Virginia: Paper ballots are making a comeback in Pittsylvania and Carroll Counties | WDBJ7

In with the old out with the new in Pittsylvania County. Paper ballots are coming back after voters complained about touch screen voting booths. Voters now color in an oval beside the name of a candidate instead of touching their choice on a screen. The ballot is fed into a machine that stores it and calculates the votes. It tells operators if the person voted correctly. The county voter registrar predicts it will cause less confusion.

Missouri: Senate Bill Would Eliminate Electronic Voting | KMBZ

Electronic voting machines could be on their way out in Missouri. A bill before the Missouri Senate wants to go back to all-paper ballots, with the legislation’s sponsor saying there have seen numerous reports of the machines miscounting and malfunctioning. In Kansas City, Elections Board Director Shelley McThomas says most folks here already vote on paper, but it could mean problems in larger elections. “When we use our satellite absentee voting polls, when we set those up, we always use the touch-screen machines because a voter can come in from any part of the city and vote on that machine,” says McThomas.

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.

New York: Board Of Elections Workers Unearth Hundreds Of Uncounted 2012 Ballots | New York Daily News

The New York City Board of Elections may insist every vote counts — but Tuesday, the oft-criticized agency admitted that not every vote has yet been counted in the 2012 general election. BOE workers recently unearthed more than 400 votes cast — but never tabulated — in the Hurricane Sandy-disrupted November election, Board President Frederic Umane confirmed at the board’s weekly meeting. The revelation means the city will have to update and certify the results of the 2012 vote yet again. “Doesn’t certification of the election ever finally end? Do they ever get to a final total?” Alan Flacks, a BOE gadfly who raised the issue before the commissioners Tuesday, said after the meeting. “They want to assure every voter — because of scandals in the past where ballots were not counted — that your vote is always counted,” Flacks told the Daily News. “I brought it up because I was upset that I found out that they discovered more uncounted ballots.”

Indiana: Scrapping electronic voting machines proposed | Journal and Courier

Senate Bill 357 would get rid of electronic voting machines by the end of 2015, and its proposal caught Tippecanoe County Clerk Christa Coffey’s eye and her ire. All of those relatively new and expensive electronic voting machines Tippecanoe County taxpayers bought to avoid an incident similar to Florida’s 2000 presidential election would have to be scrapped under the bill, Coffey said. “I have concerns to the cost to change all our equipment to comply with that legislation,” Coffey said. … The bill’s author, state Sen. Mike Delph, said the bill isn’t going anywhere. Its sole purpose was to stir up a debate about electronic voting machines and election integrity. “I’m concerned that election outcomes could be manipulated,” Delph said Thursday afternoon during a telephone interview.

Florida: Does Your Vote Count? The Recount Test | CBS4

In the sleepy West Coast Florida town of Inverness, as horses graze and Spanish moss hangs still on a breezeless summer day, an elections experiment was about to get underway. Lightening fast computer scanners, locked up ballots and a team of computer scientists from Boston, embarked on a first ever mission to verify that the votes cast in the August, Citrus County primary, are correct. “Believe me we are not looking for trouble but we want to verify the results independently,” said Susan Gill, supervisor of elections in Citrus County. She is one of 7 county supervisors across Florida, who agreed to allow a number of their elections to be part of the first large scale attempt to independently verify elections cast on paper ballots.

National: New Election System Promises to Help Catch Voting-Machine Problems | Wired

When voting system activists in the U.S. managed to get many paperless electronic voting machines replaced a few years ago with optical-scan machines that use paper ballots, some believed elections would become more transparent and verifiable. But a spate of problems with optical-scan machines used in elections across the country have shown that the systems are just as much at risk of dropping ballots and votes as touchscreen voting machines, either due to intentional manipulation or unintentional human error. A new election system promises to resolve that issue by giving election officials the ability to independently and swiftly audit the performance of their optical-scan machines.

