Kim Zetter at WIRED has the latest at her Threat Level blog...
w/ Brad & Desi
w/ Brad & Desi
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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...|
Guest Blogged by Rebecca Mercuri
(NOTE: The archived appearance of Dr. Mercuri on the Peter B. Collins show, as Guest Hosted by Brad Friedman, discussing this article and other matters surrounding Holt's Election Reform bill is now available here....)
Anyone who has been anywhere in the blogosphere in the months since Rush Holt's HR 811 Election Reform bill was introduced knows that a schism appears to have developed in the voting advocacy community. I say "appears" because it's not terribly clear to me at this point whether this schism existed all along and now the fires are being stoked by rogue insiders in order to fuel a "divide and conquer" effort that benefits voting system vendors who can rise like Phoenixes out of the ashes of the activists, or whether Congressman Holt's bill is a litmus test being used to decide who'll continue to get a seat at the table (to testify at hearings) and a chunk of the grant money and other set-asides for election "research" projects. Maybe both of these actions (and others) are in play.
This has been reminding me a lot lately of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, riding on the hippie bus to the 1964 New York World's Fair. Tom Wolfe quoted Kesey saying: "There are going to be times when we can't wait for somebody. Now, you're either on the bus or off the bus. If you're on the bus, and you get left behind, then you'll find it again. If you're off the bus in the first place --- then it won't make a damn." Wolfe went on to explain "And nobody had to have it spelled out for them. Everything was becoming allegorical, understood by the group mind, and especially this: You're either on the bus ... or off the bus."
That dividing line between where the bus ends and the rest of the world begins, right where Wolfe was sitting, is the only place to get some decent perspective on the whole situation. So I'm perched at that vantage point, and inside the voting bus I'm seeing Brad Friedman, Bev Harris, Lynn Landes, Rob Kall, Teresa Hommel, Ellen Theisen, Mark Crispin Miller, Greg Palast, Ion Sancho, Doug Kelner, David Chaum, and Dennis Kucinich all arguing about something, but the vibe is upbeat. And outside the bus there's Doug Lewis, Wally O'Dell, Tom Wilkey, Theresa LePore, Linda Lamone, Jeb Bush, Karl Rove, Hans von Spakovsky, Jim Dickson, and Matt Damschroeder just milling around. These are not comprehensive lists (since I'm somewhat myopic and have never been very good with names or faces), and I'm certainly not saying that any of these folks have affiliations with each other, though maybe some do.
What's bugging me is that I can't tell whether Rush Holt and HR 811 are on the bus, or not, right now. Though the bill's predecessor versions (from the prior two Congresses) seemed to be on the bus, none of Holt's bills have ever made it totally clear that the voter verified papers would actually be the real ballots, by ensuring that 100% of them would be counted (preferably by hand, in public, and before the election night returns are reported).
The folks who are truly on the bus all seem to grasp this reality. Holt's latest bill, especially the revised version, comes with Avi Rubin, David Dill, Barbara Simons, and maybe even Ron Rivest, each of whom have wandered on and off the bus before. Plus now there's the Microsoft attorneys too, and Holt's backyard buddy Avante, who hopped on when the bus passed through their adjacent parking lots (see photo below).
Blogged by Brad Friedman from Houston...
Radio host Peter B. Collins has been earning his keep of late. On his last show before a three-week Summer vacation today (we will be filling in to Guest Host for him for the next week and a half), Collins finished up a segment with Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) today concerning his efforts to renew the Fairness Doctrine with two quick, unrelated questions.
First, Collins asked whether the Congressman supported the controversial Rush Holt Election Reform Bill (HR 811) "in it's current form." The legislation has come under fire from Election Integrity advocates for its continued allowance of the use of dangerous DRE touch-screen voting machines, and a host of other concerns.
Hinchey --- who is currently signed on as one of the bill's co-sponsors --- responded by saying he had "some very serious questions about it" and feels that "it has been compromised."
