October 29, 2009

You want insane election results? Just try IRV!

Posted in Elections, IRV, voting tagged , , , at 10:23 pm by bluebanshee

One of the many dubious claims about Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) is that it will produce a consensus winner.  Not always true, as has been found in studies of both Aspen, CO and Burlington, VT.  The candidate with the most first and second place support does not always win.  This is because it is possible to hurt your preferred candidate by turning out too many supporters in his behalf.  How is this possible?  Just take a look at this explanatory video to see how this could happen (and has indeed happened in real elections in various places across the U.S.)

Why is this more democratic?  Why would voters prefer the kind of result described in this video to a straightforward up-or-down vote?

October 23, 2009

‘The computer says so’ is not a good answer

Posted in Diebold, Elections, Humboldt county CA, paper ballots, voter verified paper ballots, voting tagged , , at 8:36 pm by bluebanshee

In Humboldt County California, Registrar of Voters Carolyn Crnich has not had good luck relying on her computer system(s) to give her accurate information. This has created problems.

In November 2008 she found out that the Diebold optical scan system she was using was capable of making an entire batch of counted ballots disappear into thin air without a trace … poof! No warning message … no tellltale evidence in the computer log … just poof, the batch was gone.

It turned out to be a known bug in the Diebold software that might only be avoided with special “workaround” procedures – or at least, that is what representatives of Diebold told her when she contacted them about the vanishing votes. Crnich found out about the problem because of a post-election audit conducted by local activists – not because of any notification from Diebold.

So Crnich did what a conscientious election official might do – she decided to switch to a new vendor and spent recent months getting her brand new system from Hart InterCivic ready for this November’s election. Read the rest of this entry »

October 19, 2009

Wow! Diebold scanners are picky about ink colors on ballots

Posted in Diebold, Elections, voting, voting machine testing, voting machines tagged , , , at 10:44 pm by bluebanshee

Yup, you read that right.  Diebold scanners are picky about which color ink is used to mark a ballot — sometimes just can not read blue ink.  Also, sometimes just can not read  marks made with number two pencil.  Everyone who has ever filled out a scantron sheet for an  SAT or GRE or any other standardized test must be scratching your head by now.

Yes, I know, I know …  the official instructions  from Diebold say to use a number two pencil or a pen with blue or black ink (just like those standardized test directions).  But you can’t believe the official stuff because it doesn’t always work. Read the rest of this entry »

August 25, 2009

Worse than the fox guarding the chicken coop

Posted in Diane Feinstein, DOJ, Elections, FEC, politics, Von Spakovsky, Voter ID, voting, Voting Rights, Voting Rights Act tagged , , at 10:25 pm by bluebanshee

Instead of hiring the fox to guard the chicken coop, why not hire him to give advice on chicken coop security?   That seems to be the attitude behind the appointment of voter suppression guru Hans Von Spakovsky to an advisory position in Virginia.      http://www.virginiafreepress.org/2009/07/11/vote-suppression-expert-spakovsky-about-to-be-confirmed-in-volunteer-civil-rights-post/

The U.S. Civil Rights Commission apparently couldn’t find another way to keep Von Spakovsky involved in his favorite pastime — finding ingenious new ways to keep minority voters (especially Democratic-leaning ones) from exercising their rights at the ballot box. Read the rest of this entry »

July 4, 2009

New questions about Iran’s election

Posted in Elections, Iran presidential election, paper ballots, voting tagged , , , at 3:33 pm by bluebanshee

Aspects of the Iran election remind me of a TV commercial for men’s pants. There are several variations but the basic storyline concerns some guy who is shown going through a variety of spills and disasters only to return home to the question: “Where have those pants been?”

While the pants are unscathed the guy appears disheveled and somewhat worse for the wear, the pants are free of stains and wrinkles. The sales pitch is that one should prefer pants that stay crisp and clean no matter what.

But what does the Dockers commercial have to do with the Iran election, you might wonder. The answer is simple — photos of paper ballots being recounted have been shown on Iranian TV. But the pictures just raise new questions about the integrity of Iran’s electoral process. The question that must be asked: “Where have these ballots been?” Read the rest of this entry »

June 22, 2009

‘Where is my vote?’

Posted in Election fraud, Elections, Iran presidential election, politics, voting tagged , , , , , , at 12:03 am by bluebanshee

The sign says it all:  “Where is my vote?”

Throughout the ongoing street marches in Iran the sign eloquently expresses the underlying sense of many Iranians that their votes were simply not counted.  Their voices at the ballot box were not heard.

One marcher eloquently expressed the feelings of many as she was interviewed on TV:  “There was so much energy for Mousavi — we knew he was winning.” Read the rest of this entry »

June 21, 2009

Will 4th time be the charm for Holt’s bill?

Posted in election audits, Election reform, Elections, paper ballots, politics, voting tagged , , , , at 9:44 pm by bluebanshee

After months of behind-the-scenes discussions Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) has  introduced the latest incarnation of  his Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility bill.

Beginning in 2003 in the aftermath of HAVA  Holt has introduced various versions of this bill in every Congress, the latest being HR 2894.  The main provisions of the “new and improved”  VCIAA bill would move the nation toward universal voter marked paper ballots and post-election audits for Federal elections.  The bill was introduced with 75 co-sponsors, demonstrating widespread support in the House. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s official: More votes than voters in 50 Iran cities

Posted in Elections, Iran presidential election, paper ballots, politics, voting tagged , , , at 8:59 pm by bluebanshee

Shocking admission of election fraud from Iran’s Guardian Council:  in at least 50 cities more votes were recorded in the reported tally than there where eligible voters. They estimate that at least 3 million of the 40 million plus votes cast in Iran’s recent presidential election are impacted by this finding.  The Guardian Council published its conclusions  on the Iranian government website:  http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=98711&sectionid=351020101

The council’s Spokesman Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei, who was speaking on the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) Channel 2 on Sunday, made the remarks in response to complaints filed by Mohsen Rezaei — a defeated candidate in the June 12 Presidential election.

“Statistics provided by Mohsen Rezaei in which he claims more than 100% of those eligible have cast their ballot in 170 cities are not accurate — the incident has happened in only 50 cities,” Kadkhodaei said. Read the rest of this entry »

June 7, 2009

MN Supremes: Show Us the Evidence

Posted in Coleman-Franken, Elections, Minnesota Senate Race, MN Supreme Court, voting tagged , , , at 10:02 pm by bluebanshee

It took seven long months for the Franken-Coleman election contest to wind its way to oral arguments before the Minnesota Supreme Court. Now it appears that the day of final decision is finally near and the certificate of election will be issued.

The consensus of court-watchers is that Al Franken is likely to be seated as the junior U.S. Senator from Minnesota.

The basis for this consensus is the persistent quest for solid evidence from the Coleman legal team. Over and over again the various justices asked for evidence of how many votes there might be to overturn Franken’s 312-vote lead. The justices wanted a witness list, suggestions of what their testimony might be and hard numbers about the ballots in question, not statistical sampling or nebulous
theories. Read the rest of this entry »

Minneapolis Takes the ‘Instant’ Out of IRV

Posted in Elections, ES&S, IRV, paper ballots, voting, voting machines tagged , , , at 5:56 pm by bluebanshee

Those who have been watching the long (seven months and counting!) slog toward a final resolution the Coleman-Franken election contest will not be amazed to discover that the same slow methodical approach will be applied to Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) in Minneapolis. There won’t be any cutting corners for Minnesotans, unlike what was done elsewhere (Cary, NC and Aspen, CO spring to mind here!). http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2009/05/21/irv_voting/ Read the rest of this entry »

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