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New Mexico: Madrid Concedes - Will Not Request A Recount PDF  | Print |  Email
New Mexico
By Warren Stewart, VoteTrustUSA   
November 21, 2006

Party Requests a 2% Manual Audit

 

At a press conference this morning, Democratic challenger Patricia Madrid has announced her decision not to request a full hand recount of the race for New Mexico’s 1st District Congressional District. After all provisional ballots had been counted incumbent Rep. Heather Wilson’s lead over Madrid had dwindled to 875 votes, a margin of less than ½% of the total ballots cast.

 

After Madrid conceded, John Wertheim, the chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico, announced that the Democratic Party will be asking for a 2% audit/recount. The reason for the ambiguous audit/recount statement is that the new law which does not take effect has provisions for an audit where the current law only has provisions for a recount.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, Democratic Party Executive Director Matt Farrauto had confirmed Monday that the party had inquired about the cost of a recount. Madrid's concession brings to a close one of the closest remaining undetermined Congressional contests. At her press conference Madrid cited cost and a family illnes as factors in her decision not to request a recount.

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Is Florida Ready for Democracy? PDF  | Print |  Email
Florida
By David Dill, Founder, Verified Voting   
November 20, 2006

This article was posted at VerifiedVoting.org. It is reposted here with permission of the author.

 

Florida needs to demonstrate that it is a functioning democracy by getting to the bottom of the problem in the District 13 Congressional Race in Sarasota County. Republican Vern Buchanan now leads Christine Jennings by only 369 votes. But voter complaints and anomalous statistics raise the question: did the voters decide this election, or did software or hardware errors tip the result in favor of a candidate who would otherwise have lost?

 

The numbers reported the day after the election showed a glaring problem: over 18,000 voters cast ballots, but (supposedly) did not vote in the Congressional race. Overall, that is a 14% undervote rate, which is implausibly high for this race (the undervote rate in the U.S. Senate race was a little over 1%).

 

According to Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent and candidate Buchanan, the undervotes were protests by voters repelled by a negative campaign. This argument does not pass the straight face test. To believe it, one would have to accept that the only voters who were unhappy were those who voted on electronic machines in Sarasota County. In contrast, the undervote rate on Sarasota's paper absentee ballots was about 2.5%. The undervote was similarly low in neighboring counties.

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Florida: Jennings Contests Results in 13th District PDF  | Print |  Email
Florida
By Christine Jennings Press Release   
November 20, 2006

On Monday, Florida election officials declared Republican Vern Buchanan the winner in the state’s 13th Congressional District race, but Democratic nominee Christine Jennings is formally challenging the results, arguing that errors on ES&S iVotronic touch screen voting machines in Sarasota County account for Buchanan’s apparent lead. Ms. Jennings' press release follows.

 

Download the Formal Complaint (PDF) 

 

Citing statistical and eyewitness evidence of significant machine malfunctions sufficient to call into doubt the result of the election for Florida Congressional District 13, the Christine Jennings campaign today officially contested the election in Circuit Court. The complaint specifically requests the judge to order a new election “to ensure that the will of the people of the Thirteenth District is respected, and to restore the confidence of the electorate, which has been badly fractured by this machine-induced debacle.”

 

More than 17,000 undervotes (15%) were recorded on Sarasota County’s electronic voting machines, a rate nearly 6 times higher than the undervote rate in the other District 13 counties or in Sarasota’s paper absentee ballots. Jennings won Sarasota County by a 53% - 47% margin, while losing the district-wide manual recount by 369 votes. As noted in the complaint:

 

“The failure to include these votes constitutes a rejection of a number of legal votes sufficient to place in doubt, and likely change, the outcome of the election.”

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For Once the "Winner" Wants All the Votes Counted Too PDF  | Print |  Email
Arizona
By Warren Stewart, VoteTrustUSA   
November 19, 2006

In a refreshing departure from the norm, the presumed loser of Arizona's 5th Congressional District race has conceded but the presumed winner has refuse to declare victory until all the votes are counted.

