Canada: Toronto still years from authorizing Internet voting, while Markham introduced digital ballots back in 2003 | National Post

While Toronto residents line up at the polls Monday, neighbours to the north could well choose to vote with their feet up on the couch at home. And it’s not a new option. Residents of Markham have been able to vote online from anywhere with WiFi for the last 11 years. The City of Toronto has taken baby steps in that direction, but don’t expect everyone to be able to do the same in 2018. In July, city council authorized the use of Internet and telephone voting during the advance vote period for the next municipal election. Council had previously decided to implement online voting for people with disabilities for the Oct. 27 election, but the project was cancelled due to time constraints and failure to provide a secure system. “Online voting has been very well received in Markham since we introduced it in 2003,” said Frank Edwards, the city’s elections co-ordinator. “The number of people who vote online has increased to almost 11,000 people.”

Canada: Toronto cancels plan to allow online, phone voting for disabled citizens in 2014 | Toronto Star

Toronto’s government has cancelled a plan to allow disabled residents to vote online and by phone in the 2014 election, saying there is not enough time to build and test the system. Council only approved the online and phone voting in February, a month into the campaign period. The city clerk said she had the authority to call off the project “to protect the integrity of the election” if key deadlines were not met. She did so this month. “The clerk engaged independent third-party experts, including an accessibility and usability expert, two security and cryptographic experts, an external auditing firm and a testing firm,” city officials wrote in a report to council. “There is insufficient time for the third-party experts to conduct a full assessment of the security and accessibility of the (system) before the start of Internet and telephone voting registration on September 8, 2014.”

Editorials: Scytl e-voting exposes the dangers of automating a democracy | Scott M. Fulton/Fierce Enterprise Communications

Technology is already neutral. While vendors and manufacturers and lobbyists characterize technology as a natural force unto itself with the power to improve our lives and work simply through direct contact with it, more often than not, it provides people within organizations, societies, states and countries with the tools they require to further entrench themselves in bureaucracy, and to bury themselves further in the obscurity and anonymity they desire. The first trials of Scytl’s protocol took place in Norway in 2013. The Carter Center, which has monitored and verified the accuracy of global elections ever since Pres. Carter left the White House, reported on the progress of the Scytl approach (.pdf). The process of voting in Norway, according to that report, was not at all dissimilar to the way B-52 bombers were told to attack Moscow in the movie Dr. Strangelove:

In order to vote, a voter had to register their mobile phone with a centralized government register (one could do so online while the voting was underway). The voter should have also received a special card… delivered through the postal service, with personalized numeric return codes. These cards provided the voter a list of four-digit numbers corresponding to each party running for election. The four-digit numbers were randomly assigned for every voter so that, for example, any two voters who wanted to cast their vote for Labour would unlikely have the same return codes associated to the Labour party.

Australia: Anti-coal protestors rated top threat to Australian e-voting | The Register

Sarong-clad anti-coal hippies have been marked as a chief threat to online voting at the election scheduled to take place in 2015 in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW). The protestors are identified as a threat in a report penned by CSC for the NSW government. The Reg has seen a copy of the report, which suggests developers feared protesting farmers and fire fighters could launch an attack against New South Wales’ iVote online ballot system in objection to various coal mining projects across the state. “Anti-coal lobby groups could lead to the targeting of the SGE (state government election) in 2015,” the document read. The document also outlines scenarios in which protestors could launch denial of service attacks, knocking out the ability for 250,000 remote and blind users to vote online.

Australia: New South Wales Electoral Commission inks deal to use online voting technology in 2015 | ARN

NSW voters could soon be spared the trip to the polls on election day after a deal was struck to use online voting technology in the 2015 State Election. The NSW Electoral Commission has selected Syctl to provide online voting technology in the 2015 State Election to support its iVote Core voting Sytem. Scytl has developed election-specific cryptographic security technology, protected by more than 40 international patents. The online voting technology will be the cornerstone of the the iVote system, and will enable secure, accessible, transparent and auditable elections to eligible citizens across NSW. The technology will help the NSWEC realise its goal of using the iVote system to deliver a remote voting channel to eligible voters in NSW, and possibly to other jurisdictions in Australia and New Zealand.

National: Microsoft Co-Founder Allen Bets on Online Voting; Funds Scytl | Wall Street Journal

People bank online and do their taxes online. But not many vote online. On Monday, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen‘s venture-capital fund said it was betting that online voting will win over skeptics worried about security and gradually become the norm for elections world-wide. Vulcan Capital’s growth equity fund, based in Palo Alto, Calif., said it will invest $40 million in Scytl, a digital voting services company based in Barcelona with customers in more than 30 countries, including Canada, Mexico and Australia. Scytl, founded in 2001, sells a range of services aimed at modernizing elections, from training poll workers and registering voters to hosting elections online and counting votes. Scytl has previously received investments from Balderton Capital, Nauta Capital and Spinnaker SCR.

