All you have to do is vote. A sophisticated electronic system will take care of the rest. Where have we heard that before? In 2007 the message was the same: a complex voting system would be tamed by technology. Electronic counting – e-counting – would deliver election results which were secure, fast and accurate. Instead we got fiasco. Some counting machines initially refused to do their job. Thousands of voters found the ballot papers confusing. In some places the design of the papers was changed at the last minute. About 140,000 ballots were rejected as supposedly spoiled or blank. To cap it all, BBC Scotland then revealed that the overwhelming majority of those rejected votes had been ruled void automatically by the machines: no human had ever been involved in the process. And yet the 2007 burach was born from the best of intentions.
Florida: Dominon Voting Systems now rebuts Bucher’s account of Wellington ballot snafu | Palm Beach Post
The maker of Palm Beach County’s voting machines has told state officials its software did not cause the glitch that led to incorrect results being certified in two Wellington races, according to a letter from the company – a statement that starkly contrasts with Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher’s explanation for what happened. A “shortcoming” in the county’s vote-counting software allowed the error to go undetected, and the software did nothing to stop it, Dominion Voting Systems acknowledged. But the manufacturer disavowed responsibility for the error itself, saying, “it is clear that the mismatch was not the result of a ‘bug.’ ” Bucher has said the opposite. After the error was revealed March 19, she said the company had taken the blame and released a sharply worded press release that started with: “Technology fails.”
India: Possibility of tampering with electronic voting machines cannot be ruled out: Lagoo | Indian Express
fter some electronic voting machines (EVMs) were found defective in Sangli, Kolhapur and Beed districts during the zilla parishad elections, activists are now raising serious doubts about the accuracy of the machines. Pune-based civil engineer and social activist Mukund Lagoo, who is also an accused in the EVM theft case registered with Mumbai Police, said EVMs can be tampered with in a span of two-and-a-half minutes or it could have technical errors and in such a condition if you press any button the vote could be directed to a particular candidate. Speaking to The Indian Express, Lagoo said there have been several cases in different parts of the country where EVMs had problems, hampering the election process.
The Ross County Board of Elections is facing an unexpected $18,525 cost because of a state requirement to change batteries in all its voting machines. Director Nora Madru delivered news of the directive, which was issued by Secretary of State Jon Husted, to Ross County commissioners at their Tuesday meeting. The life of the batteries, which are soldered into the machines, is supposed to be five to seven years, Madru said. Machines in Ross County and across the state are approaching the life expectancy of the batteries. “With a presidential election coming up, you don’t want to take a chance,” Madru said, adding that officials don’t have a choice in the matter anyway.
The federal agency responsible for inspecting voting equipment said Thursday that a ballot scanner used in several key battleground states can freeze up without warning, fail to log errors and misread ballots.
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission said the ballot reader, made by Omaha-based ES&S, is not in compliance with federal standards. And while it’s the first time the 8-year-old agency has taken such a step, it falls just short of decertification — a move that could force election officials to abandon the machines on the eve of the 2012 presidential primaries.
The DS200 optical-scan system is designed to read paper ballots fed into the machines by voters themselves at their precincts. It’s used in all or part of Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New York and Wisconsin.
The Election Day is fast approaching in every state in the country. Security experts and researchers from Vulnerability Assessment Team or VAT at Argonne National Laboratories made a video that demonstrates a simple and non-cyber man-in-the middle or MITM attacks on the voting machine – the Diebold AccuVote TS Electronic Voting Machine. The researchers Jon Warner and Roger Johnston inserted customized hardware costing only 10 dollars into the Diebold AccuVote TS.
They were able to read the touchscreen vote using it and they were able to alter the information that was stored within. Changing the electronic votes isn’t really new; however, with the addition of a 16 dollars, the team was able to have a remote control that can operate and perform the MITM attacks even if they were miles away from the machine.
It was even stated that the levels of sophistication needed to accomplish the deed was comparably easy; even starters can accomplish it without any hardships. The same multi-disciplinary team of Argonne National Laboratories that is composed of physicists, digital computer forensics experts, computer engineers, white hat hackers, security researchers and also social scientists has demonstrated the same flaws on the machines of Sequoia Voting Solutions.
The next big change in Oklahoma elections since the state stopped counting ballots by hand in 1992 is rolling out in February, promising faster election results and more data. Each of the state’s 1,958 voting locations is getting new ballot scanning machines that cost $2,800 each. The new machines and data system will be used for the first time in the Feb. 14 election.
