Still running from one thing to another today, so only the briefest coverage here for now, on two very important points (and even victories!) today...
w/ Brad & Desi
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
|MORE BRAD BLOG 'SPECIAL COVERAGE' PAGES...|
Still running from one thing to another today, so only the briefest coverage here for now, on two very important points (and even victories!) today...
A week or two ago, AlterNet ran my recent detailed Q&A with Ohio Sec. of State Jennifer Brunner, on a wide variety of issues related to the upcoming election.
There were a few more technical/geek-ish items that I didn't include in the version that ran over there, thinking they were more appropriate for the real tech and election integrity geeks (like me) out there. Those issues are now published in a much shorter Q&A running today at ComputerWorld.
In these previously unpublished exchanges, posted to CW this morning, Brunner offers some insider detail about her recent lawsuit against Diebold/Premier, concerning the revelation that their tabulators simply drop thousands of votes without notice; the depth of her surprise at the results of her landmark "EVEREST" security tests of Ohio's e-voting machines; and what may lie beyond e-voting, such as the possibility of hand-counting in Ohio.
Please read the new interview at ComputerWorld (and don't forget to check out some of the interesting comments that have been posted to it already today.)
-- Brad Friedman, The BRAD BLOG
I sat down with Ohio's Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner, for an exclusive, detailed, one-on-one interview while in Denver at the Democratic National Convention a few weeks ago. We chatted for nearly an hour and a half in what was the first opportunity we'd had to speak, in detail, since my interview with her last December, following the release of Ohio's landmark "EVEREST" testing of e-voting systems finding "critical security failures" on virtually all fronts.
We covered a lot of interesting, and even newsworthy topics in our recent discussion, just published at AlterNet, as the Buckeye State barrels towards either redemption or disaster in the 2008 election. In my Q&A with the Secretary of State we discuss, among other things:
As you'll see, Brunner seems to feel confident that Ohio "will be ready" this year, even as the challenges sure to come will be monumental. Of course, I hope she's right. Undoubtedly, as I hope you'll agree after reading the piece, the voters of the state --- of all parties --- are surely in far better hands than they were with the criminal J. Kenneth Blackwell (former SoS, co-chair of Bush/Cheney '04) at the helm four years ago. Still, there are many reasons for worry, and I do my best, in the interview, to ask tough questions and push for answers where I can.
As noted in my intro to the Q&A over there, we also discussed a number of more complicated issues, better suited for technical/computer/election junkies (such as myself, and perhaps readers of The BRAD BLOG.) I'll be running the shorter, geekier portions of our interview, in which we discussed lawsuits with Diebold, the future of e-voting and the possibility of hand-counting in Ohio, elsewhere shortly. [Update 10/8/08: That portion of the interview now published at ComputerWorld here...]
Until then, please go see the main interview at AlterNet, and I'll look forward to your thoughts on it!
After months of pressure from state election officials, voting rights groups, veteran’s organizations, members of the US Senate, and citizens, the Dept. of Veterans Affairs has decided that it will be alright for veterans who live in VA facilities or are patients in VA facilities to be visited by non-partisan folks who want to help them register to vote. Unfortunately this decision comes just a month from the voter registration deadlines in most states. Now those groups who have fought hard to get permission to register veterans need to go do the job.
Ohio is becoming a battle ground for voter registrations. Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner is going to battle against the state legislature over a law that was passed in 2006 that allows counties to remove voters from the rolls if election notices sent by the counties to the voters are returned for any reason. This is a violation of state law and federal law and the US Constitution according to her lawyers. Any voter removed from the rolls must be given due process. ...
Guest Blogged by Ellen Theisen of VotersUnite.org
Many jurisdictions are realizing their voting systems are horribly flawed and they want to get them fixed before November. But the new systems currently under test by the federal Election Assistance Commission (EAC) have so many defects that the manufacturers have to keep repairing them before testing can continue. Consequently the EAC has not certified anything yet.
Kudos to the EAC for this!
But Gracia Hillman, one of the EAC Commissioners, recommends a way around this “roadblock” for the jurisdictions using systems that are no good. She suggests a contingency plan that would allow the jurisdictions to use new and different systems that are no good, but at least they would comply with their state laws. Her ideas:
2) Waiver of EAC Certification;
The systems are so bad they can’t meet the federal standards, so to get around this “roadblock,” Commissioner Hillman proposes to bypass the testing process.
She wants the EAC to bless new, defective systems for the vendors to sell to replace the old, defective systems that are currently in use.
But that’s what NASED (National Association of State Election Directors) did when it oversaw the voting system testing process, and the decade-long, widespread use of Premier/Diebold’s vote-losing software is one of the results.
After ten years of use in election after election, all across the country, Premier/Diebold’s vote-dropping software flaw has finally come to light — thanks to Butler County, Ohio’s Elections Director Betty L. McGary and Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner...
