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By Brad Friedman on 11/10/2004 4:25pm PT  

Apparently this story appeared last Friday, but I missed it. I'm trying to keep all of these stories straight, report them only once, and attempt to confirm them before passing them on.

In this case, as many as 22,000 miscounted votes were caught in time to reverse the results of two different races in state races in North Carolina according to the Charlotte Observer.

Agriculture, education races change as counties fix vote-tally errors

The Guilford totals didn't change President Bush's win in the state, but did shift the vote total by 22,000.

Please remember the announced margin of "victory" for Bush in Ohio was about 135,000 in a state of 5.5 million. How many of these types of errors went undetected and/or unreported in Ohio?

How many more of these types of articles do you we need, folks? The system is a disaster, and Congress is sitting on their hands waiting for the Electoral College deadline to pass.

Sign this online letter now if you haven't already! And this one too!

ReddIt this story!



...While Democrats solidly take the state.
By Brad Friedman on 11/10/2004 2:49pm PT  

MyDD has a telling analysis of the situation in North Carolina where problems with vote counting (some votes apparently counted twice in some places, 4,500 votes completely lost elsewhere, etc.) may require a re-vote in all, or part, of North Carolina.

Nonetheless, it's telling that, though the Republican candidates for President and U.S. Senate were able to claim victories down there, Democrats somehow had virtually all the rest of the success in NC.

The NC Democratic candidate for Governor won in a landslide (55%-44%), Dems won control of the NC House by at least 3 seats, and in the NC Senate the Dems added to their "already healthy" margin. Additionally, the first openly gay lesbian to be elected to the NC statehouse was also victorious in her Senate race!

That victory on the state level mirrors other results around the country, where Dems solidly increased their foothold, or took control of many State Legislatures and Governships.

Even Dallas, TX(!!!) elected a lesbian/hispanic Sheriff!

All of which just serves to make me even more suspicious of the election results.

Republicans control the "Solid South" says conventional wisdom --- but then how does one account for North Carolina? "Value voters" showed up and gave Bush his victory, says CV, and yet gay and lesbian candidates had unprecedented victories in "solid" GOP strongholds.

It's certainly reasonable to assume that voters preferred the GOP at the national level while opting for Dems back at home...for whatever reason. Had there not be so many other oddities in the days following this election, I'd likely not have given it all too much thought. But taking everything we now know about highly improbable disparities in the Exit Polling --- where alleged "inaccuracies" just happened to only benefit Bush and never Kerry in the final results --- along with everything else we now know about the manufacturers of the E-Voting and Counting machines, their secrecy and their exceedingly close ties to the Republican party, it all just adds to my existing suspicions here that something stinks. Bad.

ReddIt this story!



While 150,000 Votes Already Miscounted or Lost!
By Brad Friedman on 11/10/2004 11:50am PT  

Yesterday Bev Harris' BlackBoxVoting.org site began issuing "Bandwidth Exceeded" messages to users attempting to access the site. Such a message generally occurs when more users are attempting to access the site than the server can comfortably handle or when the bandwidth allocated by the domain's Internet Provider is exceeded.

Today, attempts to access the site now simply return a "Cannot Find Server" page, leading me to believe that hack attempts and/or Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks have been successful for the time being. [UPDATE: BlackBoxVoting.org is now finally back online. At least for now.]

We have had such attacks here at the BRAD BLOG for the last three days which have taken us similarly down and/or greatly slowed page retrieval at various times. Given the much higher profile BBV has had, it's little surprise that folks who'd rather see patriotic efforts like theirs discontinued would work feverishly to disrupt it.

Ms. Harris and BBV has been spearheading a huge "Freedom of Information Act" filing to collect and review audit logs and other materials from the election in some 3,000 US counties, and thus, her group has attracted quite a bit of attention in the past week. BBV has been attempting to warn Americans for at least the past year about the ticking time-bombs of unregulated, unauditable, and privately owned Electronic Voting machines and their corporate owners (the vast majority of them very closely tied to the Republican party).

Attempts to silence and/or disrupt sites like hers and ours, I believe, speak volumes in support of the underlying charges that we've been making. If there was nothing to fear in examining the inner-workings of these companies, and the way that our votes our counted --- specifically in last week's election --- there would be no reason to attempt to silence and disrupt those who are attempting to do so.

In other words, if the election was clean and fair, what's the fear of giving it a close inspection?

Now perhaps the problem at BBV really is simply related to an overage of bandwidth demand, however, given past attacks the site has received, similar attacks here, and the message changing from "Bandwidth Exceeded" to "Cannot Find Server", I'm inclined to believe that the problem is hostile attacks.

To those who claim that the roughly 150,000 (so far) documented votes that have been reported and confirmed by Election Officials as being mis-allocated would not have changed any election results, I'd point out:

1) Those are just the numbers reported by a mainstream media which by and large went "on vacation" after Kerry's "concession" last Wednesday.

