Most state constitutions require free and fair elections.
When did we abdicate that responsibility to corporate America?


     
  Voting Machine News



Matthew Pascarella is a student at Marymount Manhattan College in NYC and is a staff researcher for Greg Palast writes...While the mainstream media covered the 2000 Florida recount, they relaxed their investigative spirit (if such a spirit still exists in modern journalism) and tried to turn a complex story into something simple: ‘hanging chads’ and ‘stupid Floridians.’ Here is what they failed to tell you...

Joe Conason's Journal at Salon asks Why aren't Republicans more disturbed by the threat of computer cheating? This fall, at every venue I visit to sign books and talk about politics, at least one worried citizen asks whether I believe rogue computer software can steal the next election for the Republicans. Others nod, murmur, and wonder aloud...

Newsweek's Black Box Voting Blues ...But whatever we wind up using, it’s time for politicians to start listening to the geeks. They start from the premise that democracy deserves no less than the best election technology possible, so that the vote of every citizen will count. Can anyone possibly argue with that?

Dr. Charles E. Corry, The Equal Justice Foundation says "My own attempts at communicating with the top election officer in the Colorado Secretary of States office, an attorney with absolutely no technical or computer experience, met with 'Dr. Corry: I do not consider you an expert on anything, quite frankly, and please do not bother addressing me in any way in the future. Have a nice day. Bill Compton'"

Georgia Tech's Democracy and Technology: Electronic Voting and Georgia goes online in video. This event offered computer scientists, public officials, and industry representatives an opportunity to present their analyses to the Georgia public.

A Brief History of Computerized Election Fraud in America By Victoria Collier, A long time writer and political activist, who continues to educate the public on the subject of vote fraud in place of her father and uncle (authors of VoteScam).

Georgia and Ohio RFPs online at CTV
Read through and review the Requests for Proposals for these 2 states. Georgia's include Diebold's replies and unkept promises.



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  Monday, May 10, 2004

Voter Verified Paper Ballots REPEALED in Georgia
During committee hearings on SB-500 this spring, Senator Tate recalled that floor debate on the original legislation for DRE voting included the promise that the machines would require voter verified paper ballots. Our research shows this was the case:

21-2-301.
(a) The Secretary of State is authorized to conduct a pilot project to test and evaluate the use of electronic recording voting systems during the 2001 municipal elections. The Secretary of State in his or her discretion may select a number of municipalities to participate in such pilot program.
(b) Electronic recording voting systems used in the pilot program shall meet the requirements contained in Part 5 of Article 9 of this chapter and shall have been certified by the Secretary of State as provided in Code Section 21-2-379.2. Such voting systems shall be required to have an independent audit trail for each vote cast.

http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2001_02/fulltext/sb213.htm

Sadly, 21-2-301 was repealed effective July 1, 2003. Was this a classic bait and switch by the parties involved?

Perhaps, the Secretary of State of Georgia will one day be forced to answer these questions.


Posted at 7:13:38 AM EDT by RoxanneJ

  Wednesday, May 5, 2004

Submit Testimony
Thank you for your request to submit testimony for the May 5 Public Hearing on Electronic Voting. The Commission has asked that testimony for the hearing on electronic voting be submitted in writing, via email or fax, no later than close of business Wednesday, May 5. Please describe, at any length, your experience and views on the subject of electronic voting. Your testimony will be a part of the official record and proceedings of our hearing. Ideally, we would like your written testimony in Microsoft Word format to facilitate publishing on our website. Please send it to Testimony@eac.gov. As soon as possible, could you also provide us with your updated contact information including your full name (title optional), mailing address, phone, fax and email.

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions or concerns at 866/747-1471 (toll free) or directly at 202/566-3118.

Bryan Whitener U.S. Election Assistance Commission

Posted at 8:59:21 AM EDT by DenisWright

  Saturday, May 1, 2004

California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley on Diebold:
Banned, decertified, fraudulent, despicable, deceitful

High-Tech Voting System Is Banned in California

California has banned the use of more than 14,000 electronic voting machines made by Diebold Inc. in the November election because of security and reliability concerns, Kevin Shelley, the California secretary of state, announced yesterday. He also declared 28,000 other touch-screen voting machines in the state conditionally "decertified" until steps are taken to upgrade their security.

Mr. Shelley said that he was recommending that the state's attorney general look into possible civil and criminal charges against Diebold because of what he called "fraudulent actions by Diebold."

In an interview, Mr. Shelley said that "their performance, their behavior, is despicable," and that "if that's the kind of deceitful behavior they're going to engage in, they can't do business in California."

The move is the first decertification of touch-screen voting machines, which have appeared by the tens of thousands across the nation as states scramble to upgrade their election technology.

Posted at 11: 5:10 AM EDT by DenisWright

  Monday, May 10, 2004

Voter Verified Paper Ballots REPEALED in Georgia
During committee hearings on SB-500 this spring, Senator Tate recalled that floor debate on the original legislation for DRE voting included the promise that the machines would require voter verified paper ballots. Our research shows this was the case:

21-2-301.
(a) The Secretary of State is authorized to conduct a pilot project to test and evaluate the use of electronic recording voting systems during the 2001 municipal elections. The Secretary of State in his or her discretion may select a number of municipalities to participate in such pilot program.
(b) Electronic recording voting systems used in the pilot program shall meet the requirements contained in Part 5 of Article 9 of this chapter and shall have been certified by the Secretary of State as provided in Code Section 21-2-379.2. Such voting systems shall be required to have an independent audit trail for each vote cast.

http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2001_02/fulltext/sb213.htm

Sadly, 21-2-301 was repealed effective July 1, 2003. Was this a classic bait and switch by the parties involved?

Perhaps, the Secretary of State of Georgia will one day be forced to answer these questions.


Posted at 7:13:38 AM EDT by RoxanneJ

  Wednesday, May 5, 2004

Submit Testimony
Thank you for your request to submit testimony for the May 5 Public Hearing on Electronic Voting. The Commission has asked that testimony for the hearing on electronic voting be submitted in writing, via email or fax, no later than close of business Wednesday, May 5. Please describe, at any length, your experience and views on the subject of electronic voting. Your testimony will be a part of the official record and proceedings of our hearing. Ideally, we would like your written testimony in Microsoft Word format to facilitate publishing on our website. Please send it to Testimony@eac.gov. As soon as possible, could you also provide us with your updated contact information including your full name (title optional), mailing address, phone, fax and email.

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions or concerns at 866/747-1471 (toll free) or directly at 202/566-3118.

Bryan Whitener U.S. Election Assistance Commission

Posted at 8:59:21 AM EDT by DenisWright

  Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Georgia CountTheVote.org Co-Founder to Debate Diebold's Marketing Director on Air America Radio
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 28th, 2004

For further information, please contact:
Roxanne Jekot 770-906-4005
Hugh Esco 404-806-0480

Georgia CountTheVote.org Co-Founder to Debate Diebold's Marketing Director on Air America Radio

Tonight, from 8:20 until 8:50 Eastern, April 28th, 2004, Air America Radio's The Majority Report hosted by Janeane Garafolo and Sam Seder will feature a debate between Mark Radke, Diebold Director of Marketing and Roxanne Jekot, Cummings activist and Co-founder of CountTheVote.org.

CountTheVote.org activists have participated with the Voter Choice Coalition in the Georgia campaign for a Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail and passage of SB-500 in the Georgia General Assembly.

Diebold Election Systems, Inc. is currently facing fire on a number of fronts, particularly given recent action by the California Voting Systems and Procedures Panel which last week recommended, to the California Secretary of State, the decertification of the Diebold TSx touch screen machines used in California elections, as well as an Attorney General investigation into their criminal activities.

