Audit

Tag Archive

Michigan: Audit finds votes by deceased people, prisoners; clerical errors blamed | The Detroit News

An audit of state voting records released Tuesday uncovered evidence suggesting dead people and prisoners may have voted in Michigan elections during the past three years. Auditor General Thomas McTavish’s office compared the state’s registered voter files with death records and found 1,375 deceased individuals cast 1,381 ballots between 2008 and 2011. Ninety percent of the ballots were cast by absentee voters and 10 percent voted at the polls, according to audit report. In response to the audit, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s office said no voter fraud was at play, and instead attributed instances where records show incarcerated or deceased individuals voting as an error by local election clerks. Some of the individuals may have legally cast an absentee ballot and died before the election, election officials said.

Full Article: State audit finds votes by deceased people, prisoners; clerical errors blamed | The Detroit News | detroitnews.com.

Editorials: Protecting your vote | Ron Rivest/Boston.com

Sometimes, a few votes make a huge difference. Just ask Rick Santorum. In January, Rick Santorum won the Iowa caucuses, but, because of vote counting and tabulation errors, Mitt Romney was declared the winner. In the two weeks before the error became clear, Romney’s campaign gained momentum, while Santorum’s withered. Unfortunately, the same problem – or worse – could easily occur in Massachusetts. This year, voters will choose the president, and control of the US Senate may come down to the race shaping up between Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren.

Full Article: Protecting your vote - Boston.com.

Florida: State law hinders vote audits | Palm Beach Post

Candice Hoke votes, but with some skepticism: “There’s truly no legitimate basis for trusting this election software when we know it is erratic, that it sometimes produces valid results and sometimes not.” Hoke, founding director of the Cleveland-based Center for Election Integrity, said a ballot count after the election is one key way to sidestep vulnerabilities in technology. But there’s a problem. Under Florida law, supervisors can audit only a tiny slice of ballots after an election – typically no more than 2 percent of precincts – and only after the winners are formally declared. “In defense of the legislature in Florida and elsewhere,” Hoke said, “they are not trained in software; they have often been told software and computers can’t make mistakes.”

Full Article: Florida law hinders vote audits.

Florida: State law hinders vote audits | Palm Beach Post

Candice Hoke votes, but with some skepticism: “There’s truly no legitimate basis for trusting this election software when we know it is erratic, that it sometimes produces valid results and sometimes not.” Hoke, founding director of the Cleveland-based Center for Election Integrity, said a ballot count after the election is one key way to sidestep vulnerabilities in technology. But there’s a problem. Under Florida law, supervisors can audit only a tiny slice of ballots after an election – typically no more than 2 percent of precincts – and only after the winners are formally declared. “In defense of the legislature in Florida and elsewhere,” Hoke said, “they are not trained in software; they have often been told software and computers can’t make mistakes.”

Full Article: Florida law hinders vote audits.

Florida: E-voting system awards election to wrong candidates in Florida village | Computerworld

An optical scan vote tallying system, now used by some 300 U.S. municipalities, misreported the results of a Palm Beach County, Florida, municipal election last month. Dominion Voting Inc.’s Sequoia Voting Systems device mistakenly awarded two Wellington Village Council seats to candidates who were found in a post-election audit to have lost their races. The results were officially changed last weekend after a court-sanctioned public hand count of the votes. According to a story in the Palm Beach Sun Sentinel , the Sequoia vote counting software was set up in a way that didn’t correspond to the Wellington County ballot distributed to voters. As a result, votes meant for one candidate were credited to a different candidate.  In a product advisory notice issued last Friday, Dominion warned customers that problems could arise if the contest order on a paper ballot does not match the ballot order programmed into Sequoia machine. “The contest order on the ballots in the database can become out of sync with the contest order shown on the corresponding paper ballots,” the company noted. If the issue is not identified during pre-election tests, “election results will show the correct number of votes, but assigns them to the wrong candidate” the company said in the advisory.

Full Article: E-voting system awards election to wrong candidates in Florida village - Regulation, Palm, Industries, hardware systems, hardware, Gov't Legislation/Regulation, Government/Industries, government - Computerworld.

