A hearing was held in the dispute between Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler and Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers over access to ballots from the 2010 election. Barely finished with a grueling statewide recount, the Wisconsin Government Accountability Office came under partisan fire for their request for extension to complete the review of challenges to recall petitions against three Democratic State Senators. The Alabama legislature sent a bill to the Governor that would allow the electronic submission of voted ballots, including email, fax and “secure electronic transmissions.” In response to flaws revealed by computer security experts and growing political pressure, the Indian Election Commission has announced plans to develop and test a voter verified paper audit trail printer for their electronic voting machines. In announcing she would not seek a legal challenge of the results of the recently completed Supreme Court recount, Joanne Kloppenburg cited “widespread irregularities” uncovered in the recount process and called on election officials to improve the State’s voting process. The Maine legislature is moving a bill that would end “same day registration,” in which voters are allowed to register and cast their votes on Election Day. The process has been in place for nearly four decades and is credited with helping Maine’s consistently high voter turnout.
Attorneys in a dispute between the Saguache County clerk and recorder and the secretary of state exchanged arguments Tuesday over the state’s authority to conduct an election review and the privacy of voted ballots. Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler sued Clerk Melinda Myers in March for access to the ballots, prompting 3 1/2 hours of testimony and argument in Saguache County District Court.
Gessler called for a review of the election that would include a hand count of the ballots, although the findings would not change the election results.
The aim of the review is to calm controversy over an election in which the clerk’s office conducted a second count of the ballots with state approval that flipped the results in favor of Myers and Linda Joseph, an incumbent Democratic county commissioner.
Although Myers had said the secretary’s office could review her office’s conduct, she later pulled out of the exercise, objecting to provisions that would make the ballots public.
Deputy Attorney General Maurice Knaizer laid out his argument around witnesses who showed the secretary’s office had taken possession of another county’s ballots in the past.
Drew Durham, who was co-director of the secretary’s Elections Division from 2002-04, testified to taking ballots from both Garfield and Mesa counties for separate audits. He also told the court that temporary workers were sworn in to help complete the audit, although neither the press nor the public at large were allowed to view the counts conducted under the review.
Durham did not recall if he had seen any ballots that revealed the identity of voters but said that information would have remained confidential.
Saguache County Attorney Ben Gibbons, arguing on behalf of Myers, said the clerk was bound by the state’s constitution to protect the secrecy of the ballots. And he concluded, after questioning of the secretary’s witnesses, that there was no state law or agency regulation that would authorize a review in which the ballots were made public.
- Saguache County Clerk Myers produces ES&S M650 audit logs | Center Post Dispatch
- Judge hears Colorado Secretary of State Gessler ballot request | Center Post Dispatch
- ES&S voting system report raises red flags | Center Post Dispatch
- Saguache Clerk Myers responds to Secretary of State Gessler’s suit | Examiner.com…
- Colorado Secretary of State Gessler says Saguache election not certified | Center Post Dispatch
As our state elections agency navigates uncharted territory in the recall of nine state senators, the problems and delays point to this: Voters should be more engaged in regular elections.
Had that happened in the previous cycle — when voters last fall put Republicans in charge of both houses of the Legislature and the governor’s office — it is likely the outcome would have resulted in far fewer demands placed on the system. Instead, the elections agency is overburdened and lawmakers facing recalls must spend more time defending their position than legislating.
So far the state Government Accountability Board has moved forward on recall elections for six Republican senators, including Rob Cowles of Allouez. However, as of Wednesday, none of the petitions had been certified and no elections officially had been ordered. The board announced Friday it would delay considering petitions against the three Democratic senators facing recall attempts, including Dave Hansen of Green Bay, because election staff require more time to review Democratic challenges to the petitions.
Despite the understandable bumps in the road in this unprecedented recall of six GOP and three Democratic lawmakers, the process is a valuable one and voters have a right to pursue it under state law. Petitioning is part of the democratic process on which we rely, though it’s obviously fraught with potential entanglements with this many simultaneous petitions.
… It’s unfortunate that in all the delays and challenges, accusations have been leveled against the top election official, Kevin Kennedy, for allegedly favoring Democrats. GOP supporters have said it is unfair to move forward in filing petitions against Republicans while taking more time to review Democratic challenges.
