Connecticut follows MOVE Act, avoids flaws – Others follow the money

Press Release from Secretary of the State, 10/13/2010: <read>

BYSIEWICZ: CONNECTICUT SUCCESSFULLY
IMPLEMENTING FEDERAL MOVE ACT TO
IMPROVE ABSENTEE BALLOTING FOR
OVERSEAS MILITARY VOTERS

SECRETARY OF THE STATE, CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION CONGRATULATE
CONNECTICUT TOWN CLERKS FOR IMPLEMENTING NEW FEDERAL DEADLINE
TO SEND GENERAL ELECTION ABSENTEE BALLOTS ELECTRONICALLY

HARTFORD: Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz and several members of Connecticut’s
Congressional delegation reported today that all of Connecticut’s cities and towns have
implemented the requirements of the federal Military Overseas Voter Empowerment
(MOVE) Act and have provided absentee ballots by mail or electronically to members of
the military serving overseas, depending on their stated preference. The office of
Secretary of the State Bysiewicz surveyed municipal clerks in all 169 Connecticut cities
and towns to ensure proper implementation of the new law. This survey was conducted
following the federally mandated deadline of September 18th to send ballots by mail, fax
or email to all registered voters currently overseas or in military who applied for them.

We particularly appreciate the statement from the President of the Town Clerks Association, we expect no less from all officials:

Joseph Camposeo, Town Clerk of Manchester and President of the Connecticut Town
Clerks Association, said, “The Town Clerks of Connecticut are committed to working at
the highest level of integrity for their customers and citizens
. The record clearly shows
that this commitment applies to the military absentee ballot process as well. I am proud
of our effort made by the Connecticut town clerks and trust that this manner of
compliance and efficiency will continue.”

We offer our complements to Secretary Bysiewicz, the Town Clerks, and Legislators who supported the MOVE Act, along with the many other states and officials who are implementing the MOVE Act with integrity.

We support most of the MOVE Act, yet have been constant critics of one part of the Act which provides for pilot projects for Internet voting for Military and Overseas voters. However, we have been a supporter of Connecticut’s implementation and decision to avoid the Internet voting bandwagon. We have suggested ways in which Connecticut could easily follow the lead of other states and do even better for our military and overseas voters.

We also complement Representative Rush Holt, a MOVE Act and voting integrity advocate, who  supported the Act without realizing it had the dangerous Internet voting provisions, listened to our criticism, offered corrective legislation, and pointed out the risks of Internet voting to the New York Times.

Big money and momentum behind efforts in other states to exploit flaws in the Act:

Hopefully, Internet Voting Will be banned before it costs an election. The recent Washington D.C. public test clearly demonstrated that the years of warnings by computer scientists, security experts, and advocates were fully justified. A new article from TruthOut is a very readable summary of the concerns and the continuing tendency to ignore those concerns by some election officials:  Computer Scientists, Election Integrity Advocates Question Feasibility of “Digital Democracy”. It is also the first article we have seen that effectively covers the money interests behind Internet voting. <read>

Despite the recent hack during public testing of DC’s Internet voting pilot and the rash of other security problems that have plagued the short history of online voting systems, elections entrepreneurs, along with some state officials and voter advocates, continue to make headway as they push for the adoption of i-voting technology. The practice – and the private voting systems industry that appears poised for more widespread adoption – has found an inroad via military and overseas voters…

The argument for technology as a tool to boost participation has already proven successful in paving the way for scandal-ridden DREs (direct-recording electronic voting machines), which were billed as the key to accessibility for voters with blindness and other disabilities. After the 2000 election, “The whole discussion really got hijacked by folks who wanted to go with e-voting for whatever reason and they basically used blind people to do it,” said journalist and blogger Brad Friedman…

Some advocates for military and overseas voters share Friedman’s skepticism. “Money and fame are real drivers, even in the election world,” wrote Overseas Vote Foundation (OVF) President and CEO Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat in an email to Truthout from her base in Munich. “There are vendors who will make a lot of money, or potentially hope to make a lot of money and become celebrated in their circle, by pushing this right now.”

The Department of Defense (DoD) declined to release the dollar amounts of the contract awards granted to the six vendors – Scytl, Everyone Counts, Konnech, Aquiline, Vexcel Corporation and Credence Management Solutions – citing two exceptions to federal acquisition regulations, one of which applies as long as a single contract is not expected to exceed $100,000. The DoD awarded 20 contracts for the project…

We recommend reading the entire article.

Update: Time Magazine covers the story in a bit less depth, yet misses the money issue: Will Online Voting Turn Into an Election Day Debacle? <read>

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