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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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Common Cause Election Issue Rep Relies on Same Old Discredited Talking Point Chestnuts to Avoid Calling for Ban of DRE/Touch-Screen Voting Machines
Link to Complete Text-Transcript, Audio...
By Brad Friedman on 3/1/2007 3:38pm PT  

Last Friday, during my regular weekly appearance on The Peter B. Collins Show, Susannah Goodman of Common Cause was invited to join us for a discussion of the Holt Election Reform Bill (HR811).

Common Cause is one of the groups which currently supports the bill as is, and doesn't believe it's necessary to amend it to require a full ban on DRE (Direct Recording Electronic, usually touch-screen) voting systems. As we've discussed here in some detail, a number of these large public advocacy groups, such as Common Cause, People for the American Way (PFAW), MoveOn, and VoteTrustUSA have been not only supporting the Holt bill, but using disingenuous and/or very weak and/or very naive talking points to back up their support for the bill.

Susannah used most of those talking points in our discussion/debate from last Friday. I take no particular joy in pointing this out, or the similar behavior of the other groups, or Holt's office themselves, in regard to all of this. I believe them to essentially be "good guys" on these matters, but on this point, they are dangerously and irresponsibly wrong, in my opinion. Heading into another Presidential Election, still using disenfranchising DRE systems is a recipe for potential disaster that America simply cannot afford after two previously questionable (putting it kindly) elections.

The entire text transcript may be read online, along with the full audio, posted here...

Here's a quick sampling of our discussion...

BRAD: Susannah suggested that someone here is calling for a hand count [of paper ballots]. I’m not. I know that there’s a lot of folks who are and that’s fine by me. There are some places that do do hand counting – up in New Hampshire, I believe, they do some hand counting. But the point is, she had mentioned going back and counting 3% of the ballots in an audit later on. My question is why Susannah, or anyone else, wouldn’t be in favor of counting 100% of the ballots in the first place, using those optical scan machines or a hand count, either one. … Why wouldn’t we just count these ballots, these paper ballots, in the first place on Election Day? That’s what we need. That’s what Americans need…

PBC: And Susannah, in an ideal world I imagine you’d support elimination of the DREs. But do you think that’s an achievable goal in the near term, either by ’08 or 2010?

GOODMAN: Well, I actually think it’s a bit of a red herring. I mean, I think that, as Brad was saying, you know, you could take 100% of those ballots and you still scan them through an optical scanner. That’s still electronic.

BRAD: No problem. That’s great.

GOODMAN: It’s - the counting piece of this is electronic and it’s, it will absolutely, 100%, there will be a time when it absolutely fails, because it’s a machine and machines break.

BRAD: Well, that’s right, but we’ll have a paper ballot that’s been marked by the voter that they’ll be able to then go back and check, by any means necessary. We will not have that with the touch-screen system. And I’d be interested in - Peter said that you assumed that she’d be, Susannah would be in favor of banning those DREs. I’d like to actually know where Common Cause and Susannah is – would you guys be in favor of a ban on touch-screen voting machines?

GOODMAN: I, that’s not where we are, and the reason is that, I really see this bill as, I mean, what you have in, for example in New Mexico, is there are people that can mark a ballot by hand, but there are people that cannot mark a ballot by hand, because they have a vision impairment, or they’re blind, or they don’t have use of their hands, and…

Full transcript here...

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AlterNet Runs a Freshened-Up Version of BRAD BLOG's Story From Last Week
PLUS: New Holt Election Reform Bill 'Special Coverage' Page Now Live at BRAD BLOG...
By Brad Friedman on 2/28/2007 8:42pm PT  

AlterNet's front page today is featuring a fresh version of my story from last week on the false dichotomies being forwarded by Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) and the supporters of his Election Reform bill, HR 811 [PDF], as written. It outlines the unsupported talking points and disingenuous arguments being made to prop up the failings of the bill (most notably, its failure to ban DREs) by Holt's office as well as his public-advocacy group supporters like PFAW, Common Cause, MoveOn, VoteTrustUSA, etc...

