National News

Losing Democracy in Cyberspace. Voting computers, like heads of state, must be held accountable to the people they serve.

April 2, 2011

By Penny Venetis, NorthJersey.com

T HAS BEEN nothing short of astonishing that, within a few weeks, the brave people of Tunisia and Egypt toppled corrupt dictators who ruled for decades.

One of the protesters' key demands was for democratic elections — the right to choose a government that is responsive to the people's needs. That is also what protesters in Bahrain, Yemen, Iran, Jordan and Libya are demanding as they call for the dissolution of their autocratic and oppressive governments.

A decade after Florida fiasco, voting remains a hodgepodge

October 27, 2010

USA Today Opinion

Call it the Board of Elections' prayer: Let the weather be clear, let the turnout be heavy and let everyone who wins, win big.

The desire for clear-cut victories reflects election officials' awareness that razor-tight races magnify the foul-ups at the polls — late openings, lost ballots, machine malfunctions — that disenfranchise voters.

So where does the art of vote-counting stand a decade after the mother of all foul-ups, the Florida recount that left the nation without a president-elect for five weeks after the 2000 election?

Will Online Voting Turn Into an Election Day Debacle?

October 14, 2010

By Alex Altman, Time

A little more than 24 hours after online ballots started pouring into the Washington, D.C., Board of Elections and Ethics in late September, it became apparent that something was amiss. Washington's newly elected U.S. Representative went by the name of Colossus. A villainous computer from science-fiction lore captured the city-council chairmanship. And 15 seconds after voters cast their ballots, they were serenaded by the University of Michigan fight song. The system had been hacked.

Hacker infiltration ends D.C. online voting trial

October 3, 2010

By Mike DeBonis, The Washington Post

Last week, the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics opened a new Internet-based voting system for a weeklong test period, inviting computer experts from all corners to prod its vulnerabilities in the spirit of "give it your best shot." Well, the hackers gave it their best shot -- and midday Friday, the trial period was suspended, with the board citing "usability issues brought to our attention."

Voting System Failures: A Database Solution.

September 14, 2010

Recent, recurring voting machine breakdowns, as well as the failure to catch them and ensure that solutions are publicized widely, show the need for a national, searchable database to collect and disseminate information on system defects, a new Brennan Center study finds. Ten years after the Florida election mess of 2000 and eight years after the passage of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), the government has invested billions on new voting equipment; still voting machine malfunctions – and resulting lost votes -- persist every election cycle.

Time for feds to step in on e-voting

August 15, 2010

Sharon Machlis
Machlis Musings, Computerworld

If there's a question whether votes were counted properly but voting machines don't have a voter-verified paper trail, how can there be a meaningful recount? If someone suspects that vote-counting software has malfunctioned, how can we ensure results were accurate without an independent backup?

With national Congressional elections less than three months away, this is not a theoretical question.

State Election Officials: Recountable Process A Must for Overseas Voters

July 26, 2010

A National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) Resolution Urges the Measured Utilization of Available Technology and Best Practices in the Security and Conduct of Elections Embracing the Participation of Military & Overseas (UOCAVA) Voters

WHEREAS, the more than six million American citizens living and working abroad comprise an important voting segment in U.S. elections, and;

Department of Justice releases guidelines for implementation of NVRA. Guidelines could add thousands to the voter rolls nationwide

July 14, 2010

By M. Mindy Moretti, Electionline Weekly, a project of the Pew Center on the States.

Seventeen years after Congress approved the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) — otherwise known as “Motor Voter” — the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently released a set of guidelines for implementation as part of its enforcement of the Act.

“The Voter Registration Requirements of Sections 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), Questions and Answers,” detail what states must do in order to offer the voter registration services required by the law.

On the South Carolina Primary. A call for recountable, auditable voting systems

June 14, 2010

From the Verified Voting Foundation.

Last week’s surprising outcome in a party primary in South Carolina for United States Senate was accompanied by anecdotal reports of voting problems on election day, and many questions about the accuracy of the vote count.

The American Statistical Association Releases Statemnent on Audits

April 26, 2010

American Statistical Association Statement on Risk-Limiting Post-Election Audits

Poorly marked ballots, computer glitches, and voting system configuration errors can make machine vote counts diverge from voters' intentions. By comparing hand counts of randomly selected ballots with machine tallies, we can judge whether a full hand count would show the same winners. Such audits can improve trust in our elections. Statisticians can help design efficient audits that save taxpayers' money and election officials’ time.

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