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LA County's System, for example, Was Apparently Approved for Use at the Fed Level by a Former Waitress/Bartender!
By John Gideon on 6/26/2006 7:38am PT  

By John Gideon, Executive Director VotersUnite.Org

There is, for good reason, much concern and a lack of confidence in the process for federal qualification/certification of voting systems. Independent Test Authorities (ITA), who test the systems against federal standards, are not really 'independent' because they are paid to do testing by the vendors who also provide the test parameters. They look where they are told to look and go no further than that.

The next step in the process is review of the ITA test and the voting system by a panel of 'experts' called the Voting Systems Board Technical Committee. This committee is under the auspices of the National Association of State Elections Directors (NASED). One might think that this part of the process would be free and clear of any reason for concern. One would be wrong...

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

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By John Gideon on 6/14/2006 9:11am PT  

The map at left shows recent ballot programming flaws across the country. (Click it for details). It is by no means indicative of all flaws. Just the ones we know about. So far.

These are just some of the places where there may be failures in Nov. 2006. How can companies that can't program a couple state's machines for a primary election do 20 to 40 states all at the same time?

Trainwreck ahead. Don't say we didn't warn you.

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 6/9/2006 11:22am PT  

From AP today...

LITTLE ROCK --- There will be no touch-screen voting machines at polling places in eight Arkansas counties for Tuesday's runoff elections, the secretary of state's office says.

Deputy Secretary of State Janet Harris said Thursday that Desha, Garland, Jefferson, Lonoke, Phillips, Pope, Pulaski and Searcy counties had told her office they won't use the electronic voting equipment on Tuesday. The equipment is required under federal law.

Pulaski County Elections Director Susan Inman said that county decided not to use the machines after reviewing the programming code from voting machine vendor Election Systems & Software and discovering errors.

"In its entirety, it was wrong," Inman said.

Congratulations to the State of Arkansas for putting voters and the integrity of their votes over the a horrendously flawed federal statute (HAVA) rammed through Congress by a soon-to-be-indicted criminal.

If it wasn't the disasters that AR has faced so far this year in ES&S's disastrous administration of elections in that state, perhaps it was the morality tale that played out on ES&S equipment in Pottawattamie County, Iowa last Tuesday that pushed them over the edge. Either way, glad to see it. We hope the other 45 states where ES&S runs elections (or, more aptly, ruins elections) will take note.

For a bit more background on the ES&S disasters in Arkansas, see this:
ES&S MELTDOWN: Arkansas Remains an Utter Disaster...
or this:
ES&S MELTDOWN: ARKANSAS PRIMARY A DISGRACE, DISASTER!
or search BRAD BLOG for "Arkansas".
(Hat tip to Doug K.)

ReddIt this story!



Machine Counts Halted in All Races After Hand Count of Absentee Ballots Finds 128 Vote Margin for Incumbant Instead of 20 Vote Margin for Challenger Reported by Op-Scan System!
By Brad Friedman on 6/8/2006 10:42am PT  

More shortly concerning my reporting on the questionable Busby/Bilbray elections results in the U.S. House special election to fill "Duke" Cunningham's CA 50th congressional seat. In the meantime, this article from yesterday's Daily Nonpareil in Iowa, about Tuesday's Republican primary there, underscores precisely what I was talking about in my report on Busby/Bilbray yesterday.

After optically scanning absentee ballots in a Republican Primary on Tuesday in Pottawattamie County, a popular, long-time incumbent was trailing a first-time college student candidate by 20 votes. Since that seemed odd, the County Auditor decided to count the absentee ballots by hand and indeed found that the incumbent had won the count instead!... By 128 votes instead of having lost it by 20!

Anybody beginning to get this yet? (...thump, thump...is this thing on?...)

In this case, the new optical scan computers being used for the first time were reportedly made by ES&S. (The ones used in Busby's San Diego race were made by Diebold). Here's more details...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 6/6/2006 10:40pm PT  

How bad is the ES&S meltdown in Arkansas? Really bad...

