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Long before 2008, residents of new developments must check for their own proper up-to-date voting district, or else the election bureau may be relying on an educated guess as to your proper voting district...
Meadow Lane residents cast ballots in wrong congressional district
By Rich Cholodofsky
Tuesday, November 14, 2006

About 60 residents of a new housing development in Hempfield Township cast ballots last week in the wrong voting district, according to officials in the Westmoreland County Election Bureau.

Homeowners in the two-year-old Meadow Lane Farm Estates plan near Bovard were incorrectly directed to vote at the Bovard Volunteer Fire Department rather than at the township's Fox Hill precinct.

"It seems to me there should be something you can do about that," said 43-year-old Mark Parker, a Tartan Drive resident who discovered after he cast his ballot that he did so in the wrong precinct. "It just has everything to do with doing something the right way."

Parker, who, along with his wife, moved from Johnstown to Hempfield in April, wanted to vote in the congressional race between Republican incumbent Tim Murphy and his Democratic challenger Chad Kluko. Instead, his ballot listed the congressional race in the 12th District between Democratic incumbent John Murtha and his GOP challenger Diana Irey.

Westmoreland County Election Bureau Director Paula T. Pedicone conceded yesterday that Parker's new neighborhood had been improperly placed in Murtha's district.

She said there is little that can be done.

"You can't invalidate votes," Pedicone said.

Because neither of the congressional races was close -- Murtha soundly defeated Irey and Murphy easily won his re-election -- Pedicone said she believes it is unlikely there will be a challenge filed on Westmoreland County's vote totals.

The boundary between the two districts falls on the road beside the new development. Election Bureau staff attempted to verify the proper voting district for the development but had to rely on old maps, advice from the U.S. Post Office and, in some cases, an educated guess.

"We want to get the most accurate information, but we rarely send people out in person to investigate because we don't have enough staff. We are seeing a lot of growth in areas such as Hempfield and Unity townships and we're happy to have it, but it does make for a lot of checking," Pedicone said.

Because much of that new development is former farmland, new-home construction that straddles voting districts has become a problem for election officials.

Pedicone said errors such as the one that affected Meadow Lane Farm residents have occurred in the past but typically involve fewer voters.

The solution, according to Pedicone, is for the county to have access to better maps.

That could happen by next year. For the last several years, officials have been working on a project to create a GIS mapping system for the county. Commissioner Phil Light said those maps should be completed by next year. ..

SURE Issues Act 2002-34

E-voting not easy in Westmoreland County
Rich Cholodofsky
Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Programming errors in every voting machine in Westmoreland County left voters standing in long lines at some polls, turned away at others and using paper ballots in one Jeannette precinct.

A software glitch that caused more than 800 touch-screen machines to act as though it was not Election Day prompted some computers to shut down early and others to never function at all.

Officials blamed the failures on a glitch in which the electronic ballots loaded into the new computers were given an incorrect time stamp. All of the county's voting machines, more than 800, reflected Monday's date and were not ready to accept votes when the polls opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Commissioner Tom Ceraso said hardware might have to be stripped from the computers to verify that vote totals matched the number of ballots cast in yesterday's election.

"Worst-case scenario, it could be a few days before we can verify the counts," Ceraso said. "The election results (reported last night) will be very unofficial."

In some voting locations, poll workers hit a button that manually allowed ballots to be accepted on the computers. At about a half-dozen locations -- including precincts in Monessen, Arnold, Greensburg, Jeannette and Unity Township -- workers turned off the machines. That required technicians to be dispatched to retrieve the ballot software, transport it to the courthouse for reprogramming and then return it to the polling place.

The issue kept reoccurring throughout the day, causing some machines to be shut down rather than reprogrammed. Because of the glitch, poll workers were asked to reset the machines after every ballot was cast. ..

Electronic Voting Machines' Testing Unreliable

Excerpt Lou Dobbs Tonight October 26, 2006
Turning now to our special series, "Democracy at Risk", it's a case of special interest over the national interest. The laboratories testing and certifying e-voting machines are paid, paid by the manufacturers of e-voting machines. It's an outrageous conflict of interest that is putting our democracy, tonight, at risk.

Kitty Pilgrim reports. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With only 12 days before the November election, the Election Assistance Commission was begging manufacturers and testers of electronic voting machines to reassure them the election would work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is my vote going to count? Your comment, please?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you go to the polls, yes.


PILGRIM: But at this hearing in Washington, a clear demonstration of just how cozy manufacturers are with the labs who test their machines. Executives sat elbow to elbow on the same panel and testified together.

