Tag Archives: voting

The Status of Electoral Reform in Utah

Today is Green Blog Action Day over at Green Change.  The topic for today is electoral reform, which is addressed  in the Green Party’s platform.   It will be interesting to read from bloggers on Green Change from all over the country on the topic of electoral reform.   My contribution to the Green Blog Action Day today is to provide a summary of electoral issues in Utah, including bills up for adoption during this year’s Legislative Session.

The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, that resulted in granting corporations the same constitutional rights as people have, has, in essence, made a mockery of campaign finance laws and election laws in general.   We have before us, then, greater challenges than ever before in the world of electoral politics.

One of the biggest issues at the forefront in Utah has been election fraud, an issue that many states have faced.  Voters have found in recent years that their votes haven’t counted or they weren’t even able to vote, or that the electronic voting machines were flawed.  Greens, such as David Cobb, 2004 Green Party Presidential Candidate, have been at the forefront of demanding vote recounts in elections where fraud was suspected.  "Either every vote is sacred, or democracy is a sham."~ David Cobb, December 2009

Many readers may remember the Utah election news of 2006 that made national headlines, news that cost one brave Utah Elections Clerk his job.  This video clip says it all:

Election Integrity is the focus of  Utah: Count Votes!, which has a number of documents posted at its site on election laws in Utah.  Created by renowned Mathematician Kathy Dopp (Green who ran for Summit County Elections Clerk in 2006), the site is filled with accounts, facts and evidence of election fraud in Utah’s elections history:

Utah must adopt the same measures that California has adopted if Utah wants fair and accurate election outcomes. California source code reviews and red team penetration tests found that "the Diebold software contains vulnerabilities that could allow an attacker to install malicious software on voting machines and on its central election management systems, which could cause votes to be recorded incorrectly or to be miscounted" and that "some threats would be difficult, if not impossible, to remedy with election procedures". The Diebold Source Code Review Team found that "both the electronic and paper records of the Diebold TSx direct recording electronic voting machine contain enough information to compromise the secrecy of the ballot". Diebold voting system violates the Utah constitution which requires a secret ballot.

(NOTE:  Kathy Dopp is now in New York pursuing a PhD in political science and has a blog entitled "Election Mathematics").

This year’s lawmakers in Utah will be considering H.B. 95 Certification of Voting Equipment Modifications, which
requires voting equipment to be certified by the United States Election Assistance Commission

The EAC is an independent entity, established by the Help America Vote Act to help ensure election integrity in the United States.  More bills before the Utah Legislature are listed towards the end of this post.

Election integrity issues are not unique to national and state elections in Utah.  The ACLU of Utah reported election irregularities in the Ogden Municpal election of 2007.

The report concludes that while the letter of the law may not have been fully abridged, the spirit of the election was certainly violated by inappropriate actions, including unnecessary voter challenges and poll worker error. The report also details that 146 voters were challenged, 1646 provisional ballots were cast, and of those 478 were rejected. 180 of the 478 rejected votes were not counted because the voter was not registered, but the remaining 298 were discounted due to technical or other error.
As a result of this investigation, the ACLU made these recommendations:
legislative reform, enhanced election oversight and standardized, higher quality training for election officials. The organization also encourages civic groups to participate in the process in order to assure transparency and voter confidence.

The ACLU of Utah continues its efforts to educate constituents on a variety of issues, one being Election Day Registration, eliminating the need for provisional ballots (interestingly, see comment below list of bills before Utah’s lawmakers this year about Utah’s "abandoned bills").

The Governor’s Commission on Strengthening Utah’s Democracy published a series of recommendations in the areas of campaign finance, voting accessibility, and enforcement presented to the Governor in November 2009:


Local public radio station, KCPW, aired a segment on Election Reform in Utah, which can be heard here

2010 could be the year for campaign finance reform in Utah.  The Governor’s Commission on Strengthening Utah’s Democracy has approved several recommendations that are being turned into bills at the state legislature, including campaign contribution limits and a commission to enforce election laws.  We talk with Commission Chairman Kirk Jowers and State Representative Craig Frank.

There are a number of other bills being addressed on elections and campaigns in Utah, some listed below (click on the link to read the bill).

