Verified Voting Blog: A Valuable Resource for Election Recounts

Last week Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota released Recount Principles and Best Practices, a document providing recommendations on key recount matters such as counting methods, transparency, voter intent and challengers. The document is especially welcome as it was produced through the cooperation of election officials and citizen activists and it is the first comprehensive set of best practices for recounts. It compliments CEIMN’s earlier documents on audits and their database of state audit and recount laws.

In addition to the four authors, the report benefitted from review by a blue-ribbon panel of advisors, including election officials, election integrity advocates, journalists, and academics.  “Accurate and verifiable elections are essential for our democracy,” said Minnesota Secretary of State Ritchie, one of the reports authors. “This document and its recommendations will improve the way state and local election officials conduct recounts.”

National: Recount Principles and Best Practices | Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota

As the United States enters the critical mid-year election season with close outcomes all but guaranteed, Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota (CEIMN) announces a new and concise resource, Recount Principles and Best Practices. This document addresses a wide range of recount topics, including initiating mechanisms, funding, transparency, impartiality, counting methods, targeted recounts, and rules for determining voter intent. CEIMN convened four nationally recognized, bipartisan authors and a blue-ribbon panel of advisors to distill their extensive recount experience into key principles and best practices. Download the Document Here

Washington: Hurdle cleared in barcode case | San Juan Journal

Although the battle over the use of barcodes on San Juan County election ballots is now in its seventh year, and much has changed over that time, there is at least one thing that the parties on either side of this protracted legal debate can agree upon. And that is, that the ballot-tracking software used to monitor the flow of ballots in and out of the county Elections office, called Mail-in Ballot Tracker, has never been certified by the state agency that oversees elections in Washington, the Secretary of State. San Juan County Superior Court Judge Don Eaton notified the litigants in a March 27 “letter decision” — sort of a heads up of an official ruling to come — that MiBT should be certified because, as defined by state law, it functions as part of the “voting system” used by the county to conduct elections.

Washington: Superior Court Judge rules ballot tracking software part of “election system” | San Juan Islander

San Juan Superior Court Judge Don Eaton issued a letter March 27 ruling VoteHere  MiBT (Mail-in Ballot Tracker) is an integral part of the voting system, and required to undergo certification by the Secretary of State. State law prohibits voting systems not certified under the legislature’s program of public examination and expert testing. The court did not say that the county must discontinue use of the ballot tracker software during the pendency of the case, though that may come up at a later date.
The letter is in response to a citizen suit originally brought by Orcas Island residents Tim White and Allan Rosato in 2006. The two seek to remove the unique ballot bar codes. The VoteHere MiBT, is a paperless election tracking, processing and auditing software package. A series of processing station time stamps are used to track each ballot from the time it was sent to the voter to the time it was counted.

Washington: State can’t use Homeland Security records to check voter lists |

Washington can’t use immigrant registration records from the U.S. Homeland Security Department to verify names on its voter rolls, state elections officials said today. The reason: The state doesn’t have a system that requires proof of legal residence before issuing a driver’s license, which is necessary to use the federal system. Secretary of State Sam Reed requested access to the federal system in July as a way of checking the accuracy of the state’s voter rolls. But to use the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements Program, which is designed to determine whether a person qualifies for different social and medical programs, the state would need to issue some sort of identification card that checks for legal immigration status.

Washington: State may check citizenship but no voter purge in offing | News Tribune

Secretary of State Sam Reed’s elections staffers have finally been promised access to a federal immigration database that they asked Homeland Security for but were rebuffed – in 2005 and 2006. But now, whether Washington has the tools to actually use the data remains a big question at a time the question of citizenship checks is becoming a campaign issue in the election of Reed’s successor. Kathleen Drew, an Olympia Democrat running in the seven-person field, has criticized Reed for not funding a print-edition of his primary voter guide. Last week she criticized his request to get access to the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (or SAVE) program’s database. The system is typically used to verify immigration status for the purposes of determining eligibility for public-paid benefits.

Washington: Tab for Inslee special election up in air |

State election officials learned Wednesday they won’t be getting an extra $1 million to cover the costs of a special election to replace U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee. Lawmakers did not include any money in the state budget they passed Wednesday before adjourning and heading home. House and Senate budget writers of both parties discussed adding a proviso into the budget to cover some or all of the estimated expenses but couldn’t reach agreement, said Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. “It was a last-minute thing. It was the last day,” Murray said. “It was a large number and there was no time to scrub it.”

Washington: Obscure laws dictate who picks up tab for special congressional election | Kitsap Sun

Jay Inslee and Sam Reed are both right. A special election to pick a replacement for Inslee in the 1st Congressional District could cost state taxpayers close to $1 million, as Secretary of state Reed says. But the extra election won’t cost that much, as Inslee says. “The overall cost (of the 2012 election) doesn’t change,” Kitsap County Auditor Walt Washington said. Well, it changes a little, he said. Putting another choice on the primary and general election ballots adds maybe $5,000 to each election in Kitsap County. But while the overall bill is pretty much staying the same, the state is required to pick up a little more of the tab because it is a special election.

Washington: Partisan brawl over cost of special election for Inslee’s former congressional seat | Seattle Times

Republicans continue to pound Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Jay Inslee over the expense of the special election to pick a temporary replacement for the 1st District congressional seat he abandoned last month. State GOP Chairman Kirby Wilbur called a news conference Monday morning in downtown Seattle to demand that Inslee pay for the special election. “He could pay this bill, rather than stick it on taxpayers,” Wilbur said. Secretary of State Sam Reed’s office has estimated the special election could cost the state close to $1 million. But it turns out that figure is misleading. The bulk of that “cost” is merely a budgetary shift to the state from the three counties involved in the special election.

Washington: Special election to replace Inslee for 1 month | Seattle Times

Washington state will hold a special election in November to replace former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee for just one month – an election expected to be confusing for voters, burdensome for candidates and costly for the state. Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire and Republican Secretary of State Sam Reed said Monday that the state is required under the U.S. Constitution to hold such a vote to fill a vacant seat. Inslee, a Democrat, resigned from his position last month to run for governor. The November election, which will take place on the same ballot as the presidential vote and other state races, is likely to be particularly confusing to voters because Congress is also transitioning to its new district boundaries. The special election will be focused on the old 1st District boundaries that Inslee represented. Voters will also be deciding who will represent the new 1st District.