Tag Archives: elections

Early Reports of Voter Problems Election Day Nov 7 2006

Voting Glitches Start Early on Election Day from Time/CNN

Problems crop up across the country as poll workers tangle with new voting machines and databases.
Programming errors and inexperience dealing with electronic voting machines frustrated poll workers in hundreds of precincts Tuesday, delaying voters in several states and leaving some with little choice but to use paper ballots instead. Many of the problems occurred as polls opened.”

Polling places turn to paper ballots after glitches from CNN

“Programming errors and inexperience dealing with electronic voting machines frustrated poll workers in hundreds of precincts early Tuesday, delaying voters in Indiana, Ohio and Florida and leaving some with little choice but to use paper ballots instead.
In Cleveland, voters rolled their eyes as election workers fumbled with new touchscreen machines that they couldn’t get to start properly until about 10 minutes after polls opened.
“We got five machines — one of them’s got to work,” said Willette Scullank, a troubleshooter from the Cuyahoga County, Ohio, elections board.
In Indiana’s Marion County, about 175 of 914 precincts turned to paper ballots because poll workers didn’t know how to run the machines, said Marion County Clerk Doris Ann Sadler. She said it could take most of the day to fix all of the machine-related issues.
Election officials in Delaware County, Indiana, extended voting hours because voters initially couldn’t cast ballots in 75 precincts. County Clerk Karen Wenger said the cards that activate the push-button machines were programmed incorrectly but the problems were fixed by late morning.
Pennsylvania’s Lebanon County also extended polling hours because a programming error forced some voters to cast paper ballots.”

CHAOS: Problems worsen, Dems seek voting extension from the Denver Post

On a day already rife with computer glitches, long lines, and legal appeals to extend voting in Denver, provisional ballots are now running out at some Denver voting centers.”

Widespread computer problems were reported, some shutting down entire voting centers, but the problems appeared to ease after 2 P.M. Democratic party leaders are in court this afternoon, seeking a two-hour extension for voting in Denver, because many were kept from casting their vote. “

Deerfield Beach voters frustrated by bad electronic ballots from the Miami Herald

Dozens of voters who came to the Deerfield Beach Tower Club Teen Center to cast their votes this morning walked away angry, as 10 of 14 voting booths failed to work — all of them for voters in District 23A.
”I have two words for them — paper ballots!” said election volunteer John Miller, 78, who said he has worked at area elections the past 10 years. “I come from New England and they’re still using paper ballots. They have no problems.”
Only three people had voted when all 14 machines stopped working. After about 45 minutes, voters in Precinct 26A were able to cast ballots on four machines. But most voters, those in Precinct 23A, were out of luck until about 8:30 a.m., when technicians brought at least some machines back on line.
In the meantime, many would-be voters left, livid.”

Glitch to keep polls open until 9 p.m. from Lancaster online in Pennsylvania

As of 10:30 this morning, 57 out of the county’s 275 eScan machines — the “paper ballot” machines — were malfunctioning. That’s about 21 percent. The machines are in polling places throughout the county.As a result, county officials decided by late morning to keep all the county’s 232 polling places open until 9 p.m.”

Federal Election Commission Clarifies Rules on Internet Blogging and Federal Candidates

On May 12, 2006 the Federal Election Commission’s amended rules on the use of the internet in Federal election campaigns went into effect. Bloggers in Washington State have been very active blogging on candidates for US Senate and Congress, like Darcy Burner and Peter Goldmark running for Congress and Maria Cantwell running for re-election to the US Senate..

The new rules are in response to a recent US District Court decision that said the Commission could not give a wholesale exemption from reporting for all Internet activity.

The FEC, in adopting new rules, clarified a number of issues involved but basically exempted all blogging and Internet communication from campaign reporting except for paid advertisements placed on another person’s website.

Surprisingly this exemption for bloggers even included the rabid, rapidly growing in number, rapacious, not so vacuous and insipid as to make you cry bloggers here in Washington state and the Northwest. That doesn’t mean they aren’t busy over at the NSA trying to decipher what it is we’re saying.

The 26 pages of clarification and rules were published April 12, 2006 in the Federal Registry. They make for interesting reading for all bloggers and anyone interested in the free and unregulated use of the Internet under the First Amendment.

“Through this rulemaking, the Commission recognizes the Internet as a unique and evolving mode of mass communication and political speech that is distinct from other media in a manner that warrants a restrained regulatory approach. The Internet’s accessibility, low cost, and interactive features make it a popular choice for sending and receiving information.

Unlike other forms of mass communication, the Internet has minimal barriers to entry, including its low cost and widespread accessibility. Whereas the general public can communicate through television or radio broadcasts and most other forms of mass communication only by payingsubstantial advertising fees, the vast majority of the general public who choose to communicate through the Internet can afford to do so.

When paid advertising on another person’s website does occur on the Internet, the expense of that advertising sets it apart from other uses of the Internet, although even the cost of advertising on another entity’s website will often be below the cost of advertising in some other media.

