Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer
Part 1 (8:18)
Parts 2 and 3 follow below...
w/ Brad & Desi
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...|
Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer
Part 1 (8:18)
Parts 2 and 3 follow below...
Doing twelve things at once today, so no time for analysis at this point. I'll just run CA Sec. of State Debra Bowen's just released statement on her promised, unprecedented, first-of-its-kind in the nation, "top to bottom review" of all of California's electronic voting systems.
The review will include "red team" hack testing for the first time ever. Done as standard operating procedure for similar security-sensitive, mission-critical commercial systems, this sort of penetration testing has never been performed on America's voting systems. Until now.
The one page summary [PDF] of the plan states:
There are links within her statement below where you can find more details. For example, the State's review teams will include folks such as computer security expert "hacking" Harri Hursti, and blind technology expert Noel Runyan, who has been highly critical of unverifiable touch-screen DRE voting systems.
More on all of this, perhaps, later after I've had time to review the materials myself. But for now, see the statement below for some killer quotes from Bowen...
Rush Holt's Election Reform Bill (HR811) was successfully voted out of the U.S. House Administration Committee today after a four hour mark-up session. We'll have analysis of the bill in the coming days as we are able to review a copy of the final version which is now headed to the House floor. We have been told that electronic balloting on Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) touch-screen systems will continue to be allowed in the bill.
Apparently, a paper ballot --- one that is actually counted --- for every vote cast in America is of little interest to either the Democratic and Republican members of the committee.
See our Holt Bill Special Coverage Page at http://www.BradBlog.com/Holt for much more information and action points concerning the bill.
First out of the box to trumpet today's "triumph", naturally, was the bill's top supporter, the public advocacy group, People for the American Way (PFAW). They had a press release good to go before the ink even dried on the dangerous new version of the bill (which, we should add, does include both some improvements to the initial version, along with several watered down provisions as we've been told...but we'll wait until we actually read it before commenting further on any of that.)
For now, however, we have little choice but to characterize the tactics used by PFAW in their press release as despicable, while they continue to knowingly mislead the American people about what the Holt bill will and won't do. (Their press release is posted in full at the end of this article.) This group knows better, and yet, they are doing it anyway.
We can do little else at this point other than to recommend any donors to their organization cease supporting them immediately, and otherwise let them know exactly why. Their dangerous, disingenuous support for this dangerous and disingenuous bill is counter to the best interests of Election Reform and Integrity in America. Worse still, PFAW --- who has openly lobbied in favor of the use of dangerous, disenfranchising, hackable touch-screen DRE systems, claiming they are preferable to paper-based optical-scan systems --- is willing to lie about facts in order to see the bill move forward...
Will the Democrats in the U.S. Congress finally begin to realize their mistake in allowing for DRE touch-screen voting machines now that the Republican Governor of Florida has led the Republican-majority Florida legislature (along with every Democrat in it as well) to do the right thing and move to all paper ballots? Or will U.S. Congressional Dems continue to allow themselves to lose yet another issue that they should be owning?
We'll leave it to the Election Integrity advocates on the ground --- the coalition of GoAllTheWayFlorida.com --- who have worked so long and hard, to give you the great news...
FLORIDA VOTERS COALITION CONGRATULATES GOVERNOR CRIST AND THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE FOR ENDING PAPERLESS VOTING.
TALLAHASSEE: In a historic vote, the Florida House today unanimously passed CS/HB 537, already passed in the Senate, that provides almost all voters paper ballots in time for the 2008 Presidential election, and bans paperless DREs outright by 2012. The bill now goes to the Governor where he’s sure to sign it since it’s his initiative.
Counties will have the option to pitch DREs immediately and provide ballot marking devices for voters with disabilities. “FVC urges all 67 counties to convert to uniform paper ballot systems without delay and leave no voter behind voting on failed electronic voting machines,” said FVC Co-Founder, Dan McCrea.
The bill is funded with $27.9 million in HAVA funds and there’s plenty more money in that account should more be needed next year. Counties will get help from the state to purchase optical scan equipment to count the paper ballots; ballot-on-demand equipment to ease paper congestion problems in Early Voting; and ballot marking devices to serve the disabled.
While there was talk earlier in the legislative session about retrofitting printers to failed touchscreen DREs, that talk faded as legislators saw it would be throwing good money after bad...
The rest of the News Release is posted here [PDF]...
In still more very good FL news, a U.S. House panel has asked the non-partisan GAO to investigate the contested FL-13 election between Christine Jennings and Vern Buchanan where 18,000 votes disappeared on the DRE touch-screen voting systems in Sarasota.
John Gideon has links to media coverage of both of those events in his Daily Voting News today.
Congratulations, Florida voters! And especially to the tireless patriots down there who have been fighting so hard, for so long! There are still many fights ahead down there before true Election Integrity returns to Florida, but there is no denying that this is an enormous victory. Let's hope it rubs off on the other 49 states...and the U.S. Congress!