Of course, we ran a series on things as they were falling apart before, during and after their recent primaries. (See this story for a quick primer). Apparently, things have gotten no better out there.

Then ponder that ES&S has so far failed in about 10 states. These are just the primaries. With low turnout. On separate days. How do you suppose things will go for a general election. With large turnout. When ES&S has to service all 46 of their states at the same time?

This quote, from today's article on the mess they're still in, says it all:

"November is going to be a massive train wreck," [White County Election Commissioner, John] Nunnally wrote.

Now where have we heard that before?

ReddIt this story!



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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Ad Removed in Wake of BRAD BLOG Report Earlier this Week...
By Brad Friedman on 5/26/2006 3:19pm PT  

We reported earlier this week about an ad placed on the Internet by Kelly Services seeking temporary workers for the upcoming California primary elections in San Francisco.

The ad sought workers to "assist in dropping off election voting machines and picking these machines up when voting is complete." (See our full story and the complete text here.)

That ad has now been removed from Monster.com. We'll try and offer some updates if we can gather any additional information about the removal of the ad.

As we noted in our original story on Tuesday, the ad was notable given CA Sec. of State Bruce McPherson's recent approval of Diebold voting machines shortly after it was revealed, and then confirmed by his own independent analysis [PDF], that those machines were vulnerable to hackers. After the revelations, McPherson implemented what he described as increased physical security procedures to protect such machines from tampering --- procedures which would seem to be out the window by allowing $11.99/hour temporary workers hired from the Internet to shuttle California's electronic voting machines, unsupervised, before and after the election.

Apparently the systems in question in San Francisco are reportedly made by Diebold's "rival" company ES&S. Unlike Diebold's systems, ES&S's have never faced the rigorous independent "hack testing" that systems made by Diebold have undergone. Given our lack of knowledge, therefore, about the security in ES&S electronic voting systems and whether or not they are any more or less prone to hacking than Diebold's systems, it would seem that allowing unknown individuals to have unsupervisored access to those machines is equally as irresponsible as McPherson's own less-than-safe security measures as recently prescribed for Diebold systems.

We will, of course, keep you updated with new developements as we are able to acquire them.

A sample from the original screen shot of the Internet ad posted by Kelly Services on Monster.com. Click the graphic below for the complete story...

ReddIt this story!



Voting Machine Company Fails State, Voters. Again. Even the State GOP Agrees!
As the State Sec. of State and Other Officials Ignore the Facts and Cover their Asses for the Future...
By John Gideon on 5/24/2006 7:19pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon, with Brad Friedman

Elections Systems and Software (ES&S) has finally shown us why they should not be in the elections business. The disgraceful primary election in Arkansas yesterday is a prime example. It was, and continues to be, an utter disaster today. The day after.

Brad and I both have been overwhelmed all day with the number of reports coming in on the complete failures by ES&S in the state yesterday. So much so, that it's difficult to even know where to begin. Thus, tonight's late report --- with general details and enough links to set you on your way to inform yourself about what the hell is going on here.

In our best (if fruitless) attempt at brevity, however...

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

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Another Election Day, Another Failure by America's Largest Voting Machine Company...
By Brad Friedman on 5/23/2006 11:54pm PT  

Another Primary Election Day. Another E-Voting Mess. This time in Arkansas.

Mind you, this comes on the heels of earlier announcements that several major counties in Arkansas would be forced to use paper ballots instead of electronic machines after ES&S failed to deliver ballots and programming on time for the start of elections (something like the 10th state in which this has happened with ES&S so far this year, as regular BRAD BLOG readers know. But shhh...don't tell anyone!)

On Monday, the day before the election, at least one county election director in Arkansas pleaded with voters to choose paper on Election Day. "Grab a paper ballot, vote it and put it in the ballot box. It will go smoother," Benton County's election coordinator told voters on Monday.

Well, now it looks like ES&S has failed even further (we're shocked, shocked!) as tabulators in some counties failed to work at all, so ballots can't be counted until tomorrow at the earliest. And now the AR Secretary of State wants some answers about all of it.

From AP tonight...

