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Minnesota: State gets ready for electronic voting roster test run as officials examine costs, benefits | Star Tribune

Voters who show up at some Minnesota polling places next month will encounter sign-in stations equipped with iPads or bar code scanners as part of an experiment designed to test whether more technology would cut wait times, save money and inspire more confidence in the election process. The electronic roster, or e-poll book, pilot project will take place in fewer than 10 cities and counties, but the results are being closely monitored by election officials across the state because lawmakers could broaden the technology’s use — if the price is right. On that score, a task force of lawmakers, elections administrators and others watching over the project met Wednesday to discuss programming challenges, hardware costs and data security. “We’re not rushing into this,” said Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, the state’s chief elections official. The rosters are an alternative to paper sign-in sheets at precincts. They contain the same type of information: registration data, an indication if someone already voted or has had a challenged registration status.

Full Article: Minn. gets ready for electronic voting roster test run as officials examine costs, benefits | Star Tribune.

New York: Assembly Democrats Float Bill To Bring Back NYC Lever Voting, But Details Remain In The Works | New York Daily News

The bill sponsored by Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D-S.I.) doesn’t match a previously passed Senate bill in several key areas. The Senate version permits the use of lever machines for any non-federal vote. Cusick’s proposal limits it to this year’s primary and possible runoff elections alone. With two weeks left in the legislative session, Senate bill sponsor Martin Golden (R-Brooklyn) said he’s hopeful — but not convinced — an agreement can be struck. The city Board of Elections wants to use the old machines because there may not be time to reprogram and redeploy the relatively new electronic scanners in the event of a quick-turnaround runoff. 

Full Article: Assembly Democrats Float Bill To Bring Back NYC Lever Voting, But Details Remain In The Works | New York Daily News.

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.

Full Article: CBS4 Investigates: Does Your Vote Count? The Recount Test « CBS Miami.

Voting Blogs: Voted Ballots ‘Remade’ by Election Workers in Wisconsin After Being Printed Too Wide for Optical-Scanners | BradBlog

During yesterday’s Wisconsin primary election, a number of paper ballots were sent out in several counties that were reportedly too wide to be tabulated by the computerized optical-scan systems used to tally ballots in the state. The same exact thing happened just two weeks ago during the Illinois primary sending election officials into a panic and causing delays for some voters. Then, as now, the problem has been chalked up to a paper-cutting error by the printers. Perhaps that’s true, perhaps it’s not. We’ll take them at their word, barring evidence to the contrary. Innocent errors can and do happen. But whether that’s an accurate explanation or not, one way in which the failure was dealt with in both Illinois and Wisconsin continues to be extremely troubling and, frankly, offense: the practice of election workers manually “remaking” the ballots of voters after the election, in ostensible secret, and before they are tabulated.

Full Article: The BRAD BLOG : Voted Ballots 'Remade' by Election Workers in WI After Being Printed Too Wide for Optical-Scanners.

New York: Board of Elections has to end their cut and add tallies | NY Daily News

The Board of Elections will be commanded Thursday to defend the indefensible — plus the incomprehensible, the inexplicable and the incompetent. Good luck with that. The forum will be a hearing of the state Assembly Election Committee, where lawmakers will grill board representatives about their loony, hours-long process for tallying unofficial results.

No other election authority in the nation adds up numbers using the method employed by the board. In brief, when voting is done, poll workers:

Order each of 3,859 computerized scanners at 1,358 poll sites to print out a paper strip that shows the votes cast for every candidate, broken down by election district. Cut up each machine’s strip by election district. Gather the scraps of paper into piles for each race and each one of 6,109 election districts. Add the numbers up by hand and write the totals on sheets of paper that are taken to police stations to be entered into computers for dissemination by The Associated Press.

National: New voting tech innovations for 2012 | politico.com

Ahead of Nov. 6, states are making innovative changes to make it easier to cast ballots and get information about where, when, and how to vote. On tap for next year: secretaries of state offices are set to carve out a larger presence on Facebook and Twitter, roll out pilot programs offering voters the chance to do everything from marking their ballot on a tablet to finding a polling place on a smartphone app, and allow expanded online voting for some in the military or living overseas.

In Oregon, where disabled residents used iPads to cast ballots during a pilot test for the special election earlier this month, officials say they are ready to deploy the tablets again in January. And the state’s step forward could very well spark a trend: the secretary of state’s office told POLITICO that Washington state, Idaho, California, West Virginia and Johnson County, Kansas have all contacted Oregon about the use of the iPads for voting.

Full Article: New voting tech innovations for 2012 - Mackenzie Weinger - POLITICO.com.

Indiana: How Many Ballot Scanners Should We Buy for 2012 | individual.com

How many voting machines does Monroe County really need? If the county decided to scan paper ballots at a central location, such as at the Justice Building, after 2012 elections, it wouldn’t matter whether the county commissioners purchase enough machines for 81 precincts or 20-some vote centers.

The county could consider buying just one high-speed digital ballot scanner, similar to the one it used in the May 2011 primary elections. Even if all 94,164 registered voters in the county show up to vote, results would be delayed only by a few hours over having a scanner at each polling place, and the county would save money.

Full Article: Individual.com.

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

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.

Full Article: Tuesday's paper ballots will be counted by hand.

Ohio: Board of Elections must hire 8,000 temporary Election Day employees | newsnet5.com

In order for Election Day to run smoothly in Cuyahoga County, the Board of Elections must hire more than 8,000 temporary employees to work the polls. The Board of Elections is currently looking to hire temporary scanner operators and supply bag handlers.

Temporary scanner operators are paired with another employee and serve as a work team responsible for scanning vote-by-mail ballots. Each team consists of an input operator and output operator who must stand next to a high-speed scanner for the majority of the workday. Together they are responsible for loading vote-by-mail ballots into a high-speed scanner and collecting the scanned ballots and placing them into location specific files. The scanner operator must monitor the high-speed scanner for jamming and any other equipment issues. This position also requires individuals to assist with the preparation of equipment and materials to be scanned and the subsequent storage of the scanned materials. The scanner operator is also required to perform all other duties assigned, delegated or required of management as well as those prescribed by law.

Full Article: Board of Elections must hire 8,000 temporary Election Day employees.

Full Article: Board of Elections must hire 8,000 temporary Election Day employees.