A New York attorney and cyber security expert says it may be time for American elections to be tallied with hand-counted ballots. Alexander Urbelis, a computer hacker-turned-lawyer, says vulnerabilities in voting technologies, combined with the weaponization of personal data and rampant disinformation campaigns that underpinned the 2016 presidential election, have created “a really dangerous situation” for democracy. “We live in a state of disbelief,” Urbelis said. “Facts aren’t facts, and nothing is verifiable.” Meanwhile, Urbelis said vote tabulation equipment — such as the optical scanners widely used in Wisconsin — could be vulnerable to hacking at a local level or within the supply chain.Full Article: Cyber security expert proposes analog solution to election hacking | Local | lacrossetribune.com.
hand counted paper ballots
Dutch authorities will count by hand all the votes cast in next month’s general elections, ditching “vulnerable” computer software to thwart any cyber hacking bid, a senior minister has said. “I cannot rule out that state actors may try to benefit from influencing political decisions and public opinion in the Netherlands,” interior minister Ronald Plasterk said in a letter to parliament on Wednesday. On 15 March, the Netherlands kicks off a year of crucial elections in Europe which will be closely watched amid the rise of far-right and populist parties on the continent. Dutch officials are already on alert for signs of possible cyber hacking following allegations by US intelligence agencies that Russia may have meddled in November’s US presidential polls to help secure Donald Trump’s victory.Full Article: Dutch will count all election ballots by hand to thwart hacking | World news | The Guardian.
After Curtis Hines marked his paper ballot for Bernie Sanders on Tuesday, he brought it to the ballot box where his father, Patrick, cranked the handle to feed it in. “Ding!” The vote was counted. This was state-of-the-art technology – in 1892. But there’s no need for anything newer in this town of 198 people, the second smallest in New Hampshire. Its 127 registered voters are casting ballots in the same 12-by-16-inch wooden box that voters used in the Granite State’s first presidential primary 100 years ago. The controversy over so-called butterfly ballots in Florida during the disputed 2000 presidential election led to a major overhaul in voting equipment in many states, prompted by an infusion of federal dollars as part of the Help Americans Vote Act, or HAVA. Many of the new voting systems featured technology that officials thought would help restore confidence in elections at a critical point. New Hampshire, though, saw little need for wholesale change.Full Article: New Hampshire relies on a mix of new and old voting systems - LA Times.
Roanoke County will count primary ballots by hand next month after state voting officials said current voting machines weren’t reliable. Botetourt and Roanoke counties are the only two localities in the Roanoke and New River valleys that use faulty WinVote voting machines and have a June 9 primary, leaving them scrambling to find a new way to count ballots before next month. Last month, the State Board of Elections determined local governments couldn’t use the machines any more after a report noted they were susceptible to security breaches and also malfunctioned because of old age.Full Article: Roanoke County to count primary ballots by hand - Roanoke Times: News.
Poland’s electoral authorities say that the votes in the May presidential election will be counted by hand and calculator because of a lack of a reliable electronic system. The decision by the State Electoral Commission follows a major computer malfunction that largely delayed the vote count in the local government elections last fall. The scandal led to the resignations of most of the commission members.
With more than 12,000 registered voters, Hudson is by far the largest community in Massachusetts to count its results by hand each election night. That will soon change. The town’s capital plan for next fiscal year, approved by Town Meeting early this month, includes spending $56,000 to purchase eight electronic voting machines, one for each of Hudson’s seven precincts and one backup. For at least the last 15 years, town officials have mulled switching from hand-crank ballot boxes, which require a crew of vote counters each election night to tabulate the paper ballots. But they’ve been reluctant to switch from a system they know works to one they are not familiar with, according to Town Clerk Joan Wordell. “We’re going to miss it. Tradition, you know?” she said. “What I won’t miss is at 8 o’clock when everyone has to start counting and then people start asking, ‘What time do you think the results will be in?’ ”Full Article: Voting in Hudson vaults into the 21st century - West - The Boston Globe.
Voting Blogs: Maine towns continue to count ballots by hand – State offer of free vote-counting equipment rejected by some | electionlineWeekly
When you think of Maine you think of lobsters and blueberries and quaint, picturesque towns. For years, ballot clerks in hundreds of these small towns have spent election night painstakingly hand-counting ballots. Depending on the size of the town and the size of the election, this process could last well into the morning hours. In early 2012, there were approximately 500 towns throughout Maine still hand-counting ballots. The Secretary of State’s Office, in an effort to speed up the process and get results to Augusta more quickly, offered the towns with more than 1,100 registered voters access to 225 vote tabulators (ES&S DS 200) free of charge under the state’s contract with the vendor. “We are providing 225 tabulators free of charge,” explained Julie Flynn, deputy secretary of state. “The majority of the municipalities with more than 1,100 registered voters accepted the tabulators.” Only Greenville, Litchfield and Winterport declined two offers from the state and continue to count their ballots by hand.Full Article: electionlineWeekly.
