Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert comic strip, blogs today on Electronic Voting. Here's just one of the money quotes...
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Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert comic strip, blogs today on Electronic Voting. Here's just one of the money quotes...
Guest Blogged by John Gideon
Yesterday the University of Connecticut released a report of the results of a study they did of the Diebold AccuVote Optical Scan voting system the state will be using in the future. This new report, commissioned by the Secretary of State, is as scathing as the recent Princeton Report accomplished on the Diebold TS Direct Recording Electronic machines.
In his blog, Johns-Hopkins University Computer Scientist Avi Rubin says:
Democratic Secretary of State candidate, Debra Bowen has released a new video ad on her campaign website showing how easy it would be for hackers to break into a garage where pre-programmed, election-ready Diebold touch-screen systems are now being "stored securely" by poll workers around the state.
Such a break-in could allow them to easily manipulate a single Diebold touch-screen machine to implant a virus on it would could then pass itself from machine to machine, resulting in an entirely flipped election. Nobody would ever know.
We have long since been critical of CA Sec. of State Bruce McPherson's re-certification of Diebold voting systems after his own technical advisory board at UC Berkley had advised him the machines could be tampered with in dozens of ways.
His further lack of enforcement of security requirements for the use of the systems --- he has sat by and allowed them to be sent home for weeks ahead of the election with poll workers on so-called "sleepovers" --- is both an outrage and a violation of his own state requirements and federal law.
Yesterday, we detailed (with photographs) how San Diego County Registrar Mikel Haas has been handing thousands of such hackable voting machines to poll workers in his county since October 16th of this year. Those irresponsible "sleepovers" now allow those poll workers --- or anyone who may wish to access the machines in their garage --- a full 3 weeks prior to the election to find the 60 seconds needed to flip every race in San Diego County.
Bowen's Diebold "sleepover" break-in ad can be viewed at her campaign website. It's also posted in full below...
Reports now from yet another Texas county that votes are hopping from Democratic to Republican on paperless touch-screen ES&S systems during Early Voting. This time in Jefferson County...
Some of those voters including Lamar University professor, Dr. Bruce Drury, believe the problem is a programming error.
Saturday, KFDM spoke to another voter who says it's not just happening with straight ticket voting, he says it's happening on individual races as well, Jerry Stopher told us when he voted for a Democrat, the Republican's name was highlighted.
Jefferson county clerk Carolyn Guidry says her office has checked the calibration of the machines and found no problems.
She says the electronic system is very sensitive.
We've create a new Touch-Screen Vote Hopping category here so users can check all such reported incidents at a glance.
The drumbeat of reports from around the country of touch-screen voting machines failing during Early Voting continues to grow. These aren't "glitches." These are failures.
So far, the reports have all involved Democratic (or Green) votes flipping to, or otherwise benefitting, Republican candidates. In South Florida, St. Louis County, Missouri, Virginia, Arkansas, Dallas, and now San Antonio, Texas.
While I was guesting this evening on the Chris Duel show on KTSA News-Talk 550 AM, we received a call from Democratic State Rep. Jose Menendez, who reported several incidents that have come to the attenion of his office during Early Voting, which is already under way in San Antonio. The reports concern votes flipping and candidates not showing up on the summary screens of Bexar County's paperless ES&S touch-screen systems.
During the short interview (audio posted in full at end of this article) Menendez reported an incident involving a teacher in his district who noticed that one of the candidates wasn't showing up on the confirmation summary screen. I later learned off air that the missing candidate was Menendez.
Another incident involved a voter who voted for a straight party ticket only to have it flip to a straight party ticket vote for the other party.
Menendez didn't identify which parties were involved while on air. Since then, Duel followed up to let me know that the straight party ticket the voter intended to vote for was Democratic and it flipped to Republican.
