Georgia: As millions pour into Georgia’s congressional runoff, the voting machinery is among the worst in America | Salon

There are so many disturbing aspects to the special election happening in Georgia’s sixth congressional district, it’s hard to know where to begin. For starters, the election runs on Microsoft Server 2000. That is not a typo. “That’s a crap system,” said Douglas Jones, a computer science professor at the University of Iowa in a phone interview; adding that the database in use, Microsoft Access is a “toy database” that should never be used for industrial applications. nFulton County Elections Director Richard Barron acknowledged in testimony on the troubled first round of the election, that the system is “inflexible.” But delving into his testimony further, and speaking to both local and national computer experts it’s evident that the results of the first round of the election on April 18th are legitimately suspect and that no election running on this type of computer system can be verified as accurate.

Ohio: Butler County leaders don’t like state rules on electronic voting | Hamilton Journal News

New electronic poll books for elections are supposed to make voting faster, more accurate and more secure, but Butler County commissioners don’t like the state’s “use it or lose it” policy regarding money to pay for them. County elections officials presented a plan Monday to spend $524,900 on the new technology. The state will pick up the lion’s share, $394,465, for the equipment, but county leaders said the catch is the elections board must be under contract with the vendor by May 31 or the money will vanish. “I don’t like the state saying you have to use it or lose,” Commissioner Don Dixon said. “I think if they are going to allocate that money, then if we have a plan to bundle that with something else, and it may be a year before we’re there, we should be allowed to do that.”

Georgia: After Voting Machine Issue, Officials Blame Testing | Associated Press

A Georgia voting machine apparently malfunctioned as a voter tried to cast an early ballot for Hillary Clinton, but Donald Trump’s name kept showing up instead. But election officials say they still have confidence in the state’s voting machines. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution first reported the account on Thursday. The newspaper says an unnamed Bryan County voter complains that a touch-screen machine incorrectly showed his presidential selection. The voter said he touched the screen to vote for Democrat Clinton, but instead it selected Republican Trump — twice. On his third try, the voter said he was able to select Clinton. A spokesman for Secretary of State Brian Kemp says the county improperly tested the machine. “We are confident that machines are not ‘flipping’ votes,” said Kemp Chief of Staff David Dove in a statement.

National: The Computer Voting Revolution Is Already Crappy, Buggy, and Obsolete | Bloomberg

Six days after Memphis voters went to the polls last October to elect a mayor and other city officials, a local computer programmer named Bennie Smith sat on his couch after work to catch up on e-mail. The vote had gone off about as well as elections usually do in Memphis, which means not well at all. The proceedings were full of the technical mishaps that have plagued Shelby County, where Memphis is the seat, since officials switched to electronic voting machines in 2006. Servers froze, and the results were hours late. But experts at the county election commission assured both candidates and voters that the problems were minor and the final tabulation wasn’t affected. … Shelby County uses a GEMS tabulator—for Global Election Management System—which is a personal computer installed with Diebold software that sits in a windowless room in the county’s election headquarters. The tabulator is the brains of the system. It monitors the voting machines, sorts out which machines have delivered data and which haven’t, and tallies the results. As voting machines check in and their votes are included in the official count, each machine’s status turns green on the GEMS master panel. A red light means the upload has failed. At the end of Memphis’s election night in October 2015, there was no indication from the technician running Shelby County’s GEMS tabulator that any voting machine hadn’t checked in or that any votes had gone missing, according to election commission e-mails obtained by Bloomberg Businessweek. Yet as county technicians followed up on the evidence from Smith’s poll-tape photo, they discovered more votes that never made it into the election night count, all from precincts with large concentrations of black voters.

Ohio: Aging Miami County voting machines raise concerns | Dayton Daily News

Voting machines in Miami County have “a myriad of problems,” are near the end of their life and there are no guarantees that issues with them won’t occur during the March primary election, according to a county employee who has worked years with the equipment. Concerns about the voting machines come almost two months after the elections’ office voter registration system started developing problems just before Christmas. Phil Mote a seasonal employee who heads up the logic and accuracy testing of each voting machine, said despite his concerns, the machines are ready to go for the March 15 primary election. Early in-person voting begins Wednesday. “I feel confident we are going to put on a good election,” he said.

