Next week will see the first of the recall elections in Wisconsin, which will feature acknowledged “fake” Democratic candidates running to force primary elections that will cost taxpayers nearly half a million dollars. The controversy over the Cherokee Nation election stretched into a third week with allegations of mishandling absentee ballots and non-citizen voting. The Democratic legislature in Rhode Island passed a voter ID bill that is much less restrictive than the bill proposed in Ohio, which is opposed by Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted. A coalition of civil rights and election protection advocates have challenged the voter ID bill signed by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. Though the severity of the breach has been questioned by Florida election officials, a hacker going by the name Abhaxas has claimed a second hack of the State’s election database. In New Jersey, a ballot programming error that was not caught in pre-election testing is being blamed on “human error.” Former President Bill Clinton described new GOP laws restricting access to voting as the most determined disenfranchisement effort since Jim Crow. And Egypt joined Bangladesh, Namibia, Nigeria, Kenya, The Philippines and Russia with plans to use electronic voting machines in upcoming elections in the news this week.
- An election that isn’t about the candidates, primary signals strange times | LaCrosse Tribune
- Court hears testimony on absentee ballots | Muskogee Phoenix
- Hold On Ohio, Rhode Island’s Voter ID Bill Isn’t the Same | Rock the Vote Blog
- Critics challenge South Carolina ‘Voter ID’ plan | TheState.com
- Florida Election Servers Hacked Again | InformationWeek
- “Human error” found in Fairfield New Jersey election results | NJ.com
- Bill Clinton: GOP War on Voting Is Most Determined Disenfranchisement Effort Since Jim Crow | ThinkProgress
- Egypt looking at e-voting | Bikya Masr
James Smith thinks Wisconsin law makes it too easy to recall a sitting legislator. And he’s willing to spend taxpayer dollars to protest it.
Smith, a self-described libertarian Republican and former officer of the La Crosse County GOP, will be on the ballot Tuesday alongside Democratic state Rep. Jennifer Shilling in a bid to challenge Sen. Dan Kapanke. He is one of six fake Democrats across the state running as part of a GOP strategy to delay recalls until August.
County clerks estimate the partisan primary will cost taxpayers in the 32nd Senate district about $117,000, the same as the Aug. 9 recall election. Smith hopes his candidacy draws attention to Wisconsin’s laws.
“If by me doing this they change the recall laws … that will save millions of dollars for the state of Wisconsin,” he said. “Yes, it’s costly, but in the long run it will cost a lot less.”
Smith, a 25-year-old hospital technician, says the number of signatures to trigger a recall should equal the number of votes the office holder received in the last election. Current law requires one quarter of the total votes cast in the last gubernatorial election.
“The whole reason I’m doing this — the bar is too low,” Smith said. “It could very well be that we’re recalling people all the time now.”
Wisconsin’s recall laws are among the most restrictive in the nation, said Joshua Spivak, who studies recall elections and writes about them on The Recall Election blog. The number of required signatures is relatively high, Spivak said, while the 60-day window to gather them is shorter than most.
“Wisconsin has a relatively high voter requirement,” he said. “It’s interesting that that’s the state that’s taking off.”
Kapanke is one of nine state senators — six Republicans and three Democrats — who face recall elections for their responses to Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s bill to eliminate most collective bargaining for public workers. The bill sparked weeks of protests at the Capitol this spring, and Democratic senators fled to Illinois in an attempt to stall it.
- Former county GOP leader to challenge Shilling as Democrat in Wisconsin recall election | LaCrosse Tribune
- Expense of fake Democrats in primaries will top $400,000 | JSOnline
- Wisconsin GOP Discusses Planting Democratic Spoiler Candidate In Recall Election (AUDIO) | Huffington Post
Concerns that some 273 absentee ballots were not tallied in the recount to determine the next leader of the Cherokee Nation seemed to evaporate Saturday. Two witnesses testified the absentee ballots counted by hand immediately after the election because they could not be tabulated automatically were counted and tallied during the recount.
The first witness observed the recount on behalf of Principal Chief Chad Smith. The second witness, called by Chief-elect Bill John Baker, counted and tallied the ballots at issue. Valerie Giebel, a University of Tulsa law student and Smith campaign volunteer, said during direct examination she saw things that caused concern. But she said she saw counters use a calculator to tally the hand-counted absentee ballots and the “total was moved over to the tally sheet.”
