Iran’s Interior Ministry on Saturday unveiled an electronic voting machine which, if authorized by the country’s Guardian Council, will come on stream in nine major cities for upcoming elections in February 2016. The Interior Ministry has plans to employ the electronic machines as ballot boxes in 9 big cities for the parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections, both due to be held on February 26, 2016.Full Article: Tasnim News Agency - Electronic Voting Machine Unveiled in Iran.
When Maryland voters head to the polls next year, there will be two different systems in place for both early voting and the general election, including the use of paper ballots. The Baltimore City Board of Elections provided a first look at the new way of voting being rolled out across the state next year. Maryland is going back to a paper ballot for the general election, but early voting in April will involve paper and a computer. City election director Armstead Jones said the new system will help create oversight. “Several years ago people talked about wanting a receipt,” Jones said. “Unfortunately they still won’t have a receipt, but the paper will serve as a backup.”Full Article: Election boards prepare for new voting processes | Politics - WBAL Home.
US Virgin Islands: Attorney General Walker Says Voters Must Feed Ballots Themselves | St. Croix Source
In a formal opinion he issued this week, acting Attorney General Claude Walker told the St. Croix District Board of Elections that voters must be allowed to feed their own ballots into voting machines in the upcoming 2016 elections. Walker was responding to the board’s request for his interpretation of two major court cases affecting how ballots are processed: the 1968 U.S. District Court of the Virgin Islands case of Melchior v. Todman, and the 2014 V.I. Supreme Court case of Mapp v. Fawkes. In his letter to St. Croix Board of Elections Chairwoman Liliana Belardo de O’Neal, Walker said the 1968 case no longer applies because the law it addressed was repealed.Full Article: AG Walker Says Voters Must Feed Ballots Themselves | St. Croix Source.
South Carolina voters could be using new voting machines by 2017. The Voting System Research Committee met at the state house today to talk about the issue. The Director of the South Carolina State Elections Commission, Marci Andino, says it could cost around $40 million to replace all the machines in the state. That’s about $3,000.00 per machine.
Voting Blogs: Election Day 2015 had a little bit of everything: glitches, snafus, rats, successful pilots and unsuccessful pilots | electionlineWeekly
“There was no line at the polling place. The line was almost out the door at Starbucks.” — an email from a Kentucky voter to her daughter.
There was snow, there was rain, there were blue skies and warm temperatures. Poll workers overslept, stole voting equipment and didn’t know how to use new technology. Voting machines malfunctioned and ballot-counting machines chugged along. There were new voting systems that worked flawlessly and there were those that didn’t. Turnout out was historically low and turnout was relatively high. Oh and there were rats.
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.
Monmouth County officials — for yet another year — are trying to figure out how election results ended up so jumbled online that they made a handful of candidates and referendum questions look like they lost when they actually won. Monmouth County officials said they believe staff from Dominion Voting Services, the county’s elections software vendor, accidentally “deleted” results Tuesday night from the vote-by-mail ballots. The mailed ballot numbers were later recovered and added to the final tally online Wednesday morning. Monmouth County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon apologized to candidates whose results changed and vowed to push for a solution from Dominion. “Our problems with Dominion have become chronic and will not be tolerated. We are continuing to investigate the situation and will be holding Dominion fully accountable,” she said in a five-paragraph statement issued Wednesday morning. The flaws came in an off-year election where New Jersey had anemic voter turnout. Monmouth and Ocean counties had voter turnouts of 23 percent.
Charlottesville resident Paul Jacob has been rocking the vote since he was 18. He’s been voting for nearly 60 years now and he’s seen quite a few changes. “From marking X’s, to punching holes,” said Jacob. “To the computers.” At Tuesday’s election, he’ll see one more. The city registrars office is taking people back to the future when it comes to voting. Touch screens are now a thing of the past and paper is back in style. One reason for the change is because of problems with voting machines in previous years. Another reason is computer hacking. Hacks have occurred across the United States, including Washington, D.C. To prevent that, Rick Sincere from the Electoral Board says the Commonwealth is steering away from computer voting statewide.Full Article: Virginia Moves Back to Paper Ballots for the Election.
