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National: Dominion Voting Systems Acquired by its Management Team and Staple Street Capital

Dominion Voting Systems (“Dominion Voting”) announces that it has been acquired by its management team and Staple Street Capital, a leading New York-based, middle-market private equity firm. Dominion Voting is a top provider of election tabulation solutions to government customers. The company’s scalable and customizable platform holds industry-leading certifications and provides accessibility and efficiency at the state and local levels. Dominion Voting CEO and President John Poulos said, “Our senior management team is extremely pleased to partner with Staple Street Capital, which has a proven track record of successfully investing in growing mid-size businesses. Given the opportunities on our horizon, this is the ideal time for us to add financial resources and an experienced strategic partner to help us meet market demand, better serve customers and invest in evolving security initiatives.”

Full Article: Dominion Voting Systems Acquired by its Management Team and Staple Street Capital.

Louisiana: ‘Drastic change’ coming as Louisiana shifting to iPad voting, and it won’t be cheap | The Advocate

When Louisiana voters go to the polls to elect a governor in 2019 — if all goes to plan — they will cast their ballots on iPads. Secretary of State Tom Schedler said he’ll ask the incoming administration of Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards and the Legislature for money to roll out this new way of voting. The idea was first broached in 2014 by a presidential commission. A few counties, such as Denver and Los Angeles, already are experimenting with it, but Louisiana could become the first state to adopt the new technology. “It is a drastic change. We’re going to take it slow, but this is the best way to go,” Schedler said. His plan is to replace voting machines with tablet computers over the next three years, starting with the big parishes around Baton Rouge, Lafayette and New Orleans. This will give time to work out the kinks and train staff, as well as voters, on how it all works.

Full Article: 'Drastic change' coming as Louisiana shifting to iPad voting, and it won't be cheap | The Advocate.

California: Electronic voting machines leased by Del Norte County | The Triplicate

The county will lease almost two dozen new voting machines as part of a statewide effort to improve election administration and enhance accessibility for voters. Last week the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors approved an agreement with Dominion Voting Services, sole certified provider of voting machines compliant with both federal and state regulations. The new electronic devices will be more accessible to the vision- and hearing-impaired, said county clerk-recorder Alissia Northrup. They will also tally votes in real time, meaning results will come in much sooner after polls close on a given election day. The agreement lasts through 2021 at more than $110,000 per year. By leasing rather than purchasing, the county will have an easier time complying with any yet-upcoming technology requirements in six years hence. It’s not too hard to imagine those standards changing in short time, since the state is currently processing a small flurry of voting-related legislation.

Full Article: Electronic voting machines leased | Crescent City California News, Sports, & Weather | The Triplicate.

Nevada: Navigating Outdated Systems To Vote In Nevada | Nevada Public Radio

Nevada is set to figure big in the 2016 election. Not only might we be the deciding state in the presidential election, but who we elect in the Senate race to replace Sen. Harry Reid may determine the balance of power in Congress. And two ballot measures – on legalized marijuana and firearms background checks – will bring people to the polls in droves. Are we ready for this? Is our election system set to handle the influx of voters? On machines that were built more than 15 years ago? Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria is certain he can keep the voting machines healthy through the 2016 election, but he’s not sure how much magic he and his staff can work after this. “We definitely need to start that conversation and the time to plan is now,” Gloria told KNPR’s State of Nevada, “Nobody plans to fail, they fail to plan.”

Full Article: Navigating Outdated Systems To Vote In Nevada | Nevada Public Radio.

California: San Francisco faces dilemma in planning for new voting machines | San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco is in the market for new voting machines, but the fast-changing landscape of California elections means the city might need a crystal ball to go alongside its purchase orders. With more and more voters casting ballots by mail, many of the city’s 597 precincts are lonely places on election day. Recognizing the new reality, state election officials already have authorized a test of mail-only elections in San Mateo and Yolo counties. California Secretary of State Alex Padilla also is sponsoring a bill, SB450, that would allow counties to send ballots to every voter and slash the required number of polling places to as few as 15 in a city the size of San Francisco. … The city also is asking that the new voting system operate using open-source software, which would allow the public to see and review the actual operating code that runs the voting machine, counts the ballots and releases the results. Currently, voting systems across the country rely on the proprietary software of the private companies that build them, which critics argue gives those companies the opportunity to game the system and influence or chance the final vote count. “Voting systems are at the heart of our political system and need the public’s complete confidence,” said Supervisor Scott Wiener, who last year backed a measure calling for a feasibility study on an open-source elections system for the city. Using open-source software “is definitely a new and innovative approach, but San Francisco is all about innovation and leading the United States.”