50 seconds well spent...Click play on the video at left.
That terrific video is just out from CountAllVotes.com.
The FL House is currently in the throes of either adding poison pills to, or otherwise trying to fend off Gov. Charlie Crist's long-overdue and responsible plan to bring paper ballots to the beleaguered voters of the Sunshine State. His courageous plan would do away with all of the state's horrible, disenfranchising, touch-screen DRE voting machines in time for 2008, something which even Democrats in the U.S. House, so far, have been shamefully afraid to do.
Please go visit the site and take action --- whether you're from Florida or not, you can help their campaign...which will help us all.
Guest Blogged by Stephen Heller
In an article from the April 24th edition of the Seattle Times, we learn that King County, Washington election officials have recommended Diebold tabulators for use in counting mail-in ballots.
I am astounded (although I guess as a regular reader of The BRAD BLOG I shouldn't be) that any election official can, at this point in time, say that ANY Diebold product is "the solution with the least amount of risk."
And Ms. Huff is recommending the purchase of Diebold tabulators BEFORE they have received federal certification.
Has Ms. Huff been living in a cave?
I'm glad to say some council members are awake enough to know this is a bad idea. They are worried about the lack of federal certification, and they seem to be aware of the various computer experts' tests showing Diebold machines to be hack-friendly and about as risk-free as Dick Cheney's hunting partners....
Guest Blogged by John Gideon
Yesterday the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) announced that "Special Circumstances" would require them to hold a public hearing next Tuesday, 1 May in Washington DC. The "Special Circumstances"?
It seems that the state of Florida asked the EAC if they could use funds provided under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) to replace their present paperless touch-screen DRE voting systems and someone at the EAC told the state that they didn't think it would be alright for the state to spend their HAVA funds for anything like going to a paper based voting system. But, the EAC representative said that the Commissioners would have to get together and vote on the issue.
So, yesterday the commission announced when that vote would take place; May 1. That's three working days from now. That's three days for the state and the state's very active Election Integrity community to prepare their statements in favor of spending the states own funds for their own voting system.
And, this public meeting that is very important to the state of Florida --- will be convened in Washington DC to ensure that the commissioners make it as hard as possible for anyone to attend and voice their opinions.
The EACs "Sunshine Notice" announcement is for a meeting that is murky and as closed as the EAC can possibly make it without directly violating federal law.
Chris Bagley of the North County Times files a terrific profile today of Riverside County, CA, Election Integrity advocate Tom Courbat. The piece covers the awareness of the issue that Courbat has been able to raise in the county (and, we would add, subsequently in the nation), the procedures that have changed there due to his persistent activism, and the recent Harri Hursti appearance in the wake of Jeff Stone's "Riverside Hack Challenge," etc. (FWIW, we are also mentioned in a few grafs, in regard to the Hursti business and a bit more.)
All of the above has been carried out by Courbat --- as we say, heroically --- even while he continues to battle cancer tied to the use of Agent Orange during his Vietnam-era military service in South Korea.
Tom is one of many such quiet, and usually unrecognized, heroes around the country, to whom our nation owes a debt of gratitude which can never be adequately repaid. We're proud to recommend Bagley's article today, and hope it serves as inspiration for many others.
The announcement of the sudden passing of the Congresswoman from California's 37th district today comes as both a surprise and a tragic loss. She was the first African-American woman to chair the important U.S. House Administration Committee, having taken the chair for the first time this past January in the 110th Congress. It had previously been held by Vern Ehlers (R-MI) who had taken over from Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) after he stepped down in the wake of his Abramoff-related corruption charges.
We covered the announcement of her cancer diagnosis and subsequent request for a temporary leave of absence last week from her post as chair of the committee which is currently overseeing the scheduled mark-up of Rep. Rush Holt's Election Reform bill (HR811). Our coverage last week described who might take over the committee in her absence.
The most valuable takeaway from the entire U.S. Attorney Purge scandal will likely prove to have been the exposure of the long-perpetuated GOP "voter fraud" scam. The scheme has been been so pervasive for so long, but the coverage of it has been largely contained to blogs like ours.
In the interim, the MSM coverage of the issue had been given over to the well-funded Republican propaganda machine which had detailed the phony claims of "voter fraud" as if they were legitimate.
The result, as designed, were calls for restrictive Voter ID legislation at the polling place, an effort that was successful in a number of states. After all, as the Republican snakeoil salesmen oft-repeated, "you need an ID to get on a plane, to cash a check, why not to vote?"
It was a difficult line to refute on its face, but it was built on lies, disinformation, and attempts by this White House and this Republican party to wage an unprecedented effort to keep any portion of the 10 to 30 million Americans (mostly Dem-leaning) without photo ID's (many even without birth certificates!) from being able to cast a vote.
