March 2009

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Soldiers’ Votes and Democracy At Risk In CT

Despite opposition by the Secretary of the State, Susan Bysiewicz, TrueVoteCT members, CTVoters Count, and the League of Women Voters, HB-5903 was as voted out of the General Administration and Elections Committee unanimously today. The bill will allow members of the military to submit absentee votes electronically.

This not a wild theoretical concern: Ironically, CNN has just reported that the Chinese or others have software they have used to infiltrate critical computers around the world

Town Considers All Paper, No Scanners

[Easton Connecticut] is looking into using paper ballots for the upcoming budget referendums to save money.

We would recommend against all paper. Audits have shown that Connecticut election officials have difficulty counting even a few hundred ballots accurately. We also remember a very frustrating day observing the Easton election officials attempting to accurately count ballots for the audit after the November 2007 Municipal Election.

CIA Agent: Electronic Voting Risky

“I follow the vote. And wherever the vote becomes an electron and touches a computer, that’s an opportunity for a malicious actor potentially to . . . make bad things happen.”

We agree with the agent that electronic voting can be compromised, but some details in the testimony are questionable.

Another Take On ATM’s vs. Voting Machines

Security firm Sophos reported this week that it received three samples of a trojan that was customized to run on Diebold-manufactured cash machines in Russia…

Diebold Audit Logs Miss Critical Data

“Today’s hearing confirmed one of my worst fears,” said Kim Alexander, founder and president of the non-profit California Voter Foundation. “The audit logs have been the top selling point for vendors hawking paperless voting systems. They and the jurisdictions that have used paperless voting machines have repeatedly pointed to the audit logs as the primary security mechanism and ‘fail-safe’ for any glitch that might occur on machines. To discover that the fail-safe itself is unreliable eliminates one of the key selling points for electronic voting security.”

In Connecticut we avoid these specific problems. But we don’t avoid similar problems.

Yes Virginia! – No Ballots, No Problems – Trust The Memory

Close election in Fairfax County decided by reading computer memory.

Maybe it is all mostly accurate. But, without a voter verified paper record who knows? Maybe there is a lesson in here for us. Unfortunately, there is also a lesson here for those looking for ways to game the system in the future.

Of Levers, WPE, and The National Popular Vote

How certain can we be that George Bush won the popular vote in 2004?
How certain can we be that Al Gore won the popular vote in 2000?
How many votes would be added or subtracted if the reported popular vote was close and a process like Minnesota’s were used for a nationwide recount of the paper ballots?

Sparks Fly Over Threat To Cut Registrars’ Hours In Half

In the proposed 2009-10 operating budget, Karen Doyle Lyons and Stuart Wells, the Republican and Democratic registrars of voters, respectively, are facing having their pay cut from $46,800 to $23,800.

Or Could We Have Been Even Better Off With Levers?

I read HAVA. It clearly does not ban levers. I recently discovered what has helped fuel this misinformed opinion in part: it is the discredited position of the discredited U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC)

But there is more to the story.