Editorials: Hosemann’s ideas fine but incomplete | The Greenwood Commonwealth

Delbert Hosemann is back at it, trying to convince the Mississippi Legislature that there is still much work to be done to bring Mississippi’s voting procedures into the 21st century while also taking steps to reduce the potential for fraud or dirty tricks. The secretary of state, now beginning his third term, did an admirable job implementing voter ID, an oversold and overemotional issue that distracted this state from addressing where its biggest problem with voter fraud lies — absentee ballots. Hosemann’s newest proposals don’t tackle absentee-ballot fraud head-on either, although his pitch for allowing voters to cast their ballots in person at the courthouse for up to 21 days before Election Day should reduce the number of absentee ballots cast overall. Still, if you are a candidate inclined to cheat, you’re going to use mail-in absentee ballots anyway, since the fraud becomes much harder to catch that way. Even with that said, though, allowing no-excuse early voting is a good idea that should, if nothing else, increase voter turnout. It certainly eliminates one of the main excuses of people who don’t get to the polls. … A glaring omission in what is otherwise a good package of proposals is Hosemann’s silence on a disturbing trend in this state to eliminate the paper trail on voting. More than three-fourths of the 77 counties in Mississippi with touch-screen voting machines have disconnected their external printers, by which voters could previously verify on paper that their vote has been accurately recorded.

Editorials: Paper trail is simply prudent | Tim Kalich/The Greenwood Commonwealth

Elmus Stockstill and Edward Course surely have no devious intentions in wanting to get the external printers off Leflore County’s touch-screen voting machines. But the county’s two top election officials are just wrong — and obviously not well-schooled — on how susceptible electronic voting machines are to hacking and why these printers are the only safeguard against it. Just 10 minutes on the Internet will turn up a decade worth of studies and reports showing that all it takes is access, a basic knowledge of electronics and a few minutes to rig voting machines like those used in Leflore County. I recommend the Board of Supervisors spends 30 minutes reading the study summaries or watching the videos produced by university and government researchers demonstrating the vulnerabilities of so-called “direct recording electronic” (DRE) voting equipment made by Diebold or any of the other touch-screen manufacturers. If the supervisors educated themselves the tiniest bit on this subject, they would see how comical it was of Stockstill, the circuit clerk, to talk — in response to a column I wrote last Sunday — of the memory card inserted in the machines as some kind of fail-safe against hacking. The memory card is actually one likely conduit for introducing a vote-stealing virus.

Pennsylvania: Dismissed Luzerne County election official on leave from new job in Georgia during probe of alleged voting irregularities – Times Leader –

Former Luzerne County Election Bureau Director Leonard Piazza was placed on paid leave from a similar job in Georgia while state officials investigate allegations of voter fraud in a referendum that failed this week. Burke Brennan a spokesman for DeKalb County Friday confirmed Piazza was on administrative leave pending an investigation into the vote to make LaVista Hills a city. The ballot measure lost by 136 votes and according to media reports, Piazza said he took steps to attempt to prove fraud. Piazza could not be reached for comment.

Georgia: DeKalb County’s LaVista Hills election investigated for tampering | Atlanta Journal Constitution

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp and the GBI opened an investigation Thursday into alleged voting irregularities – including a stray voting machine memory card – in the referendum that narrowly defeated the proposed city of LaVista Hills. A DeKalb election supervisor alleged that he found an unsecured memory card Wednesday that contained results from the Briarlake Elementary precinct, according to Channel 2 Action News. It’s unknown whether the votes on the memory card were counted in the precinct’s totals, where voters supported LaVista Hills 378-313.

Ohio: Voting machine glitches delay Portage County election results until Wednesday | Akron Beacon Journal

It took 12 hours before the Portage County Board of Elections could post results from Tuesday’s elections because of a “computer server” issue. Four in-house technicians and several state and national technicians via telephone from Dominion (the machine vendor and support company) got things working again. “Some of the candidates called to see what was happening and to confirm results this morning,” said Board of Elections Director Faith Lyon. “This has never happened before. The final unofficial results were available by 7 a.m. [Wednesday]. She said there were no glitches in the system during a test run on Friday, prior to Election Day. But on Tuesday night, there were problems.

Georgia: State’s voting machines could be at risk from age | Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Thousands of voting machines used for elections across Georgia are at least 13 years old and dangerously close to becoming outdated, according to a recent national report documenting the age of machines used across the nation. State officials, however, say voters should have no doubts that they are maintained well and in good working order. They also don’t plan to replace them any time soon, despite concerns from both local election officials and voting advocates that Georgia needs to start planning for an overhaul that could cost millions of dollars. “We have done a very good job taking care of this equipment,” said Merle S. King, who leads the Center for Election Systems at Kennesaw State University. The center since 2002 has worked on behalf of the state to oversee the operation of the machines and make sure the intricate web of Georgia’s voting system performs smoothly for every federal, state and county election held across the state.

