prepare. In September, Swedes will again head to the voting booths, this time to decide the country’s political direction for the coming four years. As such, 2014 has become known as a “super election year”, a concept of almost mythical proportions. Sweden joined the EU alongside Austria and Finland in 1995, but not all Swedes rejoiced. The referendum preceding accession had given a slim majority – 52.3 per cent – in favour of membership, with a full 46.8 per cent of voters against. EU processes have become an integral part of Swedish politics, but Sweden in many aspects still remains a reluctant partner after almost twenty years of cooperation. Swedish ambivalence towards the EU has been particularly visible since the economic and financial crisis. Swedish top politicians have at once wished to move positions forward in the areas of economy and finance, by virtue of Sweden’s relatively strong performance during the crisis, and to keep actual commitment to EU economic policy at arm’s length. Swedish public opinion is amongst the most sceptical regarding the euro of all member states. As such, the government coalition, in principle in favour of the euro, has had to keep its common-currency dreams at bay. As in many other member states, the nature of Swedish ambiguity towards the EU is somewhat of a chicken-or-egg scenario: have governments sparked these doubts by playing off EU policy against domestic policy, or have they just been sensitive towards the wants and needs of the public? Interestingly, the Swedish political weathervane has seen different effects of the economic crisis in terms of EU policy.

Voting Blogs: So Yesterday: “The (Rather Outdated) Case Against Early Voting” | Election Academy

Earlier this week, law professors Eugene Kontorovich and John McGinnis contributed a piece to Politico Magazine making The Case Against Early Voting. … This piece isn’t unique; indeed, the proposal to expand early voting seems to have struck more of a nerve than the endorsement of online voter registration. But this piece is especially curious because it seems to focus on one criticism of early voting that was more prevalent years ago – namely, the loss of the experience of a single day of voting. … This argument, which was popular a decade ago, is undercut by research by Paul Gronke and othersshowing that early voters are not only more partisan but less undecided, meaning that they have no interest in “taking in the full back and forth of the campaign.” It also flies in the face of voters, well, voting with their feet by choosing to cast ballots outside of the traditional polling place. There are, to be sure, evidence-based arguments that early voting isn’t the turnout machine it’s often sold to be – indeed, Barry Burden and three colleagues have a provocative new paper that suggests that early voting actually DECREASES turnout in the absence of opportunities for same-day registration. There is also a growing realization of the need to do cost-benefit analyses of lengthy voting periods and identify the best time to open the process when significant numbers of voters are ready to take advantage of early voting.

Voting Blogs: Coordinating with a Super PAC, Raising Money for It, and the Difference Between the Two | More Soft Money Hard Law

How much can a candidate do for a Super PAC without illegally “coordinating” with it? Recent proposals would answer that she has to keep her distance—no publicly (or privately) stated support and no fundraising for the independent committee. A bit of a surprise has developed in the debate. While questioning how far these restrictions can go, Rick Hasen concludes that as a matter of constitutional law, Congress may prohibit the fundraising, and on this point, he sides in theory with Brad Smith of the Center for Competitive Politics. Richard L. Hasen, Super PAC Contributions, Corruption, and the Proxy War Over Coordination, Duke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy (forthcoming), 16-17, available here; Bradley A. Smith, Super PACs and the Role of “Coordination” in Campaign Finance Law, 49 Willamette L. Rev. 603, 635 (2013). Rick Hasen and Brad Smith are not often found in the same jurisprudential company.  So it is interesting to consider how they may have arrived there and why, in their judgments about the regulation Buckley would allow, they appear to have erred.

Voting Blogs: Presidential elections: key step in Egypt’s roadmap | openDemocracy

With the announcement of the results of Egypt’s 2014 constitutional referendum, the curtains were brought down on the first stage of the July 3 roadmap. According to the consensus on the roadmap, Egyptians should now be readying for parliamentary elections. However, all indicators point to a change in the agreed upon sequence of events, in which presidential elections will most likely come next. As a matter of principle, I have many concerns regarding amendments or changes to the roadmap. This is not due to personal convictions regarding staging parliamentary elections before electing a president, and neither is it due to inflexibility or persistence. Ultimately, the roadmap, which is the result of human decisions, is not immune to changes or amendments. Rather, there is the concern that if the door for change is opened once, it can’t be closed again.