The U.S. Attorney Purge scandal has helped to reveal the insidious scheme, opening it up for everyone to see by helping to expose the slimy, well-funded campaign for what it really is: little more than a broadly-waged, party-funded, voter suppression ploy.
Scores of MSM articles and columns over the past week or two have finally helped expose this scam to the public, and the likes of vote-suppression operative Thor Hearne's well-financed, systematic, White House-run "non-partisan" American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR) has, for now, slithered back underground.
Much of the MSM coverage to date has repeated what BRAD BLOG readers already know since we've been covering it for so long. But there are a couple of notable must-read exceptions recently which move many of these inter-related stories forward several moves...
Prior to the Easter Congressional recess, there was a great deal of speculation as to why the scheduled mark-up for the Holt Election Reform Bill (HR811) had been delayed until after recess in the U.S. House Administration Committee.
Among reasons for the delay, The BRAD BLOG had heard from various Hill staffers that chairwoman Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-CA) had come down with the flu. Another staffer said the issue was due to a failure by Microsoft to present promised information on problems with the software disclosure portions of the bill. Some Election Integrity activists had attributed the postponement to their phone and fax campaign warning lawmakers about perceived dangers in the bill.
While we've been unable to confirm that any of those reasons specifically caused delay of mark-up for the controversial bill, The Hill is reporting today that Millender-McDonald has been diagnosed with cancer and will now be taking a leave of absence through late May...
A commenter over at DU asked which states used the ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting system found vulnerable to an undetectable countywide vote-flipping virus which can be implanted by a single person, as we reported this morning.
Based on our quick review of a county-by-county database of voting systems, sorted by state, as made available by Common Cause (EXCEL spreadsheet downloadable here) just prior to the November 2006 elections, it looks like the answer is 16 states in total.
Since the EAC refuses, as our report detailed, to do their job in notifying Elections Officials about this incredibly serious vulnerability, it looks like it's up to you to notify your state's Secretary of State and/or county Election Officials! Details on the vulnerability and mitigating steps that may be taken are detailed in this brief report at VotersUnite.org as written by a computer scientist and voting system expert well familiar with the newly discovered flaw. Please refer your voting officials to both our original article, and that scientific report for more details at the following URLs:
The states which use the ES&S iVotronic affected (with firmware versions either 8 or 9, with or without a so-called "Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail") are as follows:
If we've missed any, or any of the states above do not use the system in at least one county, please let us know and we'll amend the list.
The BRAD BLOG and You - Doing the EAC's job for them. But without the $15 million budget (or the incomprehensible incompetence).
By Michael Richardson and Brad Friedman
While revelations surrounding the mysterious 18,000 "undervotes" in the November 2006 U.S. House election between Christine Jennings and Vern Buchanan in Florida's 13th Congressional district continue to inform the nation about the dangers of electronic voting machines, new information has recently come to light exposing a shocking lack of responsible oversight by those entrusted with overseeing the certification of electronic voting systems at the federal level.
An investigation into what may have gone wrong in that election has revealed a serious security vulnerability on some, and possibly all, versions of the iVotronic touch-screen voting system widely used across the country. The iVotronic is a Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) touch-screen voting machine manufactured by Elections Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S), the nation's largest distributor of such systems.
The vulnerability is said to allow for a single malicious user to introduce a virus into the system which "could potentially steal all the votes in that county, without being detected," according to a noted computer scientist and voting system expert who has reviewed the findings.
And yet, despite their federal mandate to serve as a "clearinghouse" to the nation for such information, a series of email exchanges between an Election Integrity advocate and officials at the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) has revealed that the federal oversight body is refusing to notify states of the alarming security issue.
The recent email conversation shows that even in light of the EAC's review of the warning from the computer scientist who characterized the "security hole" as severe, needing to be "taken very seriously," and among the most serious ever discovered in a voting system, the EAC is unwilling to take action.
Recent reports by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) have taken the EAC to task for a failure to meet their legislated mandate for informing the public and elections officials about such matters. However, a review of the email communications to and from the EAC's Jeannie Layson shows that the federal body is steadfast in their refusal to take action to alert either elections officials or the public about the security risk recently discovered by a team of eight noted computer scientists.
The EAC's current Chairwoman, Executive Director, Director of Voting System Certification, and other top officials at both the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), and even the GAO, were included in the series of email communications, The BRAD BLOG has learned.
The vulnerability was initially discovered by a panel of scientists convened by the State of Florida to study the possible causes for the FL-13 election debacle. The team's discovery revealed that a design issue in the widely used iVotronic system could allow for a viral attack, by a single individual, which could then spread unnoticed throughout the electronic election infrastructure of an entire county.
A similar vulnerability was found in DRE touch-screen system made by Diebold last Summer by a team of computer scientists at Princeton University.