The original BRAD BLOG version was here. The updated Alternet version (including a bit more background on the brouhaha for newbies is here: "False Choices in the Debate on Voting Technology"

I've also now set up a new "Special Coverage" page for the Holt Bill Debate here: www.BradBlog.com/Holt. It includes the most notable BRAD BLOG stories since the bill dropped, as well as essential articles and calls to action elsewhere. I hope it'll be a useful source. It's also always available from the red "Special Coverage" box in the right sidebar.

Also related...A new "Anti-DRE Talking Points" document from VotersUnite.org (HTML version with links & grafs..., 2-Page PDF version...) features simple bullet-points on why DRE/touch-screen voting systems must be banned and the urgent need to reform the Holt bill to ensure it. Both versions of that doc are also linked from the new Holt Special Coverage page.

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'Subpoenas will be Issued,' Says House Judiciary Aide in Advance of Tomorrow's Vote, Next Week's Hearings
ALSO: House Judiciary Committee Will Hold Hearings Next Wednesday on 'Election Reform and Irregularities'
By Brad Friedman on 2/28/2007 4:48pm PT  

Two media statements released from members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee indicate that subpoenas will soon be issued in the matter of the allegedly coerced firings of U.S. Attorneys in the Department of Justice. A vote will take place tomorrow in the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law on whether to issue the subpoenas to Justice Dept. officials Carol Lam, David Iglesias, H.E. Cummins, III, and John McKay to compel them to appear before a subcommittee hearing next week.

As well, The BRAD BLOG has learned the Judiciary Committee will also hold hearings next week on matters related to "Election Reform and Irregularities."

According to a Committee staffer, "subpoenas will be issued" tomorrow in the U.S. Attorney matter. If so, it would be the first time the Democrats have exercised their newly-gained subpoena power since wresting control of Congress from Republicans...

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

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By Alan Breslauer on 2/28/2007 11:37am PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

Wolf Blitzer asks Florida's new Republican Governor Charlie Crist if there could be a replay in 2008 of the "2000 election fiasco?" Crist believes that his budget recommendation, which calls for $32 million to be spent implementing a "paper trail" system (in actuality, he's called for the replacement of touch-screen systems with paper ballot-based optical-scan systems) will cure Florida's election problems. He also offers up this gem:

The most important thing we can do in democracy is to insure the democratic process and the integrity thereof. We feel very strongly about that in Florida.

However, when Wolf questions Crist about the 18,000 missing votes in "Orlando" from the 2006 election (he meant Sarasota in the still-contested FL-13 U.S. House race), Crist answers that his concern is "going forward." Thus, it seems Florida has felt very strongly about democracy for about three months now (who was running the place before Crist?). Not to be outdone, Wolf "presses" by holding his feet to the fire... asking a softball question...unrelated to Orlando Sarasota, about whether Florida will be "ready" by 2008.

Meanwhile, one would think that Americans would be a little more concerned about getting Florida elections right after experiencing the last six years of Bush. Yet, despite statistical evidence that all but guaranteed her victory in FL-13, Christine Jennings remains on the outside looking in. At least with Al Gore the mountains of evidence that he won Florida did not surface until after the Supreme Court gifted the election to Bush. With Jennings we do not have the luxury of such an excuse and it is inexcusable.

ADDENDUM BY BRAD: Wolf Blitzer is a complete and utter, unmitigated moron of indescribable proportions. Rivaled only in his utter and embarrassing cluelessness by Chris Wallace...And meanwhile, I have to beg for milk money. Amazing.

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Comparison of Voting Data from 2004 to 2006 Shows Hispanic Undervote Plunged 69% as the 'Civil Rights' Case for DREs Continues to Fall Apart
ALSO: New Concerns Emerge About Racial Profiling vis a vis Touch-Screen Voting Systems...
By Brad Friedman on 2/26/2007 11:50am PT  

"We were looking for any impact the change to paper ballots may have had on New Mexico’s historically high undervote rate. When we found the dramatic drop in Native American precincts, we were shocked," says New Mexico's Theron Horton. The Election Defense Alliance (EDA) activist added, "something was going on with the DREs in those precincts in 2004."

Something indeed.

Details now out from New Mexico reveal that undervote rates dropped precipitously in both Native American and Hispanic areas after the state moved from DRE (Direct Recording Electronic touch-screen) voting systems in 2004 to paper-based optical-scan systems in 2006. In Native American areas, undervote rates plummeted some 85%. In Hispanic communities, the rate dropped by 69% according to the precinct data reviewed by EDA, VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA.org.