US Virgin Islands: Voters make use of paper ballots | Virgin Islands Daily News

When residents headed to the polls to cast their vote in the 2012 Primary election on Saturday, some used an option that they had not had for a number of years: paper ballots. In April, the Senate Rules and Judiciary Committee amended and passed the bill to allow for the use of paper ballots. The paper ballots bill, sponsored by Sen. Neville James and co-sponsored by Sen. Celestino White Sr., allowed voters to choose whether they wanted to vote by machine or by paper ballot. As written, it also requires that all paper ballots be counted after the closing of the polls, at the same time that electronic ballots are counted on election night. The move to give residents the option of using paper ballots was prompted by a group of voters who complained that the use of the electronic voting machines opened the door for manipulation and tampering of a person’s vote. They also said that there has been documented instances where the voting machines have failed and a voter’s vote may not have been registered.

Michigan: High number of voting machine paper jams, errors causing delay in certification of Genesee County MI election |

The county elections supervisor says a number of jammed paper ballots inserted into counting machines during the Aug. 7 primary election resulted in errors that the Board of Canvassers is still unraveling. The board, which is responsible for certifying election results has in some cases recounted ballots in areas where the number of ballots cast didn’t initially match poll book numbers, said Doreen D. Fulcher, elections and vital records supervisor for the county Clerk’s Office. Fulcher said she believes  the only area with work still to do are in limited number of precincts in the city of Flint. “There were some ballot jams (that resulted in) ballots being fed through more than once,” Fulcher said.

Oklahoma: Investigation finds missing ballots accounted for in HD 71 race |

Precinct workers in Tulsa County mistakenly allowed two people to each vote twice, resulting in the contested and missing ballots in the House District 71 race, a state Election Board investigation found. The investigation results were presented to the state Election Board Tuesday night at the state Capitol. Democrat Dan Arthrell defeated Republican Katie Henke by a single vote. However, the election results already have been nullified by the Oklahoma Supreme Court, and the candidate to hold the state House Seat representing Tulsa will be determined in the November elections. “We certainly don’t want to see things like this happen,” Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said. “But we’ve certainly learned a lot.”

US Virgin Islands: Senate committee endorses paper ballots | Virgin Islands Daily News

The Senate Government Operations, Energy and Veterans Affairs Committee on Wednesday voted to forward three elections bills to the Rules Committee and tabled two others. The bills that moved out of committee were: a bill allowing paper ballots under the elections laws of the territory, a bill pushing up the date for primary elections so the territory would be in compliance with the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, and a bill changing the way senators are elected to a combination of island seats and at-large seats. Senators said they plan to amend all of the forwarded bills while they are in the Rules Committee. The bill about paper ballots, sponsored by Sen. Neville James and co-sponsored by Sen. Celestino White Sr., would allow voters to choose whether they wanted to vote by machine or by paper ballot. As written, it also requires that all paper ballots be counted after the closing of the polls, at the same time that electronic ballots are counted on election night.

New York: They keep voting honest, one ballot at a time | The Columbia Paper

Columbia County’s election commissioners have counted 100% of the paper ballots in every election for the past two years, ever since the county switched to using new voting machines as part of a federal mandate. Their approach can delay the final vote tally and it may seem an odd when technology has taken over so many manual tasks. But they question the accuracy of the results for the new machines and see no reason to stop checking them by hand. “The most accurate and reliable method is a 100% visual audit,” Elections Commissioner Jason Nastke (R) said Tuesday. He referred to multiple scanner miscounts in Greenport in a past election. “The machines are not completely reliable,” he said. “Hand counting allows for voter intent to be taken into consideration,” said Election Commissioner Virginia Martin (D). “If someone has circled rather than filled in the ovals, it counts when the ballots are hand counted, but with machine counting, the only allowed discrepancies involve machine error, not human error.”

