The Wall Street Journal reported on security problems associated with online voting. Research resulting in a comprehensive database of incidents of voter fraud found only 10 cases of in-person voter impersonation fraud, the target of sweeping voter id legislation since 2000, a rate of one per 15 million registered voters. Lawrence Norden questions the focus on this rare type of fraud and the lack of concern for voting system security. After a Federal court required expanded early voting the five Florida counties covered by the Voting Rights Act, the State now must come up with an alternate plan that will not face equal protection charges. Early Voting is also an issue in a federal court case in Ohio and a Pennsylvania judge’s decision to leave the State’s voter ID law in tact was immediately appealed to the State Supreme Court. The Vancouver Sun questioned the latest push for internet voting and Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych signed a $125 million bill into law that will install two web cameras in each of Ukraine’s 34,000 polling stations.
- National: The Problems with Online Voting | Wall Street Journal
- National: New database of US voter fraud finds no evidence that photo ID laws are needed | News21
- Editorials: Ignoring the real threat of fraud | Lawrence Norden/Politico.com
- Florida: Scott must figure out what to do with early voting | StAugustine.com
- Ohio: Democrats, Republicans fight in federal court over voting rights | The Columbus Dispatch
- Pennsylvania: Judge Keeps Voter ID Law Intact on Its Way to Higher Court | NYTimes.com
- Canada: Credibility of democracy put at risk by online voting | Vancouver Sun
- Ukraine: Ukraine’s election web cameras: hollow eyes | Kyiv Post
Aug 18, 2012
National: The Problems with Online Voting | Wall Street Journal
Two years ago, hackers gained access to an online voting system created by the District of Columbia and altered every ballot on behalf of their own preferred candidates. On the “Thank You!” page that ran at the end of the voting protocol, they left their trademark—the University of Michigan fight song. The online voting system was real, intended for use that November, but the compromised election, fortunately, was just a mock-up for testing security. The infiltrators were a team of graduate students led by University of Michigan computer scientist J. Alex Halderman. Which candidates got the fake votes? Skynet from the “Terminator” movies and Bender, the alcohol-fueled robot from TV’s “Futurama.” But the hackers had a serious point: that Internet voting systems were a real threat to the integrity of the democratic process. “The question of whether Internet voting is secure is really not a political question,” Dr. Halderman says. “It’s a technical question.” As many as three million voters will be eligible to vote online this fall, according to Pamela Smith, executive director of the Verified Voting Foundation, a nonpartisan fair elections watchdog group. In all, 31 states will offer some form of online voting, usually for overseas voters.
Election administrators have shied away from full-fledged Internet portals for 2012. Most of the online systems planned for November require voters to download their ballots, print them, sign them, scan them back into their computers, and send them to election officials via email or fax. But many of these voting programs use unencrypted email and are even more vulnerable to hackers than online portals. “The use of email for transmitting voted ballots is actually the worst form of online voting, the least secure,” Ms. Smith says.
At least 16 states or counties have applied this year for grants from the Department of Defense to experiment with online ballot-marking “wizards.” These programs are essentially Internet voting portals that stop short of counting votes. Voters mark ballots online, and their voting information makes a round trip to a central server and back to them. They receive a digitally completed ballot to email or to print and send by post. “It’s a small step to go from this to online voting,” says Stanford computer scientist and e-voting critic David L. Dill. “They just have to flip a switch.” Online voting critics like Drs. Dill and Halderman have grown more vocal as they have received more requests to consult on high-tech voting technologies. At a recent workshop on absentee overseas voting, Ronald L. Rivest of MIT, a leading cryptographer, compared election officials asking for advice on best practices for Internet voting to drunkards asking for help getting into their cars to drive home.
Full Article: The Problems with Online Voting – WSJ.com….
- Flame: Massive, advanced cyber threat uncovered | GovInfo Security
- Internet voting still faces hurdles in US | The Economic Times
- Cyber Attack Targets Hong Kong Mock Vote | WSJ
- In Theory And Practice, Why Internet-Based Voting Is a Bad Idea | Slashdot
- David Jefferson: If I can shop and bank online, why can’t I vote online?
Aug 18, 2012
National: New database of US voter fraud finds no evidence that photo ID laws are needed | News21
A new nationwide analysis of 2,068 alleged election-fraud cases since 2000 shows that while fraud has occurred, the rate is infinitesimal, and in-person voter impersonation on Election Day, which prompted 37 state legislatures to enact or consider tough voter ID laws, is virtually non-existent. In an exhaustive public records search, reporters from the investigative reporting projecdt News21 sent thousands of requests to elections officers in all 50 states, asking for every case of fraudulent activity including registration fraud, absentee ballot fraud, vote buying, false election counts, campaign fraud, casting an ineligible vote, voting twice, voter impersonation fraud and intimidation.
