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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

By John Gideon on 3/17/2006 5:28pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA.Org

The Arizona state senate is pulling the wool over someone's eyes. They have put forth a bill to do a hand count audit of all ballots from 10 randomly selected precincts in the state's two largest counties. However, the bill also says that the audit results cannot be used in place of the machine count, even if there are problems found. Maryland Gov. Ehrlich is trying to find a way to pay for a change of voting systems but some in the state Senate are doing all they can to squelch that plan. And in New Jersey a lawsuit against the use of Sequoia machines in the state is progressing....

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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1000 Cards Fail Tests in N. Carolina After Massive Failures Discovered in Ohio!
ALSO: Testing Reports Say Voting Machines One-Third as Reliable as Incandescent Light Bulb!
By John Gideon on 3/17/2006 12:46pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

As reported on March 9 and March 10 by The BRAD BLOG the folks in Summit Co. OH have discovered massive problems with memory cards on ES&S Electronic Voting Machines in recent tests. Some 30% of the cards completely failed.

ES&S, the largest voting machine provider in the country, attributed the problem to low or dead batteries on the PCMCIA memory cards. At the time, we inquired as to whether other states using ES&S equipment might be experiencing similar problems. The reporter covering the story for the Akron Beacon Journal told us she was able to get no response from ES&S --- but was then given an assurance that ES&S had contacted their customers to inform them about the concerns.

A week ago Tuesday, Texas experienced loads of problems (or "glitches" as Voting Machine Vendors and Election Officials enjoy minimizing them as) in their Primary Elections. Just a few of those reported in newspapers the day after are listed here.

Then yesterday the Akron Beacon Journal reported that, in fact, ES&S had contacted North Carolina. North Carolina, who lost some 4,500 votes completely via an electronic voting machine in Cartaret County during the 2004 Presidential Election, began checking their ES&S memory cards and have so far found more than 1,000 cards that to be bad!

Summit County, OH has also now confirmed that two-thirds of the cards failed due to "battery issues"; the rest failed due to "read-back errors".

ES&S officials contend that bad batteries were to blame for the problem memory cards, but Summit County officials now say that low batteries were the problem in only about one-third of the hundreds of faulty memory cards here.

``The majority of them were read-back errors, not a battery issue,'' Bryan Williams, director of the Summit County Board of Elections, said Wednesday.

``About one-third were battery errors. Two-thirds were read-back errors,'' Williams added.

He said after new batteries were installed in the memory cards, many still failed to work.

Marijean Donofrio, deputy director of the Summit elections board, said memory cards reading ``low battery'' began to work properly when new batteries were installed. But others that read ``dead battery'' still did not work when the batteries were changed.

She said the more common problem was the ``read-back error,'' which occurred when testers were attempting to run a mock election. The memory cards could not read the data programmed onto them.

It is important to point out that North Carolina state law requires any voting vendor to alert the state if there is a problem found on any voting system in another state that may be a problem in North Carolina. The law worked very well or the state may never have been warned except by the voting activist community who raised the 'red flag'.

Still unanswered is whether the recent myriad problems with ES&S systems in Texas had anything to do with the memory card failures. Also still unanswered is if there are any problems in other states like Indiana or West Virginia where primary elections are soon to be held and ES&S machines are in place.

ALSO: A newly released study of the reliability of voting systems shows that those voting systems studied and presently being sold across the country are one-third as reliable, at best, as an incandescent light bulb.

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By John Gideon on 3/16/2006 5:08pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA.Org

In yesterday's DVN I included an article from Arizona regarding photo ID being required for mail-in ballots. The newspaper printed a correction to that story: "This story gave the wrong result for a state legislative proposal to require people who vote by mail to provide identification. The proposal was defeated." The ES&S memory card problems have spread with the report of 1000 bad cards in North Carolina. Also, there seems to be a growing list of candidates in Texas who are asking for recounts due to problems on election night. In New Hampshire two Diebold OS machines were confiscated by the police due to irregularities in the total vote count. In Maryland today the Gov. asked the state legislature for $21.8M to replace the states DREs but the Senate immediately voted to use it for a poll book to keep voters from voting twice....

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By John Gideon on 3/15/2006 5:02pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA.Org

In Palm Beach Co. Florida the headline reads, "Voting smooth despite glitches" yet we find that at times two of three DREs in one precinct were not working, cards got stuck in machines, and cards were being rejected as 'invalid'. And victory in Leon County as Ion Sancho gets a unanimous vote of confidence from the county commission. This, in no small part, due to the thousands of emails sent to the commission by Ion's supporters all over the country. Gov. Rendell of Pennsylvania vetoed the state legislature's voter ID bill. Meanwhile Arizona is looking into forcing those who vote-by-mail to provide a copy of their ID in the mail with their ballot....

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By John Gideon on 3/14/2006 5:04pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA.Org

The Florida SoS and Ion Sancho met yesterday in what was supposed to have been an open meeting. The media and public were barred from attending and the police were called to ensure no one was allowed to hear what was said. Thousands of emails have been sent and are being sent to Leon County commissioners, the Gov. and the SoS. One person on the inside has reported, "The email campaign in support of the Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho is having a dramatic effect. The number of emails received by the Leon County Commission is breaking all records and is blocking the system." Keep up the great work. It is making a difference....