Florida: Tangled Web: Wellington, Florida Drama Highlights Complexity of Technology, Value of Audits | Election Academy

An extraordinary story is emerging from an election from the March 13 municipal election in Wellington located in Florida’s Palm Beach County. Election Night returns indicated that two hotly-contested council elections had been resolved in favor of two candidates, but then a routine post-election audit suggested that their opponents had actually won due to errors in tabulating the county’s optical scan ballots. Following a court-ordered manual recount, the revised totals were confirmed. As if that weren’t extraordinary enough, a battle is now underway between the county clerk and her vendor about who was responsible for the error. The clerk is blaming the vendor, saying that the error – which appears to have been caused by a “synchronization” problem between vote-counting and tabulation machines – is something she and her staff have never seen before and thus could never have been expected to catch, let alone fix.

Full Article: Tangled Web: Wellington, FL Drama Highlights Complexity of Technology, Value of Audits - Election Academy.

Guam: Governor Vetoes Election Reform Bill; Democrats May Try Override | Pacific News Center

As promised, Governor Eddie Calvo has vetoed election reform bill 413. The governor cited provisions in the bill that call for a recount of the 2010 election as his reason for vetoing it saying that these provisions are a continuation of “mischief” caused by the Guttierez camp during the election. Meanwhile the Democratic Party’s Executive Director Carlo Branch called it ironic that the governor would veto the measure on a day he himself has deemed as transparency day.  Governor Eddie Calvo vetoed the election reform bill or bill 413 last Tuesday but the legislature has yet to receive an official veto transmittal. The governor says that he vetoed the bill because of the provisions that call for an audit of all absentee and provisional ballots cast something he says amounts to an attempted recount of an election that has already been certified.

Full Article: VIDEO: Governor Vetoes Election Reform Bill; Democrats May Try Override.

Florida: Lawsuit filed to stop swearing-in of Wellington Florida elected officials | wptv.com

Two Wellington residents – one of them the village’s first mayor – have filed a lawsuit to try to stop Tuesday’s swearing-in of candidates whom a March 19 recount determined were elected to the village council. A hearing will take place at 8:45 a.m. Monday in Palm Beach Circuit Court in front of Judge Robin Rosenberg. The lawsuit, filed by former mayor Kathy Foster and Gaye A. Scarpa, also seeks to stop the village canvassing board from certifying any election results other than those certified by county Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher on March 16.

Full Article: Lawsuit filed to stop swearing-in of Wellington elected officials.

Canada: Officials mum about source of cyber-attack meant to disrupt online voting | thestar.com

New Democrats remained tight-lipped Sunday about the cyber-attack that kept the country waiting for hours at Saturday’s leadership convention. Party brass refused to disclose the source of two Internet Protocol addresses that they say perpetrated an attack meant to disrupt its online voting system, as they tried to manage Thomas Mulcair’s first day as head of the federal NDP. The party is investigating the attack, in tandem with its voting system provider, Scytl, auditors Price Waterhouse Cooper and a number of “experts,” party president Rebecca Blaikie said on Sunday. “At this point, there is not a single point person,” Blaikie said of the investigation. “We’re going to investigate what (the attack) is, where it came from. . . As soon as we know that, we’ll be able to decide what to do next.” Blaikie said neither police nor Elections Canada have been contacted. The NDP identified the IP addresses, essentially identification tags assigned to web-wired devices, as perpetrators of a denial-of-service (DNS) attack. While the party insists the results were not compromised, some are questioning the integrity of the final, fourth-round ballot, which propelled Thomas Mulcair to victory after more than 12 hours of voting.

Full Article: Canada News: NDP leadership: Officials mum about source of cyber-attack meant to disrupt online voting - thestar.com.

Florida: Dominion Voting Systems: software ‘shortcoming’ led to Wellington election fiasco | Post on Politics

The supplier of Palm Beach County’s voting and tabulating equipment says a software “shortcoming” led to votes being assigned to the wrong candidates and the elections office declaring the wrong winners in two recent Wellington council races. Ballots from the March 13 Wellington election were counted properly. But the results were matched to the wrong races. Council candidates Shauna Hostetler and Al Paglia were declared winners on election night, but an audit six days later showed John Greene and Matt Willhite had in fact gotten more votes.

Full Article: Vendor: software ‘shortcoming’ led to Wellington election fiasco | Post on Politics.

