A committee reviewing election issues in Minnehaha County moved one meeting closer to releasing what its chairman later called “a series of recommendations and critiques,” some of which could require changes made in the state Legislature. Election night issues last November kept the state’s largest county from reporting election results until 14 hours after the polls closed. That followed problems in the 2012 election and issues in last April’s city election. The seven-member committee heard testimony for well over two hours Friday and ended the meeting receiving copies of a draft report that will be examined during the next two weeks. That draft report will not be made public, said Robert Wilson, the county employee assigned to the election review committee. All this effort is designed to prevent what chairman Bruce Danielson described as “heartache and headache and voter frustration” when elections go wrong and people are unsure whether their vote will be counted properly.
Europe: Estonian e-voting shouldn’t be used in European elections, say security experts | The Guardian
Estonia’s internet voting system should not be used for the European elections in May because its security vulnerabilities could lead to faked votes or totals, say independent researchers. The flaws were discovered by a team who were accredited to observe the October 2013 municipal elections. They said they observed election officials downloading key software over insecure internet connections, typing PINs and passwords in view of cameras, and preparing election software on insecure PCs. They have reported their findings to the Estonian government, but had had no response by Monday. As one of the highest-profile countries in its adoption of the internet, Estonia intends to use the e-voting system for its European elections in May, and already uses it for national parliamentary and municipal elections. Up to a quarter of votes are cast online in elections. The attacks could be carried out by nation states that wanted to compromise elections, or a well-funded candidate who hired criminal hackers with the capabilities to alter the vote, the researchers warned.
Crashing websites and other technology issues plagued local boards of elections poll submissions to the state Tuesday night. The 2014 primary election results stalled after polls closed at 7:30 p.m. Melody Vaughan, with the Vance County Board of Elections, said they submitted their voting results around 8:30 p.m. Granville submitted around 10:30 p.m., said Tonya Burnette, Granville’s Board of Elections director. The Warren County office struggled with the new system and was unable to finalize voting reports until 6:30 a.m. Wednesday. “They [Raleigh] changed a lot of things, and the election reporting module was one of them,” Deborah Formyduval, director of Warren County Board of Elections, said.
North Carolina: New election software delayed voting report in North Carolina counties | News-Record
The Old Guilford County Courthouse was filled with the candidates’ excitement and anxiety as the first results popped up from Tuesday’s primary. But those in the lead had to contain their excitement — all of the precincts reporting by 8 p.m.? No, that can’t be right. The Guilford County Board of Elections learned almost immediately after uploading early voting results that something was wrong with the software. The State Board of Elections provided software to the counties. From 2007 until last fall, the state used a Tampa, Florida-based developer called SOE Software, but then the state brought election reporting in-house. Problems arose as counties started uploading their data. Although the number of ballots cast was correct in the information published on the county’s screen of the state’s website, candidates and reporters had little idea what they meant because the number of precincts reporting wasn’t correct.
The Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) has asked for a written guarantee that the software which will aggregate the results of next weekend’s election is safe from any outside tampering. According to HVG, party MP Ferenc Baja put forward the request on Wednesday, when the National Elections Office (NVI) gave a closed-door briefing on the functioning of the software. NVI director Ilona Pálffy promised to present the results of an audited test of the system on Tuesday. The portal also noted that the NVI had planned to hold a public demonstration of the software the previous Friday, which apparently failed to take place. Members of the opposition have repeatedly voiced concerns in recent weeks about the software, pointing out that under previous Socialist-Liberal (MSZP-SZDSZ) governments the was in place and subject to public demonstrations 90 days before elections.
On the same day that Tippecanoe County Clerk Christa Coffey’s grousings about the tedious electronic poll book certification process appeared in print, the lab testing the equipment OK’d the county’s election hardware. It’s not because of the media attention, she said. Her frustration stemmed from the fact that the county’s two models of computers that needed to be certified as capable of running the election software had been at the testing lab since Friday. She told the Election Board on Tuesday that it was a one-hour test, and it still hadn’t been completed. “It had been at the lab since Friday, so I’m not sure where the delay came in,” Coffey said. “(I received confirmation) yesterday afternoon that our two laptops that we use were approved for use and all the hardware — the four-port USB hub (and barcode scanner).”