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

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Electronic Machines, Shown Vulnerable to Easy Tampering --- Yet Said by State Officials to Be Physically Protected Under New Guidelines --- Now Available for Easy Access to Temp Workers!
Rationalizations from Diebold Company Apologists Appearing Sillier by the Day...
By Brad Friedman on 5/23/2006 11:48am PT  


So much for those vaunted claims by California's Sec. of State Bruce McPherson and his partners at Diebold, Inc. about increased security surrounding the physical access to electronic voting machines in light of newly revealed vulnerabilities to easy tampering.

A tip received by The BRAD BLOG on Monday reveals that Temp Workers are currently being sought in San Francisco for California's upcoming primary election to "assist in dropping off election voting machines and picking these machines up when voting is complete," as the says.

A classified ad seeking the workers is currently posted on the Internet at Monster.com by Kelly Services. (A screenshot of the complete ad is posted at the end of this article.) The salary offered to temp workers hired for the job --- who will have private unsupervised access to the state's voting machines before and after election day --- is $11.99/hour according to the posting.

A litany of recent studies and independent scientific analyses of electronic voting machines, in California and elsewhere --- and reportedly widely in the mainstream media of late --- have warned that such systems and the data they contain are easily alterable via such physical access.

State and voting machine company officials have now admitted as much, but claim that stringent security procedures ensure that the danger posed by such access can be mitigated.

The ad, however, seeking temp workers for three weeks beginning on May 31, the week prior to California's June 6th primary election, would seem to belie official claims, while serving to underscore the extraordinarily precarious and dangerously vulnerable state of our current electoral system...

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

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More Disasters for Pennsylvania, This Time on ES&S Machines, Following Earlier Similar Disasters on Machines in Philly
ALSO: Rick Santorum Locked Out of Polling Place, Unable to Vote This Morning
By Brad Friedman on 5/16/2006 7:55pm PT  

Following on our earlier report today, covering 100's of electronic voting machines in Philadelphia which failed to start up this morning for Pennsylvania's primary election, we now have a similar report from the other side of the state.

100's of machines in Allegheny County, where Pittsburgh is located, also failed to work correctly today. If we're able to remember correctly (since the story doesn't name any voting machine company names), Allegheny County finally settled on voting machines made by ES&S, after they abandoned hopes of going with Diebold when their machines were found to be hackable, and then later found machines from Sequoia Voting Systems --- who they'd planned to use instead --- were discovered to be similarly hackable.

ES&S eventually won the prize, just weeks before today's primary --- we warned about going with a new system with so little time to prepare, but did they listen? --- yet appear to have lost the day for PA voters, according to this report from Pittsburgh's Post-Gazette...

The first Allegheny County election with electronic voting machines got off to a somewhat rocky start this morning, when more than 100 machines had problems. Surrounding counties reported almost identical problems.

Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato today said 120 machines wouldn't produce "zero-count" printouts to start the day confirming there were no votes registered in the machines.

Mr. Onorato said the elections bureau got 400 calls to start the day. By 11 a.m., there were still more than 20 polling places with problems.

There are more than 2,600 of the new machines spread over 1,314 precincts.

Mr. Onorato also said nine machines had their screens cracked during transit to the polling places.
...
Surrounding counties also were reporting problems with the zero-count printouts.

Larry Spahr said 20 or 25 of Washington County's 185 precincts reported problems. Mr. Spahr is director of elections.

More details on the failures in the Post-Gazette's story. Amongst those details, apparently Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) was locked out of his polling place when an election worker failed to show up to open it this morning.

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Diebold Disasters Leading to Self-Destruction As ES&S Continues to Meltdown and Miss One Contractual Obligation After Another?
By John Gideon on 5/15/2006 6:53am PT  

By John Gideon, www.VotersUnite.Org and www.VoteTrustUSA.Org May 15, 2006

Yes, the wheels are wobbling on the locomotives. The vendors --- ES&S, Diebold, and the rest --- attempt to keep a stiff upper lip as they both fail to perform, yet continue collecting tax-payer dollars from the county election coffers. Meanwhile some elections officials have just turned a blind-eye to what is happening while they continue to make excuses for their vendors: The private corporate American Electronic Voting Machine behemoths that are being paid to take over America's Public Electoral system.