Electronic voting machines have proven reliability and security flaws. But the labs who test and certify those machines are actually hired and paid by the manufacturers themselves.

WARREN STEWART, VOTETRUSTUSA: The manufacturers contract directly with the laboratories and pay for the testing that is done. So the manufacturers essentially are the clients of the testing labs.

PILGRIM: Sure enough, testing labs at today's hearing refer to the manufacturers as their clients.

FRANK PADILLA, WYLE LABORATORIES: Independent test labs normally do not release test report data to any other source but the client and who the client directs us to release them to.

PILGRIM: Shouldn't the testing labs be more independent of the manufacturers? The government panel ducked the question.

BRIAN HANCOCK, ELECTION ASSISTANCE COMM.: If there are other ways of trying to do that, we would be more than happy to hear from anyone out there that would like to talk to us. Virtually every other governmental program does it that way.


PILGRIM (on camera): Manufacturers say their electronic voting machines are proprietary and the labs can't release the information publicly. But voters are demanding to know why the entire process is so secret, why the manufacturers and the testing labs are defending their relationship and most importantly, why voting machines are failing in elections all across this country -- Lou.

DOBBS: These manufacturers -- the entire government must think that the American people are the biggest fools on this planet. This is absolutely -- there's no other word for it. It is scurrilous, disgusting. It is ridiculous. Why in the world is anyone tolerating this relationship and this entire process?

PILGRIM: Well, many of the voters activists we've been talking to are delighted that some of this is coming to light, because the relationship has been so secret and so quiet that the public has not been aware.

DOBBS: Well, Kitty Pilgrim, thanks for making them so.

Kitty Pilgrim, reporting tonight from New York.

Thank you, Kitty.

Coming up next here, the election is nearing. The stakes are high and we'll have three of the best minds in politics here to tell us what's happening, what's likely to happen.

Testimony Michael I. Shamos
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University   
October 27, 2006

The following testimony was delivered at the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) Public Hearing on the Draft Voting System Testing and Certification Program Manual in Washington, DC on October 26, 2006. It is reposted with permission of the author.

...The fundamental problem with federal testing to the [2005] Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG) is a built-in lack of transparency. The laboratories are paid by the manufacturers seeking certification, and they are answerable to the manufacturers. They have no other perceived responsibility other than to retain their accreditation. They have no defined duty to the public or even
to the states that rely on their certifications.

via links

Currently in PA, Provisional Ballots must be paper ballots.
Be aware of what is coming, the computerization of PBs.
PA, ready, set...

Project Vote Policy Brief No. 6 Provisional Ballots see reference to Demos

Civil Action No. 06-481
Declaration of Michael I. Shamos
Pennsylvania Voters File Suit to Halt Use of Touch-Screen Electronic Voting Systems in November
Will Computers Fix the Vote?
Sierra Club
Voting Machines Modernization Act

Voting Coalition leaders In search of a few good voting machines

The Intelligencer

They've masterminded theatrical public forums with props, fife and drum corps, even a Paul Revere impersonator, to draw attention to their cause.

Is HAVA Being Abused? Part I
The 1990 Voting System Standards are Certainly Outdated. Are They Illegal, Too?
by John Gideon and Ellen Theisen (pdf)

Montgomery County's voting machines and the software used to tabulate the votes cast on them were tested successfully this week in Harrisburg.

The successful test follows the software's failure in a test conducted by state officials before the primary election.,0,1493968.story?coll=all-newslocalquakertown-hed

Sequoia Advantage Recertification Exam
by Steve Strahs, Montgomery County Election Reform Network

October 11, 2006

A Good Show, But Questions Remain: PA Sequoia Re-exam
By Marybeth Kuznik, VotePA

E-voting machine consultant rips party leaders for no-show

Most do not trust new electronic voting machines

'Fleeing voters' might be no voters Oct. 15, 2006

State says incomplete ballots shouldn't count; Montco says otherwise.
By Brian Callaway Of The Morning Call
THE STATE is telling election workers to cancel the votes of ''fleeing voters,'' people who may select their candidates, but fail to formally cast their ballots. Some say the state directive is tantamount to voter disenfranchisement.

BEFORE, election workers had the discretion to finalize those ballots and make sure they're counted.,0,6862956.story?coll=all-newslocal-hed

Every company says its security features -- the keys, seals, cards, codes and multiple memory backups -- are sound enough to withstand the most sophisticated assaults. As the state continues testing at least 11 other electronic voting devices, mostly of the touch-screen variety, activists agitate for the only voting insurance policy they say the Commonwealth needs: good old-fashioned paper.

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