Internet voting for the leadership on Canada’s New Democratic Party and mock elections Hong Kong’s chief executive fell victim to cyber-attacks. Dominion voting Systems acknowledged that known errors in their tabulation software caused the wrong winners in a city council race in Palm Beach County. In a straight party-line vote, the Minnesota Senate passed an amendment that would require voters to show a photo ID in order to vote. The amendment will appear on the November ballot if it withstands promised court challenges. The Illinois primary was marred by printing errors that left ballots too wide to be processed by optical scanners. Malian soldiers have overthrown the government of President Amadou Toumani Toure just two weeks before scheduled elections. New research from Pew suggests that HAVA’s approach to accommodating voters with disabilities has been unsuccessful and a former IMF chief economist warns of the threat of SuperPACS to US economic stability.
- Canada: Cyber-attack holds up cross-Canada voting for next leader of NDP | Medicine Hat News
- China: Cyber Attack Targets Hong Kong Mock Vote | WSJ
- Florida: Dominion Voting Systems releases statement taking the blame for Palm Beach County vote problem | South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com
- Minnesota: Minnesota Senate passes voter ID requirement, critics vow litigation | MPRN
- Illinois: Authorities investigating too-big ballots, hope to avoid repeat of primary problems | abc7chicago.com
- Mali: Soldiers Oust Mali President, Seize Control Two Weeks Before Election | VoA News
- Blogs: New Florida Data Suggests HAVA’s Approach to Disabled Voters Isn’t Working | Election Academy
- Blogs: Big Money in Politics Makes U.S. Economy “Fundamentally Unsound” | PolicyShop
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.
… Earlier, officials would say only that the system had been overwhelmed due to an unanticipated crush of voters all trying to cast their online ballots at the same time. But that explanation was met with skepticism, since fewer than 10,000 New Democrats actually voted electronically on Saturday; the vast majority, some 56,000, had cast their ballots in advance.
The party hired Scytl, a Spanish-based company that specializes in electronic voting security, to run the online voting system. Results from the second round of voting were delayed about two hours to give every member who wanted to vote a chance to do so. For those who voted in person at the convention, lengthy lineups at voting stations formed as the delays pushed balloting well into the afternoon.
- NDP says hackers caused online vote delays | CTV Edmonton
- Cyber Attack Targets Hong Kong Mock Vote | WSJ
- Victorians to vote online next year | SC Magazine Australia
- Yarmouth Nova Scotia opts for October e-vote | The Chronicle Herald
- The Details On How To Elect Futurama’s Bender To Whatever Election Is Using Online Voting | Techdirt
A cyber attack has hit an ambitious project that sought to give ordinary Hong Kong citizens a voice in this weekend’s chief executive poll, with organizers scrambling to provide paper ballots to the tens of thousands wishing to participate in the mock vote. The Chinese territory’s top political job will be decided by a 1,200 person election committee Sunday, but that hasn’t stopped many of the city’s seven million residents keen to take part in the University of Hong Kong’s civil referendum project. Beijing has promised the city universal suffrage by 2017. Thousands of users logged online Friday morning or used the smart phone apps created by Dr. Robert Chung’s group at the University of Hong Kong to cast their vote, but pages didn’t load properly. Dr. Chung said an early-morning cyber intrusion appeared to disable their servers, and that the site had also been experiencing abnormally high hit rates that had overloaded their system, up to a million requests a second. “I think there could be no other explanation than a cyber attack,” he said. “We don’t quite understand the motive,” he added.
The city is already rife with reports that China is interfering with Hong Kong politics, and some speculate the civil referendum’s result could embarrass Beijing by highlighting the gap between what the public wants and what the city’s 1,200 electors—mostly business and political elites—will choose. Dr. Chung’s activities have never made him popular on the mainland, especially last December, when a poll he conducted showed low levels of identification with the mainland among Hong Kongers. Pro-Beijing media were quick to accuse him of having “evil” political aims, being a “hateful western-trained dog” and more.
Such dislike of polls was repeated this week when a mainland propaganda official based in Hong Kong, Hao Tiechuan, called for the city to adopt laws to more strictly regulate pre-election political surveys, citing similar laws abroad that aim to prevent them from potentially swaying voters’ opinions.
- NDP says hackers caused online vote delays | CTV Edmonton
- Cyber-attack holds up cross-Canada voting for next leader of NDP | Medicine Hat News
- Organisers say Hong Kong mock poll ‘under cyber attack’ | BBC News
- The Details On How To Elect Futurama’s Bender To Whatever Election Is Using Online Voting | Techdirt
- Internet picks presidential candidate if Ackerman gets his way | The News Journal
The supplier of Palm Beach County’s voting and tabulating equipment says a software “shortcoming” led to votes being assigned to the wrong candidates and the elections office declaring the wrong winners in two recent Wellington council races. County Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher, who insisted a computer glitch rather than human error was to blame for the fiasco, claimed vindication after Dominion Voting Systems released its statement. Wellington and 15 other municipalities held elections on March 13. In Wellington, the ballot was set up with the mayor’s race first, the Seat 1 council race second and the Seat 4 council race third. Unbeknownst to elections officials, the vote totals for the mayor’s race ended up being reported and later certified as the results of the Seat 1 race. The Seat 1 vote totals were certified as the Seat 4 results and the Seat 4 vote totals were certified as the mayoral results. The problem wasn’t discovered until six days after the election, during a routine audit. The audit found no similar problems in the 15 other cities that held elections. The fact that the audit is conducted after winners are certified is a requirement of state law. Bucher said her office “will be working with the state to ask for the necessary law changes.”
