A curious insight into Ohio...

elections, news, politics, problems, litigation

Link: http://www.ohio.com/mld/beaconjournal/news/state/9969776.htm

Ohio is very interesting case study in election administration right now.

The Secretary of State, Ken Blackwell, is being sued for requiring that voters who cast provisional ballots in the wrong precinct can't have their votes counted. The SoS lost the first round of litigation; Dan Tokaji pointed to the decision at Equal Vote - a remarkably just and fun decision to read. The SoS first attempted to comply by issuing bogus poll worker instructions that said voters should be notified that their votes may not count. The court found that this failed to comply with their first order and ended up drafting the proper order for them; that's the legal equivalent of having to hold a child's hand while crossing the street. The SoS is now appealing to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

But that's not the best of it... the Election Assistance Committee has reprimanded Blackwell for claiming that the EAC endorses what he's doing:

In a related issue, the head of the commission created to help states enact the 2002 federal voting law[, the EAC,] has called on Blackwell to stop saying the commission agrees with his position.

Blackwell contends that the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, in an Oct. 12 resolution, backs his contention that ballots cast at the wrong place can't be counted.

Blackwell is misapplying the commission's position, DeForest Soaries, the commission's chairman, said Wednesday. The commission asked Blackwell in a letter Tuesday to refrain from characterizing the commission's resolution "as an endorsement of your actions."

[Blackwell's spokesman Carlo] LoParo said Blackwell was perplexed by Soaries' letter.

"If the commission does not want the state of Ohio or other states to cite its resolution or the comments of its chairman, then the commission should stop issuing resolution and the chairman should stop speaking to the media," he said.

Soaries responded that Blackwell was the only secretary of state in the country to misinterpret the resolution.

"We've sent on behalf of the federal government $90 million to Ohio," Soaries said Wednesday. "Since we have sent $90 million to Ohio, Ken Blackwell and his staff have 90 million reasons to care about our opinion."

Punk and Stewardesses: Words you can type with one hand...

wtf?

I like words that you can type with one hand... like "punk".

Judd mentioned that the longest term that you can type with one hand is "stewardesses" and on the right hand "hypolimnion"... however, that doesn't mean anything to us. The next best options on the right hand are "polyphony" or "homophony".

Know of others?

Houston, we've got election problems

elections, news, politics, problems

Link: https://voteprotect.org/index.php?display=EIRMapNation

an image of the US with incidents per state

Oh man, we're less than two weeks from the election and already the Election Incident Reporting System is getting a ton of data via calls to 1-866-OUR-VOTE. They should probably re-adjust their color pallate to ensure that the whole country isn't all red by Nov. 2!

Potential Voting Secrecy Problem in Boulder, CO

elections, vendors, news, problems, litigation

Link: http://www.bouldernews.com/bdc/election/article/0,1713,BDC_16316_3264900,00.html

There might be a rather subtle problem in Boulder, Colorado. Specifically, ballots have serial numbers on them.

The $1.4 million system from Hart InterCivic replaced the county's punch-card voting machines this year. It requires voters to fill out paper ballots, which are then scanned into a counting system.

Some critics say problems with the new system are prevalent.

"We are very displeased that Boulder County's chosen to make their paper ballot not secret," said Al Kolwicz, executive director of Citizens for Accurate Mail Ballot Election Results.

He contends that a serial number on each ballot can be traced to a name.

First, I wasn't aware that Hart marketed an optical scan system... Boulder is using their Ballot Now system. It appears to be a ballot on demand (BOD) system - like the AutoMark or Populex machines, except using a PC. I had only been aware of Hart's eSlate electronic voting machine (here's a detailed description for geeks). Any connection between the PIN the user was given to vote with on the eSlate and the record of how they voted would be significant.

I know the folks at the OVC had spent many cycles thinking about barcodes and serial numbers, but I'm not really sure if serial numbers are common on BOD systems like the AutoMark or Populex. If their paper system does, in fact, include a serial number on the ballot , I would definitely consider that a channel via which the secrecy and privacy of the ballot could be compromised.

However, there may be another explanation. In Hart's home-state of Texas, the election law there (Texas Election Code 52.062) specifies that ballots have to be serially numbered. Colorado's Election Rules only specify that duplicate ballots should be marked with serial numbers (Section 27.3.3(c)(5)) and the Colorado Constitution says explicitly, "All elections by the people shall be by ballot, and in case paper ballots are required to be used, no ballots shall be marked in any way whereby the ballot can be identified as the ballot of the person casting it." (emphasis added; Article VII, Section 8)

So, at worst, this is a case of an elections vendor with a system that is so specific to the election laws and regulations of its home state that it might violate laws in another state. At best, this is not in direct violation of Colorado Election Code and thoughtfully contemplated by elections officials to prevent fraud.

Note: The Diebold E-mail Memo Archive that Ping keeps helped me track down the Texas law. I searched google for "serial number on the ballot"... the first hit was this email.

On Nov. 2...

elections, politics

Kerry will win.

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