Menendez said during the interview that he now plans to file legislation requiring a paper "trail" on all voting machines across the state of Texas where none are (incredibly) now required. As you'll hear, I made it clear that it's paper ballots that are needed, not uncountable and uncounted so-called paper "trails." For the moment, his efforts are unfortunately too little, too late to do anything for 2006. While he may not have realized the dangers to our democracy and national security until now, Bexar County Election Administrator Jacquelyn F. Callanen has no such excuse. She needs to be held directly accountable for her failure to provide an auditable voting system to her voters.
Callanen, however, seems to be selling Menendez and other concerned citizens the usual bill of goods, as most of the country's election directors are now doing in hopes of saving their jobs. I pointed out in no uncertain terms, hopefully, on air during the interview, that Callanen needs to be held accountable. Her office's number is: 210-335-VOTE, and their webpage is here. Here's the interview...
-- AUDIO: Brad on the Chris Duel Show with Rep. Mendendez, 10/30/06 [MP3, Appx 16 minutes]
UPDATE: Votes reported to be hopping from Democrat to Republican also now in Jefferson County, TX. Details here...
More than 10,000 pre-programmed election-ready Diebold touch-screen voting machines, to be used for the first time across the entirety of San Diego County this November 7th, are now in the cars, garages, homes, and hands of poll workers and lord knows who else across one of Southern California's largest voting regions.
As reported in several first-hand accounts from San Diego poll workers just after recent training sessions (see end of article for one of those first-hand accounts), the voting machines were sent home on so-called overnight "sleepovers" with temporary poll workers beginning on October 16th, allowing for a full three weeks prior to the election for poll workers to find the 60 seconds they might need to hack a single machine. One tampered machine could affect the results on every single voting machine, in every race in the county.
San Diego Registrar Mikel Haas --- easily one of the country's worst and most irresponsible election administrators --- is unconcerned. He's also instructing poll workers not to give out paper ballots despite a recent order from the California Secretary of State.
The ability to easily insert malicious viral code onto Diebold's touch-screen systems has been proven, and video-taped by Princeton University and others. A single person could hack an entire election, flipping votes undetectably, and no trace would be left behind after the election.
But it's not just tampering that should be of concern to the voters of San Diego. It's the fact that these particular systems are amongst the most unreliable in the country. They simply do not work.
Diebold touch-screen voting systems are innacurate. Their screens freeze. Their printers jam and fail to create reliable "paper trails" and frequently they simply fail to start up at all. All of which occurred during Primary Elections in states across the country earlier this year, resulting in thousands of legally registered voters being disenfranchised, or turned away without being able to cast a ballot.
Incredibly, Haas has ordered these systems to be used for the first time in this November's general election, without even a test run during the June 6th Primary & Special Election, when a blended system of both Diebold optical-scan (paper-based) and touch-screens was used.
The few touch-screen systems in place during the June election (one per polling location) went almost completely unused. And yet Haas has ordered them for use across the entire county this November, despite notorious failures by these same unreliable systems in states like Georgia and Maryland and --- perhaps most notably --- Cuyahoga County, OH, where the systems in first-time use failed monumentally during the Buckeye State's Primary Election.
USA TODAY wrote Friday about the aftermath of Cuyahoga's Primary Elections and the extraordinary measures now being taken to turn the county's temporary poll workers into rocket scientists able to trouble-shoot the many expected problems with the systems. After some 300+ recommendations were made by an independent audit of that particular train wreck, elections officials are scrambling and bracing for the worst.
Haas, however, has taken no such measures and, indeed, his poll worker training has reportedly consisted of instructing folks to sing the praises of electronic machines and avoid handing out paper ballots to voters despite the recently unearthed memo from the California Secretary of State's office instructing all Registrar's that all California voters may vote on paper if they wish.
An account of one such training class by Ken Simpkins, the Carlsbad attorney who filed an election contest to challenge the results of the Francine Busby/Brian Bilbray Special Election sleepover fiasco last June, reports that workers are being told not to give paper ballots to voters even if machines are unavailable when voters show up to vote.