Elections were canceled by lawmakers for December and January to allow the new system to be installed. “We’re very thankful to have that,” said Paul Ziriax, state Election Board secretary. “If we could have an extra month, we’d take it, but we’ll be ready.”
The new scanners will still take paper ballots, only now more of the data from those ballots will be available to the public online and faster than ever before. County election boards will be able to report local results online, something they weren’t equipped to do before. “We’re going to have far more detail than we’ve ever been able to show before,” Ziriax said. “We’ll be able to drill down and see which precincts haven’t reported.”
South Carolina: Atlantic Beach, Horry County officials will return to court over voting machine dispute | TheSunNews.com
Town of Atlantic Beach and Horry County officials will return to a Conway magistrate courtroom next week to settle a dispute about town leaders refusing to return the voting machines used in the November election. Magistrate Bradley Mayers took a motion to return the machines to town officials from the town attorney, Kenneth Davis, under advisement, and continued the hearing until 10 a.m. Wednesday so Davis would have time to prepare.
Horry County sheriff’s deputies took the voting machines Tuesday after town officials refused to return them after the voting. Magistrate Bradley Mayers issued a court order for deputies to seize the machines and Atlantic Beach officials plan to dispute that seizure and want the machines returned to them during Wednesday’s hearing.
Davis, who is representing Atlantic Beach, declined to comment after Thursday’s hearing because it is an ongoing issue. But during the hearing, Davis said the seizure of the machines interferes with an “ongoing election protest in Atlantic Beach.” “By seizing these machines the ongoing judicial process . . . has been interrupted,” Davis said and noted there was no evidence town officials planned to tamper with the machines.
That court-approved redistricting plan is costing Raleigh County more than a few thousand voters being shipped to adjoining counties. All told, once the need to add 24 new precincts — and five voting machines for each — along with poll workers, janitorial service and, in some locales, rental fees are taken into account, Raleigh County’s tab is a whopping $462,000, says Commissioner Dave Tolliver.
Only last week, the state Supreme Court upheld the hotly disputed plan for the House of Delegates, as well as the Senate’s non-controversial one, saying neither one violated the West Virginia Constitution. What no one mentioned in all the debates in the House was the bill that will follow.
Sixteen percent of San Francisco voters who filled out their ballots correctly and completely — more than 31,500 people — did not have a say in the final outcome of the city’s mayoral race, according to The Bay Citizen’s analysis of election results.
Their ballots were discarded or exhausted, because they did not list either Ed Lee, the eventual winner, or runner-up John Avalos as one of their top three candidates. Unlike other cities, San Francisco does not allow voters to rank all the candidates on the ballot.
The opposition will accept no election with electronic voting machines in use under a partisan government, BNP chief Khaleda Zia said, adding that army will have to be deployed in the upcoming election. “We will not accept any vote under the partisan government. We will not allow such elections in the country. Now they [the government] are conspiring two things, holding the polls without deploying army and getting the ballots on EVM,” Khaleda told a wayside in Jessore on Sunday, as part of her two-day road march to Khulna.
“We want to say that no polls without the army (deployment) will be allowed. The EVMs are vote manipulation machines. We do not accept them.” The BNP-backed candidate was withdrawn from the Narayanganj City Corporation mayoral race only seven hours before the vote on Oct 30 as the army was not deployed.
The BJP has petitioned the Election Commission against the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs), procured from Malkangiri district, in Umerkote by-election in Nabarangpur district. In a memorandum to the Election Commission, the BJP alleged that the election officer of Nabarangpur district has violated the election handbook for the contestants by not inviting them for the first-level checking.
The second objection of the party was that the district election officer has not intimated the name of the nodal officer appointed by him to the political parties in the fray.
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.
The Indiana Elections Commission refused Friday to immediately approve Lake County’s purchase of remodeled electronic voting machines, which local officials say are crucial to reducing long lines of voters next year. Sally LaSota, county elections director, said Friday more machines are needed before the 2012 primary election when President Barack Obama’s re-election bid is expected to bring out busloads of early voters.
LaSota said she needs help handling the anticipated crowd and asked state elections officials to permit MicroVote, which has manufactured the 1,050 current machines, to provide more updated electronic voting stations. Michelle Fajman, county recorder and elections director during the 2008 Obama campaign, said, “In Gary, we had people voting as late as 10 p.m. Lake County is in dire need of more machines.”
Back in 2004, Marci Andino was accused of shilling for corporate America and the Republican Party as she rolled out the state’s new electronic voting machines. Those complaints continue to this day, as critics insist that machines that don’t spit out paper receipts to voters are subject to manipulation and stolen elections.
