Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Security Concerns At D.C.’s Early Vote Centers

Recently, I have been raising my concern about security at the District’s four Early Vote Centers http://www.dcboee.us/, which will open this Saturday, September 4, and continue through Saturday, September 11 (excluding Sundays). The Centers will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and only electronic touch-screen voting machines will be available to voters in the Centers.

In today’s The Washington Times, Deborah Simmons’ article “Early Voting in D.C. Stirs Fear Over Ballot Security” at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/aug/30/early-voting-in-dc-stirs-fear-over-ballot-security/ addresses my concerns and those of others about the security at the Centers.

At last week’s special meeting of the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics (DCBOEE), a public witness reminded the DCBOEE that three of the four Centers will be located in public facilities owned and operated by the District government.

They comprise a community center, a recreation center, and a junior high school which she stated are controlled by the Mayor who is seeking a second term in office. She raised her concern that the Mayor has unlimited access to these facilities at a time when he is in a heated election.

At a recent press conference, the DCBOEE Executive Director, Rokey Suleman, stated that the votes of the day in each of the Centers will be contained in the electronic machines overnight. Further, Suleman informed the group that when the Centers close at 7:00 p.m. on September 11, the machines will contain all the votes cast in the respective centers.

When questioned, Suleman demonstrated the DCBOEE’s use of security tape and locks on the voting machines. He informed the group that these measures will reveal if the machines have been tampered with while unattended overnight.

I do not believe this is enough security.

When it comes to elections, perception is everything. I encourage the DCBOEE to hire overnight security for all four of the Early Vote Centers.

Why cast doubt on the results of our September 14 Primary Election. After all, simple measures keep elections clean, fair, and transparent.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Keep Politics Out Of The Electoral Process

This morning I testified to keep politics out of the electoral process at a special meeting of the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics (Board) http://www.dcboee.org/popup.asp?url=/pdf_files/nr_563.pdf.

D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, who is seeking re-election to a second term, petitioned the Board to amend the provisions in the Board’s regulations to allow independent “no party” voters to vote in the upcoming September 14 Primary Election.

As I stated at the special meeting, District law does not allow a registered voter to change his or her party affiliation or an independent voter to register with a party within 30 days prior to an election.

It is the voter’s responsibility to declare their intention to be affiliated with a party or not on the Board’s Voter Registration Application http://www.dcboee.org/pdf_files/Mail_VRForm_HAVA2003.pdf which clearly states that:

To vote in a primary election, (emphasis provided) you must also:
· Be registered in the party holding the primary election for at least 30 days prior to the election.”

Further, under “Party Registration” on the application in section 9 the voter is required to “check one box” for the Democratic Party; Republican Party; D.C. Statehood Green Party; no party (independent); and other party (write name below) at which there is a line provided.

The following statement is also included in section 9:

PLEASE NOTE: (emphasis provided)
To vote in a primary election in the District of Columbia, you must be registered
with the Democratic, Republican or D.C. Statehood Green Party.”

And finally I pointed out that Mr. Fenty’s campaign chairman Bill Lightfoot is quoted in today’s edition of The Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/24/AR2010082407082.html?hpid=newswell&sid=ST2010082302851 in which he is quoted stating that:

“…the mayor is trying to ‘give equal treatment’ to nonaffiliated voters. ‘Mayor
Fenty’s position is that as many people as possible should vote, especially those
who share his vision that education is our foundation,’ Lightfoot said.”

Nonaffiliated voters have and have had ample opportunity to either affiliate with any one of the three major parties or not prior to the September 14 Primary. If they chose not to do so then they cannot vote on September 14.

The Board closed it special meeting by issuing its decision in an Order http://www.dcboee.org/popup.asp?url=/pdf_files/nr_567.pdf to deny the Mayor Fenty’s petition.

I commend the Board for keeping politics out of the elctoral process.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Last Regularly Scheduled DCBOEE Meeting Before the September 14 Primary Election

The DC Board of Elections and Ethics (DCBOEE) will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. in Room 280-North of the One Judiciary Square building at 441 Fourth Street, N.W.

Among other matters on the agenda which is posted on the BOEE Web site www.dcboee.org , the Executive Director will report on the preparations for the primary election and the General Counsel will report on the emergency and proposed rulemaking to amend the DCBOEE regulations regarding political and ethical conduct of Board Members, voter registration, election procedures, tabulation and certification of election results, and definitions.

This meeting was originally scheduled for August 4 and was postponed until tomorrow. Since then Togo West has been appointed to the Board and this will be his first meeting. However, with his appointment, a vacancy still exists on the Board.