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By John Gideon on 3/13/2006 5:13pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA.Org

Two important reports surfaced today. First, from VoteTrustUSA, is a study on reliability of voting machines and the reliability of those machines that were batch tested by the Calif. SoS. Second is the coming forward of another whistleblower, this time from Hart InterCivic. Also, another failure in last weeks Texas primaries was announced. In a hand count audit of ballots in Jefferson Co. they found a large discrepancy in the number of votes counted vs. the number of votes cast. ES&S will pay for a recount to be accomplished....

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By John Gideon on 3/12/2006 5:30pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon, of VotersUnite and VoteTrustUSA

The "DVN Top 5" is a feature in the weekly voting newsletter of VoteTrustUSA. The March 6 edition can be found here. The selection of what will be the "Top 5" for each week and where it goes on the list is all mine. The fact that you may disagree with my choices is great because it shows that you have been reading the DVN articles that I've posted throughout the week here on The BRAD BLOG!...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By John Gideon on 3/11/2006 5:51pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA.Org

Elections officials in Tarrant Co. Texas where voting machines added around 100,000 votes to the total are actually considering whether to have a recount. It should be a 'no-brainer'. Even more amazing is news from Allegheny Co., PA where they county has announced that they are happily buying used, 10-year old Sequoia Advantage machines. Sequoia has convinced them that the machines can be updated and made accessible and HAVA compliant before the PA primary in May. That includes federal and state testing and certification. ES&S has claimed that they had battery failures on their memory cards in Summit Co. OH which is why they have had a huge number of failures during testing....

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By John Gideon on 3/10/2006 5:09pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA.Org

This week the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University Law School issued a report that says that millions of voters in seven states may be disenfranchised due to the type of voter registration databases used in those states, including Iowa and Washington. Florida has told Leon County that their backup plan for this year may jeopardize federal compliance and the state may end up suing the county. In Georgia, Secretary of State Cox has been found to have violated the National Voter Registration Act. Summit Co., OH is still having problems with memory cards supplied by ES&S (Is anyone warning ES&S's other customers? Surely not the EAC.). Counties in Pennsylvania who have opted for AVS WINvote may have problems as AVS is telling them they may not be able to meet delivery dates....

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Pre-Election Test Results Less Bad, After Memory Cards Are Specially Provided by Company to Summit County, OH (After First Two Batches Failed 30% of the Time)
Election Director Suggest 'Product Recall' Might Be Appropriate!
By John Gideon on 3/10/2006 4:16pm PT  

As reported yesterday by BRAD BLOG - Summit County, Ohio is testing the memory cards for their new ES&S optical scan machines. Unfortunately their first test revealed that 30% of those cards failed, and as replacements were brought in, the cards continued failing.

Such memory cards are used in electronic voting machines to store the tallied votes. Similar cards were found to be hackable in Diebold optical scan machines after a targetted "hack test" was specfically performed on them in Leon County, FL, recently.

Today, the Akron Beacon Journal reported that a new batch of cards was supplied by ES&S to Summit County for the tests. And they are failing less often! Now only 10% of the time !

Lisa A. Abraham of the Beacon Journal reports:

Through the end of the workday Thursday, 438 properly working cards had been tested --- a figure that included the original 177 [30% of those tested failed], said Marijean Donofrio, elections board deputy director.

Donofrio said ES&S representatives working on the implementation told board staffers that they have never experienced a failure rate higher than 1 percent in other counties.

Donofrio wondered whether the company should consider a recall of the product.

She also expressed concern that ES&S continues to send memory cards to Summit County from the subcontractor whose product is being questioned. ES&S has not named the subcontractor.

Donofrio said the board was expecting Thursday's shipment to include only memory cards made by the company that made the original 177 that tested successfully, but that wasn't the case.

"They've been referring to the cards as finicky," she said of ES&S. "If that's the case, if they work fine in May, will they work fine in November? I would advocate for an entire new batch of cards. We don't need any problems (in the future) that we can head off now,'' she said.

I took the opportunity to send the Beacon-Journal's Abraham an email asking a very simple question: "I would really be curious what ES&S would say if they were asked how many other counties across the country have these same memory cards, and are they warning all of their customers to be on the lookout for bad cards."

Her response: "I've been asking ES&S that very question for two days now and they either won't say or don't call back. Stay tuned..."

So... I guess we stay tuned, and hope that those same bad cards do not end up on ES&S machines all over the country.

ES&S is the largest provider of voting machine equipment in America. Between them and Diebold, the two companies tally more than 80% of America's votes. (And they may be accurate in doing so 70% to 90% of the time.)

UPDATE 3/11/06: The answers to the questions many of us have asked have been answered by the Akron Beacon Journal today. The problem with the memory cards seems to be dead or low batteries. Apparently the subcontractor for the cards, Vikant Corp., a Long Grove, Ill., company has no quality control standards and just shipped out bad cards to ES&S for use in machines that will be counting our votes. ES&S, like Vikant, apparently failed to test the cards also.

