Four days after El Salvador’s legislative and mayoral elections, voters in the Central American country are still waiting for results as officials allege that the process of transmitting the votes electronically was sabotaged. Julio Olivo, the head of the country’s elections tribunal, said on Thursday that the Attorney General’s office will investigate failures of an electronic system that prevented officials from disclosing preliminary results on Sunday after polls closed. He said Soluciones Aplicativas S.A, a company hired to scan and disclose voting ballots, “could be extracting information and even changing certain things. There was sabotage in the process of transmitting data,” Olivo said on Wednesday. “We are going to prove it in the courts and a bunch of people are going to fall.”Full Article: Sabotage Alleged as El Salvador Vote Count Enters Fifth Day - Bloomberg Business.
Southern Arizonans will find out Wednesday who will represent them in Congressional District 2. A mandatory recount was triggered because the tally separating incumbent Democrat Ron Barber from Martha McSally, his Republican challenger, in the November general election was less than 200 votes. After completing an electronic recount of all the ballots cast for each candidate last week, a hand count of a sample of ballots from five percent of the precincts — the last step in the two-week recount process — was completed Monday morning.Full Article: Recount over: McSally, Barber await fate Wednesday.
Pima and Cochise counties have finished the machine recount in the race between U.S. Rep. Ron Barber and likely winner Martha McSally, but there won’t be any results released until next week. First, a hand recount of random ballots will be performed Monday, and used to verify the accuracy of the machine count. Results from the counties must be submitted to state officials by 5 p.m. Tuesday. With McSally up by just 161 votes, a recount in the congressional race was automatic under Arizona law. Another look at the ballots is triggered when the margin is less than 200 votes. While Pima will perform the required hand count on Monday — done with randomly selected precincts and batches of early ballots — Cochise will tackle that task on Friday.Full Article: Barber/McSally: All over but the re-recounting.
The Idaho Republican Party is encouraging two of its candidates to ask for recounts in elections that they narrowly lost to their Democratic challengers in the Nov. 4 election. Republican state Rep. Thyra Stevenson of Lewiston lost to Democrat Dan Rudolph by 26 votes. Meanwhile, in the same legislative district, fellow Republican Mike Kingsley lost to House Minority Leader John Rusche by 48 votes. Idaho Republican Party’s Executive Director David Johnston told the Lewiston Tribune in a story that ran Saturday that the narrow margins in both races warrant a recount.Full Article: UPDATE: Idaho Republican Party Pushes for Recount.
Republican challenger Martha McSally grabbed a 36-vote lead overnight against Democratic incumbent Rep. Ron Barber in the rematch of a congressional race decided by less than one percent of the vote in 2012. McSally trailed Rep. Barber after the initial early ballot numbers from Congressional District 2 were released Tuesday night. But those numbers did not include early ballots from Cochise County, the conservative portion of District 2 McSally won with 59 percent of the vote in 2012. Late Tuesday night the Cochise County elections website posted this message: “Due to technical difficulties the early ballot counting machine did not match the hand count. Therefore, early ballots are in the process of being delivered to Graham County where they will be counted by their equipment.”Full Article: McSally leads Barber by 36 votes; recount set for early Cochise Co. ballots - KGUN9.
Future federal elections should use electronic vote counting to improve the accuracy of results, the ACT Electoral Commission has said. A joint parliamentary committee has been considering election methods after almost 1,400 votes went missing in Western Australia during the federal election. The problems led to a fresh Senate poll being held in WA and the resignation of Australian electoral commissioner Ed Killesteyn. ACT electoral commissioner Phil Green told the committee there were miscounts in every division in Western Australia. “Hand counting and hand sorting by using humans alone is an error-prone thing,” he said. “I think if you look at the result of the recount in Western Australia you can see that hand counting even a single first preference on a ballot paper is something that human beings aren’t very good at, but computers are very good at it.”Full Article: ACT Electoral Commission proposes electronic vote counting for federal elections - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).
