Skid Row advocates say they hope to pursue “any and all legal action” to help keep their community’s effort to establish a neighborhood council alive. General Jeff Page, speaking for the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation committee, told KPCC Monday he did not agree with city officials’ decision on Friday to certify last month’s election results, when the Skid Row effort was defeated by less than 100 votes. “It’s a bunch of hogwash,” he said. “Right now we’re in the process of seeking legal representation to stand with us and overcome this travesty.”
Editorials: Internet voting and paperless machines have got to go | Barbara Simons/Minneapolis Star Tribune
“They’ll be back in 2020, they may be back in 2018, and one of the lessons they may draw from this is that they were successful because they introduced chaos and division and discord and sowed doubt about the nature of this amazing country of ours and our democratic process.” — Former FBI Director James Comey, testifying about the Russian government before a House Intelligence Committee hearing, March 20, 2017
We are facing a major national security threat. As former Director Comey stated, we know that Russia attacked our 2016 election, and there is every reason to expect further attacks on our elections from nations, criminals and others until we repair our badly broken voting systems. Despite a decade of warnings from computer security experts, 33 states allow internet voting for some or all voters, and a quarter of our country still votes on computerized, paperless voting machines that cannot be recounted and for which there have been demonstrated hacks. If we know how to hack these voting systems, so do the Russians and Chinese and North Koreans and Iranians and ….
The 2016 U.S. election constituted a watershed for democracies in the digital age. During the election cycle, fears proliferated among policymakers and the public that foreign actors could exploit cyber technologies [PDF] to tamper with voter registration, access voting machines, manipulate storage and transmission of results, and influence election outcomes. Russian information operations and disinformation on social media compounded these fears about election cybersecurity by raising questions about foreign interference with the election’s integrity. Similar worries have arisen with elections this year in France, Britain, and Germany, and the Netherlands opted to hand count ballots in its March election to prevent hacking from affecting the outcome. In May 3 testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, James B. Comey, former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, indicated that Russia had tried to tamper with vote counts in other countries and that it might attempt to do the same in the United States in the future. Technical strategies [PDF] to protect election systems from cyber interference exist, such as stopping the use of voting machines connected by wireless networks and deploying machines that produce auditable paper trails. However, the events of 2016 demonstrate that more high-level political action is required to manage real and perceived cyber vulnerabilities in election systems.
A small group of election officials from across Canada who observed a ground-breaking plebiscite vote on P.E.I. has concluded online and telephone voting should be considered only under limited circumstances in Canada in the foreseeable future, given the risks involved. P.E.I.’s plebiscite on electoral reform, held over a 10-day period in October and November 2016, allowed voters to participate by voting online, by telephone, or with a traditional paper ballot. It was the first time in Canada online voting was included as an option in a province-wide election. More than 80 per cent of Island voters who participated voted online. An audit team made up of election officials from across the country was assembled to observe the vote. That team concluded that, while online voting was secure enough for a non-binding plebiscite in Canada’s smallest province, “a perfectly secure and fool-proof electronic voting system does not yet exist.” Because of the “major risks” associated, the audit team concluded online and telephone voting for federal and provincial elections in Canada “should be limited to use only by absentee voters for the immediate foreseeable future.”
A Victorian parliamentary inquiry has backed the roll out of Internet-based voting for state elections, but only in limited circumstances. A report by the state parliament’s Electoral Matters Committee on the issue was tabled yesterday. The inquiry endorsed the use of remote electronic voting for electors who are blind or have low vision, suffer motor impairment, have insufficient language or literacy skills, or who are eligible to vote but interstate or overseas. Internet-based voting should be backed by the “most rigorous security standards available” to the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC), the report recommended.
Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaite says that online voting in the country would fail to ensure confidentiality and security. “In light of the geopolitical realities and seeing the enormous resources earmarked to cyber attacks against democratic countries, we can conclude that online voting would be short on confidentiality and security. This would possibly violate the requirement of anonymity,” Grybauskaite said in a comment to BNS via her press service. Lithuania’s government has envisaged that the information system for online voting should be worked out in the second quarter of 2018. The Justice Ministry says that Lithuanians should make their first online vote in the 2019 elections to local governments.
California: In narrow election, downtown votes against creating neighborhood council for skid row | Los Angeles Times
Downtown residents and business people narrowly defeated a proposal to form a separate neighborhood council for skid row, the city’s epicenter of homelessness, but the measure organizers said Friday that they would continue to press for a stronger voice for their community. People with ties to a broad swath of downtown interests voted 826 to 764 against a breakaway council for the 10,000 residents of skid row’s tents, renovated slum hotels and apartments, according to an unofficial tally. The results will not be certified until challenges or recount requests, if any, are resolved, according to Stephen Box, the director of outreach and communications for the L.A. Department of Neighborhood Empowerment.
Nigeria: How electronic voting will change the face of Nigeria’s future general elections | Ventures Africa
On the 31st of March, 2017, the Nigerian Senate passed the Electoral Act No. 6 2010 (Amendment) Bill 2017 into law. This bill gives the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the power to conduct Electronic Voting (E-voting). … The bill raises the question of Nigeria’s readiness to plunge into this new technology-based terrain. Proponents of the bill are inclined to believe that it will give credibility to our elections while cynics think Nigeria is yet to come to terms with using this technology for elections. These positions may have been gathered from INEC’s performance with the voter’s card readers during the last general elections in 2015 when INEC decided to adopt smart card readers for voters’ accreditation.
The Swiss authorities are preparing to expand e-voting to more cantons, which would give more citizens the chance to cast their votes electronically. The government on Wednesday said the system should be expanded from its test phase. Until now, 14 cantons have at various times allowed Swiss living abroad to vote electronically. Three cantons (Neuchatel, Geneva and Basel City) have operated e-voting systems for Swiss-based citizens. Up to two-thirds of citizens who have been eligible to vote electronically have grabbed the opportunity, proving that strong demand exists, the government said.
Could we create an app for people to use for voting in national elections? I did some work on electronic voting systems problems with Ed Gerck in the early 2000s. It was hard then, it’s arguably harder now. This gets back to what some people have lobbied for since the early days of the Internet: the “Internet driver’s license.” In the U.S., to get a voter’s registration card, you have to prove you are who you say you are, that you live where you say you live, and that you’re a U.S. citizen. That entitles you to be enrolled as a registered voter, which means that for any election in your jurisdiction, you can show up and cast your vote (or as is more commonly the case, to mail your ballot in or drop it off at a collection point).