2) Many of those mistabulated and/or lost votes discovered were due to software errors that likely exist on many other identical computers in many other counties in America where they may not yet have been noticed and/or reported.

3) The results of at least one ballot initiative last Tuesday has already been reversed when 70,000 previously mis-counted votes due to "software error" were "discovered" in Broward County, FL!

4) There has been a long record of elections in this country being mis-tabulated and/or reversed due to Electronic Voting Machine error in recent history.

Chapter 2 of Bev Harris' book, Black Box Voting outlines tons of those recently overturned elections. Here's the PDF version of Chapter 2, but since it's currently offline as of this posting, here's a summary of just a few such recent incidents summarized courtesy of Hunter over at DailyKos:

In the 2002 general election, a computer miscount overturned the House District 11 result in Wayne County, North Carolina. Incorrect programming caused machines to skip several thousand partyline votes, both Republican and Democratic. Fixing the error turned up 5,500 more votes and reversed the election for state representative.
...
Voting machines failed to tally "yes" votes on the 2002 school bond issue in Gretna, Nebraska. This error gave the false impression that the measure had failed miserably, but it actually passed by a 2 to 1 margin. Responsibility for the errors was attributed to ES&S, the Omaha company that had provided the ballots and the machines.
...
An Orange County, California, election computer made a 100 percent error during the April 1998 school bond referendum. The Registrar of Voters Office initially announced that the bond issue had lost by a wide margin; in fact, it was supported by a majority of the ballots cast. The error was attributed to a programmer's reversing the "yes" and "no" answers in the software used to count the votes.
...
Software programming errors, sorry. Oh, and reverse that election, we announced the wrong winner. In the 2002 Clay County, Kansas, commissioner primary, voting machines said Jerry Mayo ran a close race but lost, garnering 48 percent of the vote, but a hand recount revealed Mayo had won by a landslide, receiving 76 percent of the vote.
...
In the November 2002 general election in Scurry County, Texas, poll workers got suspicious about a landslide victory for two Republican commissioner candidates. Told that a "bad chip" was to blame, they had a new computer chip flown in and also counted the votes by hand --- and found out that Democrats actually had won by wide margins, overturning the election.
...
In 1986 the wrong candidate was declared the winner in Georgia. Incumbent Democrat Donn Peevy was running for state senator in District 48. The machines said he lost the election. After an investigation revealed that a Republican elections official had kept uncounted ballots in the trunk of his car, officials also admitted that a computerized voting program had miscounted. Peevy insisted on a recount. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "When the count finished around 1 a.m., they [the elections board] walked into a room and shut the door," recalls Peevy. "When they came out, they said, `Mr. Peevy, you won.' That was it. They never apologized. They never explained."
...
A software programming error gave the election to the wrong candidate in November 1999 in Onondaga County, New York. Bob Faulkner, a political newcomer, went to bed on election night confident he had helped complete a Republican sweep of three open council seats. But after Onondaga County Board of Elections staffers rechecked the totals, Faulkner had lost to Democratic incumbent Elaine Lytel. Just a few hours later, election officials discovered that a software programming error had given too many absentee ballot votes to Lytel. Faulkner took the lead.
...
In a 1998 Salt Lake City election, 1,413 votes never showed up in the total. A programming error caused a batch of ballots not to count, though they had been run through the machine like all the others. When the 1,413 missing votes were counted, they reversed the election.

If an official investigation doesn't take place immediately, there is little hope of determing the correct winner of any number of races from last week's election. Not the least of which is the race for President of the United States. And I would think, especially after four years of questions about George W. Bush's legitimacy as "President" that even the Right Wingnuts would like to be able to demonstrate once and for all to the American People that he was, in fact, legitimately elected this time.

For more on the suddenly silent Right Wingers, see my recent BuzzFlash Editorial. And be sure to sign this Online Petition calling for an immediate investigation!

ReddIt this story!



Apparently, it's up to us to find the answers.
(Sshhh...Don't wake media.)
By Brad Friedman on 11/9/2004 9:25pm PT  

Excellent and cogent analysis and action items concerning Florida and the Exit Polls from Ian Welsch over at BOP. Please give it a look and see if you can help.

I would add one further question/action item to Ian's list. It would be useful to learn what type of counting machine was in use in Broward County when it began subtracting votes from the tally, due to a bug in the software, and what other counties in Florida and/or the rest of the country used the same machine and software. 70,000 votes were "found" in that incident, and a local initiative overturned with the discovery of them.

The code used in these machines is not written separately for each individual machine that I know of. If the error occurred once in Broward (and was reportedly noticed), where else did it also occur and not get noticed?

Ditto for the UniElect machine in North Carolina that entirely lost at least 7,000 votes in a single county because it's memory chip only held 3005 votes instead of the 10,000 that manufacturer UniLect had promised. Where else was the same type of computer in use? I know Ohio used UniLect machines, and they reported unfixable problems with them on Election Day, but I haven't been able to tell if they were the same type as those in North Carolina.