While there was no time to follow up with details, his comments likely referred to the troubling changes made to the bill by the House Administration Committee. Originally, the legislation had called for complete disclosure of electronic voting system source code to any member of the public interested in examining it. By the time the bill was voted out of committee, however, those important disclosure provisions had been changed to require that the source code be placed in escrow, to be examined only by so-called "experts" in the event that a problem is discovered during an election, and only under non-disclosure agreements.
Those changes led Holt himself to admit that "the vendors have won," according to reports from several Election Integrity advocates who attended a town hall event where the New Jersey Congressman spoke over the weekend. No word on whether Holt may be removing himself as a co-sponsor of the Holt bill in light of his reported admissions.
Secondly, Collins asked Hinchey, "What is your posture on the impeachment of Vice President Cheney?"
Guess Blogged by John Gideon, VotersUnite.Org
Congressman and Presidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), several weeks ago, had expressed his intention to drop support for Rep. Rush Holt's (D-NJ) Election Reform Bill, HR 811. A week or so ago, he reiterated his lack of support for the bill, and his intention to drop off as co-sponsor.
Today, he has begun to circulate a "Dear Colleague" letter (posted in full below) to be sent to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi urging her to ensure the legislative process addresses the concerns of the many groups who have spoken out in opposition to HR-811.
"For these constituencies," the letter says, "H.R. 811 falls short of its intended goals to ensure votes are cast and counted as intended by the voters."
The Congressman is looking for others to step up and co-sign the letter, and asking Election Integrity advocates to contact their Congress Members to ask them to join the effort.
On a related note today the Senate Rules Committee announced that they would be holding a hearing on Sen. Diane Feinstein's (D-CA) democracy-busting S-1487 election reform legislation in the Senate. This is the bill that will turn over our elections to corporations and the incompetent, compromised U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC). The hearing is scheduled for July 25 at 10AM.
Below is a copy of an email that was sent out by Kucinich's office today, including the "Dear Colleague" letter now being circulated for signatures...
Guest Blogged by Tom Courbat of SAVE R VOTE
ED NOTE: Courbat and his band of intrepid Election Integrity advocates are owed a huge debt of thanks and enormous congratulations for their effort. This recommendation, and indeed the creation of the "Blue Ribbon" commission itself, only came about due to the dogged, week-in, week-out, year-in, year-out persistence of Tom and the Riverside County advocates of SAVE R VOTE. We're happy to run his first-hand, guest blog contribution on this tremendous victory, as Courbat's group and efforts serve as a role model for citizens in every county in the nation. --- BF
Dump the DREs and Minimize Additional Outlays To Go To Paper Ballots
Next Tuesday, July 17, 2007, the Riverside County, California Board of Supervisors’ hand-picked “Blue Ribbon” Elections Review Committee will present the Board with recommendations to “Move as quickly as possible to a hybrid voting system…on paper ballots…counted by optical scanners.”
For Riverside County, the first in America to move to touch-screen electronic voting systems, the importance of their findings cannot be overstated.
With the exception of omitting the words “Digital Imaging” from the term “optical scanners” (aka “DIOS”), this is exactly the recommendation made to the committee by Finnish Computer Voting expert Harri Hursti to the Elections Review Committee in Palm Desert, CA, on March 30th of this year. Hursti came to Riverside after Supervisor Jeff Stone laid down a "1000 to 1" challenge, as covered in detail by The BRAD BLOG, that we'd be unable to manipulate the county's Sequoia touch-screen voting system. Hursti was happy to take up the challenge, but Stone demurred.
(It should also be noted that Stone and the Board of Supervisors failed to respond to requests to allow Mr. Hursti to address them and answer any questions they might have --- even after he flew 17 hours to testify before them and the "Blue Ribbon" committee.)