On Voting:
HB0079Valid Voter Identification Amendments
HB0161Voter Registration Amendments
HB0044Referendum Ballot Proposition Amendments
HB0244Provisional Ballot Amendments for Unregistered Voters
HB0245Voter Challenge Amendments
HB0254Voter Identification Amendments
HB0258Voting Precinct Boundaries
HB0358Voting by Mail
SB0053Voter Challenge Revisions

On Elections:
HB0368Election Day Voting Centers
SB0018Election Modifications
SB0119Special Elections Modifications
SB0195Elections, Lobbying, and Campaign Finance Enforcement Commission

On Campaign Finance:

HB0056Amended Campaign Financial Statements
HB0059Campaign Finance Revisions
HB0124 and HB0124S01Campaign Funds Expenditure Restrictions
HB0160Campaign Finance Provisions

It is interesting to note at the bottom of the page on Elections bills, these two bills that were "abandoned" (and therefore have no link to their texts):  "Oversight of Local Elections" and "Same Day Voter Registration"

Utah has interesting and challenging issues before its Legislators at this time.  Democracy is eminently at stake.  It is important that citizens closely monitor election bills, contact /visit their representatives to register their desires on issues, write letters to the editors of their local newspapers, visit the capitol during the legislative session, and attend any opportunities afforded to citizens to learn more about the legislative process.

(cross-posted to Utah Legislature Watch, Green Party Watch, and Green Change)





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I voted today – and was asked to take off my mckinney button

So today I voted at an early voting location at the University of Utah. I wore my McKinney/Clemente button on my jacket:

When I registered I was asked by a poll worker to remove my button. Of course I asked why. I was told that it was a form of campaigning. So then I asked what if I showed up in a t-shirt with the logo/slogan of my candidate and was told I would have to turn it inside out.

Because I was in a hurry, I decided not to challenge this. Besides, on the back of my backpack I had another button that the poll workers didn’t see (I took that photo after I voted so I wouldn’t attract attention to it):

When I got home I found the Utah code and an item from the ACLU that explains the law on wearing campaign items to the polls:

From the ACLU:

Can I take election materials with me into my
polling place?

Yes. You can take written or printed election
materials with you as long as they?re for your own
use in casting your ballot. Examples include a
sample ballot, a voter guide, or this card. But you?re
not allowed to show or distribute these materials to
anyone else within 150 feet of your polling place, and
you may not be allowed to wear campaign clothing,
stickers, or buttons in your polling place unless you
cover them up. Utah Code Ann. § 20A-3-501.

From the Utah Annotated Code
20A-3-501. Polling place — Prohibited activities.
(1) As used in this section:
(a) “electioneering” includes any oral, printed, or written attempt to persuade
persons to refrain from voting or to vote for or vote against any candidate or issue; and
(b) “polling place” means the physical place where ballots and absentee ballots are
cast and includes the county clerk’s office or city hall during the period in which
absentee ballots may be cast there.
(2) (a) A person may not, within a polling place or in any public area within 150
feet of the building where a polling place is located:
(i) do any electioneering;
(ii) circulate cards or handbills of any kind;
(iii) solicit signatures to any kind of petition; or
(iv) engage in any practice that interferes with the freedom of voters to vote or
disrupts the administration of the polling place.
(b) A county, municipality, school district, or local district may not prohibit
electioneering that occurs more than 150 feet from the building where a polling place is
located, but may regulate the place and manner of that electioneering to protect the
public safety.
(3) (a) A person may not obstruct the doors or entries to a building in which a
polling place is located or prevent free access to and from any polling place.
(b) A sheriff, deputy sheriff, or municipal law enforcement officer shall prevent
the obstruction of the entrance to a polling place and may arrest any person creating an
(4) A person may not:
(a) remove any ballot from the polling place before the closing of the polls, except
as provided in Section 20A-4-101; or
(b) solicit any voter to show his ballot.
(5) A person may not receive a voted ballot from any voter or deliver an unused
ballot to a voter unless that person is a poll worker.
(6) Any person who violates any provision of this section is guilty of a class A
(7) A political subdivision may not prohibit political signs that are located more
than 150 feet away from a polling place, but may regulate their placement to protect
public safety.

Amended by Chapter 75, 2007 General Session
Amended by Chapter 329, 2007 General Session

Okay, so I broke the law. But I’m smiling….

Head Roc: We Want a Change in America


Young independent voter switching  from Obama to McKinney.