Guest blogged by Steve Heller of Velvet Revolution
Jennifer Brunner, Ohio's Secretary of State, has issued Directive 2008-68 [PDF] entitled Voting Machine Delivery Requirements. The directive contains storage specifications regarding temperature, humidity, dust, fire protection, and proximity of liquids. It also makes it clear that there are to be no more election component "sleepovers" in which poll workers take home voting equipment days or even weeks before an election for so-called safekeeping. In actuality, the "sleepovers" are an invitation to tampering and hacking.
The BRAD BLOG was the first to report on these sleepovers, truly a menace to election security, back in 2006, and coined the phrase "sleepover," which seems to have made its way into the national lexicon. AP themselves used the phrase in their coverage this week of Brunner's new directive.
As Lou Dobbs Tonight noted in 2006 following The BRAD BLOG's original exposé of the practice, the sleepover procedure is still used in many states and counties. But now, at least, Ohio's Brunner has taken a step in the right direction by ordering an end to the practice. It remains to be seen whether all of Ohio's local election officials will comply.
However, while we applaud this latest initiative by Brunner, it looks as if it may not go far enough in at least one very important aspect...
Today’s general news has articles about an expanded post-election audit in Connecticut. SOS Bysiewicz has ordered an audit of the results of the August 12 primary. This audit will be of 33% of the precincts. This audit plan had input from UConn. We congratulate the state for taking this step.
Meanwhile in Ohio Secretary of State Brunner has taken a huge step toward securing the voting machines in her state. She has outlawed all "sleepovers" of voting systems at poll workers homes prior to election day. We congratulate the Secretary for taking this step....
Blogged by Brad from the road...
A lot of voting zeitgeist in the media of late. What took ya so long, folks? Wanted to wait until it was largely too damned late to do anything about it? Same story. New year.
In any case, on the road to Denver right now, so time enough only to round up some of the most notable must-reads on everything from: The GOP "voter fraud" scam growing in intensity between here and November (a theme I'll also be discussing in my column for the UK's Guardian this week); Election officials finally acknowledging their machines don't work, but remaining unwilling to correctly place the blame or otherwise do much about it; Faint glimmers of actual improvement at the previously dreadful U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC); A bit of news from the "Rove Cybergate" election fraud case in OH, and; The one phrase you'll want to get very well familiar with between here and November 2 (hint: my name is in it, but it has nothing to do with me.)
Guest Blogged by John Gideon, VotersUnite.Org
The New York Times has again given a platform to the voting machine vendors to voice their displeasure with a system that is forcing them to actually provide voting systems that are fully tested and certified. The vendors, and some election officials, seem to want to continue the old system of poorly tested and rubber-stamped voting systems counting our votes.
In his article, Ian Urbina, quotes Jennifer Brunner, who says:
If Brunner expects high quality and consistent standards, all she needs to do is look to the vendors and question them on why they put out a product that fails in testing. Her state's recent countersuit of Premier/Diebold was a start, but why did she wait until she was sued by the vendor before taking that step? As we asked recently, why did she ignore the pleadings of Election Integrity Attorneys and computer scientists who counseled her to file a suit against Premier/Diebold for breach of contract for so long?
Brunner also needs to question the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) qualification system (most often referred to as "federal certification" by most officials and vendors) and those involved in the process as to why they allowed non-compliant voting systems to be given their stamp of approval on behalf of the federal government in the first place. If the so-called federal Independent Test Authorities and NASED had done their jobs prior to 2007, the machines used in Ohio and the rest of the nation would not now be constantly failing, and the voters would have far more confidence in the electoral system.
Doug Chapin of the Pew Center project electionline.org must have just come from last week's Election Center conference, where election officials and vendor representatives gather and talk about issues of importance to the lucrative American Voting Industry. He is quoted in the Times with this remarkable comment...
If I lived in Butler Co Ohio I would be very concerned about whether my vote was going to be counted this November. If you recall Butler Co uses Diebold/Premier DREs and in the March primary and April recount over 200 votes nearly went uncounted. The cause of the problem proved to be a conflict between the voting system software and anti-virus software. Rather than take action against Diebold/Premier, as recommended by Election Integrity attorneys, the state sat back until the vendor sued them and nearly forced the state to counter-sue. But the county, and many others in the state, will be using the same voting system with the same software in November.
Diebold/Premier claims to have a software patch but also claims it will be years before they can use it because it has to have federal approval. Meanwhile, Secretary of State spokesman Kevin Kidder says, "We've never lost a vote because of the problems we cite in the counterclaim because election officials have caught them. We can't prevent it. We can only catch the problem and correct it."
As good as election officials may be they cannot and will not catch everything and when they don’t find a problem it means votes are lost or incorrectly tabulated. The solution should have been to force the counties involved to go to paper based systems. It’s too late for that now...