Venezuela’s government on Monday defended a presidential election that authorities said gave interim leader Nicolas Maduro a six-year term, backtracking on a pledge he had made to permit an audit of ballots demanded by the opposition after the razor-thin victory. Henrique Capriles, who had challenged Maduro in the Sunday election, which was held six weeks after President Hugo Chavez’s death, insisted that he had won the vote and called for a hand count of all the paper ballots.Full Article: Venezuelan government defends election result, backtracks on recount pledge - The Washington Post.
Voters in a West Anchorage assembly race might be facing some bubble trouble. Starting Saturday, city officials will begin hand counting more than 7,000 votes cast in last Tuesday’s municipal election after concerns that some ovals marked correctly, according to municipal code, might not have been counted. At least that’s what the campaign of Nick Moe, the 26-year-old write-in candidate, is saying. Moe challenged incumbent Anchorage Assembly chairman Ernie Hall after Hall cut off testimony on a controversial ordinance designed to limit the power labor unions that do work for the city. On Monday, Moe’s campaign requested that Anchorage conduct a hand count of ballots in Assembly District 3, Seat D. That came after the city released a statement saying it would not perform a hand count unless the total number of write-in votes cast were equal to or more than the amount of votes for the leading candidate. The same release noted that there may be “other circumstances” where the votes would be hand-counted.Full Article: Counting Anchorage election ballots could yield bubble trouble | Alaska Dispatch.
Voting Blogs: First Person Singular: Data is a useful tool for elections officials | Steve Weir/electionlineWeekly
There are two major observations that I have had during my 24 years as County Clerk-Recorder. First, the people who work in elections are extremely dedicated and ethical. Second, we have in our hands access to a wealth of data that we should use to tell our story. However, many of us miss the opportunity to review and to “own” our data. I slowly found out in my early days as Clerk, that our elections information management system had TONS of reports on virtually every aspect of our operations. From simple over-under reports (that can identify individual precinct problems) to rejected vote-by-mail ballots, patterns of problems could be easily identified and tracked. In 1996, we had a close contest for a California State Senate seat. Out of about 300,000 votes cast, the spread was about 700 votes, not close. However, the losing party asked for a recount. After 25,000 ballots were hand counted, the spread had hardly changed and the recount was called off. As part of this process, I noticed that 3,200 vote-by-mail ballots had been rejected, almost 4 percent of the total vote-by-mail ballots cast. Most of these arrived after election day. No one seemed bothered by this statistic. No one except me. These were voters who did not have their ballots counted.Full Article: electionlineWeekly.
Voting Blogs: Arbitrary and Outrageous Costs for ‘Recounts’ of Paper Ballot Elections in California Continue to Stymie Citizen Authentication of Results | BradBlog
Early last month, The Brad Blog offered an exclusive special report on how a single Registrar of Voters in Fresno County, CA effectively stopped a citizen-organized attempt to confirm the results of last November’s Prop 37 initiative dead in its tracks. She was able to stop an attempted post-election hand count of the paper ballots in her county by charging the proponents of the count an outrageous and seemingly arbitrary high price to carry out the count. Now, a very similar story is being reported in regard to an attempt to confirm the results of a mayoral race in another California county where the “losing” candidate is said to have lost by just 53 votes. In that case, rather than an outrageous $4,000 per day to count the paper ballots again, as was the case for Prop 37 in Fresno, the candidate has been charged $2,000 per hour for her attempt to verify that the results of her contest were accurately reported by the computer system.Full Article: The BRAD BLOG : Arbitrary and Outrageous Costs for 'Recounts' of Paper Ballot Elections in California Continue to Stymie Citizen Authentication of Results.
