Colorado: Garfield County election judges stay busy in early November | Chelsea Self /Post Independent

On and leading up to Election Day, anyone who enters Room 101 B in the Garfield County Courthouse must sign in and out with a bright pink or green pen – intentionally different colors than the blue or black ink voters use to fill out their ballots. It’s just one of the many steps taken to ensure all votes are counted – and that the count is done with integrity. “We have all of these checks and balances,” Lois Wilmoth said. Wilmoth, who was born and raised in Glenwood Springs, has served as a mail-in election judge for over a decade.  Monday, Wilmoth meticulously verified that the number of envelopes that entered room 101 B matched the amount of ballots that would eventually run through the scanning machines. “Once you have a problem, you stop. Nobody goes ahead anywhere until you find the ballot that is missing,” Wilmoth said.

Editorials: I counted votes. Here’s what I learned | Joel Carmek/Jerusalem Post

After years of active interest in politics – particularly the mechanics of political systems in Israel and other countries – I decided to see for myself what an election looks like from behind the scenes. Instead of campaigning for my preferred party (with which I’m constantly disappointed), I applied to the Central Elections Committee to become a mazkir va’adat kalpi, the secretary of a local election committee, the person who hands you your envelope. It’s actually more complex than it sounds. Trusted with the oversight of the entire election process for one polling station, the secretary ensures that everything is set up correctly, that the voting is carried out according to the rules, and that votes are properly counted and reported to the regional committee as soon as possible. It was an exhausting, but exhilarating experience. Here are some of my main takeaways. 1. There were many opportunities to cheat the system. Although the careful selection process is designed to weed out people who applied for the job in order to take advantage of their position, and while rules are in place to guarantee the integrity of the elections, the system is still far from watertight. There were several opportunities for me, or others, to stuff the ballot box with hundreds of ptakim (voting slips) of our own choice, and the system still relies heavily on trust. For example, even setting aside a scenario whereby one of the people involved in the counting process had bribed everyone else in the room (there were five of us) to turn a blind eye to misconduct, I could easily have changed the results on the vote tally on my way to the regional headquarters where I reported my station’s results.

Wisconsin: Cyber security expert proposes analog solution to election hacking | Lacrosse Tribune

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.

Netherlands: Dutch will count all election ballots by hand to thwart hacking | AFP

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.

New Hampshire: State relies on a mix of new and old voting systems | Los Angeles Times

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.

Poland: Votes in presidential elections to be hand-counted | Associated Press

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.

Massachusetts: Voting in Hudson vaults into the 21st century | The Boston Globe

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?’ ”

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.

Maine: 3 Maine towns reject offer of ballot machines | Boston Herald

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.

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.

Montana: Some small counties still tallying votes by hand | Missoulian

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.

Vermont: State pushes vote tabulators in small Vermont towns | WCAX.COM

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.

Voting Blogs: The GOP’s 2012 Iowa Caucuses: A National Model for Transparent Democracy | BradBlog

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.