Click to search the national database of voter fraud cases compiled by News21.
Analysis of the resulting comprehensive News21 election fraud database turned up 10 cases of voter impersonation. With 146 million registered voters in the United States during that time, those 10 cases represent one out of about every 15 million prospective voters. “Voter fraud at the polls is an insignificant aspect of American elections,” said elections expert David Schultz, professor of public policy at Hamline University School of Business in St. Paul, Minn. “There is absolutely no evidence,” Schultz said, that voter impersonation fraud “has affected the outcome of any election in the United States, at least any recent election in the United States.”
Full Article: New database of US voter fraud finds no evidence that photo ID laws are needed – Open Channel.
- Voter fraud found to be rare, survey indicates | KansasCity.com…
- Wisconsin’s Walker echoes Colorado’s Gessler on voter fraud | The Colorado Independent
- Election Day impersonation, an impetus for voter ID laws, a rarity, data show | The Washington Post
- A Détente Before the Election – Voter Fraud and Manipulation of Election Rules | Rick Hasen/NYTimes.com
- Repeat After Me: In-Person, In-Person, In-Person | Mother Jones
Aug 18, 2012
Editorials: Ignoring the real threat of fraud | Lawrence Norden/Politico.com
Why are states with new voting restrictions so unconcerned about fraud that is the real threat to our elections? Over the past 18 months, in a bitterly partisan environment, several states have passed new restrictions on access to voting. They often say they did so to prevent fraud. But something doesn’t add up. The very states that passed the most restrictive laws have also failed to take basic security steps recommended by experts to prevent fraud — steps that nearly every other state in the country has taken. Let’s look at the most controversial (and common) of the new voting laws. Nine states have passed restrictive voter ID requirements that could be in effect this November, depending on the outcome of legal challenges. Under these laws, if a voter cannot produce a specified type of government-issued photo identification — most commonly, a driver’s license — his or her vote will not count. Period. Because millions of Americans do not have the kind of ID required by these laws, the Brennan Center for Justice and others have objected to them. We argue that there should be some way for people who don’t have the ID required by these laws to verify who they are and cast a ballot that will count.
Many have argued that the new ID laws have nothing to do with preventing fraud. Instead, they explain, these laws are mere manipulations by politicians, who are trying to prevent people who may not support them — in particular the elderly, the poor and racial minorities — from voting. This viewpoint got a strong validation when the Pennsylvania Speaker of the House Mike Turzai, a proponent of the state’s new voter ID law, said it would “allow Gov. Romney to win the state.”
But does that mean these nine states aren’t also concerned about fraud? The best way to find out is to look at their record to combat potential fraud in elections generally. Several studies have shown that insecure voting machines are among the most serious risks to the integrity of our elections. There is wide agreement among computer scientists and security experts who have studied elections that paperless touchscreen voting machines are especially insecure.
Full Article: Opinion: Ignoring the real threat of fraud – Lawrence Norden – POLITICO.com….
- Partisan Rifts Hinder Efforts to Improve U.S. Voting System | NYTimes.com…
- Is the fight over voter ID laws a prelude to a constitutional crisis? | Constitution Daily
- Foes of Voter ID Laws Find Ways to Mute Their Impact | NationalJournal.com…
- Voter Fraud & The Inherent Corruption in Populism | The League of Ordinary Gentlemen
- A judicious opinion on a silly voter ID law | latimes.com…
Aug 18, 2012
Florida: Scott must figure out what to do with early voting | StAugustine.com
Twelve years after Florida decided the 2000 presidential election, one of the nation’s biggest swing states is confronting a legal and political quandary over its voting standards. A federal court in Washington D.C., ruled late Thursday that new restrictions on early voting passed by the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature cannot take effect in five counties covered by federal voting laws. The ruling — which said the changes could hurt participation by blacks — raises the prospect of having longer early-voting periods in places such Tampa than in urban areas such as Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando. Some voting groups — and Democratic politicians — called on Republican Gov. Rick Scott to immediately force all counties to impose the same time period for early voting. The law passed last year kept the maximum total hours of early voting hours the same, but it reduced the days in which early voting was available. The Scott administration on Friday was still reviewing the 119-page ruling.