According to their website, "Air America Radio is . . . a new voice in talk radio: a smart voice with a sense of humor. It brings to the marketplace an unserved need. We give voice to what millions of Americans are thinking, but can't hear on radio. Until now!" The new radio network, broadcasting in nine states so far, as well as on both XM Satellite Radio - 167 and Sirius Satellite Radio - 125, can be heard on the internet at airamericaradio.com.

Posted at 8:57:55 AM EDT by RoxanneJ

  Friday, April 23, 2004

Georgians react to California's decertification
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 22nd, 2004

For further information, contact: Hugh Esco hesco@greens.org 404-806-0480
Roxanne Jekot thejekots@yahoo.com 770-906-4005

Voting Integrity Activists Welcome News from Maryland, California

California Officials Move to Decertify Diebold Voting Machines Asks Attorney General to Investigate Possible Criminal Activities

Georgians Ask When Will State Officials Act to Protect Public Confidence Here

The California Voting Systems and Procedures Panel in an unanimous decision today recommended that the Diebold voting machines used in four California counties be decertified for use in the state's elections and that a report of the Secretary of State's office be forwarded to the Attorney General's office to consider civil and criminal charges against the company.

"The Secretary of State's March 2004 response to our Open Records Request reveals that we in Georgia are using exactly the same system that California today decertified," said Roxanne Jekot of Cummings, a long time computer programmer who co-founded CountTheVote.org here in Georgia. "We would hope that Georgia would be wise enough to follow California's example."

The news of the California panel's recommendation to de-certify the Diebold machines follows on the heels of news of a major lawsuit filed yesterday by voting machine activists in Maryland and the release by a whistle-blower of internal memos speculating on whether Diebold might be criminally liable for installing uncertified software for use in a public election. In Schade, et al vs. Maryland State Board of Elections, plaintiffs seek an Order that the Diebold machines used state-wide in Maryland be decertified and that election officials be required to provide a voter verified paper audit trail in future elections.

"We made great strides in educating Georgia policy makers through our work to enact SB-500," said Hugh Esco, chair of the Voters Choice Coalition and political coordinator of the Georgia Green Party. "Our work has only begun, though. We're exploring potential litigation strategies with a number of attorneys who are ready to go to work. We're also hopeful that Governor Perdue will see fit to include this important issue in his Proclamation calling for a Special Session."

For background information, see:

The Voter Choice Coalition
http://www.voterchoice.org/auditableballots.php

CountTheVote.org
http://www.countthevote.org

Schade, et al vs. Maryland State Board of Elections
http://www.voterchoice.org/pdf/MdTruVote_Complaint.pdf

Internal Diebold Memos Speculating on Possible Criminal Prosecution
http://media.mnginteractive.com/media/paper190/ActionandBudget.pdf
http://media.mnginteractive.com/media/paper190/alamedacountyagreement.pdf
http://media.mnginteractive.com/media/paper190/CASecofState.pdf
http://media.mnginteractive.com/media/paper190/memorandum.pdf

Posted at 4:29:38 AM EDT by RoxanneJ

  Thursday, April 22, 2004

Drip, drip, drip...
Lawsuit challenges Md. voting machines

A citizens group in Takoma Park will file suit today against the state Board of Elections, contending that Maryland's 16,000 new electronic voting machines fail to comply with state law. The lawsuit, to be filed in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, asks that the machines be decertified until the manufacturer fixes security flaws and the devices are upgraded to print paper records of cast ballots.

Posted at 2:36:23 PM EDT by DenisWright

Uncertified Software... sounds strangely familiar.
Diebold Machine May Get Boot

By Kim Zetter

SACRAMENTO, California -- A California voting systems panel recommended Thursday that the secretary of state decertify an electronic voting machine made by Diebold Election Systems, making it likely that four counties that used the machines will have to find others for the November election.

The panel said the state should decertify the Diebold TSx. The TSx was used for the first time in California during the March primary in Kern, San Joaquin, Solano and San Diego counties. Kevin Shelley, California's secretary of state, has until April 30 to decide whether to act on the panel's recommendation. The state must give counties a six-month notice to take machines out of commission before an election.

The panel discovered last November that Diebold had installed uncertified software on the machines.

The voting panel also recommended to Shelley that he ask the state attorney general to examine the possibility of bringing civil and criminal charges against Diebold for violating California election codes, which state that vendors cannot change software without notifying the secretary of state's office. The codes also say that no vendor can install uncertified software on voting systems.


Rob Behler installed uncertified software on Georgia's voting machines prior to the 2002 "election"...

As Drudge might say.... DEVELOPING...

Posted at 1: 3:39 PM EDT by DenisWright

Uh.... are you paying attention Cathy Cox? I think you'd better be.
California votes against Diebold

SACRAMENTO, Calif.--California election officials on Thursday recommended banning some Diebold Election Systems voting machines in the state and referred an investigation into the company to the attorney general for possible civil and criminal sanctions.


First California, then Georgia, then Maryland and Ohio. Can you say "toast"? Sure you can...

Posted at 0:20: 8 AM EDT by DenisWright

US heading for another election fiasco as reforms fail
By Andrew Gumbel in Los Angeles
22 April 2004

The United States may be on the way to another Florida-style presidential election fiasco this year because legislation passed to fix the system has either failed to address the problems or has broken down because of missed deadlines and unmet funding targets.

Such is the conclusion of a damning new report by the US Commission on Civil Rights, a bipartisan government body which previously looked into the Florida mess and found alarming evidence of voter disenfranchisement among poor and minority groups, incorrectly compiled voter rolls and other glaring irregularities. "Many of the problems that the commission previously cautioned should be corrected yet prevail ... Unless the government acts now, many of those previously disenfranchised stand to be excluded again," the report said.

snip....

It said that out of 22 key deadlines that have come and gone since the act's passage, only five have been met. Most seriously, an oversight committee designed to advise states on streamlining their voting procedures and implementing the act's provisions was not appointed until last December, 11 months behind schedule. Most states are unlikely to make reforms before the presidential election on 2 November.

In addition, the Bush White House has consistently proposed less money than promised by the act, so states that have passed their own reform legislation have found themselves crucially short of money for implementation.

On signing the act 18 months ago, Mr Bush said: "When problems arise in the administration of elections we have a responsibility to fix them. Every registered voter deserves to have confidence that the system is fair and elections are honest, that every vote is recorded, and that the rules are consistently applied."

snip....

Read the rest at the Independent

Posted at 8:38: 9 AM EDT by RoxanneJ

  Wednesday, April 21, 2004

A moment of reflection for an ideal lost....
Nothing is more fundamental to the health and legitimacy of our representative form of government than insuring that all eligible citizens have an equal opportunity to make an electoral choice, and that they also have equal assurance that those choices will be properly counted. Should not government make every reasonable effort to insure that the choices citizens make in the voting booth are, to the maximum extent our technology and best thinking will permit, reflected in the tally we certify as the final election outcome? - Georgia Secretary of State, Cathy Cox, Report to the Governor and Members of the General Assembly, January 2001

Posted at 7:46:56 AM EDT by RoxanneJ

  Friday, April 16, 2004

A plea to Governor Perdue
Dear Governor Perdue:

We urgently request that you place on the agenda for the upcoming special legislative session consideration of Sen. Tom Price's SB-500, which, beginning October 1, 2004, would provide voters the assurance that their vote will be counted AS CAST for any audits and recounts of elections in Georgia.

The importance of this legislation cannot be overstated. When voters cannot know FOR A FACT how they voted (and this is indeed impossible when the so-called ballot is nothing but a virtual image created by proprietary software), they have effectively LOST the power of the vote.