International: Electronic voting is failing the developing world while the US and Europe abandon it | Quartz
It was supposed to be the most modern election in Africa. Kenyan authorities, hoping to avoid the chaos of the 2007 election, decided that this time the country would use a tamper-proof, state-of-the-art electronic voting system where voter IDs would be checked on hand-held devices and results transmitted to Nairobi through text messages. But everything that could go wrong did. The biometric identification kits to scan people’s thumbs broke down; a server meant to take in results from 33,400 voting centers sent via SMS became overloaded; and some election operators forgot the passwords and PIN numbers for the software. Polling centers went back to hand counting ballots and results were delayed almost a week, until March 9 when Uhuru Kenyatta’s win was announced. And every day before that people feared a repeat of 2007 when results were delayed and violence erupted, killing 1,200 people. Kenya’s troubled electronic voting experiment is part of a strange dichotomy where electronic voting is on the way out in most Western countries, but taking hold in emerging economies, possibly to their detriment. In the US and Western Europe, more states have been opting out of electronic voting systems and returning to paper out of worries over the number of glitches and, as we’ve reported before, the inability to verify that electronic votes or the software on machines have not been manipulated.Full Article: Electronic voting is failing the developing world while the US and Europe abandon it – Quartz.
After five weeks of handcounting ballots from the 2010 general election, the Guam Election Commission presented its findings to commissioners that had some speculating a change in the results, not in the gubernatorial race, but for the Legislature. It took a little over one month to handcount five precincts from the 2010 general election and during its GEC meeting Wednesday night, executive director Maria Pangelinan reported the results. “The difference of the gubernatorial race was minimal,” she said. Of the hand count summary of the five precincts, results showed Gutierrez-Aguon receiving five less votes from the certified results, whereas Calvo-Tenorio received two additional votes. “Between a handcount and machine tabulation there are bound to be differences,” Pangelinan said.Full Article: GEC presents findings of precinct handcount - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand..
The Arizona Secretary of State’s Office has rejected Pima County’s proposal to do a pilot project creating digital scans of ballots. The measure had been a key element of the county’s efforts to improve election procedures by electronically auditing a certain percentage of ballots. In a memo dated Wednesday, Assistant Secretary of State Jim Drake said the recent election has “once again demonstrated that our election machines are incredibly accurate and reliable.” As a result, the office doesn’t want to pay for bolstered audit measures. Pima County, then, should expect more of the same.Full Article: State turns down county proposal to do ballot scans.
The Pima County Board of Supervisors denied a request from its Election Integrity Commission to sort early ballots by precinct for a special hand audit for this election. The board spent about an hour Tuesday listening to commissioners and activists describe the need for an improved ballot-counting process. Pima County is the only county in the state that doesn’t sort ballots by precinct, said commissioner Michael Duniho. “Resisting improvement in vote count auditing has earned Pima County a reputation for suspect elections,” he told the board. A precinct-level hand count would confirm the accuracy of the machine count, Duniho said.Full Article: Supervisors reject request for special hand ballot audit.
The Richland County Election Commission has completed their counting of remaining absentee ballots in Richland County. The group finished the hand count of all paper ballots around 7 p.m. Thursday. The final tabulation came around 8:30 p.m. The result? No change in the outcomes of races, although the final numbers did change by a few votes. For example, in House District 75, numbers Wednesday showed Kirkman Finlay with 7,207 votes and Joe McCulloch with 6,891. On Thursday, those statistics were Finlay 7,218 and McCulloch 6,906.Full Article: Counting of Paper Ballots Complete in Richland County | wltx.com.
A group that wants to examine all of the La Crosse County ballots from the June recall vote will have to wait until after the November election. County Clerk Ginny Dankmeyer said her staff doesn’t have the time right now to accommodate Election Fairness’ open records request to do a hand count. Election Fairness made the request to all 72 Wisconsin counties July 2. The group’s attorney, James Mueller, did not respond to a phone call Thursday for comment. But he told the Janesville Gazette earlier this month they believe electronic voting machines could be faulty and vulnerable to tampering. They want to see if discrepancies appear between their tally and the machines’ tally.Full Article: Group seeks hand count of ballots from June vote.
