News from other states

US Virgin Islands: Joint Elections Board: Voting Machine Software Changes will Eliminate ‘Confusion’ Next Election | St. Croix Source

August 15, 2015

Changes approved Friday for software currently used in the territory’s voting could help prevent some of the confusion seen during the 2014 general election or, according to some Joint Board of Elections members, help make the situation worse. Among other things, voters last year were concerned that Elections officials were hand-counting party ballots in an effort to make sure they were not spoiled.

Rhode Island: State set to modernize its voting equipment | Associated Press

August 7, 2015

Rhode Island is modernizing its voting equipment. Gov. Gina Raimondo on Thursday signed legislation authorizing Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea to purchase upgraded voting equipment and software to replace current machines that are nearly two decades old. Raimondo says the new machines will make voting easier and will make sure every vote gets counted. Gorbea says she wants to modernize the equipment as part of a review of the entire elections process. She says voting is the most important right granted to citizens.

California: Voting Needs A Serious Overhaul And Los Angeles Might Have The Solution | Co.Design

August 4, 2015

If abysmal election participation is any indication, voter experience in the United States desperately demands an overhaul. In 2014, turnout hovered around just 36 percent. Federal and local governments have been experimenting with ways that technology can streamline services, whether it’s obtaining business permits or healthcare. In Los Angeles County, the focus is on a pillar of democracy: voting. Dean Logan is the Los Angeles County Registrar and County Clerk and is leading the local call for a new approach to voting.

California: In Los Angeles, Voting Is Getting the Silicon Valley Treatment | Bloomberg

July 17, 2015

Last year, a bipartisan commission established by President Obama declared that the U.S. faces an “impending crisis in voting technology.” After the 2000 Florida recount showed the world that the American presidency could be determined by hanging chads, Congress set aside $3.3 billion, most of it to help local election officials upgrade their voting machinery. Bureaucrats with relatively little experience buying advanced technology rushed to purchase machines developed to satisfy the sudden demand.

Kansas: Statistician battles government to determine whether vote count is flawed | Lawrence Journal World

July 20, 2015

Wichita State University mathematician Beth Clarkson has seen enough odd patterns in some election returns that she thinks it’s time to check the accuracy of some Kansas voting machines. She’s finding out government officials don’t make such testing easy to do. When Clarkson initially decided to check the accuracy of voting machines, she thought the easy part would be getting the paper records produced by the machines, and the hard part would be conducting the audit. It’s turned out to be just the opposite.

Wisconsin: Walker approves changes to recount fees | Associated Press

July 2, 2015

Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill that revamps Wisconsin’s election recount fee structure. Currently recounts are free if the margin is less than 10 votes with fewer than 1,000 votes cast or less than half-a-percent in larger elections. Requesters pay $5 per ward if the margin is 10 votes in smaller elections or falls between half-a-percent and 2 percent in bigger contests. Requesters pay full costs if it’s greater than 2 percent.

Arkansas: New voting system to roll out in the fall | Blytheville Courier News

June 23, 2015

New voting system equipment for the state of Arkansas has been selected, but Mississippi County will likely not implement the new paper ballot system until November 2016. Secretary of State Mark Martin has chosen Election Systems & Software (ES&S) as the vendor for any state-purchased integrated voting system equipment going forward. This announcement comes after months of evaluation and analysis and input from state and county officials.

Virginia: McAuliffe widens felon voting rights restoration | Daily Press

June 26, 2015

Felons who’ve served their time and want their voting rights restored won’t have to pay outstanding court costs anymore as part of the deal, Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Tuesday. The governor compared the long-standing requirement to a poll tax, as did the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, which had called for the change. The legal system will still require people to pay these fines, fees and restitution, McAuliffe said, but failure to do so won’t keep people from voting.

California: Los Angeles County voting to shift from inkblots to open source | Ars Technica

June 15, 2015

Los Angeles County is home to a burgeoning technology industry. It boasts a roster of high-profile companies including Hulu, Snapchat, and Tinder. As of 2013, it offered more high-tech jobs than other major markets in the country, including Silicon Valley and New York City. Come election time, however, its residents cast their votes by marking inkblots on ballots that resemble Scantron forms. This discrepancy hasn’t gone unnoticed. In fact, thanks to recent efforts, it’s gradually narrowing.

Editorials: South Carolina’s new voting system must be secure | Walt McLeod/The State

June 2, 2015

When I cast my first ballot, I voted on a paper ballot for Daniel R. McLeod, who was elected attorney general and served for the next 24 years. At that time, voting machines in South Carolina were limited to several urban counties. As I recall, election security consisted of a padlocked plywood ballot box, the key to which was attached to a modest chain connected to the padlock. I did not give much thought to the mechanics of elections, or how the poll managers tabulated the election results from the paper ballots cast.

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