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Ohio Secretary of State Brunner Provides Background on Voting System Review
New from States - Ohio
By Ohio Secretary of State Press Release   
September 25, 2007
Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner today received unanimous approval from the State Controlling Board waiving competitive selection of firms hired to test Ohio's electronic voting systems.  
 
Secretary Brunner initiated this project on January 8, 2007, the first day of her administration, and staff developed a request for proposals that was introduced publicly on June 18, 2007. Brunner's administration received five proposals in mid-July and determined that the best and most responsive proposers were SysTest Labs, Incorporated and MicroSolved, Inc. Included in the SysTest contract will be the work of four universities to conduct independent parallel testing, including an operational review, as subcontractors to SysTest. The four participating universities are: Cleveland State University (performing operational review), Pennsylvania State University, the University of Pennsylvania and WebWise Security, Inc., a research group of professors and PhD Students of the University of California at Santa Barbara.  

The project will be managed by the Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio and will include collaboration and advice from a representative, bipartisan group of Ohio's local election officials.
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EAC Notice of Sequoia Non-compliance
New from Vendors - Sequoia Voting Systems
By Election Assistance Commission   
September 11, 2007

The following letter was sent to Sequoia Voting Systems by the Election Assistance Commission on September 11, 2007.

 

Dear Mr. Smith:

It has come to the EAC’s attention that Sequoia Voting Systems has contracted with more that one Voting System Test Laboratory (VSTL) for the testing of its Sequoia Voting System-WinEDS version 4.0.34. This practice is inconsistent with the disclosure made on your Application for Voting System Testing and violates the requirements and procedures of the EAC Testing and Certification Program.

As you know, EAC’s Certification Program requires manufacturers to identify the EAC
VSTL it has selected to perform testing. The selection of a VSTL is performed at the start of the certification process and must be noticed to the EAC on the Application for Voting System Testing (Form EAC 002C). Specifically, the Manufacturer’s application must provide for the “[s]election and identification of the VSTL that will perform voting system testing and other prescribed laboratory action consistent with the requirements of this Manual.” (Certification Program Manual, Section 4.3.1.2., Selection of Accredited Laboratory). Additionally, the Manual states that “[o]nce selected, a Manufacturer may NOT replace the selected VSTL without the express written consent of the Program Director. Such permission will be granted solely at the discretion of the Program Director and only upon demonstration of good cause.” (Certification Program Manual, Section 4.3.1.2., Selection of Accredited Laboratory (emphasis in original)).

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Demos Issues New Report on Voter Fraud
New from National Issues - Voting Rights
By Demos   
September 24, 2007

Download the report here.

 

The specter of voter fraud unfortunately continues to dominate and distort much of the national debate about fair elections. As an antidote to distorted public discussion, Senior Demos Fellow Lorraine C. Minnite has released An Analysis of Voter Fraud in the United States, adapted and updated from Securing the Vote, released in 2003. The voter fraud discussion has taken on new proportions over the past four years, looming over state and federal debates on voter identification and election reform, the performance of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, and dismissals of U.S. Attorneys.

 

Professor Minnite's new report provides a contemporary overview of domestic voter fraud, explores the matrix of state and federal laws governing the issue, and details recent instances of voter fraud in Miami, FL; Orange County, CA; and St. Louis, MO. She plans a forthcoming book on voter fraud in contemporary American elections.

EAC Releases 2006 Military and Overseas Citizens Voting Report
New from National Issues - Overseas/Military Voting
By Election Assistance Commission   
September 24, 2007
The United States Election Assistance Commission (EAC) today released its 2006 Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Voting Act (UOCAVA) Report, a collection of data from the states about UOCAVA voting. The survey was released at today's Facilitating the Uniformed and Overseas Voting Act conference. The report and other materials from the conference are available here.

The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) mandates that states collect data on how many UOCAVA ballots were sent and received, and instructs EAC to collect the data and deliver a report to Congress. EAC is also conducting a survey of UOCAVA voters and compiling a set of case studies. In the next few weeks, EAC will issue a set of best practices based upon the research collected.
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Response to ITIF Voting Report
New from National Issues - General Topics
By Edward W. Felten, Professor, Department of Comouter Science, Princeton University   
September 20, 2007

Posted st Freedom to Tinker and reposted here with permission of the author. 

 

[This post was written by David Robinson and me, based on our discussions with Alex Halderman, Joe Calandrino, and Ari Feldman.]

 

On Tuesday, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation released a report on the possible role of paper trails in auditing elections conducted using DRE machines. The report contained a blend of reasonable and unreasonable claims, and careful and uncareful argumentation. A lay reader might come away from the report — entitled Stop the Presses: How Paper Trails Fail to Secure e-Voting — with the belief that the addition of paper trails to DRE voting machines makes them less secure than they are on their own. Such a belief would be incorrect.

 

As the report puts it at one point, “The addition of paper audit trails to DRE voting machines would simply convert our elections back to a paper ballot system.” The report dwells at remarkable length on the convenient appearance of extra ballots during Lyndon Johnson’s political career. But we know about that cheating today precisely because paper ballots, unlike many DRE vote tallies, can be independently recounted.