Laura Hendrix, a precinct worker on election day and counter during the June 30 recount, said she remembered sorting, stacking and counting the absentee ballots in question.
“These were the absentee ballots that had been hand-counted” on election night, Hendrix said, noting how the ballots had been bundled separately and wrapped with the hand-written tally sheet. “It’s not possible that the hand-recount was not recorded.”
… While the “vanishing votes” and the integrity of the recount dominated much of the testimony during the second day of the proceedings, the issue of whether illegal votes were cast captured the attention of many.
… Addressing concerns about the disclosure of the personal identifying numbers, the court ordered the release be limited to both campaigns. The court limited the use of that information to the election challenge. Even so, the order angered a number of people attending Saturday’s hearing.
“I’m one mad Cherokee citizen,” said Linda O’Leary, a former council member and past chairwoman of the tribe’s executive finance committee. “This can lead to identification fraud, and I’m not liking it one bit.”
… In other testimony, the Baker campaign examined an forensic financial expert who said the manual recount June 30 had fewer opportunities for errors than the original tabulations election night.
The court denied Baker’s motion to dismiss Smith’s petition. Smith said that ruling was based upon the court’s recognition of the “serious problems with the election.” The court will reconvene at 1:30 p.m. today.
Full Article: Court hears testimony on absentee ballots » Local News »MuskogeePhoenix.com…, Muskogee, OK.
- Baker files motion to intervene in appeal of recount | Cherokee Phoenix
- Smith campaign worker alleges disorganization in recount | Tulsa World
- Cherokee Nation election chairman turns in resignation letter | Tulsa World
Today’s Columbus Dispatch suggests that there are efforts to revive the strict photo ID bill in Ohio in a special legislation session next week. Some Republican leaders are trying to push fellow Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted, who has beenopposed to the photo ID legislation, and members of the Ohio Senate to accept the bill. Their rationale is that Rhode Island, which has a Democratic legislature and an independent Governor, passed legislation that implements new voter ID requirements at the polls.
… Let’s be clear: the newly enacted Rhode Island law is different from the Ohio proposal in many important ways.
First, Rhode Island’s law does not go into effect until 2014. During the 2012 elections, voters will be able to use a broad range of identification at the polls, including non-photo documents such as Social Security cards, debit and credit cards, Medicare cards, or birth certificates. Ohio’s legislation would go into effect for the 2012 elections and would only allow a narrow list government-issued photo IDs at the polls.
Second, once the photo ID requirement is fully implemented in Rhode Island in 2014, the list of acceptable photo IDs is broader than Ohio’s current proposal. Rhode Island will accept all college, Rhode Island and federally issued IDs with a photo, whereas the Ohio bill does not include college IDs.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, the Rhode Island law has a critical fail-safe for those voters without ID. Any voter without the proper identification can cast a provisional ballot. If their signature on the provisional ballot matches the signature on their voter registration, as determined by the local board of elections, the provisional ballot will count. This fail-safe is similar to the approach several other states take, allowing voters without proper identification to sign an affidavit, under the penalty of perjury, that they are who they say they are and cast a regular ballot.
Finally, the fact that Democrats voted for this bill in Rhode Island doesn’t magically make Ohio’s – or any other state’s – push to limit access to the polls okay. It doesn’t matter if the politicians supporting this are Republicans or Democrats. If they are making it harder for young people and other citizens to vote, then they are on the wrong side of this issue. That is what drives the work we’ve been doing. As Rock the Vote President Heather Smith said yesterday, “In a democracy, where the right to vote should absolutely be protected, we should be working to make it easier, not harder, to cast a ballot.”
- In conservative New England state, voter ID vetoed | peoplesworld
- Final voter ID mandate appears headed for veto | BlueRidgeNow
- Latest version of proposed North Carolina voter ID bill restricts forms of ID | Sun Journal
- House GOP pushes Husted to back photo ID | Columbus Dispatch
When Delores Freelon was born in 1952, her mother could not decide on a name for her. So the space on the birth certificate for a first name was left blank. In the decades since, the incomplete birth certificate did not prevent Freelon from getting her driver’s license and voter registration card in the various states she has lived, including Texas and Louisiana.
But a measure — already passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Nikki Haley — will create new hurdles for Freelon and others to vote.