Australia: Scytl wins New South Wales iVote tender | Sydney Morning Herald

The NSW Electoral Commission has chosen Spanish vendor Scytl to provide electronic voting software for the 2015 NSW election, on what could be the first occasion the public is allowed to vote via the internet. The commission introduced an electronic voting system, known as iVote, at the 2011 state election, for citizens with vision impairment and other disabilities. A draft report from a joint parliamentary inquiry into electoral matters due to be tabled in Parliament this week calls for access to iVote to be extended to all voters. Inquiry chairman Liberal MP Gareth Ward says the measure would be an Australian first and would make it easier for people to participate in the democratic process. Concerns about security and fraud have been raised on a number of occasions with electronic elections, although a number of other countries have reported few such problems.

Canada: NDP site the weak link in online attack during 2012 leadership vote | CBC News

An online attack that delayed the results of the NDP’s 2012 leadership vote succeeded because it hit the party’s website, not the site of the company running the online vote, a company representative says. The voting that chose Tom Mulcair as the New Democratic Party’s leader was besieged by a “distributed denial of service” attack, which bombards a server with repeated attempts at communication to try to slow it down or crash it altogether. The process was delayed by several hours and left many delegates complaining they couldn’t access the site to cast their ballots. At the time, neither the NDP, nor Scytl, the company that provided the online voting service, would explain beyond saying it was a denial of service attack. But Scytl representatives now say the attack hit the NDP’s website and that its own technology was never compromised.

Philippines: Comelec plans to introduce internet voting in 2016 polls | Sun Star

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is looking to introduce internet voting in the 2016 national and local polls. Commissioner Lucenito Tagle, chairman of the poll body’s Committee on Overseas Absentee Voting (COAV), said they are looking to utilize the internet technology in the next polls based on Republic Act (RA) 10590 or the amended Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2013. “This is the best way we can increase voter participation sa overseas absentee voting… that is why we want to pilot test this internet voting after we were authorized by this new law,” he said. If approved, those who will be able to use the new mode in voting are seafarers and those working in areas distant from Philippine embassies and consulates. “As of now, there is about a 50-50 percent chance of us being able to conduct the internet voting pilot testing,” he said.

Canada: Internet voting kiboshed in Airdrie | Local | News | Airdrie Echo

It turns out Airdronians won’t be able to vote online in this year’s municipal election. On Monday, Alberta’s Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths sent word that Internet voting for municipal elections would not be held in Alberta. At least for now. Mayor Peter Brown was notified by Griffiths’ office Monday night that they were pulling the plug on the possibility of allowing municipalities like Airdrie to offer online voting in the 2013 municipal elections. Airdrie city council recently voted to use online voting if it was an option this year. Larger municipalities and their councils, like Edmonton and St. Albert, had scrapped plans to offer Internet voting overwhelmingly, citing high costs and possible fraudulent activity as key concerns during trial runs. “Since we don’t have proven technology yet and there isn’t confidence in the system, we won’t be proceeding,” Griffiths said in an interview with the Echo. “(Voting) is the most important franchise right that any citizen has and you have to make sure it’s never abused.”

Canada: Airdrie to forge ahead with Internet voting | Airdrie Echo

After much debate yet again, Airdrie city council decided to forge ahead with Internet voting as an option in the upcoming municipal election, pending ministerial approval. The hot topic was brought forth to council once more on Monday night in wake of news that both Edmonton and St. Albert city councils had chosen to no longer pursue this alternative voting method at meetings in early February. A representative from Scytl, the company providing the service, was on hand to answer questions from councillors, which helped clarify questions that have been continually raised. Most of those regarded the safety of Internet voting, voter fraud and multiple votes, in addition to questions about why the other two municipalities had decided to not move forward with the process.

India: E-voting likely for 2015 panchayat polls | The Times of India

The state election commission is seriously considering a proposal to provide e-voting facility to pravasi Malayalis in the local self-government elections in 2015, said state election commissioner K Sasidharan Nair. The state election commission authorities had a preliminary discussion with the agency that executed the e-voting facility in the Gujarat elections. “The commission can implement it here only after discussing with all political parties and technical experts from the field,” Nair said after holding discussions with the representatives of Scytl, the agency which conducted the first internet voting in Gujarat, here on Monday. The commission would like to know the apprehensions of political leaders and voters while introducing such a system in the state.

