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Georgia: Lawmakers prepare for fight over switch to paper ballots | The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Battles over election integrity that helped define Georgia’s race for governor will play out at the Capitol this year, when state legislators plan to replace the state’s 27,000 electronic voting machines and review voting access laws. The multimillion-dollar purchase of a more secure statewide voting system is a priority for this year’s legislative session, which starts Monday. Legislators generally agree that the state should start using paper ballots to replace the all-digital touchscreen system in place since 2002, but they strongly differ over what kind of paper-based system to buy. Intense debates over voter disenfranchisement are also certain to arise. A bill has already been filed to curb mass voter registration cancellations, and other measures could address ballot cancellations, voting hours, early voting times, precinct closures and district boundaries.

Full Article: Elections and paper voting debated by Georgia legislators.

National: New Video Provides Proof of Cellular Modems in Voting Machines | WhoWhatWhy

In the past few days, election integrity activists got up close to the current generation of ES&S voting machines — close enough to record video of a digital scanner voting machine sending results wirelessly. The ability of the machines to communicate with the outside world has generally not been acknowledged by either the manufacturer or election officials. Yet this wireless link is at the heart of concerns that election results could be hacked or manipulated, “including attacks that could change vote totals and election results,” said Emily Levy, director of communications at the voting transparency group AUDIT-USA. Almost two decades after its starring role in the 2000 Bush v. Gore Florida voting debacle, the Broward County Supervisor of Elections Office is still the centerfold for election integrity issues — not just in Florida but in the country as a whole.

Full Article: New Video Provides Proof of Cellular Modems in FL Voting Machines - WhoWhatWhy.

Florida: Something Very Odd Happened With Broward County’s Ballots in the Florida Senate Election | Slate Kim

Florida has retained the championship belt for election shenanigans, as three statewide races could be headed for a recount. The gap between Rick Scott and Bill Nelson, in the election for the latter’s Senate seat, has only continued to narrow. The race was already within the 0.5 percent margin needed to trigger a recount on Wednesday, when Scott had roughly a 35,000-vote lead. That’s been cut in half to about 17,000 as ballots have continued to come in. While Scott is still the favorite to ultimately win, FiveThirtyEight has shifted the race from “likely Republican” to “lean Republican.” One reason for hope for Nelson is that a traditionally Democratic area, Broward County, has so far reported fewer votes for the Senate race compared with the gubernatorial race, according to data compiled by MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki. In other Florida counties, no such discrepancy exists. While some of the discrepancy could be due to genuine undervotes—for instance, the design of the ballot may have led some voters to miss it and not vote in that race—it’s possible that the county hasn’t correctly counted all the ballots. About 24,000 ballots in Broward County registered a vote in the governor’s race but not for the Senate race.

Full Article: Florida Senate election: missing votes in Broward County..

Florida: Duval County vote count could have ‘delay’ after ballot size snafu | Florida Politics

Voting machine issues are cropping up in Jacksonville precincts as Election Day continues. And “unscanned ballots,” some worry, may add drama to the count this evening. The problem: the width of some ballots, mostly but not exclusively NPA, is too broad for the tabulation machine. However, Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan expressed confidence, saying the size issue “might delay it somewhat but we plan on finishing it tonight.” We reported this morning about ballot tabulation issues at Mandarin’s Precinct 606, where a machine had rejected ballots, requiring a manual count.

Full Article: Duval County vote count could have 'delay' after ballot size snafu - Florida Politics.

Maine: Technical glitch delays state RCV ballot count | The Ellsworth American

Go online and you can buy a USB memory stick, or thumb drive, for 10 bucks or less. Even a premium, high-speed 128-gigabyte device can be had for less than $50 and delivered to the door overnight. It appears, though, that a small, relatively inexpensive, device caused big problems for the Secretary of State’s Office. Last week, Maine voters went to the polls to select gubernatorial and other candidates in Democratic and Republican primary elections and to decide whether to continue ranked choice voting (RCV) in national elections and party primaries. As of Wednesday morning, Democrats were still waiting to find out who their candidate for governor would be come November and who would challenge Rep. Bruce Poliquin in the general election to represent Maine’s Second Congressional District.