Full Article: S.F. faces dilemma in planning for new voting machines - San Francisco Chronicle.

Editorials: Manual count for credible, transparent elections in the Phillipines | Inquirer

As generally known, to achieve clean, honest, fair, accurate and transparent elections, the electoral process must demonstrate: Secrecy and sanctity of the ballot; transparency; credibility; and fast and accurate results that reflect the people’s will. Elections, excluding campaigns, have the following distinct processes: Voter’s registration; casting of ballot; counting of votes at precincts; canvassing of votes; and declaration of winners. Of the five processes, only counting and canvassing may be automated or electronically tallied. Prior to the advent of Smartmatic, everything was manual, with counting of votes taking several hours or more, and canvassing, several weeks or more, before national candidates were declared winners.

Full Article: Manual count for credible, transparent elections | Inquirer Business.

Philippines: Smartmatic appeals disqualification from voting machine deal | GMA News

It is less than a year before the 2016 presidential elections, but the PCOS machines to be used are still not ready. This is after the Commission on Elections again disqualified Smartmatic-TIM from supplying 23,000 additional PCOS vote-counting machines for the elections because of incomplete documents and because demo units failed to meet technical requirements. Smartmatic has already filed a Motion for Reconsideratino to Comelec. In a statement, Smartmatic Asia president Cesar Flores said the company is confident they will still get the contract.

Full Article: Smartmatic appeals disqualification from voting machine deal | News | GMA News Online.

Philippines: Hybrid system of manual voting, automated canvassing pitched for 2016 elections | InterAksyon

Saying time was running out for the task of refurbishing the 82,000 Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines, a lawmaker on Wednesday pushed for a hybrid system of elections for May 2016. “It will be manual voting and automated canvassing,” Bayan Muna partylist Representative Neri Colmenares said at the regular news conference of the minority bloc at the House of Representatives. “With this, there is no need for billions of pesos and sophisticated technology,” he added. What will be needed are laptops and a secured program that will be used to canvass the total number of votes from the precinct level up to the national level, according to Colmenares. “The checks and balance will be at the canvassing of votes at the precinct level, because people will know the results there,” he said.

Full Article: Hybrid system of manual voting, automated canvassing pitched for 2016 elections.

Philippines: Comelec eyes new voting machines for 2016 polls | The Philippine Star

Following the Supreme Court ruling voiding its contract to repair the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is now looking for alternative machines to be used in the May 2016 elections. Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the poll body will ready an alternative plan and not wait for the ruling on the motion for reconsideration to be filed by Smartmatic-Total Information Management (TIM) Corp. “The possibility of the motion for reconsideration being granted in the future cannot be a basis for the Comelec not to take any action at this time. We need to start our preparations already,” Jimenez said.

Full Article: Comelec eyes new voting machines for 2016 polls | Headlines, News, The Philippine Star |

Missouri: Callaway County Clerk requests new voting machines | Fulton Sun

The Callaway County Commission and County Clerk Denise Hubbard met with sales associates from Springfield-based Elkins-Swyers Company to learn about options for new voting machines. Hubbard said the current voting machines are at least 10 years old, and the most common glitch is with the piece that rolls ballots into the machine’s hub for storage. She added that piece of equipment can sometimes be fixed internally, but when the issue is more complex, the machine has to be shipped to Springfield for repairs. Clerk employees use Windows 98 on election nights. Cory Nibert, a sales associate with Elkins-Swyers, said the current machines have not yet been phased out, but parts are becoming more expensive. He and his co-worker, Steve Byers, brought a new voting machine inside the Commission’s office Thursday for demonstration. Hubbard told the commission she wanted to give them an idea of what’s available. “(The system) is very similar to what we use now. It’s just a little more computerized, maybe,” Hubbard said. “It’s a little easier, a little smoother. It’s going to cut down on man hours.”

