election costs

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National: The One Kernel of Truth at Trump’s Voter Fraud Summit | WIRED

The first meeting of the Trump administration’s new advisory committee on election integrity consisted mainly of voter-fraud fear-mongering. … Hans von Spakovsky, a committee member and senior legal fellow at the right-learning Heritage Foundation, pointed to his organization’s database of 1,071 documented cases of voter fraud over the last several decades, neglecting to mention that figure constitutes just .0008 percent of the people who voted in the 2016 election alone. Together, they painted a picture of a pervasive and insidious threat to free and fair elections, despite the mountains of research showing that actual voter fraud is scarce. But amid all the conjecture came one nugget of actual truth, offered by Judge Alan King of Jefferson County, Alabama. Not only did Judge King, one of the committee’s few Democrats, state that he’d never seen a single instance of voter fraud in all his years as head of elections in Jefferson County, he was also the lone member of the committee to use his opening remarks to raise the critically important issue of outdated voting technology. Unlike phantom zombie voters, that issue poses a real, and well-documented, threat to people’s voting rights. Read More

Kenya: Elections will cost $1 billion in government and campaign spend | Quartz

Kenya is set to hold its most expensive election ever. It’s expected to top $1 billon in aggregate spend and could be Africa’s most expensive on a cost-per-voter basis. The public and private spending are both at an all-time high, with both the government and candidates spending hundreds of millions of dollars to secure the electoral process or campaigning to get elected. In a new pre-election economic and fiscal report released before the Aug. 8 polls, Kenya’s national treasury said the preparation and execution of the election will cost 49.9 billion shillings ($480 million). The largest allotment in the budget goes to the electoral commission, which is using almost 43 billion shillings ($413.2 million) to hire personnel, procure election materials, conduct voter education exercises, besides collecting and transmitting results. Read More

Utah: Chaffetz resignation requires counties to pony up $675K for special election | Deseret News

When former Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz resigned on June 30, he sent state officials scrambling to organize Utah’s first congressional special election in 87 years. Now, counties must cough up hundreds of thousands of dollars in unexpected costs to pay for it. As counties gear up for the Aug. 15 GOP primary, they’re estimating it will cost more than $675,000 to host the special election, particularly in areas that otherwise wouldn’t be holding municipal primaries. … With more than 60 percent of 3rd District voters, Utah County will eat the majority of the cost — which Utah County Clerk/Auditor Bryan Thompson says will be paid for out of the county’s “rainy day” fund. Read More

Editorials: On Independence Day, U.S. elections remain vulnerable | USA Today

As Americans celebrate Independence Day, it’s worth remembering that the right to vote in free and fair elections stands at the heart of that independence — and that this cherished right is under attack by a hostile foreign power. New revelations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election arrive regularly. Last month came news that Russian hackers had probed the voting networks in 21 states and had executed a cyberattack on a contractor that supplies voting software to states. “They will be back,” former FBI director James Comey warned in congressional testimony. In the face of this threat, the nation’s leaders, at the federal and state levels, have done little to harden defenses against future attacks. For the most part, President Trump has been in denial about Russian meddling, as if acknowledging the problem threatens the legitimacy of his election, and has focused instead on unproven allegations of extensive voter fraud. Read More

National: Making U.S. Elections More Secure Wouldn’t Cost Much But No One Wants To Pay | NPR

What would it cost to protect the nation’s voting systems from attack? About $400 million would go a long way, say cybersecurity experts. It’s not a lot of money when it comes to national defense — the Pentagon spent more than that last year on military bands alone — but getting funds for election systems is always a struggle. At a Senate intelligence committee hearing last week about Russian hacking during last year’s election, Jeanette Manfra , the acting deputy under secretary for cybersecurity at the Department Homeland Security recommended that election officials have a paper-based audit process to identify anomalies after an election. While that’s the advice most cybersecurity experts give, right now more than a dozen states use electronic voting machines that have no paper backup. Replacing those machines would go a long way toward protecting one of the core functions of democracy, says Larry Norden of the Brennan Center for Justice in New York. “I don’t think that would cost a huge amount of money. I think it would probably cost between $200 million and $300 million to replace that equipment,” adding that $400 million is his top estimate. Read More

Ohio: Ohio Joins Nationwide Effort to Update Voting Equipment | GovTech

“We don’t want to be another Florida.” Those words from Delaware County Elections Director Karla Herron are being echoed across Ohio — indeed, throughout much of the country — as elections officials grow increasingly worried about the growing necessity to replace aging voting equipment. Virtually no one disagrees with the need. Problem is, virtually no one wants to pay for a new voting setup. The statewide tab could top $200 million, judging by central Ohio cost estimates. Tim Ward has a ready retort for such reluctance: “You think having a good election is expensive? Try having a bad one.” The president of the Ohio Association of Election Officials and Madison County elections director said, “We don’t want to be sitting there saying I told you so.” Read More

Ohio: Could the 2000 election debacle in Florida happen in Ohio? | Columbus Dispatch

“We don’t want to be another Florida.” Those words from Delaware County Elections Director Karla Herron are being echoed across Ohio — indeed, throughout much of the country — as elections officials grow increasingly worried about the growing necessity to replace aging voting equipment. Virtually no one disagrees with the need. Problem is, virtually no one wants to pay for a new voting setup. The statewide tab could top $200 million, judging by central Ohio cost estimates. Tim Ward has a ready retort for such reluctance: “You think having a good election is expensive? Try having a bad one.” The president of the Ohio Association of Election Officials and Madison County elections director said, “We don’t want to be sitting there saying I told you so.” Read More

Wisconsin: Election Officials Approve Electronic Poll Books | Associated Press

Poll workers would be able to trade their paper and pens for laptops and printers by next year’s fall elections under a plan Wisconsin election officials approved Tuesday to develop electronic poll books. The state Elections Commission voted unanimously to have its staff develop e-poll book software and offer it to local election clerks on a pilot basis beginning in February. The commission plans to offer the software to clerks statewide by the August 2018 primaries. The project is expected to cost about $124,865 in staff time. Municipalities that decide to use the system would have to purchase hardware such as laptops and printers at a rate of $475 to $970 per voter check-in station at the polls. Read More

California: Assembly Bill Would Allow Voting System Upgrades | Techwire

The last time voting technology was updated in California was 2002. That’s four presidential elections with the same voting machines each time. In Sacramento County, vote-counting machines have paths worn into the trays that hold ballots to be scanned, often causing ballots to fray as they pass through machines. Counties normally administer most election activities and cover the costs associated with them. States have specific requirements about elections, costing about $30 million a year. However, the state and federal governments do not regularly pay for elections, leaving counties with large modernization bills. Assembly Bill 668, the Voting Modernization Bond Act of 2018, would change all that. The bill would allow the state to sell $450 million in bonds that would be spent upgrading voting technology after a two-thirds vote in both houses and passage as a proposition by direct vote of the people. Read More

Pennsylvania: Senators, experts gather for “overview hearing” on election reform | PennLive

Imagine it’s the first Tuesday of November. Rather than voting at your local precinct in your municipality, you would drive to the county “polling center” to cast your ballot. In a Senate hearing on Tuesday, legislators and elections experts discussed this “polling center” concept and other possibilities to amend Pennsylvania’s current election practices, many of which have been in place since 1937. Read More