Attempts to seek information about EAC plans to notify other states and local jurisdictions that use the same vulnerable voting systems as the ones in FL-13 have been met with an astounding refusal, troubling denial, buck-passing, and a lack of accountability by the federal commission of Presidential-appointees. The agency has also come under fire in recent weeks for a number of questionably partisan decisions and other failures to perform as mandated by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002.
Of late, the EAC has been forced to respond to a great deal of controversy, on a number of different operational matters and policies, as revealed by a series of articles on this site and in mainstream outlets such as the New York Times and USA Today. Several of those matters have drawn Congressional notice, questioning of EAC officials, and letters of inquiry. Thus, this latest revelation is likely to add to the rising concern of Congress members as new federal legislation introduced by Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), currently facing mark-up by a Congressional committee, would permanently fund the now-embattled EAC. Funding for the agency was originally mandated by HAVA only through 2005.
The new ES&S iVotronic vulnerability first emerged on February 23, 2007, when the Florida Dept. of State released a report detailing their findings from the investigation into what happened in Sarasota's still-contested Jennings/Buchanan race. That election was ultimately decided by just 369 votes. The state's official findings included a report [PDF] conducted by an eight-member computer science and technology team under the auspices of Florida State University (FSU). The report sought, unsuccessfully, to determine the cause of the unexplained "undervotes" reported by the iVotronic touch-screen voting systems used in Sarasota's portion of the FL-13 race on Election Day and in early voting.
Although the reason thousands of votes turned up missing from those systems remained unknown, the study team did discover a serious security flaw in the iVotronic system that is used in Sarasota and many other jurisdictions across the country (and even the world, as France is set to use the same systems in their upcoming Presidential Election.)
Election integrity watchdog John Gideon, a frequent BRAD BLOG contributer and the Co-Director and Information Manager for VotersUnite.org, says that the security flaw may pertain to "every ES&S iVotronic voting machine used in the US and overseas." A total of eight separate versions of the system --- without and without so-called "voter verified paper audit trail" (VVPAT)" printers --- are currently approved as qualified at the federal level, he explained. Three of those are definitely affected and it is likely that the others are as well.
The details, the dangers, and the denials are all described below...
Guest Blogged By Michael Richardson
The 18,000 "undervotes" in Sarasota and other questionable elections in November 2006 election were not the only problems faced by Florida voters last year. Most of them, in fact, likely have no idea just how bad it really was.
Florida's statewide voter registration database, and election management systems designed to work with it, were plagued in early 2006 with a host of problems. Some of the details are now revealed by a raft of email messages sent recently by a source to the non-partisan election integrity watchdog group BlackBoxVoting.org which posted them quietly on their site for public scrutiny.
Sixty-four email messages to election officials, spanning a four-month period from January to April 2006, from VR Systems, a Florida corporation, document a staggering series of serious problems with Florida's new computerized voter registration database during the early months of its implementation. The emails, from Jane Watson, a manager at VR Systems, provide a disturbing picture vis a vis a nearly day-by-day report from inside the software test lab.
The Florida Voter Registration System (FVRS) is statewide voter registration database described by Watson in the emails as a "home grown system" built by IBM to Florida specifications and maintained by Department of State staff. Voter Focus is a software system, unique to Florida, which provides election management functions to 60 Florida counties.
The emails tell the tale of software failures which began in January 2006 as programmers furiously work to solve program glitches and failures prior to the state's upcoming elections. The system went online before development was complete, in order to meet the January 1st deadline imposed by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). The source of the Florida emails, an insider familiar with the development and implementation of the database who has requested anonymity, tells The BRAD BLOG that, "The system should never have seen the light of day until the bugs were worked out. They used the voters and county election officials as guinea pigs to experiment on and test the program."
Documented failures include the software somehow, without apparent reason, switching the party registration for voters. As one of the emails describes: "We are seeing instances of voters being changed to a different party when there was no user activity. This is our top priority now." And the next day: "We worked this weekend on diagnosing voters whom we suspected as having had their party changed by Voter Focus...There were 3 counties with high numbers of suspected cases of this kind of inadvertent party change."
The emails remain unclear on whether the problems were completely found and fixed, and whether or not all voter files had been correctly restored. Later emails suggest that various related problems still existed months later when voters, whose registration should have been recorded in the system, were nowhere to be found. Votingindustry.com, a website which tracks the progress of the implementation of statewide registration databases, currently describes Florida's system as "Still working out kinks."
Jane Watson, the author of the memos, spoke with The BRAD BLOG and confirmed the authenticity of the emails. She explained that the federal government with its HAVA mandates "didn't understand the time it takes to develop programs."
While Watson stressed her confidence that no voter was disenfranchised in 2006 because of bugs in the statewide voter registration system, she admits that "party changes never have worked as well as they should" and that "there are still some things to work out..."
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