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Complaint Seeks to Stop Use of Electronic Voting Systems Made by Diebold, Sequoia, ES&S and Hart InterCivic
Broadest State Filing Against Voting Machines Yet Filed, Follows Similar Suits in California, Arizona, New Mexico
By Brad Friedman on 6/1/2006 11:37am PT  

In a complaint said to be the broadest yet filed to halt the rise of the electronic voting machines, a non-partisan group of voters have announced they are filing suit today in Colorado to stop the purchase and use of Direct Recording Electronic ("DRE" or touch-screen) voting machines in the state, The BRAD BLOG can now reveal.

The suit, being filed today in Denver District Court and modeled after similar actions filed previously in California, Arizona and New Mexico, calls for an immediate halt to the use of touch-screen machines made by all four of the major electronic voting machine vendors currentlly doing business in Colorado.

The group, advised and organized by VoterAction.org contends that voting machines made by Diebold, Sequoia Voting Systems, Election Systems and Software Inc. (ES&S) and Hart InterCivic "have a well-documented history of problems with security, reliability, verifiability, and disability access."

According to a press release issued this morning (posted in full below) by the Denver law firm of Wheeler Trigg Kennedy LLP the machines "are easily hacked and compromised, and have a history of operational problems which have disrupted elections across the country."

Defendants named in the suit include Colorado Secretary of State Gigi Dennis and the Boards of county commissioners in 9 different CO counties.

"The Secretary of State's Office has failed to issue rules setting minimum standards for security of these systems. The election rules permit the DRE manufacturers to simply tell the State that their machines are secure," said Wheller Trigg Kennedy attorney Paul Hultin in the release. "Worse, the Secretary is not following the law. No certification reports required by law have been prepared even though these systems have been certified for months and counties are preparing to use these dubious systems in the upcoming election," he says.

"Some of the security risks with these machines are so high that it is unconscionable that their manufacturers, who have known of the problems for years, have not taken the necessary steps to correct them," says Univesity of Iowa computer science Professor Dr. Doug Jones, who is one of several experts who will be offering testimony in the case.

"The Help America Vote Act is being turned on its head, weakening the integrity of our elections in the rush to purchase untrustworthy DRE computerized voting systems," said Lowell Finley, Co-counsel for the Colorado voter plaintiffs, election law expert, and Co-director of Voter Action, according to the release. "The sanctity of our elections is too important to turn over to private corporations which operate without accountability. There are better and more secure options available, such as optical scan-paper balloting."

The complete filing is now online here [PDF]...

We're busy covering the Robert Kennedy article on Election 2004 in Rolling Stone today (we'll have extended excerpts on BRAD BLOG shortly), so we'll leave you with the complete press release below for more details on this developing case...

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

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Former Judge Finds March 7th Texas Primary Results Fraught With 'Absolutely Egregious' Electronic Voting Machine Errors!
May Lead to First Independent Examination of Electronic Machines Made by Hart InterCivic and ES&S!
By Brad Friedman on 3/28/2006 10:53am PT  

Blogged by Brad on the road...

As The BRAD BLOG reported last week, a Conservative Republican former Texas Supreme Court Justice had been considering an Election Contest after electronic voting machine problems and inexplicable tallies plagued the first-in-the-nation March 7th primary in the Lone Star State.

Steve Smith --- who ran for election to the state Supreme Court, Place 2, in the Republican primary against an opponent backed by both Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry and the Bush family --- will be filing an official Election Contest this afternoon in Travis County District Court, The BRAD BLOG has learned.

Since our previous report, the Smith for Supreme Court campaign has been examining election tallies around the state and report that they continue to find anomolies in virtually every county they look into.

"The more research we do, the more irregularities we find," campaign manager David Rogers told The BRAD BLOG this morning.

The problems are being found on machines made by both Hart InterCivic and Election Systems and Software, Inc. (ES&S) --- the two major Electronic Voting Machine vendors supplying the state of Texas.

Rogers says the campaign plans to file the Contest before 5pm (CT) today. The Contest (to be posted in full here when available) will outline some of the many problems they have found so far including counties "where there were more votes than voters."

They hope the Election Contest may allow, for the first time, a closer examination of both the Hart InterCivic and ES&S electronic voting machines used in Texas elections, as well as elsewhere around the country.

An earlier statement from the campaign had detailed a number of the campaign's initial findings including several mysterious totals in Smith's home county of Tarrant where officials admit some 100,000 votes were incorrectly added to the reported results on Election Night.

