We're watching results as they're coming in tonight, while continuing to comb through various problem reports as they've been coming in throughout the day (the usual "hiccups" "glitches" "snags" and "snafus" reportage --- anything but the proper word for them all: "failure"!)
As we always find necessary to remind readers on such nights, the bulk of election failures tend to reveal themselves in the hours and days --- and sometimes even weeks --- after Election Day.
Fortunately, turnout has been light today, so the problems that have cropped up seem to have been handled by quickly replacing machines (a luxury available during slow, off-year elections when there are extra machines to go around) or in such a way that delays --- and the voter disenfranchisement that goes with them --- were minimal. At least as so far reported.
Whether any of the results tabulated in secret, with secret software, are actually accurate, well, that's anyone's guess as usual. In any case, we're monitoring, and will let ya know if there's anything you need to know about. Please feel free to let us know about anything you think we should know about in comments.
UPDATE 9:29pm PT: New Sequoia op-scan systems fail in Fulton County, NY and are impounded by court order. Emergency paper ballots are used. Fulton is part of the hotly contested NY-23 Congressional special election.
The Wall Street Journal's cowardly liar and "voter fraud" fraudster John Fund appears to be running out of fresh "voter fraud" lies to feed to Fox "News" viewers. According to Media Matters today, in advance of tomorrow's gubernatorial election in New Jersey, expected to be a very close race, Fund appeared on Fox's Glenn Beck show and related an anecdote of supposed fraud now going on in the Hispanic community in Camden.
"People are going door to door in parts of Camden with Hispanics that don't have very much knowledge of English, and they're saying, 'We have a new way for you to vote, la nueva forma de votar; just fill out these papers.'"
Trouble is, the incident that Fund claims is going on right now actually happened in Philadelphia 16 years ago, as even Fund himself admitted in his own WSJ column published just hours before his appearance on Fox today...
On the eve of the Presidential election, facing an historic defeat, the Republican National Committee quietly filed a motion to dissolve an existing consent decree in which they’d agreed not to engage in voter caging or other types of voter intimidation. Since 1982, the RNC has been restricted from conducting so-called “ballot-security” measures that have historically been used to deter thousands of Americans—largely low-income and minority citizens—from voting. Now, the RNC wants to be free of these restrictions. A hearing on the RNC motion is scheduled for next Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for New Jersey.
The case began in the early 1980s when the Democratic National Committee sued the RNC for voter suppression tactics that targeted about 45,000 people in low-income and minority areas. The RNC subjected minority voters in New Jersey to misleading election notices, the intimidating placement of off-duty police around polling places, and the unlawful practice of “voter caging” whereby unfounded voter challenge lists are compiled from returned mass direct mailings.
The case, DNC v. RNC, resulted in a 1982 decree in which the RNC agreed not to engage in voter caging and intimidation activities or to target minority voters.
Despite the consent decree, the RNC began using similar tricks in Louisiana in 1986. Under the guise of fraud prevention, the RNC facilitated voter caging programs and other tactics. Commenting on the program, Kris Wolfe, the Midwest RNC political director, sent a memo to Lanny Griffith, the Southern RNC political director, saying “I would guess this program will eliminate at least 60,000 to 80,000 folks from the rolls…If it’s a close race…this could keep the black vote down considerably.” The DNC filed a contempt motion to reopen the case and enjoin the RNC from conducting the Louisiana programs. Once again, the RNC voluntarily agreed to a consent decree rather than fight the claims in court. The result was a 1986 decree [PDF] in which the RNC agreed not to do any ballot security programs anywhere in the country without prior court approval.
More than 20 years later, on November 3, 2008, the RNC moved to terminate the 1982 and 1986 consent decrees. The RNC claims the consent decrees hamstring their efforts to combat voter fraud, despite the fact that voter fraud is less common than death by lightning.
Well, they got the Supreme Court. Now's as good a time as any to get "official" permission to suppress the vote again. Beats winning by actually getting more votes than the other guys, I guess.
EAC Commissioner Rosemary Rodriguez has tendered her resignation and will return to Colorado to be the State Director for Senator Michael Bennet. Commissioner Rodriguez joins ex-Commissioners Soaries and Martinez who resigned before their term was up and not, like ex-Commissioner Hunter, to take another job in DC.