Under these circumstances, one must ask in all seriousness, How much longer can democracy survive?

As an American deeply committed to the continuance of the most basic principles of democracy in Georgia, you will surely see the importance and urgency of this issue. We therefore look forward to your support in addressing such a vital matter in the state of Georgia.

Governor, We are counting on you. Please let us know what your decision is.

Click here to take action

Posted at 10:24: 2 AM EDT by RoxanneJ

  Tuesday, April 6, 2004

Voters need paper trail
THOSE FANCY electronic voting machines that made their statewide debut in last month's primary may be an improvement on the county-by-county hodgepodge of balloting devices used in the past. But there's no way to build voter confidence in their accuracy without providing back-up records on paper.

The Maryland Senate voted unanimously last week to upgrade the state's 16,000 touch-screen voting machines in time for this fall's presidential election to allow voters to double-check their choices on a printout. The House of Delegates should embrace that proposal.

An alternative House plan to wait until the 2006 elections creates a needless and potentially costly delay.

Maryland last year plunged hastily into its $55 million purchase of these machines, urged on by the promise of federal financing and undeterred by warnings from computer geeks that electronic voting is particularly vulnerable to mischief.

The machines' debut on primary day was marked by no more than the usual number of polling place snafus and foul-ups. But it's impossible to know for sure that each of the ballots was recorded as the voters intended because there is no way to check.

For example, the software could be altered -- accidentally or on purpose -- to record only 19 of every 20 votes cast for a particular candidate.

In a close contest, that 5 percent could make all the difference.

And the candidate who lost those votes would never know they were missing. Totals from the machines can be retabulated, but they would simply come up with the same numbers. That's not the same as an independent recount.

Reluctance to quickly add paper records against which voters could check to make sure their ballots are recorded properly appears to stem largely from concerns about the cost.

But if the state moves quickly, there is the prospect that it can prevail upon the manufacturer to provide the upgrades free, or at least at a discount, as an incentive to retain the state contract.

Even if it can't, ballot security is no place to economize. In these times of such bitter partisan divides, our democracy relies more heavily than ever on the confidence of the governed that razor-thin election margins are determined fair and square.

No matter what it costs to ensure that, we can't afford to wait.

Baltimore Sun Editorial

Posted at 5:55:19 AM EDT by RoxanneJ

  Wednesday, March 31, 2004

VVPB Hearing Rescheduled to Thursday, April 1, 10:00 AM EST
The hearing on SB-500 has been postponed until tommorow. Our bill has apparently been assigned to the Elections sub-committee, as we anticipated it would be. There is a sub-committee meeting scheduled for Thursday, April 1st, at 10:00 am, in Capitol Room 216. Their agenda includes holding a hearing on both SB-500 and SB-153 (related to qualifying fees for local office).

At 11:30 am, the House Committee on Governmental Affairs is scheduled to meet in the same room and to consider whatever bills may be recommended to it for action by the DeLoach sub-committee.

Keep doing everything you have been doing, particularly as it relates to constituent contact with Representatives Buddy DeLoach, Alan Powell, Calvin Smyre and Terry Coleman. We can still pass SB-500 in THIS session of the Assembly.

Posted at 10: 7:46 AM EDT by RoxanneJ

  Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Calling all Georgians! Be there!
From Georgia BBV Activist John Fortuin:

The Gov't Affairs Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow, March 31, on bill S.B.500 in their Elections Subcommittee at 2pm (OR upon adjournment of the House) at the LOB building room 506.

Hugh Esco has asked me to ask the public, and our coalition, to turn out in force. We must fill the meeting room.

In order to confirm all this, I called Chairman Alan Powell's office and spoke with Secretary Delaine Roberts at 2:00pm today, March 30. Delaine Roberts made it sound as if the Election Subcommittee was meeting and not the full government affairs committee. She said the public would be allowed to speak and she would bring a sign-up sheet for those who wish to speak to sign up on when the hearing begins. She said it was not definitive whether there would be a vote on the bill when the public comment portion of the hearing was over, and that would be up to the chair.

Prior to speaking with Delaine Roberts, I spoke with Eleanor Turner at Alan Powell’s office at 1:20pm and received the same information.

I also called Buddy DeLoach's office and spoke with Eva Farrell at 1:30pm. She told me that the full Governmental Affairs committee would meet at 2:00 or upon adjournment of the House.

I did all this confirmation calling at the behest of Hugh Esco, who is on the road and he said he may not have access to email until after the hearing. I got the impression that Hugh would be at the hearing from his message.

So partners, we are on our own to get organized for this hearing. Let’s pull out all the stops and demand a vote on S.B. 500 at the hearing, let’s fill the seats with our allies, and be prepared to send Secretary Cox running from the room in fear of a judicial inquiry into her relationship with Diebold. We should ask for Cox’s full support for implementation of a VVPB/VVAT trail by Oct. 1, 2004, or for her immediate resignation.

We can make it happen!

Posted at 0:34:55 AM EDT by RoxanneJ

  Thursday, February 12, 2004

Republicans step up as Democrats fail Georgians
Bill: Keep paper trail of voting

By CARLOS CAMPOS The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Published on: 02/10/04

Georgia's 28,000 electronic voting machines would be required to produce paper proof of a voter's ballot, under a law proposed Tuesday in the state Senate.

Senate Bill 500, sponsored by Sen. Tom Price (R-Roswell), would require the machines to produce paper records by October that could be tallied in case of a recount or close election.

A growing number of people nationwide are becoming distrustful of the new machines. Some computer experts have been joined by political and civic activists who worry the machines could be manipulated to change the outcome of an election.

snip.....

"One of the tenets of our system of government is that there's a reliable record of the vote, so if there's a dispute — which we've had in the past — there's a way to determine the outcome," Price said Tuesday. "I think it's important because my constituents have real concerns about the ability to determine the truth in an election that is contested. In all aspects of life . . . when safeguards are available, it behooves us to take advantage of those."

Some critics of touch-screen voting are pushing officials to outfit the machines with paper printers to verify a voter's intent. They want the paper ballots to serve as the official count in an election.

AJC.com

Join the discussion on our forums


Posted at 8:43:32 AM EDT by RoxanneJ

  Monday, February 9, 2004

Salon.com: Will the election be hacked?
A Salon special report reveals how new voting machines could result in a rigged presidential race -- and we'd never know.

(snip)

What she found alarmed her. The machines were state-of-the-art products from an Ohio company called Diebold. But the code -- which a friend of Jekot's had found on the Internet -- was anything but flawless, Jekot says. It was amateurish and pocked with security problems. "I expected sophistication and some fairly difficult to understand advanced coding," Jekot said one evening this fall at a restaurant near her home. But she saw "a hodgepodge of commands thrown all over the source code," an indication, she said, that the programmers were careless. Along with technical commands, Diebold's engineers had written English comments documenting the various functions their software performed -- and these comments "made my hair stand on end," Jekot said. The programmers would say things like "this doesn't work because that doesn't work and neither one of them work together." They seemed to know that their software was flawed.

To Jekot, there appeared to be method in the incompetence. Professional programmers could not be so sloppy; it had to be deliberate. "They specifically opened doors that need not be opened," Jekot said, suggesting the possibility that Diebold wanted to leave its voting machines open to fraud. And, ominously, the electronic voting systems used in Georgia, like most of the new machines installed in the United States since the 2000 election, do not produce a "paper trail" -- every vote cast in the state's midterm election was recorded, tabulated, checked and stored by computers whose internal workings are owned by Diebold, a private corporation.

much, much more - 4 page article....get Salon's free Day Pass if you're not a subscriber:

Today's Daypass sponsored by Focus Features's "Lost In Translation"

Posted at 10:58:24 AM EDT by RoxanneJ

  Saturday, February 7, 2004

Perhaps we can use this tactic?
GOP requests probe of 2 Democrats

By RHONDA COOK The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Published on: 02/06/04

The Georgia Republican Party on Friday asked the Democratic attorney general to investigate two top officeholders from his party for not responding to a GOP request for records.