Smith had outperformed his statewide average in Tarrant County during the 2004 Election by 13%, but this year, his campaign reports, he underperformed the statewide results by 23%. One other such puzzling number reported previously by Smith's campaign:

Winkler County, which went for Smith by margins of 260-92 (74%) and 468-249 (65%) in the 2002 and 2004 elections, went against Smith by an unbelievable 0-273 (100%) margin. Governor Perry received only 83% of the vote in Winkler County, and no other contested candidate topped 80%. The propositions on the ballot topped out at 93%.

Says Rogers, "We are contesting the state as a whole, but looking at specific larger counties where there are problems and a few of the smaller counties where the mistakes were absolutely egregious."

The BRAD BLOG has also previously reported on whistleblower William Singer who had worked at both Hart InterCivic and then as an "Election Programmer" in Tarrant County. Singer had attempted to alert the Texas and Ohio Secretaries of State and Attornies General about concerns, including possible criminal fraud by Hart, ES&S and Tarrant County, as long ago as July of 2004. His letters were all virtually ignored by officials in both states. The Texas Secretary of State was recently forced to shutdown a mandated recount in Tom Green County when it was discovered that recount numbers from the machines differed by some 20% from results reported on Election Night.

Up until now, many critics who have doubted or ignored the many concerns about the hackable hardware and secret software used in Electronic Voting, as expressed for some time by Election Integrity Advocates, have said that it is only Democrats who seem to be concerned about results as tallied on such machines which are now blanketing the country in the wake of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA).

That flawed law was written and sponsored in large part by Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) and passed in 2002 along with heavy lobbying by Voting Machine Vendor Diebold, Inc. of North Canton, OH and their top lobbyist, Ney's former chief of staff, David DiStefano. HAVA's full impact kicks in by statute for the first time this year. Ney recently stepped down from his chairmanship of the U.S. House Administration Committee after being named in one of the plea bargains by disgraced former Republican super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Smith's election challenge, by a conservative Republican Supreme Court Justice from Texas, may well help to change the tenor of the debate over Electronic Voting, as is becoming apparent in several national mainstream publications of late including USA TODAY who published a front page story finally touching on these matters today.

We are on the road for the bulk of today and this evening, but if one of our friendly Guest Bloggers can update this item with a copy of the full Election Contest as filed by Steve Smith later today --- once we receive it --- we will do so.

UPDATE 3:50pm PT: Campaign managaer David Rogers has contacted us to let us know the campaign has found additional information that they wish to investigate before filing their contest. Due to this new information they will be delaying the filing by 24 hours.

UPDATE 4/1/06: The complete Election Contest filing is now attached here. [PDF] We hope to have a new report on the details/specifics later.

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By Brad Friedman on 3/25/2006 11:56am PT  

Blogged by Brad on the Road...

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram picks up on our previous report about Hart InterCivic / Tarrant County, TX election software whistleblower William Singer.

Does the "Startlegram" give any love to The BRAD BLOG in their article? Despite an hour or two on the phone with them after they called for deets and a hook-up with our source last week? Not a jot.

But we're not in it for the love. We're in it for the big bucks.

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Inexplicable Tallies from Electronic Voting Machines in Tarrant County, Elsewhere in State Require Full Recount and/or Contest, According to Campaign Manager
'Serious mistakes were made,' Understates Candidate, Former Texas Justice Steve Smith
By Brad Friedman on 3/22/2006 5:40pm PT  

A Conservative Republican former Texas Supreme Court Justice, who ran against a Republican opponent backed by Gov. Rick Perry, is considering a challenge to the tremendously flawed Primary Elections held in the state two weeks ago on new Electronic Voting Machines.

The campaign for Steve Smith announced last week in a Press Release received only last night by The BRAD BLOG (and posted in full below) has filed a "Public Information Act request with the Tarrant County Elections Administrator seeking to review public documents relating to the Republican Party primary election in Tarrant County" on March 7th.

As discussed in their press release, but elaborated upon to The BRAD BLOG in an interview this afternoon with Smith's campaign manager, David Rogers, the results reported from all across the state seem to make little or no sense.

For example, though his was a statewide race, Smith's home county is Tarrant where in 2004, according to Rogers, Smith "outperformed the statewide results by 13%, but this year, according to the results, he underperformed the statewide results by 23%."

"Something doesn't make sense here," he noted, adding that turnout went up this year by 12,000 votes, but apparently a full "11,000 of them did not go to Smith."

Amongst the many concerns alleged by Smith's campaign are that audit tapes from the voting machines are only available on 103 of the 211 election day voting locations, making it impossible to audit all of the races. "No audit can be correctly performed on more than half of the machines in the state," says Rogers.