And the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) which was put in place by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), theoretically, to keep all of this from occurring? Well, all they do is raise their hands and shrug and tell anyone who asks, that they don't do voting systems certification so they just don't know anything. The Sergeant Schultz Defense, perhaps?

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

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By Brad Friedman on 5/13/2006 3:16pm PT  

From WISH-TV...

CORYDON, Ind. Harrison County election officials will manually count ballots from at least 15 of the county's 35 precincts after malfunctions by election equipment during the May Second primary.

The Indiana secretary of state's Election Division has notified the county that it has the authority to recheck votes cast in precincts where election equipment malfunctioned.

Programming errors in automatic tabulation equipment connected to voting machines were discovered by county officials during the primary. It's unclear whether the manual recount will change any race results.

Harrison is one of several Indiana counties that used voting equipment from Election Systems and Software Incorporated. The Nebraska company has come under investigation by state election officials for numerous software programming problems.

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By Brad Friedman on 5/13/2006 3:15pm PT  

From today's Tennessean...

Used voting machines lack approval by state
Vendor changed contract form language, memo alerts counties

State officials say a vendor of voting machines that more than a dozen counties have lined up to buy surprised them by changing the contract form to allow for used equipment for the Aug. 3 elections.

The state election office had never signed off on the change, according to an "alert" memo it sent out to affected counties.

The April 12 memo said that Election Systems & Software Inc. had added --- without permission --- "used equipment" language to a Tennessee Voting Equipment order form. Davidson, Williamson and Wilson are among the counties waiting for their ES&S machines.
...
Eddie Bryan, chairman of the Davidson County Election Commission, said he doesn't know why ES&S bid on Metro's business if it can't deliver the goods.

"These people have been playing games with us," he said. "I'm not for having any used equipment."

As usual, btw, the reporter gets the story wrong with the same misinformation concerning the Help America Vote Act (HAVA):

The law requires at least one handicapped-accessible machine at each precinct.

As if we haven't repeated this hundreds of times here: HAVA requires one disabled-accessible voting device (not machine!) in each polling place (not precinct, though that error is one we had made previously ourselves). Larger point being that there are other devices for voting that can be used which are not "machines" --- despite how much the vendors appreciate the mainstream media doing their misinformation for them.

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Sec. of State, Formerly an ES&S Supporter, 'More than Upset About Broken Promises' by Country's Largest E-Voting Company
By John Gideon on 5/10/2006 7:38pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

Just hours ago Betty Ireland, the Secretary of State of West Virginia filed a formal complaint against ES&S with the federal Elections Assistance Commission. A story in the State Journal quotes Secretary Ireland:

"I am more than upset that or county clerks and their staffs and county commissions had to withstand stress and anxiety over the broken promises and delays ES&S put them through".

"And, Ireland says, now that the election is over, strategy talks about the problems with Election Systems and Software will begin...but, "We will not and cannot discuss publicly our legal strategy. As before, we continue to work with the Attorney General's Office to address our options"."

"The state's selection committee chose ES&S because of it's past service in the state and it's knowledge of West Virginia election deadlines and procedures. Ireland says, "Unfortunately, we now feel ES&S let West Virginia down"."

There have been failures all over the state. A small sampling of problems gives us:

  • Taylor County's votes could not be counted last night because the main computer would not read tabulators from individual voting machines.
  • Upshur County's counter was in such bad shape that as of midnight the county was trying to get a similar machine from a neighboring county
  • Mineral County's optical scan ballot counter was producing skewed results
  • Ohio County could not count about 800 absentee votes because it was not given the equipment to do so
  • - and ?

  • Clay, Gilmer, Greenbrier, Putnam, McDowell and Webster that all violated provisions of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 when they were not able provide any voting machines for their voters with disabilities.
  • The national media? Mums the word for them, it seems.

    ReddIt this story!



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