Monday, November 3

OUTLYING PRECINCTS

Tampa Bay Times - The nudists at Caliente Resort have asked Pasco County elections officials to set up a clothing-optional polling place for their community. Brian Corley, Pasco's supervisor of elections, dismissed the request as a publicity stunt. . . Corley said the request came a few weeks ago, and there's not enough time to set up a new polling place for this election.

WATCHING THE COUNT

True Vote
has urged media outlets participating in the national exit poll to preserve the unadjusted poll results. The group cited a range of problems in more than a dozen states during early voting that indicated a need for an independent record to compare to the vote count. True Vote urged that the unadjusted results be made public and, if adjustments are made that they be explained publicly. Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International will again conduct a national exit poll for a media pool comprised of ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC and the Associated Press. The exit polls will involve polling tens of thousands of actual voters. It will remove sources of polling error and be extremely accurate. In 2004 the unadjusted exit polls were "adjusted," i.e. changed so as to conform to the vote count assuming the count was correct and the exit poll was not. Investigations into the election in Ohio later raised serious doubts about the accuracy of the actual vote in comparison to the unadjusted polls (which showed a Kerry victory).

Rocky Mountain News -
Colorado Secretary of State Mike Coffman was ordered to stop cancelling voters from state registration rolls at a rapidly convened federal court hearing. "There has been a violation of federal law, and that must cease and stop immediately," U.S. District Court Judge John Kane said from the bench. "That is the order." Coffman said he would comply with it

Wired - An independent lab that tests and certifies voting machines is being suspended by the federal Election Assistance Commission from testing voting systems for failing to conform to procedures and requirements set by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The Colorado-based SysTest Labs is an independent lab that has been accredited for testing voting systems for federal certification. But according to the EAC, which assumed oversight responsibility for the testing and certification process only in 2006, SysTest failed to create and validate test methods, maintain proper documentation of its testing and employ properly trained or qualified personnel. In addition to SysTest, there are four other labs accredited for testing voting systems. They are Wyle Laboratories and CIBER of Huntsville, Alabama; iBeta Quality Assurance in Denver, Colorado; and InfoGard Labs in San Luis Obispo, California. Ciber previously ran afoul of requirements and was denied an interim accreditation that the EAC gave labs during the transition period when it assumed oversight responsibility of testing from the National Association of State Election Directors. The EAC found that Ciber had poor quality assurance and failed to maintain adequate documentation of testing.

Palm Beach Post - In Florida, laws to make it easier for overseas military personnel to cast their ballots by fax are not worth much, according to Secretary of State Kurt Browning. Browning recently toured the Middle East with a few other secretaries of state to check out voting preparation. "They laughed at us because faxes are just old technology. And there's no fax machines to speak of overseas," Browning said. Even if their ballots get in the mail, a federal audit found, only about 27 percent of the 77,000 military overseas ballots requested by Floridians in 2006 actually were counted. Florida military personnel, as well as civilians living overseas, can receive their ballots by e-mail, print them, fill them out and return them to elections supervisors by regular mail or fax. Mail sent from military bases in the Middle East, however, can take up to three weeks to be delivered, prompting the legislature to pass the law to allow overseas voters to fax them. Although the state gives those living or stationed overseas an extra 10 days to return their ballots, only the votes in federal races are counted if the ballots are received after 7 p.m. on Election Day.


Speigel, Germany - A father and son want Germany to stop using electronic voting machines because they believe them to be vulnerable to manipulation. They have brought their case before Germany's highest court. . . The voting machines in question are manufactured by the Dutch firm Nedap and do not print out receipts. Constanze Kurz, a spokesman for the Berlin-based hacker group Chaos Computer Club, calls the machine a "black box," and likens their use to relying on an oracle to decide elections. "You never know what's going to come out," she told Agence-France Presse. Both the machine's software as well as its hardware are vulnerable, said Kurz. In addition to hackers accessing the voting system, the biggest concern is that a machine's memory card, which stores voting data, could be adulterated or simply replaced on its way to the vote tabulation center.

List of voting problems by machine provider

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