During the June 2011 New Jersey primary election, something went wrong in Cumberland County, which uses Sequoia AVC Advantage direct-recording electronic voting computers. From this we learned several things:
- New Jersey court-ordered election-security measures have not been effectively implemented.
- There is a reason to believe that New Jersey election officials have destroyed evidence in a pending court case, perhaps to cover up the noncompliance with these measures or to cover up irregularities in this election. There is enough evidence of a cover-up that a Superior Court judge has referred the matter to the State prosecutor’s office.
- Like any DRE voting machine, the AVC Advantage is vulnerable to software-based vote stealing by replacing the internal vote-counting firmware. That kind of fraud probably did not occur in this case. But even without replacing the internal firmware, the AVC Advantage voting machine is vulnerable to the accidental or deliberate swapping of vote-totals between candidates. It is clear that the machine misreported votes in this election, and both technical and procedural safeguards proved ineffective to fully correct the error. Read More
A new proposal is pushing the often-forgotten Electoral College into the spotlight as Pennsylvania officials ponder the state’s role in next year’s presidential race. Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi is trying to gather support to change the state’s “winner-takes-all” approach for awarding electoral votes. Instead, he’s suggesting that Pennsylvania dole them out based on which candidate wins each of the 18 congressional districts, with the final two going to the contender with the most votes statewide.
So far, the idea has received support from colleagues of the Delaware County Republican in the state House and from Republican Gov. Tom Corbett. But Democrats, who have carried the state in presidential contests since 1992, said the shift would erode Pennsylvania’s clout. Read More
Unopposed candidates in this fall’s municipal election in Richmond will have their names on the ballot thanks to a decision Monday by Wayne Superior Court No. 2 Judge Greg Horn.
Horn granted an injunction stopping Wayne County Clerk Jo Ann Stewart from omitting the names of unopposed candidates from local ballots. Stewart was following a new state law, effective July 1, that required county clerks across the state to omit names of unopposed candidates. Read More
During yesterday’s “To the Point” show, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and I went over the question whether voter identification laws actually can prevent fraud. I pointed out that impersonation fraud rarely if ever happens, and Kobach confirmed he’s got no cases of impersonation fraud he can point to in Kansas. But Kobach also said that a state id requirement would be necessary to prevent a different type of crime: the use of false registrations (of fictitious people) to cast votes in elections. He gave the example of someone registering and voting ballots for the fictitious seven dwarfs. I pointed out that I was not aware of a single case of fraudulent registrations (such as from ACORN) leading to actual fraudulent votes (the reason the ACORN-type fraud occurred was because poor people who worked to register voters made up fake names to keep their jobs, not to rig elections.) But a reader sends along another great point about why a state i.d. is unnecessary to stop voter fraud in this instance:
I was struck by the “perfect crime” tale — the hypothetical attempt to register the seven dwarves. He seems to have ignored that HAVA’s voter id requirements for any voter who registers to vote by mail and has not previously voted in a Federal election. (See HAVA Section 303) That is of course, presuming that Sleepy and Grumpy are not long time registered voters. If those “voters” want to vote absentee (I doubt the fraudster would be able to produce Sleepy and Grumpy to cast an in person vote without arousing some suspicion), they are required to provide a valid photo ID or a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter. Read More
The past week’s headlines have a number of stories about the importance of political geography:
+ In Indiana, the state Supreme Court refused (for the time being) to take a case challenging the eligibility of Secretary of State Charlie White to serve, given allegations that he had registered to vote at an address where he did not live;
+ In New Jersey, the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated former Olympian and current state Senate candidate Carl Lewis to the ballot after a trial court removed him because of the state’s “durational residency” requirement for candidates; and
+ Maine’s GOP chair cited evidence that 19 medical students registered to vote in 2004 from a South Portland Holiday Inn Express in arguing that the repeal of the state’s same-day registration law should stand. Read More
The contentious issue of voter ID in Texas is now in the hands of federal officials. On Wednesday, several civil-rights groups filed documents with the Justice Department, asking officials to oppose any early approval or “pre-clearance” of the measure, which fully takes effect in Texas on Jan. 1.