Illinois: No votes lost to faulty ballots in Illinois primary |

For all the high tech equipment designed to streamline Illinois’ voting process, election officials were forced to improvise — even turning to hair dryers — when scanning machines started spitting out ballots during Tuesday’s primary elections. “There is some irony that … it was scissors and blow dryers that came to the rescue,” said Pete Duncan, the Macoupin County clerk whose workers encountered thousands of faulty ballots. And rescue they did, according to state election officials who said they have no reports of ballots being lost despite problems with thousands of ballots in about 25 of the state’s 102 counties. “The important thing is that nobody was disenfranchised,” said Rupert Borgsmiller, of the Illinois State Board of Elections. “People who voted, it might take a little longer than it normally does, but their votes are being counted.”

Illinois: Winnebago County wants compensation from ballot company | Rockford Register Star

Winnebago County Clerk Margie Mullins wants compensation from the company that created oversized ballots that delayed Tuesday’s election results. She said today she’s gathering data on the extra costs her office incurred when 36 percent of 23,400 ballots cast were too big to fit through counting machines. The error, which amounted to one-sixteenth-inch of extra paper, caused the county to reprint and remake 8,564 ballots from its stockpiled inventory. “I don’t feel that we should pay for any of these ballots from Tuesday’s election, and I want my inventory reimbursed,” Mullins said. “I have a lot of extra staff time and people who came from the city election board of commissioners and other places who I feel should be compensated.”

Illinois: Authorities investigating too-big ballots, hope to avoid repeat of primary problems |

Some counties in Illinois were still adding up primary votes Wednesday because the ballots they used were too big to fit into scanning machines. There were no hanging chads, pregnant chads or even dimpled chads this time, but when it comes to Illinois elections, it always seems to be something getting in the way of a having a flawless Illinois election. Wednesday, authorities in a quarter of all the counties in the state are investigating how some of their paper ballot forms ended up a little too big to fit into the machines that scan the votes. “We are indeed in contact with all of the election authorities that were impacted,” said Illinois State Board of Elections’ Ken Menzel. “We are getting ready to do a good review of exactly what the problem was, what factor or factors combined led us to what we saw yesterday, and we are going to look into ways to avoid both at the production end with the ballots and helping the election authorities put into place procedures that would be more likely to catch out of tolerance ballots.”

Voting Blogs: Paper Cuts are the WORST: Illinois Latest State to Find Out There is No Small Stuff | Election Academy

Years ago, I worked for the U.S. Senate Rules Committee – which, in addition to its legislative responsibilities (including elections!), manages office space on the Senate Office Buildings. In many ways, we were like the landlord of the Senate side of Capitol Hill, and with 100 high-profile tenants with strong personalities there was always something that needed attention. Consequently, we often used the following joke to explain our non-legislative duties: “The good news is that we don’t have to sweat the small stuff; the bad news is that there is no small stuff.” I was reminded of those days recently as I read the stories out of Illinois concerning optical scan ballots that were too wide and thus had to be trimmed by scissors in order to be read by scanners. The problem was traceable to a single printing vendor whose cutting blade was misaligned and left ballots at the top of each shrink-wrapped bundle slightly thicker than ones at the bottom. [Anyone who’s ever tried to cut too many sheets in a paper cutter – leaving the top sheets slightly trapezoidal as the blade moves the sheets – has a sense of what went wrong.]

Illinois: Ballots too wide send election officials scrambling for scissors |

Paper ballots too wide to fit in counting machines sent election officials in 25 counties scrambling for scissors Tuesday, but authorities said the problem likely affected only a few thousand ballots. There were no reports of anyone unable to vote, but counting was slower in some areas because of the problem, local and state officials said. The problem was blamed on a slight blade misalignment in a ballot printing machine, and it affected only those 25 central and northern Illinois counties — from Macoupin County near St. Louis to Winnebago County on the Wisconsin border — that used ballots printed by ABS Graphics Inc., of Addison, a company that has successfully printed ballots for three decades, according to Dianne Felts, director of voting systems and standards for the Illinois State Board Of Elections.