Lawmakers in New Jersey have taken the state backwards as the State Senate agreed with the House that the state should scrap plans to provide any verifiability in their elections. A requirement signed into law a few years ago should have required a "Voter-verifiable Paper Audit Trail" [VVPAT] on all of the state’s Direct Recording Electronic [DRE] voting machines over a year ago. Instead the deadline has been a moving target and will now, with signature of the Governor, go away...
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....
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...
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? ...
Three years ago, the New Jersey Legislature passed a law requiring voter-verifiable paper records by January 2008. Then twice in 2008, the Legislature extended that deadline, first to June 2008, then to January 2009.
Now verifiable voting in New Jersey will be delayed indefinitely unless you act. The bill S2380, and its companion A3458, would undo the the requirement, and establish a "pilot program" for voter-verified paper records. If enacted, S2380 and A3458 could well mean that New Jersey voters will not have verifiable voting in time for the next election for Governor in 2009. The only reasonable course of action now is to require the deployment of a better voting system to meet New Jersey's legal requirement for voter-verified paper records --- paper optical scan ballots --- as soon as feasible, but not later than the gubernatorial election.
New Jersey has had many problems with their Sequoia voting machines in the past. There is still a court case that is not complete. Why, in the face of the history of Sequoia in New Jersey, would the state legislators even think to change the law to allow the status quo? What action has been taken in the state by any vendor to make this happen? One can only wonder.
Below are links to a statement on the legislation made by Congressman Rush Holt and an action page that can be used by New Jersey voters, and others, to make their voices heard about this step backwards. We hope you will take action....
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...
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 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...
John Gideon briefly noted what happened in Florida in yesterday's Daily Voting News, but it deserves a bit more attention. A lot more attention, actually.
A recent contested election for Circuit Judge in Palm Beach County, FL, where the initial results showed a 17 vote margin for one of the candidates, continues to reveal differing counts every time the same ballots are run through the county's new optical-scan paper ballot counters made by Sequoia Voting Systems.
Sequoia is one of America's largest private voting machine vendors, and one of its worst (even though we realize such judgements are akin to determing whether Mussolini was worse than Stalin.) Just 30-some days from America's next and likely-largest election ever, the desperate company is under fire today for recent voting system failures in Palm Beach, Washington D.C., and New Jersey.
For the moment, let's look at what was reported out of Palm Beach yesterday, where re-scans of 262 rejected ballots on Sequoia paper-ballot scanners revealed differing results each and every time they were scanned...
The mysteries keep piling up around the Sequoia voting machines used in New Jersey. This time Princeton University computer scientist Ed Felten has uncovered a phantom vote for Obama in summary tapes from three voting machines used in the state's February 5th primary in Pennsauken District 6.
See Kim Zetter's WIRED report for the details, where, incidentally, she notes, "no problem shows up for the Republican primary numbers."
Faced with extraordinarily bad press concerning her company's failed voting machines, which a NJ judge has now ordered to be independently examined (decidedly not by the "blonde nymph"-seeking dude Sequoia originally employed for their own "independent examination"), an impending hostile takeover by competitor Hart InterCivic, and her own boss's recent admission that the company doesn't even control the intellectual property rights to its own voting machines, Sequoia Voting Systems VP of Communications & External Affairs (and part owner), Michelle Shafer, has been left fairly desperate to find some "good news" lately with which to try and fool the company's clients.
But Never-Say-Die Shafer doesn't give up the ghost easily. So in a quick, if somewhat sad, bottom-of-the-barrel scraping article posted to her "Ballot Blog" at the Sequoia website this week, she attempted to trumpet the "Keystone State Success" for Sequoia, following last week's PA primary.
"Pennsylvania elections went very well last week," she writes. "We’ve had a chance to check in with our customers in York, Montgomery and Northampton counties, and it looks like it was a successful primary for all of them," blogged Shafer, before going on to quote the "success" of the company's voting systems, as reported by two different PA newspapers.
