The Wyoming Legislature will look at a measure to create a trust fund to maintain its voting systems going forward. The 2016 election saw an unprecedented number of attempts to interfere with states’ voting systems, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Wyoming was not among the 21 states that reported attempted hacking, but election security experts warned regional lawmakers recently that the Cowboy State could be a target for nefarious actors looking to undermine confidence in the American democratic process. Outdated voting equipment in Wyoming was replaced after funding was allocated by the federal government via the 2002 Help America Vote Act. But more than a decade later, many election custodians say that voting equipment has reached the end of its useful life, said Kai Schon, state elections director for the Wyoming Secretary of State.Full Article: Lawmakers to consider trust fund to maintain aging voting systems | Local News | wyomingnews.com.
Elections clerks across Montana could find themselves increasingly challenged to serve voters with severe physical disabilities because of a dwindling supply of polling equipment designed especially for people who cannot use traditional voting machines. Existing inventories of voting machines for disabled voters are antiquated, some nearly two decades old. Many units are in disrepair and elections officials have been unable to replace the aging machines with newer, modern equipment because of state law. In 2008, a disabled voter sued Missoula County for not being in full compliance with federal law when it did not have a backup unit for a malfunctioning machine specially designed for people who do not have full function of their limbs.Full Article: Aging voting machines pose challenges for disabled, counties | The Herald.
Lawmakers need to look seriously at replacing Nebraska’s election equipment even though it could cost the state $20 million to $30 million, a leading senator said Wednesday. Sen. John Murante of Gretna said the current equipment is on pace to fail and create major headaches for counties, which are responsible for administering elections. “We simply cannot do nothing,” said Murante, the chairman of the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. “That is not an option.” His comments during a legislative hearing drew support from Secretary of State John Gale, who said the state should continue covering the cost rather than counties.Full Article: Senator: Nebraska voting equipment needs to be replaced | The Sacramento Bee.
Minnesota’s local government officials say searching the eBay online auction site for voting machine parts is not the best way to keep the foundation of democracy running smoothly. The company that made much of Minnesota’s voting equipment, especially for disabled voters, has moved on to newer technologies and parts for machines used in most Minnesota polling places are hard to find. “The best answer to that is eBay,” Administrative Services Director Deborah Erickson of Crow Wing County told a Minnesota House committee Wednesday, March 1, before the panel approved a bill providing counties $14 million next year.Full Article: Dated voting machines needing improvements | Republican Eagle.
Colbert County commissioners must decide if they will pay the price for maintaining Americans With Disabilities Act voting machines, or face a potential lawsuit if they are not available for handicapped voters. Probate Judge Daniel Rosser told commissioners in November the county’s maintenance contract on the 36 Automark ADA compliant machines had to be renewed. He said the contract with an outside vendor would cost $5,785 this year, and $7,714 the following year. Commissioners have delayed acting on the contract. During their Feb. 7 meeting, Rosser said they were trying to determine if the Association of County Commissions of Alabama’s self-insurance pool would cover the county if it is sued if the machines are not available. “You can’t answer coverage questions when you don’t know what a lawsuit says,” ACCA Executive Director Sonny Brasfield said Wednesday. “We get those calls all the time.”Full Article: Decision pending on voting machines | News | timesdaily.com.
North Dakota: Jaeger asking for new voting machines, electronic poll books | Prairie Public Broadcasting
North Dakota’s Secretary of State says it’s time to replace the state’s voting machines. Al Jaeger has asked the 2017 Legislature Jaeger has asked for a $9 million appropriation for that. He says the current machines were first used in 2004. “Even at that time, though the equipment came in fancy new boxes, the technology was already aged,” Jaeger said. “We’re now at a point where the voting system is not being supported any more.” Jaeger said counties have had to cannibalize some of their devices for parts, to keep some machines running. “We haven’t had any malfunctions,” Jaeger said. “But we know in another election, it would be very difficult to be able to run it.”Full Article: Jaeger asking for new voting machines, electronic poll books | Prairie Public Broadcasting.
Like everyone else on Tuesday, the blind and visually impaired wanted to make their voices heard. But for some people using specially-designed machines that either audibly reads the ballots or increases the size of the fonts, Tuesday was a night filled with frustration. The reader, called “AutoMARK,” is used statewide in 10 states. Jon Cauchi and Cassaundra Bell are both visually impaired and they had problems with the AutoMARK systems at polling places in the Burton Street and Breton Avenue SE area. “The computer jammed again and again my vote was cast for opposite candidates than I would have preferred,” said Bell. Cauchi said the same thing happened to him. “It jammed, the voting official took the paper out of the machine, handed it to me and I noticed the whole right side of my paper was mismarked,”Full Article: More voting problems for blind people; state promises fix | WOODTV.com.