Florida: Dominion Voting Systems releases statement taking the blame for Palm Beach County vote problem | South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com

The supplier of Palm Beach County’s voting and tabulating equipment says a software “shortcoming” led to votes being assigned to the wrong candidates and the elections office declaring the wrong winners in two recent Wellington council races. County Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher, who insisted a computer glitch rather than human error was to blame for the fiasco, claimed vindication after Dominion Voting Systems released its statement. Wellington and 15 other municipalities held elections on March 13. In Wellington, the ballot was set up with the mayor’s race first, the Seat 1 council race second and the Seat 4 council race third. Unbeknownst to elections officials, the vote totals for the mayor’s race ended up being reported and later certified as the results of the Seat 1 race. The Seat 1 vote totals were certified as the Seat 4 results and the Seat 4 vote totals were certified as the mayoral results. The problem wasn’t discovered until six days after the election, during a routine audit. The audit found no similar problems in the 15 other cities that held elections. The fact that the audit is conducted after winners are certified is a requirement of state law. Bucher said her office “will be working with the state to ask for the necessary law changes.”

Full Article: Susan Bucher Wellington: The software maker responsible for Palm Beach County's voting equipment released a statement taking the blame for vote problem. - South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com.

Florida: Wellington election results tossed out, but legal ground uncertain | Palm Beach Post

In Palm Beach County’s latest voting embarrassment, Wellington decided Tuesday to toss out its tainted March 13 election results while Secretary of State Ken Detzner pledged to find answers and County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher continued to blame a computer software glitch for the tabulating turmoil. After a Monday recount showed the elections office had declared the wrong winners in two of three races, Wellington’s canvassing board voted to scrap the results and scheduled a decision for Tuesday on whether to instead accept the revised vote tallies. That would allow John Greene in Council Seat 1 and Matt Willhite in Seat 4 to be sworn in after it appeared they lost their races last week. But the decision to consider the recount numbers did little to clear confusion surrounding the race and how to resolve it.

Full Article: Wellington election results tossed out, but legal ground uncertain.

Florida: Lawsuits brewing as all four candidates in Wellington recount stand their ground | Palm Beach Post

The Wellington council candidates wrongly named winners during last week’s election aren’t convinced Monday’s vote retabulation was accurate, nor will they give up their seats to the apparent winners. But the winners, whom Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher said were denied victory because of a software glitch, have no doubt Monday’s count was correct, and one has taken legal action. “It’s my responsibility to make sure the village of Wellington voters are heard. I’m filing it on their behalf,” said Vice Mayor Matt Willhite, who filed a complaint Tuesday in Palm Beach County Circuit Court against Wellington’s canvassing board and whose campaign declared him a “decisive” winner. The county elections office mistakenly named candidates Al Paglia and Shauna Hostetler winners in two council races and certified the March 13 results to the state on Friday. But a routine audit on Monday revealed that Willhite had easily defeated Paglia, while John Greene had edged past Hostetler. On Tuesday, the Wellington canvassing board that oversees election results tossed out the March 13 numbers and scheduled a meeting March 27 to decide whether to certify Monday’s retabulated numbers instead. But confusion and emotion were running high on Tuesday.

Full Article: Lawsuits brewing as all four candidates in Wellington recount stand their ground.

Florida: Palm Beach Elections Chief Bucher: ‘This is not a human error’ | Post on Politics

Palm Beach County’s elections office appears to have figured out the correct results for three Wellington elections after declaring two wrong winners last week and certifying the results to the state. But in the home of the 2000 “butterfly ballot,” does the fact that erroneous results went undetected for nearly six days in an election with fewer than 6,000 voters carry implications for the November presidential election? Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher characterized the problem as an isolated and unprecedented software glitch that was detected and corrected using routine audit procedures. She said no one in her office is to blame — and she took exception to questions about whether voters might question her office’s ability to deliver accurate results in the future. “This is not a human error. This is a computer-generated error, one that is on a computer system that is tested and certified by the state of Florida,” Bucher told reporters.

Full Article: Elections chief Bucher: ‘This is not a human error’ | Post on Politics.

Guyana: No massive tampering of votes – APNU’s Granger | Demerara Waves

The main opposition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) on Sunday for the first time openly conceded that verification of the results would not change the outcome of the general and regional elections held almost two months ago. “We do not expect that the verification will reverse the major outcomes of the 2011 elections but we still need to get the elections right,” APNU Chairman, David Granger said on Christopher Ram’s weekly interview programme, Plain Talk. He, however, said his opposition coalition would still be pushing for the Statements of Poll for the November 28 polls to be reconciled as part of a process to clean up the operations of the Guyana Elections Commission. “Regardless of what the examination or the verification comes up with, we should move beyond running some sloppy elections. The results are too slow, the logistical arrangements are too backward and people need to know within a matter of hours what the outcome is,” Granger said.