On my question to Lisa A. Abraham, the Beacon Journal reporter regarding whether ES&S is trying to locate other customers who may have bad memory cards, she got an answer. Lisa reports that Ellen Bogard, ES&S spokeswoman told her:

``We're working with customers who may have received them. We're still contacting our customers,'' she said. Bogard said the problem would affect customers who received memory cards from ES&S in recent weeks.

``We're still working to determine the exact parameters,'' she said.

Bogard said no other county in Ohio or throughout the country has complained of failing cards.

There may not have been any complaints but I wonder how many of those bad cards may have ended up in Texas and been responsible for some of the disasters reported by BRAD BLOG last Tuesday.

FOLLOWUP QUESTION FROM BRAD: A "battery problem"? Not to be overly skeptical here, but my understanding is that these memory cards are magnetic media which are slipped into the PCMCIA slots, no? Power is supplied from the computer itself via the PCMCIA slot (if I understand things correctly), and thus no "battery" is needed on PCMCIA cards which simply store data magnetically. Am I missing something here? Does anyone here have more knowledge on this sort of thing for us? Please share in comments if you do...

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By John Gideon on 3/9/2006 5:09pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA.Org

It's been a very busy day today. Summit Co., Ohio found that 30% of the memory cards in their ES&S optical scan machines have failed. Apparently ES&S has no quality control. Will they tell the rest of the country about these problems? It's probably too late for counties in Texas that have had major failures in their primary last Tuesday. Tarrant Co., TX reported that 100,000 votes were added to the totals on their Hart Intercivic DREs. The solution? Remove 50,000 per candidate and call it good enough. In Pinellas Co., FL voters reported that their votes on Sequoia Edge machines were being swapped to the default candidate. We've heard that one before. Of course, ES&S and Hart are both calling the elections a huge success with only a few human problems....

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Failure Rate So High on Memory Cards in Summit County Test, They Were Thrown Out for a New Batch...Which Then Also Failed!
By John Gideon on 3/9/2006 3:51pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

In preparation for a May 2 primary, election officials in Summit Co., OH began testing their new ES&S optical scan voting machines. The Akron Beacon Journal announced today that ES&S has isolated the problem to a memory card made by one of their contractors.

The article also reveals that the county is not doing the testing themselves.

A consulting company that Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell hired has been in the county since Monday testing all the new voting equipment before its planned use May 2.

Why would a county that has to conduct elections on their own equipment allow a consulting company hired by the Secretary of State, do the testing?

The article goes on to explain the memory card problem in more detail:

Tests on Monday and Tuesday showed that about 30 percent of the computer memory cards --- which should read and store vote tabulations --- did not work, Elections Board Director Bryan Williams said. ``We are noticing a high failure rate,'' he said Wednesday.

Election Systems & Software in Omaha, Neb., makes the machines. Williams said ES&S officials believe they have isolated the problem to the computer cards produced by one of its subcontractors. ES&S contracts with several companies to make the memory cards, Williams said.

"We're looking into the extent to which this affects others,'' said Ellen Bogard, spokeswoman for ES&S. "It will be remedied if there are other cards that need to be replaced.''

The first 177 cards tested Monday worked flawlessly, Williams said. When testing began on the remaining 348 cards, however, the failure rate was so high that the rest were thrown out. ES&S had a second batch of cards sent to Akron on Tuesday, but Williams said those cards experienced a similar failure rate. He said a third batch is expected to arrive today.

Unanswered questions abound. How many other ES&S customers have these bad memory cards? How many of these other customers will go into elections without knowing that their memory cards are bad? How many of the problems with ES&S machines in Texas on Tuesday are a result of bad memory cards? Does ES&S have any Quality Control at all?

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By John Gideon on 3/8/2006 5:32pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA.Org

It's been a busy day today. Lot's of news from Texas where they had their statewide primary yesterday and they had some problems; nothing too big though. Many Texas counties gave the voters a choice between voting electronic and voting on paper. It sure looks like a majority of the voters chose paper. And in Florida, Ion Sancho has decided to take action against Diebold in court so he is suing them for breach of contract. Meanwhile TrueVoteMD has released documents that purportedly prove that Diebold has violated state law and failed in elections....

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By John Gideon on 3/7/2006 5:50pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA.Org

Today is election day for state primaries or local elections in Texas, New Mexico, California, Missouri and probably elsewhere. There have been very little reports of problems so far but those will probably come in late tonight and tomorrow. One county in Nevada announced that they cannot afford to buy voting machines for all precincts so one precinct will have to be all-mail in their August primary. Forcing counties to use voting machines is a good idea?...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By John Gideon on 3/6/2006 5:09pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA.Org

The big news for the day today is that Georgia; the bastion of paperless voting, one of the last of Diebold's paperless frontiers; may actually have a vvpat very soon. The state senate, today, voted 51-0 to require a voter verified paper audit trail. And, Cathy Cox has left her counterpart Linda Lamone, of Maryland, to fend for herself as she has now come out in support of this bill. Speaking of Maryland, Gov. Ehrlich has again spoken out, more clearly this time, against paperless voting. My! My! Will wonders never cease....

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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