These final rules therefore implement the regulatory requirements mandated by the Shays District decision by focusing exclusively on Internet advertising that is placed for a fee on another person’s website. In addition, these rules add new exceptions to the definitions of “contribution” and “expenditure” to protect individual and media activity on the Internet. As a whole, these final rules make plain that the vast majority of Internet communications are, and will remain, free from campaign finance regulation. To the greatest extent permitted by Congress and the Shays District decision, the Commission is clarifying and affirming that Internet activities by individuals and groups of individuals face almost no regulatory burdens under the Federal Election Campaign Act. The need to safeguard Constitutionally protected political speech allows no other approach

The FEC noted in its decision that the number of people who relied on the internet for campaign information increased from 30 million in 2000 to 63 million in 2004. They cited reports that some 11 milion people in 2004 looked to blogs as their main source of information and some 18% of American citizens in 2004 viewed the internet in general as their main information source in deciding on who to vote for as President.

Regarding blogging specifically, the Commission noted that:

In light of the evolving nature of Internet communications, the Commission is not explicitly excluding from the definition of ‘‘public communication’’ any particular software or format used in Internet communications. The final rules already exclude ordinary blogging activity from the definition of ‘‘public communication’’ because blog messages are not placed for a fee on another person’s Web site. Thus, an explicit exclusion focused on ‘‘blogging’’ is not only unnecessary but also potentially confusing to the extent that it implies that other forms of Internet communication, such as ‘‘podcasting’’ or e-mailing, might be regulated absent an explicit exclusion for each different form of Internet communication.

The commission also excludes e-mail as a form of political advertising subject to regulation and disclosure. It bases its decision on the fact that e-mail is basically a free activity with no cost involved.

Posting a video is also excluded from regulation and disclosure unless it is placed on another website for a fee.

Is This the Year of the Donkey for Washington State?

Anger at Bush May Hurt GOP at Polls reads a headline yesterday in the Washington Post. This was what Democrats thought would put Kerry into the White House two years ago. Will it work this year in Washington State?

The most recent Washington Post – ABC poll shows a 47% “strong disapproval” by voters of Bush’s job performance. Only 20% “strongly approve”. In comparison President Clinton’s highest “strong disapproval” rating was 37%.

Since Bush is not on the ballot, the best way for voters to show their anger at Bush is to vote his Republican Congressional cronies who have unflinchingly supported his policies out of office. By contrast in the 2002 midterm congressional elections, Bush had 42% of the voters “strongly approving” of him versus only 20% “strongly disapproving”. Democrats lost seats which was historically unusual.

The key is strength of passion- what motivates people to make that extra effort to vote.

Yet the issue for Congressional races turns more often on local candidates and issues. There have been very few seats turned over by incumbents over time. In fact the historical average has been that 98% of incumbents get reelected.

As Mark Mellman in The Hill suggests, this inertia to change can be affected by several things, including the past vote for Presidents.

The year 1994 was a big one for Republicans in Congress. Yet of the 34 seats the Democrats lost, the Republican Presidential candidate in the previous two elections had won 30. Likewise in the big change in 1982, 2/3 of the Republican incumbents who lost were in districts the Democratic Presidential candidate had won previously.

Mellman says that in this election cycle only 18 incumbent Republicans are in districts that Kerry won. By the way, one of these is the eighth Congressional District, where Darcy Burner, a Democrat is taking on first term incumbent Republican Dave Reickert.

While open seats can also be a factor, in years of major change it may not be as significant a factor. In 1992, only 37% of the seats the Democrats lost were open seats.

So certainly a lot rides on whether voters are rearing for a change. Unknowns that can change things quickly include changes in Iraq, like Bush withdrawing troops.

In addition factors in Washington state include emotional hotbutton issues like certain initiatives. The referendum to overturn the ban on gay discrimination and developer Initiative 933 to limit most zoning and growth management and Eyman’s Initiative 917 to cut transportation funding are all issues that pull out conservatives and Republicans.

Adam Nagourney writes in last Sunday’s New York Times that this is part of the Republican strategy. Entitled, “Looking to win in November, with a 2-year old Playbook” he notes that Carl Rove’s game plan in 2004 was to woo the religious right and other conservatives by appealing to their emotions. They did this successfully by a series of state initiatives to ban gay marriage coordinated with efforts to turn out church goers.

This year it may be tougher but Washington’s developer’s initiative 933 is not alone. Conservatives are also gathering signatures on similar initiatives on so called private property rights in California, Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota and Oregon (again) according to the NY Times.

And another issue is also rising – immigration. Democrats meanwhile are slow in using initiatives to increase turnout of their base. This year Washington state has one measure – Initiative 937 – the Energy Security Initiative to increase use of renewable energy that is collecting signatures to get on the ballot. Meanwhile with Eyman’s so called $30 tabs initiative 917, which reduces transportation funds; the developer initiative 933 – to end zoning as we know it; and the referendum to repeal the anti discrimination legislation passed by the Legislature, Democrats are having to wage three defensive efforts.

I think Democrats need to get more active and work to help set the agenda by running their own initiatives in the future, particularly in 2008 to help draw out the progressive base. They need to quit crying about the conservatives putting initiatives on the ballot and put their own on. Voters are not going to repeal the initiative process in Washington state. Put the conservatives on the defense.

Meanwhile Senator Cantwell, who has been running into criticism from some progressive activists need to engage them more. Because to win she needs to turn out motivated voters and right now there are too many being unreasonably purist in their criticism. But they are family, family she needs to win and that requires special efforts. And they need her to win if we want to stop the Bush Cheney railroading of America into just one giant corporation where we only have two classes, the superrich and the rest of us.