Although a comparison is often made between them, online banking and Internet voting are very dissimilar, says a discussion paper from Elections B.C., the organization responsible for conducting elections in the Canadian province of British Columbia.
The paper, dated Aug. 31, notes that online banking was never introduced with the expectation that it would be fraud-proof. Rather, the business case for it rests on the assumption that fraud is offset by reduced operating costs and convenience benefits to clients. “The reality is that online banking fraud is increasing at a rapid pace and banks expend substantial resources on insurance,” the paper says.
Unlike fraud in the voting system, fraud in online banking does not directly affect the rest of society, the paper adds. In addition, should a bank’s website go down, whether because of a denial-of-service attack, network outage or other cause, clients can complete their transactions later–whereas voting must be concluded by a certain date, with no extensions. Read More
In the past few years, the right to vote–basic to any real democratic self-government–has become controversial again. Since the Republican sweep of state legislatures in 2010, seven states have enacted fashionable new “voter ID” laws. No one even pretends these laws won’t make it harder for older, poorer, less white (and, coincidentally, more Democratic) voters to cast a ballot. (The Supreme Court regrettably gave the go-ahead to these laws in the 2007 case of Crawford v. Marion County Board of Elections.)
It is almost surreal that in this moment that Arizona, which is becoming to Latinos what Mississippi once was to African Americans, is now seeking a judicial decree that voting rights are no longer a matter for Congressional concern.
Arizona’s new Republican Attorney General, Tom Horne, filed a suit last month asking a federal court to declare that § 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is unconstitutional. Arizona–in some ways the Mississippi of the 21st Century–is a weird plaintiff, and its claims are even weirder; but weirder claims have succeeded in the past. The Supreme Court signaled in 2009 that it was a bit weary of all this right-to-vote business. If “state’s-rights” advocates succeed in weakening the Act, and gutting Congress’s enforcement power under the Fifteenth Amendment, it will be a matter of serious concern. Read More
Registering to vote online in California would’ve happened eventually. State officials had been expecting to go that route after 2015, when a new statewide voter database is due to be finished.
But Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) calls the change “long overdue.” His measure, SB397, which landed on the governor’s desk Friday, requires California to join states like Arizona and Oregon in moving toward an on-line registration system by next year’s elections.
Right now, county election officials compare a voter’s signature to their signature on a paper registration form. The new law, if signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, tells the DMV to develop a system of digitized signatures that could be used by election officials for voter verification. Read More
Sixteen Colorado counties are printing ballots this week in English but not Spanish for the November election after waiting in vain for months for a federal Voting Rights Act mandate.
The counties had expected to be ordered by the U.S. Justice Department to supply ballots in Spanish as well as English because populations of Spanish-speaking voters had increased to a level that could trigger a requirement for dual-language ballots under the 1973 act.
But ballots were certified Friday by Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, and a spokesman for his office said it is too late for Spanish ballots. “That ship has sailed,” said Gessler spokesman Rich Coolidge. Read More
The secretary of the state is pushing for a constitutional amendment to open the floor for voting law reforms that will allow early voting and absentee voting in any situation.
As part of a broad initiative to modernize Connecticut’s voting system that started in February, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill is pushing for a constitutional amendment to allow the legislature to change the absentee voting rules or enact early voting.
Currently, the Connecticut state constitution allows absentee voting in only six very specific cases, such as physical incapability to travel to the polls or a religious prohibition on voting in person, and bans early voting. Both Republican and Democratic state legislative leaders have expressed support for the amendment, but are divided on whether early voting or absentee voting is a better reform to pursue after the constitution is changed. Read More
Area county clerks were surprised Friday when they learned Wayne County political parties and candidates had filed suit over a new Indiana law allowing candidates for non-contested offices to be left off ballots.
Republican and Democrat party officials, two city council candidates and two voters filed a lawsuit late Thursday in Wayne County court asking Wayne County Clerk Jo Ann Stewart be prohibited from dropping the names of unopposed candidates for District 2 and 4 seats on the Richmond Common Council. The suit also names the Indiana Election Commission and Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White as defendants.
The lawsuit in Wayne County questions how candidates can be elected if nobody votes for them, but that apparently already happens when Indiana towns don’t have elections. Read More
Hoosier voters could always count on receiving a complete ballot when they stepped inside the voting booth. Not any more.
In a misguided example of trying to streamline the voting process and save a few dollars, a new state law that went into effect on July 1 prohibits listing the names of unopposed candidates on the ballot. This bill will do nothing except create confusion, while any monetary savings would be negligible. Read More
A group of freedmen is asking U.S. courts to restore their voting rights – in time for the Chief’s election in two weeks. The freedman voted in the first election – but as of now – cannot vote in the new election.
The issue of what to do with the freedman dates back to the civil war and it’s more unsettled now than ever. The freedmen, descendents of the tribe’s slaves, finally lost their citizenship last month after four years of legal arguments.
The Cherokee Supreme Court approved the tribe’s vote to expel the freedmen, even though their citizenship was established by treaty. The Cherokee nation argues only the tribe can define a member and for them – it’s a simple question of having bloodline back to the members on the Dawes Roll. Read More
Amid the furious fireworks of today’s politics, there came a brief, welcome moment of quiet Friday. It was the sound of compromise. As we noted earlier this week, what appeared to be partisan warfare had broken out between Ohio’s chief elections official and the leader of Cuyahoga County government. The issue: whether counties are free to mail unsolicited applications for absentee ballots to their residents if other counties can’t afford to do so.
Yes, Democratic Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald said — it is good public service. No, Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted said — it is unfair. As their argument rolled on, they threw wilder and wilder rhetorical punches. Some Cuyahoga votes might not be counted! The U.S. Department of Justice might intervene! Read More
The 2009-2010 National Voter Registration Report is available at the EAC’s website.
The highlights of the report include:
- 85.9% registration, or 186.9 million registered voters, 14 million more registered voters than in 2006 (although a drop from 2008)
- A more than doubling (8 to 17) in the number of states that accepted voter registration forms over the Internet, with Arizona, Oregon, and Washington leading the pack
- The EAC has discovered the virtue of ranking states (!), freeing the reader from the (relatively simple) task of doing it themselves. See Table 1C for a ranking of states on registration rates as a percent of voting age population.
Unfortunately, there are lowlights. Read More
Days after anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare announced his next campaign would be to get “the right to recall and reject”, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has reacted in favour.
Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi, on Monday, said that a proposal to introduce the option of “none of the above” on electronic voting machines (EVMs) was already pending with the government. Read More