On Tuesday, completion of the preliminary RCV tally that would answer those questions was delayed. Earlier in the day, technical problems forced Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap to send staff detectives to retrieve paper ballots from two Hancock County municipalities, Ellsworth and Orland, as well as from Gray, Lewiston and Westbrook. The reason was that digital images of some scanned ballots could not be read by the tabulation computers at the Secretary of State’s Office, so the original paper ballots had to be recovered and rescanned.

Full Article: Technical glitch delays state RCV ballot count - The Ellsworth AmericanThe Ellsworth American.

Pennsylvania: Complying with governor’s edict could be expensive, leaders say | Sharon Herald

In Mercer County’s efforts to purchase a new voting system, the incumbent got first crack at displaying its wares. Omaha-based ES&S promoted its next-generation election machines for county commissioners and elections officials Thursday at the courthouse. Mercer County has used the ES&S-manufactured iVotronic machines for more than 10 years. Mercer, and Pennsylvania’s other 66 counties, are under an order from Gov. Tom Wolf to adopt voting systems that provide paper records of individual votes cast to alleviate concerns of election tampering in time for the 2020 elections. The iVotronic device does not meet that standard. All of the election options presented Thursday issue paper records of individual votes or read paper ballots, or both. Kevin Kerrigan, a senior sales engineer for ES&S, said the devices are designed to function for the long-term. “You’re going to buy this stuff and expect it to work for at least 10 years,” he said.

Full Article: Complying with governor’s edict could be expensive, leaders say | Local News | sharonherald.com.

US Virgin Islands: USVI, BVI Confer on Voting Machines | St. Croix Source

Supervisor of Elections Caroline Fawkes met with BVI election officials recently to talk about the territory’s experience with the use of DS 200 Voting Scanner/Tabulator Machine over the years.\ The machines; DS 200 paper ballot tabulators make by ES&S, were a pet project of St. Croix District Board of Elections Chairman Adelbert Bryan, who spearheaded a campaign against the old, 1980s-vintage Danaher Electronic 1242 machines. Bryant said the old machines were unreliable and could be manipulated. Despite many public claims, no evidence that they can actually be manipulated or that they ever have been manipulated was presented. The territory switched to the new machines in 2013. The machines did not count votes by party symbol correctly in 2014, leading to controversy. The software was subsequently updated.

Full Article: USVI, BVI Confer on Voting Machines | St. Croix Source.

Kentucky: 700 new voting machines will change how Louisville ballots are cast in 2018 | WDRB

The next time voters in Jefferson County go to the polls, they’ll use a pen to cast their ballot, the first indication of Louisville’s new voting system. The Jefferson County Clerk’s office spent more than $3 million this year on 700 new machines. “This is about voter integrity,” said James Young, co-director of the Jefferson County Election Center. “It’s about ensuring the best technology is available for the voters.” The County Clerk’s office plans to roll out the new machines at every polling location in Louisville, completely eliminating its old fleet. “Our neighboring state, Virginia, just de-certified equipment we had in this county for nearly 20 years,” Young said. Writing in pen instead of pencil is new, along with the machines those ballots will be counted on, but Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw is was quick to point out that there will still be paper ballots. “There will always be a paper trail,” she said.

Full Article: 700 new voting machines will change how Louisville ballots are c - WDRB 41 Louisville News.

Georgia: Paper Ballot Pilot Going Smoothly in Rockdale County | APN

After years of the State of Georgia operating with an unverifiable and fundamentally flawed E-voting system, a pilot program to test a new E-voting system with a voter-verifiable paper trail, is going smoothly and to rave reviews by voters in Rockdale County. Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s Office invited Rockdale County to participate in the pilot, as Kemp’s office is considering recommendations for implementing a new statewide system. The pilot is taking place in two precincts in Olde Towne in Rockdale County, and within the City limits of Conyers, for the General and Special Election on today, November 07, 2017.  The pilot lasted for all of early voting and continues today, Election Day. Computer scientists have advocated for this type of system in Georgia since 2002, when then-Secretary of State Cathy Cox and the Georgia Legislature first installed the Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) machines, which are without a paper trail to independently verify the voters’ intents.

