The websites of the National Election Commission and the pan-opposition candidate for Seoul mayoral by-election, Park Won-soon, were paralyzed by cyber attacks on Wednesday morning as voters went to the polls. The onslaught was a so-called distributed denial-of-service attack whereby hackers effectively overload certain websites by activating masses of zombie computers that have been infected with a virus.
“A DDoS attack interrupted access to the commission’s website from 6:15 a.m. to 8:32 a.m.,” an official with the election watchdog said. “We took an emergency measure with a DDoS defense system, but to no avail. So we diverted web traffic to a cybershelter provided by KT.” Read More
World War II veteran Darwin Spinks is wondering why he had to pay $8 to get a voter photo ID that should have been free when he recently went to the driver’s license testing center here. The state Legislature passed a law this spring requiring voters to show a photo ID in order to cast a ballot. It included the requirement that any Tennessee resident who didn’t have a photo ID could get one free of charge.
But when the 86-year-old Spinks visited the testing center about a month ago on Samsonite Boulevard to get a photo ID for voting purposes, he said he had to pay. Spinks said Tuesday he needed the photo because when his driver’s license with a photo expired the last time, the driver testing center issued him a new license without a photo on it. State law allows people over 60 to get a non-photo driver’s license. Read More
Minority voters have long had problems simply exercising their right to vote in certain parts of the country – and minority lawmakers fear the situation will become worse in 2012. Their worries are heightened by new laws in 13 states that they say will restrict access to the ballot box. Some of the changes would require voters to show government-approved identification, restrict voter registration drives by third-party groups, curtail early voting, do away with same-day registration, and reverse rules allowing convicted felons who’ve served their time the right to vote.
In addition to the states that have passed such laws, 24 other states are weighing similar measures, according to New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice. Proponents of the measures say they are needed to protect the integrity of the vote, prevent illegal immigrants from casting ballots, and clamp down on voter fraud, although several studies indicate that voter fraud is negligible. Read More
Could Wisconsin soon be the center of another political controversy? A test run of the state’s new voter identification law on Oct. 11 led to long lines and frustrated voters, which could cause state Democrats to amplify their attacks on a law they already claim is costly and intended only to suppress voter turnout. State Republicans have expressed strong support for the law since its passage in May, and have expressed no desire to make any changes before it takes full effect before February’s primary elections.
Madison City Clerk Maribeth Witzel-Behl called for the mock election after noticing irregularities during July’s State Senate recall elections. Poll workers in those elections were instructed to request voters’ identification even though it was not yet required. Witzel-Behl indicated that the workers were inconsistently following this instruction. Following Tuesday’s mock election, Witzel-Behl estimated that it took each voter two minutes to present identification and sign the poll book, a standard she found “very alarming.” She also noted that several people left the line due to the long wait. Read More
Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson has sent a critical letter to Republican Gov. Rick Scott and plans to meet Wednesday with a Volusia County high school teacher whose student voter registration drive could violate Florida’s tough, new elections law.
The law is already being challenged in court by the ACLU and allied organizations. But Nelson is calling on Scott to push for revamping or repealing the measure following the case of Jill Cicciarelli, a New Smyrna Beach teacher and adviser to a local high school’s student government association.
Cicciarelli was registering students to vote since the beginning of the school year. But county Elections Supervisor Ann McFall said she was required to report Cicciarelli to the Florida Department of State apparently for violating the new standard for those acting as third-party registration organizations. Read More
Michigan may soon join states like Florida and Tennessee in implementing major new voting rights restrictions.
A new bill designed to make registering voters more difficult is currently working its way through the Republican-controlled legislature. As Project Vote details, SB 754 would put new regulations in place to require photo ID in order to register, create new restrictions on nonprofit organizations who register voters, and undercut voter registration drives by requiring completed registration forms to be submitted with 24 hours when the election is nearing. Read More
New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner said Tuesday he will hold off making a final decision on the state’s presidential primary until next week. Gardner’s office had been working toward announcing the date as soon as Tuesday, but ultimately changed course and decided to wait until after the close of the two-week period when candidates can qualify for the state ballot.
Through Monday, 17 candidates — 15 Republicans and two Democrats — had done so by submitting a one-page declaration of candidacy and a $1,000 filing fee.
Gardner, empowered by state law to call what traditionally has been the nation’s first primary at the time of his choosing, is widely expected to set the contest for Jan. 10. Read More
The two candidates for Bergen County clerk sparred Tuesday over how much the county spends to print ballots. Democratic challenger John Hogan of Northvale contends the clerk’s office could trim about $200,000 from its printing bill by putting the work, which cost $2.4 million last year, up for a competitive bid.
GOP incumbent Elizabeth Randall of Westwood countered that election-related printing is a specialized line of work that only a few New Jersey companies do. That’s why the state Legislature exempted such work from competitive bidding, Randall said.
The candidates clashed on the printing issue twice this week, first at a forum sponsored by the Korean-American community in Fort Lee on Monday and again at a forum hosted Tuesday by the Bergen County League of Women voters at Bergen County Community College in Paramus.
After the League debate, Hogan called Randall’s argument “ridiculous.” Read More
Next month’s general election will cost the city $17 million, even though the so-called “off-year election” has almost no contests. NY1’s Courtney Gross filed the following report. There might be something missing from the ballot next month — an actual race. The thousands of voters that could head to the polls next month might be even more disappointed than typical off-year elections.