… Dominion Voting Systems issued a statement this afternoon from Waldeep Singh, a vice president of customer relations. ”The incorrect reporting of vote totals which occurred in the Wellington election was caused by a mismatch between the software which generates the paper ballots and the central tally system,” Singh’s statement says. ”This synchronization difficulty is a shortcoming of the version of software currently being used in Palm Beach County and that shortcoming has been addressed in a subsequent version of the software. These enhancements help to prevent such an anomaly from occurring in the future. Dominion is in the process of providing this newer version to Palm Beach County.” Singh did not return a phone call requesting additional comment.
Bucher has been in negotiations with Dominion to buy new software, but she said the upgraded software would not have been available for the March 13 elections because it has not yet been certified by the state Division of Elections.
Full Article: Susan Bucher Wellington: The software maker responsible for Palm Beach County’s voting equipment released a statement taking the blame for vote problem. – South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com….
- Palm Beach Elections Chief Bucher: ‘This is not a human error’ | Post on Politics
- Lawsuits brewing as all four candidates in Wellington recount stand their ground | Palm Beach Post
- Wellington election results tossed out, but legal ground uncertain | Palm Beach Post
Minnesota voters are steps away from seeing a photo identification constitutional amendment on the ballot. The full Senate passed the amendment Friday in a 36-30 vote after six hours of debate. The House passed the amendment Tuesday. The vote fell mostly along party lines. Every Republican except Sen. Jeremy Miller of Winona voted for the amendment. Every Democrat voted against it. The measure centers around whether voters need to prove who they are when they cast a ballot. Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, said he fears some people are voting illegally and that the proposed constitutional amendment would stop it. ”I think we do have voter fraud in the United States and I think we have voter fraud in Minnesota,” said Newman. “It is my belief that when someone votes who should not be voting, it has the effect of neutralizing or canceling the vote of someone who has voted legally.”
But opponents — all of them Democrats — said those fears are overblown and that voter fraud is almost nonexistent. Sen. Barb Goodwin, DFL- Columbia Heights, also argued that the measure wouldn’t stop those who aim to vote illegally. ”Most of you have your photo ID and your driver’s license right here. Does that stop you from speeding? Does that stop you from maybe once in a while swerving in your lane?” said Goodwin. “That’s about the effect that this voter ID is going to have on catching any fraudulent votes.”
Democrats say the impact of the voter ID requirement will disenfranchise thousands of people. They say those who live in nursing homes, homeless people, college students and people who register on Election Day may have trouble voting. Sen. Dick Cohen of St. Paul said he’s worried that the amendment will put up barriers for people to vote. ”For the first time in the years I’ve been in the state Senate, we’re seeing a regression, a regression, on a right held by somebody,” Cohen said.
- Minnesota Photo ID marches on, but critics vow litigation | San Antonio Express-News
- Judge considers challenge to voter ID measure | AP
- Voter ID becomes law in Pennsylvania, opponents vow legal fight | chicagotribune.com…
- Document fees for ID to vote in Kansas raise concerns | KansasCity.com…
- Federal lawsuit challenges Wisconsin’s voter ID law | The Daily Page
Some counties in Illinois were still adding up primary votes Wednesday because the ballots they used were too big to fit into scanning machines. There were no hanging chads, pregnant chads or even dimpled chads this time, but when it comes to Illinois elections, it always seems to be something getting in the way of a having a flawless Illinois election. Wednesday, authorities in a quarter of all the counties in the state are investigating how some of their paper ballot forms ended up a little too big to fit into the machines that scan the votes. ”We are indeed in contact with all of the election authorities that were impacted,” said Illinois State Board of Elections’ Ken Menzel. “We are getting ready to do a good review of exactly what the problem was, what factor or factors combined led us to what we saw yesterday, and we are going to look into ways to avoid both at the production end with the ballots and helping the election authorities put into place procedures that would be more likely to catch out of tolerance ballots.”
State election officials say they will visit the three contractors responsible for printing and providing the ballot forms, forms that ended up cut too big on one edge, and bedeviled 26 counties across the state of Illinois. Many didn’t realize they had ill-fitting ballots until after the polls opened. ”It was disappointing after all the testing that was done. This printer has printed over 10 million ballots for DuPage and we’ve never had a problem, then this crops up,” said Robert Saar, executive director of the DuPage County Election Commission. ”We trimmed them before the voters voted, we had them all stacked up,” said Aurora election judge Raphael Wilson.