Ellen Theisen, then-Executive Director of VotersUnite.org, reviewed the original high undervote rates in the state after the 2004 elections, but hadn't broken it down to compare DRE/touch-screen vs. Op-Scan precincts. "When I heard of Theron’s work," Theisen says in today's press release, "I performed the comparison, and found that it’s the paper ballots that made the difference in the minority precincts.”

New Mexico banned the use of DREs across the state after their disastrous experience with Sequoia touch-screen voting machines during the 2004 Presidential Election. They now require a paper ballot for every vote cast statewide.

As he signed the bill which banned DREs into law in early 2006, New Mexico's Gov. Bill Richardson wrote a letter to Election Officials in all 50 states, warning that while "some believe that computer touch screen machines are the future of electoral systems...the technology simply fails to pass the test of reliability."

"One person, one vote is in jeopardy if we do not act boldly and immediately," Richardson implored, while decrying the failures of DREs in his state and supporting paper ballots. "When a vote is cast, a vote should be counted," he wrote.

The BRAD BLOG has reported on the urgent need to ban disenfranchising DRE voting systems --- with or without a so-called "paper trail" --- from all American elections.

Here's an easy to understand graph from the short, two-page report [PDF] published on the New Mexico data over the weekend along with the raw data at VotersUnite.org:

Any questions?

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

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Election Integrity Advocates Contesting Race Call Report 'A Whitewash,' Cite Partisan Makeup, Conflict of Interest, Flawed Test Methods of Audit Commission
Two State Reports Released Late Friday Afternoon Reveal Contested Results Imperiled by Extraordinarily Complex Touch-Screen Voting System...
By Brad Friedman on 2/23/2007 3:39pm PT  

Late this afternoon, the state of Florida released a state-commissioned audit report detailing their investigation into the contested U.S. House Election in Florida's 13th Congressional district between Christine Jennings (D) and Vern Buchanan (R).

In two lengthy and carefully worded reports, released along with a statement from the new Secretary of State, Kurt Browning (R), the state audit report [PDF] concludes that "The audit team found no evidence to suggest or conclude that the official certified election results did not reflect the actual votes cast."

A statement issued in response by People for the American Way (PFAW), who, along with VoterAction.org, are representing the voter plaintiffs contesting the election in the state, have described the report as "a whitewash." Their statement, posted in full at the end of this article, points to the partisan makeup and conflicts of interest in the commission empaneled by the state to examine the firmware of the paperless ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting machines used in the race.

The report "is the result of a flawed process overseen by people with a stake in the outcome," said PFAW President Ralph Neas in the statement, which also details a number of other flaws in the state's "independent" commission.

Additionally, The BRAD BLOG has found that details in one of the reports actually contradict both Browning's statement and the conclusion of the state's official audit. The reports, as well, reveal a stultifyingly complex process being employed to manage the most basic point of any election: The simple task of adding one plus one plus one...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 2/22/2007 1:06pm PT  

San Francisco is considering "upgrading" their voting systems to use Sequoia machines. They are demanding that the company publicly disclose their software source code for all to see. It's called transparency. That's a good thing.

But Sequoia is refusing. Yesterday, there was another discussion/debate on the topic at an SF Board of Supes hearing. The San Francisco Examiner reported this laugh line from the Sequoia spokeshole:

Steven Bennet, a Sequoia representative, said Sequoia won't agree to public disclosure [of source code on voting machines] since it would "jeopardize the security to all of our customers in California and across the country."

For those just joining the fun, who may be unfamiliar with guffaw-worthiness of Bennet's claim about concern for the security of his company's shitty voting systems, we'll refer you to this small sampling of previous relevant BRAD BLOG articles:

...Along with a heads up that we'll have more --- much more --- on Sequoia's "concerns" about the security of their voting systems (or lack thereof) in a detailed investigative report in the very near future...

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By Brad Friedman on 2/22/2007 12:11pm PT  

Was on Air America's Politically Direct with David Bender last night responding, in part, to Rep. Rush Holt, who was a guest on the show himself last week. (Interestingly enough, the show is sponsored by our friends at People for the American Way - PFAW.)