While the state could eventually appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, a spokesman for the governor said Florida would prefer to come up with an alternative early-voting plan that could pass muster with the court. The three-judge panel did state in its ruling that it might be willing to approve Florida’s early-voting procedures if there were guarantees that the five Florida counties covered by the ruling put in place a maximum of 96 hours of early voting. But then state officials would have to consider whether or not to order all other counties to follow the same procedure.
“There is a path to getting something done before Election Day,” said Scott spokesman Brian Burgess. “We are evaluating options and we are going to find a solution that we believe will satisfy the court.” The changes to early voting were included last in a sweeping GOP-backed election law passed last year that immediately came under fire from Democrats and voting rights groups, including one provision that eliminated early voting on the Sunday before Election Day. Black churches have engaged in “souls to the polls” voting drives where voters are taken to a polling place after Sunday services.
Full Article: Florida, Scott must figure out what to do with early voting | StAugustine.com….
- Election law challenge gets hearing | Miami Herald
- Photo ID still has federal hurdle | NEWS0604
- Gov. Scott: DOJ ‘stonewalling’ attempt to protect voting rights | The Hill
- What is the Justice Department doing about Southern voting rights? | The Institute for Southern Studies
- U.S. judge dismisses ACLU challenge of Florida election law | Palm Beach Post
Aug 16, 2012
Ohio: Democrats, Republicans fight in federal court over voting rights | The Columbus Dispatch
If active military members are allowed to vote on the three days prior to Election Day, then everyone should have that right, Democrats argued in federal court this morning. But those representing some military groups and two of the state’s top Republican officials say the law already treats military voters differently, and having different cut-off dates for in-person early voting is justifiable. William Consovoy, an attorney representing Secretary of State Jon Husted, noted, for example, that military members get their absentee ballots earlier than the rest of Ohioans. “There is an easily rational basis for providing special accommodations for the military,” Consovoy said. “And that is all that is required.” Democratic lawyers, including those from the Obama campaign, slogged it out for nearly 90 minutes with Republican counsel over whether it’s constitutional for the state to allow military voters to cast in-person ballots on the Saturday through Monday before Election Day, when no one else can do so. In recent elections, all Ohioans could vote early on those three days, and Democrats estimate 93,000 cast in an in-person ballot on those days in the 2008 presidential election.
U.S. District Court Judge Peter C. Economus heard the arguments and will issue a ruling on whether to allow all Ohioans to cast in-person votes on those three days. “For the first time, the vast majority of Ohio voters will come fully eligible to vote to an open polling place and find that they cannot vote,” said Robert F. Bauer, an attorney representing the Obama campaign. “The magnitude of that injury is apparent.”
But Economus, an appointee of President Bill Clinton , interrupted: “It’s not that they cannot vote. There are so many other options, and Ohio is probably one of the most liberal states in the country in regard to voting rights.” Bauer replied: “I think it is a bedrock principle that when the polls are open, they’re open to all.”
Full Article: Democrats, Republicans fight in federal court over voting rights | The Columbus Dispatch.
- Military voters as political pawns | UTSanDiego.com…
- Voting hours order doesn’t end debate | Cincinnati.com…
- Analyzing a “Voting Wars” Trifecta | Election Law @ Moritz
- Early voting dispute goes to federal court | Lancaster Eagle Gazette
- Campaigns spar over Ohio election law | The Crescent News
Aug 16, 2012
Pennsylvania: Judge Keeps Voter ID Law Intact on Its Way to Higher Court | NYTimes.com
A Pennsylvania judge on Wednesday declined to block a new state law requiring specific kinds of photo identification to vote. Liberal groups, arguing that minorities and the poor would be disproportionately deprived of the ballot, said they would appeal to the State Supreme Court to stop the law before the November elections. The groups said the law, like those recently passed in 10 other states, was a Republican attempt to suppress participation of the less privileged, who tend to vote for Democrats. The laws’ backers said they were seeking to preserve the integrity of the electoral process. Both parties acknowledge that voter turnout could play a crucial role in what many predict will be a tight race between President Obama and Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, especially in battleground states like Pennsylvania. Other court cases under way include federal inquiries into voter ID laws in Texas and South Carolina and a state challenge in Wisconsin. In Ohio, a dispute over rules for early voting ended on Wednesday when the secretary of state set uniform hours statewide.
In his ruling on Wednesday, Judge Robert Simpson of Pennsylvania, a Republican, said that there might have been a partisan motive behind the law and that it might indeed cause difficulties for tens of thousands of voters on Nov. 6. But neither matter is enough to stop it, he concluded, because judgments from both the state and federal Supreme Courts give legislatures leeway to regulate voting unless done in a clearly discriminatory or burdensome way. The Pennsylvania law, he said, passed muster.