The committee's findings also match the recommendations made by SAVE R VOTE (Secure Accurate Verifiable Elections Require Voter Observation of Touchscreen Equipment) to both the "Blue Ribbon" Elections Review Committee (ERC) and the Board Of Supervisors (BoS) earlier this year.
The ERC reports that “…factors should minimize the additional capital outlay necessary to transition to a hybrid system.” The question now becomes: will the BoS reject the recommendations of their own hand-picked committee, who spent thousands of hours laboring over evidence contained in reports, interviews, presentations by expert witnesses, City Clerks, citizens' opinions, news articles, DVDs, conference calls, and SAVE R VOTE members? The full report can be found here.
Who Is On the Elections Review Committee (ERC)?
The "blue ribbon" ERC committee, again, hand-picked by the BoS, consists of a former County Supervisor, Kay Ceniceros; two former judges, Rob Taylor and Jim Ward; retired Press Enterprise newspaper editor and publisher Marcia McQuern; and an independent businesswoman who also serves as the president of a local chamber of commerce, Lynn Baldi. On April 24, Rob Taylor told the BoS in an interim report that, due to such a diversity of opinion, the committee might be submitting “five minority reports.” By July 11th, however, the entire committee issued a unanimous series of 17 recommendations.
Supervisor Stone 'Surprised' By Commission Findings...
In Breaking News late this afternoon, we find yet another reason why Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems are incompatible with democracy: When an election held on them is contested, the machines themselves --- which are said to hold the ballots internally --- cannot be used in another election until the contest is settled.
Late news this afternoon, sent to The BRAD BLOG moments ago, reveals that a judge in an Alameda County, California election contest is set to rule that a contested ballot measure election from 2004 must now be reheld since the county destroyed data from the election when they sent the Diebold DRE voting systems back to the company in Plano, Texas.
All but 4% of election data, records and audit logs was overwritten in subsequent contests, according to the following release from Americans For Safe Access (ASA) who were the plaintiffs in the contest.
In 2004, Alameda was the same county where it was found that Diebold had installed uncertified hardware and software in the county's voting system. The illegal action by the company eventually led to the decertification of certain Diebold systems in California.
The judge's unprecedented decision to re-hold an election after plaintiffs were denied their right to a proper recount after the county's failure to preserve election records on the Diebold touch-screen systems could have reverberations around the country.
The ASA release explains the astounding details and background in this tale, along with the judge's tentative findings in full...
OAKLAND, CA – Superior Court Judge Winifred Y. Smith issued a tentative ruling that the Alameda County Registrar of Voters and Alameda County "have engaged in a pattern of withholding relevant evidence and failure to preserve evidence" necessary to conduct a recount of a hotly contested Berkeley ballot measure. As a result, the Court has signaled its intention to void the election and order the County to place Measure R back on the ballot for a re-vote at the next general election.
Judge Smith will issue a final ruling after the Court hears oral arguments tomorrow (Friday, July 13, at 9:30 a.m. at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse, Department 114, 661 Washington Street, Oakland).
"Judge Smith's tentative ruling confirms our contention that Alameda County violated its duty to preserve the critical voting machine data that was the focus of this recount lawsuit and election contest," said Gregory Luke of Strumwasser & Woocher LLP, attorney for the plaintiffs
who sought the recount of the vote on Measure R.
More from the press release, including background on this incredible story, the ballot measure, the long fought election contest, the overwriting of the data on the Diebold voting machines --- in violation of the law --- and the judge's tentative ruling itself, follows below...
Blogged by Brad Friedman from St. Louis...
UPDATE: The BRAD BLOG has heard from sources, though we've not been able to get confirmation from Congress, that HR 811 may come up for a vote on the floor as early as tomorrow (Thursday). Please read below and take action!
People for the American Way (PFAW) --- previously the "good guys" in many a fight for your democracy --- continues their dishonest and misleading campaign to support Rep. Rush Holt's dangerous Election Reform Bill (HR 811).