We spoke about the Holt Bill (good and bad), the Democrats (good and bad), and much more on the entirety of Election Integrity in an exceedingly jam-packed 20 minutes full of info (it was tape delayed out here in Los Angeles, so I got to listen to me while falling asleep...you can hear the coffee kick in about 4 or 5 minutes into the interview. :-) )

Thanks to David for the overly generous description as "The Paul Revere of the Election Integrity Movement"...But I'll take whatever I can get! As he said, "One if by land, two if by sea, three if by Brad!"...


-- Brad on Politically Direct, 2/21/06 [MP3, 20 mins minutes]

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Calls for a Return to Paper Ballots During Commemorative MLK, Jr., Keynote Address in Santa Cruz!
California Congresswoman is First of Bill's 192 Co-Sponsors to Pull Support Amid Heavy Criticism of Legislation by Election Integrity Advocates...
By Emily Levy on 2/21/2007 2:31pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Emily Levy of VelvetRevolution.us with additional reporting by Brad Friedman

During a question and answer period after a speech at a Black History Month event last night sponsored by the University of California Santa Cruz, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) announced that she plans to withdraw her co-sponsorship of Rep. Rush Holt's Election Reform Legislation, (HR 811).

Citing the bill's failure to require paper ballots, allowing for uncounted "paper trails" instead, Waters replied to a question of mine that she would be "glad to withdraw [her] name from the bill" when she returns to Washington on Tuesday in the wake of recent conversations she's had in California with Election Integrity advocates. The announcement drew an enthusiastic round of applause from those in attendance at Tuesday night's 23rd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Convocation at UCSC which was keynoted by Waters.

Waters would be the first of the bill's current 192 House co-sponsors to withdraw her support. (The full list of current co-sponsors is available here.) Given her leadership on civil rights and election-related issues over the years, Waters's move could be significant in the current debate which has seen Democrats and a number of their public-advocacy group supporters use the issue of civil rights, ironically enough, to support the continued use of DRE/touch-screen systems as allowed by the Holt legislation.

As The BRAD BLOG reported yesterday, "language minority" activists have contended that touch-screen systems are better able to serve voters whose first language is not English. That, despite any empirical evidence in support of the notion.

The Holt bill had received early support from a number of Democratic public-advocacy groups such as PFAW, MoveOn, Common Cause, and others, though the controversial bill has gone on to draw criticism, since it's filing, from Election Integrity advocates here at The BRAD BLOG and elsewhere for its failure to fully ban disenfranchising DRE/touch-screen voting systems and several other notable concerns.

Waters began her speech Tuesday Night by discussing the dire condition of our election system, asking, "What would Dr. Martin Luther King say" about the 2000 election in Florida, about the purging of supposed felons from voter rolls, about proposed voter ID cards, intimidation at the polls in Florida and Ohio, voting machines without "paper trails," and related issues. She did not discuss HR 811 during the course of her main address.

In the brief question and answer period following her speech, I asked Waters if she was aware that the Election Integrity movement --- the folks who have investigated, exposed, and challenged the horrors of electronic voting --- strongly opposed Holt's legislation.

"What would it take," I asked, "for you to withdraw your support?" ...

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

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Misrepresentation of the 'Opposition,' Fear of Failure, and a Bizarre, Unsubstantiated 'Civil Rights' Argument All Employed to Avoid Legitimate Debate on the Dangers of the Pending Legislation...
By Brad Friedman on 2/20/2007 1:01pm PT  

We've been discussing the pros and cons of Rep. Rush Holt's Election Reform bill (HR 811 [PDF]) since it dropped two weeks ago in the House.

There is, no doubt, much more to say about the specific pros and cons in detail here as we move forward. For the moment, allow me to first address three false dichotomies opportunistically and/or disingenuously and/or naively being used by supporters of Holt's legislation in order to help see it passed by Congress.

In doing so, I'll share some of what I've learned over the past several weeks via my personal investigations into why the Democrats who support the bill, along with their closely-allied public advocacy groups, are currently unable or unwilling to show the necessary courage to insist upon the banning of disenfranchising, failed DRE/touch-screen voting system technology from all American elections.