 

Incumbent Republican J.D. Hayworth conceded a week after the election, trailing Democratic challenger Harry Mitchell in the still incomplete count by 6,499 votes out of over 184,000 ballots cast. But according to the Arizona Republic, Mitchell has waited to declare victory out of respect for the vote-counting process. He said Tuesday night that despite his opponent's concession, he will continue to wait.

"The county recorder is still counting the votes," he said. "I don't want anyone to think their vote did not count."

 

So often the initial election night results of a close race establish a "presumed winner-sore loser" perception that dictates how the candidates conduct themselves during the canvassing and any recount process. In a shrewd political move Democrat Jim Webb declared victory in his bid to unseat Virginia Senator George Allen within hours of the polls closing on election night, long before all the ballots were counted or the canvassing even contemplated. Allen conceded three days later, though plenty of questions remained about the accuracy of the vote announced vote totals, no doubt based on a political judgment that since recount or contest was unlikely to change the outcome, it was unwise to take the risk of being perceived as a "sore loser".

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Who’s Afraid of Virginia’s Voting Machines? PDF  | Print |  Email
Virginia
By Matt Zimmerman, Electronic Frontier Foundation   
November 19, 2006

This article was posted at Electronic Frontier Foundation's Deep Links Blog. It is reposted here with permission of the author. 

 

Down over 7,000 votes to Democratic challenger Jim Webb, Virginia Senator George Allen conceded three days after the election. "It is with deep respect for the people of Virginia," Allen said, "that I do not wish to cause more rancor by protracted litigation which would in my judgment not alter the results."

 

With all due respect to Sen. Allen, how could he know for sure?

 

The long history of problems with electronic voting systems should have given him at least slight pause, especially in light of last week's documented incidents of Hart Intercivic voting machines apparently truncating the names of several candidates on the summary page, including the name of his opponent, now-Senator-elect Jim Webb. Or reports from election day that ES&S iVotronic machines in Sarasota, Florida, recorded over 10,000 fewer votes for a Congressional race than for other high-profile races.

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Audits in Connecticut PDF  | Print |  Email
Connecticut
By George Barnett, TrueVoteCT   
November 17, 2006
The Connecticut Secretary of the State, Susan Bysiewicz, announced that Democrat Joe Courtney defeated the incumbent Republican Rob Simmons in the 2nd Congressional District (CD-2) House race after a recanvass was completed. Courtney, who led by a mere 167 votes after the original count on election night, ended up with only 91 more votes than Simmons. Secretary Bysiewicz went on to explain the audit procedures that will take place in the Connecticut towns, outside of CD-2, that used optical scanners in the 2006 election.

In August of 2006, optical scan voting machines were selected to replace the lever machines in 25 out of 169 towns in Connecticut. In addition, the IVS telephone voting system was purchased for every town in the state to meet the accessibility requirements in the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Connecticut chose to purchase AccuVote-OS optical scanners from Diebold Election Systems, Inc.. LHS Associates of Massachusetts was designated to carry out the provisions of the state’s contract with Diebold. Several computer scientists, including Dr. Alex Shvartsman and the University of Connecticut's Department of Computer Science and Engineering, have found serious security flaws in the AccuVote-OS optical scanners.
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Montana: What Went Wrong? PDF  | Print |  Email
Montana
By Lynette Hintze, Features Editor, Daily Inter Lake   
November 17, 2006

Computer glitch, Election Day registration slowed Flathead vote The Daily Inter Lake


The following article appeared in the Daily Inter Lake on November 10, 2006.

During an election night filled with voting snafus statewide, Flathead County once again struggled with glitches in the computer software designed to tabulate vote totals. It was deja vu for election officials who had vowed to have final results tallied by 10 p.m. on Tuesday. By 10 a.m. on Wednesday, the county still had about 200 provisional ballots to process.

Officials made the same promise of early results for the June primary election, only to face computer software problems that delayed vote counting by several hours. County Election Director Monica Eisenzimer said this time around, her department had conducted successful test runs on the software system provided by Omaha, Neb.-based Election Systems & Software.