“Thus the photo ID requirement of Act 18 is a reasonable, nondiscriminatory, nonsevere burden when viewed in the broader context of the widespread use of photo ID in daily life,” he wrote. “The commonwealth’s asserted interest in protecting public confidence in elections is a relevant and legitimate state interest sufficiently weighty to justify the burden.”
Full Article: Pennsylvania Judge Keeps Voter ID Law Intact – NYTimes.com….
- Democrats ask all 50 states to oppose new voter identification laws | The Washington Post
- Sen. Durbin raises alarm on state laws affecting voter turnout | The Hill’s Ballot Box
- Florida, Texas and Alabama Challenge 1965 Voting Rights Act | WUSF News
- Voter ID laws could swing states | Politico.com…
- Tough, new voter ID law tackles first legal challenge amid debate over voting rights | The Washington Post
Aug 15, 2012
Canada: Credibility of democracy put at risk by online voting | Vancouver Sun
Chief electoral officer Keith Archer has announced the formation of a panel of experts to investigate whether British Columbia should adopt Internet voting. Let’s hope the panel focuses on the big picture before getting bogged down with technical details. Our democracy is built on the assurance of a secret ballot and the principle that one person gets only one vote. Under the current voting system, a voter casts his or her vote in the view of polling officials who ensure the voter is alone while marking the ballot — free of coercion. By contrast, any system that allows voters to fill out their ballot outside the supervision of officials cannot be truly secret. There are no safeguards to prevent someone looking over your shoulder while you vote on a smartphone. There’s no App for that. When you mark your paper ballot and place it in the ballot box, a magical thing happens; the ballot mixes with other ballots and you cease to have a copy. No one involved in the election process can connect you to your vote and you can’t prove how you voted.
Because we bank online it seems logical we should be able to vote online. We think a bank transaction is “secret,” but this could not be further from the truth. Your bank retains meticulous records of your transactions. Auditors, bank employees and tax authorities can all look at the details of your transaction. E-commerce systems are not built on trust; they are built on audit trails.
Voters will not tolerate a voting system with an audit trail that links the voter to a preference or allows a voter to show a copy of the transaction to a third party who might pay for the vote. An electronic voting system, lacking a physical piece of paper inside a ballot box and an audit trail, forces us to blindly trust the technical wizards who operate the system. This leaves us vulnerable to an insider accessing the servers and tampering with results. With no audit trail, we could not prove the election had been rigged.
Full Article: Internet voting is an idea whose time has not come.
- E- Voting: Trust but Verify | Scientific American
- Internet voting still faces hurdles in US | The Economic Times
- The Problems with Online Voting | Wall Street Journal
- Security of BC online voting proposal cited as a concern | Kamloops This Week
- State systems for overseas voters vulnerable | USAToday.com…
Aug 15, 2012
Ukraine: Ukraine’s election web cameras: hollow eyes | Kyiv Post
This month, Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych signed a $125 million bill into law that will install two web cameras in each of Ukraine’s 34,000 polling stations in time for the Oct. 28 parliamentary elections. The move comes after Russia installed web cameras and provided a live feed from polling stations during the March presidential election. The web cameras were installed in response to accusations of vote tampering during the previous parliamentary election, supported by voter videos from polling stations uploaded to YouTube. When announcing plans for the legislation, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov emphasized that web cameras would eliminate any accusations of election fraud. “We have decided to set up web cameras at each polling station. This will remove all speculation about the possibility of election fraud. Interestingly those who talked most about potential election fraud voted against the web cameras. We will get the job done, and everyone will have an opportunity to observe the elections online,” said the Ukrainian prime minister.
Shielding itself from claims of election fraud is no minor concern for Yanukovych and the Party of the Regions, whose involvement in the flawed first round of the 2004 presidential election led to the Orange Revolution and the eventual election of Viktor Yushchenko. Though the 2010 presidential election that saw Yanukovych take the presidency was deemed to be free and fair, Ukraine has consistently slid backwards in global freedom rankings since.
When member of Ukrainian parliament, Valeriy Konovalyuk, initially proposed the legislation in March, protecting the Party of the Regions from allegations of voter fraud also featured heavily in his justification: ”The Installation of video cameras and direct and continuous broadcast of the vote not only provide effective control of the electoral process and prevent various kinds of abuse and violation of election laws, but also protect Ukraine from unfounded and adventurous accusations of undemocratic elections.”
Full Article: Ukraine’s election web cameras: hollow eyes.