(It must be up to us to figure this crap out, because the MSM is enjoying their well-deserved nap.)

ReddIt this story!



Troubling Evidence is Beginning to Mount!
By Brad Friedman on 11/5/2004 5:38pm PT  

Folks are beginning to pay attention, guys!

Wired Magazine is now reporting that three Members of the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee are now calling for an investigation of the troubling incidents that we've been reporting concerning irregularities in Tuesday's vote counting!:

Three congressmen sent a letter to the General Accounting Office on Friday requesting an investigation into irregularities with voting machines used in Tuesday's elections.

The congressmen, Democratic members of the House of Representatives from Florida, New York and Michigan, cited a number of incidents that came to light in the days after the election. One was a glitch in Ohio that caused a memory card reader made by Danaher Controls to give George W. Bush 3,893 more votes than he should have received. Another was a problem with memory cards in North Carolina that caused machines made by UniLect to lose 4,500 votes cast on e-voting machines. The votes were lost when the number of votes cast on the machines exceeded the capacity of the memory cards.

There were also problems with machines that counted absentee ballots in Florida. Software made by Election Systems & Software began subtracting votes when totals surpassed 32,000. Officials said the problem affected only certain countywide races on one of the last pages of the ballot. Elections officials knew about the problem two years ago, but the company failed to fix the software before the election this year.

Reports from voters in Florida and Ohio also indicated that some of them had problems voting for the candidate of their choice. When they tried to vote for John Kerry, they said, the machine either wouldn't register the vote at all or would indicate on the review page that the vote was cast for Bush instead.

Click for complete story...

Keep up the noise, guys! They're starting to listen! I've had other unconfirmed reports about both Dems and the Kerry campaign beginning to take notice of all of this as well!

UPDATE: House Judiciary Committee Letter to GAO, as mentioned above, available here in PDF format. (Hat tip "Shari H-D" for the link!)

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 11/5/2004 3:13pm PT  

In a different North Carolina incident to the one we've already report where some 4500 votes were lost for good from a single NC E-Voting machine, The Sun-Journal is now reporting additional North Carolina E-vote errors:

A systems software glitch in Craven County's electronic voting equipment is being blamed for a vote miscount that, when corrected, changed the outcome of at least one race in Tuesday's election.

Then, in the rush to make right the miscalculation that swelled the number of votes for president here by 11,283 more votes than the total number cast, a human mistake further delayed accurate totals for the 40,534 who voted.
...
An override, like those occurring when one attempts to save a computer file that already exists, is supposed to prevent double counting, but did not function correctly, [Craven County Elections Director, Tiffiney] Miller said.

This machine in question, by the way, was also an ES&S machine.

The story also notes that "a national Republican political consultant who had watched the returns and had some concern that other precincts were involved in the problem entered the office." --- Hello? Are there "national Democratic political consultants" out there who are watching this stuff as well?!

ReddIt this story!



Pay Attention...Or Not.
By Brad Friedman on 11/4/2004 2:02pm PT  

I'm sorry if there are some of you who would rather "move on". I'll err on the side of accurately counting "the will of the people in a Democracy". If, like so many of the wingnuts out there, you'd rather not examine such matters accurately (and I can hardly blame the wingnuts), you are welcome to read other blogs more likely to repeat to you what you wish to hear.

To that end, there are continuing questions about the results in Ohio, New Mexico, and yes - Florida. Since Democracy demands both vigilance and an accurate reflection of the will of the people, I will do my best to stay on top of these matters as so many of your Emails have requested of me. I hope to have more information for you about those states later today.

In the meantime, here's a report just released by AP concerning at least 4,500 votes that Election Officials admit were lost in North Carolina in just one county due to inaccurate information provided by the makers of the E-Voting machine in use there:

Local officials said UniLect Corp., the maker of the county's electronic voting system, told them that each storage unit could handle 10,500 votes, but the limit was actually 3,005 votes.

Expecting the greater capacity, the county used only one unit during the early voting period. "If we had known, we would have had the units to handle the votes," said Sue Verdon, secretary of the county election board.

Officials said 3,005 early votes were stored, but 4,530 were lost.

[UPDATE]: The link to the AP story is now dead. Here's another one with the same info.

That was just one county in North Carolina. Pay attention...

UPDATE: More problems with UniLect machines now reported! This time in Ohio where they used thousands of UniLect machines:

"I don't know what happened," said James Bennington, who had been assured Friday that all 250 of the county's touch-screen units had been checked and rechecked. The county has 100 voting precincts.

Keith Jenkins, director of the county's computer department, agreed that it was a software malfunction and said repeated calls to UniLect Corp., the company that sold the machines to the county in 2001, failed to resolve the problem.

ReddIt this story!



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