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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Brad Friedman on 3/22/2009 1:43pm PT  

"I triple guarantee you, there are no American soldiers in Baghdad."
Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf (aka "Baghdad Bob"),
Iraqi Information Minister, April 2003

Michelle Shafer is the "Baghdad Bob"-in-chief of the e-voting industry. She's the VP and spokesperson for Sequoia Voting Systems and spokesperson for the e-voting industry as a whole via the Election Technology Council (ETC), a "trade group" created and sponsored by the nation's top four e-voting companies (ES&S, Sequoia, Diebold/Premier, and Hart Intercivic) to help spread their anti-science, anti-reality, pro-e-voting propaganda.

In the very last line of an article published on Thursday, on yet another e-voting related issue (which we may cover in more detail later), Michelle "Baghdad Bob" Shafer is quoted thusly:

Sequoia spokeswoman Michelle Shafer noted, however, that no electronic voting system has been compromised in an election.

As irony would have it, Thursday was also the very same day that news broke of the arrest of a cabal of election official insiders --- including a circuit court judge, the school superintendent, and a number of both Democratic and Republican polling place judges --- charged with having used the electronic voting system to compromise election after election, from 2002 to 2006 in Clay County, Kentucky.

Of course, very strong evidence exists that many other elections have been similarly manipulated on electronic voting systems by election insiders (see here, for just one example), including by both election officials and employees of the various private vendors whom Shafer represents. Much of that evidence, however, has been held at arm's length from citizen election integrity advocates under the absurd argument that that information is a proprietary, legally-protected trade secret. That specious argument has been made for years by the very government-funded corporate welfare queens, like Shafer's companies, that have been paid by our government to privatize our public elections.

So it's been difficult, at least until last week, to point disinformation experts like Shafer to the very evidence that reveal her statement, repeated time and again, to be a lie --- thanks in no small part to the "trade secret" claims of folks like Shafer. Get it? It's a helluva self-perpetuating scam...

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

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At least $160k is billable to Sequoia Voting Systems, as per state requirements for use of touch-screen systems
Registrar Barbara Dunmore, one of worst in nation, fights on behalf of voting machine company, as county's $90 million budget shortfall grows...
By Brad Friedman on 2/13/2009 11:17am PT  

With the entire state of California facing a massive budget crisis, and most, if not all, of its counties facing shortfalls this year, Riverside County's Registrar of Voters, Barbara Dunmore, is refusing to collect at least $160,000 from Sequoia Voting Systems for the cost of manually counting paper trails produced by their touch-screen voting systems last November.

California counties which choose to use touch-screen voting systems to serve disabled voters are required to tally all of the so-called "paper trails" by hand after elections, as per requirements for their use as imposed by Sec. of State Debra Bowen in 2007, due to security concerns with such systems.

The cost for that tally is to be covered by the voting machine company, as per Bowen's certification documents, which state: "Elections officials are required to conduct the audits, and the vendor is required to reimburse the jurisdiction."

Nonetheless, Dunmore, who has an extraordinary history of failure during her tenure as Registrar, in both the distant and recent past, has failed to seek reimbursement. And her office now seems to now be fighting, on behalf of Sequoia, to keep the beleaguered e-voting supplier from having to pay the costs, despite clear terms of use for such systems in this state...

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

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By John Gideon on 1/9/2009 4:03pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

In New Jersey there is a lawsuit that has been going through the court process since 2004. The complaint asks the State Superior Court to block the use of nearly 8,000 Sequoia Advantage Direct Recording Electronic (DRE touch-screen) because they “cannot be relied upon to protect the fundamental right to vote.” This lawsuit probably played some large part in legislation that required voting machines used in the state to be outfitted with a Voter-verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT).

Sequoia Voting Systems has not been able to meet the legislative deadlines, for a VVPAT printer, which have been moved a couple times. In fact only recently it was announced that the legislature may introduce new legislation to repeal the previous legislation. This move would probably have given more strength to the lawsuit.

Now, suddenly, the state has announced that they will require the Sequoia DREs being used in 18 counties to be refitted with VVPAT printers. It seems clear that this move by the Secretary of State is an attempt to make the lawsuit moot. The state will surely argue that because the DREs are refitted with printers there is no need to change to optical-scan technology.