For over two years Election Integrity attorneys have been urging the state of Ohio to file suit against Diebold/Premier, ES&S, and Hart for failure to meet their contractual obligations with the state. The Secretary of State ignored that urging. It was only after Diebold/Premier filed suit against the state that the state took action in a countersuit. Rather than being courageous plaintiffs in this case, the state is a defendant and Diebold/Premier chose the most favorable court to hear the case. If the state had done the right thing two years ago they very well may have had the funds to have gotten rid of all Diebold DREs in the state for this November. Instead counties are still at the mercy of Diebold and their flawed voting systems. And remember, it may be Diebold/Premier in this case but the other vendors play the same game in different ball parks. They are all complicit. For more on this issue see HERE....
Today Jennifer Brunner, the Ohio Secretary of State, announced that she has filed a counterclaim in a lawsuit with Premier (Diebold) Election Solutions. The counterclaim asks for damages, including punitive damages, against the vendor for voting machine malfunctions and for the company’s claims that warranties on equipment have expired. Brunner is arguing that problems with the voting systems caused votes to be “dropped” when memory cards were uploaded to the server. There is evidence that this happened in at least 11 of the 43 counties that used Diebold DREs in past elections. The company, apparently, agrees there was a problem, as they issued a product advisory on this problem in May. One question is outstanding now: How many counties in how many states had the same problem and never realized it? It’s time to cut our loses and get rid of those damn machines....
At a press conference this morning in Columbus, Ohio, Cliff Arnebeck, lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the case of King Lincoln Bronzeville v. Blackwell, announced that he is filing a motion to "lift the stay in the case [and] proceed with targeted discovery in order to help protect the integrity of the 2008 election."
Arnebeck will also "be providing copies of document hold notices to the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform and the U.S. Justice Department for Karl Rove emails from the White House."
This case has the potential to put some of the most powerful people in the country in jail, according to Arnebeck, as he was joined by a well-respected, life-long Republican computer security expert who charged that the red flags seen during Ohio's 2004 Presidential Election would have been cause for "a fraud investigation in a bank, but it doesn't when it comes to our vote."
"This entire system is being programmed in secret by programmers who have no oversight by anybody," the expert charged, as Arnebeck detailed allegations of complicity by a number of powerful GOP operatives and companies who had unique access both to the election results as reported in 2004, as well as to U.S. House and Senate computer networks even today.
The presser was attended by some of the corporate-controlled media, including the head of the Ohio AP bureau, the Columbus Dispatch, and IndyMedia. Listening in by phone were ABC News, our friends from RAW STORY, and I, your humble blogger. I recorded the presser, so I have no links for the quotes in this post, but I transcribed them word-for-word and can vouch for their accuracy.
One of the more delightful and interesting quotes comes from Arnebeck, concerning what he expects to discover as the stay is lifted: "[W]e anticipate Mr. Rove will be identified as having engaged in a corrupt, ongoing pattern of corrupt activities specifically affecting the situation here in Ohio."
A failure in Diebold touch-screen voting systems in Butler County, OH resulted in votes not being included properly in Election Night results, even though the system had reported that all votes were uploaded and recorded correctly. Once the error was discovered, a subsequent upload of all of the county's 1599 touch-screen memory cards to the Diebold central election tabulator after the election, also resulted in the failure to record the results of one of the memory cards, despite the system having reported that all results were "uploaded properly."
The failure of Diebold's widely-used AccuVote TSx machines during the state's March 4th primary election resulted in the initial loss of at least 150 votes, and has prompted a letter of concern to the company (posted in full at the end of this article) from Butler County's Election Director, Betty L. McGary and Deputy Director, Lynn Edward Kinkaid.
In the letter to David Byrd, President of Diebold's recently-renamed election division, "Premier Election Solutions," the officials point out that two different memory cards failed to upload vote tallies to the central tabulator.
"It may appear that every vote has been counted when cards indicate they are being properly uploaded, when in fact votes cast on a memory card(s) are not tabulated in the results," the officials wrote after having discovered the matter. "It is unimaginable how serious this situation could have been should the problem be undetected, or ignored," they concluded.
The letter also details yet another previously-unknown problem with Diebold's central tabulator --- one that could well-effect this November's general election --- as revealed to the officials by a company employee during the initial trouble-shooting of the problem.
Despite recent urgings from the Ohio Secretary of State, Diebold AccuVote TSx voting machines are still used as the primary voting system in 44 of Ohio's 88 counties, and are also widely in states across the rest of the country. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that officials "don’t yet know whether the same glitch may have affected results from previous elections in Butler County or elsewhere." ...
Ohio's Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner is planning "a first-of-its-kind audit of votes from the March 4 presidential primaries, saying the outcome should help ensure the integrity of future elections," according to a report this morning from the Columbus Dispatch.
"Brunner is calling on 11 counties to volunteer for the audit, in which at least 7 percent of the votes cast in each county would be rechecked by hand," the paper reports.
That's good. But there are a couple of points that we hope she is well aware of, since such post-election audits can offer a deceptive result in a number of cases...especially on touch-screen machines...and especially in Ohio...
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