"If the machines were not ready at the opening of the polls and voters were there," Simpkins writes about instructions given at a training class he attended, "voters should be asked to wait until the machines are ready." His full description of that and other stunning moments from Haas's training is at the end of this item.
In an accidental fit of reporting, the far-right San Diego Union Tribune yesterday asked Haas about the ongoing "sleepovers" in an article on concerns about the county's upcoming
beta test election. As usual, his obnoxious answer was just another "fuck you" to the voters of San Diego:
Haas disagrees. "We know exactly who has the machines," he said. "We know where they live."
Never mind that we've previously reported first-hand accounts from poll workers who took voting machines home with them during the June 6th election, where they admitted that family members, and any number of neighbors, may well have had easy access to the machines in the "secure storage space" known as their garage or their car. But Haas knows "where they live." So rest easy, San Diegans!
Also, never mind that such sleepovers are in violation of state and federal law. But, hey, it's San Diego! Mikel Haas territory! He makes the rules and can do whatever he wants!
ED NOTE: BRING YOUR VIDEO AND STILL CAMS WITH YOU TO VOTE, ESPECIALLY ON TOUCH-SCREEN, TO DOCUMENT THIS STUFF!
The Miami Herald is reporting that votes on touch-screen voting systems in in South Florida are flipping from Democrat to Republican candidates.
Not a single report of a vote flipping from a Republican to a Democrat so far. As usual.
Marek corrected her ballot and alerted poll workers at the Hollywood satellite courthouse, who she said told her they'd had previous problems with the same machine.
Poll workers did some work on her machine when she finished voting, Marek said. But no report was made to the Supervisor of Elections office and the machine was not removed, [Broward Supervisor of Elections spokeswoman Mary] Cooney said.
Mauricio Raponi wanted to vote for Democrats across the board at the Lemon City Library in Miami on Thursday. But each time he hit the button next to the candidate, the Republican choice showed up.
The Herald didn't mention it --- but we will --- the type of touch-screen voting machine reportedly failing in Broward was the ES&S iVotronic.
That's the same model of voting machine that was also reportedly flipping votes in St. Louis County from Democratic candidate Claire McCaskill to Republican Jim Talent in Missouri's extremely close U.S. Senate race as we reported late last week along with several similar incidents reported in both Texas and Arkansas as well.
Note in the Herald report linked above, the Broward Supervisor of Elections spokeswoman also admits that "it's not uncommon for screens on heavily used machines to slip out of sync, making votes register incorrectly. Poll workers are trained to recalibrate them on the spot --- essentially, to realign the video screen with the electronics inside. The 15-step process is outlined in the poll-workers manual."
A "15-step process" for recalibrating by poll workers with a few hours training? Brilliant.
Cooney said no machines have been removed during early voting, and she is not aware of any serious problems.
Relax, people. It's only democracy. Do you actually want it to be accurate too?! George Will's column on Sunday, --- which either supports electronic voting or doesn't, it's hard to tell --- seems to think you're probably asking way too much.
UPDATE 2:40pm PT: And more reports coming in now from Florida of votes hopping from Democratic candidates to Republicans. This one via Tampa Bay Tribune...
Upon leaving, I told the woman to whom I handed my voting card about the problem. She said, "Sometimes these things just don't work."
Blogged By John Gideon, 28 October 2006
Still over a week from election day and already the problems are piling up. Meanwhile the vendors and their shills are making excuses and attempting to sell the voting public a line of garbage. Among the shills is a federal agency, the Election Assistance Commission, that is supposed to assist the voter and, instead, has sent their chairman out on the road to defend the vendors.
In a blog posted yesterday, Brad said it well:
In a rebuttal to DeGregorios' opinion piece in the Tallahassee Democrat Avi Rubin, Johns-Hopkins Professor, computer scientist and author of "Brave New Ballot" had this to say in his blog:
In The Mean Time Across The Nation...
An absolute mess on the ground.