State GOP Chairman Alec Poitevint said in a news release that Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor and Secretary of State Cathy Cox had not responded to the party's request for telephone and travel records.

Taylor and Cox are the top contenders for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2006.

Republicans made the request under the Georgia Open Records Act on Jan. 30. The law gives state officials three business days to provide requested state documents.

Spokesmen for Taylor and Cox said responses were mailed within the three days, but party officials said they had not yet received anything.

"It's presumably in the U.S. mail," Cox spokesman Chris Riggall said.

Kristi Huller, Taylor's spokeswoman, said a response was mailed Wednesday, the third business day after the request.

Source (AJC)

Posted at 11: 5:22 AM EDT by RoxanneJ

  Friday, February 6, 2004

R. Doug Lewis (TheElectionCenter) out of the certification business?
INFORMATION ON NASED QUALIFIED VOTING SYSTEMS

For 10 years, The Election Center handled the administrative function of the Voting Systems Program for the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED). All of those functions have now been transferred to the Federal government as of October 2003.

The new United States Election Assistance Commission (EAC) will be handling voting systems testing in the future. In the interim, the Office of Election Administration (of the Federal Election Commission…and soon to be transferred to the EAC) will handle inquires about voting systems and voting systems standards and Independent Testing Authorities.

Contact Brian Hancock at www.fec.gov or email at bhancock@fec.gov Phone: (800) 424-9530

All questions should be directed to Mr. Hancock.

http://www.electioncenter.org/about/nasedannouncement.doc

Posted at 9:37:34 AM EDT by RoxanneJ

  Thursday, February 5, 2004

Still not a word from Cathy Cox on the multitude of documented failures of Diebold Voting Machines...
Diebold PR department files early entry in 2004 "Black is White" contest

"Maryland Security Study Validates Diebold Election Systems Equipment for March Primary." That was the title of the self-congratulatory press release issued by Diebold in the wake of a report that found its voting machines to be horribly insecure. According to scientists at Raba Technologies, the consulting firm hired to hack into Diebold electronic voting system, it was an "easy matter" to use the system to steal an election. "We could have done anything we wanted to," William Arbaugh, a University of Maryland assistant professor of computer science who participated in the study told Wired News. "We could change the ballots (before the election) or change the votes during the election." Odd then that Diebold would claim that the report confirmed "the accuracy and security of Maryland's voting procedures and our voting systems as they exist today." But it did. "They took a study that was highly critical of them and claimed victory," said Avi Rubin, director of the Information Security Institute at Johns Hopkins University and author of an earlier report critical of the Diebold system. "I don't understand the continuous need to insist that things are OK." Said consultant Michael A. Wertheimer, a former National Security Agency analyst, "You are more secure buying a book from Amazon than you are uploading your results to a Diebold server," recommending several changes to increase security.


I guess Ms. Cox is too busy posing for Diebold propaganda brochures to address the concerns of Georgia voters.

Posted at 2:34:10 PM EDT by DenisWright

  Saturday, January 31, 2004

Via email...
Last night, WRFG-89.3FM, People's TV, and the Independent Media Project held a Town Hall, "America, an Endangered Democracy: The Danger of Electronic Voting," in downtown Atlanta.

Panelists and speakers included Cynthia McKinney, former US Representative (D-GA), Richard Searcy, Voters Independence Project, and Hugh Esco, Chair of Voter Choice Coalition and Political Coordinator, Georgia Green Party.

Absent from the forum was representation from Georgia's Secretary of State (SOS) Cathy Cox, who supervises elections in Georgia and is responsible for the decision to computerize all Georgia voting using Diebold Election Systems. Cox was invited to attend or send a representative; however, that chair on the panel remained strikingly empty.

This morning when contacted about this absence, the Elections' Division director, Kathy Rogers, said that the SOS's Elections' Division had conducted informational meetings for the public in the past, but with the upcoming elections to administer, everyone was too busy to attend this Town Hall.

Approximately 200-250 citizens weren't too busy.

By taking responsibility for making the decision for the citizens of Georgia about how our votes are cast and counted, the SOS's office must take responsibility for addressing the valid ongoing concerns that citizens have with a voting process that denies citizens the benefit of a transparent and auditable voting process.

If you have a few minutes today, please invest that time in doing something important to help insure your vote counts in Georgia elections by contacting Cathy Cox's office, as well as the Ga. Elections' Division, to express your concern for the lack of interest demonstrated by their absence from this important public forum.

Elections Division 404-656-2871 rumadison@sos.state.ga.us

SOS Executive Office 404-656-2871 sosweb@sos.state.ga.us

Thank you.

Posted at 10: 4:10 AM EDT by DenisWright

  Friday, January 30, 2004

Hacking Diebold in Maryland
  • One guy picked the locks protecting the internal printers and memory cards.

  • Another figured out how to vote more than once - and get away with it.

  • Still another launched a dial-up attack, using his modem to slither through an electronic hole in the State Board of Elections software. Once inside, he could easily change vote totals that come in on Election Day.

  • One thing was clear: There are many ways to fool with Diebold's machines, some of which could lead to an Election Day disaster.

  • Wertheimer said it would take nearly a complete rewrite of the computer code to fix the machines' flaws.

  • He had learned that he could quickly pick a lock on the side of the machine, plug in his keyboard and wreak havoc on the results stored inside - all while likely going undetected by poll judges.

  • Diebold "basically had no interest in putting actual security in this system," said Paul Franceus, one of the consultants. "It's not like they did it wrong. It's like they didn't bother."

  • Someone bent on causing trouble could call a polling place and tell workers that the state's modem is down and results should be called in on a new phone number. Then the troublemaker could simply change the results before sending them onto the state.

  • Meanwhile, William A. Arbaugh, an assistant computer science professor at the University of Maryland, College Park and part of the team, easily sneaked his way into the state's computers by way of his modem. Once in, he had access to change votes from actual precincts - because he knew how to exploit holes in the Microsoft software.

  • "A high school kid could do this. Right now, the bar is maybe 8th grade. You want to raise the bar to a well-funded adversary."

Read all the rest here: http://www.countthevote.org/dcforum/DCForumID8/65.html

Posted at 8:35:47 PM EDT by RoxanneJ

Report from the Town Hall Meeting in Atlanta January 29th
Wow! All I can say is WOW!

Last night's town hall was an amazing experience. The room was packed, the audience informed and the presentations got quickly to the point.

After more than a year of working on this issue, I feel we have finally begun to make headway. People are listening, voters are aware and concerned and that was abundantly clear last night.

Evidently, Cathy Cox's 70% the voters who trust the voting machines are a figment of her imagination. Black, white, young, old, programmers and novices walked in that room to voice their concerns, their fears and their desire to make changes. I'm proud of we 30 percenters!

Cynthia McKinney and Richard Searcy are natural leaders on this issue. Their presentations were concise, informative and to the point. It's wonderful to see Cynthia back and ready to fight!

I'll post a detailed report of the meeting later today, because we have some appointments this morning.