One question that the state and Sequoia must answer though: Is there a printer in development or developed by Sequoia for use on the Advantage? If not, the state continues to be in violation of the law and it seems that they are being aided and abetted in that by Sequoia.

Also there are hints in the Houston media of problems in the vote count last Nov. Look for more on that over the next week or more....

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

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Andrew Appel Answers to Official Smears from Sequioa Voting System's VP, Spokeswoman Michelle Shafer
'False Assertions' Made in Wake of Prof's Court-Ordered Report Finding Major Flaws in Company's Voting Machines...
By John Gideon on 12/29/2008 4:00am PT  

Guest blogged by John Gideon, VotersUnite.Org

In an October BRAD BLOG article we reported that a court-ordered report highly negative of Sequoia Voting Systems products being used throughout New Jersey could soon be released to the public. Prior to the release date, and then again last week, Sequoia Voting Systems attacked both the report and its author, Princeton University computer science professor Andrew Appel.

On December 18, Sequoia issued a press release with a misleading title and subtitle:

PLAINTIFF'S EXPERT, PRINCETON'S ANDREW APPEL, TWICE VIOLATES COURT'S PROTECTIVE ORDER IN ELECTRONIC VOTING CASE INVOLVING THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY AND SEQUOIA VOTING SYSTEMS

Appel ordered by judge to apologize and pay motion legal fees to Sequoia Voting Systems in Reed Guscoria, et al., Plaintiffs vs. James E. McGreevey, et al., Defendant

And, on the company's blog, written by VP of Communications and External Affairs Michelle Shafer, she continues the lie:

VIOLATION OF PROTECTIVE ORDER IN NJ BY PRINCETON'S ANDREW APPEL, AN APOLOGY AND PAYMENT OF LEGAL FEES TO SEQUOIA.

In an email to this writer, Professor Appel responded to what he says are "false statements about me in two recent press releases" from Sequoia. The BRAD BLOG posts his response in full below, with his express permission...

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

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By John Gideon on 12/21/2008 4:21pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Posted on Thursday is the featured blog by New Jersey computer scientist Andrew Appel. In the blog and linked video Professor Appel shows how easy it is to remove and replace new security seals installed on the machines in New Jersey by Sequoia and the state. The professor also points out that the addition of these security seals is just another smoke-screen from Sequoia. It took him 7 minutes the first time he removed and replaced the seals.

This weekend also finds more from Minnesota including an article by one of the non-partisan observers to the whole recount procedure. Good job by all who have been involved in that process.

We also have an article about Buddy Johnson, the soon to be out of work Hillsborough Co Florida election supervisor who has now dropped his request for $2.3M to cover cost overruns in this past election. Could it be he is nervous that the county has threatened to audit his office to find out how they spent their money? ...

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

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Voting Machine Issues, Confusion Compounded Delays Faced by Untold Thousands of Voters This Fall
Though Even That Number Fails to Reveal Untold Counting Errors on E-Voting Systems Across the Nation...
By Steven Rosenfeld on 11/16/2008 5:30am PT  

Guest blogged by Steven Rosenfeld of AlterNet

The electronic voting problems in the 2008 election are broader than recently-publicized snafus such as machines not turning on, voter databases omitting names, or touch screens not properly recording votes, according to an analysis of 1,700 incident reports from the nation's largest voter hotline.

Moreover, the voting machine issues and the confusion they caused among poll workers appear to have compounded the delays faced by untold thousands of voters this fall, a preliminary analysis of 1-800-OUR-VOTE reports by Joseph Lorenzo Hall, a researcher at Princeton University and the University of California, has found...

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

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Evening Edition
By John Gideon on 11/5/2008 4:28pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

As we suspected tabulation of ballots has revealed problems with voting systems from all of the vendors. Hillsborough Co Florida is rethinking their contract with Premier/Diebold for $6M after having big problems counting votes. Manatee Co Florida also had a problem with Premier. Palm Beach Co had bad memory cartridges from Sequoia. Counties in Pennsylvania and South Carolina had problems with their ES&S system. We also have a run-off for senator from Georgia and a recount for senator from Minnesota. This election will last for another month at least....