In this election season, message, media and medium are important. Some of All Parts, an underground Hip Hop group spreads the message of the Green Party through the medium of music. Their new song, "Run
(historical moment)" welcomes both youth, and People of Color, particularly from the Hip Hop generation to the Green Party. Presidential nominee, Cynthia McKinney and her counterpart Rosa Clemente, are taking the once white, middle class driven party to the masses, and reaching people of color.

With songs like "Run," the Some of All Parts (SoAP) represents the increasing dissatisfaction America has with the Democratic Party and that the alternative option is becoming the imperative. In the third
verse, of "Run," rapper 5 Fifths put its plainly "You can’t blacklist a black sista/with the power of the people and force of a
twista/they tried to kick her out/she came right back/America blacked out/she brought the like back." Some of All Parts is one group that adds to the growing list of endorsements which includes M-1 of dead prez, Professor Griff of Public Enemy, la Bruja, N.Y. OIL, Riders Against the Storm, and Rebel Diaz. Perhaps SoAP will spark other artists to step up to the political plate.

Some of All Parts is the first Hip Hop group or artist to both publicly endorse Cynthia McKinney and create a song specifically referencing her. With lines like "You’re the one, run Cynthia run, shinning like a sun,
run Cynthia run, you’re the one, run Cynthia run, the movement has begun, so run, run run," they will surely add to the growing movement of Green Party politics.

A group that started in sound engineer, Danny Velarde’s San Francisco basement, SoAP, has grown to include Carlos Bryant, pianist and co-producer, and emcee/rapper Joe Truss, known as 5 Fifths. Also featured in "Run" is Noodlez/Kenny a moving vocalist. The group makes both conscious music as well as light hearted and fun music. Look for updates, contact information, lyrics, and an extended biography on their website http://www.myspace.com/thesomeofallparts. Their highly anticipated video for "Run" at http://www.youtube.com/someofallparts, with 1800 plays in 8 days, is making waves on the internet. SoAP stays true to their name, by doing their part in cleaning up hip hop.

If you would like more information on this topic, or to schedule an
interview with Some of All Parts, please contact Joe at someofall at gmail.com

Preserving the Integrity of Democracy – Cynthia McKinney

Cynthia McKinney has taken the Standing for Voters Pledge and has also pledged to use her campaign to preserve the integrity of democracy:

Scientific American, CBS News, AP, CNN, Wash.Post, NYT discuss U.S. Voting Machine Flaws

This was forwarded to me by Utah: Count Votes!

Dear Citizens and Voters,

Recent (August) articles and videos by Scientific American, The Associated Press, CBS News, The NY Times, The Washington Post, a top Republican cyber-security expert, and others, discuss the flaws of
U.S. voting machines.

These articles and videos are particularly important because our national press has not until now diligently informed us on election integrity and voting system issues.

Of specific interest are:

1.  the videos by Republican security expert Stephen Spoonamore,

2. articles by Ph.D. computer scientists rebutting the recent book
“Electronic Elections” by e-voting proponents,

3. *Today’s* CNN’s Lou Dobbs report that Diebold/Premier has publicly admitted that its machines drop votes from entire touch-screen memory cards and has warned all jurisdictions that use its machines of the
“bug” that can lose hundreds of votes in each county.  (Lou Dobbs video should be publicly available on U-Tube by tomorrow.)

NOTE: Any very close recent election outcomes implemented Diebold/Premier touchscreen voting machines are in doubt.


Please read these articles or view these videos and support strong,
scientific post-election auditing procedures.


AP & USA Today:  States throw out costly electronic voting machines
Aug. 19, 2008

Scientific American: Planning to E-Vote? Read This First, Aug. 18, 2008

CBS News: Voting Machine Doubts Linger, Aug. 16, 2008
Concerns Over Vulnerability Of Electronic Machines Sending Many States
Back To Paper Ballots

NY Times: Officials Say Flaws at Polls Will Remain in November, Aug. 16, 2008
[NOTE: Officials in two states admit that their voting machines are
not accurately casting or counting votes]

Washington Post: Ohio Voting Machines Contained Programming Error That Dropped Votes, Aug. 21, 2008 [Note: States like MD with paperless voting cannot detect these errors in their vote counts using audits.
States like OH and UT can detect the dropped votes *if* they do valid audits (Utah does not. Ohio does)]