In the meantime, here's some vital information for you:

The Voter Choice Coalition
Cordially Invites You to A Strategy Work Session
Wednesday, February 4, 2004 - 7:00 PM

Protect the intregity of our ballots!
Restore Voter Confidence in Georgia Elections!
Help Pass SB-340

Where: Suite 203-A 3rd floor of
The Little Five Points Community Center
1083 Austin Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30307
404 806-0480

Posted at 5:52:44 AM EDT by RoxanneJ

  Wednesday, January 28, 2004

The worst technology of 2003... a threat to the republic
Paperless voting invites fraud





On March 2, San Diego county voters will try out a new technology, the touch-screen, paperless voting machines made by Diebold Corp. This technology, despite faltering reassurance from North County Times columnist Jim Trageser ("No crisis in voting machines," Jan. 26) is so deeply flawed and vulnerable to hacking that Fortune magazine declared paperless voting the worst technology of 2003. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman called it "not just bad technology ---- it's a threat to the republic."

More than 1,500 computer scientists and engineers have joined to expose the vulnerabilities of this first-generation technology. Stanford Professor David Dill established a Web site --- VerifiedVoting.org ---- and joined with activists of Blackboxvoting.com to inform the public of coming legal and technical developments.

Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., a former Princeton physicist, filed a bill to require a voter-verified paper trail in this year's presidential election. The bill, HR 2239, has 94 cosponsors in the House. Sen. Barbara Boxer will do likewise in the Senate and require stringent background checks on all electronic voting companies that work with voting software.

The new technology has deep flaws. Error rates as high as 25 percent have been reported. In one small Iowa county, a single machine miscounted by 3 million votes.

In Volusia County in Florida in 2000, the vote count for Al Gore reached 16,022 when votes began to disappear. A county clerk noticed and sent out an alert. The votes were restored. Diebold insiders allegedly admitted that a "replacement" set of vote totals had been uploaded (gobbledygook for "stolen"?) The mysterious replacement "card No. 3" with the deducted votes has not been located.

Ohio-based Diebold is the equipment manufacturer selected by San Diego County. Why did the county select the company around which swirls the most controversy?


I've yet to hear an Election official give a coherent answer to the question of why they keep buying these machines. When cornered by a citizen and asked about the lack of an independent audit, Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox was left sputtering about "trusting the testing and certification process." Say what???

First of all, I believe HAVA is being seriously misrepresented regarding the need for an independent audit trail. The truth is, right now there IS NONE.

Secondly, we elect these people to ensure the sanctity of our votes but, in most cases, they don't seem to care one whit about our valid concerns. In the case of Cathy Cox... in light of the ever-growing findings that these machines do not work I consider Ms. Cox to be derelict in her duties. That should not be allowed to stand.

Posted at 9:21:12 AM EDT by DenisWright

  Monday, January 26, 2004

Secret Software, Secret Proposals
Voting machine proposals kept from public view

Companies trying to sell Cuyahoga County millions of dollars worth of new voting machines don't want voters to see their proposals.

And county elections officials are reluctant to reveal details, saying the county could get in trouble for disclosing the companies' "trade secrets."

The Plain Dealer requested in December to review proposals submitted by the companies - Diebold Elections Systems, Election Systems & Software, Hart Intercivic and Sequoia Voting Systems - and any internal county Board of Elections documents related to the proposals.

The winner will get the state's largest voting-machine contract, worth more than $20 million.

To date, the board has not turned over any proposals or materials that offer insight into exactly what the companies are trying to sell the agency beyond what Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell has already negotiated on behalf of the county.


---snip---

Plain Dealer Editor Doug Clifton said the proposals should be open to public view.

"Openness in awarding multimillion-dollar contracts is essential to earn the public's trust," he said. "Why is the county so reluctant to share this basic information with the voters?"

Posted at 9:35:51 AM EDT by DenisWright

  Friday, January 23, 2004

How can anyone object to measures that will place the vote above suspicion?
Democracy at Risk

---skip---

...even a cursory look at the behavior of the major voting machine companies reveals systematic flouting of the rules intended to ensure voting security. Software was modified without government oversight; machine components were replaced without being rechecked. And here's the crucial point: even if there are strong reasons to suspect that electronic machines miscounted votes, nothing can be done about it. There is no paper trail; there is nothing to recount.

So what should be done? Representative Rush Holt has introduced a bill calling for each machine to produce a paper record that the voter verifies. The paper record would then be secured for any future audit. The bill requires that such verified voting be ready in time for the 2004 election Ń and that districts that can't meet the deadline use paper ballots instead. And it also requires surprise audits in each state.

I can't see any possible objection to this bill. Ignore the inevitable charges of "conspiracy theory." (Although some conspiracies are real: as yesterday's Boston Globe reports, "Republican staff members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee infiltrated opposition computer files for a year, monitoring secret strategy memos and periodically passing on copies to the media.") To support verified voting, you don't personally have to believe that voting machine manufacturers have tampered or will tamper with elections. How can anyone object to measures that will place the vote above suspicion?


Yes, how indeed? It's time to let feet-dragging lawmakers know that we, as the citizens of this country DEMAND a Voter Verified Paper Ballot. If they refuse to support this simple protective measure designed for the simple purpose of assuring the proper counting of our votes, they should be sent home packing.

Enough already. We (and I mean ALL of us, regardless of political affiliations) want our country back. Now.

Posted at 9:34:52 AM EDT by DenisWright

  Sunday, January 18, 2004

NYT:
Fixing Democracy

The morning after the 2000 election, Americans woke up to a disturbing realization: our electoral system was too flawed to say with certainty who had won. Three years later, things may actually be worse. If this year's presidential election is at all close, there is every reason to believe that there will be another national trauma over who the rightful winner is, this time compounded by troubling new questions about the reliability of electronic voting machines.


---snip---

An accurate count of the votes cast is the sine qua non of a democracy, but one that continues to elude us. As now-discredited punch-card machines are being abandoned, there has been a shift to electronic voting machines with serious reliability problems of their own. Many critics, including computer scientists, have been sounding the alarm: through the efforts of a hacker on the outside or a malicious programmer on the inside, or through purely technical errors, these machines could misreport the votes cast.

They are right to be concerned. There is a fast-growing list of elections in which electronic machines have demonstrably failed, or produced dubious but uncheckable results. One of the most recent occurred, fittingly enough, in Palm Beach and Broward Counties in Florida just this month. Touch-screen machines reported 137 blank ballots in a special election for a state House seat where the margin of victory was 12 votes. The second-place finisher charged that faulty machines might have cost him the election. "People do not go to the polls in a one-issue election and not vote," he said. But since the machines produce no paper record, there was no way to check. It is little wonder that last month, Fortune magazine named paperless voting its "worst technology" of 2003.

To address these concerns, electronic voting machines should produce a paper trail — hard-copy receipts that voters can check to ensure that their vote was accurately reported, and that can later be used in a recount. California recently took the lead on this issue, mandating paper trails from its machines by July 2006. A bill introduced by Representative Rush Holt would do the same nationally. Congress should make every effort to put paper trails in place by this fall.


---more at link---

Posted at 9: 1:40 AM EDT by DenisWright

  Thursday, January 15, 2004

Why don't the just come out and say it?
We are almost... but not quite... to the point that many Republicans seem to be saying "So What? Who cares what you think" about these voting machine purchases...

Parties disagree on voting machines Board of Elections divided on devices

Politics were at play yesterday when the four members of the Lucas County Board of Elections split along party lines in their choice of a new voting machine for the county.

If the board canÕt break the 2-2 deadlock, the Ohio secretary of state will decide for them. The board chose Diebold Election Systems, Inc., of McKinney, Texas, as the vendor. But Democrats Paula Ross and Diane Brown opted for DieboldÕs optical scanner, while Republicans Bernadette Noe and Sam Thurber endorsed DieboldÕs touch-screen unit.