Voting Blogs: Don’t Listen to the Naysayers – This Report is Important, and It’s Going to Matter | Heather Gerken/Election Law Blog

The President’s Commission on Election Administration just released its report, and it offers something we don’t often see in policymaking circles these days: sanity. The report provides a knowledgeable, balanced overview of what ails our system, and its recommendations are spot-on. No good deed goes unpunished in Washington, of course. Indeed, I’d be willing to make two predictions. First, the naysayers are going to tell you the Commission should have “done more” by weighing in on controversial issues like voter ID or the Voting Rights Act. Second, most reporters are going to miss why this report matters as much as it does. If tomorrow’s papers trumpet complaints that the Report doesn’t offer any bipartisan “grand bargains” on voter ID or the Voting Rights Act, toss ‘em. Grand bargains can’t be had in this political climate. The Commissioners wisely focused on getting something done. And their recommendations are going to make a real difference to real people. I’d take that deal any day.

Voting Blogs: The European Green primary experiment | openDemocracy

The Scottish referendum this year, whatever the result, will mark one significant change in British politics, with 16 and 17-year-olds being able to vote “yes” or “no” on the nation’s constitutional future. (Find out more here if that applies to you and you haven’t already registered.) But this won’t be a first, for 16 and 17-years-olds, all around the United Kingdom, will have an earlier opportunity to cast their vote – in the European Greens primary election, now open and continuing until January 28. Anyone aged 16 or over, who can indicate with a simple tick that they support the Greens principles, is entitled to cast their ballot – an opening up of democracy that is another European first.

Voting Blogs: Campaign Finance, Polarization and the Case of the Lost Car Keys | More Soft Money Hard Law

The American Political Science Association Task Force report on political polarization,Negotiating Agreement in Politics (2013) includes a discussion of the role of campaign spending. The co-authors of this analysis, Michael Barber and Nolan McCarty, write that the role is small. But they suggest that there is more work to be done, raising the question of whether some spur to polarization might come from the rising importance to candidates of ideologically motivated individual donors. Before turning to that question, it is worth noting what else the co-authors have to say about the impact of money. They refer to the research that shows the “weak connection” between contributions and roll call votes, and between campaign spending and election outcomes. One would not know this from standard media coverage of the issue. This is not to say, of course, that money in politics does not present important public policy issues. But one is reminded once again that much of what passes for a telling critique of campaign finance in America is weakly or inconsistently supported by social science research.

Voting Blogs: Fundraising and Corruption in the Arguments about McCutcheon | More Soft Money Hard Law

Public Citizen attempts to make the case that the Supreme Court’s pending decision inMcCutcheon could, if wrongly decided, unleash a flood of money with the probable effect of corrupting the political process. The argument is the one heard before in briefs and in oral argument about joint fundraising committees. A donor who gives to a joint fundraising committee can write a check for millions, to be apportioned within the limits among all the joint fundraising participants. Public Citizen warns against “naïveté”: the more “practical” view it urges is that the officeholder who solicits for the joint fundraising committee risks corruptive indebtedness to the donor. This is a plausible policy argument, but not clearly one best directed to the Supreme Court or sufficient to carry the constitutional position Public Citizen is advocating. Public Citizen is relying on a hypothetical (which is another way of saying that no record exists to suggest that it is realistic) and on a particular understanding of corruption and fundraising that does not capture the complexities of Congress’ treatment of the issue in reform measures over the years.

Voting Blogs: New Pew Issue Brief Drills Down on State Implementation of Online Voter Registration | Election Academy

No development in recent years has had a bigger impact on election administration than online voter registration. As more and more states make OVR available, the process by which citizens create or update their voter record is fundamentally changing. At this stage in OVR’s expansion, however, we have reached the point where it is not only possible but desirable to look past simply IF a state has OVR and ask HOW IT WORKS. That’s why I was so delighted to see yesterday’s release of a new Pew issue brief dedicated to online voter registration.

Voting Blogs: “Accuracy, Resilience and Denial” and Their Impact on Elections | Election Academy

One of my favorite non-election blogs is that of marketing guru Seth Godin, who has written numerous books on various aspects of how to succeed in marketing, business and life. I was especially taken with a recent post that discussed the different ways an individual or organization can deal with the need to succeed in the face of uncertainty. In it, he says that accuracy, resilience and denial are three ways to deal with the future. …  As I read the post, I couldn’t help but think about the different ways that election officials cope with the uncertainty of turnout and other factors that affect the conduct of elections.

Voting Blogs: New Overseas Vote Foundation Project to Examine Remote Online Voting | Election Academy

Last week, the Overseas Vote Foundation announced the launch of a new project aimed at taking a research-based approach to the question of whether or not absentee ballots can be securely cast over the Internet. Thanks to generous funding from the Democracy Fund, the project will be an opportunity to answer key questions about the feasibility of meeting growing calls for remote online voting. OVF’s press release has more details:

The project is called End-to-End Verifiable Internet Voting: Specification and Feasibility Assessment Study (E2E VIV Project) and will examine a form of remote voting that enables a so-called “end-to-end verifiability” (E2E) property. A unique team of experts in computer science, usability, and auditing together with a selection of local election officials from key counties around the U.S. will assemble for this study.Their efforts aim to produce a system specification and set of testing scenarios, which if they meet the requirements for security, auditability, and usability, will then be placed in the public domain. At the same time, they intend to demonstrate that confidence in a voting system is built on a willingness to verify its security through testing and transparency.

