Voting Blogs: Bexar County Texas successfully tests email ballots for military members | electionlineWeekly

Jacquelyn Callanen, elections administrator for Bexar County, Texas has been testing programs to help service members from the four military installations in her county vote since 2006. For almost a decade Callanen and her staff have been trying a number of different ways — including fax and email — to quickly and securely get ballots to and more importantly from service members serving abroad. And finally, with legislative approval, Callanen thinks they’ve found the solution. “We’re really excited about this,” Callanen said from her office while working to conduct yet another special election in the county. “We have worked really hard on this for many, many years.”

Texas: 8 Texas soldiers voted via email; program called ‘success’ | KXAN

Usually, a 2 percent response rate is not considered a success, but it is for a Texas pilot program that allows soldiers in combat zones to cast ballots via email. State lawmakers passed a bill in 2013 directing the secretary of state to allow one county in Texas to allow soldiers in hostile fire zones to cast email ballots. Then-Secretary of State John Steen chose Bexar County, home of San Antonio and the 50,000 enlisted military members of Joint Base San Antonio, to be the first for the program.

Kansas: Proposed bill would change out-of-state voting | The Salina Post

During the November mid-term election, state Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau’s daughter was unable to vote while attending college in Texas. She intended to vote but her advanced ballot did not arrive in the mail until after the election. Last week, the Senate Ethics Committee heard amendments to Senate Bill 41 that would allow students attending a college or university outside the state to vote electronically. Under current Kansas law, voters in the armed services and their families residing outside the U.S. may request to vote through electronic means either through their county elections officer or the secretary of state. SB 41 recognizes that out-of-state residents cannot always vote timely by mail. Faust-Goudeau, D-Wichita, the committee’s ranking minority member, said an electronic voting method would have allowed her daughter and other out-of-state students to cast their votes. “I just see…the students, especially in that age category, casting their vote electronically,” Faust-Goudeau said. “It’s what they do now.”

Washington: Bills would allow voters to vote through email, fax, and without postage | News Tribune

Two bills in the Legislature aim to simplify the process of voting: One through providing prepaid postage on ballots, and the other by allowing voters to return ballots by email and fax. … The state would reimburse counties for the cost of postage. Critics say they support the intent of the bill, but are concerned about where to find the money. The bill would require $2.7 million in the next two-year budget, according to the Office of the Secretary of State. Counties would have to pay for the postage initially until they get reimbursed by the state. … Another proposal to allow ballots and signed declarations to be faxed or emailed also is prompting concern. House Bill 1143 would allow voters to do so by election night, without having to turn in a hard copy of their ballots to the county auditor. Armed forces members and overseas voters vote this way.

New Jersey: Report says emergency voting after Sandy not a success as claimed | Asbury Park Press

Here’s a view of the super storm Sandy disruption you may not have heard about — a new step in Garden State voting some think was a big failure. After Sandy, Lieutenant Gov. Kim Guadagno in her dual role as secretary of state told county clerks she issued an emergency order granting any registered voter displaced by Sandy to ability to cast votes via email or fax. Journalist Steve Friess writes the Constitutional Rights Clinic at Rutgers Law School-Newark spent the past 18 months following a public document trail to show how that went. The team was led by law professor Penny Venetis. “There was mass confusion among county officials and voters alike,”‘ the 83-page report, called “The Perfect Storm: Voting in New Jersey in the Wake of Superstorm Sandy,” said.

Kentucky: Many clerks oppose email and fax voting | Daily Independent

When Secretary of State Alison Grimes proposed ways to allow military personnel stationed outside of Kentucky to cast absentee ballots more easily and quickly, nearly everyone said it was a good idea. But concerns about the integrity of emailed absentee ballots and allowing such ballots to be counted, even if they arrived a couple of days late, have led to different bills in the Republican-controlled Senate and Democratic-controlled House. Richard Beliles of Common Cause of Kentucky believes it would be relatively easy to hack into those emails and change votes and many county clerks – just how many is in dispute – raised similar concerns. So Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, sponsored the bill but altered Grimes’ proposal by removing the email and extra time provisions. The bill passed easily in that chamber.

National: Pentagon unit pushed email voting for troops despite security concerns | McClatchy

As Election Day approaches, county clerks’ offices in 31 states are accepting tens of thousands of electronic absentee ballots from U.S. soldiers and overseas civilians, despite years of warnings from cyber experts that Internet voting is easy prey for hackers. Some of the states made their techno leaps even after word spread of an October 2010 test of an Internet voting product in the nation’s capital, in which a team of University of Michigan computer scientists quickly penetrated the system and directed it to play the school’s fight song. The Michigan team reported that hackers from China and Iran also were on the verge of breaking in. Election watchdogs, distraught over what they fear is a premature plunge into an era of Internet voting, lay most of the blame on an obscure Defense Department unit that beckoned state officials for 20 years, in letters, legislative testimony and at conferences, to consider email voting for more than 1 million troops and civilians living abroad.

New Jersey: After Sandy New Jersey Becomes Unwilling Test Case for Internet Voting | AllThingsD

Holding an election is complicated. Holding an election eight days after a historically significant disaster? Probably exponentially so. This is the circumstance in which the state of New Jersey will find itself tomorrow. Gov. Chris Christie has ordered counties to provide ways for people who have been displaced by Hurricane Sandy to vote in Tuesday’s election by fax and email. The system will follow in part a similar scheme developed for New Jersey residents serving overseas in the military to cast their ballots. To say that no one is going to be happy with the result, no matter what it is, is probably understating it. To the extent that the process is understood — it was at this writing still in the process of being implemented — it will work like this.

New Jersey: Displaced New Jersey Voters Allowed to Vote by Email | NBC New York

New Jersey election officials say they will allow registered voters to vote electronically and will also accept ballots paper through Monday, November 19th, as long as they are postmarked by election day, November 5. The directive is intended to help first responders whose recovery efforts may keep them away from home and their local polling place on election day, as well as those displaced by the storm. “To help alleviate pressure on polling places, we encourage voters to either use electronic voting or the extended hours at county offices to cast their vote,” said Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno.

Alabama: Secretary of State Chapman praises state lawmakers for passage of Alabama military voting bill | Shelby County Reporter

Alabama Secretary of State Beth Chapman on June 1 praised the Alabama House of Representatives for passing the final version of a bill that would make it easier for military and overseas voters to vote while serving abroad.

Senate Bill 55, created by Chapman and Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, was approved with a 97-0 vote and now goes to Gov. Robert Bentley for approval.

Alabama: House passes bill creating new voting options for Alabama military, other overseas voters – allows electronic submission of voted ballots | The Republic

The Alabama Legislature is creating new ways for the military and other Alabama voters who are overseas to return their ballots.

Currently, the military and other Alabama voters who are overseas can only use the mail to return an absentee ballot. The legislation allows them to use fax, a commercial carrier like UPS and FedEx, and secure electronic transmissions.