Illinois: Big ballots cause primary problems across Illinois |

A slight blade misalignment in a ballot printing machine stirred up an election day problem Tuesday for a smattering of officials throughout Illinois who reported that as many as several thousand ballots were slightly too wide to fit in the counting machines. Both ballot companies and election supervisors in 25 affected counties worked throughout the morning to fix the problem. By midafternoon they had figured out that ballots from the bottom of the shrink-wrapped stacks were the right size, and that trimming a sliver off thick ballots already filled out was the quickest remedy. State and county election officials expected only minor delays in tabulation after the polls closed, only because of a small number of ballots that were cast and placed in locked auxiliary ballot boxes until the polls closed.

Illinois: Ballots too big at Aurora polls; Kane, Kendall sites OK | Aurora Beacon

Mis-sized paper ballots sent out to nearly a quarter of all Illinois counties were creating problems at Aurora polling places Tuesday, forcing some election judges to cut each ballot to size by hand. The problem affected DuPage, Grundy and 22 other counties as well, election officials said. According to Jane Gasperin of the Illinois State Board of Elections, ballots were printed incorrectly by two vendors, and distributed throughout the state. The ballots appear to be about a millimeter too tall, and a millimeter too wide, election judges said. Gasperin said not all precincts in the affected counties have received the mis-sized ballots, but that Tuesday night’s tallying will take longer as a result of the error.

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.

National: Wireless voting still has a long way to go | Computerworld

With the widespread adoption of smartphones and the use of mobile tactics in U.S. presidential campaigns, could there come a day when Americans might vote wirelessly? That question was posed to a panel of mobile campaign experts at the Brookings Institution during a webcast Tuesday. The prevailing view was that wireless voting in the U.S. is a long way off. Considering that much voting in the U.S. is still done with paper ballots, electronic voting over a wireless device such as a smartphone is “a long ways away,” said Katie Harbath, associate manager of policy for Facebook. She noted that delegates to the Iowa Republican Caucus in February still voted with pen and paper.

US Virgin Islands: Efforts to recall Elections board members progressing – claims initially stemmed from a decision banning the use of paper ballots in 2010 | Virgin Islands Daily News

Half a dozen concerned residents gathered Thursday outside the V.I. Elections Office in Crystal Gade where they officially turned in petitions to recall five members of the St. Thomas-St. John Board of Elections. Coupled with a similar move on St. Croix recently, only three members out of the 14 elected to the V.I. Joint Board of Elections have been the targets of recall petitions: Those members are Adelbert Bryan, Lawrence Boschulte and Wilma Marsh Monsanto. The rest – St. Thomas-St. John board members Alecia Wells, Lorna Thomas, Colette White-Amaro, Claudette Georges and Harry Daniel, along with St. Croix board members Rupert Ross Jr., Lisa Moorhead, Dodson James, Raymond Williams, Carmen Golden and Ana Davila – have had individual recall petitions filed against them.

Colorado: Aspen election commissioner wants outside opinion |

A member of the Aspen Election Commission said he is seeking a “second opinion” from an outside attorney on whether the commission should approve two public-records requests to inspect paper ballots cast in May’s municipal election. During Wednesday’s commission meeting, member Ward Hauenstein asked City Attorney John Worcester for his legal opinions on the matter, but noted that he also has sought independent counsel. Hauenstein said he likely will ask the Aspen City Council to pay for the outside legal fees at an upcoming meeting.

In his capacity as city attorney, Worcester also provides legal advice to city boards and commissions, such as the Election Commission. But he also is representing the city in its battle against political activist Marilyn Marks’ lawsuit, which stems from the city clerk’s denial of her request to examine ballot images from the 2009 mayor’s race.

New York: Control of Nassau legislature undetermined |

Which party will control the Nassau County Legislature next year may not be known before early December. With all precincts reporting, Republicans have an 11-8 majority in the legislature, holding slim leads in the 14th and 18th districts. Both races, however, are heading to a paper recount that could take several weeks to conclude, both sides said.

Wednesday, Democratic Party chairman Jay Jacobs and Republican chairman Joe Mondello, as they do every year, filed an order to show cause in State Supreme Court compelling the Board of Elections to begin counting all paper ballots. A court date is set for Nov. 16. Mondello spokesman Anthony Santino said the recount would begin after the Nov. 15 deadline to receive all outstanding absentee ballots. Ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 7.