The inability, or unwillingness, of such groups to stand up and call for what most know to be the right thing is occurring despite the fact that most of those groups actually agree --- and will admit privately, if not always publicly --- that DRE technology has no place in our electoral system and is a grave menace to true Electoral Integrity.

Collectively, these three arguments are being used to shore up support for a bill which offers much good (DISCLOSURE: I participated in the drafting of the bill myself, and did what I could --- sometimes successfully, sometimes not --- to improve its language and provisions), yet ultimately may prove to be as dangerous as the disastrous Help America Vote Act (HAVA) and risks becoming known as HAVA 2 by 2008. And, as I've pointed out before, this time the Democrats won't have the Republicans or Bob Ney to blame.

FALSE DICHOTOMY #1:
It's Either Holt or Hand-Counted Paper Ballots...

The first of the three false dichotomies being forwarded by some of the bill's supporters is to suggest that there are only two choices: Pass the Holt bill 'as is,' or continue an unwinnable campaign for all hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB).

The now oft-repeated intimation is the very definition of a strawman, a canard, and a truly disingenuous false dichotomy. ...

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

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Guest Blogger Attorney Ken Simpkins Seeks Your Help in Bringing Accountability to One of America's Worst Elections Officials...
By Ken Simpkins on 2/18/2007 4:39pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Ken Simpkins

ED NOTE: Over the last nine months or so, along with attorney Paul Lehto, Carlsbad, CA attorney Simpkins has filed a number of voter lawsuits in San Diego in his continuing attempt to help bring accountability to the unaccountable San Diego County Registrar of Voters, Mikel Haas and his atrocious elections administration. Those suits included complaints and appeals in the now-infamous Busby/Bilbray Special Election as well as voter lawsuits brought both before and after last November's General Election in San Diego.

After being stonewalled by the San Diego County Registrar of Voters Office on requests for recounts, information regarding the right to vote on paper ballots, and the results of an audit of the November 2006 election, citizens are taking action. Last Thursday, a complaint [PDF] was submitted to the new California Secretary of State, Debra Bowen, addressing voters’ concerns. Secretary Bowen was voted into office on the promise of cleaning up elections.

SD County's Registrar of Voters, Mikel Haas, has attracted the attention of The BRAD BLOG for many months as "one of the worst elections officials in the country." His policy of sending pre-programmed, election-ready Diebold voting machines home with poll workers weeks in advance of elections, without any training on security or assurance that the machines would be held in a secure environment, likewise attracted the ire of many San Diego County voters. Those same voters are signing a petition urging the Secretary of State to investigate the allegations in the complaint and report on the findings. I urge you to sign it as well.

The complaint reports on the violations of the certification requirements under state and federal law, the failure to properly test the machines pursuant to official procedures, the policy of undermining the right to vote on paper ballots, and the disregard of basic auditing principles in conducting the required one percent manual tally.

The voting machine "sleepover" policy is one example of the disregard by the Registrar of Voters of the proven vulnerabilities of the Diebold machines, which can be hacked in one minute and made to change the outcome of an election. In defending the sleepover policy, Mr. Haas points to the "tamper-evident" tape used to seal the memory card compartment as sufficient security against fraud. But, when one observer discovered on election day that the tape had been removed from the machines at two precincts, and reported the violation of the certification requirements to Mr. Haas, he refused to take the machines out of service and allowed voters to cast their votes on the then-uncertified machines...

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

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...Defends the Disastrous Help America Vote Act of 2002...Which He Co-Authored...
By Brad Friedman on 2/15/2007 11:25am PT  

Blogged by Brad from the road...

New Hampshire Election Integrity advocates bird-dogged the prospective Presidential Candidate and co-author of the disastrous Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002, Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT), a couple of weeks ago concerning the failures of that bill. The short video follows.

We hope other folks will do same with Presidential Candidates from any and all parties and share their video tapes of responses. One of the things we learned in Arizona from Ted Downing, the chair of the Election Integrity Committee of the state's Democratic Party (the only state party in the union to have such a committee!), is that he plans to ask each and every Presidential Candidate to appoint an Election Integrity "Cabinet Member" to their campaign staff. We'll try to report back if and when any of those candidates take him up on that.

(Links to my radio interview with Downing and others in Arizona while Guest Hosting Mike Malloy and Peter B. Collin's shows are right here.)