Delores Freelon, 59, who has voted since she was 18 years old, worries she wont’ be able to vote under the new photo ID law. Although she has a Social Security card, a Medicare card, and an expired Louisiana drivers license the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles will not issue her a S.C. drivers license or S.C. identification card because her first name is not on her birth certificate.
Called the Voter-ID bill, the measure will require all voters to present a picture ID at the polls, such as a passport, military ID card or a valid S.C. driver’s license. Without a complete birth certificate, Freelon and others like her cannot get an S.C. driver’s license.
“I’ve always voted, and I hate to think that I may lose the right. It’s going to be unfair to a whole lot of people who are like me,” Freelon said. “We’re going to lose our voting rights over a technicality.”
The S.C. Progressive Network, the Legislative Black Caucus and other groups are launching an effort to stop the implementation of the new law, which must first gain approval from the U.S. Justice Department. Because of South Carolina’s history of voter discrimination, any changes to its voting laws must be approved by the federal agency.
About 178,000 S.C. voters do not have photo IDS, according to 2010 Election Commission data, and will be affected by the change. During a Friday press conference, the groups encouraged South Carolinians who may lose the right to vote to step forward and help build a case against the bill.
- Shrinking The Vote: Using Election Reform To Decrease Turnout | Daily Kos
- Students in Crossfire in Battles Over Voting Rights | Brennan Center for Justice
- Bill Nelson Warns Rick Scott to Veto Election Bill or Face a Federal Investigation | Broward Palm Beach News
For the second time in a week, a hacker has broken into systems connected with voting in Florida, stolen data, and released it to the public. The most recent breach occurred after Florida election officials had touted the security of their systems. “Glad you cleaned things up, pretty secure now guys,” said the hacker responsible for the attack–who goes by the name “Abhaxas”–in a post to Pastebin uploaded on Thursday. That post also contained data obtained during the second hack.
We spoke with Chris Sather, Product Management for Network Defense at McAfee about McAfee’s next generation firewalls that analyze relationships and not protocols.
Via Twitter, Abhaxas said that hacking into the servers–using well-known and what would be easy-to-close holes–took him about 10 minutes. Furthermore, he said he had access to all 310 databases on the server, though only publicly released information from two of them.
Florida officials said that the data stolen during the first breach was from an election office system in Liberty County. After that breach, Tim Durham, the chief department supervisor of elections for Collier County, downplayed the potential impact on election results, saying that every vote generates a paper trail.
“Paper ballots are reviewed and compared with totals that are given per the voting machine and that’s done at an open public meeting,” he said, according to Storify. Likewise, another election official said that all vote tabulation was handled by a separate system, not breached during the attacks, that wasn’t connected to any other systems.
Altering or tampering with election records is a third-degree felony in Florida. But the breach poses a pertinent question: Are electronic voting records so secure that an interested third party–perhaps even a foreign government–couldn’t tamper with the results? The 2004 presidential election, of course, ultimately hinged on less than 400,000 votes cast in Florida.
Abhaxas made that point in the document that included information from the breached servers. “Who still believes voting isn’t rigged? If the United States Government can’t even keep their ballot systems secure, why trust them at all? Fail!” Furthermore, it sounds as if attackers wouldn’t have to breach too many systems to create an impact. According to a Twitter post from Abhaxas, “after some research, I’ve found out 1 company manages all but 6 [counties’] voting sites–hosted on the same server.”
- Officials say hacker did not steal sensitive Florida voting database information | Bridget Carey/Miami Herald
- Hacker allegedly breaches Florida voting database | The Raw Story
- F1Esc Dumping Australian 2011 Election Data to ThePirateBay | ZeroPaid
- Abhaxas Hacks Florida’s Voting System Again | Zeropaid
A supposed malfunction of the problematic and much-debated Sequoia AVC Advantage voting machines is being chalked up to human error. Results from Primary Election day last month puzzled two candidates who expected the exact opposite. Less than a month later, there’s a line in the sand being drawn between a second election and inspection of the voting machine itself.
“On Election Day, the votes cast for Candidates Vivian and Mark Henry registered for Candidates Cynthia and Ernest Zirkle, respectively,” read a statement addressed to all affected by the Democratic County Committee election in Fairfield.
According to documents provided to The News, Cumberland County Board of Elections Director Lizbeth Hernandez takes responsibility and regrets a pre-election programming error. Attached to a legal petition filed by the Zirkles were 28 affidavits from voters swearing they supported the two candidates. Those 28 votes of the 43 total cast on June 7 make up the majority.