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/4/2008 12:25pm PT  

Some brief, mid-Election Day comic relief... It looks like The Onion is reporting that a Sequoia touch-screen voting machine has been elected to the White House. Congratulations are due to the first "non-organic life form" to achieve this honor. The horrible Sequoia Voting Systems company, apparently, has finally managed to be "successful" at something!...


Voting Machines Elect One Of Their Own As President

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Presidential Race Missing on Ballots; Machines Go Down; Votes Not Recorded; Printers Jam
Attorneys Decline to Take Action to Remove Machines From Service, Ensure Paper Ballots for Voters...
By Brad Friedman on 11/3/2008 7:31pm PT  

Wide-spread voting machine failures have been reported to the Obama/DNC election protection hotline in Nevada since early voting began more than a week ago in the state, The BRAD BLOG has learned. All voters who vote in person in the crucial battleground state are forced to cast their votes on 100% unverifiable Sequoia EDGE touch-screen voting machines with the VeriVote "paper trail" printer add-on.

Attorneys monitoring the incident reports coming in to the hotline have taken no action in regard to removing the failed machines from service, despite reports of the presidential race not appearing at all on some ballots; voters having problems selecting their preferred candidates; machines not starting up at all; "paper trail" printers jamming or running out of paper, and; a number of machines at a number of sites which refuse to work at all.

And this is just during early voting. A number of those startling reports are posted at the end of this article...

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

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By John Gideon on 11/1/2008 4:21pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

3 days until Election Day.

Just a comment to those who want to dismiss ‘vote-flipping’ as voter error. All kinds of people go to the polls to vote. They are highly educated and high-school dropouts. Rich and poor. They have long fingernails and nails bitten to the quick. They have thin fingers and wide fingers. They are going to softly touch the screen or touch it hard. Vendors and election officials tend to blame vote-flipping on the voters. They touched the screen too hard; drug their finger; had long fingernails; or their fingers touched too large an area. So, is it the voters fault? NO! It is the vendors who designed, built and sold these machines that don’t work for all voters and it is the election officials who bought those machines.

A large majority of the ‘vote-flipping’ has been on older ES&S iVotronic DREs; those machines that were featured on last year’s Dan Rather Reports. The cheaply built, poorly tested touch screens that were used as components on those systems should have been scrapped long ago. It’s not the voters fault and this constant pointing of fingers is wrong. The vendors need to remember that when they point a finger at the voters they have three fingers pointing back at the real culprit, themselves; and it makes no difference what those fingers look like, they are the fingers of blame....

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

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'I went back to check it, it had not recorded my presidential vote!' Says Terrified, Potentially Disenfranchised Queen of Television...
NOW UPDATED With Much More Useful Info for Oprah and Others Who Do Not Understand These Voting Systems, or What to do If the Same Thing Happens To You...
By Brad Friedman on 10/31/2008 10:25pm PT  

[Comments turned back on, but the first 57 may have been lost when our server crashed under the straight of huge traffic on Saturday. We're trying to recover, but my apologies if we cannot get them back. Please repost as needed. :-( - BF]

Well, now, finally we may be able to get rid of these damned things, now that it's actually happened to Oprah. Via Huff Po...

"When I voted yesterday electronically, the first vote that you vote for on the ballot is the presidential candidate. It was my first time doing electronic, so I didn't mark the X strong enough, or I held down too long. Because then when I went back to check it, it had not recorded my presidential vote," she said.

She then simulated her meltdown, shaking and breathing heavily while stuttering out the words, "It didn't record my presidential vote."

Here she is explaining what happened on video, followed by me explaining that it's not her fault (as she suggests in the video), and what both she, and every other voter in America needs to know about what happened to her, and how to keep it from happening to them...

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

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Election Official: '80% of Counties Do Not Have Emergency Ballots'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/31/2008 11:13am PT  

In the suburban county of Montgomery, just outside of Philadelphia, election officials have, inexcusably, been caught off guard by a new, court-mandated directive by PA's Secretary of the Commonwealth Pedro Cortes.