Full Article: Georgia’s E-voting Paper Trail Pilot Going Smoothly in Rockdale County | Atlanta Progressive News.

Maryland: Baltimore County orders extra voting scanners, but not as many as elections officials say are needed | Baltimore Sun

Baltimore County is ordering extra ballot scanning machines for four dozen of the county’s busiest polling locations — far fewer than the 200-plus scanners sought by county elections officials. Rob Stradling, the county’s information technology director, said Tuesday that paying for 47 scanners for polling sites and five backup locations represents a “fiscally responsible” solution to easing lengthy backups that frustrated voters during the 2016 election. Stradling said the additional machines and other changes — such as having existing machines serviced, having manufacturer representatives on hand on Election Day and tweaking training for election judges — should make the voting process more efficient. His office spent five months researching the problem and posted its findings online Tuesday. But the county’s top elections official had sought much more. Director of Elections Katie Brown has previously asked the county to purchase a second ballot scanner for each of its 236 polling precincts. Only one precinct had two scanners in 2016.

Full Article: Baltimore County orders extra voting scanners, but not as many as elections officials say are needed - Baltimore Sun.

Georgia: Voters test paper ballots beginning Monday | Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A crucial test for the future of Georgia elections begins Monday when early voting opens across the state ahead of the Nov. 7 local and special elections. Voters in Conyers will begin casting paper ballots along with new voting and tabulating machines as they decide on a new mayor and two City Council seats. The pilot program comes as advocates have sued to force the state to dump its aging all-electronic system amid fears of hacking and security breaches. And it could pave the way for the first elections system reboot in Georgia since 2002. “Everything is still on track and we are ready to go,” said Cynthia Welch, the elections supervisor for Rockdale County, which is running the Conyers election. Welch and her team have spent the past several weeks demonstrating the system, including to other local elections officials as well as lawmakers.

Full Article: Georgia elections: Voters test paper ballots beginning Monday.

Georgia: New paper-ballot machines debut in Georgia | Atlanta Journal Constitution

More than a dozen voters have used new paper-ballot voting machines in Conyers with no reported problems, the first step of a new pilot program to test the machines in Georgia. “It’s fair to say we’re excited to get the ball rolling and partner with a good elections office and give voters a preview of what the future of voting may look like,” said Chris Harvey, Georgia’s elections director.  “This kind of technology seems to be what a lot of states are going toward,” Harvey added. “This is becoming the new normal.”

Full Article: New paper-ballot machines debut in Georgia.

National: Five Possible Hacks to Worry About Before Election Day | The New York Times

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia dismisses the idea that he has the power to interfere with Tuesday’s election. “Does anyone seriously think that Russia can affect the choice of the American people?” he asked during a foreign policy conference last week in the resort city of Sochi. “What, is America a banana republic? America’s a great power. Correct me if I’m wrong.” America’s top intelligence officials say he is highly unlikely to be able to alter the results. But they expect Russian hackers, or others, to try to disrupt the process — perhaps to help Donald J. Trump, but more likely to simply undercut what Mr. Putin views as America’s holier-than-thou attitudes about its democratic procedures. The Obama administration has concluded that much of the email hacking that has roiled the campaign was almost certainly approved by the Russian leadership. More recent activity — including the probing of registration rolls in several states — might be the work of independent Russian hackers, it says. While no one knows what to expect before the polls close, a tight race is more susceptible to mischief. So government agencies and commercial enterprises, including some hired by state election boards facing a determined cyberthreat for the first time, are on high alert. But they are not exactly sure what to look for. Russian hackers? Other attackers? Malware that harnesses devices to strike election infrastructure? More email revelations?

Full Article: Five Possible Hacks to Worry About Before Election Day - The New York Times.

Rhode Island: Voters to see new machines at polls Tuesday | Associated Press

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.