… Hernandez could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon. In the letter, she states she has been programming this model of touch-screen voting machines since 2006. She states she made an error inputting the data that caused the votes to register for the other candidate. The voting machine cartridge was created, inserted and tested by technicians.
“Like me, these voting machine technicians are human and did not catch the error that I had made.
… An inspection of the other 91 voting districts in the county revealed “no discrepancies neither in the programming nor election results.” The petition filed by the Zirkles asked for, among other things, the Sequoia machine used at the Fairfield Township polling place be impounded.
… Princeton-based Coalition for Peace Action Chair Irene Goldman has been in touch with the Zirkles and involved in situations similar to this before.
“There is no way for the voter to prove that they have cast their votes as intended, nor is there any way to have a recount or audit of the elections,” Goldman said in 2008 of the elusive paper trail. At fault here, according to the petition, is the failings of the touch-screen voting machine.
In Feb. 2010, Superior Court Judge Linda Feinberg ruled the state’s 11,000 voting machines were to be examined and evaluated. A paper ballot, that could be cross referenced with election results, was not part of the ruling, and some have been fighting for one with every lockstep of the way.
Princeton University Department of Computer Science Chair Andrew Appel published “The New Jersey Voting-machine Lawsuit and the AVC Advantage DRE Voting Machine.” In it, Appel and fellow contributors state the Sequoia machine can be easily manipulated and the solutions reached following the Feb. 2010 ruling can also be bypassed.
Full Article: “Human error” found in Fairfield election results | NJ.com….
Speaking yesterday at the annual Campus Progress convention, former President Bill Clinton called out the GOP’s state by state efforts to make it harder to vote— a war on voting designed almost entirely to reduce the number of Democrats who cast ballots:
I can’t help thinking, since we just celebrated the Fourth of July and we’re supposed to be a country dedicated to liberty, that one of the most pervasive political movements going on outside Washington today is the disciplined, passionate, determined effort of Republican governors and legislators to keep most of you from voting next time. There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the other Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today.
Getting rid of same-day registration. Some states getting rid of all advanced voting. Governor of Florida proposed to reverse his Republican predecessor’s signing of a bill that gave people the right to vote when they got out of prison and they’d finished they’re probation period, even if they didn’t have a pardon—that’s one of the most important things we can do. Why should we disenfranchise people forever once they pay their price? Cause most of them in Florida were African Americans and Hispanics and would tend to vote for Democrats, that’s why.
Why do we want to get rid of same day registration? Why has New Hampshire made it almost impossible for college students who come from other states but live in New Hampshire most of the year to vote there? Why is all this going on? This is not rocket science. They are trying to make the 2012 electorate look more like the 2010 electorate than the 2008 electorate.
- Bill Clinton: GOP Voting Crackdown Worst Since Jim Crow | TPMDC
- Happy 26th Amendment Day! Enjoy It While It Lasts | Campus Progress
- How states are rigging the 2012 election | The Washington Post
Jul 04, 2011
Egypt looking at e-voting | Bikya Masr
Information technology in Egypt is on the rise and at a conference on Wednesday run by Intel’s “Egypt Tomorrow – IT Vision for a Brighter Future” experts and leaders pushed for the idea of e-voting to become a reality in the new Egypt.
… “E-voting is not a dream,” said Gamal Gheitas, Editor-in-chief of Loghat al-Asr Magazine and IT Editor at al-Ahram. “We need to build the right foundation first by centralizing voters’ information in order to ensure that the elections are conducted fairly and without manipulation.”
He added that synchronizing information from all groups and ministries is an important step in creating a database of voters, which would then be linked to a National ID database for potential voters.
Intel Egypt’s Business Development Manager Hisham Arafa added to this by saying ICT can be instrumental in facilitating parliamentary and presidential elections and that it “can help in the development of e-government and e-democracy.”
“Elections are a crucial instrument in achieving democracy,” said Sherif Hashem, Executive Vice-President of the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA). “E-voting is a vital step in achieving e-democracy. Our rolet is to try and assist in building the right infrastructure to accommodate the new technology in the years to come.”
Analysts and observers have been pushing these new technologies in order to continue the Internet surge that has hit Egypt in recent months following the protests that ousted the former government. Many argue that the Internet is the future of any democratic development in the country.
Full Article: Egypt looking at e-voting — Bikya Masr.