Ohio: Elections officials test paper-balloting voting machines | Youngstown News

After testing its new paper-ballot voting machines, Mahoning County Board of Elections officials say they are ready for today’s general election. Board officials tested the equipment Monday at their office in Oakhill Renaissance Place on Oak Hill Avenue on the city’s South Side.

“We feel pretty confident,” said Thomas McCabe, the board’s director, about the new voting machines. It’s been “busy” at the board since July, he said.

Indiana: Tuesday’s paper ballots will be counted by hand |

When Bloomington residents vote in municipal elections on Tuesday, they’ll be making marks on paper ballots, which they’ll slip into a box. At the end of the day, the votes will be tallied by hand. That’s the same system local voters used more than 100 years ago.

In the November 2010 general election, Monroe County voters used electronic voting machines that automated tallying. Even in the May 2011 primary election, the votes — on paper ballots — were tallied using a high-speed optical scanner. Monroe County voters have been using voting machines, mechanical or electric, since the ’60s, but on Nov. 8, 2011, they will use the same system used by America’s founding fathers.

What happened? ES&S contract In December 2010, Monroe County signed a contract with Elections Systems and Software, of Omaha, Neb., for the purchase of digital scanners that would read paper ballots and tally votes. Such a system allowed verifiability: paper ballots, or a sample of them, could be compared to the machine’s tally to ensure accuracy.

Zambia: UPG to Print Ballot Papers for Three Upcoming By-Elections |

The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has said ballot papers for the three November 24 Parliamentary by-elections will be printed by the traditional printers, Universal Printing Group (UPG) in Durban, South Africa. ECZ public relations manager Cris Akufuna said officials from the commission would soon leave for South Africa in readiness for the printing. Mr Akufuna said in Chongwe yesterday that the costing for the whole exercise would soon be consolidated now that nomination papers had been filed.

President Michael Sata recently said that this would be the last time Zambia would print ballot papers outside the country, as the task would be undertaken by Government Printers after it has been fully equipped. The by-elections are slated for Chongwe, Magoye and Nakonde constituencies.


Texas: Medina County TX delays shift to paperless balloting | San Antonio Express-News

Medina County residents opposed to a planned shift there to electronic-only voting are cheering a decision by county commissioners to keep paper ballots available in the Nov. 8 election.

But Natalia Mayor Ruby Vera called the commissioners’ vote last week to delay until March the conversion to paperless voting “a stalling tactic” to appease roughly 700 petition signers who assert that using paper ballots is “a right” of voters.

Commissioners had voted in September switch to all-electronic voting in November, but Medina County Judge Jim Barden said there’s not enough time to educate the public and to complete the transition.

Pennsylvania: Venango County: Electronic Voting Under Scrutiny | WICU12

Two Pittsburgh College professors today began an examination of reported electronic voting machine problems in Venango County. And while the forensic audit takes place, voters will use paper ballots in the November general election.

After the May primary, the county received complaints from voters who said the touch screen machines did not register their votes correctly, basically flipping the votes to another candidate. Other problems included reports of missing write in votes.

New Jersey: Zirkles win Fairfield election; state can’t confirm investigation |

The county and the courts had already expressed it but the voters of Fairfield Township made it official — again. Democratic County Committee candidates Cindy and Ernie Zirkle were elected Tuesday over competitors Mark and Vivian Henry, according to unofficial online results from the county Board of Elections.

Mail-in ballots had not been recorded by 10:30 p.m. but the Zirkles took 33 percent of the vote over the Henrys’ 17 percent. “We don’t trust the system,” said Cindy Zirkle, so a substantial number of absentee ballots were distributed.

“It’s a shame,” Zirkle began late Tuesday night, that certain opposition parties “refused to accept the Board of Elections’ admission.” That admission being Board Director Lizbeth Hernandez stating she inadvertently mismatched the names on the ballots and the results declared in June were the exact opposite.