The stalemate occurred when Ms. Ross, the boardÕs chairman, asked Ms. Noe and Mr. Thurber to support proposed state and federal legislation that would require the touch-screen units to include a paper adapter that would assist voter verification and possible recounts "for the purpose of voter confidence."

Ms. Noe and Mr. Thurber declined.

"I think it will be costly," Mr. Thurber said. "I donÕt know if there are funds available to pay for it. ItÕs so far out in the future, itÕs not germane to todayÕs vote."

Posted at 9:38:25 AM EDT by DenisWright

  Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Paper Ballots for Florida? Not if Jeb has his way.
Push begins for paper backups on new electronic voting machines

Spurred by a contested result in last week's special election for state House, local leaders on two fronts advanced the effort to create a paper backup for electronic voting machines.

Palm Beach County commissioners voted after contentious debate Tuesday to ask the Legislature to authorize -- and hopefully pay for -- ballot printers for electronic voting machines.

Also Tuesday, the most outspoken proponent of a voting machine paper trail -- U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Boca Raton -- wrote to Gov. Jeb Bush asking him to push for legislation requiring the printers.

"Florida faces the very real possibility of another national election debacle," Wexler wrote.

The requests from the commission and Wexler were prompted by the results of last week's special election to fill a Florida House seat in Palm Beach and Broward counties. Even though no other race was on the ballot, the voting machines showed that 137 people who went to the polls that day cast no ballots. All but three of the so-called undervotes were in Broward County.

What's more, the declared winner, Ellyn Bogdanoff, had only 12 votes more than the second-place finisher, Oliver Parker.

"Uncertainty now clouds the election results," Wexler said. He and County Commissioner Burt Aaronson, a close political ally, said the developments point to voting machine problems.

---skip---

Alia Faraj, the governor's press secretary, said the touch-screen voting machines are accurate.

"Florida has implemented election reform that we believe is second to none," she said. "The machines that have been certified are secure against tampering and fraudulent manipulation. We're confident that they will be used successfully in the '04 primary and the general election."



Posted at 2:25:46 PM EDT by DenisWright

  Saturday, January 10, 2004

A Campaign that Gets It
Joe Trippi, Howard Dean's campaign manager was on CNN with Paula Zahn yesterday. While Zahn did her Media Whore best to derail Mr. Trippi with typical "gotcha" questions, she did not succeed (much to her apparent embarrassment). Trippi stayed focused and managed to get a delightfully provocative soundbite about DRE Voting out there for people to consider.

JOE TRIPPI: No. The governor said he didn't believe that, and it was part of the problem. We have this right now with black box voting. You'll find across the country that there are people all over this nation who believe these paperless computer voting machines are a way that the bush administration will steal the election. Okay, what's not important here is whether that's a rumor or not. What's important here is that we shut that down, that we prove to people that there's no way that anybody -- that these paperless machines are going to rob people of their vote. Repeating that is not repeating that you believe it. I don't necessarily believe that those machines do that or not. But if we're going to have a democracy, we have to say so and air it out.


Trippi got the the meat of the black box voting concerns out there into the public consciousness while not seeming wedded to the issue, and without sounding conspiratorial. Brilliant.

Posted at 0:35: 6 AM EDT by DenisWright

  Tuesday, January 6, 2004

Group plans to protest Diebold

By Warren Lutz

VALLEJO -- A grassroots political group said Monday it plans to protest every public demonstration of the county's new electronic voting machines - and is already stirring up controversy.

The Community-Labor Alliance, which represents working class interests in Contra Costa and Solano counties, plans to hold a rally Wednesday at 6 p.m. in front of the First Christian Church of Vallejo, at 1035 Indiana St.

The group also plans a "funeral procession" - marking its hope that Solano County officials change their minds about paperless voting. "We won't tolerate the theft of our democracy," said CLA president Doug MacDonald.

CLA members are especially worried about Diebold Election Systems, the company from which Solano County bought 1,171 electronic voting machines for $4 million.


This is what it's going to take: Average citizens getting involved and demanding that elections officials return our voting rights and listen to our pleas for accountability and transparency in the voting process. As it stands now they've been auctioned off to the highest bidder. Enough. Is. Enough.


Posted at 11:33:22 AM EDT by DenisWright

  Saturday, December 27, 2003

Hitting us where it hurts???? Check this out!


Voting machine companies advertising on the "bloggers" who are screaming the loudest about the rigged voting machines. My guess would be that this is the "new" Van Pelt company.

Posted at 8:32:45 AM EDT by RoxanneJ

  Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Denis Wright
Atlanta

Dear Denis Wright,

Thank you for your e-mail request dated December 11, 2003, for the following items:

"1. Any and all documentation regarding the retesting of software used on the DRE voting machines in November 2003 to accommodate any changes made prior to the November 2003 election to deal with the need for possibl (sic) write-in candidates.

2. Any and all documentation regarding the recertification (sic) of the software following the changes that were made to the voting system.

3. How many of the 26,000 state owned DRE voting machines was this software loaded on.

4. On what date was this software loaded?"

I regret to inform you that I do not have this information.

Sincerely,

Gary Powell

Posted at 6:19:10 AM EDT by DenisWright

  Saturday, December 13, 2003

The Worst Technology of 2003
Fortune Magazine has called paperless voting (DRE) the worst technology of 2003.

Additional information on the manifold problems with direct recording electronic voting is available at

http://www.ejfi.org/Voting/Voting-17.htm

Yesterday, election officials in Boulder County, Colorado, decided to put off buying direct recording electronic (DRE) voting machines. The full story is in the Boulder Daily Camera at: http://www.thedailycamera.com/bdc/city_news/article/0,1713,BDC_2422_2501253,00.html

After a separate investigation of security problems with DRE machines, Ohio (Diebold headquarters) has also put off any decision to buy this deeply-flawed equipment.

Senator Bob Graham (D-Florida) this week introduced a companion bill S 1980 to Rep. Rush Holt's (D-NJ) HR 2239 Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act that would require voter verifiable paper ballots be included with any DRE voting equipment. Story in the Miami-Herald at http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/state/7454273.htm

At the present level of technology the Equal Justice Foundation feels that any direct recording election machines are a dangerous and inappropriate way to conduct elections in a free country. Further, the SERVE experiment for Internet voting being conducted by the U.S. military is regarded as an open invitation to election fraud.

We encourage citizens across this broad land, and free men and women everywhere, to rise up against the use of poorly tested, undocumented, insecure, inaccessible and proprietary black-box voting equipment by computer-illiterate election officials in so essential a function as an election. We do not want cartoon characters like Wally O'Dell predetermining the outcome of our elections through his Enron-emulating company.

As in Boulder County, your voice can and should be heard.

Chuck Corry

Posted at 0:37:53 AM EDT by RoxanneJ

  Thursday, December 11, 2003

San Diegans.... Speak Up!
Yesterday San Diego's Union-Tribune chimed in with what has to be the most preposterous OpEd on DRE Voting to date which says, in part:

All of that came together yesterday when the Board of Supervisors appropriated $30.8 million -- $16.7 million from the state bond issue, $11.4 million from the federal legislation, and $2.7 million in local money -- to buy 10,200 electronic touch-screen voting machines and an upgraded absentee ballot system from Diebold Election Systems, whose parent company is a giant in the ATM business.

Ironically, it comes at a time when electronic voting systems, particularly Diebold's, have come under critical scrutiny nationwide from a handful of computer experts who fear the technology makes them vulnerable to manipulation or other fraud that could affect the outcome of elections. Media skeptics also pounced on the ill-advised comments of Walden O'Dell, Diebold's CEO who is also a fund-raiser for President Bush and who told fellow Republicans in Ohio that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."