Company acknowledges voting machine error, Aug. 21, 2008

Did Washington waste millions on faulty voting machines? Aug 15, 2008

Voting System Standards: All Form and No Substance, June 12, 2008

Opinion – Help Our Veterans Vote, Aug. 11, 2008

Editorial – The Right to Vote, Aug. 9, 2008

Editorial – A Bad Electronic Voting Bill, Aug. 3, 2008

States seek workarounds for e-voting systems

Veterans focus of Dem voting law reform

How do you compare security across voting systems? Aug. 19, 2008 by Dan Wallach, Rice U. Computer Scientist [This paper refutes the work of two political scientists Thad Hall (U. of Utah) and Michael Alvarez
(CA IT) (http://press.princeton.edu/titles/8641.html)  who support e-voting and claim that “paper ballots would fail to meet the standards to which e-voting is held.” The computer scientists’ conclusion is that “Of voting technologies presently on the market and certified for use in most states, precinct-based optical scanning systems appear to have the best resistance to security attacks, based on our complexity analysis.” ]
O(1) attacks where one or a handful of attackers can change an
arbitrary number of ballots
O(P) attacks where you may need to get all P poll workers involved if
you want to tamper with N ballots
O(N) attacks that require you to bribe each voter individually

States rush to dump touch-screen voting systems, Aug. 21, 2008

Vote fraud, crumbling democracy’s bedrock, Aug. 21, 2008


Republican Cyber Security expert, Stephen Spoonamore,  says Diebold is
stealing elections (see segment #3):
Segment #1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAyEfovA404
Segment #2  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTBLfgos5b8&feature=related
Segment #3  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzKbigGoMoo&feature=related
Segment #4  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vNvweInGFs&feature=related
Segment #5  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rX8fRwsTpoQ&feature=related

Each week until the election  UNCOUNTED will release a clip because
people need to see stories that will motivate them to stand up and
help save our democracy.

WEEK 7: The Electronic Voting Machine Hokey Pokey (You Put Your Right
Vote In. It Spits Your Wrong Vote Out
Week 6:   The Sleeping Media  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdpclsWYomM
Week 5: Playing to Win with a Full Deck of Race Cards
Week 4: The Athan Gibbs Story http://youtube.com/watch?v=c8ewsDxXQD4
Week 3: [Utah discovery] Diebold’s Disreputable Distinction is Dead On
Deserved  http://youtube.com/watch?v=zwHX7zDVkuc
Week 2: Miller Dollar Programmer
Week 1:  The Ballad of Steve Heller  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkhXzW32Rrs

TO OBTAIN A COPY OF THE FILM UNCOUNTED: http://www.uncountedthemovie.com

LWV, US links you to your State information. http://www.VOTE411.org
Check to be certain that you are registered to vote about a month
prior to the election.

The material expressed herein is the informed product of the author Kathy Dopp’s fact-finding and investigative efforts. Dopp is a Mathematician, Expert in election audit mathematics and procedures; in exit poll discrepancy analysis; and can be reached at

P.O. Box 680192
Park City, UT 84068
phone 435-658-4657


How to Effectively Audit Election Outcome Accuracy

History of Confidence Election Auditing Development & Overview of
Election Auditing Fundamentals

Voters Have Reason to Worry

Volunteers needed in Utah for petition drive

I am helping with the Utahns for Cynthia McKinney campaign in an effort to get her on the ballot in Utah as an Independent Candidate for President of the United States.

Utah requires 1,000 signatures of registered voters.  We  must complete the drive by August 15th to allow time for certification of the signatures.

We need volunteers.  If 20 people volunteer, each will only have to obtain around 60 signatures. 

If you value choice for voters and can volunteer, please contact me by email – deanna@desertgreens.org.

Thank you in advance!

Diebold Accidentally Leaks Results Of 2008 Election Early


Illinois Green Party http://www.ilgp.org

Patrick Kelly, ILGP Media Coordinator,
773-203-9631, media@ilgp.org
Phil Huckelberry, Chair, ILGP Government &
Elections Committee, 309-268-9974,
Tom Abram, Media Committee, 847-814-6947,


Voters who hoped to participate in the Illinois’ first ever statewide Green Party primary are receiving a very rude reception at many polling places, especially in Chicago.