Reid Magney, spokesman for the board, said Tuesday the nonpartisan board has made decisions in the recall process “based solely on workload.” Magney added that although petitions against Cowles were filed last, Cowles did not challenge any signatures and instead made a legal argument that the whole petition should be thrown out — an argument that already had been dismissed by the board in previous challenges.
- Backers of efforts to recall Senate Democrats call for top election official to resign | CapTimes
- Three more Wisconsin State Senate recalls certified, group accuses Government Accountability Board of bias | WTAQ
- Numerous Challenges Could Push Back Date of Wisconsin Recall Election | Fox Point-Bayside, WI Patch
- Saguache County, Colorado state officials at odds over access to ballots | The Pueblo Chieftain
- Wisconsin GOP Discusses Planting Democratic Spoiler Candidate In Recall Election (AUDIO) | Huffington Post
The Alabama Legislature is creating new ways for the military and other Alabama voters who are overseas to return their ballots.
The House voted 97–0 Tuesday night to give final approval to a bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Gerald Dial of Lineville. The bill now goes to the governor for singing into law.
Currently, the military and other Alabama voters who are overseas can only use the mail to return an absentee ballot. The legislation allows them to use fax, a commercial carrier like UPS and FedEx, and secure electronic transmissions.
She said military and other Alabama voters who were overseas in the last election requested 4,800 absentee ballots, but only 1,100 were returned. She said the legislation will make it easier for them to cast their ballots from abroad.
- Secretary of State Chapman praises state lawmakers for passage of Alabama military voting bill | Shelby County Reporter
- Disappointing Reversal on Transparency and Security for Washington Elections | Verified Voting Blog
- Floor Amendment to Texas SB 100 Preserves May Uniform Election Date in Limited Circumstances | The Austin Chronicle/Texas Municipal League
- Gov. Hickenlooper signs bill setting Colorado primary earlier to help military personnel vote | Daily Journal
- Why Return of Voted Ballots Should Not be Permitted via Email | Voting Matters Blog
A prototype of an Electronic Voting Machine with a verifiable paper trail has been developed and will be tested in 200 places across the country by the middle of July.
Election Commission sources say the new EVM will be tested in extreme conditions — from the freezing climate of Ladakh to the high temperature of Jaisalmer and the humid sea coast. The testing process will get over by the end of August. The sources said the EC is likely to approach political parties to witness the testing process across the country. “Once we get the results, the Commission would decide if such EVMs can be used in elections,” a source said.
To understand how the paper trail system works internationally, EC is also likely to send its technical team to countries like Brazil, Venezuela and US. Though Brazil has stopped the paper trail system, Venezuela is using it. EC officials said many states in the US use the system but there is no uniformity.
“We really want to be sure before introducing it,” a source said. He points out various factors like quality of paper on which voting records would be printed, quality of printer and if it would survive extreme conditions and unforeseen factors. “The quality of paper which prints receipt in retail stores is very poor as whatever is printed on it vanishes after some time. Therefore, better quality paper is needed that can be kept as a record for at least few months,” says one official.
The decision to study the possibility of including a voter verifiable paper trail in EVMs was taken by the EC after an all-party meeting. EC had agreed to examine the issue in all its aspects and asked its expert committee consisting of PV Indiresan, former director of IIT Delhi, and DT Shahani and AK Agarwal, both of IIT Delhi, to study the proposal. Based on the expert committee’s recommendations, Bharat Electronics Limited and Electronics Corporation of India have developed the prototype.
- Governor signs Puerto Rico electoral code changes | caribbeanbusiness.pr
- Bill wipes out voter safeguards in Tennessee | The Tennessean
- Indian Chief Election Commissioner says Egypt can’t trust imported voting machines can’t be trusted | Financial Express
- Tennessee Senate Votes To Undo Voter Confidence Act Requirements | Chattanoogan.com…
- Confining e-voting in Ireland to the scrap heap | Connaugh Telegraph
Citing a “cascade of irregularities”, thousands of tabulation errors discovered during the statewide “recount”, and tens of thousands of ballots found to be unverifiable or otherwise having been in violation of the secure chain of custody, Wisconsin’s independent Asst. AG JoAnne Kloppenburg conceded the Wisconsin Supreme Court Election for a 10-year term on the bench to Republican incumbent Justice David Prosser this afternoon at a press conference held in Madison.