Full Article: No massive tampering of votes- APNU's Granger | Latest.

Voting Blogs: New Equation for Voting Technology: Auditing > Testing? | Doug Chapin/PEEA

Berkeley’s Philip Stark and David Wagner recently shared a paper they have submitted for publication entitled “Evidence-Based Elections“. While subject matter is highly technical, the authors do a nice job of making it accessible to the informed layperson – and tucked into the piece is an observation that could significantly revamp the approach to voting technology at every level of government nationwide. Stark and Wagner start with this assertion: “an election should find out who won, but … should also produce convincing evidence that it found the real winners – or report that it cannot.” Working from that premise, the authors describe various recent elections where voting technology failures created controversy about the validity of the results.

Full Article: New Equation for Voting Technology: Auditing > Testing? - Program for Excellence in Election Administration.

Missouri: State audit faults St. Louis Election Board in several areas | St. Louis Beacon

The St. Louis Election Board, under fire for more than a decade and the subject of a federal lawsuit, fared only slightly better in the latest state audit — which questioned some of the agency’s practices when it comes to finances, following the state’s open-meetings laws, tracking voters and monitoring campaign finance reports.

The audit was, however, a dramatic improvement from the 2004 audit — which found costly missteps with cell phones, and far more problematic practices. Overall, this latest audit rated the board’s operations as “fair.”

The audit, released today by state Auditor Tom Schweich, faulted the board’s preference for closed meetings — which by law must be only for certain types of personnel or procurement actions.

Full Article: St. Louis Beacon - State audit faults St. Louis Election Board in several areas.

Colorado: Ballot transparency a statewide debate | AspenTimes.com

A candidate’s request to inspect ballots cast in Aspen’s 2009 municipal election has set in motion similar efforts around Colorado. The end result might be new rules that govern the review of ballots or that withhold them from public inspection altogether.

Meanwhile, Aspen resident and 2009 mayoral candidate Marilyn Marks is expected to review on Tuesday 100 ballots cast in Pitkin County’s Nov. 1 election. Rather than simply eye the ballots, though, Marks has suggested that county Clerk and Recorder Janice Vos Caudill and a group of election officials look over 100 to 200 ballots with Marks and discuss whether any of them are “identifiable.”

The potential to link a voter to a particular ballot via various election information that is available to the public through the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) has emerged as a concern among county clerks across the state as they respond to ballot requests from Marks and others.

Full Article: Ballot transparency a statewide debate | AspenTimes.com.

Kansas: Secretary of state fined $5,000 for errors in campaign reports | KansasCity.com

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s campaign was fined $5,000 Wednesday for mistakes made in filing expense and contribution reports for the 2010 election. The Governmental Ethics Commission voted 7-2 to impose the maximum fine after questioning Kobach’s campaign treasurer, state Rep. Tom Arpke of Salina. At issue was nearly $80,000 that was omitted from the reports.

Commission Chairwoman Sabrina Standifer said the maximum fine was imposed, in part, because the campaign maintained that it reported the omissions to ethics officials. “The commission does not condone lack of candor before the commission,” Standifer said. “This is in no way, shape or form self-reporting.”

Full Article: Kansas secretary of state fined $5,000 for errors in campaign reports - KansasCity.com.

South Carolina: Audit finds anomalies in Beaufort County’s 2010 election data | islandpacket.com

An audit of the 2010 election released late last month by the S.C. League of Women Voters shows a few irregularities in data from Beaufort County’s voting machines. County elections executive director Scott Marshall said he’s not yet certain how many votes might have been affected by problems, but he said that number is small enough that it wouldn’t have affected any results.

Nonetheless, Marshall said irregularities in the data are “unacceptable” and said he will work to understand what caused them. “Anytime there is an opportunity for error in results being reported, I’m concerned about it,” he said. “We want to make sure that we do get it figured out, so we don’t repeat that.”

To perform its audit, the league analyzed the log files stored on memory cards inside county voting machines. “What we have seen around the state is that all the possible things that could go wrong have gone wrong somewhere,” said Duncan Buell, a University of South Carolina computer science professor, who helped lead the project.

Full Article: Audit finds minor anomalies in Beaufort County's 2010 election data | islandpacket.com.