Then over the past couple of years, the director of the State Election Commission got some harsh looks from GOP lawmakers when she joined county election officials in calling for an open early voting system. Democrats love and Republicans hate early voting, which election professionals argue would help keep lines moving on Election Day, at minimum cost, by replacing the restricted absentee voting procedure that more and more people are using illegally to vote in advance.
San Joaquin Supervisor Larry Ruhstaller last month took a stand for common sense. OK, his vote against a lease agreement to store the county’s unused and unusable electronic voting machines was Quixotesque. But at least he voiced his outrage.
The county spends $12,400 a month – $148,800 a year – to rent a warehouse to store the machines. The machines aren’t good enough for the general public. They’ve been decertified because it’s feared they can be hacked. So why does the county keep the 1,625 machines around?
About a year from now, Americans will cast votes for the candidates of their choice. Or at least they will think that’s what they’ve done, having little awareness of concerns about the security of electronic voting machines, a “national security issue” in the view of scientists who easily hacked a widely-used device.
Others, even before they get the chance to vote, will discover that the rules for registering and voting itself have changed in their state; changes so controversial that the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University Law School recently proclaimed that a “War on Voting Rages Nationwide.”
There is debate over the extent of voter fraud, arguments about whether there is a greater problem with accurately registering people than in people actually voting who should not. Nonetheless, 13 states last year amended their voting rules and another two dozen are at various stages of doing likewise. Chief among the changes are photo identification requirements, reduced opportunities to vote early and restrictions on how and when voter registration is conducted.
Montgomery County voters would be able to cast their votes in special elections through a mail-in ballot under legislation proposed by a state lawmaker. Mail-in ballots would save the county money and encourage more voter participation in typically low-interest special elections, said Sen. Jennie M. Forehand (D-Dist. 17) of Rockville, who has prefiled the bill.
Voter turnout in the county for five special elections between April 2008 and May 2009 — made necessary after the deaths of two County Council members and the resignation of former U.S. Rep. Albert R. Wynn — ranged from 6.8 percent to 11.5 percent. Combined, those five elections cost $5.4 million. “I’m always on the lookout to save money,” said Forehand, who introduced similar vote-by-mail legislation in 2010 and 2011. Forehand also expects to introduce another bill during the General Assembly’s 90-day legislative session that would allow jurisdictions statewide to adopt voting by mail in special elections, Forehand said.
Vote totals for Tuesday’s Jersey City special election have been stuck at 95.05 percent of precincts reporting since Tuesday night, and the complete count will stay unknown until at least Monday. Two voting-machine cartridges are still in the machines themselves, and they can’t be retrieved without a court order, Hudson County Clerk Barbara Netchert said yesterday.
Ward F Councilwoman Viola Richardson and her running mate, Rolando Lavarro, are the leading vote-getters, with third-place finisher Sue Mack about 250 votes behind Lavarro, counting mail-in ballots. Mack’s team is hoping the missing cartridges will lead to enough votes for her to overtake Lavarro.
New York: Westchester voting machines seized; many ballots uncounted in several legislative races | LoHud.com
Now it’s up to the lawyers. Voting machines throughout Westchester County have been impounded by a state Supreme Court justice so ballots won’t be counted until next week, election officials said Wednesday. And in some county legislative races, it’s still unclear who is leading because the county Board of Elections hasn’t posted results from all the voting districts.
The machines and ballots, which include 3,245 affidavits, are under “lockdown” and therefore cannot be tallied, said Reginald LaFayette, Democratic election commissioner. “Until we all get it sorted out, we’re not giving out any information,” he said Wednesday.
After testing its new paper-ballot voting machines, Mahoning County Board of Elections officials say they are ready for today’s general election. Board officials tested the equipment Monday at their office in Oakhill Renaissance Place on Oak Hill Avenue on the city’s South Side.
“We feel pretty confident,” said Thomas McCabe, the board’s director, about the new voting machines. It’s been “busy” at the board since July, he said.
Maryland: Officials confirm machine problems hampered write-in voting in 13th District | Baltimore Brew
A volunteer for 13th District city council write-in candidate Shannon Sneed says problems with voting machines – and the unwillingness of staff to help voters – caused eight to 10 people who came to a polling place in East Baltimore to leave without voting this morning. “There was some technician they needed to get to fix the problem, but they couldn’t find him,” said Renold B. Smith, a retired U.S. Postal Service manager who was volunteering for Sneed.
Smith, who said he had been at Tench Tilghman Elementary/Middle School since before the polls opened, said he tried helping one woman who was particularly concerned about the problem. He said she told him the machine “just wouldn’t let her do a write-in.”