The bill, as written --- despite our having helped to draft it prior to its introduction --- currently fails on a number of levels. Most notably, in its institutionalization of the use of disenfranchising Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) touch-screen voting machines for all of America. Such machines use secret, unverifiable, invisible ballots to count your vote.
As The BRAD BLOG has shown many times previously, PFAW --- by their own multiple written and spoken admissions --- PFAW actually prefers the use of DRE touch-screen voting systems over paper based systems, and thus has become the number one supporter of the Holt bill. Worse, they are joining (perhaps even leading) Holt's office in misleading America about what the bill does and doesn't do.
As HR 811 comes towards the U.S. House floor for a vote, PFAW is ramping up their efforts by sending out emails to members requesting they call Nancy Pelosi's office at (202) 225-4965.
We suggest you do the same. But demand that Pelosi amend the bill to include a ban on DRE voting systems or otherwise vote against the bill.
Then send this item to everyone you know!
Among the dishonest information propagated by PFAW during their pro-Holt campaign: The claim that a DRE ban could not pass in a Democratic-controlled Congress, despite such a ban passing recently passing in the state of Florida with a Republican House and Senate. PFAW has made the claim repeatedly and convinced other Election Integrity organizations of its validity, but has refused to offer a single name of a single Congress member who now supports Holt's bill, but who would vote against it if it included a ban on dangerous DRE voting systems.
Among the knowingly dishonest, Frank Luntz-like deceptions that PFAW is now shamefully using in their continuing disinfo campaign (online version here, excerpts posted below from their email sent yesterday) contain the following misleading and/or incorrect claims about provisions in the Holt bill:
PFAW should be ashamed of themselves. You can email PFAW at PFAW@PFAW.org or call them with your complaints at: 202-467-4999 or 800-326-7329.
Excerpts from their deceptive email, sent yesterday, follow below...
Blogged by Brad Friedman from St. Louis...
Charging that Congressman Rush Holt's (D-NJ) Election Reform bill (HR 811) "does not address the concerns that Americans have, to do something about electronic voting," Ohio's Rep. Dennis Kucinich reiterated his withdrawal of support for the controversial legislation last Friday.
In an interview on the Peter B. Collins show, the Democratic presidential candidate confirmed earlier reports that he intended to drop his co-sponsorship of the bill in favor of requiring paper ballots for American elections. HR 811, as currently written, fails to ban dangerous electronic touch-screen (DRE) voting systems.
Last week, Election Integrity advocates announced a new effort to contact Congress members in order to learn their position on the Holt bill, and whether or not they would support such a ban. They are asking for help from the public in contacting all members of the U.S. House. (More details on the effort, and how you can help, below.)
"I'm hopeful that Congressman Holt will modify his bill before he pushes for passage of it," Kucinich told host Peter B. Collins during a short interview late Friday.
Here's the short audio of the exchange concerning the Holt Bill [less than 2 mins]:
Here's the transcript of the exchange:
KUCINICH: I have. Rush Holt's a fine person and I really enjoy serving with him. But I have to say, the bill does not address the concerns that Americans have, to do something about electronic voting, and to make sure that we protect ourselves from the kind of manipulation of an election that can occur with the insufficient controls on software and hardware in this era of electronic voting.
That's why I've advocated paper ballots in all federal elections. That's the paper trail. That's that old time religion in politics where at least you had a chance for a fair count. Every American deserves to know that his or her vote counts and is going to be counted.
And you may remember that in the last election, when it came to the Electoral College, I was one of the few members who challenged the election in the Electoral College and voted against certification of the election based on what happened in Ohio. As did, by the way, Senator [Barbara] Boxer [D-CA], she was one of the leaders on that.
PBC: Indeed, yes...
KUCINICH: And so, we have to stand up and be counted. I'm hopeful that Congressman Holt will modify his bill before he pushes for passage of it.