Voting Blogs: More about the FEC’s Troubles | More Soft Money Hard Law

The Federal Election Commission has unquestionably had its full share of troubles. And on the agency’s role and performance—about which there is unceasing disagreement—certain points deserve general acceptance: that the FEC’s computers should not be hacked, its Commissioners should not act spitefully toward one another, and it should be provided a reasonable amount of money with which to carry out its functions. Dave Levinthal of the Center for Public Integrity makes just these points, among others, and so far so good; but then he presents a dubious history of the FEC that will confuse readers about the sources of its problems and the reasons why “reform” of the agency is elusive. Has the FEC, rent apart by ideological differences, engaged in unseemly squabbling in recent years? It is fair to say so, and it is good to hear freshly confirmed Commissioner Goodman suggest that there is no reason for Commissioners to be disagreeable in their expression of otherwise sincerely held differences of opinion. But the Levinthal piece goes farther and re-writes the history of the agency to suggest that in the 1990s the agency was doing its job and transcending partisanship among its Commissioners, only to fall to earth and into disrepute in the following decade. A “golden age,” one is led to believe: “during the 1990s…the FEC’s stature soared,” and while Republican and Democratic Commissioners “certainly disagreed from time to time…they could find enough commonality to cobble four votes together and take action.”

Voting Blogs: Targeted Attacks Hijacked ‘Vast Amounts of Data’ to Foreign Countries Earlier This Year | BradBlog

We’ve discussed, many times over the years, the madness of Internet Voting schemes. Today we’ve got yet another piece of disturbing evidence that underscores why such a scheme for American democracy would be nothing short of insane. … Now, Kim Zetter at Wired’s “Threat Level” blog offers yet another reason why the Internet, as it currently exists, is simply unfit to serve as a means for secure online voting. Her recently published article, which doesn’t focus on voting, is alarmingly headlined “Someone’s Been Siphoning Data Through a Huge Security Hole in the Internet”. And no, in this case, it’s not the NSA. At least as far as we know. Zetter details a “huge security hole” indeed, one which, as she documents, was found to have been used earlier this year to re-route “vast amounts” of U.S. Internet data all the way out to Belarus and Iceland, where it was intercepted in a classic “man-in-the-middle” fashion, before being sent on to its intended receiver. During the hijack attack, the senders and receivers of the Internet data were none the wiser, just as would likely be the case if the same gaping security hole in the Internet’s existing architecture was used to hijack votes cast over the Internet, change them, and then send them on to the server of the intended election official recipient.

Voting Blogs: In Arkansas, Face Off Over New Voter ID Law | State of Elections

Controversy surrounding voter identification laws has now reached the Natural State. On April 1, 2013, the Arkansas state legislature completed a bicameral majority vote overriding Gov. Mike Beebe’s (D) veto of a law requiring voters to show photo ID. The law, which is scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2014, provides for the state to issue a free photo ID to voters who lack one. The law also allows a voter without photo identification to cast a provisional ballot on election day. The provisional ballot will be counted if the voter reports to the county clerk or county board of election commissioners by noon of the Monday following the election, with proof of identity or an affidavit showing the voter is either indigent or has a religious objection to being photographed. Voter identification laws have proven contentious throughout the country, and the new Arkansas law is no exception. When questioned about the impetus behind the new legislation, State Senator Bryan King (R), primary sponsor of the bill, stated, “The purpose of the law is to ensure electoral integrity.”

Voting Blogs: In Arkansas, Face Off Over New Voter ID Law | State of Elections

Controversy surrounding voter identification laws has now reached the Natural State. On April 1, 2013, the Arkansas state legislature completed abicameral majority vote overriding Gov. Mike Beebe’s (D) veto of a law requiring voters to show photo ID. The law, which is scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2014, provides for the state to issue a free photo ID to voters who lack one. The law also allows a voter without photo identification to cast a provisional ballot on election day. The provisional ballot will be counted if the voter reports to the county clerk or county board of election commissioners by noon of the Monday following the election, with proof of identity or an affidavit showing the voter is either indigent or has a religious objection to being photographed.  Voter identification laws have proven contentious throughout the country, and the new Arkansas law is no exception. When questioned about the impetus behind the new legislation, State Senator Bryan King (R), primary sponsor of the bill, stated, “The purpose of the law is to ensure electoral integrity.”