Who Really Won?

Friday, March 31, 2006

Did Orwell Write the Help America Vote Act?

Thousands of Californians who register to vote or update their records may not receive sample ballots or be able to vote as absentees because of the state's new method of verifying identities, election officials say.

A new statewide database designed by Secretary of State Bruce McPherson to authenticate voter registrations has blocked otherwise valid registrations because of computer glitches, slight discrepancies in spelling or incomplete applications.

The problems have required registrars to contact voters — a time-consuming process that is already taxing some counties facing elections next month.

San Diego County is racing to rectify rejected registrations in time for the April 11 special election to fill the seat vacated by convicted Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham.

"We're working overtime to get these voters cleared," said Tim McNamara, assistant registrar of voters in that county.

In Los Angeles County, the database rejected 14,629 people — 43% of those who registered from Jan. 1 to March 15. Officials are trying to resolve the problems in time for municipal elections April 11 in 14 cities in the county. They say the challenge will be far larger for the June 6 primary, which will involve many more voters.

In any election, voters whose registrations are in dispute have to cast provisional ballots, which are not counted until authorities determine that the voter is legitimate.

How the new system "is bogging down the process is now extremely significant and will become catastrophic as we approach the major election in June," said Conny McCormack, Los Angeles County registrar.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Even Florida Has Some Standards

Florida's attorney general said Wednesday his office has issued investigative subpoenas to the three companies certified to sell voting machines in Florida as he reviews a dispute between the firms and Leon County's elections supervisor.

Diebold Inc., Election Systems & Software Inc., and Sequoia Voting Systems Inc. have refused to sell equipment to let disabled voters cast ballots without help in Leon County. Elections supervisor Ion Sancho has been outspoken about his concern that the devices can be easily manipulated to change race outcomes.

The companies' refusal has left Leon County, which is the home of the state Capitol, in violation of the federal Help America Vote Act.

"It is critical for our democratic process to work efficiently and effectively, but of most importance, fairly," Attorney General Charlie Crist said. "These subpoenas are to ensure that the rights of our voters with disabilities as well as all Florida voters are secured."

Friday, March 17, 2006

Gambling With Your Vote

Monday, March 13, 2006

Batteries Not Included

Dead batteries -- that's what Election Systems & Software officials are saying is to blame for the failure of dozens of computer memory cards in Summit County's new optical scan voting system.

``What we're dealing with is a portion of one batch of cards sent out in recent weeks have an issue with low batteries,'' ES&S spokeswoman Ellen Bogard said Friday.

ES&S made the new voting equipment, but the memory cards were made by Vikant Corp., a Long Grove, Ill., company. Company officials from Vikant did not return a call seeking comment.

Testing of the county's new voting system began Monday, when the memory cards failed to work as often as 30 percent of the time.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Diebold's Breach of Contract

From Bradblog:

Sancho, the Election Supervisor of Leon County, Florida who exposed a number of security flaws in Electronic Voting Machines made by the Diebold corporation of North Canton, Ohio, today launched legal "breach of contract" proceedings against the company. The action has been filed on behalf of the Leon County Supervisor of Elections office.

The breach concerns Diebold's refusal to deliver their latest operating system for the optical scan voting systems which had previously been used in Leon County -- until Sancho discovered an alarming security flaw in the system at the end of last year.

"According to our contract with Diebold," Sancho explained, "we have to give them 30 days notice. And so we are requiring them to answer by March 21, as to how they intend to repair the breach."

The only two other Voting Machine Vendors, ES&S and Sequoia Voting Systems, have now officially refused to do business with Leon County and Sancho in the wake of a series of security evaluations held last year in the county on actual Diebold equipment. With the state threatening Sancho with legal action themselves if he is not able to implement a voting system which requires with the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA), Sancho had been forced to attempt to do business again with Diebold.