Perhaps more troubling still, is this item from Smith's press release:

Winkler County, which went for Smith by margins of 260-92 (74%) and 468-249 (65%) in the 2002 and 2004 elections, went against Smith by an unbelievable 0-273 (100%) margin. Governor Perry received only 83% of the vote in Winkler County, and no other contested candidate topped 80%. The propositions on the ballot topped out at 93%.

Due to time-constraints (we were supposed to hit the road about five hours ago), we weren't able to confirm those incredible Winkler County numbers. But if they are true, they are indeed mind-blowing.

As previously reported, Tarrant County saw some 100,000 votes added incorrectly to the election totals on Hart InterCivic and ES&S voting machines on Election Day. As well, The BRAD BLOG reported on a whistleblower who worked for both Hart and later at Tarrant County. In July of 2004, he sent letters warning the Texas Secretary of State and Attorney General about serious problems which he regarded as both "criminal" and "fraudulent" both at Hart and in Tarrant County's Board of Elections. His letters, he told us, were completely ignored by all of the officials.

And yesterday, that same Sec. of State in Texas was forced to shut down a mandated recount in Tom Green County when the Hart InterCivic machines were reporting results that differed by some 20% from the original totals as reported on Election Night.

We wonder if he might decide to go back and talk to our whistleblower now. Apparently both the Smith campaign and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (as we learned earlier today when they contacted us for more info) suddenly have an interest in doing so.

Rogers indicated to The BRAD BLOG this morning that they were seriously investigating a complete challenge to the election statewide and hope to get a much closer look at those Hart and ES&S machines in order to try and make sense of whatever the hell happened in Texas.

We'd like to see that happen, of course. And now that a conservative Republican may have had his own ox gored by these infernal machines, perhaps it'll actually become a reality.

The complete Press Release issued by Smith's campaign --- detailing even more "irregularties" in the race --- follows. [emphasis in the original] ...

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

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Hart Intercivic Touch-Screen Voting Machines in Tom Green County Fail To Print Ballots for All Votes in Mandated Recount!
REPORT: 'Electronic machines not providing all info', 20% Discrepany Between Recount and Election Night Results!
By John Gideon on 3/21/2006 2:53pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

Just reported by San Angelo (TX) Standard Times.

The Texas Sec. of State has stepped in to stop the recount of ballots being printed from the Hart Intercivic "eSlate" Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, touch-screen) voting machines during a mandated election recount. The stoppage of the recount is due to failure of the voting machines to print all ballots cast during the Texas state primary two weeks ago...

On orders from the Texas Secretary of State's office, the recount for the Tom Green County Court-at-Law No. 2 race has been suspended midway through its second day.

About 1:30 p.m. today, county Republican Chairman Dennis McKerley stopped the recount after workers found discrepancies of as much as 20 percent between what was counted Monday and what was reported Election Night.

"We're having some trouble with the electronic equipment," McKerley said.

Apparently, McKerley said, new electronic voting machines provided by vendor Hart InterCivic are not printing ballots for every vote cast on the machines. During recounts, which must be done by hand, the machines are designed to print out separate ballots for every vote.

A Hart InterCivic representative is expected to arrive Wednesday morning, McKerley said, to determine whether or how to retrieve the remaining printouts.

The problem affects early votes cast in what appears to be every precinct, McKerley said. All of commissioner's Precinct 1 was affected, he said, as were all the randomly selected voting precincts in other parts of the county.

Although sign-in sheets match the counts provided by the machines on Election Night, he said, the number of printouts does not match the sign-in sheets.

More than 3,000 early votes were cast in the race between Assistant County Attorney Julie Hughes, incumbent Judge Penny Roberts and former prosecutor Dan Edwards, meaning the problem likely affects more than 600 votes of the 9,500 cast early and on Election Day.

Just 12 votes separate third-place finisher Edwards from second-place finisher Roberts to see who will face Hughes in the April runoff election. Edwards requested and paid for the recount."

This is another instance where a voter verified paper ballot would have saved the day for voters and voting officials.

If we hear more we will pass it on.