Thoughtless CEO faux pas aside, there is every reason for San Diegans to be confident that the concerns of the computer experts have been addressed and that this system will prove not just easy to use, but as secure and accurate as technologically possible.


"A handful of computer experts"? Oh, really??? Since when is almost 1,500 experts "a handful"? And, obviously, their concerns have not been addressed or they would not still be trying desperately to STOP these machines until their concerns are addressed.

Contact the Union-Tribune and let them know that YOU want to be assured that your vote is being counted properly:

Letters Editor, The San Diego Union-Tribune., PO Box 120191, San Diego, CA, 92112-0191, or fax (619) 260-5081, or e-mail

Posted at 9:43:45 AM EDT by DenisWright

  Wednesday, December 10, 2003

At Last
Senator Bob Graham, D-Florida, today introduced the Voter Verification Act, legislation that would require computer voting systems to produce a paper record.

ŅAfter the election of 2000 and the mid-term election Š where stories of voter problems were not uncommon Š we have to put an electoral system into place in which Americans can have full confidence,Ó said Graham. ŅThis legislation will take us one step further to ensure that every vote really counts and we do not have another debacle like the 2000 election.Ó

Key provisions of the legislation include:

* Requiring that all voting systems produce voter-verified paper records for use in manual audits

* Banning the use of undisclosed software and wireless communication devices in voting systems

* Requiring mandatory surprise recounts in .5 percent of both domestic and overseas jurisdictions.

* All voting systems would have to meet these requirements in time for the November 2004 election.

There is bi-partisan companion legislation already filed in the House. HR 2239 is sponsored by Representative Rush Holt, Democrat of New Jersey, and 94 other members.


You'd THINK this would be news, wouldn't you. Well, you'd be wrong. Our bungling and corrupt "Press" are still too busy on that most crucial of stories... Michael Jackson. A search of GoogleNews brings up a pitiful handful of mentions, all of them local Florida press outlets.

WHEN are our voices going to get loud enough to demand that our "Press" pay attention to this issue? When each and every one of us who is concerned about the potential theft of our votes picks up the phone or puts a pen to paper or (at the very least) fires off an email or two. That's when.

I urge everyone to write to your local papers and the networks (both cable and network) and ask them why they continue to ignore this story, one that pertains to the very basis of our Democracy.

Posted at 2:41:52 PM EDT by DenisWright

  Tuesday, December 9, 2003

Our Lazy and Corrupt Media Are Part of the Problem
John Nichols: Go-along media ignoring Kucinich

---snip---

The absurdity, and the irresponsibility, of most media's approach to Kucinich's candidacy has been particularly evident in recent weeks.

Typically, Kucinich was ahead of the curve on an important issue. In November, he seized on concerns about the reliability of electronic voting machines produced by Diebold Inc., one of the nation's largest voting equipment manufacturers. Those concerns were stirred by the revelation that Diebold employees had expressed concerns in e-mails about the security of machines produced by the company.

Diebold sought to shut down any debate about its machines by threatening legal actions against operators of Web sites that were publishing or linking to corporate documents that detailed flaws in Diebold equipment and irregularities in the certifying of the company's systems for elections.

When he learned of the legal threats, Kucinich took on the politically potent corporation. The Ohio congressman asked House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, and the ranking Democrat on that committee, Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, to investigate whether the company's actions were potential abuses of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. He also posted the controversial documents on his congressional Web site.

Diebold quickly backed down. And Kucinich used the development to declare, "In a democracy where half the people don't vote and where the last presidential election was decided by the Supreme Court, we cannot tolerate flawed voting equipment or intimidation of those who point out the flaws. Diebold backing down from its intimidation campaign is a positive step. An open and honest examination of the flaws in electronic voting will lead us to only one possible conclusion: electronic voting machines are dangerous to democracy because there is no way of ensuring their accuracy. We have to have a voter-verified paper trail for every election so that any errors and irregularities caused by the voting machines can be recovered."

All in all, this makes for a meaty story. A presidential candidate takes on a major corporation and wins in a fight over an issue that is fundamental to the functioning of our democracy.

So were there headlines about Kucinich's fight with Diebold? No. Television news reports? No. Lengthy discussions on public radio or commercial talk radio? No.

Indeed, the only story on Kucinich that got extensive coverage last week dealt with the fact that, after Kucinich mentioned in an early November forum that he was a bachelor, more than 80 women contacted a New Hampshire Web site indicating that they wanted to date him.


They'd rather write sophmoric gossipy nonsense than actually cover the issues. Like the fact that private partisan corporations are taking over our right to vote and our elected "Representatives" are letting it happen. No wonder the very best article (so far) on this issue was published in Great Britain!

Posted at 1: 2:47 PM EDT by DenisWright

  Monday, December 8, 2003

New York Times Editorial Gets It Right
A Paper Trail for Voters



The most reasonable answer is to require that the machines be equipped with printers that will produce what Representative Rush Holt, Democrat of New Jersey, calls a "parallel paper record" of the vote. That makes sense to us. Like deeds, diplomas and other vital public documents, the nation's votes still need to be preserved somewhere on paper.

This view has drawn a lot of criticism, particularly from companies that make electronic voting machines. They say that adding a paper trail will cost more and that the printers will complicate the maintenance of the machines. Mainly, however, the machines' supporters say no fail-safe system is necessary because the machines are extremely secure.



Even without conspiracy theories, however, election experts from both parties worry that all these A.T.M.-style voting machines are not adequately protected against an advanced computer geek aiming to scramble the votes or a political hack turned political hacker.



California's push also may make it easier for other states that are still circling the voting machine issue. New York is way behind, as Albany's politicians prefer to direct their attention to the more pleasant question of who gets the big new contracts for voting equipment. But New Yorkers Ń especially New York City voters Ń need the assurance that their votes are available on paper for the recounting. Too many elections teeter on a few hundred votes, and candidates rightly expect human beings to be able to double-check the results. America's election apparatus needs to move firmly and quickly into the computer age. But the public must feel secure that each vote is really counted. At this stage, a voter-verified paper trail offers the public that necessary security.

Posted at 0:37:15 AM EDT by DenisWright

  Sunday, December 7, 2003

Follow the Money.
Almost immediately after the Hopkins report came out, groups of handicapped rights activists began loudly defending Diebold. Writers campaigning on behalf of disability rights almost immediately began to characterize opponents of excessive reliance on computers as "a rising chorus of geeks." [See AAPD Disability Vote Project, Campaigning for Computerized Voting, Oct 30, 2003 ]

There has even been well managed disruption of a professional meeting by handicapped rights activists, at the USACM Workshop on Voter-Verifiable Election Systems, where demonstrators (including Jim Dickson of the AAPD Disability Vote Project) stormed the meeting and took over the microphone to deliver their message supporting direct recording electronic voting machines and opposing all forms of voter-verified audit trails as being inherently inaccessible to the handicapped.

This strident opposition to voter verifiability has baffled those who want voter verifiability, since supporters of verifiability certainly do not oppose the rights of handicapped voters. There is a strong possibility, however, that this strident support for direct recording electronic technology is not the result of dispassionate analysis, but the result of a partnership. On November 1, 2000, Diebold and the National Federation of the Blind settled a lawsuit with Diebold centering on issues of accessibility of automated teller machines. This settlement involved Diebold, the NFB and the Disability Rights Council of Greater Washington, and while the focus was on ATMs, there was also a five-year $1,000,000 grant from Diebold to the NFB Research and Training Institute for the Blind.