One selective quote, from one of the papers, sings the praises of Sequoia's AVC Advantage e-voting machines (the same ones which were found to have failed to tabulate votes correctly in NJ's recent Super Tuesday primary), because "Even the older people liked them."
But the same papers Shafer selectively quoted from also offered not-so-wonderful stories about the "success" of the company's machines in Pennsylvania.
Here's what Shafer --- who may as well tattoo a permanent "Kick Me!" sign on her back at this point --- seems to have forgotten to quote, from the very same articles she pointed to, in her blog item about them...
[UPDATED: Please be sure to see the update, containing exclusive, previously unreported news, added at the bottom of this article.]
The BRAD BLOG learned this morning that a New Jersey judge has today given plaintiffs and Princeton University computer scientists the right to examine the state's Sequoia AVC Advantage touch-screen voting machines which failed to record voter totals accurately, in at least six different counties, during the Garden State's recent Super Tuesday primary.
For those who haven't been able to keep up with it all, a post which quickly recaps the bulk of Sequoia's disgraceful NJ behavior can be read here.
We've also continued to cover (with complete exclusivity, unless someone else in the media cares to join us! Hello?) the saga of beleaguered Sequoia's fight for their very life, as they attempt to fend off a hostile take-over by competitor Hart InterCivic.
IMPORTANT/EXCLUSIVE UPDATE!:AP jumps in with a few more details raising a point which The BRAD BLOG can reveal here for the first time, concerning Sequoia's "intellectual property" rights. Namely, they neither own, nor control them, as admitted recently by the company's own CEO...
The following video comes fresh from our buddy Jake Soboroff of Why Tuesday? He was at last night's Democratic debate and tried to get some answers from some of the local Democratic public officials on hand --- including Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and PA Governor Ed Rendell --- to see if they had any concerns about the e-voting machines to be used in next week's crucial PA Primary.
Kudos to Jake for asking, just one of the so-many questions (if, arguably, one of the most important) that the Corporate Media, such as ABC News, couldn't even be bothered to dream of, apparently.
Despite the fact that, next week, wholly unverifiable, 100% faith-based e-voting systems will be in use across much of the Keystone State --- including, perhaps most notably, Sequoia's AVC Advantage touch-screens in Montgomery and Northhampton counties, even though very same systems failed so spectacularly in neighboring NJ on Super Tuesday (see this recent BRAD BLOG story for the quick skinny on what happened, and continues to be going on with the NJ/Sequoia failed touch-screen imbroglio) --- the election officials interviewed by Soboroff, in the following quick video recorded just last night, remain utterly and completely clueless.
It's simply amazing...
And folks wonder why the job of restoring Election Integrity in this country is so frickin' hard?!
The above video --- including Nutter's comments that there have been "no problems" with the machines, since, after all, they got him elected, and Rendell's admission that he "knows nothing about them", but that they are "all HAVA approved machines" --- underscores how unbelievably difficult this fight is, and how clueless the very folks needed to help make a change actually are, in this entire fine mess.
Suggestion to Soboroff for next vid: Ask any elected official or election official in PA, or anywhere else, if they can prove that even a single vote --- as cast on any touch-screen machine during any actual election --- has ever been recorded and counted accurately as the voter intended. Just evidence of a single such vote will do. They will not be able to do so. None of them.
UPDATE 4/19/08: The good election integrity champions of VotePA touched base with us concerning our above suggestion to Soboroff to point out that there is one way possible to prove that a touch-screen/DRE counted a vote accurately, as per voter intent, during an actual election. An unusual write-in candidate could be cast, and then checked after the election to see if it was recorded accurately. Therefore, we'll slightly modify our currently suggested challenge above, to any election official, asking for proof of any non-write-in vote having been recorded accurately as per voter intent, as ever cast on a DRE/touch-screen voting machine during an actual election. We've made that challenge for quite a while (minus the "non-write-in" part), and we've yet to receive an iota of proof from any election official, even from those who will tell you that their DRE/touch-screens record votes "accurately".
Truth is, they have nothing to prove their case. Not even a single (non-write-in) vote ever cast. Yet they still claim them to be "accurate" without any such scientific evidence of same. Go figure.
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