Are Feds off-target in disabled ballot probe?

From the CT Post:  Feds probing how Connecticut handles disabled voters ballots

Both the IVS and the referendum systems, for different reasons, are a disservice to voters with disabilities.  Yet the gist of the probe, if the article is correct, is incorrectly aimed at referendums and would be more appropriately aimed at State and Federal elections. Perhaps both should be probed for different reasons.

Brennan Center: Election Integrity: A Pro-Voter Agenda

Whenever we open a report with multiple recommendations we start from a skeptical point of view. We expect to agree with some proposals and disagree with others.  A new report from the Brennan Center for Justice is the exception.  We agree with every recommendation:
Election Integrity: A Pro-Voter Agenda

It starts with the right criteria, it has a great agenda, strong supporting arguments, and ends with an appropriate call to action

Twice again, Internet/online/email voting not a good idea

“You can’t control the security of the platform,”…The app you’re using, the operating system on your phone, the servers your data will cross en route to their destination—there are just too many openings for hacker interference. “But wait,” you’re entitled to object, “banks, online stores and stock markets operate electronically. Why should something as simple as recording votes be so much more difficult?”…

“As soon as large numbers of people are allowed to vote online, all of the sudden the attack surface is much greater,”…

Handing over election technology to tech companies surrenders the voting process to private, corporate control. The companies will demand trust without letting the public vet the technology, peek into the source code or see behind the curtain into the inner workings of the programs that count the ballots

Safe as an ostrich, from cyber attack.

Imagine no Internet for a few weeks. Imagine if that is because there is no power grid. CNN.Money: Cyber-Safe: How Corporate America keeps huge hacks secret

The backbone of America — banks, oil and gas suppliers, the energy grid — is under constant attack by hackers.

But the biggest cyberattacks, the ones that can blow up chemical tanks and burst dams, are kept secret by a law that shields U.S. corporations. They’re kept in the dark forever.

Book Review: Ballot Battles by Edward B. Foley

I have long been a fan of the  papers and other writings of Edward B. Foley of the Moritz College of Law.  He writes extensively on the issues associated with close elections, how they have been decided since the founding of the United States, and how the process might be improved. Last month his book on the subject, Ballot Battles:The History of Disputed Elections in the United States was released.

To me, it was a highly fascinating read that kept my interest through every page. It should be required reading for anyone interested in Election Integrity

Will encryption save us? No, “It’s Saturday Night!”

Last Saturday, some may have been channel surfing and mistakenly thought they were watching Saturday Night Live.  As one the 2% of voters spending last Saturday night intentionally watching the debate between the Democratic candidates and two ABC hosts, I was not the only one that noticed the flaws in one candidate’s claims for encryption that went unchallenged.

Fortunately, Jenna McLaughlin of The Intercept articulates the issues and the faulty assumptions of candidates and pundits: Democratic Debate Spawns Fantasy Talk on Encryption <read>

During Saturday’s debate, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton said the U.S. should commission a “Manhattan-like project,” a reference to the secret World War II-era atomic bomb endeavor, to address the alleged threat encryption poses to law enforcement. She also admitted she doesn’t actually understand the technology.

Does All Mail Voting Increase Turnout?

In the long run, apparently Not or Not Much.

Article from the Washington Post, from researcher Elizabeth Bergman: Voting only by mail can decrease turnout. Or increase it. Wait, what?

My research found that when you can only vote by mail, voter turnout actually drops by about 13 percent. I examined what happens to turnout if voting by mail is compulsory. I studied more than 90,000 voters who could vote only by mail across four elections from 2006 through 2008 in five of the most populous urban counties in California. (In that state, if a precinct has fewer than 250 voters, elections officials are allowed to forego a polling place and accept ballots only by mail.)

That decline may seem counterintuitive. Presumably voting by mail is easier and more convenient than going to the polls. So why doesn’t turnout go up?

What if we used computers for voting, not just driving?

From OpEd News, Interview with Barbara Simons: What the Heck Does the Recent Volkswagen Scandal Have to Do with Our Elections? <read full interview>

Since the Volkswagen hacking was disclosed we have been using that to highlight the potential of rigged elections as we have for earlier, more dramatic, vehicle hacking demonstrations.

Any large software program contains undetected bugs. That’s why software vendors such as Microsoft and Apple send out frequent software updates, many of them to fix security holes. Likewise, it also can be very difficult to detect cleverly hidden malware.Computers can greatly facilitate both car performance and ballot tabulation. But just as laboratory tests are not adequate for testing pollution controls in the presence of malware, so too we cannot depend solely on voting system “certification” to verify that our voting systems are accurate and secure

Iowa Caucus: Democrats to vote by “Magic Pony” Express

Des Moines Register: Democrats abroad can phone-in caucus votes <read>
No matter how much we warn about Internet voting, it seems nobody learns. In this case it is telephone voting, just as insecure. These days the phone goes over the same paths as the Internet:

Voter or Voting Fraud? via AB, immune to Voter Id

Many believe that stronger Voter Id would prevent voter fraud. Actually who would risk going to the polls with the risk of strong penalties if they are caught when there is an easier alternative, absentee voting?  This case from Wisconsin shows how easy can be, yet also that sometimes you can get caught. In this case only because there were two votes from one person.

A Shorewood man has been charged with more than a dozen counts of illegal voting, accused of casting multiple ballots in four elections in 2011 and 2012, including five in the 2012 gubernatorial recall.

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