“Votes were found to be miscounted in every county in the State,” Kloppenburg said in her prepared remarks. [Her complete remarks are posted at the end of this article.].
“Over 150 ballot bags containing tens of thousands of votes were found open, unsealed or torn. Waukesha County had twice as many torn, open or unsealed bags as every other county in the state combined. In many cases, municipal clerks in Waukesha testified the bags weren’t torn when they left cities, towns and villages so the security breaches occurred sometime when the bags were in Waukesha County’s custody.”
She continued: “Most every county and most every reporting unit statewide had discrepancies in reconciling poll books in which the number of voters and the number of absentee voters is recorded. In several counties, including Dane, Milwaukee, Marquette and Jackson, missing or uncounted ballots were found in unexpected places during the recount, such as a clerk’s office or left in machines.”
… “This recount should serve as a wake-up call to improve Wisconsin’s election processes,” the Asst. AG explained to the gathered media. She said there was “ample evidence that the election processes by which ballots are supposed to handled, recorded, secured and counted are not followed,” and that “thousands of votes were not counted, were counted incorrectly, or have been called into question.”
“There are unacceptable gaps in ballot security which, if allowed to continue, threaten the integrity of Wisconsin elections and undermine the confidence Wisconsin residents deserve to have in the results of those elections.”
- State Election Board Failed to Review Minutes from Waukesha County ‘Recount’ Before Certifying Wisconsin Supreme Court Election Results | The Brad Blog
- Challenger in Wisconsin court race concedes | chicagotribune.com…
- Supreme Court recount worthwhile? Our answer? Absolutely. | Appleton Post Crescent
- Waukesha County Could Complete Recount Today – Politics News Story – WISN Milwaukee
- Joanne Kloppenburg: Why recounts are a vital part of election process | JSOnline
In 1973 the last Republican-controlled Legislature unanimously passed “same-day registration” allowing voters to register and cast their votes in a one-step process on Election Day. Same-day registration has been an overwhelming success.
Since it passed, Maine has risen from 21st in the country in voter participation to 3rd in the country. A higher percentage of Maine voters participate in our local and national elections than the voters of any other state except Minnesota and Wisconsin, both of which also have same-day voter registration. In fact, same-day registration is the single-most important thing states can do to improve voter participation by 5 to 15 percent.
It makes no sense then that the new Secretary of State Charles Summers and Speaker of the House Robert Nutting, R-Oakland, hope to do away with same-day voter registration via LD 1376. The bill is scheduled for a vote in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
First, they argued that this was a necessary measure to prevent voter fraud. But there haven’t been any problems with the system. Same-day registration does not lead to voter fraud. There have been only two prosecutions for voter fraud in Maine history, and only one of those involved a voter using same-day registration to vote twice in the same election.That’s one case in over 30 years.
Then, they argued that eliminating same-day voter registration would make it easier for the clerks to administer elections. But the clerks testified at the public hearing on this bill that they have no problem with same-day voter registration. Indeed, clerks have consistently supported same-day voter registration.
If the clerks aren’t pushing to eliminate same-day voter registration, and there’s no voter fraud, then what’s the problem? The question becomes whether this bill is a partisan vehicle in search of some sort of electoral advantage.
Experts testified before the Legislature that this bill will keep some senior citizens and students from voting. The AARP is concerned that seniors with limited access to transportation and mobility will be affected by turning voting from a one-step process into a two-step process. The League of Young Voters testified that students commonly register to vote in large numbers for the first time on Election Day.
- Secretary of State supports bill eliminating same-day voter registration in Maine | Bangor Daily News
- Coalition Battles GOP Plan to Eliminate Same-Day Voter Registration in Maine | MPBN
- Florida State law battles could be costly | TBO.com…
- Voter patience, participation necessary in Wisconsin recall process | Green Bay Press Gazette
- End of Election Day Registration in Maine? | Thomas Bates/Rock the Vote Blog