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By John Gideon on 11/19/2008 4:39pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

We have another report today from Connecticut and the UConn memory card tests that are done in that state regularly. These are Premier/Diebold memory cards and 9% of the cards inspected failed for various reasons including that some contained additional random data.

The recount of ballots for the Senator from Minnesota has begun. Already some new numbers are coming from at least one county. And in Alaska the decision seems to have been made and the voters have been heard. That leaves Georgia where early voting has begun....

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By John Gideon on 11/18/2008 5:01pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Early voting has begun in Georgia for the senate re-election with election day on Dec. 2. By the time DVN is sent tonight nearly all of the final votes should be counted in Alaska and there should be an announcement as to who won that race. Begich was ahead of Stevens by 2,374 at last report. Will there be a recount? Re-election? In Minnesota Sen. Coleman was declared the winner of the original vote count and that recount has been audited. Now the state is going into a period of 100% hand recount. The results of that recount won’t be presented to the State Canvassing Board until Dec. 5 and the final results will be announced by the board on Dec. 19....

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By John Gideon on 11/17/2008 4:41pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

The subject of the moment seems to be Internet voting. The media isn’t reporting about it yet but the mailing list groups are all abuzz with concerns about Internet voting and, in my opinion, they should be concerned. The security of the Internet, or more correctly the lack of security of the Internet, should concern everyone in elections. Election officials like to tell anyone who will listen that their voting systems are totally secure yet many are also now talking about voting over the insecure Internet. A couple months ago the Department of Defense sent letters to all 50 states asking them to consider more use of the internet for voting. The Washington SOS is now on record as wanting to do something to forward that plan. Florida Senator Bill Nelson, has a bill filed that would ban all Internet voting yet he has recently come out in favor of Internet voting. This fight for secure voting will take everyone from the Election Integrity Community, I’m afraid. I hope we can forestall the inevitable until someone can figure out a way to make Internet voting secure....

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By John Gideon on 11/15/2008 5:33pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

I hate to disappoint those who like to read my lead-in to the news but I really can’t think of anything worthwhile to write today. This may be one of the last days when we in the Pac. Northwest can see the sun until next spring so I got out and away from the computer and went for a ride on my Harley to enjoy the fall colors. My son went along on his new Yamaha. As a 61 year old novice rider all of my attention and gray-matter was used to keep my bike upright and going where I wanted it to go. It was, however, a rewarding ride and a lot of fun. But, I have nothing insightful, interesting, or humorous to say to fill this space so it will just have to go blank....

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By John Gideon on 11/14/2008 4:21pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Need more proof that the vendors have made elections expensive? The folks in Vigo Co Indiana find themselves having to hold a special election for mayor of Terre Haute, a city of over 44,000 voters. The county would probably pay for the election and then be reimbursed by the city. The last municipal election the county paid for cost $580,000. The cost for one race in the city would probably be something less than that.

Why so much? The county pays ES&S to manage the voting machines. What would happen if the county or city just decided to print the ballots and hand-count them? Well, the ballots would cost around $0.05 per ballot or around $3500. The cost to hand-count those ballots, based on the cost to hand-count ballots in WA in the 2004 gubernatorial hand-recount would probably be less than $10,000. Why is it that we have these vendors involved in making our elections much more expensive than they should be? ...

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By John Gideon on 11/13/2008 4:41pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

In the face of a large number of problems with unverifiable, inaccurate, and unreliable voting systems the state of New Jersey is on the verge of making another decision to put-off any requirement for a voter verified paper ballot. It was originally supposed to happen on Jan. 1, 2008 but that date was allowed to slip until Jan. 2009. Now the legislation is about to change the date to sometime in 2010. Why? One legislator claimed that refitted units were too complicated. Why are they even thinking about refitting the junk they have now? They need to scrap their unreliable voting system and go a different direction....

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By John Gideon on 11/12/2008 4:25pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

One of the benefits of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 is supposed to be that voters with disabilities can now vote without assistance and in private. It is supposed to be that way but, in truth, it is not. Many federal, state and county election officials don’t seem to care that special voting machines don’t comply with federal law, that they are not set-up on election day, or that they just don’t work and poll workers have no idea how to make them work. It is as if those machines are a hindrance that some federal law requires be at the polls. Our featured article tells the stories of a couple voters with disabilities and their travails at the polls last week....

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By John Gideon on 11/11/2008 5:24pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Late this afternoon came an announcement from Washington DC that they have, again, found voting counting/reporting anomalies in the Sequoia voting system. There is not a lot to report yet except that there will be a public hearing on Friday.