In Ohio, Cuyahoga County's attempts to change the way poll workers are trained in light of their Primary Election Day disaster seem clear, from the startling USA Today coverage, to be a disaster in the making in and of themselves. Read it, and be amazed at the unbelievably complex gyrations now required to address the 300+ recommendations made to the county after their Primary Day meltdown. It's amazing. "Election Cliffhanger: Will it all Work?"
In Maryland, the Republican governor warns of a "crisis in the wake of Diebold revelations."
In Colorado, Sequoia has fucked up the Absentee Ballots so that 30,000 of them must be re-copied by hand by pollworkers.
UPDATE: By John Gideon 4:15PM: Today the county announced that they had awoken from their day dream of duplicating 30,000 ballots. They have decided to do the smart thing and just set up another machine to count the incorrect ballots.
I'm on the road, and haven't been able to follow closely for the last 12 or 24, so there is much more out there that is not covered here (keep an eye on John Gideon's 'Daily Voting News' each day for all the frightening stuff and the utter mess that we simply can't cover in detail), but clearly the links above are just the tippy-top of the tip of the iceberg.
Guest Blogged by John Gideon
Today the Associated Press reported that 11 people who worked for a firm hired by the Republican Party were indicted for voter fraud. The workers were paid as much as $10 per Republican registration so they signed-up anyone they could and changed their party affiliation to Republican.
"There were at least 37 instances in which Democratic, Green Party voters and a noncitizen were registered as Republicans. Each defendant was charged with felony counts of fraudulent completion of registration affidavits."
...and they report:
"Subcontractor John Burkett of Lake Elsinore said he discovered problems with his recruiters' work during random checks of submitted forms and he notified his clients.
"The 11 defendants charged Tuesday weren't identified and details of the charges weren't disclosed by District Attorney Tony Rackauckas."
In a truly brilliant move the chairman of the Orange County Democrat Committee leaked the news of the indictments stealing the thunder from Secretary of State McPherson who wanted to wait until Monday to have a press conference. Reporters attempted to contact the Secretary but calls were not returned.
I only have a second as I've got to hit the road to get up to Santa Barbara to speak at tonight's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner (along w/ Wes Clark), so I'll try to be quick about it...
The U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) is a complete and utter failure. The current commissioner, Paul DeGregorio, has done nothing to instill confidence in elections or provide a lick of oversight in the deployment and use of these voting systems across the nation in the Midterm Election. In his latest interviews and editorials, he is reprehensibly doing nothing but echoing Voting Machine Company propaganda and Election Officials who choose to be apologists for them.
See DeGregorio's latest editorial here from the Tallahassee Democrat, in which he posts completely unfounded and unsupported "opinion" in contradiction of virtually all scientific evidence.
Contrast DeGregorio's nonsense with the comments of his predecessor, the honest, Bush-appointed, non-crony, Rev. DeForest Soaries, from this unaired network interview, in which he flatly states there are no standards for electronic voting systems in place and that 'elections in America are ripe for stealing.'
The EAC, under the "leadership" of DeGregorio, has become hopelessly compromised as he's allowed even the disinformation experts, such as "Thor" Hearne from the phony GOP front-group "American Center for Voting Rights," to set the agenda for the commission. Note that DeGregorio and Hearne are old St. Louis GOP colleagues. What a scam.
Below are a few choice pieces of
information unsubstantiated horse excrement, from DeGregorio's editorial yesterday.
On this one point only, I can actually agree with DeGregorio: "Americans should be confident that their vote will be counted, whether they touch a screen or fill in an oval."
Yes, they should be confident, but they have absolutely no basis for that at this time, thanks to folks like you, Paul. Your words do not give such confidence. Transparency gives confidence. We've had quite enough "faith-based elections" in this country. Anyway, read on for some of DeGregorio's most shamelessly misleading garbage... (You can contact the EAC here.)