Kucinich had originally announced his intention to drop his co-sponsorship of the bill last month when asked about it by Election Integrity advocates during a phone appearance at DemocracyFest in New Hampshire. The Ohio Congressman's name is still listed as a co-sponsor, along with 215 others, on the Library of Congress website, but The BRAD BLOG has been told by a source familiar with the LOC's Thomas database that co-sponsorship lists on that site are no longer updated after bills have been introduced and then voted out of committee...
Blogged by Brad from Nashville after Escaping Atlanta...
"It's been a thriller," said the eponymous host of the Peter B. Collins Show as Friday's live radio debate wrapped up between myself and attorney Lawrence D. Norden, Chair of the NYU Brennan Center for Justice's Task Force on Voting System Security.
Norden made, in our spirited debate, what I believe to be some stunning admissions.
Complete "must listen" audio of the debate is available at the end of this article...
Blogged by Brad from Nashville...
While it's tough keeping up from the road --- where we will be for a long while still --- we rest much easier knowing that Greg Gordon of McClatchy Newspapers continues to lift the rocks and scrape off the slime that's found under them in the name of the disgraced "non-partisan" GOP front group calling themselves the "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR) and their vote-suppressor in chief, the Bush/Cheney '04 General Counsel, Mark F. "Thor" Hearne.
Today, Gordon advances the ACVR story --- which we broke more than two years ago and have been drilling down into ever since --- with the latest in his string of doozies that he's been rolling out since jumping on the beat.
His latest must-read begins by detailing the ACVR Menace as it reached its tentacles into New Mexico and the case behind the political firing of U.S. Attorney David Iglesias.
He also details some fresh gut-busters from our friend Thor, whose turds just don't seem to have the same luster they once did, when previously offered to a far less dubious media...
Guest blogged by Bob Bancroft
On today's Morning Edition , NPR’s Pam Fessler reports the growing frustration of election officials around the country. Those interviewed express a general consensus that fussing over the right to vote is simply not worth all the headaches. Elaine Ludwig, Chief Clerk of Lebanon County, PA, says she’s “had enough,” threatening that she and many others will quit if any election reform is passed into law.
But there is a more basic problem in NPR’s reporting on the issue: a deep misunderstanding of what is being debated, and why.
Morning Edition host Renée Montagne introduces the segment (about “Toys and Voting Machines,” no kidding) by describing Rep. Rush Holt's H.R.811 as “legislation to require paper ballots for all voting equipment.” Oh, Renée, if only it were so simple! Sadly, that legislation, the bill that guarantees a paper ballot in every state, does not exist.
Rep. Holt told NPR, “States must provide, they owe it to the voters to provide, voting systems that are transparent and reliable and accessible and verifiable.”
Well said, sir. Yet the current incarnation of Rep. Holt’s bill falls short. In place of transparency, we are given mandatory non-disclosure agreements. In place of verifiable voting, we are given paper printouts.
Printouts, Renée, not ballots...
Guest Blogged by Bo Lipari of New Yorkers for Verified Voting
The following was posted to my Blog on June 22, 2007
I’m pleased to report that due to a huge outpouring of calls from citizens, and three intense days and nights working the Capitol halls by New Yorkers for Verified Voting and the League of Women Voters/NY, New York State's voting machine laws were not weakened or tampered with in any way. Neither the Microsoft amendment nor any other proposals being pushed by voting machine vendor lobbyists made it into any of the thousands of bills passed in this last crazy week of the session. The citizens of New York State stood up to these powerful private interests and won.
A rapid response by citizens to this threat to our essential protections resulted in over 3,000 calls to legislators in just over two days. This huge outpouring from the public averted the threat of a stealth amendment slipping into law unnoticed, as so often happens in this last hectic week in Albany. Every legislator I talked to over the last three days was impressed by the volume of calls and the passionate reaction, and promised they would watch the bills carefully for back door changes, adding their eyes to ours. They reaffirmed their commitment to keeping New York’s voting machine laws among the strongest in the nation, and in the end, they came through. The public’s response to this threat has kept our representatives vigilant and committed to keeping New York State’s voting machine laws among the strongest in the nation.