It’s unknown at this time if human or computer error caused the June 5 ballot counting problems at the Davison County Courthouse, but it’s not the first time an Election Systems & Software M650 ballot scanner has been involved in election irregularities. The group VotersUnite.org has posted lists of nationwide ballot system problems on its website. The group alleges that miscounts and errors have become commonplace with ballot scanners including the M650. Its site lists numerous instances of voting system problems going back nearly a decade. In Mitchell, a June 7 recount prior to the official canvass of ballots showed that ballot totals from the M650 were higher on June 5 than they should have been. The recount did not change the election, but it created questions about the reliability of the M650 system. Mitchell school board candidate Craig Guymon, who ran a distant third in the race for two available seats on the board, filed a complaint with the First Judicial Circuit Court in Mitchell on June 15, contesting the results of the school board election. Guymon said he doesn’t trust the inconsistent ballot counts generated by the M650 and asked the court for a hand count of ballots or a new election. Davison County Auditor Susan Kiepke said Tuesday that ES&S will not examine the county’s M650 computer logs for problems until the lawsuit is settled.Full Article: Ballot machine noted for problems | The Daily Republic | Mitchell, South Dakota.
When some Anchorage precincts ran out of ballots on Election Day, frustrated voters were asked to cast substitute ballots. They selected their mayor using ballots printed for faraway precincts. They marked their vote on a controversial gay rights proposal on blue sample ballots or hastily made photocopies. On Thursday, 1,800 of those makeshift ballots were being counted at City Hall even as election officials and city leaders work to untangle just what went wrong April 3. The replacement ballots couldn’t be counted alongside regular ballots the night of the election because they’re incompatible with voting machines, said City Clerk Barbara Gruenstein. “These are the ones that people showed up at their own home precincts … but there was a shortage of ballots,” Gruenstein said. “So they voted a sample ballot that won’t slide through the machine.” The city will release results of the 1,800 “unscannable” votes as soon as they become available, Gruenstein said.Full Article: Unscanned ballots tallied as problems investigated | Anchorage Daily News - The News Tribune.
Alaska: Anchorage Assembly Votes Against Independent Council To Investigate Election | alaskapublic.org
The Anchorage Assembly has voted ‘no’ on appointing an independent council to investigate the Municipal Election and called a special work session to review the situation. The announcement comes a week after polling places ran out of ballots. Rhonda Matthews holds her right to vote dear. She’s voted in every election since she was 18, except when she was stationed overseas with the Air Force. She is one of the people who contact the ACLU of Alaska to report that she was not able to vote during the municipal election. “I don’t care what side of the politics you’re on, it has to do with the right to vote and I was denied that,” Matthews said. Matthews first went to her voting precinct at Klatt Elementary School just after 7 pm on April 3. That’s where she says she was turned away by an election worker in the parking lot who told her they’d run out of ballots and directed her to vote at the Alaska Club on O’malley.Full Article: Anchorage Assembly Votes Against Independent Council To Investigate Election | alaskapublic.org.
An optical scan vote tallying system, now used by some 300 U.S. municipalities, misreported the results of a Palm Beach County, Florida, municipal election last month. Dominion Voting Inc.’s Sequoia Voting Systems device mistakenly awarded two Wellington Village Council seats to candidates who were found in a post-election audit to have lost their races. The results were officially changed last weekend after a court-sanctioned public hand count of the votes. According to a story in the Palm Beach Sun Sentinel , the Sequoia vote counting software was set up in a way that didn’t correspond to the Wellington County ballot distributed to voters. As a result, votes meant for one candidate were credited to a different candidate. In a product advisory notice issued last Friday, Dominion warned customers that problems could arise if the contest order on a paper ballot does not match the ballot order programmed into Sequoia machine. “The contest order on the ballots in the database can become out of sync with the contest order shown on the corresponding paper ballots,” the company noted. If the issue is not identified during pre-election tests, “election results will show the correct number of votes, but assigns them to the wrong candidate” the company said in the advisory.Full Article: E-voting system awards election to wrong candidates in Florida village - Regulation, Palm, Industries, hardware systems, hardware, Gov't Legislation/Regulation, Government/Industries, government - Computerworld.