But shortly after the polls closed Tuesday, tabulators discovered the vote information on computer memory cards for each precinct didn’t coincide with the manually tabulated reports.

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Connecticut: Simmons Concedes, Will Not Request a Recount PDF  | Print |  Email
Connecticut
By Warren Stewart, VoteTrustUSA   
November 16, 2006

Audit of Election Results Will Conducted Statewide - Except for the Second District

 

Ending over a week of speculation, Rep. Rob Simmons has conceded  defeat and will not ask for a further recount of his 91 vote loss to Joe Courtney. The deadline to file legal challenges is Tuesday. State GOP leaders say they have uncovered a number of voting "irregularities" and may pursue their own elections complaints, but will respect and support Simmons' decision not to legally contest the outcome.

 

Connecticut Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz announced Wednesday that a 20% audit in 17 voting precincts spread across will be conducted Nov. 22 to 28. The audit will not include precincts in the Second District. The audit, which will be overseen by the secretary's office and by the University of Connecticut computer science department, will involve a hand count of every paper ballot fed into the Diebold AccuVote optical-scan machines that counted votes on Election Day.

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Sarasota Public Hearing on Voting Irregularities PDF  | Print |  Email
Florida
By Reggie Mitchell, Florida Legal Counsel for People For the American Way Foundation   
November 16, 2006

This speech was delivered on November 16, 2006 as the public hearing on voting irregularities in Sarasota County.


Good evening, and thank you all for coming. I’m Reggie Mitchell, the Florida Legal Counsel for People For the American Way Foundation. I’m pleased to be here tonight with my colleagues, Susan Pynchon, Executive Director of the Florida Fair Elections Coalition, Molly McCartney, Vice Chair, Common Cause of Florida, and Lowell Finley, Esq., Voter Action.

We are here tonight to hear from voters and advocates about the massive undervote in the race for Florida’s 13th Congressional District. “Undervote” is a word that’s hard for people to understand. What’s not hard to understand is that somehow, some way, about 21,000 people who voted in the general election did not have their votes recorded in the race between Christine Jennings and Vern Buchanan.

Twenty-one thousand people. That’s just not right. It doesn’t make sense that nearly one out of eight people who voted in this election decided to skip one of the most closely contested, high-profile races.

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PFAW Criticizes Decision to Put Partisan Paper Trail Opponent in Charge of Sarasota Audit PDF  | Print |  Email
Florida
By People for the American Way Foundation   
November 16, 2006

In response to the decision by the administration of Florida Governor Jeb Bush to appoint Alec Yasinsac (pictured at right) to carry out an inspection of Sarasota County voting machines, the nonpartisan People For the American Way Foundation's Florida Legal Counsel Reggie Mitchell issued the following statement:

"I know Alec Yasinsac well, and while he's a great guy, he's the wrong choice to lead an investigation into what went wrong in Sarasota County. We need an independent investigator, not someone whose partisan leanings have been clear since the 2000 voting fiasco.

 

"Alec is a strong advocate for electronic voting machines and a vociferous opponent of requiring a voter verifiable paper trail. In 2000, he wore a button reading 'Bush Won' while working against a recount in the presidential race. He clearly has preexisting biases. This situation requires a truly independent investigation that will get to the bottom of this problem in a nonpartisan fashion, and help to ensure that these problems never occur again. Sarasota County voters, Florida and the nation deserve no less."

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Wyoming: Trauner Will Not Ask for Recount in Congressional Race PDF  | Print |  Email
Wyoming
By Warren Stewart, VoteTrustUSA   
November 16, 2006

According to the Casper Star-Tribune Democratic challenger Gary Trauner (pictured at right) has issued a statement explaining that because Wyoming law does not allow for hand counting of ballots, he didn't think there would be any change in the outcome by simply having a recount by machine.