Keeping our strict laws intact was an essential win for us, but this is only Round One. The next battleground will be the New York State Board of Elections, where the four commissioners are discussing how to interpret the New York State law. And yes, you guessed it, one of the interpretations being promoted by some of these decision makers would allow the voting machine vendors to use Microsoft and other source code in voting technology that would not be subject to review in the event of election problems. Our next task will be to make sure the State Board of Elections understands what we’ve told the State Legislature, that the public’s will is expressed precisely in the letter of our election law – ALL source code must be handed over, not just some pieces of it. Our elections, and the technologies we use to conduct them, belong to us. And we the people aim to keep it that way.
But today, let’s celebrate. Congratulations friends, we did it!
Guest blogged from D.C. by Margie Burns
Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty returned to testify before Congress one more time today, but without shedding much new light on the much-criticized firings and hirings, alleged to be politically motivated, in the Department of Justice.
The Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law of the House Judiciary Committee, in another attempt to extract some truth about the DOJ personnel matter, held a hearing with McNulty as the sole witness. Under polite, soft-spoken but excruciatingly poignant questioning by Committee Chair John Conyers (D-MI), McNulty did clarify one thing: indeed it does seem that his part of the DOJ has done very little about “caging.”
Caging, as Rep. Cannon (R-UT) helpfully pointed out, “is a term of art in mailhouses” – it refers to the place where letters go when they have no address, all batched up in a separate room.
As Conyers gently reminded the audience, “caging” in the context of elections “is not an issue of the mail at all.” Voter caging, in the context of elections, means blocking voters out – choosing whole lists of voters whose vote will be challenged, chosen by whom and the criteria for challenge enunciated by whom, under this administration, still not fully explained.
Actually, not explained at all. Though it wasn't for Conyers' lack of trying to get information from McNulty about it...
We've alluded to it before, and even in this article we'll not adequately reveal the depths to which some in the Election Integrity community have plumbed, but the Pro-HR811 folks are in full-court PR press mode of late in order to see Rush Holt's Election Reform bill passed in the U.S. House. By hook or by crook.
Despite claims passed on by supporters that the bill would come up for a full House vote in the past week or two, no such vote came to pass, although one could be scheduled at any time now that the bill has left committee. Inquiries seeking information on an official date for such a floor vote, sent by The BRAD BLOG to Holt's once-responsive legislative aide working on the legislation, have not been answered.
We too would like to see some version of the bill passed. But as it currently stands there are too many enormous flaws in the bill to earn our support, as we've discussed on these pages in great detail. (Here's one recent example.) As we've described, one of our greatest concerns is the bill's institutionalization of Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) touch-screen voting machines for use in American democracy. Such systems, even with the so-called "Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trails" (VVPATs) mandated by the bill --- and perhaps especially with such a mandate --- are antithetical to democracy, as they allow no way for voters to ever verify their invisible electronic ballots as accurate before or after the votes are cast and counted. The VVPATs themselves, as mandated by Holt, are also another problem which may make elections easier to steal, rather than harder. But we'll go into more detail on that at a later date.
There are a host of other reasons why DREs should never be used. Most supporters of Holt's bill --- except for People for the American Way (PFAW), which actually prefers such machines to paper-based systems --- recognize that. Nonethless, they've allowed PFAW and Holt's office to snow them into believing that a DRE ban could not pass in a Democratic Congress, while apparently the Republican dominated House and Senate in Florida, of all places, were able to ban such machines once and for all. Go figure.
As we described recently, it seems that none of the folks who've bought into the "DRE ban can't pass Congress" line seem to have bothered to ask for any evidence of the premise before passing it on to others. Or if they have, they've yet to share the evidence with the public, so that we might lobby those Congress Members who currently support the Holt bill, but would vote against it if it included a ban on DREs, so that the public might either educate them or otherwise discover and expose their reasons for supporting such dangerous machines in our democracy.