The county terminated the contract with its election software consultants just six months before the next election. “It is now required in Indiana that electronic poll books have to be certified,” Tippecanoe County Clerk Christa Coffey said as she explained Monday to county commissioners why the contract needed to end. “Our current vendor, Votec, has determined they are not going to go through that certification process. So not only do we need to terminate this contract, but we need to find a new vendor.” The certification process is reviewed by the Voting Systems Technology Oversight Program, which is operated out of Ball State University in Muncie. The county has used Votec, which is based in San Diego, since the 2011 elections, Coffey said.
Following the shambolic Western Australian Senate election, the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has turned down a citizen’s FOI request to look at the software it uses to count Senate votes. The decision, published yesterday at RightToKnow.org.au, was in response to a request made by Michael Cordover. Cordover had asked for the source code of the software, along with scripts and interpreted code; along the data specifications the AEC used in writing the software.
Sometime after final testing of Waukesha County’s election software – but before the April election – County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus mysteriously changed something in her office’s computer programming, according to a consulting firm’s report released Tuesday. Only Nickolaus knows what she did. The consultants can’t figure it out, and she’s not talking. But whatever she did, it caused a breakdown in reporting election results that will cost county taxpayers $256,300 to fix, the report says. And that’s not the only money that Waukesha County will have to spend to get its election systems operating properly, County Executive Dan Vrakas said Tuesday. Aging hardware is out of compliance with federal standards and nearing the end of its useful life, the report says. That equipment was supposed to be replaced in 2009, but Nickolaus killed the project because county purchasing officials wouldn’t let her award a no-bid contract, said Norm Cummings, county director of administration. Now Vrakas and the County Board will need to spend unknown amounts of money in the 2013 and 2014 budgets to replace that equipment before the 2014 gubernatorial election, Cummings said.
Wisconsin: Investigating, fixing Nickolaus election errors to cost Wisconsin county $256,300 | JSOnline
A consultant’s report traces problems in reporting Waukesha County election results directly to mistakes by outgoing County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus – mistakes that will cost county taxpayers more than a quarter of a million dollars to fix. Nickolaus had promised to post timely results online and update them periodically for the April 3 election. But the public didn’t learn the results of contested local races for hours, while reporters and election reporting service representatives were forced to tabulate the vote totals themselves from long paper tapes hanging on the walls of a meeting room. The embattled county clerk already was under scrutiny because of her role in the 2011 state Supreme Court race, when she left the entire city of Brookfield out of countywide vote totals. When those 14,000 votes were added in, two days after the election, Justice David Prosser had won by 7,000 votes, instead of narrowly losing to Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg, as the original count showed. But the uncertainty over the Waukesha County vote led to a statewide recount that confirmed Prosser’s victory.
Harri Hursti may be the best-known hacker you’ve never heard of. Largely unknown to the voting public, the Finnish computer programmer gained national notoriety among elections officials in 2005 when he broke into voting equipment in Leon County – at the supervisor of elections’ invitation – just to show it could be done. Hursti has since gone on to examine voting systems for other states. His conclusion: “Some systems are better than others, but none is nearly good enough.” In fact, a decade’s worth of Florida vote counting has been tripped up by technology of all makes and models, despite a state certification process designed to guard against such problems. Nationally, studies of the secret code underpinning election software have uncovered an array of troubles.
Sussex County freeholders are withholding payment to the company that provides and services the county’s election computers until the board can get a face-to-face meeting with company representatives.
“Just like there’s no crying in baseball, there’s no bugs in election software,” Freeholder Philip Crabb said during Wednesday’s meeting. “It just can’t happen.”
Crabb was the one who suggested pulling Elections Systems and Software from the list of bills for the freeholders to authorize payment. The amount of the bill was about $31,760 and is a regular payment under a maintenance and service agreement.
New York: New software to help avoid ballot-printing errors in Jefferson County New York | Watertown Daily Times
A new software system will help the Jefferson County Board of Elections avoid costly errors in printing ballots. The E-Suite Election Management Software will enable the board to link incoming election candidate petitions to the voter-registrant database. That ensures the candidate’s name and address will be spelled correctly and limits human error. A misspelled name…