Full Article: Callaway County Clerk requests new voting machines | Fulton Sun.

Virginia: New voting machines under review for Lynchburg precincts | News Advance

Lynchburg is test-driving new voting machines in hopes of replacing its current system’s machines that are nearing 10 to 20 years in age. The electoral board has assembled a focus group of precinct officials, disability community advocates and political party representatives to meet with the four vendors who’ve either been certified by the state or are in the process of being certified.  The board has been making the case for a new citywide system for some time now, and City Manager Kimball Payne’s new budget proposal recommends earmarking $300,000 for the project. The new balloting system, if given the green light by City Council, would rely on paper ballots, as a 2007 state law bars the purchase of new touch screen voting machines.

Full Article: New voting machines under review for Lynchburg precincts - : News - Lynchburg, Virginia Area.

Arkansas: Benton County officials eye new voting machines | Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette

Benton County’s election commissioners favor staying with the company that now provides electronic voting machines to the state, saying it appears best suited to meet the county’s needs. Arkansas is looking at replacing voting machines and systems now in use as they approach the end of their 10-year life span. The state uses voting machines and equipment from Election Systems & Software, one of three companies vying for Arkansas’ business. A measure to appropriate $30 million for new voting equipment is pending in the state Legislature. Counties could receive new equipment this summer if funding is approved, said Kim Dennison, the county’s election coordinator. The commissioners have attended demonstrations of new voting systems by ES&S and by Unisyn Voting Solutions. A presentation by Hart Intercivic, the third company, is set for 9 a.m. today at the Washington County Courthouse in Fayetteville.

Full Article: Benton County officials eye new voting machines | NWADG.

Philippines: Poll watchdog: Smartmatic will ensure administration bet’s victory in 2016 | Business Mirror

Election watchdog Citizens for Clean and Credible Election (C3E) on Tuesday accused proadministration legislators of paving the way for the victory of President Aquino’s presidential candidate in 2016, by ensuring that Smartmatic-Total Information Management will remain as the country’s sole provider of automated voting machines for next year’s elections. C3E co-convener Nicanor Elman said this could be the main reason key leaders of the proadministration House of Representatives “are suspiciously turning a blind eye on the frailties” of the Venezuelan company’s Precinct Count Optical Scan machines used in the past national and local polls. “What we are trying to understand is, why some leaders of Congress had apparently turned defenders and apologists for Smartmatic,” Elman said in a statement. “If ever the elections push through, the Smartmatic cheating machine seems part of the grand equation for the administration,” he added.

Full Article: Poll watchdog: Smartmatic will ensure administration bet’s victory in 2016 | BusinessMirror.

Louisiana: Sending Out an S-O-S for Voting Machines | WRKF

Addressing the House and Governmental Affairs committee Wednesday, Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler sent out an S-O-S on the condition of the state’s stock of voting machines. “I just will tell you that it’s getting a little scary out there,” Schedler said, reminding lawmakers, “Voting machine equipment is all 15-20 years, plus.” Sulphur Rep. Mike Danahay, part of a contingent that’s been investigating new voting technology with Schedler, noted, “They’re having to scavenge parts off old machines to keep the current machines running.”

Full Article: Sending Out an S-O-S for Voting Machines | WRKF.

Louisiana: State officials address voting issues, technology changes | KSLA

Voting in the state of Louisiana could be changing in the next three to five years. The machines that are in use now are becoming a thing of the past. Officials are having to use parts from older machines to keep some of the current machines running. The Secretary of State’s office said that Louisiana needs to move to voting via tablets in the near future. Technology is on their radar, but so is addressing problems with the current voting system. “The participation of voters is weak,” Schedler said Wednesday before a house committee. He said registering voters is no issue, but getting people back to take part in the process is a problem, particularly among the 18-26 year old crowd. He added the more opportunities people have to vote, be it early voting or by absentee, the turnout has decreased.

Full Article: State officials address voting issues, technology changes - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports.