Tennessee: Election Commission Looking Into What Happened | Local Memphis

The Shelby County Election Commission spent most of today trying to figure out what caused a technical glitch that delayed tabulation and release of last night’s election results. It took until early into this morning before the count was complete. The local I-Team’s senior investigator, Jeni Diprizio, spent today trying to get to the bottom of what really went wrong. At the election commission, officials have spent Friday trying to get to the bottom of what went wrong.

Alaska: Mallott switches out election chief as lawsuit, other voting issues loom | Alaska Dispatch News

Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott abruptly removed Alaska’s longtime elections chief from office on Friday, saying through an aide that he appreciated her work but also wanted a change in the department, which has been embroiled in a lawsuit over Native voting. Claire Richardson, a special assistant to Mallott, confirmed Monday that he sought the resignation of Gail Fenumiai, who had been with the Division of Elections for 15 of the last 20 years and the department’s director since January 2008. Her last day was Friday, the same day she was asked for her resignation by administrative director Guy Bell, Richardson said. “The lieutenant governor is certainly wishing her well in her future endeavors. This was nothing personal,” she said. Fenumiai was a professional elections official with a long history of service, she said.

Utah: Election machines focus of first Salt Lake County audits | The Salt Lake Tribune

Voting machines and other election technology in the clerk’s office will be the subject of the first of three audits to be conducted soon by the Salt Lake County auditor. The County Council instructed Auditor Scott Tingley to begin the performance audit of the clerk’s election apparatus because the time is approaching when the existing system will have to be replaced — and the council hopes this review will shape future decisions about whether to replace current machines or switch to mail-in balloting or something else. The election machines also represent a good starting point, Tingley said, because he estimates this audit will take two to three months. Meanwhile, his teams can work on two longer audits — a three- to six-month evaluation of health services at the county jail, and a nine- to 12-month review of the county’s Day Reporting Center, which oversees individuals who have been sent to jail for a misdemeanor but are responsible enough to serve part of their sentences in the community.

Utah: House barely passes tweak to new primary election process | The Salt Lake Tribune

The Utah House narrowly passed a bill that would let a party’s delegates choose the party’s nominee if nobody in a primary election gets more than 40 percent of the vote. The bill is in response to last year’s compromise between lawmakers and organizers of Count My Vote, which was pushing a voter initiative allowing candidates who gather enough signatures to get to the primary ballot without going through the traditional caucus-and-convention process. Rep. Marc Roberts, R-Santaquin, said the concern is that someone would win the party’s nomination without winning a majority of the vote. His bill was amended to let delegates make the decision between the top two vote-getters if no nominee gets at least 40 percent. “I think we should demand at least 50 percent. We will live at 40 percent at this point,” Roberts said.

Virginia: Virginia Beach moves to get new voting machines | 13News

New voting machines are coming to Virginia Beach. City Council Tuesday is expected to approve spending money right away to get the machines in time for the June primary election. In a letter to council, General Registrar Donna Patterson reminded Council that several TSX machines had to be removed from service during the November 4, 2014 election. 13News Now reported on issues with 32 voting machines at 25 different precincts that showed signs of irregularities and had to be pulled out of service. The City used 820 machines that election.

Iowa: Black Hawk County eyes new voting machines | Courier

Black Hawk County’s election system is ill-equipped to deal with the skyrocketing number of voters using absentee ballots. Grant Veeder, the county’s auditor and commissioner of elections, is seeking an estimated $532,000 in next year’s county budget to help purchase new voting equipment and software. The 76 precinct ballot scanners and 66 accessible ballot marking devices — purchased in 2008 with federal Help America Vote Act dollars — still work. But the system lacks a large central count machine that could efficiently tally the stacks of absentee ballots. “We’re trending towards half the votes in the state being absentee,” Veeder said.

Utah: Mail in balloting cost more; county official say switch will save money | The Herald Journal

It cost around $33,000 more to run the vote-by-mail election this year than a similar election in 2010, but Cache County says it’s worth it compared to the cost of replacing 395 voting machines. “At first glance, that actually cost us more to do it that way,” said County Finance Director Cameron Jensen, referring to the mail-in ballots. “The problem, what becomes savings in my mind, is we are at a place with our equipment that we’re not replacing it.” The county set aside $850,000 in replacement funds in the mid-2000s, when they last purchased voting machines. At that time, the machines were paid for by a federal grant, the 2002 Help America Vote Act. The act, created in response to the Bush-Gore recount debacle in the 2000 election, helped pay for a slew of new electronic voting machines across the country and replaced old, unreliable machines. These machines are now over a decade old and need replacing, but there are no federal funds this time.   As a result, Jensen said by-mail voting is a better long-term investment for electioneering in Cache County.