He said he believes the state needs to look at changing its election laws to allow counting ballots by hand if necessary. "What is the purpose of having recounts in tight races and using machines that keep a paper ballot, if the law does not allow for manual checks and balances in counting those paper ballots?" he said.

 

In an Associated Press article Peggy Nighswonger, state elections director, confirmed there was no provision for hand counting ballots in Wyoming. The only instance she could think of where a recount by hand might occur is if all the tabulation machines in a county broke down, she said.

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Pennsylvania: Voting Machine Suit Seeks Answers PDF  | Print |  Email
Pennsylvania
By Paul Muschick Of The Morning Call   
November 16, 2006

25 citizens claim electronic units in state are unreliable. Judges ask about challenges to their use.

 

Several Commonwealth Court judges on Wednesday questioned whether the state has a fair process for citizens to challenge the use of controversial touch-screen electronic voting machines.

The questions arose during a 40-minute hearing at Temple University on a lawsuit filed by 25 citizens who say the machines are unreliable.

They want the systems decertified in 57 counties, including Lehigh, Northampton and surrounding counties, alleging the state's certification process of the equipment was insufficient. They want the systems modified to produce paper printouts so voters can verify that the equipment accurately records their choices.

The Pennsylvania Department of State argued Wednesday that the lawsuit should be dismissed before trial. It said the lawsuit is based on rehashed allegations that have failed in other courts and on speculation that errors could occur or machines could be hijacked by computer hackers.

 

Read the entire article at The Morning Call 

Colorado: Mayor and City Council Launch Investigation into Election Troubles PDF  | Print |  Email
Colorado
By Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper Press Release   
November 15, 2006
This Wednesday, November 15, 2006, at 3:00 p.m., Mayor John Hickenlooper (pictured at right) and City Council President Michael Hancock will convene the short-term, action-oriented investigative panel announced last week to quickly analyze Denver’s election problems and develop actionable solutions that are expected to form the foundation of a proposed charter reform amendment. The hour-and-a-half meeting will take place in the Mayor’s Office (City and County Building, 1437 Bannock, Suite 350), and will be the first of five weekly meetings for the panel. This quick timeline will provide ample time for City Council to consider any Charter change recommendations for the May 2007 municipal ballot.

The broad-based panel of community leaders will review feedback and hear testimony from groups affected by or with perspective on the November 7 election including technology experts, FairVote Colorado, the disabled community, and the political parties. Summaries of feedback from election judges and voters will be provided to the panel, whose members will also have the opportunity to hear public input at City Council’s December 2, 2006, public hearing on the election. More details on the investigative panel’s meeting schedule are included below.
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Results from Minnesota’s First Post-Election Review Confirms Accuracy of State’s Voting Machines PDF  | Print |  Email
Minnesota
By Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota   
November 15, 2006
The first statewide post election review of votes cast in each of Minnesota’s 87 counties is nearly completed and the results should give Minnesota voters renewed confidence in the state’s election process, said Mark Halvorson, director and co-founder of Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota.

The accuracy of Minnesota’s electronic voting machines is being assessed for the first time through a hand count of randomly selected precincts in each county. “Our goal is to help Minnesota set the gold standard for accurate and verifiable elections,” said Halvorson.  “We are impressed thus far by the accuracy of the machines and the professionalism of the county election officials.”
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Revote of Florida's 13th Congressional District Election Called For by National Voting Rights Groups PDF  | Print |  Email
Florida
By National Voting Rights Institute and Demos   
November 15, 2006
More than 18,000 votes are estimated to have been lost in Florida's 13th Congressional District, the Sarasota County district with a closely contested House race where fewer that 400 votes currently separate the candidates. Today, the National Voting Rights Institute (NVRI) and Demos, affiliated national voting rights and election reform organizations, issued the following statement calling for a revote in that district:

 

"Public confidence in the vote-counting process is a bedrock principle of any democracy. In Florida's 13th Congressional District, it is clear that only a revote with the option of hand- recorded paper ballots will ensure that voters in that district can trust that their votes will be properly counted.

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