In the early hours of voting, Green Party officials began receiving reports from frustrated voters across the state who, in many cases, had been told by pollworkers that there are no Green Party ballots available at their polling places, or that they had to vote on suspect electronic
voting machines, even while other parties use paper ballots.

Some of the most outrageous incidents, however, occurred across the wards of Chicago, where Green Party ballots have been apparently tampered with so they can’t be read and accepted by voting machines, voters are given Democratic ballots despite requesting Green ballots.

What follows are a few examples of reports. Check http://www.ilgp.org for more reports as they are received. More information will also be available at the Green Party gathering tonight at Decima Musa Restaurant, 1901 S. Loomis, Chicago (in Pilsen).


A voter reports that all of the Green Party ballots had been folded in half, causing them to not feed through the machine properly. The Republican and Democratic ballots were not folded. Because his first ballot kept getting rejected by the machine, the voter was asked by pollworkers to fill out another Green Party ballot, which also had been previously folded. That ballot was not able to be read and was rejected as well.


Pollworkers didn’t have any green ballots available and were asking voters if they wanted a Democratic or Republican ballot (but not Green ballots).

25th WARD, 24th PRECINCT

A voter asked for a Green Party ballot three times, and was given a Democratic paper ballot
each time. Finally, on the fourth time, the voter was told only touch screen available for Greens.

31st WARD

Mary Ann Esler, Green Party Committeewoman in the 31st Ward, went in to vote in the Green Primary this morning. The election judges refused to give her a Green Party ballot. The Democratic Precinct Captain, who was supervising the judges told them that there were no ballots for the Green Primary because the Green candidates were running unopposed.

The confrontation ended when Mary found the ballots hidden under some papers on the judge’s table. The judges then went into a big huddle with the Democratic Precinct Captain while Mary marked her ballot.

35th WARD

Jeremy Karpen, live blogging from the 35th Ward polling place, gives the following reports:

9:00am: After reporting an election judge for not orally offering Green Party ballots (when he is offering Dem and Rep) he was visited by the Board of Elections and then he called me [an expletive]. I asked him first to either list all three ballots or simply ask people what ballot they prefer, he said “I can if I want to.”

9:09am: Craig (my committeeman and roommate) was just handed a “green” democratic ballot and got all the way to the little voting booth before he realized what had happened. Dear lord.

9:45am: The Election Judge, who now seems to have an attitude, when asked if Green is a real party, said “unfortunately” and stated that it “isn’t a real party.” The person he was talking to was an electioneer for Bradley’s campaign and not a voter but there certainly were other voters in the room.


47th WARD

A voter was told there were no Green Party ballots. During a call to report the incident, the pollworkers told him that he could vote using an electronic voting machine, but they did not have any paper ballots available (although paper ballots were available for the Republican and Democratic parties).


Green committeeman reports that the election judge is only offering Republican and Democratic ballots.


An election judge reports that judges were instructed to keep a tally of Green voters on a tally sheet that numbers up to 50. There is no such tally for the Democrats and Republicans.


A voter writes: “At approximately 11:30 am, at the polling place at 74 Park Drive, Glenview, Green Party ballots were still in shrink wrap, in
the box, in the cabinet. Officials at the desk were indignant about my disappointment, and challenged me to “have credentials” in order to
register my complaint.


A pollwatcher reports that and election judge asks voter “which parties’ primary ballot do you want?” The voter seemed confused by the question and the judge clarified by stating “Republican or Democrat”. The pollwatcher immediately interjected and corrected the judge and asked her to please state all three parties in the primary from now on.


A voter writes: “A judge repeatedly tried to give me a Democratic ballot, which I refused. The Green ballots were still wrapped up and semi-out of sight.  As I approached the tables, I could hear only “Republican or Democrat?” over and over.


A voter writes: “As I was leaving, the head lady was making a call about getting more Green ballots because they had only been sent three and at 7:30a they had already used 2 of them and she was worried about a run on Green voters.”


Find Out Your Voting Information

Can I Vote?

If you don’t know where to go to cast your ballot on Election Day, or…

If you’re not sure if you are registered to vote in your home state…

You’ve come to the right place. This site was created by the nation’s chief state election officials to help make voting as simple and convenient as possible. Keep reading and you’ll find a step-by-step guide to voting in 2006. Just follow the steps and vote!