Philippines: Smartmatic: We own precinct count optical scan rights | Inquirer Business

Smartmatic International has maintained that it has exclusive rights over the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines, which gives it sole authority to refurbish the equipment for the 2016 presidential balloting. Cesar Flores, the Venezuelan firm’s president for Asia, said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should award the contract to repair and upgrade 80,000 PCOS machines to Smartmatic as it owned the rights to its parts. “If you open this to other bidders, the other bidders will try to [get into the] parts, which they cannot [do so] because we have exclusivity on those parts,” Flores told reporters in a recent interview. He added that the Comelec would benefit a lot if it would forgo its plan to bid out the project and award it instead to Smartmatic as the former wouldn’t have to seek a recertification if new software were needed for some of its parts.

Full Article: Smartmatic: We own PCOS rights | Inquirer Business.

New Mexico: Powell asks court to block recount | The Santa Fe New Mexican

Incumbent state Land Commissioner Ray Powell asked the state Supreme Court on Monday to temporarily halt an automatic recount of votes in the contested land commissioner race, alleging the state Canvassing Board has violated state law and the election code. The last unofficial election results showed Powell, a Democrat, losing by a 704-vote margin to Republican challenger Aubrey Dunn out of 499,666 votes cast, or about 0.14 percent of the votes. State law calls for an automatic recount when the margin between two statewide candidates is less than half of 1 percent of ballots cast. Dunn maintained a slim lead through post-election canvassing by county clerks and the state Canvassing Board. But Powell alleges there have been several irregularities, including the vote recount order approved by the state Canvassing Board on Nov. 25.

Full Article: Powell asks court to block recount - The Santa Fe New Mexican: State.

New Jersey: Officials determine cause of Monmouth County elections reporting glitch |

The election results reporting glitch in Monmouth County was caused by four laptops that were used to create the voting machine cartridges, authorities said. Hours after the polls closed on election night, results were not displaying online. The county said software issues were to blame and they were working to determine the root of the problem. “The most important issue is the integrity and accuracy of the ballot,” county Clerk M. Claire French said in a press release. “The ballots were counted: the tally was delayed but still accurate.” Information Technology staff from the county and Dominion Voting System, who supplies the equipment, replicated the pre- and post-election work flow to determine that the four laptops used to create 916 voting machine cartridges did not have an old operating system uninstalled.

Full Article: Officials determine cause of Monmouth County elections reporting glitch |

Voting Blogs: Day in the life of a poll worker – November 2014 | CivicDesign

This Election Day, I was in a new polling place in a largely rural township in Central New Jersey. Elections out here are usually sedate affairs, with friends and neighbors chatting, and the same poll workers year after year. Almost boring. Except when a local election heats up. This year, the election hotspot was the 2 seats on the Township Committee. Here’s the background. The township is the center of a long-running dispute over a general aviation airport which might – or might not – want to expand. It’s probably cost both sides millions in land studies, lawyers, and campaign sign. The election should have been easy: there were only 2 candidates on the ballot from one party. None from the other. No nominations by petition. But there was the usual write-in option.  And the losers in the June primary were running a write-in campaign. Here’s the other twist. We still vote on old full-face electronic voting systems. So “write-in” really means “type-in” on a clunky, modal interface. That makes a write-in campaign doubly daunting. The candidates need to not only get the word out, but make sure their supporters know how to cast their votes. And, of course, it takes more time than just touching a few buttons for candidates on the ballot.

Full Article: Day in the life of a poll worker – November 2014 | CivicDesign.

New Jersey: What triggered Monmouth County election glitch? Four laptops | Asbury Park Press

A glitch triggered by the failure to remove a previous program from computers during an upgrade in September delayed the results from the Monmouth County election on Nov. 4, County Clerk M. Claire French said. Four laptops used to create 916 cartridges that tallied the results in the voting machines were the source of the problem, French said. The previous system was not uninstalled from those four computers, she said. French said it was not the fault of the vendor, Dominion Voting Systems Inc. of Denver, nor did the blame fall on any one individual. “We let the public down on this, and I am personally disappointed,” French said. “It shouldn’t have happened, and it will not happen again.”

Full Article: What triggered Monmouth County election glitch? Four laptops.