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Monday, August 20th, 2007

her vote">They lost her vote

Singer/songwriter Ellen Bukstel wrote the song They Lost My Vote with former National Organization for Women Ft. Lauderdale president Nancy Wuerzburger after the 2006 election in Florida. During that contest, Christine Jennings lost a race for Florida’s 13th congressional district by several hundred votes — and over 18,000 votes went missing! Just spotted this music video version here. You can watch it below.

The Christine Jennings story was a part of Dan Rather’s report last week on HDNet.

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

WIRED: election reform, TIRED: broken elections (*updated)

Threat Level is a blog in the WIRED blog network. It’s a blog about “privacy, security and crime online,” but many of the posts are about the technological side of election reform. I just bookmarked it, and will be visiting often. Here are a few recent posts that will be of interest to the Why Tuesday? audience:

Senate to Hold Hearing on Security of Voting Machines (Today)

In the wake of the California report released last week showing that Red Team security researchers were able to hack voting machines from three of the top voting machine companies, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) announced today that the Senate Rules and Administration Committee will hold a hearing in September to examine the report’s findings.

[snip]

One wonders where the senator has been the last four years that she’s surprised by the findings revealed in the report. Feinstein introduced a bill earlier this year that would require voting machines nationwide to produce a paper trail, but the bill has received little support in the Senate thus far.

CA Releases Results of Red-Team Investigation of Voting Machines: All Three Systems Could Be Compromised (July 27)

The team found that it could compromise all three of the top voting systems used in the state made by Diebold Election Systems, Hart Intercivic, and Sequoia Voting Systems, with the caveat that many, but not all, of the attacks they were able to accomplish on the machines could be mitigated with proper physical security of the machines, security training of staff, and contingency planning.

GAO Briefs House on Investigation into Disputed Florida Election (July 27)

The Government Accountability Office will be providing a closed briefing to Congress today regarding the progress of its investigation into last year’s disputed election in Sarasota County, Florida. You’ll recall that the race in question, in Florida’s 13 Congressional District, is under investigation due to questions about more than 18,000 ballots that registered no vote in that race and complaints from numerous voters that touch-screen voting machines used in the election failed to respond to their touch.

Click here for all of the Threat Level posts about E-Voting. All that I’ve seen are written by journalist Kim Zetter.

* A new post from Kim:
CA Releases Source Code Review of Voting Machines — New Security Flaws Revealed; Old Ones Were Never Fixed

Monday, November 20th, 2006

2006 Turnout: Numbers are low. EDR of questionable impact in Montana. On we go.

The dust is settling, and all speculation is about the impact of this year’s election on national and foreign policy. If you’re reading this blog you’ve probably read a lot about this year’s elections already: about your own local or state contests and the national issues that galvanized the voter base.

Without being unduly negative, it seems like a good idea to attach some numbers to the adjectival discussion of this momentous midterm. The most straightforward one is this: according to the non-partisan Center for the Study of the American Electorate (CSAE), national turnout was around 83 million this year, or 40.4% of the population. There are some interesting details: despite strong/record turnout in states like Virginia and Tennessee, not all states with hot races saw turnout bumps- Maryland, Minnesota, and Florida all reported drop-offs, despite each having competitive races. Click here to read the full report.

It’s also interesting to see what effect Montana’s experiment with EDR had. Despite causing some delays, it seems to have run very smoothly. Did it increase turnout? A look at the CSAE’s numbers casts some doubt. Montana’s turnout in 2002 (the last mid-term election) was 48.02%, compared to 55.58% in this year’s election. That’s a healthy jump of 7.56%, compared to a 0.7% increase nationally. BUT, if we compare Montana to seven other states with races that were either tight or widely publicized (Connecticut, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia), we see that they on average enjoyed a 6.55% increase in participation. Amongst that pack, then, it’s not clear that EDR had a dramatic effect.

Which isn’t to say that it’s not a good idea: even a small impact is good, so long as the integrity of the process isn’t compromised, as is any measure that makes voting more convenient for those who fulfill their civic responsibility.

What seems most important to us is to remember- amidst all the comparative values- that the numbers we’re dealing with are still very low. A look at the CSAE’s report shows that, even in states celebrating record turnout, we’re dealing with participation in the low 40- and 50-percent range. Even if one takes the higher numbers offered by political campaigns and various state offices you’re still in the same ballpark.

Bottom line: there’s still work to do. And there’s a big election in a couple of years. So we’re gonna keep on asking why, and trying to figure out how to get as many citizens into the voting booths as possible.

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Why Tuesday? is a non-partisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2005 to find solutions to increase voter turnout and participation in elections... More

The Answer

In 1845, before Florida, California, and Texas were states or slavery had been abolished, Congress needed to pick a time for Americans to vote... More

Recent Comments

Patrick, France is a post-Christian secular country. Relatively few of them attend church, and voting on Sunday does not interfere with their religious practices, because most of the population is not religious...

Posted by John on blog post Why Do We Vote On Tuesday?

In France they last voted on a Sunday. France is despite the Bourbon legacy a largely Catholic country, yet they vote on Sunday...

Posted by Patrick on blog post Why Do We Vote On Tuesday?

I think weekend voting would make the most sense, as people wouldn't have tu run home after work or wake up early to hit the polling stations beforehand.

Posted by Zander on blog post Why Do We Vote On Tuesday?