We'll just add one comment in reply to the below video for the moment: Mr. Dodd, the system has not been "improved since 2000." It is far far worse.

(Hat-tip Nancy Tobi and the folks at Democracy for New Hampshire)

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Flawed Bill Continues to Fast-Track While Supporters Ignore the Concerns of Those Who Know the Issue Best
HR811 On Schedule to Become 'HAVA 2' Unless Radically Amended, Improved...
By Brad Friedman on 2/14/2007 12:00pm PT  

Blogged from the road by Brad Friedman...

Yes, I'm still on the road. And thus I'm still unable to fully and completely cover events surrounding the dangerous provisions of the Holt Election Reform legislation (HR 811).

For the short term then, I'll quickly point to a few notable critiques of the bill, as currently written, from the Election Integrity community.

Why Democratic-based public advocacy groups such as MoveOn, Common Cause and PFAW are supporting this bill in direct conflict with the bulk of the Election Integrity community continues to be beyond me. Perhaps worse, they are doing so via campaigns that succeed in misleading their members about the facts of the bill.

As I've said many times, though the Holt legislation contains many good and needed provisions, it has several serious flaws --- including, perhaps most notably, a failure to ban all disenfranchising DRE/touch-screen systems --- which will likely lead to this bill being seen as "HAVA 2" by 2008 if it's passed as is.

Unlike the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA 1), the Dems will not have Republicans and the disgraced former Rep. Bob Ney to blame when the shortcomings in the bill are revealed before, during, and after the next Presidential Election.

Quickly then --- before I must shuffle to the next hotel --- allow me to point you to the "Essential Revisions to HR 811" as drafted by many in the Elections Integrity community and hosted by VotersUnite.org and signed by several other notable Election Integrity groups such as VoterAction.org, BlackBoxVoting.org, and many others.

As well, a blind technology expert, Noel Runyan, has today released a scientific paper, "Improving Voter Access," documenting the failures of existing DRE/touch-screen technology (to-be-institutionalized by the Holt Bill if passed) to meet the needs of the disabilities community. The paper is released under the notable auspices of both Demos and VoterAction.org. Press release here.

Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org has issued her own statement/concerns as well right here: "Beware of the Bandwagon --- A concise list of problems with Holt Bill HR 811"

Just after the Holt Bill dropped, we also ran a notable Guest Blog from Demos's Democracy Fellow and the founder of the National Voting Rights Institute, John Bonifaz, who is critical of the bill's lack of a ban on DREs: "Why the Holt Election Reform Bill Must be Amended to Guarantee a Real Paper Ballot."

Those are just a few of many such statements from various elements of the Election Integrity community concerning the Holt Bill as it's currently written.

It's simply mindblowing that so many Congress members, including Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida --- who issued his own near-clone of HR811 yesterday in the Senate --- along with so many Democratic-based public advocacy groups continue to ignore the concerns of the EI community, who know this issue best.

The fact that even Florida's new Republican (and surprisingly progressive) Governor and new Secretary of State are ahead of the Democrats on this one, and are calling for DREs to be replaced by optical-scan systems (for the most part, if not during early voting or for disabled voters) should be a clear sign that something is terribly wrong here.

While everyone seems to finally understand the need for Election Reform (well, that took long enough!), the notion that any bill is better than a bill which will actually be effective is extraordinarily short-sighted. Passing a bill likely to institutionalize dysfunction and continue our Electoral Meltdowns for years to come should be the last thing that Democrats and their supporters wish to do.

Why they seem to be tripping over themselves to do it continues to be far beyond me.

If you haven't already done so, please sign the Paper Ballot Campaign's Open Letter to Congress demanding a paper ballot --- which is actually tabulated --- and a ban of DREs once and for all.

(DISCLOSURE: I was allowed by Holt's office to participate during the drafting process of HR811 and was able to succeed in adding some improvements to some of the language, as well as encourage the addition of several important new provisions in the bill. Nonetheless, the bill, as written, still contains many dangerous loopholes as alluded to above. Next week, once home, I hope to offer a more complete and specific analysis of both the good and bad points in the legislation, which seems to be continuing to fast-track though Congress. Unfortunately.)