ADDITIONAL BRAD BLOG BACKGROUND...
-- Sec. of State Was Warned in 2004: Hart InterCivic Whistleblower's Report
-- Trouble in Tarrant: 100,000+ Extra Votes on Hart Machines in TX County
-- March 7, 2006 TX Primary: Loads of E-Voting Problems Across State

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100,000+ Votes Were Errantly Added by Hart Machines in a Single County in Last Tuesday's Primary via Flawed, Paperless 'eSlate' Touch-Screen System!
Former Hart Employee, Tarrant County TX Election Worker Notified State, Legal Authorities in 2004 About Serious Voting Machine Problems, Procedures...All Warnings and Complaints Ignored
By Brad Friedman on 3/13/2006 1:20pm PT  

Continuing in an exclusive BRAD BLOG series of Voting Machine Vendor and Election Fraud whistleblowers, another insider, from yet another voting machine company, has now come forward to reveal a myriad of known problems inside both the company and in several states and counties with whom they do business.

During last Tuesday's Primary Election in the state of Texas, scores of "computer glitches" --- as voting officials and electronic voting machine vendors like to refer to them --- were revealed occurred across the state. Many of those "glitches" occurred on electronic voting equipment manufactured and supplied to various counties in Texas by the Hart InterCivic company.

One such "glitch" occurred in Texas' Tarrant County, which encompasses Fort Worth. That "glitch" resulted in some 100,000 votes being added to the result totals across the county's paperless Hart-Intercivic "eSlate" touch-screen voting system.

Election Officials in Tarrant claim they didn't look into the problems on Election Night as the problem emerged because, as reported by the Star-Telegram last week, "they were dealing with a new system, new procedures and some new equipment."

The BRAD BLOG can now report, however, that according to a Hart InterCivic company whistleblower --- who also happened to have later worked as an "election programmer" in Tarrant County --- the problems with Hart InterCivic's systems in Tarrant County, Texas and elsewhere are not new at all. Not by a longhorn long shot.

Letters sent by William Singer of Fort Worth, a former Hart InterCivic "technical specialist" and Tarrant County election worker, to state officials back in July of 2004 warned of exactly such problems. The letters, obtained and published here for the first time exclusively by The BRAD BLOG, reveal that serious problems and concerns of possible election system meltdowns were already apparent with the Hart machines in Tarrant County long ago. However, the warning letters were all but ignored by both election officials and even state law enforcement officials.

The "glitch" in last Tuesday's primary, as reported the Star-Telegram, "caused Tarrant County to report as many as 100,000 votes in both primaries that never were cast." After the problem was discovered, they report, "the local turnout [dropped] from a possible record high of about 158,103 voters to about 58,000."

A review of several notarized letters sent by Singer to officials in both Texas and Ohio in 2004 warned of fraudulent activities, buggy software and hardware, dysfunctional testing and development procedures, unsecured working environments and possible criminal behavior by both Hart InterCivic and Election Workers in both states.

Singer --- who eventually resigned from the company and ended up working as an Election Programmer for Tarrant County, where last Tuesday's "glitch" occurred --- wrote of allegations that Hart illegally supplied specially prepared machines for testing to state election officials. Along with doing so, they also withheld a number of known security, programming and hardware flaws during official review and certification of the systems.

TROUBLE IN TARRANT COUNTY, TEXAS...

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

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Hart InterCivic Paperless Touch-Screen Systems Flat-Out Fails in Tarrant County, TX
Officials Ignored Prob on Election Night, Blame 'Program Snafu' the Next Day
By Brad Friedman on 3/9/2006 4:38pm PT  

We hope to have much more on this tomorrow...but for now, this from the Star-Telegram today:

An undetected computer glitch in Tarrant County led to inflated election returns in Tuesday's primaries but did not alter the outcome of any local race, elections and county officials said Wednesday.

The error caused Tarrant County to report as many as 100,000 votes in both primaries that never were cast, dropping the local turnout from a possible record high of about 158,103 voters to about 58,000.
...
Questions about possible problems were raised by election staff late Tuesday night, as it became apparent to some that the county would far exceed the 76,000 votes cast in the 2002 primary elections.

But elections officials did not look into the discrepancies that night because they were dealing with a new system, new procedures and some new equipment, said Gayle Hamilton, Tarrant County's interim elections administrator.

"We didn't think there was a problem," Hamilton said. "We should have stopped right then.

"But we didn't question it at that time."

The problem stemmed from a programming error by Hart InterCivic, which manufactured the equipment and wrote the software for the local voting system.
...
"The system did what we told it to do," said John Covell, a vice president with Hart. "We told it incorrectly."

See this previous report for scores of additional e-voting problems reported yesterday, just after Texas' first Primary Election since adding loads of new electronic voting machines this year. (Keep an out for today's 'Daily Voting News' to be posted here shortly...where we expect there will be many more such reports.)

(Hat tip to BRAD BLOG perennial "Dredd" for the link!)

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