Citywide, only three of the 12 judicial contests are contested. Of the three district attorney races, only one incumbent, Dan Donovan on Staten Island, is seeing a challenge.
Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson and Queens District Attorney Richard Brown have secured every party line.
Nonetheless, every polling place will be open for business. Read More
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. Read More
Barbara Zia has seen enough miscounts. As the president of the state chapter of the League of Women Voters, Zia is fighting for the state to replace its outdated voting machines in hopes of preserving another layer of security for democracy in South Carolina.
The league, praised for its nonpartisan concern for voting rights and access, recently commissioned an independent study of the state’s voting technology after snafus in the 2010 elections. According to Zia, the report found three basic problems with the current system.
One, the iVotronic machines were aging and replacement parts were no longer being manufactured. Two, the machines were too complicated for the committed poll managers to use, workers whom Zia said were basically volunteers working from before dawn to after daylight in some cases. And three, the electronic touch-screen machines do not provide enough of a paper trail to ensure truly correct elections. Read More
Remember the talk a few months ago about asking South Dakota voters whether they want to join the winner-take-all movement for electing U.S. presidents? That issue won’t be on the November 2012 statewide ballot after all.
“We haven’t circulated any petitions and we haven’t collected any signatures,” state Sen. Craig Tieszen, R-Rapid City, said. Tieszen and three other legislators — Senate Democratic leader Jason Frerichs of Wilmot; Rep. Tad Perry, R-Fort Pierre; and Rep. Peggy Gibson, D-Huron — were going to be the official sponsors for the petition drive. They would have needed to file valid signatures of at least 15,855 South Dakota registered voters with Secretary of State Jason Gant no later than 5 p.m. Nov. 1. Read More
Robertson County seniors who don’t have a picture on their government-issued ID cards will have to obtain new cards if they want to vote next year. A new law which requires all voters to present government-issued photo ID at the polls was created to put an end to voter fraud, but one group that will be affected by this change will be seniors, who have the option not to use a photo on their driver’s licenses or state-issued ID cards.
“I just don’t think it’s right,” said Frances Swearingen, 86. “I’ve worked at the polls, and if you hand me your voter registration and your ID, there’s not going to be any fraud.”
Swearingen has not had her photo on her identification since she turned 65. Read More
King County Elections places a huge mail order each year. Officials must secure enough ballots for more than 1 million voters spread across a county larger than Rhode Island. Then, the elections office is responsible for ensuring a secure — and hassle-free — process to distribute, authenticate and tally ballots on a strict deadline.
The complicated process starts on a printing press in Everett and ends in a tabulation machine in Renton. The voter is situated in the middle, black ink pen at the ready. The job to print almost 1.1 million ballots is delegated to a commercial printer. The elections office oversees the process as Everett-based K&H Election Services prints and inserts ballots into envelopes. The printer creates ballots for King County and jurisdictions across the United States. Then, ballots stacked on pallets await shipment to voters. Read More
The plan to introduce e-voting and increase voter participation in next year’s BMC elections is expected to be shelved due to delays and security fears.
E-voting was considered as an option to facilitate voting for the urban middle class and increase their share in the overall voting percentage that was a dismal 47 per cent in 2007. The BMC and the State Election Commission were to jointly develop a system of online voting for the elections due in February.
But the BMC’s election department has received more than 30 objections from individuals and organisations against the implementation of e-voting, citing security concerns. An official from the election department said the system is not robust and can lead to rigging. “The plan was announced in February this year, but authorities sat on it for many months. Now, there is hardly any time left now and the demo trial is yet to take place. We have inspected the existing system and have observed a number of potential security breaches,” he said. The estimated cost of implementing e-voting is Rs 35 crore. Read More
“The process of accountability has formally begun,” Philippine Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Tuesday told reporters shortly after Department of Justice (DOJ) personnel started serving subpoenas on former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her husband, Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo.
The joint investigating panel of the DOJ and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has formally summoned the Arroyos and close to 40 others to appear at its first hearing on November 3 into the purported fraud in the 2007 midterm elections in Mindanao. “We’re definitely serious in this undertaking,” De Lima said. Read More
Police are investigating what and who caused the state election watchdog’s website to crash for about two hours on Wednesday morning, keeping in mind the possibility of a so-called “distributed-denial-of-service” attack, officials said. The website of the National Election Commission crashed between 6:15 a.m. and 8:50 a.m. when many voters visited it to locate polling stations where they could cast their ballots for the by-elections for Seoul mayor.
Investigators suspect that the website crashed due to a “DDoS” cyber attack. The attacks swamp selected websites with massive traffic, using virus-infected “zombie computers” to launch simultaneous access to them. “Due to what appears to be a DDoS attack, problems intermittently occurred on the website. We are now trying to verify where the attack originated,” a government official said, declining to be named. Read More
No matter what the results, Tunisia’s landmark election was a monumental achievement in democracy that will be a tough act to follow in elections next month in Egypt and Morocco — and later, in Libya. In just five months, an independent Tunisian commission organized the first free elections in this North African nation’s history. The ballot attracted 80 parties offering candidates, drew a massive turnout by impassioned voters and was effusively praised by international observers.
“I have observed 59 elections in the last 15 years, many of them in old democracies … and never have I seen a country able to realize such an election in a fair, free and dignified way,” said Andreas Gross, a Swiss parliamentarian and the head of the observer delegation for the Council of Europe. “I was elected in Switzerland on the same day in elections that were not much better than here.” Read More