Douglas County is one of eight counties that will be testing new voting machines this election season. The effort is part of an attempt by the Colorado secretary of state’s office to possibly unite all of the state under one system. As part of that initiative, four small counties and four large counties, including Douglas, were asked to pilot next-generation equipment. The other test counties are Adams, Denver, Garfield, Gilpin, Jefferson, Mesa and Teller. They will be trying out four different vendors. According to the secretary of state’s office, the upgrades to newer machines will cost about $10 million to $15 million and the counties will be dividing the cost, if the program moves forward following the test period. There is no charge to the counties during the test period.Full Article: News | Castle Rock Colorado | Castlerocknewspress.net.
The top election official in Kansas was dismissed as a defendant from the lawsuit filed by a Wichita mathematician seeking voting machine tapes after finding statistical anomalies in election counts. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said in a statement Thursday he was pleased but not surprised. The move leaves Sedgwick County Elections Commissioner Tabitha Lehman, whose office actually has the tapes, as the only defendant in the case.
It’s a new age of machines. Voting machines. Arizona and 42 other states have election equipment that has exceeded or is close to passing its expected life span of 10 years, according to a study by the Brennan Center for Justice, a law and policy institute at New York University School of Law. “The equipment for the most part has been fairly durable,” said Eric Mariscal, election director of Gila County. Mariscal said that Gila County Dept. of Elections has used the Accuvote paper ballot scanner units since 2004. “We’ve had very few problems,” he added.Full Article: Arizona looking to upgrade voting machines - Cronkite News - Arizona PBS.
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.Full Article: Georgia’s voting machines could be at risk from age | www.myajc.com.
A Wichita State University statistician seeking to audit voting machine tapes after finding statistical anomalies in election counts is garnering legal and other support as she pursues her lawsuit. Beth Clarkson had been pursuing the case herself, but now a Wichita lawyer has taken up her cause. Other supporters have helped set up a nonprofit foundation and an online crowdsourcing effort. A Sedgwick County judge is expected to set a trial date and filing deadlines on Monday. Clarkson, chief statistician for the university’s National Institute for Aviation Research, filed the open records lawsuit as part of her personal quest to find the answer to an unexplained pattern that transcends elections and states. She wants the tapes so she can establish a statistical model by checking the error rate on electronic voting machines used at a Sedgwick County voting station during the November 2014 general election. But top election officials for Kansas and Sedgwick County have asked the Sedgwick County District Court to block the release of voting machine tapes.Full Article: Statistician gets support for suit over voting machine tapes - Emporia Gazette: State News.
Don’t expect Congress to shell out any money when it comes to replacing aging voting equipment. That’s what Christy McCormick, chairwoman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), says her agency is telling state and local election officials, even though a bipartisan presidential commission warned last year of an “impending crisis.” “We’re telling them that, from what we understand, there won’t be any more federal funding coming to help them,” McCormick said in an interview with NPR. And that’s a problem because election officials around the country are worried about breakdowns as voting machines purchased after the 2000 presidential election near the end of their useful lives. Much of the equipment is already outdated. Some officials have even had to resort to sites such as eBay to find spare parts. The Brennan Center for Justice estimates that it will cost about $1 billion to buy replacement machines. But state and local budgets are tight. And Congress has shown no sign that it’s willing to foot the bill as it did more than a decade ago, when punch-card voting equipment was replaced nationwide.Full Article: Voting Machines Are Aging, But Don't Expect Congress To Pay To Replace Them : It's All Politics : NPR.
In his victory speech after his re-election in 2012, President Obama offered special thanks to those Americans who had stood in long lines to vote — some of whom were still waiting even as he spoke — and then offhandedly added, “by the way, we have to fix that.” The line got big applause, but now, three years later, much of the country is still far from fixing one major cause of the long lines: outdated voting machines and technologies. With the 2016 presidential election just a year away, the vast majority of states are still getting by with old machines that are increasingly likely to fail, crash or produce unreliable results. The software in them, mostly from the 1990s, doesn’t have the capabilities or security measures available today. A study released last month by the Brennan Center for Justice found that nearly every state uses some machines that are no longer manufactured. And 43 states are using machines that will be at least 10 years old next year, close to the end of their useful lives. A member of the federal Election Assistance Commission told the report’s authors, “We’re getting by with Band-Aids.” The central problem is a lack of money. The report estimates that it will cost at least $1 billion, and probably a good deal more, to upgrade voting systems nationwide. Election officials in 22 states say they need new machines but don’t know where the money will come from. Those states alone represent more than 120 million registered voters, and account for a majority — 324 — of the nation’s 538 electoral votes.Full Article: America’s Aging Voting Machines - The New York Times.