Canada: Airdrie City council tables decision on Internet voting for 2013 election | Airdrie City View

Airdrie City council unanimously voted to table a decision on Internet voting, Jan. 21. The move was made after a presentation, by Sharon Pollyck, Airdrie’s manager of legislative services, and a lengthy discussion about the pros and cons of Internet voting in the next election, set to take place this fall. “I am not ready to make a decision this evening,” said Alderman Glenda Alexander. “I look forward to more information.” Pollyck presented council with a number of options for electronic voting, which is being piloted this fall in Alberta and is used worldwide, including using the method only for the advanced vote, discontinuing paper voting all together and doing a mixture of the two.

Idaho: Secretary of State says ‘absolutely no truth’ to claim Obama has ordered U.S. votes counted in Spain | Idaho Statesman

Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa is debunking a claim that the federal government has transferred authority to count 2012’s ballots to a Spanish company. Ysursa said he was questioned about the rumor last week after at an Ada County Republican breakfast and responded with a joke. “I just chuckled and said, ‘Well, the Basques have been counting ’em for years — ever since Pete came in,'” Ysursa said, referring to fellow Basque and predecessor, Pete Cenarrusa, Idaho’s chief election official from 1967-2002. But Ysursa, a Republican, told me today that assuring public confidence in the integrity of voting is a serious matter. He dug into the issue after I inquired on behalf of a reader. The reader called saying she’d heard radio talk-show host Michael Savage on KINF 730 allege U.S. votes will be counted in Spain. Depite being determined to be false by the rumor-vetting, the blogosphere is rife with such speculation. In April, Savage said that a Spanish count is part of President Obama’s plan to “steal” the election. His comments have been excerpted on many blogs.

Canada: NDP gives up: convention cyber attacker remains a mystery | CBC News

The source of the cyber attack that disrupted voting at the NDP’s leadership convention in March remains a mystery, and further investigation to find out who was responsible has been dropped. The NDP was the victim of what’s known as a distributed denial of service attack when thousands of members were trying to vote online throughout the day on March 24. These kinds of attacks result in websites crashing or slowing down because the server is flooded with bogus requests for access. Legitimate voters couldn’t access the NDP’s website to vote and organizers ended up extending the time allotted for each voting round, delaying the final result until hours after it was expected. Thomas Mulcair was finally declared the winner at about 9 p.m. Scytl Canada, the company contracted to run the voting, quickly detected what was going on soon after voting began that day and reacted accordingly. They were able to keep the voting going by increasing the system’s capacity and by blocking some of the bogus IP addresses. Scytl, an international company based in Spain, conducted a forensic analysis after the convention but came up dry when trying to pinpoint exactly who was behind the co-ordinated campaign. “They weren’t able to locate the ultimate source of where this was all programmed,” said Chantal Vallerand, acting director of the NDP.

Canada: Nova Scotia Business Inc. invests $800,000 in Dartmouth e-voting company | The Chronicle Herald

A Dartmouth electronic voting company is looking to increase its share of the national market, and has received a funding boost from the province. Nova Scotia Business Inc. announced Friday that it has submitted a venture capital investment of $800,000 to Intelivote Systems Inc., located in Burnside Park. Dean Smith, company president and founder, said Intelivote has signed up 15 of the 16 municipalities in Nova Scotia that will be offering telephone and Internet voting in municipal elections this fall., including Digby, Yarmouth, Kentville and Truro. Barcelona-based Scytl Secure Electronic Voting is handling the election in Halifax Regional Municipality.

National: Spanish company’s control of online voting in US is a disturbing trend | South Lake Press

Former Russian dictator Stalin said, “It’s not who votes that count, it’s who counts the votes.” Maybe President Obama knew something Americans didn’t know. In January, Congress allowed the largest vote-processing corporation in America, the Tampa-based software company SOE, to be bought by the Spanish online voting company SCYTL. This is a major step towards global centralization of all election processes. SCYTL, whose funding comes from international venture capital such as Balderton, is run by Goldman Sachs veterans Tim Bunting and Mark Evans. Based in Barcelona, Spain, it is rumored the CEO Pere Valles is a socialist who donated heavily to the 2008 Obama campaign. Valles lived in Chicago while Obama was a senator. SCYTL runs elections in numerous countries, such as England, France, Canada, Norway, Switzer-land, India, Australia, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates. In 2010, it was involved in modernizing election systems for the mid-term elections in 14 American states.