Source: Doug Jones

Posted at 7: 0:38 AM EDT by DenisWright

  Saturday, December 6, 2003

It's a start!
Scott Shepard's story on touch screen voting (Electronic votes touch off doubts, 12/6/03) is a good start for this long overdue discussion as Georgia is the very first state to utilize the Diebold machines statewide. However, if Mr. Shepard is going to quote Bobby Kahn in defense of this technology I think it would be fair to your readers to reveal that Mr. Kahn has a vested interest in defending the purchase: Kahn is a current member of the state Election Board and also worked closely with Cathy Cox' office in implementing the system when he worked for Roy Barnes.

Political Insider

Since Johns Hopkins University researcher Avi Rubin published a report questioning the security of Diebold System's touch-screen voting system, there's been a fresh wave of interest in whether the new ballot technology is as fraud-proof as advertised. Some stories have even raised suspicions about whether Perdue's upset of Roy Barnes in last year's gubernatorial race could be traced to the new machines.

This puts Bobby Kahn, Barnes' former chief of staff, in an interesting position.

On one hand, Kahn says in an article for a Web site about election law that he'd "love to believe that Governor Barnes really won, and that he lost because of a computer meltdown or a grand conspiracy."

But Kahn also has some interest in defending the integrity of the voting system. As he notes, the governor's office worked closely with Secretary of State Cathy Cox in implementing the new system, and Kahn is now a member of the state Election Board.


There is nothing whatsoever "conspiratorial" about wanting an election system that is trustworthy and transparent. I'd say the real question we need to be asking is why election officials and the manufacturers of these machines are so determined to deny us a voter verified paper ballot.


Posted at 9: 0:33 AM EDT by DenisWright

Atlanta media finally realizes there's a problem?
[ The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: 12/6/03 ]

Electronic votes touch off doubts

By SCOTT SHEPARD The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

WASHINGTON -- Election officials and computer scientists are increasingly concerned that touch-screen electronic voting machines like the ones used in Georgia may be inaccurate and even susceptible to sabotage.

Among some Democrats, there is deep distrust developing about the devices, particularly since a top executive in the voting machine industry is a major fund-raiser for President Bush.

Industry officials insist that electronic balloting is reliable, accurate and secure and will help avert a repeat of the ballot-counting fiasco that held up results in Florida and sent the 2000 presidential election to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Electronic voting is a good thing," said David Bear, spokesman for Ohio-based Diebold Inc., one of four companies that dominate the voting machine industry.

Diebold boasts a significant testimonial from Georgia's top election official, Secretary of State Cathy Cox, who declared the state's conversion to the system "a tremendous success."

Georgia was the first state to adopt electronic voting in every precinct, rolling out its system in the November 2002 election.

Cox championed the $54 million touch-screen system after learning the state had had even more uncounted votes during the 2000 election than Florida.

Electronic plot?

The Diebold system, whose customers include Maryland, California and Kansas, is at the heart of concerns that for months have fueled dire conspiracy theories of a possible electronic coup d'etat.

This fall the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper disclosed that Diebold's chief executive, Walden O'Dell, is one of Bush's top fund-raisers and, in a letter to potential Bush donors, he had underscored his commitment "to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes" to the Republicans.

O'Dell has since expressed regrets for the remarks, saying that while experienced in business, he is "a real novice" in politics. Even so, he has no intention of stopping his fund-raising efforts as a "Pioneer" and "Ranger," designations used by the Bush campaign for elite fund-raisers who collect a minimum of $200,000 and $100,000, respectively. "I am one, and proud of it," O'Dell said in a statement issued by Diebold's corporate headquarters.

Democrats cry foul

O'Dell easily qualifies as a Bush "Pioneer." In July, for example, he had a fund-raiser at his home with Vice President Dick Cheney that netted $500,000.

Democrats cry foul. Presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina today plans to call on Bush to return the money O'Dell has raised for his campaign.

"We now have touch-screen voting machines that some people think are just as bad as a butterfly ballot," Edwards says in a speech prepared for delivery to Florida Democrats. "What makes this worse is that one of George W. Bush's fund-raising Pioneers said he wanted to help Ohio deliver its electoral votes to George Bush."

Sen. Jon Corzine of New Jersey, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said, "Republicans have sunk to a stunning new low."

Traveling the 'Net

The emerging theories of a conspiracy to rig the voting tabulations in 2004 extend well beyond O'Dell's relationship with Bush and other Republicans. The Internet is awash with Web sites devoted to the notion, the most prominent being www.blackboxvoting.com, with accounts about:

• Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel's upset victory in 1996. He ran without disclosing that he had been CEO and chairman of Election Systems & Software, which installed, programmed and operated the state's voting machines. Hagel has denied any wrongdoing.

• The unexpectedly easy Republican victories in Georgia's 2002 election for governor and U.S. Senate, where Diebold had installed its system. Previously favored Democratic incumbents failed to win re-election.

Yet Bobby Kahn, who was chief of staff to ousted Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes, said in a recent e-mail to the Journal-Constitution that he would "love to believe" in a "computer meltdown or a grand conspiracy" causing Barnes' defeat, but rejects both notions. "The count was accurate," Kahn said of the vote.

Computer scientists and voting machine experts are less concerned about O'Dell's political affiliations than about the integrity of the technology being marketed by Diebold and its competitors.

Tests reveal risks

Tests of computerized systems in Ohio this week did little to reassure skeptics. Detroit-based Compuware Corp., in a technical analysis of the four major voting machine manufacturers, identified 57 potential security risks in the software and hardware tested.

The findings prompted Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell to delay plans for having a computerized system in place for the 2004 presidential election. "I will not place these voting devices before Ohio's voters until identified risks are corrected and system security is bolstered," Blackwell said.

For months, computer experts have been warning that the new voting machines are susceptible to the kinds of foul-ups -- undervotes and misvotes, for example -- that led to the 2000 Florida election debacle.

Computerized voting systems also may be vulnerable to hackers or scheming programmers bent on stealing an election, some experts warned.

A hacker could add votes to an individual voting terminal and a programmer could insert a "Trojan horse" program with a hidden code that could change vote totals, then cover its tracks, it has been suggested.

A group of experts recently formed the National Committee for Voting Integrity to draw public attention to their concerns. Some of the voting tabulation technologies being considered by various states "pose a significant risk to the integrity of the democratic process in the United States," the committee warned.

http://www.ajc.com/news/content/news/1203/06voting.html

Posted at 5:39:41 AM EDT by RoxanneJ

  Tuesday, December 2, 2003

Hack the Votes
Paul Krugman Gets It.

Inviting Bush supporters to a fund-raiser, the host wrote, "I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year." No surprise there. But Walden O'Dell Ń who says that he wasn't talking about his business operations Ń happens to be the chief executive of Diebold Inc., whose touch-screen voting machines are in increasingly widespread use across the United States.

For example, Georgia Ń where Republicans scored spectacular upset victories in the 2002 midterm elections Ń relies exclusively on Diebold machines. To be clear, though there were many anomalies in that 2002 vote, there is no evidence that the machines miscounted. But there is also no evidence that the machines counted correctly. You see, Diebold machines leave no paper trail.


This is (or should be) so simple. Without a Voter Verified Paper Ballot no one can know with any certainty that their vote is being counted. This is not a partisan issue. This goes to the very heart of our Democracy.

Why do State Election officials not "get it"? They keep buying these black box machines even in light of the growing mountain of evidence that these machines cannot be trusted with our votes. Either they are beyond clueless or there's something more afoot.

And sadly, Georgia's "premiere" paper, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution still refuses to even acknowledge the problem. "No story" here, right Mr. Bookman? Yeah, right. Cluephone to Jay Bookman and Martha Ezzard: Just because you are ignoring the Elephant in the Living Room does not in any way make the elephant --- nor the stench --- go away. It just makes you look foolish.

Posted at 8:31:47 AM EDT by DenisWright



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