Anyway, the propaganda campaign from the pro-Holters is in full swing right now both behind and in front of the scenes as they place editorials and work the back-channel email lists. In the process --- and with the at least passive approval of Holt's office --- they seem hell-bent on destroying the character of any and all who they perceive as being in their way. Yours truly is no exception, of course, as we've been ruthlessly savaged by many of the "loudest" folks who want to see Holt passed --- even if they need to make stuff up about it and/or otherwise mislead Americans and Congress Members about what the bill actually does and doesn't do.
By way of example, see the email posted in full below, as written by NCVoter.net's Joyce McCloy, an ardent pro-Holter and forwarded by another, Kathy Dopp of UtahCountVotes.org. It was posted and then circulated to several large Election Integrity email lists. We can't help but highlight one of the grafs which refers to us directly, if only for the irony --- sure to be lost on the authors --- of our highlighting the charge here in the first place...
Sarasota's Herald-Tribune highlights why it's imperative to get election results right on Election Night...
Democrat Christine Jennings was pinning her hopes of winning the 13th District congressional seat on the Democratic majority in Congress.
But a month after essentially abandoning her legal challenge in a Florida court, Jennings is finding her gamble to rely on Congress could take far longer than her supporters had hoped.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office is set to tell Congress on Thursday that it needs until September just to determine what other audits, investigations, and court proceedings have already turned up. Then, the GAO would go before Congress again to determine how much additional time, if any, it needs to produce a formal report for Congress with its own research, said Nancy Kingsbury, a spokeswoman for the GAO.
That would hardly conclude the investigation. The report would need to be vetted by a task force and then voted on by a full committee in Congress before it could then go before the full U.S. House, which has final say over the dispute.
That would all have to happen in the eight weeks between Labor Day and the targeted adjournment on Oct. 27 for the rest of the year.
The Congressional challenge is due to problems with touch-screen DRE voting systems in the district which resulted in 18,000 lost votes, in a race certified as having been "won" by the Republican Vern Buchanan over the Democrat Christine Jennings by a 369 vote margin. Even the machine vendor (ES&S)'s own expert in court admitted that Jennings would have most likely won were it not for problems with their touch-screen DRE voting machines during the race.
A recent study of DRE voting systems found that two-thirds of voters didn't bother to check their review screens at the end of the voting process on such systems, and that even if they check them, they do not notice votes that have been flipped by the system. The study concludes that paper trail records, printed out after the review screen on DREs, would similarly not be noticed or checked for accuracy. Those findings confirm earlier results from an MIT/Caltech study which looked at similar issues.
The embarrassments caused by the District 13 race in Florida helped lead the Republican-controlled House and Senate in Florida to finally legislate a ban on DRE touch-screen voting machines altogether.
Supporters of Rush Holt's HR811 Election Reform bill in the U.S. House, however, have said that it's impossible to get a similar ban in the Democratically-controlled House and Senate, so they've refused to add such a ban to their sweeping bill. Those who have made the claim that a DRE ban could never win passage in the Democratically-controlled House and Senate have yet to offer any evidence for that claim, or even offer a single name of a supporter of the bill who would vote against it if it included such a ban.
The bill currently has 216 co-sponsors, although ComputerWorld today confirmed our report from earlier this week that Presidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) plans to withdraw his co-sponsorship of the bill.
The FL-13 election, meanwhile, was held back in November of 2006. The earliest timetable detailed in the Herald-Trib article, quoted above, would result in a decision on the matter by October of 2007. The Republican Vern Buchanan, who most likely lost the race by nearly everyone's (but his and Sean Hannity's) estimation, continues to vote with the GOP caucus in the House while the Democratic candidate, whom Sarasota voters had tried to send to the U.S. House, bides her time in Florida.
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