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.
Early voting opens Saturday for the Richmond city election and that means thousands of voters will need to become acquainted with new voting machines installed this year. The Wayne County Clerk’s office Wednesday mailed out cards to all registered, eligible voters. They will need to bring the cards with them when they vote, along with a government-issued photo identification.
Joining “P-I Live!” Thursday to discuss the hours, locations and procedures for voting in this election were Jo Ann Stewart, Wayne County Clerk, and Doug Williamson, a Wayne County Commissioner instrumental in reviewing and authorizing the new voting machines for use locally.
Sweden: Electronic voting in elections in the future? – Pirate Party warns of risks | Stockholm News
Two of the MPs who were originally behind the idea write that “the election process has been very similar since the universal suffrage was introduced.“ They claim that the advantages with the paper ballots, separate for each party, are well-known; it keeps the secrecy of election. But after the last election, the disadvantages have also become clearer.
Minister for Justice Beatrice Ask says to the daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet: “Paper ballots have its advantages but if there are other ways, it should at least be something to consider. I want to see whether we can use technology in a better way. But these questions are not simple. The election process must be secure and of the highest quality”
The Swedish Member of the European Parliament Christian Engström (Pirate Party), argues against the idea on his blog. His argument against internet voting is that it creates the risk that some people might get under pressure from others to vote in a certain way. At a polling station only one person at the time is allowed to enter so it is not possible to control how a person votes.
Katy Independent School District board of trustee elections will proceed as scheduled, but at additional cost due to changes in electoral regulations. Katy ISD will attempt to rent voting equipment from Election Systems & Software (ESS) for next year’s elections at a cost of $51,463. “When I look at the options (not including changing election schedules)…
BNP-backed Taimur Alam Khandaker has altogether opposed use of Electronic Voting Machines in the Narayanganj City Corporation, Selina Hayat Ivy preferred it in three instead of nine centres while Shamim Osman went the whole hog for it. Ivy said she will make relatively fewer promises as she is against tall talks after Shamim Osman rattled off his successes when he was the Narayanganj-1 MP.
The war of words between Ivy and Shamim began in earnest in the televised debate, with Ivy firing the first salvo at her ‘elder brother’, saying he puts the party behind everything else. The people are behind me, the former Narayanganj municipality said during the primetime Election Commission debate. Shamim, on his part, said it is difficult to work without party support. “BNP did it first. We did it in response.”
The Maldives has expressed support for electronic voting systems in India and Pakistan, and is taking steps to introduce Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) to its own electoral process. At an informal meeting of Electoral Commissioners from SAARC member countries in India, the Maldives joined Bhutan, Afghanistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka in praising India’s use of EVMs and indicated that “legal amendments would be thought of to see that EVMs were made popular to ensure free and fair polls in their countries,” Indian news outlet The Hindu reported yesterday.
Commissioners met to discuss Afghanistan’s voting procedures in light of waning financial and other aid from NATO allies. Maldives Elections Commission President Fuad Thaufeeq said the commission, which is developing a proposal for Parliament regarding EVMs, has met with the Committee on Independent Commissions to discuss their implementation.
The first phase of the civic polls for over 1.35 lakh local bodies in Tamil Nadu was on Monday marred by allegations of irregularities by opposition parties, including the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, against the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam as 28 per cent voters cast their votes by 11 a.m.
Besides complaints of names missing in voters’ list and glitches in Electronic Voting Machines, allegations of non-compliance of High Court order on video recording of the polling, lack of enough security and bogus voting were levelled by the DMK and other parties such as the Pattali Makkal Katchi.
Since Mississippi required electronic voting machines in 2006 to meet a federal mandate, all the state’s precincts have used approved equipment. For most of Mississippi’s 82 counties that meant the touch-screen machines the secretary of state’s office got at a bulk discount to comply with the Help America Vote Act. Counties wanting federal money to buy electronic machines had no options.
Now the financial costs assessed with operating touch-screen machines and concerns over contested elections have led officials in one county to ditch those machines and those in another to consider doing the same – both in favor of electronic paper ballot scanning machines . Even before the state mandate, Rankin County had opted for touch-screen machines. It has used them since the November 2003 general election. But District 5 Supervisor Jay Bishop said the system should be re-examined.
Supervisors last month cut the annual maintenance contract for the county’s touch-screen machines from roughly $57,000 to $47,000. But Bishop says, “If we were to go and put (paper ballot) scanners in, that would knock costs down to around $10,000 a year.