Alabama: Counties to take up cost of voting machines designed aid visual and hearing impaired voters | WAAY
Voting machines designed to help visual and hearing impaired have been in place for years, but the cost of maintaining them will soon fall back from the state to the counties. According to the Alabama Secretary of State’s office, the state received about $45 million in 2002 from the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) fund. That money was put toward updating old voting machines and creating an online voter registration system. During this summer’s meeting of the Alabama Probate Judge’s Association, Secretary John Merrill talked about the fact that the funds are all but gone at this point and that counties will need to take up the cost of running and maintaining these machines.Full Article: Counties to take up cost of voting machines designed aid visual and hearing impaired voters | Appnews | waaytv.com.
Rhode Island voters will go to the polls Tuesday to select candidates for Congress and General Assembly and for mayor in North Providence and Woonsocket. Voters will notice a few minor changes at the polls this year, and turnout is expected to be light. … Voters will notice a small change in the way they vote: filling in an oval on their paper ballot rather than connecting an arrow. The change is due to new digital-scan voting machines being rolled out across the state in the primary. A portion of the polling locations will also start using new electronic poll books during the primary. The new wireless tablet-based system is designed to make it easier for poll workers to find voters’ names and eliminate the waits that can happen when workers have to pore through printed binders arranged alphabetically. Several more polling places will use electronic poll books during the Nov. 8 general election, and then the full rollout is scheduled to happen in 2018, Gorbea’s office said.Full Article: Rhode Island voters to see new machines at polls Tuesday | Election 2016 Live | dailyjournalonline.com.
Starting next week, island residents can begin in-office voting. And for the first time, the Guam Election Commission will be utilizing a new machine that will help voters with disabilities vote independent and privately. “It’s a long time coming and to finally have it here on Guam, it’s overwhelming,” expressed Mangilao resident Gerard Cruz may be blind, but this coming election, he’s looking forward to casting his vote. “Freedom – that’s the only way I can describe it to come in to vote independently and privately on my own without the assistance of somebody reading to me the ballot and then marking it down for me, I can do everything on my own as I did when I was sighted before.”Full Article: Voters with disabilities able to use new technology - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand..
Minnesota’s aging voting machines are wearing out and will soon need to be replaced. That’s the message Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said he heard “loud and clear” from local officials during his recently completed tour of all 87 Minnesota counties. Most cities, counties and townships use electronic election equipment that is at least 10 years old and getting close to its “10- to 15-year useful lifespan — and 15 is sort of a stretch,” Simon said in a recent interview. There’s a growing risk the voting machines will fail or crash, resulting in lost votes or long lines at polling places. “I’m hearing loudly and clearly from election administrators and others concerned about elections that this is an issue we need to address sooner rather than later and not wait until it becomes a crisis — and they need help,” Simon said.Full Article: Minnesota secretary of state wants to replace aging voting machines - TwinCities.com.
We’re less than a year away until the 2016 primary election, and the Guam Election Commission is taking steps to ensure every voter including individuals with disabilities can cast their vote independently with the use of new technology. While they continue to make progress, the GEC is still not fully compliant with federal accessibility requirements. “We have assistive technology packets throughout all the 21 polling places at every precinct, but we still don’t, if a person who cannot see, comes into vote, they still cannot vote independently,” said executive director Maria Pangelinan. She says that may change as the commission is currently looking into using a new ballot marking device to help people cast their vote privately and independently. It’s called the Election Systems & Software’s AutoMark system.Full Article: Assistive technology coming for island elections - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand..
The state Board of Elections approved use of four additional devices for voting and counting ballots in South Dakota and adopted an assortment of small rule changes Thursday for the 2016 elections. The four types of machines are products from Elections Systems and Software, a company based in Omaha, Neb. They include a basic counting device, a high-speed tabulating device, the company’s version of an AutoMARK machine for persons with disabilities, and the company’s ExpressVote Universal Voting machine that also can be used by persons with disabilities. Election officials from the South Dakota Secretary of State office tested the four machines as required under state law and state regulations. “That was an all-day process and it was very thorough,” Secretary of State Shantel Krebs said.Full Article: State elections panel OKs new technology | Rapid City Journal.