The groups who comprised the 1-866-OUR-VOTE coalition for this election have compiled their data and put it on-line for all to see. If you think the stories about long lines were wide-spread or even baseless, or if you think voting machines worked better than they had in the past, or if you think provisional ballot usage was not broken then you might want to look at their table of incident types and states here: ...

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By John Gideon on 11/10/2008 4:20pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Many pundits and talking heads of all stripes are summing up this past election as if it was all over. Depending on who their audience is they are claiming that it was all a success and that there were no long lines or they are telling us that there were problems but they were wide-spread. Those who deny the lines only need to look at the pictures and read some of the first-hand accounts of voters standing on line for hours and hours just to vote. There are still tens of thousands of votes being counted nationally. I’m going to hold my opinion on the failures of vote counting, provisional ballot usage, and voter registration data-bases and e-poll books until after all of the votes are counted. ...

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By John Gideon on 11/9/2008 4:11pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

In this space in the Nov. 07 DVN I mentioned that ES&S software was responsible for flipping votes in Crawford Co Kansas. That statement was incorrect. The county did their own ballot programming for the first time. They made a mistake in ballot rotation which caused the votes for candidates to be counted for different candidates in one race. The county also did a poor job of pre-election testing which should have found their programming error.

Meanwhile responsibility for Kenton Co Kentucky’s Hart Intercivic eSlate machines and their failure to record straight-party votes in two legislative races is being revealed. The machines are purchased from and maintained by Harp Industries. Harp also does the ballot programming. Harp has admitted that they failed to properly program Kenton Co’s machines. The county has admitted that they failed to properly do pre-election testing which would have found the problem.

There is a common theme here. Ballot programming can fail and counties must do proper pre-election testing to ensure none of those failures go forward to the election. Even if a contractor or the vendor of the voting system does the programming, counties should always build their own test decks and thoroughly test the machines. ...

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By John Gideon on 11/8/2008 3:59pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

It looks like there is strong talk about holding Premier/Diebold at fault for the problems in Hillsborough Co Florida. I’m not convinced that anything will be done except posturing by local officials. Premier claims they warned the county with an email sent in Sept. They did send an email but it is very hard to understand what the problem was and what the solutions were. Perhaps election officials should have asked Premier to be more clear? Perhaps the state should not have certified this system that is still going through the EAC testing and certification process?

The blame for the problem in Crawford Co Kansas has finally been put on the ballot programming in the county’s ES&S system.

On election day a judge ordered machines in Northumberland Co Pennsylvania to be impounded because they were not working properly on straight-party voting. Now a plan on investigating the problem has been announced. The vendor, Premier/Diebold, will send technicians to investigate the problem. In other words the county only wants to know that they were at fault and the machines were faultless....

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By John Gideon on 11/7/2008 4:38pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Today we have reports that ES&S software actually flipped votes in three races at one polling place in Crawford Co., Kansas. We also have reports that ES&S software incorrectly reported results in one race in Polk Co., North Carolina.

The long count of votes in Hillsborough Co., Florida, seems to be over with the blame for problems being put, where else, on “human error.” It seems that Premier/Diebold had warned Florida users of their high-speed OSX voting machines that those machines could not take a high-volume of ballots without bogging down and causing problems. Hillsborough ignored that warning. However, why would a vendor put out a system for use in elections that cannot be used in a high-volume of ballots. King Co., Washington, wanted badly to use that system. If they had it would have been a disaster....

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Evening Edition
By John Gideon on 11/6/2008 4:24pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Voters in New York must be very concerned. They have just taken part in the last election for their beloved lever voting machines. Those machines will be replaced by a voting system from one of the vendors who has provided the machines that failed in counties across the country. It cannot be a good feeling to go from the big, clunky mechanical machines to a system that is computer based and prone to error and failure.

Boulder Co Colorado is still counting ballots. They have over 60,000 ballots left of the approximately 166,000 originally cast. Their Hart eScan machines seem to be affected by dust from the paper ballots and they have not figured out that a can of pressurized air might solve all of their problems. They hope to be done with their count sometime tomorrow or Saturday.

Also still counting ballots is Hillsborough Co Florida which is feeding ballots into their Premier/Diebold optical-scan machines one-at-a-time because the system bogs down if they are fed by batches. The Supervisor of Elections has now conceded his re-election in this county and there is talk about a lawsuit against Premier/Diebold....

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Morning Edition
By John Gideon on 11/6/2008 10:05am PT  

Tabulating is still going on around the country and there are a lot of reports of problems with memory cards, software that is slow, over use of provisional ballots, voting system failures that have resulted in voting machines being locked-up, e-poll book errors and other issues. When appropriate I have included the voting system vendor....

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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....

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