Editorials: Digging deeper into the 2012 Scytl vote count controversy |

The news story being circulated around the alternative media concerning the Spanish company SCYTL and its contracts with 900 U.S. voter jurisdictions is a complicated one. And it is one that has tended to lend itself to broad generalizations and, in some cases, misinformation. Digging deeper into the vote tabulation controversy should help separate fact from fiction.  First, it is important to consider what has been discovered to be either fiction or at the very least unconfirmed speculation. Rumors, innuendo, and opinions that cannot be verified by the paper trail cannot be considered fact, although there may be some kernel of truth within them. A perfect example is the oft repeated claim that George Soros owns SCYTL. There is no evidence that the Leftwing billionaire has any financial stake in the company. SCYTL is funded by three sources, venture capital corporations that specialize in investing in privately owned companies. Those three sources are Balderton Capital, Nauta Capital, and Spinnaker SCR. SCYTL’s board of directors and information concerning its founder can be found at the corporate website. Information on the company’s management team can be found here. However, all attempts to discover who exactly owns SCYTL have come up empty. The company is listed in all official profiles as a “privately owned corporation,” but no information is given as to the identities of the private owners.

Canada: Deliberate Denial of Service Assault Disrupts NDP Internet Voting | SPAMfighter

An advanced cyber-assault, which created chaos during the federal NDP party’s election, has been attributed to a specialized Web hacker who utilized over 10,000 PCs globally for so slackening the pace of the online-voting that it started to crawl, thus published dated March 28, 2012. Actually, according to the provider of the Internet-based balloting, Scytl Canada, one Denial-of-Service assault was deliberately unleashed with the objective of disrupting the voting exercise by the NDP on 24th March 2012. It was determined that the assault successfully clogged the channel of the voting mechanism so voters had to wait long to gain access. This slackening of the voting speed thus frustrated the party’s representatives gathered at Toronto.

Canada: NDP internet vote disruption worries experts | The Chronicle Herald

Although many people are attached at the hip to their laptops, few are conversant in software coding and even fewer are familiar with heavy encryption. Combine computers with the intricacies of elections, and that leaves only a handful of specialists worldwide who can claim to understand online voting. Questions about e-voting were raised after the NDP leadership convention was disrupted by a cyber attack. Not all of them have been answered satisfactorily, say software experts, despite reassurances from Scytl, the software company that handled the NDP election process, and from Halifax Regional Municipality, which has committed to use the company’s services in October’s municipal election. “Multibillion-dollar (software developers) like Windows, you know, Microsoft . . . can’t have their software bug-free. So I don’t think Scytl is able to do that,” said Daniel Sokolov, a Halifax information technology expert. Sokolov has examined several European elections that used e-voting and found at least three with troubling results.

Canada: More than 10,000 IP addresses used in attack on NDP vote | CTV Winnipeg

The company that ran the online voting system used to help choose the winner of the weekend’s NDP leadership race is now blaming several hours of delays on a “malicious, massive” attack on its voting system. In a news release, Barcelona-based Scytl said “well over 10,000 malevolent IP addresses” were used in a Distributed Denial of Service attack, which generated hundreds of thousands of false voting requests to the system. “We deeply regret the inconvenience to NDP voters caused by this malicious, massive, orchestrated attempt to thwart democracy,” Susan Crutchlow, general manager of Scytl Canada said in a statement. The attack effectively “jammed up the pipe” into the voting system, delaying voter access, the statement said. “This network of malevolent computers, commonly known as a ‘botnet,’ was located on computers around the world but mainly in Canada.”

Canada: Halifax Regional Municipality to review e-voting contract after cyber attack on NDP leadership election | Metro

The Halifax Regional Municipality will be reviewing a decision to award a Spanish e-voting company a contract for this October’s election. This in the wake of e-voting delays that plagued the federal NDP leadership convention in Toronto on Saturday. Scytl, the Spanish company that oversaw the convention’s e-voting, was awarded a contract in January to provide electronic voting for the upcoming HRM election. “With the events of the weekend … we certainly will be reviewing the situation with the company,” Mayor Peter Kelly said on Sunday. “(HRM will) determine whether or not this was an issue of just malfunction, or other factors as was indicated (by the NDP).”

Canada: Officials mum about source of cyber-attack meant to disrupt online voting |

New Democrats remained tight-lipped Sunday about the cyber-attack that kept the country waiting for hours at Saturday’s leadership convention. Party brass refused to disclose the source of two Internet Protocol addresses that they say perpetrated an attack meant to disrupt its online voting system, as they tried to manage Thomas Mulcair’s first day as head of the federal NDP. The party is investigating the attack, in tandem with its voting system provider, Scytl, auditors Price Waterhouse Cooper and a number of “experts,” party president Rebecca Blaikie said on Sunday. “At this point, there is not a single point person,” Blaikie said of the investigation. “We’re going to investigate what (the attack) is, where it came from. . . As soon as we know that, we’ll be able to decide what to do next.” Blaikie said neither police nor Elections Canada have been contacted. The NDP identified the IP addresses, essentially identification tags assigned to web-wired devices, as perpetrators of a denial-of-service (DNS) attack. While the party insists the results were not compromised, some are questioning the integrity of the final, fourth-round ballot, which propelled Thomas Mulcair to victory after more than 12 hours of voting.