Colorado: In move to upgrade all machines statewide, new voting machines will be tested next month | Associated Press
Amid national anxiety about aging voting machines, Colorado elections officials are testing four types of new machines in elections next month as they move toward upgrades statewide. The Secretary of State plans to certify one new voting machine next year, putting the state on track to move away from a patchwork of voting machines to a single system. “Much of our equipment in Colorado is old,” Wayne Williams said Monday. “A lot of our systems are so old that they’re based on Microsoft systems that Microsoft no longer supports.” Next month’s off-year election is being used a test run for four different types of machines. Each will be used in a large Front Range county and a smaller rural county. The test counties are Adams, Denver, Douglas, Garfield, Gilpin, Jefferson, Mesa and Teller. The upgrades to newer machines will cost about $10 million to $15 million, with counties picking up the tab. A voting machine will be chosen by 2016, with counties free to upgrade whenever they’re ready.Full Article: Colorado testing new voting machines next month in move to upgrade all machines statewide.
To promote democracy around the world, the United States spends hundreds of millions of dollars annually in developing nations. But when it comes to the mechanics of democracy itself in the United States, some don’t even want to pony up $9.6 million. That’s the budget for the obscure, 25-employee Election Assistance Commission (EAC). Created by Congress in 2002, the bipartisan EAC is meant to be a resource for states and localities on election administration. That means everything from designing ballots, to procedures and manuals on election administration, to maintaining voting machines. And lest anyone believe that this is the big hand of the federal government reaching down to something controlled by states and counties, all the EAC does is set guidelines and advise. It does not enforce laws.Full Article: The coming voting machine crisis | TheHill.
Americans tend to replace their smartphones every two or three years. By contrast, most Americans use voting machines that are at least a decade old and based on engineering and designs from the 1990s. The perils of ignoring the latter may not be apparent until the electoral system is suddenly wracked by mishaps — think of Florida, circa 2000. Unfortunately, the likelihood of major dysfunction grows as voting machines age. It’s fair to blame Washington for a portion of the mess and assume it won’t play a critical role in the solution. Determined to avoid a reprise of the Florida mishap, Congress allocated funds and mandated the purchase of new equipment in 2002. Then, with the mandates still in place, lawmakers turned off the funding spigot, leaving state and local governments to take up the slack. In next year’s presidential election, some voting machines in 43 states will be at least a decade old and dangerously close to the end of their expected lifespan, according to a new report from the Brennan Center for Justice. In 14 states, some voters will encounter machines that are 15 or more years old, meaning they pre-date Facebook and the widespread use of flat-screen televisions.Full Article: America’s voting machines are in need of a serious upgrade - The Washington Post.
In this age of smartphones, touch-screens and the Internet, Los Angeles County’s 50-year old voting system of punch cards and user guides ranks closer to the era of chalk marks and blackboards. Now, the most populous county in the U.S. is less than one year away from completing the design stage of an overhaul that could mark the beginning of a new way of voting in California and beyond. Dean Logan, the registrar-recorder for Los Angeles, where five million voters currently cast ballots on ink-based machines, expects the design phase to be wrapped up by this time next year and the new voting system fully operational for the 2020 elections. “The hallmark of this project is that we’re designing it for the voter first, to make sure that the voting experience is a good one and the thing that makes this so exciting is that we’re operating in a time when you can do that,” said Logan. “You can focus on the user and then back into the technology and the software.”Full Article: L.A. County reboot of voting machine tech makes progress | California Forward.
For the past six years, Volkswagen has been cheating on the emissions testing for its diesel cars. The cars’ computers were able to detect when they were being tested, and temporarily alter how their engines worked so they looked much cleaner than they actually were. When they weren’t being tested, they belched out 40 times the pollutants. Their CEO has resigned, and the company will face an expensive recall, enormous fines and worse. Cheating on regulatory testing has a long history in corporate America. It happens regularly in automobile emissions control and elsewhere. What’s important in the VW case is that the cheating was preprogrammed into the algorithm that controlled cars’ emissions. Computers allow people to cheat in ways that are new. Because the cheating is encapsulated in software, the malicious actions can happen at a far remove from the testing itself. Because the software is “smart” in ways that normal objects are not, the cheating can be subtler and harder to detect. We’ve already had examples of smartphone manufacturers cheating on processor benchmark testing: detecting when they’re being tested and artificially increasing their performance. We’re going to see this in other industries.Full Article: VW scandal and cheating software - CNN.com.