We didn't much report on these incidents back in 2004 because they seemed anectodal at the time and couldn't be independently confirmed. After two years now of thousands of such reports from '04 --- almost always showing votes hopping to Republican candidates only --- and still the Voting Machine Companies and Elections Officials saying "it never happened," it seems appropriate to report a few of these incidencts as we hear of them before Election Day, during Early Voting, so folks can look into them.
Here are three different reports over the last day or two of touch-screen votes flipping from Democrats or Libertarians over to Republicans.
A friend of our family’s went last Friday to early vote in Maplewood at Sunnen Park. He voted for Claire McCaskill, but each time he, the election worker, and the election supervisor pressed the screen for Claire, the screen said he had voted for Jim Talent.
I sent this info along to a friend that works in Claire’s campaign. I have the name and number of the guy this happened to if you are interested.
PLEASE BRING A VIDEO CAMERA WHEN YOU GO TO VOTE THIS YEAR SO THESE INCIDENTS CAN BE DOCUMENTED! Spread the word...Thank you.
In a cover story interview in the Crawford, Texas Lone Star Iconoclast, Clint Curtis has a few no holds barred thoughts on his race in Florida's 24th Congressional district, on his opponent, the corrupt Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Abramoff), and on his plans to fight back at the retaliation Feeney has levelled against him for blowing the whistle on Feeney's vote-rigging attempts and other alleged malfeasance...
He has broken that law, so we are actually going to file that with the U.S. Attorney’s office, and hold him accountable for that, too. It might actually get more investigations going, and it’s his turn to start explaining things.
If you don't know who the fearless Curtis is, what cave have you been living in? We originally reported on his remarkable story in December of 2004 and have been doing so ever since. The rest, as they say, may well be history in the making.
Guest Blogged by John Gideon
And so it begins! Today the Washington Post has revealed, in a superbly written and investigated story, that Diebold secretly made modifications to thousands of their voting machines in Maryland and that everyone involved seems to have forgotten to tell the State Board of Elections about it.
It seems that after the state bought machines in 2002 they began experiencing intermittent and wide-spread screen freezes. Finally in 2005 Diebold installed all new systems boards in all 4,700 machines.
And, oh by the way, they forgot to tell the State Board of Elections that they had done anything. The State Elections Administrator, Linda Lamone, and her staff seem to have known but members of the SBOE seem to have been left out of the discussion.
UPDATE FROM BRAD: This is a very detailed story with a duplicitous cast of characters and it is very well investigated and told. Kudos to WaPo's Cameron W. Barr for this coverage! We look forward to seeing much more of it!
Also see Baltimore Sun's coverage which offers still more damning details about the duplicity of both Diebold (who still has the MD contract and hasn't yet been sued) and the MD State Board of Elections as headed by the Democratic Diebold-apologist Linda Lamone (who still has a job, remarkably enough.)
UPDATE FROM JOHN 10/26 4:45am PT: A coalition of candidates in Maryland has now asked that only paper ballots be used in the upcoming election. The coalition, with candidates for different offices and representing different political parties, has joined together under the banner of the non-partisan Candidates Alliance for Recountable Elections (CARE). A media release explains their stance on this subject and is below...
NOTE: The coverage of the Hart Intercivic screen display problems in Virginia having been found now in other states such as Texas and California has been moved to it's own item here....
Guest Blogged by John Gideon
As reported by The BRAD BLOG on Tuesday, Hart Intercivic machines being used in Virginia are cutting off the names of candidates when they appear on the review screen. Thus James H. "Jim" Webb shows as James H. "Jim" on the screen.
Well, when a problem is found in one place it is going to be found elsewhere too. Now counties in Texas are reporting the same problem according to the Austin American-Statesman.
The Help America Vote Act of 2002 mandates that a voting machine must provide the voter with an ability to review their vote before they finalize the process. These machines may be in violation of that law but that can be left to the attorneys. It might be nice if those attorneys showed up now, instead of after the election when it'll be too late.
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