Canada: NDP determined to find source of cyber attack on electronic voting system | Winnipeg Free Press

The NDP has not yet called in the police to investigate an orchestrated attempt to sabotage the electronic voting system the party used to choose a new leader.
But it’s not ruling out the possibility once it unmasks the hacker responsible for repeated cyber-attacks that caused lengthy delays in Saturday’s leadership vote. The party had hoped to crown their new leader in time for supper-hour newscasts, before television viewers could switch to the Saturday night hockey games. The cyber attacks frustrated those plans; it was after 9 p.m. ET before Thomas Mulcair was declared the winner. Party president Rebecca Blaikie said Sunday that party officials, vote auditors and Scytl — the high-tech Spanish company hired to secure the electronic voting system — are still working to determine who was responsible. “What we know is that there was an organized attempt to clog the site,” Blaikie said.

Canada: Halifax Mayor Kelly concerned by NDP e-voting problems – will use same Spanish company in municipal election | CBC

The Halifax Regional Municipality will take a close look at the e-voting problems experienced at the federal NDP leadership convention because it is planning to use the same Spanish company in the October municipal election. Mayor Peter Kelly said ensuring the integrity of the vote in the Halifax region is of the utmost importance. “We take the voting aspect very, very seriously and I think to be fair to all parties we have to make sure there is a thorough review and investigation of this situation,”he said Sunday. “Then if there is a threat of this in the upcoming election, then we need to take that very seriously and determine the best way forward.” Scytl Secure Electronic Voting, from Spain, won the contract after underbidding Intelivote Systems Inc. of Dartmouth by more than $300,000. Intelivote provided online and telephone voting for the previous two municipal elections.

Canada: NDP says hackers caused online vote delays | CTV Edmonton

Delays in online voting at the NDP leadership convention have been blamed on hackers, with party officials saying they have found evidence of the attack. Jamey Heath, the NDP’s communications manager, said the party had managed to trace the Internet Protocol addresses of two perpetrators. “They’ve isolated it to individual IP addresses. Votes that have been cast are secure,” he said. The delays had threatened to become a full-scale public relations disaster for the party that even had some people questioning the integrity of the end result. There were lineups of more than an hour at the Metro Toronto Convention centre as the system slowed down. Eligible voters across the country were also getting online error messages.

Canada: Cyber-attack holds up cross-Canada voting for next leader of NDP | Medicine Hat News

An attempted cyber-attack on the NDP’s electronic voting system Saturday forced party officials to delay the process of choosing the next federal New Democrat leader for several hours, frustrating voters both at the convention in Toronto and across the country. Party officials insisted the integrity of the voting system was not compromised, but acknowledged that the would-be hacker managed to “mess” it up enough to cause lengthy delays. “The system has not been compromised,” said Brad Lavigne, a former party national director who was dispatched to explain the problem to reporters. “The system was not hacked. It was never even close to being hacked.” Lavigne said someone outside the party tried to get access to the system, triggering alarms that caused the system to shut down. “The analogy that can be used is that somebody was trying to break into our house and the alarm went off and the robbers were scared away.” He stopped short of suggesting someone was deliberately trying to sabotage the NDP leadership process.

Philippines: Commission on Elections junks online voting for 2013 polls | The Philippine Star

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has junked its plan to use the Internet for the 2013 midterm elections, Comelec Commissioner Armando Velasco said yesterday. Velasco, chairman of the Committee on Overseas Absentee Voting (COAV), said, “2013 is near; it’s not feasible. The Internet registration and voting will not be available.” The Overseas Absentee Voting law provides that only ballots cast and mailed ballots received by the Philippine embassies, consulates and other Foreign Service establishments shall be counted.

Voting Blogs: It’s here – Global centralization of elections, privatized | GlobalResearch

In a major step towards global centralization of election processes, the world’s dominant Internet voting company has purchased the USA’s dominant election results reporting company. When you view your local or state election results on the Internet, on portals which often appear to be owned by the county elections division, in over 525 US jurisdictions you are actually redirected to a private corporate site controlled by SOE software, which operates under the name