Voting Blogs: Vote-Flipping in Maryland: The Consequence of Voting with Dinosaurs | State of Elections

The gubernatorial race in Maryland, the notoriously blue state, was tighter than anticipated. Larry Hogan, the Republican nominee, narrowly beat out the Democratic candidate, Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown. Now that the dust is beginning to settle from the shocking upset, a new issue is creeping into the forefront: faulty voting machines. Although complaints of faulty voting machines during election time are hardly new, the prospect is always a little unsettling. In Maryland, the problems began cropping up during the early voting period. Many believe the problem was due to some voting machines’ calibrations. The selected choice and the visual on the screen seemed to be out of sync. Before the end of the early voting period, the Maryland Republican Party had received complaints from over 50 voters across Maryland who said the voting machine flipped their Republican vote to the Democratic candidate. On all of the Maryland ballots, the Democrat candidate for governor, Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, was listed above the Republican candidate, Larry Hogan. Under Maryland election law §9-210(j)(2)(i), the majority party candidate is always listed first on the ballot followed by the candidate of the principal minority party. Joe Cluster, the director of the state Republican Party, indicated in the Baltimore Sun, that the flipping reports were primarily affecting Republican voters because of the display of the candidates on the ballot.

Virginia: King William’s voting machines are old enough vote | Tidewater Review

King William County’s first district polling center at the West Point Armory experienced technical difficulties on Election Day when one of the optical scan voting systems stopped working. The system, an AccuVote-OS central scanner and tabulator used to read paper ballots, reportedly stopped working when its scanner malfunctioned. A technician was able to repair the machine before polls closed at 7 p.m. Had a technician failed to repair the scanner on election night, all paper ballots would have had to be counted by manual hand-count. King William County General Registrar Susan Mickens said all eight of the county’s scanners are aging and need to soon be replaced.

Michigan: Old technology blamed for drip-drip election results | The Macomb Daily

The extremely slow Macomb County election returns on Tuesday night are blamed, in part, by county officials on outdated technology. Despite mediocre voter turnout typical of a midterm election, many Macomb County voters went to bed on Election Night with no idea who had won the races in their community. Three of the county’s largest towns — Warren, Sterling Heights and Shelby Township –- kept voters in the dark until well after midnight. The lack of results also delayed an outcome in numerous races for the state Legislature and county Board of Commissioners that extend beyond the borders of those three municipalities. The county’s cities and townships rely upon election tabulators – the polling place machines that swallow up each voter’s ballot – which run on technology from 10 to 15 years ago. In addition, each voting precinct’s computerized results are transported by an analog line – a modem – to the county Clerk’s Office. The final step involves putting the election updates on the county’s heavily traveled election returns website.

Virginia: Voting irregularities in Virginia Beach, Newport News | The Virginian-Pilot

Republicans and Democrats alike reported problems Tuesday using touch-screen voting machines in Virginia Beach and Newport News, with some claiming they almost cast ballots for candidates they did not support. “They told me my finger was too fat,” said John Owens, recounting a conversation he had with the Virginia Beach Voter Registrar’s Office after experiencing trouble voting for Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell. The extent of the “calibration issues” is unclear. Virginia Department of Elections Commissioner Edgardo Cortes said 32 of Virginia Beach’s 820 AccuVote TSX machines were pulled from service by 3:30 p.m. Another four were discontinued in Newport News, where most votes were recorded on paper ballots. Cortes said he didn’t know how many people voted on the machines before they stopped using them at the 25 precincts.

Virginia: Election problems point a finger at Beach’s clunky voting machines | Virginia Pilot

Something is seriously wrong when voters need to lose weight or get a manicure to be sure their votes count. In at least two cases Tuesday, Virginia Beach election officials reportedly suggested that fault might be with voters themselves, rather than malfunctioning machines. John Owens, who voted Tuesday morning at All Saints Episcopal Church, told The Pilot that when he called the registrar’s office to complain about difficulties with touchscreen voting, an official suggested that his fingers were too fat and that next time he might want to bring a Q-tip. This is what passes for modern voting? Cotton swabs? Meanwhile, a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell told The Pilot she phoned the State Board of Elections to report problems and was told that long fingernails can confuse touchscreen machines. By late morning on Election Day, it was clear that complaints about voting problems in the Resort City were widespread. And not because everyone in town has chubby fingers or acrylic nails.

