National

Concerned with two partisan registrars? Be careful what you ask for.

How to manage and judge our elections without partisan bias is tough. Occasionally Secretary’s of State act in blatantly partisan ways. Cases in recent history include Catherine Harris in Florida and Ken Blackwell in Ohio.

Here in Connecticut the Secretary of the State proposed turning elections over to a single unelected official in each town, rather than the current two elected registrars of opposing parties.

Meanwhile in Kansas a bill would give the Secretary of State the power to prosecute election fraud.

The limits of Democracy w/o Information

Last week Secretary of the State, Denise Merrill, addressed the League of Women Voters of Northeastern Connecticut on a variety of topics. One of the items discussed was the lack of education in civics and its possible link to the lack of participation by younger voters. The two are certainly related, yet we also live in an age when the at least over the last two administrations, the Constitution has been ignored in the name of security – just when those voters have come of age.

Also I recently read “They Know Everything About You”, which I highly recommend. This week the author, Robert Scheer, was interviewed in a seven part series at the Real News. Part three is particularly relevant to the subject of Democracy and information available to the voters. <video>

Should we trust Internet voting? A Video

A new video from a Princeton student.

Non-Science: “What you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” – Mark Twain

Non-Science Nonsense is bad enough. But even worse is what we all thing is true that is not.  Five examples from just the FBI and our common understanding, as articulated in The Intercept: Five Disturbing Things You Didn’t Know About Forensic “Science”

When it comes to voting, the public, election officials, and legislators believe many false facts,

UK Considers risky online voting…Safe enough for democracy?

Guardian article, apparently titled by an editor who trusts MPs opinions more than scientists and experience: Why electronic voting isn’t secure – but may be safe enough .

Safe enough, not for democracy. The link to the article says it better “Why Electronic Voting is NOT SECURE.

Aaron Swartz, me, you, and our money.

Aaron Swartz “killed by our Government.” ? Fittingly his life, torture, and death available for all in an outstanding, free documentary. What does this have to do with you and me? Why is it fitting that the documentary is free?  Read on.

So you want to connect voting machines to the Internet?

60 Minutes Shows Threats to Autos and Voting Machines are Real

We need a system that does not rely on trusting the Government or the abilities of officials and pollworkers. Sometimes the risks sound crazy and too theoretical and unlikely. For several years it has been known that many vehicles can be taken over via the Internet – but not really understood at a gut level. Last week 60 Minutes demonstrated the risks to Lesley Stahl so she will never forget, and perhaps by watching her we will also understand.

Two days at the Voting and Elections Summit

Three simple ideas standout among the many things I learned and relearned:

  1. When we are concerned about every cost associated with voting, small and large, compare those costs to what we spend “spreading democracy” elsewhere.
  2. Contemplate what people spend in time and expense for the excitement of the Superbowl. Why are we not similarly engaged in Election Day, where the who wins is much more significant to our lives?
  3. Should we be at least as concerned with protecting and auditing paper ballots, as we are with the footballs used in the semi-finals?

Sanity returns (mostly) to Maryland

Paper Ballots Return to Maryland Elections. Once Maryland implements optical scan, there will only be five states left without a voter verified paper record for voting.

Election Reformers as Entertainers?

Last week Paul Krugman had an interesting Economics editorial that by analogy can apply to some election reformers as well. In general, I agree with Mr. Krugman when it comes to Economics. Beyond that he has a skill making readable opinion pieces that make single points well, even if they are based on very detailed economic theory or analysis. This article is a little different in subject, yet makes an important, useful point that applies widely, including to election reformers

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