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HR 811, Unfunded Mandates, and the Protection of Civil Rights
New from National Issues - Federal Legislation
By Warren Stewart, VerifiedVoting.org   
September 18, 2007

A small but vocal contingent of fiscal conservatives have responded to the unwarranted complaints of elections officials about the potential of an unfunded mandate for the voting system security requirements proposed in The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007 (HR 811). Still smarting from the previous Congress’ unwillingness to fully fund the Help America Vote Act of 2002, county clerks and Secretaries of State have been skeptical that Congress will actually come through with the $1.1 Billion authorized in the bill.


However, tying HR 811’s mandate to appropriations would set a dangerous precedent for eliminating the civil rights exemption in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA).1 In enacting the reform measure, Congress recognized that the protection of civil rights superseded vagaries of funding allocations.

 

HR 811 fully funds the voting system requirements in the bill with more than $1 billion, and authorizes more funding for the audit requirements ($100 million annually) than the Congressional Budget Office deemed necessary ($50 to $60 million).  In addition, as confirmed by the text of HR 811’s CBO Score, “All provisions of H.R. 811 would be excluded from the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.”2

 

Leadership and the Appropriations Committee should calm the fears of election officials and their representatives in Congress by publicly committing to fully fund HR 811.

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Will House Leaders Duck Debate on Electronic Voting Compromise?
New from National Issues - Federal Legislation
By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet   
September 17, 2007

This article was published at AlterNet and is reposted here with permission of the author.

 

The House is expected to vote on a bill regulating electronic voting machines for the first time this week. However, it is unclear if the Democratic leadership will allow debate on a key amendment to limit the controversial touch-screen voting equipment to one machine per precinct.

 

"I don't have an answer for you," Nadeam Elshami, deputy communications director for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said late Friday, when asked whether Democratic leaders will allow the amendment proposed by Rep. Susan Davis, D-Calif., to come before the House. "I have no way of knowing. This is a comprehensive bill. This is a process that is moving."

 

The bill, H.R. 811, or the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007, would regulate electronic voting systems for the first time by imposing new security, vote verification and audit requirements for their use. The bill would not ban paperless voting machines as many election integrity activists have wanted, but require a paper printout of each vote cast to be reviewed by voters before being electronically counted.

 

Whether the "direct recording electronic" (DRE) voting systems and that paper trail can be trusted has been a focus of debate surrounding the bill since it was introduced last winter. However as H.R. 811 has moved through committees, there have been recent developments outside Washington that bolster critics who say DRE systems are too insecure and unreliable for use in elections.

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Brennan Center Urges Justice Department to Reject Florida's Revised Voter Registration Law
New from National Issues - Department of Justice - Voting Section
By Brennan Center Press Release   
September 17, 2007
Today, the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, along with the Advancement Project, asked the U.S. Department of Justice not to approve Florida's revised law on voter registration drives because the new provisions unduly harm the state's minority communities and violate the Voting Rights Act.

Last year, in League of Women Voters of Florida v. Cobb, the state's restrictions on voter registration drives were declared unconstitutional.  After the ruling, the Florida state legislature went back and reenacted the law with slight changes.  The revised law is now awaiting approval from the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, and the Brennan Center urges the DOJ to reject this unconstitutional law.

"Black and Hispanic voters and people from Spanish-speaking households are twice as likely to register to vote through these third-party voter registration drives than white voters or voters from English-speaking households," said Renée Paradis, Counsel in the Brennan Center's Democracy Program.  "By making it difficult to conduct voter registration drives, Florida reduces the electoral participation of eligible voters from communities protected under the Voting Rights Act."
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Statement of Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner
New from States - Ohio
By Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner   
September 16, 2007
Today, in the Columbus Dispatch, Franklin County Board of Elections Director Matt Damschroder commented on the Secretary of State's proposed comprehensive test the state's voting systems.  In response to the fact that 3 of the 4 leading academic researchers proposed for Ohio's voting machine study participated in the recent California voting machine study, Damschroder stated, "It demonstrates an inherent bias that would likely color any report that they give."  Secretary of State Brunner has responded with this statement:

There should not be a Republican or Democratic view to ensuring the integrity of Ohio's voting systems.  This test is about fixing our election system in Ohio so we are prepared to run a clean and efficient 2008 presidential election.

 

The testing of the state's voting machines is a plan devised to allow testers from both ends of the scientific spectrum, corporate and academic, to conduct parallel, independent testing, allowing for collaboration as needed.  All of this is to be managed by the Battelle Memorial Institute, an Ohio research institution with the highest reputation for integrity and objectivity.

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National and State Election Integrity Groups Urge Congress to Support HR 811
New from National Issues - Federal Legislation
By Organizations Supporting HR 811   
September 16, 2007

 

Click here for Myths and Facts About HR 811

 

Why HR811?

The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007 (HR811) would benefit the integrity and security of US elections by requiring independent manual audits of the accuracy of Federal election outcomes, checking the machine counts.  The bill allows States to adopt alternative methods of recounts and audits for Federal elections as long as NIST approves the alternative methodology.  There is ample time for states using paperless voting systems to implement auditable voting systems by November 2008. Historically it has taken 4 to 12 months for States to change voting systems.   Virtually every jurisdiction is familiar with using optical scan paper ballots for military, absentee, and over-seas voting.


Congress should vote “YES” on HR811 and “NO” on any unfunded mandate amendment.   Click "read more" for a list of some of the national and state organizations supporting HR 811.

 

 

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