Illinois: Lawsuit filed against Rock Island County Clerk for voting machine issues |

Rock Island County Republican Chair Bill Bloom filed a lawsuit against the County Clerk because of issues with the voting machines. For about a week prior to the lawsuit, voters in the county have been complaining that the touch screen voting machines have been switching their votes when they make a selection. The suit was filed Friday afternoon, October 31, 2014. Bloom said he filed the suit “as a result of [Rock Island County Clerk Karen Kinney’s] lack of response on the intermittent problem.” In the lawsuit, Bloom said he is asking the court to require the Clerk to recalibrate all voting machines before the November 4th election. Click here to read the lawsuit.

Maryland: GOP calls for investigation of voting machines | Baltimore Sun

The Maryland Republican Party is calling on the state Board of Elections to investigate reports that voting machines are switching ballots cast for GOP candidates to their Democratic rivals. The state party said Tuesday that it has received complaints from about 50 voters in 12 Maryland counties who say machines at early voting centers “flipped” their Republican votes to count toward Democratic candidates. “No matter what the reason, steps must be taken to protect the integrity of this election,” said state GOP Chair Diana Waterman. Marsha Epstein of Pikesville said she ran into the problem when she went to vote at the Reisterstown Senior Center’s Hannah More campus. She said she tried to vote for Republican Larry Hogan for governor but the machine recorded a vote for Democrat Anthony G. Brown. Epstein said she pointed out the problem to an election judge, who told her to try again.

Tennessee: Nine Losing Candidates Challenge August Vote | Memphis Daily News

Nine losing candidates from the August elections are contesting the results in a Shelby County Chancery Court lawsuit. … It was filed earlier in General Sessions Court before the new filing in Chancery Court. The lawsuit, filed pro se by Brown and Ross against the Shelby County Election Commission, seeks “a vote recount and/or the setting aside of the election results as they are individually affected and a declaration declaring them to have won the election.” The action also seeks an open inspection of records from the election, including computer records.

Arizona: Pima County to do away with precinct scanners | The Explorer

Pima County will no longer make use of precinct scanners at polling locations after the Pima County Board of Supervisors rejected a measure to spend $1.8 million to replace them. The board’s decision came despite a recommendation by Pima County Election Integrity Commission (PCEIC) to keep the scanners in place since they allow for an electronic count at polling locations, serving as a way to double check ballots when they are tallied in the central count system. Bill Beard, District 1 PCEIC representative called the board’s decision frustrating, particularly since he says Pima County has a poor track record with handling elections in the past. “If the board is truly concerned about the matter, perhaps actually listening to the advisers they appointed to advise them on thing elections-related might be a good place to start,” he said, also noting that District 1’s Ally Miller was the only supervisor to vote in favor of the PCEIC’s recommendation to keep scanners in place.

Tennessee: Shelby County Democrats call for federal monitors after glitch | The Commercial Appeal

Shelby County Democratic Party chairman Bryan Carson said Thursday he will ask for federal monitors to oversee the county election after a glitch that he claimed caused problems for early voters during the day. But Election Commission chairman Robert Meyers said the problem should not have impacted votes being cast. Meyers said a construction crew dropped a load of rocks over ground near the early voting location at the Agricenter that was on top of a fiber-optic line. The line was used for precincts to access the registration database when voters check in, he said, and the glitch impacted more than just the Agricenter site. “That’s really kind of a back-of-the-house operation,” Meyers said. And that’s separate from the actual voting machines, which store votes on memory cards.

Utah: Committee to investigate electronic voting options in Utah | Daily Herald

A new committee created by Utah’s lieutenant governor will look at what it will take to move the state to the point where it can hold elections online.  Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox’s office announced the formation of the committee Tuesday. The group, which is officially named the iVote Advisory Committee, is made up of state legislators, election officials in the state and individuals who have a strong background in Internet security.  “This is the beginning of just trying to understand electronic voting,” said Mark Thomas, director of elections for the state of Utah.  … Cox and Thomas both explained there are a number of hurdles that need to be crossed before Utah could host an online election. First would be how to create a process that allows for a ballot to be cast and kept confidential but provide a way for the election to be audited. Another hurdle would be how to protect the integrity of the vote count from hackers.

Mississippi: Election funds up in the air | Desoto Times Tribune

DeSoto County officials feel they are entitled to receive compensation for ongoing maintenance costs of the county’s fleet of election machines just like other counties in Mississippi, despite the fact the county chose another type of machine a decade ago than the one preferred by the Secretary of State’s Office. DeSoto County is one of five so-called “opt-out counties” that chose to purchase optical scanning machines or M-100s rather than a touch-screen voting machine known as a TSX. Other counties which opted out of buying state-sanctioned machines are Yalobusha, Hinds and Rankin counties. Thompson said she has since been told there is no money for the upkeep and maintenance of the five “opt-out” counties. Thompson said maintenance costs for DeSoto County’s machines top $30,000.