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Bush-Appointed Chair Found Near Center of the Growing Scandal/Cover-Up Which Even Included a Stealth Attack on Election Integrity Advocate (and BRAD BLOG Guest Blogger) John Gideon...
By Michael Richardson on 2/13/2007 4:07pm PT  

Guest Blogged By Michael Richardson

The more we peel away the layers of the onion, the more we find that it seems to stink to to high heaven. The latest chapter in our continuing series on the hidden world exposed by the recent failures of voting machine test lab CIBER to receive "interim accreditation" from the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC), is no exception.

The EAC's current Chair, Donetta Davidson, seems to have a long, storied and increasingly well-documented history of silence concerning electronic voting machine test laboratory problems and has been an active partner with EAC Executive Director Tom Wilkey --- whose roll in this mess we've examined in detail in previous articles (here, here and here to link to just a few of our reports in this continuing series) --- in keeping the public uninformed about failures in the secret test labs.

Wilkey is at the center of the controversy surrounding a failure to disclose to both the public and election officials around the nation that CIBER, Inc.,, the country's largest so-called “Independent Test Authority” (ITA), was banned last summer from further testing of voting machines. As previously reported by The BRAD BLOG, Wilkey kept test lab problems hidden from public scrutiny for years in his earlier duties at the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) where he was in charge of monitoring and qualifying the labs.

Davidson is now Wilkey’s boss at the EAC where she landed after serving as Colorado’s Secretary of State since 1999 where she was later tied to significant failures by that state in properly certifying electronic voting systems. A judge last year condemned the state's practices and ordered the state, effectively, to start over from scratch after the debacle. Over the years, the paths of Davidson and Wilkey have crossed many times because of their mutual roles in the hidden world of voting machine testing.

Davidson and Wilkey both have served together on the board of The Election Center, a non-profit group of mysterious background headed by R. Doug Lewis, which provided technical assistance, training, and lobbying support to NASED members. Lewis, a key player in test lab secrecy, mentored Davidson and Wilkey as they gained control of the ITA testing infrastructure.

Davidson has also served on NASED’s Voting Standards Board, as chaired by Tom Wilkey, which qualified the test labs. The two kept in touch, Davidson in Colorado, Wilkey in New York, at conferences, via email, and over the phone. The conferences, often held in tourist destinations, were a special time for the two to get together...

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

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EAC Exec. Dir. Tom Wilkey Lends CIBER 'Test' Lab a Hand, As 'Confidential' Secrets about Their Failures Continue to Ooze Out...
By Michael Richardson on 2/9/2007 12:34pm PT  

Guest Blogged By Michael Richardson

The BRAD BLOG has learned that Thomas Wilkey, Executive Director (bio [PDF]) of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), has now extended the deadline for CIBER, Inc. to qualify for interim accreditation to test the nation’s voting machines, despite previously reported disastrous testing conditions over several years discovered at the lab.

Wilkey previously kept problems at the CIBER test lab hidden behind a wall of secrecy including the non-accreditation of the controversial “independent testing authority” (ITA) laboratory as discovered and revealed by The New York Times last month.

CIBER, the nation’s most prodigious voting machine test lab, was banned from testing last summer when accreditation responsibilities shifted from the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) to the EAC. However, the public and election officials relying on CIBER’s testing where not informed of the ban until the Times disclosed the lab shutdown in January 2007, long after the elections in 2006 were allowed to move forward on CIBER's "tested" voting machines.

Even after the Times exposé, the EAC head kept the assessment reports [PDF], which detailed lab problems, secret until a subpoena threat by the New York State Board of Elections forced release of the reports. The assessments that Wilkey kept hidden from the public revealed a shocking history of sloppy, incomplete and non-existent testing.

Only after increasing pressure, including from Senator Diane Feinstein, to come clean about CIBER’s failures, Wilkey wrote to the company on January 26, 2007 [PDF] giving them 30 days to correct the identified deficiencies. Now, as the deadline approaches, Wilkey has itemized the problems in need of correction by CIBER and extended the deadline [PDF] for them until March 5, 2007.

Wilkey, once again as expected, has been very kind to the company that he seems to have spent years protecting.

Meanwhile, in written testimony [PDF] Thursday to the EAC, David Alderman of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) explained why CIBER thus far has failed to gain a favorable recommendation from the NIST for future accreditation—CIBER actually missed the application deadline...

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

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