Three Maine towns will continue hand-counting ballots on election night after turning down a state offer of free machines to tabulate the results. Litchfield, Greenville and Winterport ultimately rejected the offer after being given one last chance to get in on the deal by Friday. The Secretary of State’s office last fall offered new state-leased tabulating machines to 67 municipalities with more than 1,500 voters that still counted ballots by hand. The offer aimed to get more accurate returns and ease the burden on ballot clerks who sometimes count ballots into the wee hours.Full Article: 3 Maine towns reject offer of ballot machines | Boston Herald.
Maine: Litchfield says ‘no’ a second time to state-sponsored ballot counting machines | The Morning Sentinel
The town of Litchfield has rejected a second state offer of a machine to tabulate state and federal election ballots in favor of continuing to count votes by hand. Deputy Secretary of State Julie Flynn, left, and Secretary of State Matt Dunlap give a demonstration of one of the the new, state-leased DS 200 tabulators on Thursday in the Cross Building in Augusta. Litchfield recently rejected a second offer by the state for a machine to tabulate state and federal election ballots, in favor of continuing hand-counting. Litchfield’s rejection was signed Tuesday by Rayna Leibowitz, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen, following an earlier vote. “When the ballot clerks were asked their opinions, nobody, nobody wanted the machines,” said Leibowitz, who serves as a ballot clerk when she’s not a candidate for office. “We just feel it’s too important a process to rely on the machines, and we’d miss out on the social opportunities here. It’s very much a team effort. We have some people doing it for years and years and years, and they absolutely love the process.” In contrast, officials in Belgrade are enthusiastically cheering the benefits of that town’s new tabulator, which saved nine hours of counting time in the last election.Full Article: Litchfield says 'no' a second time to state-sponsored ballot counting machines | The Morning Sentinel, Waterville, ME.
Pull back the curtain on the Montana secretary of state’s online election results, and you’ll find a small army of volunteers counting votes by hand. Yes, most of the state’s counties have technology do the work, and Missoula County has had help from machines since the 1970s, according to the elections administrator. But 12 of the smallest counties in Montana will count their ballots by hand on Tuesday night. “Imagine that,” said Meagher Clerk and Recorder Dayna Ogle. Meagher judges were counting by hand in 2008 during the hotly contested U.S. Senate race between Jon Tester and Conrad Burns, and the central Montana county with a population of 1,800 was getting calls for results from national media. But the judges could only count so fast.Full Article: Some small Montana counties still tallying votes by hand : Missoulian: News and Resources for Western Montana.
In more than half of Vermont’s cities and towns Tuesday’s Town Meeting Day ballots will be counted by hand. The state has the technology to change that, but many towns are not making the switch. Calais Town Clerk Donna Fitch is getting ready for Town Meeting Day, when ballots will be counted the same way they were when she was a little girl–by hand. “It’s nice to have all of us sit around and count the ballots and everybody takes it very seriously, but it does mean we are often up late,” she said. Fitch will work with a team of ten to count the votes in the town of 16-hundred. It’s the same way 142 of Vermont’s 246 cities and towns will tally their totals.Full Article: State pushes vote tabulators in small towns - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-.
Before we move on to the nightmare of democracy and secret, concealed “trust-me” vote-counting which will comprise the bulk of the “First-in-the-Nation” primary in New Hampshire, I’d like to offer a few final thoughts, for now, and for the record, on last Tuesday’s “First-in-the-Nation” GOP Caucuses of Iowa. What happened there ought to remain firmly in all of our memories as we move into what is likely to be a nightmare of democracy and secret, concealed “trust-me” vote-counting across almost the entirety of the nation in this important Presidential Election year.
I had planned to post this article (or one like it) on Friday, when I was suddenly side-tracked by the report from Ron Paul supporter Edward True that he had noticed a mis-reported tally on the Iowa GOP’s caucus results website. It was a small mis-report to be sure, but in a race that had previously been “called” for Mitt Romney by just 8 votes out of some 122,000 cast at 1,774 different caucus sites, the 20 vote error noticed by True and called to the attention of the media (and since confirmed by the Appanoose County GOP Chair) could prove to be decisive in the final certified total promised a week or so from now.Full Article: The BRAD BLOG : The GOP's 2012 Iowa Caucuses: A National Model for Transparent Democracy.