Rhode Island: State buys 590 new voting machines | Associated Press

Rhode Island is acquiring 590 new electronic voting machines that will be used for the fall elections. Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea on Thursday unveiled the new equipment, which replaces machines from the 1990s. The Democrat says the vote-scanners will be secure and report results quickly because they use wireless technology. The paper ballot will be different from what Rhode Island voters have used for many years. Voters will now fill in ovals instead of connecting arrows.

Arkansas: In 5 counties, ballot systems set for update | Arkansas Online

Secretary of State Mark Martin will provide an estimated $2.1 million worth of new voting equipment to five counties, his office announced Tuesday. The five counties are Chicot, Cleveland, Jackson, Randolph and Washington. The counties are scheduled to receive the voting equipment and have it operational for the upcoming school elections in September, the Republican secretary of state said. They will join five other counties for which the state this year purchased new election equipment, at a cost of nearly $3 million. The voting equipment will include new voting machines, tabulating machines and software. The counties will use the Express Vote Universal Voting System, which is a touch-screen machine, said Chris Powell, a spokesman for Martin.

Full Article: In 5 counties, ballot systems set for update.

Arkansas: State awards Washington County $1.2 million in new voting equipment | Arkansas Online

The state has awarded Washington County about $1.2 million of election equipment, said Jennifer Price, election commission coordinator. “We are getting the new voting equipment,” Price said. “We’re excited.” The Quorum Court accepted the equipment during its meeting Thursday. The county put aside $420,000 for the equipment. Election commissioners have said they were worried the state wouldn’t provide equipment in time for the general election Nov. 8, which is expected to have a large voter turnout. The county’s equipment is from 2006 and was starting to break down, Price said.

Full Article: State awards Washington County $1.2 million in new voting equipment - Mobile.

Maryland: New voting machines debut with few reported glitches | The Washington Post

Despite fears of a botched debut of Maryland’s new voting machines, state election officials say they received few reports of glitches and voter confusion in Tuesday’s primary. The election marked Maryland’s long-awaited switch to paper ballots tallied by scanner, nearly a decade after lawmakers decided to ditch electronic machines that leave no paper trail. Late last year, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and his administration raised concerns about election officials’ rushing the new machines into service. They relented when the machine vendor, Election Systems and Software, offered to devote additional staff and resources on a successful rollout.

Full Article: Maryland’s new voting machines debut with few reported glitches - The Washington Post.

Alabama: Irregularity prompts Dale County to change voting machine process | Dothan Eagle

Cities and towns in Dale County that believed they rented voting machines from the Dale County Commission for past elections were actually renting those machines from a former county employee, Dale County Commission Chairman Mark Blankenship said Tuesday. Blankenship said he will send letters to municipalities in the county addressing changes on how to obtain voting machines for upcoming elections after confusion over how the process was handled before. For the municipal elections this summer, Blankenship said the municipalities will be able to rent the machines from Election Systems & Software (ES & S). The county obtains its machines from ES&S as well. Blankenship said the decision came after discovering that in years past, a former county employee who had access to the county’s voting machines would take vacation from the county job in order to operate a company called Voting Machines Technology, in which municipalities were billed between $200 and $500 for use of the county’s voting machines.

Full Article: Irregularity prompts Dale County to change voting machine process - Dothan Eagle: Local.

Arkansas: Updated election machines unveiled | Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette

Sebastian County is poised to test new voting equipment for the state by letting county voters use it in the March 1 primaries. The Sebastian County Election Commission and county officials unveiled Tuesday the 250 voting machines, 54 tabulators and 94 digital poll books that will be set up in the county’s 41 polling places March 1 and in three early voting sites. Early voting begins Tuesday and runs through Feb. 29. For the past 10 years, voters in Sebastian County have had the option of voting on now-obsolete electronic machines or by paper ballot, Election Commission Chairman David Damron said. Both will be replaced by equipment the Arkansas secretary of state’s office bought from Omaha, Neb.-based Electronic Systems & Software for testing in Sebastian, Boone, Columbia and Garland counties.

Full Article: Updated election machines unveiled | NWADG.