Some election judges took matters — and scissors — into their own hands, while others waited for the printer to make emergency deliveries of proper-sized ballots. ”But each of the votes that were cast by the voters yesterday will indeed be counted. We are not going to lose any of the votes,” said Menzel.
- No votes lost to faulty ballots in Illinois primary | THonline.com…
- Winnebago County wants compensation from ballot company | Rockford Register Star
- Paper Cuts are the WORST: Illinois Latest State to Find Out There is No Small Stuff | Election Academy
- Ballots too wide send election officials scrambling for scissors | chicagotribune.com…
- Big ballots cause primary problems across Illinois | latimes.com…
Malian soldiers angered over the government’s mishandling of the two-month-old Tuareg rebellion in the North say they have overthrown President Amadou Toumani Toure – just weeks before the election that would have marked an end to his mandate. The president’s location is unknown. Frustration had long been brewing in the military in what had been one of the region’s few stable democracies. Residents told VOA that sporadic gunfire continued in Bamako Thursday just hours after renegade soldiers – calling themselves the National Committee for the Restoration of Democracy and State – or CNRDR, seized control of the state.
Appearing on state TV early Thursday, the CNRDR spokesman, Amadou Konare, says the armed forces decided to put an end to the “incompetent regime” of President Amadou Toumani Toure. He says the constitution is suspended until further notice and all government institutions have been dissolved. He says an inclusive government will be created after consultation with the nation’s representatives.
Stirrings of the coup began Wednesday morning with a mutiny by soldiers at a military camp near the capital and then spread to a military base in Gao, in the northeast.
The latest Election Data Dispatch from Pew finds that in the recent GOP primary in Florida, only 49 voters (or 0.03%) used the disabled-accessible voting machines in Miami-Dade and Orange counties, two of the state’s largest. Accessible machines for disabled voters – one per polling place – were one of the federal mandates on state and local election offices included in the Help America Vote Act. Inclusion of this provision was widely seen a victory for the advocates for disabled voters, given the perceived failure of previous efforts to make voting more accessible such as the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act (VAEHA). Post-HAVA, however, the preferred technology for this mandate – direct recording electronic (DRE) machines, known popularly as touchscreen machines – became the focus of a fierce debate about the security and transparency of electronic voting. Indeed, in the early years of the debate advocates for the disabled and advocates for verifiable voting often found themselves on opposite sides of the argument or even opposing sides in a courtroom.
Over time, however, as DRE machines across the country are increasingly being replaced by optical scan ballots, HAVA’s mandate is generating resistance from election officials who see it as unnecessary and wasteful. Data such as that cited by Pew is only likely to buttress those arguments.
It’s not like access for the disabled isn’t a priority; indeed, some of the most interesting and innovative research currently being done in the field focuses on ways to make the voting process more usable for all voters, including the disabled. It doesn’t help that we don’t really have a firm grasp on how many voters are “disabled” or even what constitutes a disability.
The International Monetary Fund’s former chief economist recently described one of the world’s leading economies as fundamentally unsound because the political process is captured by financial firms. But he wasn’t talking about just any banana republic. He was talking about the U.S.A. In the article “Why Some Countries Go Bust”, Adam Davidson discusses a new book in which economist Daron Acemoglu argues that “the wealth of a country is most closely correlated with the degree to which the average person shares in the overall growth of its economy”. In other words, economic inequality is itself predictive of economic decline. The book includes historical studies showing how “fairly open and prosperous societies can revert to closed and impoverished autocracies.”
It’s hard to read these sections without thinking about the present-day United States, where economic inequality has grown substantially over the past few decades. Is the 1 percent emerging as a wealth-stripping, poverty-inducing elite?Well, maybe. . . .Simon Johnson, the former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, told me that financial firms have so thoroughly co-opted the political process that the American economy has become fundamentally unsound.“It’s bad and getting worse,” he told me. Barring some major shift in our political system, he suggested, the United States could be on its way to serious economic failure.
The book’s authors, too, expressed pessimism about the future of the United States, reportedly saying that Congress is too heavily influenced by the wealthy, and the advent of super PACs has only given elites more power.
Our free market system relies on competition and innovation. But that breaks down when successful economic interests can use their financial resources to elect politicians who can be counted on to enact laws to protect incumbent corporations from upstart innovators. When a company can obtain special regulatory breaks or tax treatment that its emerging competitors cannot, it’s not just unfair — the vitality of the whole economy suffers.
- Post-Citizens United Money May Swamp Congressional Candidates | Huffington Post
- Super-PAC Ads Dominate Republican Race in Alabama, Mississippi | Bloomberg
- Can We Have a Democratic Election? | Elizabeth Drew/The New York Review of Books
- Stephen Colbert’s Super PAC: Testing the Limits of Citizens United | TIME.com…