The Nebraska Secretary of State has announced that 48 county election offices will receive reimbursements totaling nearly $50,000 to help cover costs associated with the use of voter disability equipment during the 2014 general election. The money is provided to the Secretary of State’s office through a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as part of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002.
Brevard avoided national embarrassment the past few election cycles because you, the taxpayers, have spent more than $3 million on state-of-the-art voting equipment. So where does the county keep all our cutting-edge, computerized gear — upon which democracy itself depends? It is jammed wall-to-wall in what amounts to a really big, old metal shed in west Cocoa. The Election Support Center warehouse, which also stores meticulously arranged ballots, has no smoke alarms or fire-prevention system such as sprinklers. It has no security system. It has holes in its truck-bay door and holes in walls covered by duct tape. The floors are clean, the gear precisely arranged. But insulation dangles from collapsed portions of ceiling over voting machines. Streaks of black gunk line a wall above racks of ballot bags. “It’s mold,” Elections Supervisor Lori Scott says (although it might only be mildew.)Full Article: Matt Reed: Scary storage for Brevard voting gear.
The new approach to casting ballots seemed to be a hit with the territory’s voters during the primary election on Saturday. Voters, many of them for the first time, familiarized themselves with the DS 200, a product of Elections Systems and Software, or ES&S. The machine allows voters to fill in a paper ballot so that there is a lasting record of the vote, but it also has the speed and convenience of an electronic voting machine. “It was just inserting a paper,” said Courtney Reese, a voter at Charlotte Amalie High School poll location. “You didn’t really even interact with the machine. It was like scanning or faxing something.” The V.I. Elections System purchased the 43 machines from Elections Systems & Software for $646,480 in 2013, and since has been organizing public demonstrations of the machines and how they work. The machines have been certified by the Election Assistance Commission, which is not required under federal law but is required under Virgin Islands law.Full Article: Voters embrace new machines - News - Virgin Islands Daily News.
For the first time in eight years, the State Election Commission is expected to certify a new voting system for use in state elections when it meets Friday afternoon. Commissioners will be asked to certify the EVS 18.104.22.168 system manufactured by Elections Systems & Software of Omaha, Neb., for use in elections statewide. Jake Glance, spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office, said a key advance in the new system is that it incorporates a high-speed digital scan central ballot counter, which can record and tabulate ballots faster than optical-scan ballot counters currently in use. “It will make the counting process faster,” he said Thursday. “It’s all about speed and accuracy.”Full Article: State Election Commission to certify new voting system - News - The Charleston Gazette - West Virginia News and Sports -.
Brevard County voters will be using new equipment starting in November. The County Commission this week unanimously approved the $1.5 million purchase. Supervisor of Elections Lori Scott said Brevard currently has among the oldest election equipment in the state, dating back to 1999. Brevard was one of the early adopters that year of “optical scan technology” to read the ballots. She says that equipment now is “aging and outdated,” and the vendor that made it is out of business, so spare parts are difficult to come by. “We can’t continue to limp through like that,” Scott said. With the new equipment, voters will continue to mark a paper ballot. But the new equipment that will collect and tabulate those ballots will make it easier for election workers to spot any problems with improperly completed ballots. “This is a much more user-friendly unit,” Scott said.Full Article: New voting equipment checking in for Brevard | FLORIDA TODAY | floridatoday.com.
Nebraska: Governor signs bill reducing in-person early voting in Nebraska | Nebraska City News-Press – Nebraska City, NE
Governor Dave Heineman has signed legislation that will reduce the period of in-person early voting in Nebraska from 35 days to 30 days, a bill that will help assure that Nebraska complies with the Help America Vote Act. State lawmakers passed an amended version of LB271, which reduced the voting period to 30 days. The bill does not impact the start date for absentee ballot requests.Full Article: Governor signs bill changing in-person early voting in Nebraska - News - Nebraska City News-Press - Nebraska City, NE.
Nebraskans would have five fewer days to walk into an election office and cast early ballots under a bill advanced Thursday by the Legislature. But Legislative Bill 271 aims to make it possible for everyone, both visually impaired and not, to vote at that time. State Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh of Omaha, who introduced the bill, said it should bring Nebraska into compliance with a federal law about voting access for disabled people. “This is not meant to keep anyone from voting,” he said. “This is meant to address a complaint of alleged discrimination.”Full Article: Measure trimming number of days for early voting advances - Omaha.com.