The directive requires that counties have enough emergency paper ballots (EPBs) on hand at polling places to ensure that voters can vote if half, or more, of a precinct's voting machines break down. County officials admit today that they were completely unprepared for the directive, and even for the likelihood of serious machine failure, despite known problems with the touch-screen voting systems they use, or the extraordinary voter turnout long-predicted for next Tuesday.

The new directive [PDF] was issued yesterday, as we reported last night in our late update to our article on the lawsuit. The successful suit was filed last week against the Democratic Secretary, by the NAACP and a local election protection coalition. It followed on Cortes' directive a month a go that EPBs needed to be given out to voters only in the event of failure of 100% of a precinct's machines.

Cortes' original directive, and even the one issued yesterday, has been seen at odds with a PA statutory provision that allowed counties to offer paper ballots in the event that just one machine has failed. PA uses Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems across most of the state, and is a key battleground for John McCain's attempt to win the White House this year...

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

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Direct Recording Electronic Voting Systems Made by Hart InterCivic and Diebold Also Reportedly Now Flipping Votes From Democratic to Republican in TX...
UPDATE: 7 TX Counties Now Reporting Vote-Flipping!
By Brad Friedman on 10/29/2008 5:04am PT  

We've been reporting for the last week or so on the ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting machines which are flipping votes from Democratic candidates to others in, so far, at least four states. We've showed you actual footage of it and how even after being "recalibrated" these machines still continue to flip votes.

(See our special coverage page here for links to our many recent stories on this issue, and advice on what to do if the problem happens to you.)

Unfortunately, it's not just the error-prone, hackable, wholly unverifiable iVotronics from ES&S which are failing. Error-prone, hackable, and wholly unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems made by Hart InterCivic, Diebold, and Sequoia Voting Systems are also having the same problems across the country. And the Democrats, who have the most to lose, continue to do nothing about it...

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

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By John Gideon on 10/26/2008 4:22pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

9 days until Election Day.

In a stunning admission Sequoia Voting Systems has admitted to not printing and mailing over 11,000 absentee ballots to Denver, Colorado, voters. Their spokeswoman claimed they “made an unfortunate mistake.” In fact, the company had failed to notify the city of this “mistake” and when originally asked they lied and told the city they had delivered all 21,450 ballots they were supposed to print and deliver to the post office on Oct. 16. Sequoia claims they will have ballots printed and delivered to the post office by tomorrow, Monday. Voters have until election day to get those ballots marked and either back in the mail or delivered to any early polling site. Not mentioned by anyone is if any overseas voters or military are affected by this failure.

In Jefferson Co, Arkansas, voters will vote on ballots that don’t have some alderman races on them. The county discovered their error too late and they have now fixed it but all early voting has been done without those races being voted on by the voters. The county will just forget all of those voters and hope that none of the races are close, which would open them up for potential lawsuits....

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

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The Voting Machine Company Counters With a Strongly Worded Response But Fails to Answer the Critical Question: Do Their Machines Count Votes Accurately?
By John Gideon on 10/20/2008 3:29pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon, VotersUnite.Org

As I briefly reported in Friday night's "Daily Voting News" a New Jersey Superior Court Judge has ruled that a court-ordered Princeton University report critical of the state's Sequoia Advantage DRE (touch-screen) voting machines could be released to the public. The only stipulation was that four paragraphs and a number of appendices were to be redacted.

The 158-page report [PDF] was released publicly on Friday afternoon warning, among other things, that:

  • The lost votes during New Jersey's Super Tuesday elections "were caused by two different programming errors on the part of Sequoia"
  • "New Jersey should not use any version of the AVC Advantage that it has not actually examined with the assistance of skilled computer-security experts."
  • "The AVC Advantage’s susceptibility to installation of a fraudulent vote-counting program is far more than an imperfection: it is a fatal flaw."
  • "The AVC Advantage is too insecure to use in New Jersey."

Before the Princeton report was even released, however, Sequoia Voting Systems issued a press statement [PDF] and a scathing response to the Princeton report. The Sequoia response, all 19 pages, is a strongly worded attack on the Princeton computer scientists and their motives, but fails to respond at all to, perhaps, the most crucial point in the devastating Princeton report...

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

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