The groups — which include the American Civil Liberties Union, the Asian American Justice Center, the Advancement Project, the Southwest Workers Union, and the New York-based public policy and advocacy group DEMOS — said the law discriminates against black and Hispanic voters.
“This law is a part of the largest legislative effort to turn back the clock on voting rights in our nation in over a century,” said Judith Browne Dianis, co-director of the civil-rights “action tank” the Advancement Project. “If this bill is allowed to stand, it will undermine the basic fabric of our nation’s democracy.” Read More
The Election Commission for the Cherokee Nation decided to move forward with a special election September 24th for principal chief. The Commission met in Tahlequah Wednesday evening because of new developments in the Freedmen case.
The Nation recently kicked out 2,800 descendants of the tribe’s black slaves who want to vote, and the federal government says that violated an old treaty. A federal judge will hear the case next week. They commission also approved to expedite absentee ballots to Freedmen who are registered voters and requested absentee ballots for the election. Read More
A judge is allowing Republican Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration to move ahead with a limited investigation to determine whether some immigrants with New Mexico driver’s licenses still live in the state.
District Judge Sarah Singleton on Tuesday decided that some residency checks can continue, although she’s putting on hold the administration’s broad plan for potentially certifying the licenses of tens of thousands of foreign nationals, including those living illegally in the country. The judge said she will issue an injunction to block the program pending the outcome of a lawsuit brought by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund. Read More
The West Virginia Supreme Court has rejected a request by Janet “J.T.” Thompson, Charleston Mayor Danny Jones’ lone challenger in the May election, to block Charleston City Council from holding a hearing on her claims of voter fraud. According to the Court’s order list Friday, all five justices voted to turn down her request for a writ of prohibition.
Jennifer Bundy, a spokeswoman for the Court, said Monday the individual order was not yet ready. The Court’s ruling means that the results of the tribunal, which rejected all of Thompson’s claims, will remain. Read More
The Centre for Open ICT Policy Analysis has noted, with grave a concern, similarities between Ghana’s impending e-voting system and that of the Uganda. The Ugandan project, also known as the voter registration database implementation system, was a failure as shown in their 2001 and 2006 elections. The District Electoral Commission (EC) of Uganda had been smoothly organising the country’s elections until in 2000 when they initiated a programme to rid the voters’ register of names of imposters, double voters, and dead voters by photographing all qualified voters. This programme was also meant to create an election database to be used to verify the 2001 elections. Therefore the government of Uganda invested $22 million on equipment, consultancy services and operations.
However, things went wrong at the early stages of the project, particularly during the bidding and delivery of equipment. This led to a strong public outcry about the transparency of the process. The public outcry came from stakeholders such as civil societies groups and the opposition political parties. Ugandan EC ignored these criticisms. And a s result a number of court cases between government and opposition groups, on one hand, and Ugandan EC and some companies, on the other hand (as it has already started in Ghana) were filed. Read More
Russia’s top election official said Wednesday that Western election observers are proposing an unacceptably large delegation to monitor parliamentary voting in December, raising the possibility of a standoff like the one that caused the cancellation of an observation mission four years ago.
Vladimir V. Churov, the chairman of Russia’s Central Election Commission, said Russia will approve delegations of between 40 and 100 observers apiece. The election-monitoring arm of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has proposed a mission of 260 observers.
The cancellation of the O.S.C.E. mission in 2007 was the first since Russia undertook to hold free elections in 1990, and followed reports that said the country was falling short of democratic standards. Read More
Various Stakeholders have commended the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) for the transparent manner in which the electoral process has been handled so far. Southern Africa Centre for Conflict Resolution and Disputes (SACCORD) programmes manager Boniface Cheembe said he was happy that the electoral process had been done in a transparent manner.
Mr Cheembe said he was happy that all stakeholders had been invited and were involved in the electoral process since the beginning of the exercise. He said SACCORD was also happy that ECZ had assisted in maintaining peace during the electoral process. Read More